Read Almost Dead (Dead, #1) Online

Authors: Rebecca A. Rogers

Almost Dead (Dead, #1)

almost dead

Rebecca A. Rogers

This is a work of fiction. All characters, organizations, and events portrayed in this novel are either products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously.

Copyright © 2013
Rebecca A. Rogers

All rights reserved. This book or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the author, except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.

ISBN: 1481062085

ISBN-13:
9781481062084

First Edition:
September 15, 2013

chapter one • flora

 

 

T
here is no worse feeling in the world than knowing your life sucks, and there isn’t anything you can do to change it. It’s like being on a rollercoaster, constantly traveling up and down in regularity, and never fully coming to a complete stop. Day in and day out, this is the dilemma with my life…or so I think.

There is no better example of
my problems than right now: my doorknob jiggles as my mom attempts to gain entrance to my room. The damn thing hasn’t been working properly for the past two years, and neither of my parents has tried to fix it. I guess it isn’t on top of their to-do list; they’re too busy being cheerleaders for my brother, Derek.

The door sw
ings open so quickly it bangs against the wall, leaving an even bigger dent than the one already there.

“Oh, for heaven’s sake, Flora, you’re lying in bed at four o’clock in the afternoon? I want this room cleaned by the time we get back from your brother’s game
. Is that understood?”

Why this woman even pretends to be my mother i
s beyond my comprehension. I can’t recall the last time she and I had any semblance of a mother-daughter relationship. Maybe when I was younger and she could dress me like a doll… Now, I wear whatever I want, whenever I want, however I want. She protested my “depressed-child look”—her words, not mine—at first, but then she gave up altogether on that argument.

“Whatever,” I mumble.

Just to make her point clear, as if I haven’t heard this same one-sided conversation for the past five years, she marches over to my window and parts my curtains like she’s Moses and they’re the Red Sea.

“I want your piles of clothing either hung up in your closet or placed in the laundry bin before we return tonight,” she
in"2e/structs. “And since you have so much time on your hands, I’d like the dishes to be washed, as well.”

I d
on’t know why, but I laugh.

“You think this is funny, young lady?
All I do is clean up after you.” She rambles on and on about the usual: how I’m a horrible, embarrassing excuse for a daughter, how nothing she does is ever good enough, how she just doesn’t know what to do with me. Maybe if she actually cared, things would be different.

“I think it’s funny you worry so much about how my room looks, when nobody ever sees it,” I retort with a
haughty grin on my face. I can’t help it; this whole situation is pretty damn hilarious. “Remember,
Mom
? Remember how I’m—what was it you and Dad said?—oh, yeah,
grounded
until I turn my grades around, or turn eighteen, whichever comes first? And we both know I haven’t exactly made honor roll for the last couple of years.”

Not since I decided to drink Dad’s hidden stash of bourbon and take Mom’s brand-spanking-new Lexus for a spin.
Not since I was practically disowned by my family.

“Anyway, I won’t be around much longer
,” I say. “A couple more months and I’ll be eighteen, which means I don’t have to live under your roof.” They can have their precious son and forget I ever existed.

Mom eyes
me like a bug that should be squashed. But I know her too well—she’s too squeamish and would ask someone else to grab a shoe, splat me, and wipe my entrails over the wooden floorboards.

Mom
exits without a word, but not before she narrows her eyes at me.

Derek
casually strolls by my room after Mom’s departure and feels the need to add, “It’s not like that, Flor, and you know it. Don’t be so hard on her. The only person you should blame for living this way is yourself.”

I snort
. “Who died and made you an inspirational speaker?”

He responds
by shaking his head and disappearing down the stairs, his shoes thumping against each step. Chaos ensues in our living room as my parents make sure they have everything for the state playoff game—pullovers, blankets, thermoses, cushioned seats. Everything is in order, from the sound of it.

“Bye, Flor!” Derek calls
. But, of course, I don’t say anything. I don’t give a damn about his stupid football games. I don’t give a damn about this shitty life, or the person I’ve become, because they won’t take the time to listen to, to
see
, the world from my point of view. I don’t care about any of it.

I need a beer
, or some hard liquor. That’ll solve my current situation. Plus, the house is tothe hou way too silent, and I don’t want to be left alone with my thoughts.

My cell phone glows and vibrates
on my nightstand. Mia. She’s the only person I talk to, the only person who
gets
me. 

I hit the “
answer” button. “Good timing.”

“Parents are gone?”

“Of course. Where are they
always
on weekends?”

