Story-a-Day May…a little late.

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I spent much of yesterday writing and editing, but then my back gave out and I went to bed. Which is all to say, I didn’t post anything.

So, here’s part of what I worked on yesterday. It’s a scene from my WIP, Drowning Karma. I hope the scene captures something of the antagonist’s personality.

And thanks as always for reading.

Claire sat in her math class, distractedly writing in answers. When the teacher came by, he marked every one correct. She stared out the window while she waited for everyone else to finish, and she didn’t chew on her pencil, doodle in the margins, pick at her nails, or tap her feet. She sat like she always did, hands folded on her desk, paper neat and pencil sharpened, her eyes focused on an unknown point beyond what anyone else could see.

Bit by bit, her classmates turned over their work, the teacher came over and stayed longer at some desks than others, and she sat as if time were not even passing. Tiffany Brackenwell turned around in her desk and cleared her throat.

Claire didn’t move her gaze. “Yes, Tiffany, I heard about you and Mark hooking up. Thanks for sharing.”

“Very funny,” Tiffany replied. “We both know Mark isn’t news. He’s, you know, like comfort food. So, tell about your sister and Hutton Redge. Did they hook up? I heard they did.”

“I don’t talk about my sister behind her back.” Claire hated math. It was too easy. Far too often she finished with her work and was stuck listening to the likes of Tiffany, a girl who had no serious imagination.

“You talk about everybody behind their back,” Tiffany replied.

“Not my sister.”

“You’ve got something to tell though, don’t you?”

Claire sighed. “I’m her sister. I can’t go around blabbing her secrets.” She weighed each story she’d prepared for school. Each one had its own way to be told and its listener.

Tiffany grinned. “But she’s got secrets is what you’re saying.”

“Did I say that?”

“Hutton is hot. Why’d he ask her out anyway? He’s way out of her league. Nobody understands what he was thinking.”

“He’s all right for some girls.” Claire did her best to look bored. It wasn’t hard for her to do.

“So, what time she’d come home?”

Claire yawned. “Oh, I don’t know. After one in the morning maybe.”

“Don’t you two have a curfew?”

“Really, Tiffany. Don’t you have something better to talk about?”

“In this class? No. Look, I’ve already heard one story about your sister and Hutton.” Tiffany looked most pleased with herself.

“Hmmm.” Claire swirled her pencil. “Good for you.”

“I heard she was all over him like, you know, white on rice.”


“That he had to give in to her.”

Claire genuinely laughed. “You’re funny.”

“Did she tell you what happened?”

“I’ll just say everyone was happy. Okay?”

Tiffany giggled. “I see.”

“Girls,” came the teacher’s voice from the front of the room. “You want to tell the rest of us what is so interesting?”

Tiffany had the grace to look embarrassed, and she turned back around in her seat. Claire blushed only when she wanted to and right now she didn’t want to. “Yes, sir,” she answered straight at him. “I was telling Tiffany that it wasn’t any of her business what my sister and Hutton Redge did in the woods Friday night.”

The class roared, and this time the teacher reddened. “That’s enough, Miss. Martin.”

“You asked.”

“Settle down everybody or you can take a pop quiz for fifty percent of your grade.” They all struggled to get their laughter under control. “Miss Martin, please come up to my desk.”

Claire tapped Michael Mallon on the shoulder on her way and he dropped his pen as she knew he would. She didn’t lower her voice when she stood in front of the desk, and she let her hair fall forward and catch the sunlight streaming in the windows. “Yes, sir. You want to speak to me?”

“You said your sister and Mr. Redge were in the woods Friday night.”

“She’s old enough.”

“Lower your voice, and she’s not old enough.” He cleared his throat. “I want to know if she’s spoken with the police. She must know they’re out there looking for her friend. She and Piper Gin are friends, aren’t they?”

As loud as before she answered, “I’ve never cared much for my sister’s friends.”

“Answer the question and lower your voice.”

“I don’t know anything about the police,” her voice carrying around the room to the students who were pretending not to listen. “Like I said to Tiffany, my sister’s sex life is nobody else’s business and I wish people would stop asking me about it. It really is a drag.”

“I wasn’t…honestly Miss Martin…I don’t think…would you step out into the hallway, please.”

“Being alone with you won’t make me gossip, Mr. Breslan.” Teachers were so tiresome.

“Out, Miss Martin. NOW.”

In the hallway, she played with the strands of her hair while Mr. Breslan glared and did his best to compose himself.

“Miss. Martin,” he started and hesitated.

She looked up at him expectantly. “Yes?”

“I realize that you…”

“I what?”

He shook his head. “You’re young, and…”

The pierce of the fire alarm saved him from her steady, daring gaze. Doors opened, students poured out, and Claire gave Mr. Breslan a bright smile before she sashayed away.


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