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Coming of Age Horror Contemporary

This is a list of all the things that I am going to have to do this week and I want to make sure that I have this as a copy on the fridge. My brother is going to have to read this one day and I hope he can do this when he is my age.

6:00: Wake up. It is going to be the first day of school, so I have to make sure that I have all my clothes and things ready for it (my bag is going to be full of notebooks, pencils, pens, clothes for the gym and maybe my Mom’s cell number). I always make sure that the bed is made and that everything is in place before I leave the room. My brother is going to wake up later and I have to make sure he does the same things (his bag has to be ready too).

6:30: Bathroom, breakfast and making lunch. I have my lunch ready the day before and I make sure that my brother has his lunch ready too. I have to make sure that he gets peanut butter on the white bread we keep in the freezer and that it is all not cold when it I get it done. We have cereal with milk and when it gets colder, we will have oatmeal. There is still a large bag of it in the cupboard. No one touches it now.

7: Bathroom and brushing our teeth and combing our hair. We do this together every single time. Every day. We make sure we have the stool set up and the combs and brushes ready. He can use the bathroom on his own now, but I make sure he still washes his hands. He won’t do it without me.

7:30: We have to be at the bus stop. Usually, we get there in time, but there was that one time and I had to run with him and make sure that I got to the corner and the stop sign before the bus driver went down the road. Ms. Milligan is a good driver and she never did it again, but I don’t want my brother to miss the ride. Not again.

7:30 – 8:15: The bus ride to school. I always try to find a seat with me and my brother. We are the first ones on the bus, so this is not a problem, but I want my brother to never sit next to Larry and Lee. They are always mean to us and I don’t know if they are gonna change in secondary school, but I don’t want them near my brother. I don’t want them to talk to us but I can’t stop that. My brother sits with me.

8:15 – 8:30: In the schoolyard, my brother can go play with his friends and I can talk to my friends. He is okay, if he is not around Larry and Lee. We have monitors in the schoolyard and I can see the teachers coming to school and they sometimes walk around through the main yard. Larry and Lee play with the bigger kids and usually stay back by the portables.

8:30 – 9: We get called into the school. Our grade has to come in and use a free period to get things ready for class. I might have projects twice a week and I can put it all together before we get into the classroom. I don’t let the other kids bother me. I just worry about my brother. He has to come in at 8:45 and just go to the other side of the school. He should be okay – I check on him later at recess and he tells me what happened.

9:00 – 10:00: First class. This will change every year. I usually have math later in the day and then something else that is always too hard to do. Teachers ask if I need tutors and I say I don’t (I only like English and maybe gym, so I don’t care about the others). My brother wants to be a scientist, but I don’t believe him. They sometimes ask about our parents.

10:00 – 10:15: First recess. I talk to my brother and then he goes off with his friends. I stay with the stuff in our bags and don’t worry about Larry and Lee, or any of the older kids. Teachers on the break ask if I am playing outside with someone. I say, I don’t feel well. I only say that if they catch me. I don’t care.

10:15 – 11:30: Second class. It is always longer than the second one. This is usually gym. I have everything ready for the day. I figured out how to use the washing and drying machines and did not have to ask a neighbour about them. If there’s a stain, I say that I will fix it later. They sometimes ask about our parents.

11:30 – 12:30: Lunch time! I hope my brother likes his lunch (they eat in their own room for their grade and have a teacher). I will eat in the cafeteria and then go outside. I know that L and L will be around somewhere, so I play with the kids who want to have a game of four-square or foot hockey. In the yard, I play with whoever needs me. The monitor is only looking in one direction. I know that I will be called in for the afternoon meeting.

12:30 – 1:00: The meeting. They do this now at least once a week. They always ask about our parents. I tell them that I am not sure about what they want to know. And then, more questions. And then, I say the same thing. Ms. Huffington is a nice woman (she has minty caramels on her desk). I always end up telling her I will see her next time.

1:00 – 2:00: I go back to my next class. I try not to do anything for them to notice, but the door is usually closed and I have to walk in from the front with them all looking at me. I am at the back, so no one says anything to me. This is math or science, so I don’t know what we are doing until I see someone write on the board.

2:00 – 2:15: Second recess. I hope that I see my brother again. Sometimes they talk to him about our family. He knows what to say to them and I prep him for the afternoon meeting. I know a place where there are no monitors. No Larry or Lee. I like the afternoon break more.

