A Writer's Objectives

The Meaning of Dead

Today’s excerpt is from a short story I wrote about two or three years ago. The excerpt doesn’t really show the fun parts, because I am horrible and mean and decided to show you what the main character’s family was like instead. (I’ve actually considered using this family for a YA novel, but haven’t decided on anything yet.)

WARNING: There is strong language used in this excerpt and any who wish to read the complete short story will find that it is throughout the rest of the story. 

 

 

“What time did you get home last night?” A question she had expected to hear before she’d even climbed out of bed.

“I don’t know.” She pulled a coke from the fridge, popped it open, and took a long deep swig before finishing her response. “Dave was still awake.”

“Dave never sleeps, so that could be anytime.” Michelle looked to her step-father, Joe, and frowned. “What time did you get home?” he repeated his question.

“Three.” Finishing the coke she crushed the can then sent it into the sink with a long ‘clang’ and a disapproving look from her mother.

“What’s your curfew?” Joe scowled hard at her.

“Uhm, I don’t know.” She got another coke and set it on the counter, then began to look for something for breakfast. She could almost feel Joe’s eyes burrowing into her as he took in her appearance. Another reason she spent a good percentage of her time in sweats and guy’s clothing. “It’s changed four times in the past week. Tell me, Joe, what time was it last night?” She stood straight and turned from the fridge. It closed behind her and she raised a brow at Joe and her mother, who stood glaring at her.

“You know damn well that your curfew is no later than one.” Her mother snarled. If she got any more frustrated, Michelle was sure foam would begin to form and perhaps fur would grow.

“Right. One.” She nodded. “I’ll be sure to be home by then tonight.”

“No.” Joe stood, shaking his head. “You’ll be home right after school. You’re not going out tonight. Go get ready, now. The bus will be here in ten minutes.”

Michelle stared at him, wishing his head would instantaneously combust. “You can’t tell me what to do. You’re not-”

“Don’t you dare say it Michelle Lynn.” Her mother walked closer to Joe and put a hand on his arm. “You know that Joe loves you as much as your father did. Don’t tell him he isn’t your father. If it wasn’t for Joe you know that-”

“We’d never have been able to make it after dad left,” Michelle rolled her eyes. “Yeah, I know. Joe the fucking superhero.” She grabbed her coke off the counter and stomped across the kitchen, shoving past her mother and Joe then storming down the stairs to get ready for school. Of course, she didn’t plan on going home after. Justin Tashnir was having his weekly party that night and she wouldn’t miss it for the world.

The night was colder than the night before. She had been lucky enough to have a ride home offered this time; she’d have taken it immediately, but the whole of the party-goers had either passed out or were so drunk they couldn’t find the keys they already had gripped in their hands.  Michelle huffed in frustration, shivering as the cloud of breath floated up and away from her. At least she had a sweatshirt tonight.

She reached the second to last street light before making it home. A quick glance at her watch told her it was exactly two hours past her so-called curfew. Perfect. Dave would be on the computer, and Master Chief would be waiting for her every command.

A perfect end to a perfect fucking day, as usual.

A car drove by, startling her out of her thoughts. How rare for there to be cars at 3am, especially on her road. She shrugged further into her sweatshirt and watched until the taillights vanished around the corner, just as she passed under the streetlight. One to go and then she would be home.

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