TITLE: DOUBLE DARE
GENRE: YA Contemporary
Tree limbs creak above my head and storm clouds cover the moon. I pull on my running shoes and get ready to take off from the bottom step outside my house.
Laces tight, I grab the heart-shaped locket around my neck and hold onto it. Inside is the picture of Mom after she won her last race. Broke the UW record. Her face is radiant. Victorious.
Before chemo turned her into a skeleton and she died. I let go of the locket and want to scream out to someone in the dark, but there’s no one there. No one to cheer me on to beat her records. No one to love me like Mom did.
A light flashes on inside the house. Please don’t let my stepmother come out here.
The porch light clicks on.
Oh God, here she comes. My heart pounds and I get the jitters.
The front door opens and the clacking of my stepmother’s high-heeled slippers echoes across the wood porch. “Raz, what’s wrong with you?” She shouts, so half the neighborhood can hear.
I take a deep breath and whirl around to face her. “Nothing’s wrong.”
Expensive perfume envelopes me like a trap and her designer robe flaps in the breeze. Even this early, her hair and makeup are perfect.
She glares at me. “Oh, yes, there’s something wrong with you, girl. What were you doing standing outside your father’s room? Leave him alone. He’s fine.”
Her voice softened, as if she cares about me, but I know better.