Novel Excerpt
By Maggie Giles

“Mom,” I said, stepping outside defensively.

My mother was standing at the top of the porch stairs and my father was only three steps below her. He blinked at me several when I stepped outside.

“Courtney,” he smile was crooked and his words were slurred. “My beautiful Courtney. Where’s Miles? Where’s my boy Miles?"

“He’s not here,” I glared at him. I could always tell when he was drunk.

He staggered as his face scrunched angrily. “Who taught you to be so disrespectful?”

My dad never liked being talked back to. I had suffered his punishment before. He took a step closer to my mom. Even two steps below, he towered over her small frame.

“How am I supposed to trust you with our children when you can’t raise our daughter to be a lady?” His words were barely understandable as he slurred them all together.

“You can trust that the court gave me custody when you failed as a father.”

Alexa appeared at my side just as my father grabbed my mom by her shoulders.

“That’s bullshit Liz, and you know it,” he spat at her.

She pushed him away from her and he stumbled down a step. He grabbed my mom’s arm and pulled her down after him. She fell down the short steps to the solid ground and lay at the bottom; she didn't move.

“Mom,” I called as I ran down the stairs and pushed by my father. “Mom, are you ok?” She was breathing, but she didn’t answer me.

“You bastard,” I hissed at my intimidating father. I sat at my mom’s side cradling her head. I could do nothing as my father advanced on me in his drunken rage.

“You will learn respect,” he snapped.

My eyes widen as he stepped closer to me. I covered my head, preparing for the blow, but it never came. Instead, I heard a cry and a soft thump, only feet in front of me. When I looked up Alexa was standing over my father, who was struggling on the ground.

“You’re done Chris, this ends here.” I thought I heard her say.

I watched as my best friend knelt at my father’s head and pinned his throat beneath her left knee. She held up the power drill she had been handling earlier and I watched her gleefully hit the power switch. My father’s eyes rolled back in his head while he gasped for air beneath her knee. He was too drunk to move, too uncoordinated to react.

Then, Alexa pushed the spinning drill against his head. She held her hands steady as it cracked his skull and blood splattered against her face. I could swear she was smiling and enjoying the warm spray of my father’s dying blood. He flailed for a bit but it soon stopped. It didn’t take long for Alexa to puncture his brain. When he lay still she turned off the drill and stepped away from his body. She was covered in blood, her clothing was soaked from the spill she had been kneeling in, and her face and blond hair were covered in small red dots from the spray of the weapon.

I could do nothing but stare at her. I was shocked, lost for words, but I couldn’t move. I was suddenly tired and very scared. She knelt next to me and reached out to gently touch my face. I flinched away from her but hesitated when I looked up at her face. Through the spattered blood I could see her familiar green eyes.

“Hey,” she whispered as she dropped her hand back to her side. “You okay?”

I nodded slowly then looked down at my mom. “She needs to go to the hospital,” I choked out.

“Yah, you both do," she whispered.

I looked at her confused. I didn’t need a doctor, at least not in that sense.

“Hey Court,” she whispered, “If anyone asks, I wasn’t here tonight, kay? You drove me home after shopping. I couldn’t stay for dinner.”

I nodded again, not sure why she was telling me.

Then she smiled. “Just try to remember, please.”

I bit my lip and looked at my father’s body in front of me. I doubted that I would ever forget. She shifted beside me and I thought she was standing to leave.

“Oh, and Court.”

I looked back at her.

“I am really sorry.” She swung her arm back and I felt something heavy collide with my temple.

“Hey,” my words were slurred as I lost consciousness.

I tried to blink to focus my eyes, but it was no use. The blow to my head had been dizzying and before I could figure out what was happening, everything went black

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