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Coming of Age Contemporary Teens & Young Adult

“Are you there, God? It’s me…” She dropped the book and stared at her hand. It was the paper. The shiny, glossy paper of the supplement in Sunday’s newspaper. She had wanted another ad for her collection. I don’t know where they get some of their ideas from. Just too crazy. The cut on her pinkie finger had left a thin white line on the skin that began to hint at blood. It did not register in her mind until a smear of redness trailed down her pink bedspread. What? How did…? Is that mine?  She was lying on the bed with her head propped up, staring at the dripping finger. She felt the wetness of her arm and a sensation of intense interest, the kind you feel briefly before understanding the reality of your situation. Why was she rereading this one, anyway? Could she possibly sue Judy Blume? Was she still alive? Who cares? Stupid young adult work...

I’ll never touch a knife again. Not even scissors. She only wanted the Absolut Vodka ad. It mentioned a short story contest. Her hope of winning was replaced by the reality of her pinkie finger. I need…Kleenex, maybe? She hopped out of her bed, holding her right hand away from her body. She had nothing to wrap it in, except for the newspaper section that her father wanted for himself. Water? Water! Slamming the door to her room and bringing upon herself an unfocused yell from her mother, she was enclosed in the darkness of the enclosed doors on the unlit landing, and the odour of fried fish. Who is in the bathroom now? Did she remember to shut up the closet so the smell wouldn't get into her clothes? Even in the summer, she worried about how heavy the smell would be in the coat she bought out of season.

           Mom’s in the kitchen; Dad’s sleeping outside. Her brother had a date. On a Sunday. No chance of getting in. She pounded on the door. Does she want me to cut myself? Get lost! Let me in, now! Such a pain in the ass, sometimes. All the time. Hold yourself. I-need-some-water-right-now! Why? I cut myself… You’ve started shaving. Good for you. He smiled at his joke. She could wait. No water? Go downstairs! He could only see her this evening. This was his night. He would have to get out of the house after dinner. Maybe the rentals would work. They had to return those movies. Best excuse he could find. He studied his face, his skin a nice contrast to the foam. Just me, smooth and successful. She deserves it. He made out her shape in his hands, grinning to himself, and then brought his shaver up to his throat at the exact moment when his sister managed to pick the lock and shove him aside. The blood was immediate. Ahh…what the hell is wrong with you? He tried to clean the foam and blood from his face. He needed the sink. Just move for a minute! I should smack her for this. He swung. The retreat of his arm sent the razor into the toilet, landing with a bounce from the wall into the bowl. He turned and stared. His sister caught her laugh in her throat. My last shaver… The toilet had been used. Dammit! Look before you leap. And you didn’t have to scream. That would carry down into the kitchen. They would look like something out of the worst moments of those horror movies their mom did not want them to keep on watching. At least my date liked them, he thought. She really liked them (not the best thought right now). And they both knew they would have to keep quiet as their parents were not too far, especially their mother, getting food ready right below them.

           Their mother was too busy to have to be worrying about them. She would kill them both when she saw them like this. Stupid. She could stand the stench of fried fish, and the thought of killing her children was a pleasant diversion. Why do I bother with that fan? Just moving hot air. Two elements were taken with oil and fish. Why do I always end up cooking for other people? Damn useless. Where’s my sister? Less than ten minutes away and she knows what I have to do for this thing. I haven’t even made the ginger beer yet; and she never called to say, Well, do you need any help tonight? She wants something and then she calls. The house she’s living in is like a pigsty; those kids are impossible. And rude. They need some slaps. Three of them and she is on her own. Useless. This will burn. She turned down both elements, her left hand catching a kiss of oil. She winced at this without making a sound. She brought both hands to the tap for a bath of cool water, giving her a chance to wash away the remains of the fish. More blood than scales. Strange with snapper. Why am I suffering in this heat?

           Her husband started at the slam of the sliding-glass door to the backyard. Maybe not a true distraction, but he wanted to enjoy his nap in the sun uninterrupted. I can’t even rest on a Sunday. God had more luck with it. This country gets into your skin before you know it. Nothing else to do but enjoy the sun. When do we eat, anyway? He took the newspaper from his lap and placed it under his feet. Who has the magazine? I have to dig through this thing every weekend. He lifted his hat. I just cut this lawn last week and already it’s like this? Just pave the damn thing next summer. He could see a large mosquito pausing and feeding on his arm. He crushed it and wiped the bloody remains of the body onto the underside of his plastic chair. Little vermin. Maybe you’re just doing your job. He saw another magazine under the chair. I should have just brushed you away. No mess at all. What did she slam the door for, anyway? He leaned back with the magazine. So, what’s new in the world of fashion? Too many ads. Too many distractions and now it’s almost too quiet inside. Must every Sunday be like this? My last refuge before work? I should just sleep ‘til my supper comes. He stretched and tipped his hat over his eyes. Absolut what? Who the hell drank vodka, anyway? Beer is king. He could feel a real fatigue now. That was a contest or something. Booze and stories. I could tell them some. The light beneath his eyelids began to grow dim. I should tell the youngest about it. She should have something to write about…

February 06, 2022 01:57

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11 comments

Sarah Desouza
22:47 Feb 17, 2022

Nice story...sounds like it came from the heart...

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Kendall Defoe
00:47 Feb 18, 2022

The heart, yes...and other disgusting organs. 😁

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Robert Longmeier
22:14 Feb 16, 2022

Nice attempt using a, perhaps, difficult prompt to set the whole story in motion. Good "voice" with metaphors to spice things up.

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Kendall Defoe
22:16 Feb 16, 2022

I have given up on simple narratives with certain prompts, but you have a point. Thank you for the critique!

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J.C. Lovero
16:55 Feb 13, 2022

Hi Kendall, Loved the multiple POV style and how it all tied together with blood. It took me a moment to figure out what was happening, but when it clicked, I enjoyed it! The stream of consciousness approach really worked here. Looking forward to the next one!

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Kendall Defoe
00:12 Feb 14, 2022

Thank you. I always feel like I should experiment with the form.

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Calm Shark
05:28 Feb 07, 2022

Hi Kendall, I love how each member of the family has their perspective. I smiled reading the story. I just noticed that every perspective had to do with blood, which was very interesting. Like the main character cut her finger, her brother had a cut when shaving, her mother getting stung by the oil and then her father killed a mosquito and there was blood left over. Very interesting. Now the title makes more sense.

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Kendall Defoe
12:00 Feb 07, 2022

And a shark noticed the blood! Thank you. I wondered if I could pull this off. A lot of it is based on memories and moments that came back to me over time. And I am going to review your work soon!

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Calm Shark
16:43 Feb 07, 2022

Thank you Kendall!

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Graham Kinross
12:33 Feb 06, 2022

Great story. I’m working on one for this prompt as well. Hopefully I have it finished in time. What was your inspiration for this?

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Kendall Defoe
19:32 Feb 06, 2022

This was inspired by my very real childhood and some incidents mashed together in my memories.

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