Untitled | Teen Ink


February 1, 2017
By AllyHatcher, Hutchinson, Kansas
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AllyHatcher, Hutchinson, Kansas
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Author's note:

It started one night as a sketch in my room, usually a typical weekend for me is laying on my bed, drawing as I listen to the sweet sound of Tyler Joseph’s voice. Anyway, I drew a few different people trying to broaden my horizon in my art, and after finding a specific character, I latched on to the idea and making more of these people and figuring out how they all fit together.
With this I created a story line for them and gave them names as well as personalities. There’s multiple plot twists and foreshadowing that I’m planning to put into it as I go along. I decided to base the idea of this book around different spectrums of the LGBTQ community, since it’s a very well accepted aspect of today’s society but still in the dark. It will also just be easier to write about something i’m very familiar with to give the story more realism.

The author's comments:

This is a work in progress.

I awoke to a crushing headache, various pains on my body, and a numb mouth.
“Ow,” I winced when touching my lips. “What...” I wondered aloud while scanning my surroundings. My fingers dug into the earth beneath me, collecting dirt under my broken fingernails. Apparently I slept on my manicured front lawn. The older woman living across the street spared a moment from her morning reading to scoff at me.
“Damn teenagers,” she muttered at me, readjusting her crumpled, pale nightgown before returning to her newspaper. I never quite got the chance to introduce myself to her after all the years living in this neighborhood, but we were well acquainted after the many summer days of being chased off her property after retrieving a ball.
I picked myself off the damp grass, dusting off the dried mud from my clothing before starting toward my porch. My palms were scraped to the point of looking like hamburger meat, from only god knows what injury, and yet again I’m wondering what exactly had happened the night before. After a moment I realized that the back door wasn’t an option due to the fact I didn’t have the key to the back gate. I grimaced while continuing to pat down my torn jeans as I stood at my front door, realizing I didn’t have the keys to my house either.
Our brick house was near the size of a mansion, with about six full sized bedrooms and three bathrooms, it even looked like one with the architecture being so modern looking. All of the large homes in the neighborhood looked like this, with grand lands and thoughtful  shrubbery. It’s surprising even to me that we haven’t experienced a B&E. The front of my house had massive windows that reached the ceiling and was concealed by patterned silk curtains. I never understood the point of them, but Dad kept them up because Mom liked them. The side of the house had a small dirt trail leading to the back yard, concealed by tall trees.
I took a hold of the brass knocker, which felt rather cool on my hurt hand, and pounded on the door three times. I knew that my father wasn’t going to be home, which was a relief since he didn’t know about my being out last night. He usually stays out of the house anyway, claims a business meeting before every departure, but I know it’s because he hates being with us. He’s been very distant since our mother left. As if we’re a reminder of his loss.
There was a tiny patter of feet I could hear behind the door, a small hand pulled back the curtain to the big window for a peek at me.
Sure enough a short cutie pulled the heavy door open. My baby sister looked at me from head to toe, like our mother would before sending us to school, her mouth was wide open in the shock of my tattered clothing. I could see the small gaps in between her baby teeth and “big girl” teeth.
“Where have you been, Bubba?” she exclaimed. I could tell she had just woke up by her pajamas and stuffed rabbit in hand. Her blonde head bobbing with expressed concern. I didn’t really have a straightforward answer, so I just offered my hand instead.
“Why don’t you,” I charmed with a wink, my voice as sweet as sugar, “let me in so I can tell you?”  She had a look portraying that she wasn’t willing to budge, but her little girl hand lightly pulled on mine. It hurt as it rubbed my scrapes, but I stifled the pained face I wanted to make.
