The Popular Boy

Written for Trifecta Quiet little Kat had 16 years of living under her cinched belt when she caught the eye of Rory Reynolds. The boy who ran the popular crowd with a toss of his shaggy blonde bob. The teacher had assigned Rory and Kat as partners in Food Tech. Together they burnt the creme brûlée and over-salted the croissants and devoured shiny cinnamon rolls. He got frisky and grabbed her wrist to lick stray icing off of her pinky finger, no thicker than a pencil. The act of wrapping his rugged hand around her childlike wrist aroused desire in an unnatural place. He could snap her in half by flexing his football-enhanced arm. He wanted to know how small every part of her would be.

"There's a party on Saturday. At Chuck Fisher's house. You should come."

"I don't know him."

"He's my buddy. I can invite whoever I wanna."

"I'm not much of a party girl."

His fingers continued to encapsulate her wrist. He turned her hand around and began tracing the creases on her palm with his finger.

"You can bring a friend."


He scribbled his number on the back of her hand, blue pen scraping blue veins.

"Call me if you want a ride."

She enlisted her best friend to tag along, a heavy girl with greasy bangs and thick glasses. They sat in the corner like spies, like mice so tiny they were invisible. Until Rory took her by the wrist to an upstairs bedroom with yellow walls. He pinned her against the bed, his breath severe with stale whiskey. He kissed her and she kissed him back. When he started tugging on her jeans, she asked him to stop.

"Let me go!"

He grunted. She thrashed.


Moans converged, pleasure festooned by pain.

"You're an animal!"

He looked up and growled.

"You better believe it."


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The bullies.

I see the bullies. Two boys. Their victim is a little girl whose chromosomes are all mixed up. “What are you doing?” I bark in the exact tone my father uses with me when he’s disappointed, the voice that taught me how to fear. I recoil at the coldness in my heart, and everyone, including the pig-tailed girl, freezes as if paralyzed by an icy wind blowing across the tropics.

Without a glance in my direction, the perpetrators drop the girl's ratted blankie and disperse. I shake my head until my world becomes a blurry mess, mourning the death of innocence and the birth of evil.

Back in the classroom, the boys behave well for the rest of the day, returning to their usual disruptive selves by the next. If they had seen my stare, the sorrow they spawned, the good behavior may have lasted a week, but you cannot force someone to look you in the eye.

Written for Trifecta.

Adapted from the manuscript of my first novel.


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