After the Storm is officially up for preorder. You can order now and get it delivered to you on December 15th! (You don’t get charged till then either!)
Bec was never far from trouble, usually she was the one starting it. All her life she struggled against abuser after abuser until she found herself among others like her and together two of them decided to make a change. Teens with special abilities found alliances in the least likely place, a mental hospital, where they decided to change their future and determine their own fate. Bec’s decision was to get out and get even. She could make her demons suffer from the damage they caused, or she could let them continue to destroy her. She chose the former.
There are trigger topics mentioned in this story such as child abuse, domestic abuse, and sexual assault. The mentions do NOT go into any gory details or recount the exact abuse – bare minimal mentions to make the storyline flow.
It was her tenth birthday party. Balloons lined the fence, party hats sat in front of the chairs where each child would sit along with brightly colored paper tablecloths that covered the table where the large unicorn cake sat in the middle but there were no children, as least not anymore. The birthday girl sat on the porch crying. Her long mousy brown hair hanging down around her face as she leaned forward in what she thought was the worst day of her young life.
Less than an hour ago, the yard was filled with kids laughter and presents stacked high on the table near the colorful cake. Rebecca’s face was glowing with joy. Her eyes twinkled with happiness as she played with her friends when suddenly her mother rushed into the yard and yelled, “Everyone leave. This party’s over! Get out! Now!” Mother’s rushed to get their children and say their goodbyes to the birthday girl if they could get close enough to her.
Grabbing the child by her shirt, Rebecca’s mom twisted her fist in the shiny material as she lifted the child off the ground. Yelling down at the child as their guests scrambled to get out of the way, “How dare you ruin it for me! He was a good man! And all because you had to be born, he left.”
One mother, who was last to gather her things, looked over at the child with sad eyes. Walking up to Monica, she laid a hand on her shoulder, “Don’t you think you should take a breather first? You can’t seriously think it’s the child’s fault she is here. Who’d want a man who didn’t love their kid?”
Monica, enraged, pushed the woman back, “You don’t tell me how to raise my child. She is a burden. An inconvenience and I should’ve aborted her when I had the chance.”
Rebecca dangled under her mother’s grasp, crying and broken, “Mommy please. I’m sorry. I’ll be better. I promise.” Her tear stained face reddened with emotion as she was once again reminded of how unwanted she was. Her breaths started to become short and raspy as her mother’s grasp tightened around the neck of the shirt. Looking toward her friend’s mother, her eyes begging for help from anyone began to roll back in her head.
“But your daughter? Have you been drinking? Just let me help her.” The woman tried to reach a handout toward Rebecca.
Pushing her away again with her free hand, Monica tossed the child aside into the yard. Turning towards the woman, she growled, “Get out of my yard. I don’t need help with her! She is pathetic and no one wants her here.” Pointing her finger at the woman she stepped closer, the woman grabbed her own child in fear of retribution for her trying to help and ran out of the yard.
Turning around, Monica searched the yard for her child, the child she felt was a burden to her. Walking around the entire yard, she began lifting table clothes to peek under the tables and looking behind and under bushes in the yard. The child was gone. She sighed, and spoke to herself out loud, “Good riddance.”
Rebecca was in her usual hiding place, on the roof. Her mother never looked there. As small and light as she is, the young girl could easily climb up the side of the house where the gutter drain was attached. Sitting on the roof with her knees pulled in close she listened and watched as her mother searched for her and damned her existence. As her mother walked inside, Rebecca heard her throwing things around while cursing and yelling at her. She couldn’t understand what she had done wrong. She listened to all the rules and did her very best…but it was never enough for Monica.
A soft breeze ran across her skin. The leaves in the gutter started to rustle just enough to show something shiny laying in the gutter. Crawling on her hands and knees, Rebecca stretched as far as she could to reach it but alas, she wasn’t able. Inching forward, the small girl pushed out her hand with tiny fingers in what anyone would call a fools chance to reach the shiny object. Only this time the object shook under the leaves. Rebecca jerked her hand back and watched carefully as the object quit moving. Not fully understanding what was happening, she pushed her arm out again with her hand out open and mentally willed the object to be within reach. This attempt was rewarded with the object flying into her hand as her fingers wrapped around it. Turning her hand over, slowly she opened her tight little fist one finger at a time. In her palm sat a shiny quarter. A quarter she couldn’t reach but came to her.
Her tenth birthday was the day her life changed forever. Soon, the young girl mastered this new gift and never shared it with a soul.