“You may proceed.” Paisley replied with a giggle. Her laugh could disarm any negative emotion in an instant, much like our mother’s. And a smile just as candied. It was contagious, as I had felt my face splitting in two as I said, “Why thank you, my dear.” My mouth gave me an odd jolt as I kissed her crown. I closed the door behind me as she held my hand while we continued our way through the house.
The ceilings were so high, making me feel just as short as I was when we first moved in. The walls were covered in family photos, many from before--well when things were okay. I could see a nine year old version of myself smiling at me with bright green eyes so full of wonder.
It was like she was navigating us through some maze she memorized before entering, making me feel tickled by how confident she is about every turn. I laughed to myself about the thought, but was distracted as I saw my reflection in one of the hallway mirrors.
I was so haunted by it, I didn’t look like myself. My round rimmed glasses were askew, the right lense cracked, and my brown hair was matted in areas with dirt. There was blood on my chin, matching the dark color of my black eye.
What did happen to me last night? No wonder why Paisley was so disoriented when she first saw me.
By the time we entered the kitchen, I realized she had been talking to me the whole time I was thinking about my reflection. She cleared her throat impatiently.
“So, Aldy,” she began, “I know that you weren’t listening, but,” she took a moment of emphasis to stare into my left eye, “Daddy isn’t home yet, which means you have given time to eat and then clean yourself up.” Her as-matter-of-factly tone was slightly annoying but I was unable to bring myself to actually feel aggravated by it. She’s just too adorable.
She set me down at the bar at the island, putting Walter Cuniculus on the stool next to mine. He was in a well kempt condition, having the same amount of whiskers as when Mom gave him to her. Walter wore a bowtie and nightcap the same light yellow shade as Paisley’s button up pajamas. The pans hanging over from the ceiling lightly grazed my hair as I leaned down on the granite counter to look at her from under them as she skipped to the other half of the kitchen. She pulled a plate out of the microwave, removing the lid over it to present my breakfast.
Instantly, I smiled. Avocado on toast. A favorite that Mom made for us when we were younger.
Paisley was an expert in any kitchen. Our mother was so adamant about teaching us to take care of ourselves due to her belief of self care being the beginning of learning to be an adult. Of course, cooking was not my expertise, but the little one always comes up with the best meals, often slaving for hours when our dad isn’t home to cook. She never minds it either. It’s something that she and Mom used to do together, and I don’t blame her for continuing to learn without her teacher. She once told me she sometimes felt like our mother was there with us as she and I would try baking new types of cookies on weekends.
“Thanks, honey.” I said taking a bite, despite the fact I hadn’t felt hungry to begin with.
The texture of the spread was excellent, she definitely picked the right time to cut the avocado. The issue was it was missing some salt. I could already see her climbing onto the back counter to retrieve it from the glass spice cabinet. I kept eating it anyway because I found I was absolutely starving. I couldn’t recall the last time I ate.
Paisley handed me the shaker and I repeated my thanks, watching her glide to the huge fridge. Her gate always stood out to me, how her heels never touch the floor even when she’s wearing shoes. I don’t think I’ve ever seen her walk in a straight line either, every step had its own new placement like her own kind of dance. She took out two cartons of orange juice to pour into cups that were already sitting out on the counter. Paisley knew I liked pulp in mine, so whenever we would go shopping she’d always bring back two kinds of juice.
“Can you tell me how things went last night, Aldwin?” she asked when she came back over with our drinks. I smiled again and took a sip, passing her the other slice of toast on my dish. She picked it up with a delight
“Well, I can tell you that that is a fantastic question,” I said with a full mouth. I swallowed after a pause. “But I don’t even think I know what happened last night, Paise.”
Her eyes widened with stupefaction, as well as her mouth, which revealed her chewed up food on her tongue. I laughed with and “ew,” and put my hand under her chin to close it for her. She finished her food with a small giggle.
“Okay, well you went to that party last night. The one at that really popular girl’s house, remember? Uncle Scruffy drove you.”
Oh God, that’s right.