2:15 – 3:15: Gym. We always have it at the end of the day. It is my least favourite class…sometimes. If we have a team sport, I don’t want to be there. Dodge-ball is hard, too. We might go running on the track, or in the town. No one wants me on their team. Don’t care. Usually, I shower alone, or leave early. Mr. Piarro asks about my family. I do the same thing like before and say I will talk about it another time.

3:15 – 4:30: I get to the buses before most of the others and my brother should find me there. We have a seat to ourselves and don’t talk to anyone else. No one talks to us. Larry and Lee said things about us but that doesn’t matter. They leave before we do. We are near the last stop. Trip is a little longer because of rush hour. I don’t mind. My brother wants something special for dinner when we get home. So do I.

4:30 – 5:30: I tell my brother to put his stuff away when I get the food ready. He knows not to go into Mom’s room when he does this. I have put out some of the pots and pans and boil water, put in the macaroni, cheese and some butter and spice. It does not take long. I leave my bag and books in the kitchen. I usually feel tired, so I turn on the TV (hope it still works). I have been paying bills online and maybe things are not working with the wi-fi. I am really hungry, too.

5:30 – 6:30: We eat our dinner, watch the news and talk about school. We go over the meetings and I make sure to help him with his homework first. We have old encyclopedias and I can use Google. He likes to draw and he enjoys his class. We don’t talk about much else with the TV on.

6:30 – 7:30: I do the dishes, clean up the kitchen and living room. All the things we need for lunch are pretty much ready. I ignore the phone and make sure that the curtains are closed. My brother has to be in bed by 8; I go to bed around 8:30 or 9. I don’t need a lot of sleep. I can also say goodbye to Mom. I don’t like going into her room. The smell is very nasty and I am glad that it is cold. She did not leave us anything. I have to take care of things. And I remember something else and should do something special: my birthday!

Happy 12th!!!

September 02, 2022 00:45

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8 comments

Tommy Goround
21:52 Sep 08, 2022

It worked.

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Kendall Defoe
01:15 Sep 09, 2022

All I need to hear... ;)

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Zack Powell
02:38 Sep 06, 2022

It's a shame Reedsy only allows three genre tag per story, because this definitely qualifies for the "Sad." That ending legitimately had my face like ☹️. Nicely done. I think my favorite thing here is the diction choice. Real simple-like, not too many commas, and with some nice parenthetical asides. Totally fitting of a protagonist of this age. Really does feel like it's a child relaying this story to you instead of an adult writing a child, so kudos for that. Also appreciate the formatting here. Writing a story in time increments is prett...

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Kendall Defoe
04:24 Sep 06, 2022

The timestamp idea makes me feel like I was a little bit lazy with this one. I try to write straight narratives, but I always end up moving things in a different direction. I am also working on two prompts and will probably have the same problem with choosing tags again (both stories are quite different).

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Zack Powell
05:12 Sep 06, 2022

I don't think the timestamps come across as lazy at all, honestly. Short stories especially afford more flexibility to get creative and experimental, which is how I perceived it. And if anything, I'd prefer to see these types of interesting unconventional storytelling methods/techniques instead of straight narratives. That's just me though. Best of luck with your both your stories!

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Michał Przywara
23:44 Sep 05, 2022

Yikes, nice twist! Initially it sounded like maybe the parents were working late/too much, and then as it progressed, that maybe they were just absentee parents. Perhaps struggling with addiction, forcing the kids to fend for themselves. But here it looks like Mom just straight up died. That's a heavy load to deal with as a child. The kid has his bases covered, and their ruse is working out - for now. We assume he'll probably forget something sooner or later and the whole thing will implode, especially since teachers are already asking aft...

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Kendall Defoe
00:46 Sep 06, 2022

I went dark with this one. There have been stories of parents who have died and the system fails the kids. I am making an assumption that the kid here is acting the way he thinks adults would act. And he is going to be twelve, traditionally very close to adulthood in some cultures. Thank you for the comments! ;)

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Patrick Samuel
10:05 Sep 06, 2022

This is really good. You played the foreshadowing very subtly, one touch at a time, and it keeps the suspense mounting. I like that you didn't need to get into much explanation to crank up the unease subconsciously: the apparently mundane notes let us know from the start that something has to be wrong or she wouldn't need to make them so detailed. The monitors and meetings reinforce the idea of having to hide something to the outside world. And even though we're starting to suspect something is very wrong in that house, the way you deliver t...

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