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lmc71775
August 13th, 2011, 09:23 PM
Chapter One

She’s following me.

I can just feel her breathing shadow pressed up against my back. Through the crowd of kids, I make my way down the congested halls to the girl’s bathrooms. The inside of the school smells like sweat and bubble gum. I just can’t wait to get out of here. No one’s even paying attention to where they’re going. Some aren’t even looking where they’re walking. They’re too busy on their phones or have their head down texting someone. Yet I can feel her near, feel her watching me.

I wonder if I wedge myself in the crowd I’ll be able to lose her. God Beth, where are you, I think to myself as if thoughts of my best friend is going to help get me out of this torture. What does Amelia want with me now? Why can’t she just leave me alone? The clinking and clanking of the lockers just intensify the moment, making my nerves vibrate that much more.

There’s a girl, maybe a freshman or sophomore drinking from the water fountain near the bathrooms. She’s bending over, taking a sip as a flag of red wavy hair drops down from her neck, covering her face. Immediately I think of Beth, but it isn’t her. She wouldn’t wear stylish and expensive clothes like that. Yet I focus on her anyway to keep my mind from what’s behind me. I just can’t get cornered again. Not after what Amelia did to me before.

I get to the girl’s bathroom, trying not to knock down the girl near the fountain, push the door open and take one quick look around. I peek in each stall and head to the last one, close the door shut and lock it—like that’s going to protect me from Amelia, but for some reason I doubt it very highly. Please don’t follow me, please don’t, I repeat in my mind. And just when I think it’s safe to come out, I hear her voice.

“Hey, you,” she says. Her words slither right through the stall door. I peek through the small opening, but I see no one.

“Milly, I know you’re in there,” she whispers to me as if she’s clogged right inside my ear.

“Come out, come out, wherever you are, “she says. “You can never hide from me.”

As I glance out of the opened slots, I notice her in one of the mirrors on the other side of the wall. Amelia then looks me straight in the face. “There you are,” she says. “Told you, you can never hide.”

**
After the horrible incident at school with Amelia earlier, I feel compelled to write in my notebook. I want to get it out the best way I know how, the only way I can cope with this.

I race into the house and dart up the stairs and into my bedroom. I then plop my book-bag down along side my desk and take a seat. The cool blowing breeze from the open window feels good, but it won’t blow away my worries. I wish it was that easy.

Once I situate myself, I slide out the top drawer and reach for my notebook that’s buried under some books. Thumbing through it, I look for a blank page. Seems like I just about used them all up, yet always find some kind of space to write. Finally I find on open spot of paper and begin to write.

I hate her you, Amelia Norris.

All you do is trash talk me. There isn’t a second that goes by that you don’t notice my mistakes. Dwelling on it constantly, you chant things like ‘you’re not good enough’ and ‘you’re so stupid’ when we’re in school together. Even when you’re not around, I still hear you. I can’t get you out of my mind. You need to go.

I don’t even know why I care about Amelia. She’s just a low-life loser, but one of the smartest seniors in school, if that even really matters. Yet she’s too dumb to figure out why she hates me so much. The only friend I have is Beth Jennings. But not even Beth knows that Amelia’s constantly tormenting me.

Lately, Amelia’s been saying things behind my back—making rumors that I’ve slept with a few guys already, why? Just cause of Matt Barns? She wants to destroy me any way she knows how. I can care less who she likes and who she doesn’t. Why does she think I’m such a threat to her? She’s trying too hard to get all this attention—and from Matt, who she thinks I’ll take away from her. The two aren’t even dating.

Matt’s the captain of the Coyotes Hockey Team and extremely attractive, with dark brown hair and hazel eyes. He’s tall and lean and built and beautiful to look at. Everyone at Harper Valley High has a crush on him. Everyone except me. Amelia can’t seem to get him out of her mind though, nor can she of me. Why does she think Matt likes me and not her anyway?

I scribble: Why do you bother me so much? What have I ever done to you?

I put the pen down and stretch out my back as I sit here, wondering why I spend so much time thinking about Amelia. At this point, I might as well be invisible. My days have become a blur, not remembering much of my past. Seems she always taunted me in one way or another as we were growing up.

