Honorable Mention

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Living it Up

I kicked my leg out expecting it to hang over the edge of the bed but it didn’t. I opened my eyes. A Queen size bed? But I owned a twin.

“Merideth?”

A drum set in the dark corner. I jumped off the bed in alarm. Merideth insisted I visit the “new” dance club with her on fortieth. We randomly danced with anyone close to us, but that’s all I recalled at the moment.

It hurt to think. I rubbed my head and winched. It felt like someone had shoved a tennis ball up through my ear canal.

My purse? I untwisted my Lucky Jeans and straightened my red silk blouse. Details of leaving the club blurred in my brain.

I lifted the sheets. No purse, but then again I couldn’t see much in the dim light escaping from the hall. I needed more answers before barging through the house.

Wishing for my phone, I wondered what time it was.

Unsure, I stumbled over a pile clothes on the way to the dresser where a huge dirt bike trophy stood. The gold plate only listed a date. No name. I picked up the worn Dirt Rider magazine for an address and name. Nothing.

My heart raced once I saw the black tarp covering the window. A tarp? Fear crept from my gut confusing my mind. Maybe a drug got slipped into my drink. Worry took over. I wasn’t the party type like Merideth.

Walking toward the window, I tripped over a helmet on the floor. Dirt peppered my toes.

“How did I let Merideth talk me into this?” My forehead wrinkled as I fought off tears, this only made my head pound in pain. “I should’ve never let my guard down.” Pouring over books proved to be much safer.

Earlier Merideth went off, “Girl, quoting bylaws are doing you in. Liven up and live a little.” My goal of becoming a paralegal left me little social life, but look what happened when I let my hair down.

Tears trickled down my cheeks, “Am I a missing person now?”

The tarp had to be pried from the wall to peek out the window. I couldn’t tell if it was dark outside or if I sat buried in a basement. I sank to the floor.

Visions of brutality flashed before me as I held my knees into my chest. My stomach soured. Finding my purse wouldn’t do any good if I was held against my will.

Helping lawyers catch the bad people was what I wanted to do for a living and now I was forced from the books into a real life crime. My assailant was obviously a thrill seeker, he had to be if he owned a dirt bike and played the drums. I sat in despair behind the tarp, refusing to think about how the bump on my head got there.

Footsteps pounded in the hall. I inched into a ball and my heart sped as if it were on a race track.

“I heard–”

The male voice made me close my eyes. Tight. I protected my head.

“I know you’re in here.”

Light pierced through my eyelids so I squeezed them tighter and coward down.

“What ya doing?”

Trying to recall the defensive moves I’d learned, a warm hand circled around my arm. “NO!” I threw out my foot catching him in his parts.

He folded over in pain. To ensure he stayed down I hit him a few times.

“What the hell are you doing?” He lay coiled on the floor.

“Don’t ever touch me again or I will prosecute you to the full extent of the law.”

He looked up at me. Pimples covered his face. “Merideth is going to–”

“What, do you have friends helping you hold women against their will in other rooms? Let me guess your parents are out of town.”

Grunting and whining were the only sounds the boy made.

“How did you get into the club?” I asked, “Let me guess, your best friend is a computer geek and makes fake ID’s. And what about the date drug? Do they sell that at school now days?”

I felt empowered so I kicked him in the stomach.

“Stop it.” He held up a hand and whimpered. “Merideth told me to keep an eye on you.”

“Funny. What room do you have her in?”

“Whats going on?”

I turned to the familiar tone.

Merideth stood at the door and I rushed to her. “Are you hurt?”

“She’s crazy, Mer. Get her away from me,” the teenager said.

“How does he know your name?” I tried to touch her arm.

Merideth dashed over to the kid, “Kim, what did you do? This is my brother Jeb.” She knelt next to him.

Guilt washed over me, they had the same thick eyebrows and brown eyes. “I thought . . . My bump. Do you?” I stuttered, “I . . . ummm.”

“You don’t remember our dirt bike ride?” Merideth helped her brother up as I shook my head. “I’ve never seen you so excited to do something.”

Jeb couldn’t stand straight, “I told Merideth to leave my bike alone, but you were like a school girl. I didn’t dare say no.”

I stood speechless.

“The circles were too much.” Jeb glared at his sister in disgust.

“She kept screaming, go faster. What else could I do?”

I couldn’t remember any of it.

Merideth frowned, “Jeb was holding his ferret when you walked into the living room. Your giggling startled the thing and he jumped out of Jeb’s lap.”

“You ran like it was going to attack you, but you didn’t clear the doorway.” Jeb scowled. “Skuttle doesn’t bite unless you piss him off.”

“That’s where the bump came from.” Merideth said, “We let you rest in Jeb’s dark room.”

I needed to quit studying so much.

Next to the nightstand sat my red purse along with my red pumps Merideth insisted I wear, “Makes you look more exciting.”

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