Mia makes
a weird coughing noise. “Well, that makes two of us.”

“Let me guess…
Vancouver? Oh, no, wait…Italy?” It’s custom that nearly every weekend, Mia’s parents are away on business. Yeah, right. There’s no business in Briarhaven entailing that kind of effort. Unless they work for the mafia.

Mia sighs
. “Dad said something about taking Mom to Paris. Must be nice, right? Just run off on some romantic weekend getaway and leave your kids here. I mean, I shouldn’t be complaining. The idiots left Laney and me over a thousand bucks each.”

I nearly grunt in annoyance. “Um…wanna trade? All my parents do is stay on my ass about how irresponsible I am, and how I’m not going anywhere with my life. They praise Derek like he fell from heaven. M
eanwhile, I’m Satan’s daughter. I sometimes wonder if they’ll ever give up on the same arguments, then I wonder why I even bother asking myself that question to begin with. They’ll never change.”

Mia’s laughter reverberates on the other end. “Hate to break it to ya, but
your parents for mine? That’s definitely not a fair trade. I think I’ll keep mine for now.” She then hastily asks, “So, what are your plans tonight? Vegetating on the couch, watching old TV episodes on Netflix?”

“Well…” I
draw out. “Actually, I was hoping you’d ask. I kinda want to get out of here. You know, paint the town. Cause a riot. Something to that effect.”

“Anywhere but there?”

“Anywhere but here.”

“All right. You know where I
, and my stash, will be.”

I’ve been friends with Mia since our freshman year of high school, and she’s the only person I know who drinks like a fish—and as much as me. She has as many parental issues as I do.
For that short instant, when liquor blazes down my throat, I pretend I live a different life, reside in a different town, and socialize with different people. I’m not me at all, and that’s the best part.

After hanging up with Mia, I sort through my closet. Despite my mom’s constant dissatisfaction with the way I treat my clothes, I actually
do
know where mentknow why belongings are kept. So, it doesn’t take long for me to find a clean shirt, a hoodie, and a pair of shoes to slip into.

One thing’s for certain: I definitely need a jacket today. Icicles have formed
into long, sharp daggers on the edge of the roof, and on my battered car. As soon as I exhale a warm breath outside, it forms a puffy cloud, then dissipates. It takes ten minutes just to heat the engine on my piece-of-shit vehicle—which, I swear, obtains new dents and scratches every time I see it—and scrape the frost off my windshield before I venture to Mia’s.

The drive to her house is my least favorite road trip ever. There’
s a bridge I have to go over, and I honestly don’t know how it’s supported; the sheer drop on either side—a.k.a. Death’s Cliff—is
huge
. There was a local news report about the history of Death’s Cliff a couple of years ago. Wind and water have continually carved out the rock over thousands of years, and the cliff got its name due to the number of deaths it produces each year. Some people drive their cars over the edge, while others leap to their demise from the overlook. Some of the locals swear that at night, you can hear the souls of the dead crying out for help.

I shudder. Thinking about the rock breaking o
ff or disappearing until there’s nothing left makes me hate driving over the bridge even more.

But I make it
across with no problems. There’s always the
other
way around, but it takes too long, and I’m impatient. Pulling into the Tipps’ driveway, Mia must’ve been watching for me, because her oak-and-glass front door swings open before I can reach what little excuse they have for a porch. Seriously, it doesn’t even exist.

“What took you so long?”
she asks, hugging herself. Her dark brown hair sways in the Antarctic breeze. Since she’s not wearing any type of warm clothing, it’s almost a guarantee she’ll soon become a human ice cube.

“I had to see to get here,” I retort. “I don’t have X-ray vision to
peek through my windshield, ya know.”

She waves me inside. “Hurry! I’m freezing.”

Glancing around from my position on the foyer, I notice the house is way too quiet. “Laney isn’t here?”

Mia shakes her head. “She had pageant rehearsal.”

“Ah, okay. What’s new, right?”

Her eyes spinning
around once, Mia replies, “Right.”

I make myself at home. I’ve been in this house many times over the last few years, so I know every nook and cranny. It’s sad to say, but I doubt Mia’s parents realize she has a friend. Their lives always seem more
imperative than their kids’.

The kitchen cabinets are the first thing I raid. Mia stocks up on the best munchies—Doritos, cheese balls, and a lod cls, andad of other
things, including candy bars. I
wish
my parents would buy this stuff.

“Ta-da!” Mia exclaims in a singsong voice, presenting me with a bottle of brand-new vodka.

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