What’s more miserable about my life is I really don’t have one. It’s Friday, yet I have nowhere to go. Yet I’m glad it’s March as it is a warm breezy day at that. I watch the leftover snow melting off the trees as they form muddy puddles on the sidewalks. Already the day seems lost in the abyss of my worries as I look outside drowning my thoughts on her, like always. I can’t help but obsess over her.

As I sit here, writing in my journal, I try to figure out ways to end the problem, continuing to jot down some notes.

You can’t stand it when I eat too much. You think I’ll gain weight. You hate my long black wavy hair. You think it’s too thick and that I should straighten it every day. You laugh about my acne problem and yell at me for picking them sometimes. You even called me a “pathetic loser” once, right in my face. That really hurt, and sunk in. Am I really a loser? Maybe she’s right. Whatever the case, I am starting to lose it with her. I can’t stand it. I want to hurt her back and make her suffer. I wish you were dead, Amelia!

After staring at the last few words in my journal, I close the book and head downstairs. I can’t believe I wrote that. After thinking about it for so long, I finally put the words down on paper. For some odd reason, I start to feel better, even though it was a dreadful thing to say about a person. But it’s true, or it had become true in my mind. I’ve been wanting Amelia out of my life for as long as I can remember. I can’t think of any other way.

I step inside the bathroom to wash up before dinner. My mind races as to the possible ways I can off her. Push her off a cliff? No, that wouldn’t work. We live in Chicago and there aren’t any cliffs around here. Maybe a bridge? God, I am condemned for even thinking this.

Before I’m done, I take one hard look in the mirror and hear her again. The chanting has gotten worse. All the mean things she has said to me in the past have now piled upon me. I want to retaliate. I have tried to ignore her— and told her to leave me alone, but she just digs in even deeper.

I head to the kitchen and take a seat at the table as my grandfather hands me a plate of spaghetti. I remind myself of what Amelia said last, “don’t eat too much or you’re gonna get fat and then no one, not even me will want you.” So instead of gorging into the sinful taste of Italian, I pick at it and play with it, twirling it around my fork over and over again, until my grandfather snaps at me.

“Amelia, don’t play with your food!” Grandpa George says firmly.

The very name burns within me like a lit cigarette. It almost hurts physically to the point I want to throw up. “Don’t call me that!” I bark out and can’t believe it either. It was Amelia’s mean reaction, not mine. “Milly, it’s just Milly,” I say in a softer tone.

“You can have all the nicknames in the world, I still want you to eat your food, Amelia.
And yes, that’s what I’m going to continue calling you, since that’s what your mom and pop gave you,” Grandpa George barks back. Even though he’s seventy-five and shriveled up like a grey raisin, he still remains strict and a feisty person. You wouldn’t even think it looking at him with a question mark spine as his bony hands cling to his cane.

“But they’re dead and gone.” Just listening to Amelia talk was sickening enough. I could feel her words bubble up inside my brain as if she was underwater gasping for air. I hate everything about her, voice included. And I hate the way she treats my Grandpa George too. But she can’t seem to help it. And I can’t seem to stop her either. Amelia always has the first word—and the last.

“It’s such a shame you speak to me that way, Amelia. Your mom and pop’s probably rollin’ in their graves right about now. How can you be so disrespectful?”

My heart drops like a descending elevator when I see the look on my grandfather’s saddened face. He looks at the ground as if he’s lost something—me. And it’s my fault too. I can’t control her anymore.

“Look, I’m sorry I said that. I know you’re tryin’ Grandpa. But if you’re gonna try your hardest, just stick with calling me Milly.”

“Well, you’re gonna hafta earn your respect first, young lady. That’s how it works in this house.”

“Okay Grandpa George, so may I be excused?” I say politely.

“You know, I don’t get you youngsters these days, one day you’re all snippity snappity and the next you’re as sweet as cherry pie.”

“So can I?”

“Okay, I suppose, but bring your plate with ya. Don’t want you starving to death, okay?”

“Got it.”

