Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Long Time, No TEASE

It's Tuesday, peeps.  And, you know what that means.  Yep.  I'm back with a new WiP to tease all my lovelies with.  This snip comes courtesy of my latest effort SHUT UP.  (heheheh...I just love saying that title)


With each step that propelled me up the front steps and into the school, my heart sank deeper and deeper—down through my diaphragm, past my stomach lining, all the way down until it was scraping against the soles of my tattered sneakers. Was it just me, or did the school become eerily silent the moment I cleared the doors?

Shh. Nothing happened. Don’t say a word. Shh.

Those words—my own personal mantra for longer than I cared to admit—kept reverberating through my head as I forced myself to stay on course. If I kept moving, never stopping, never slowing down, maybe I could outrun the nightmares that were chasing me, nipping at my heels. Maybe, I could keep the unpleasantness of reality at bay.

Through the front doors, around the corner, and into the main hall. One foot in front of the other, heel to toe…a steady march made with my eyes trained on the shitty green linoleum it seemed all public schools preferred. They said green was supposed to be soothing to the young minds hard at work learning. Well, I didn’t know who ‘they’ were, but the color just reminded me of puke. Not soothing at all.

Although my head was bowed, my eyes down, I still felt it, the tectonic shift in the atmosphere around me as conversations died. People stopped what they were doing to openly stare, and soon, the quiet that had descended was replaced by a low murmur of hushed whispers racing through the crowd.

Shh. Nothing happened. Don’t say a word. Shh.

I cut through the ocean of people who were even now parting, giving me a wide berth as if just the slightest brush of our clothing would somehow taint them. Instead of raising my arms, grinning, and making some snide remark about Moses and the Red Sea, my shoulders hunched in even more, and I pulled my bag closer to my chest, both flimsy shields should a real attack present itself.

Around one more corner and there it was. I heaved out a sigh of relief that no crowds were congregating around or near my locker. I could get in and out in record time, without having to deal with anyone.

Or, so I thought, anyway.

All but running to the metal door like it was some kind of safe haven that could protect me from all the prying eyes and whispered rumors, I reached out, my fingers trembling as I hurriedly spun out the combination that would gain me entrance to the secret world inside. The door popped open with little protest, but my blinders weren’t quite in place yet. Lining the inside of the door so that not even a millimeter of metal was visible were all the reminders I didn’t need or want of better, happier times.


Beyond the isolated little bubble my locker and I inhabited, the world swarmed back to life. Just a few moments ago, I had been all anyone could see. Now, no one noticed me. They didn’t care what they’d done. And really, why should they? Anna was nothing to them, just something to play with, torture under the burning light of a magnifying glass and then leave, bleeding, broken, and forgotten in the gutter, like a discarded piece of trash hardly worth the effort to notice. She didn’t deserve what they did to her.

She didn’t deserve what I did to her.

My eyes began to burn again, the red rims swelling up with angry, bitter moisture, and I fought to stifle the sob battling its way up the back of my throat. A hard swallow, a firm shake of the head, and a silent screech inside my brain to just keep it together, Gwen. Leaning forward until my forehead kissed the cold metal shelf inside the locker, my eyes drifted closed and the mental countdown commenced.

One. Deep breath. I could do this. Just reach in, get my books, and close the door. Two. Long exhale. No need to look to the right, to see all those laughing, smiling pictures of us. Why put myself through that kind of torment? Three


My whole body froze at that single softly uttered word of greeting. No. Not him. I couldn’t do this now. Wasn’t it torture enough to have to walk through the hall, open up this locker, and be confronted with Anna’s smiling face taunting me, accusing me of all the atrocities that I had visited upon her, my best friend? And now, I had to suffer his resentment as well? No. This was the line. My breaking point. I wasn’t doing it. He couldn’t make me.

“Look, Gwen,” Wes said, his hand sliding up my arm and coming to a rest on my shoulder. “I just wanted to say that I’m sorry…about Anna.”

So...What do we think? Yes? No? Don't quit my day job? Go ahead. Hit me with your best shot. Fire away. (Yes, I was just singing that)


  1. Oooh, good stuff! Intriguing. What on earth did she do to Anna, and why?

    And SHUT UP is a great title!

  2. Oooh! I really want to know what happened! Very eye-catching. :)

  3. Hi Karla,

    This is Joanna Volpe from Confessions of Suite 500--I'm sorry to contact you here, but I haven't heard back from you via email about claiming your prize as one of the winners of A DOG'S WAY HOME by Bobbie Pyron.
    Can you please email me (and PeeWee) at PeeWee(at)nancycoffeyliterary(dot)com to let me know where to send?


    Great blog.


  4. wow. this is some serious intensity. and the title is brilliant!

  5. My heart hurts already. What did Gwen do? And who the heck is Wes? Come give me more.


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