The life long friend of our father is a counselor at my high school, always setting up “academic meetings” to talk to me during the classes I don’t need to sit in for an hour and a half. His given name is Benjamin Turner, but due to the beard he’s been working on since I was twelve, four year old Paisley chose at that time to call him “Scruffy”. As cute as it was, the name just stuck.
He’s known my father since they were kids, although it’s strange how long they’ve stuck together considering they were absolute opposites. My dad is always a downer, ever really says a lot in a conversation unless it’s relevant to his career or paying the bills. His expressions are dull, movements slow. He’s just a boring individual.
On the other hand, Benny is an all around type of man that talks to any person he meets, always willing to grab a beer with them. He has one of those amazing laughs that boom through a whole room and an attitude that makes you want to laugh along too. He drinks a lot, but not to the point of being an excessive alcoholic like our father. He drinks to get into a more relaxed and fun mood, while Dad drinks to forget our mother.
Uncle Benny always tries signing me up for new clubs to “help me branch out” and “break out of my shell”. I love the man with all my heart and would never want to hurt his feelings, so of course, I would attend the first meeting of the year to please him and then tell him I wasn’t interested the following day. Most of them just didn’t feel right to me. Instead of another school organization, he offered to take me to a senior’s going away party.
I’m not a social person, and most definitely not your typical teenaged weekend partier. I told him I didn’t want to go without having to think about it. Benny told me if I didn’t start getting to know others well that I wouldn’t do well in the outside world as an adult, despite my exceptional GPA and perfect attendance.
“Aldwin,” he leaned back in his leather chair behind his desk. “You have to put yourself out there eventually, bud.”
“I just don’t like going to parties--”
“Let me ask you this,” he put up a hand to interrupt me. “Have you ever actually been to any of the parties that students throw on weekends? Since you’ve been in high school?”
I shifted uncomfortably in my seat, feeling my face go hot as I grew embarrassed to tell him that I hadn’t been to one. At least, not a party that wasn’t a family occasion. Even then it has been years since I’ve gone to even a cousin’s birthday. The way that high school parties usually go in books or on screen involves too much alcohol or marijuana, and that just wasn’t my thing.
I sighed rather than answering.
“Right.” he said.
After multiple days in a row of him bothering me, I buckled down so I could finally get him off my back. He was genuinely surprised to find I was going to do this, but the crushing anxiety had been bringing me down the few days before the party. My teachers constantly asked if I was feeling all right, telling me I looked like I was sick or too pale.


At this point I could start piecing things together in my head, my hand resting on my chin while I was in thought.
“So?” Paisley looked at me with big eyes.
I cleared my throat. “Okay, so there was the party. And I got there about around eight last ni--”
I stopped for a moment after seeing her face. I could tell she knew that this story was going to be a load of B.S. Her arms were crossed and an eyebrow was slightly c***ed. I laughed nervously.
“Alright, let’s do this instead,” I said putting my hands flat on the counter “We’ll try to piece it up together. Okay?”
She thought it over for a second, titling her blonde head then nodded.
“I remember walking in to see a bunch of kids from school, there were even kids I didn’t know there. Like college kids. And I just walked in, hung up my jacket--” I sighed for a second. “I left my jacket there. Anyway, some of the kids from classes I knew welcomed me, so that felt surprisingly nice. One of them lead me into the kitchen, with great difficut since the house was packe d so tightly with teens, but they gave me a soda…” I trailed off trying to remember what happened next. Paisley didn’t give me more than a few seconds before she spoke up.
“I know you drank beer, Aldy.” she said a little quietly. “Your breath smells like Daddy’s. And older kids do that at parties anyway.” She gave me a slightly aggravated smile. “I’m eight, not ignorant, Bubba.”
Out of self-consciousness, I put a hand up to my mouth in an attempt to smell my own breath, but I laughed a little at myself for even caring to begin with. I smiled at her again.
“You’re right, I’m sorry. Now, where was I? I had a couple drinks and I don’t recall much else other than dancing a lot. I might have blacked out, but I’m not really sure since the whole night is a fuzzy memory.”
“So what you’re telling me is you danced hard enough that you got bruises?”
I didn’t even know where they came from, so I gave her a white lie instead, something like falling into a mud it on the way home because I didn’t have my phone to call Uncle Benny to pick me up.
“Why did you sleep on the lawn then?”
“I didn’t have the keys to get in.” I said ashamedly.
Paisley had been sucking on the inside of her cheek while thinking about my story. Yeah, she knows that this is absolute crap. I was just hoping she didn’t say anything to Ben about it. Or Dad.
“Mm’kay.” she said “I’m gonna go put on some day clothes then call Daddy. He said he’d try to be home before noon today.” I glanced at the clock, seeing it was only 10:47. She hopped down from the stool, grabbing Walter from the seat next to mine. His ears flopped as she pranced down the hallway in her dancing sort of walk. “Oh, and you’re phone’s been going off all morning since you left it here. You should really check it before it explodes.”
And as her soprano voice trailed down the hall, I could hear the ding of my notification tone as if on cue.

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