I get up and excuse myself from the table, taking my plate along with. Once I get upstairs and run back into the bathroom, I flush it down the toilet. “See?” I look in the mirror, staring straight into Amelia’s blackened eyes. “God forbid I’d eat that, you’d kill me, wouldn’t you?”

I continue to stare her down as if Amelia would jump out from the opposite side of the mirror and choke me. And the longer I do stare, the darker her eyes become. She gets more and more upset as I can just see the anger rise up like a growing bonfire as if the very flickering flames ignite her.

More stares, yet nothing. Not a word is said between us. Everything is silent, until her lips begin to move. She then whispers out the words, the words I’ve been dreading. “I dare you.” She gets in closer as our noses almost touch the mirror. “I dare you to kill me, Milly. Just try it and watch what happens.”

aj47
August 27th, 2011, 07:43 PM
Hi, at our schools if a phone is seen or heard, it is "taken up" by a faculty member. Students do *NOT* use their phones in the hall. The only really safe place to text is in a bathroom stall. So they are rarely empty. Perhaps this was after school or between school and an extracurricular activity where most students are outside using their phones just off the school grounds. I don't know what to suggest except to rethink how that particular scene would play.

Very good visual descriptions throughout. I could see this as part of a Nick show.

Jaé D.
September 26th, 2011, 02:53 AM
This is a good story idea. You have great skill at using imagery in your writing.
I had a similar idea, recently, but in mine, it is the aggressive side of the main character that begs to come out and put the mousy, passive side (that dominates) out of her misery by overturning a lot of passive/avoidant decisions that were made before.

Anyway, back to your story, maybe it's because I haven't read present tense much, but I was a bit distracted by that. To me it reads as though the main character is talking to me while she's doing things, dragging me along for the ride in a sense. Not a big problem though, I think I could get used to it.

In my opinion, I think you should let on a little earlier who the Milly character really is. Prolonging it left me thinking "Did I miss something?" and "Oh, she'll explain it soon, here... no, here... wup, she's about to explain it now. No, okay here it is , now I see."

Just my opinion. I'm just another writer, so... but great descriptions and pacing.

Jaé D.

lmc71775
September 26th, 2011, 12:07 PM
Thank you Astro and J.D. for coming by to read and comment.

This novel stands at 52K words and has been submitted to agents already, so I don't know if and how much I should change at this point and if I want to or not. So far I've had 14 requests for partials and fulls. But it's been rejected by 4 of them so far. I do have one however that was a partial that turned into a full, so with that one they got past the query and the first three chapters and now has requested the full ms. So that's the status as of yet.

Thank you for the compliment on my imagery, JD. I used to write poetry for years and years...reading, writing, workshopping it and then getting it published in print and online mags and journals. But I grew weary and started challenging myself to write larger peices of work, short stories then novellas and now novels. I've got two novels out there in the world from a small publisher that was a great stepping stone to my writing creditionals, but it doesn't bring in a lot of bacon...just scraps. That's why I ventured out for an agent. My former agent dumped me like a hot rock when a "too low" of an offer came, so we cut ties from there. This was on my third novel. I am hoping if I connect with the fourth one, perhaps I can with the one before it too?

Anyways. thats my story, as it goes for now. I do appreciate the responses!

GWJ Baird
October 1st, 2011, 04:40 PM
I enjoyed the introductory part with the students on their phones, perhaps schools are stricter in America but that was like an ordinary day at my school and I really connected with the character, I imagined her moving at a slower pace than the rest of the crowd to really show how alone she felt amongst them while trying to escape from Amelia.

Also, bathrooms were always empty in my school, perhaps because they were not very well maintained but again, I saw realism in this and I did really connect with the character.

Was slightly thrown by the fact that Amelia and Millie were one and the same and I had to read that again to get it but I don't see that as a bad thing, it was very clever and only threw me off because I did not expect it.

Keep us posted on how you get on with the agents!

River
November 16th, 2011, 01:05 PM
Good hook, good dialogue, POV?

jplayne
December 2nd, 2011, 04:30 AM
I enjoy the insanity of the character. She seems both relatable and nuts at the same time. You also do a very good job in slowly building up the tension in a scene. Good luck with publishers.