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    I stared at my plate, swirling my mashed potatoes with my fork. Nobody noticed my lacking appetite, which angered me even further. I vigorously stirred, desperate for a few precious seconds of attention, even if it was negative. However, my parents continued to ignore me. Well, that wasn't exactly true. My mother shot me a stink-eye every once in a while, and the message was clear: hurry up and eat your food so that we can talk in peace. It was always like that, with her saying 'we' to describe my older sister, father, and herself, as if they were an exclusive group.
    “We're so happy to see you here! Miranda, you're glad too, right?”
    “You're okay with eating lasagna for dinner, right? We decided it was nice for a change.”
    Including 'we,' my mother always used the word 'right.'
    Sometimes, I wonder how she would react if I just said, “No.”
    Beth laughed loudly beside me, yanking me out of my annoyed musings. My parents guffawed as well. In the middle of their laughs, both Beth and my mother glanced at me with narrowed eyes. A sudden rage made my whole body stiffen. It was unjust, unfair. If Beth played with her food, our mother immediately entered Panic Mode, checking her temperature, asking frantically if she felt ill, and sending her to bed to rest. I know for a fact that Beth -many times- used it as an excuse to hang out in her room.
    If I played with my food, my mother would sigh loudly and tell me not to do it, or send me pointed looks that even my father noticed.
    I try -I really try. I stayed friends with boys and girls who've left me countless times for Beth. I endured hundreds of people literally gushing about how great Beth is day after day. I did my best to improve my grades and sociality. I try, but nothing improves. My grades don't rise, my “friends” still leave me, and the gushing increases to an indiscernible roar.
    If everybody I knew were the solar system, Beth would be the Sun -radiant, incomparable, and the very centre and base of all the planets. I would be Pluto -the furthest away from the Sun, with people still debating and arguing whether it belongs to the system or not.
    Enough.
    It's time for plan D. I slipped out of my chair, washed the dishes, then hurried out of the dining room.
    As I left, I heard my sister mutter, “Finally. I can't stand her ridiculous moodiness.”
    I flinched, and my resolve hardened to stone. In a dream-like state, I opened the door to my closet room, which barely held my bed, desk, and drawer. When I came to my proper senses, I was in the bathroom clutching a small, plastic bottle. The bottle. I've envisioned myself doing this so many times, and this time, I was actually going to do it.
    The full notion of it hit me then, and a giggle bubbled up and escaped. I bunched up my t-shirt and forcefully pressed it against my mouth, trying to stop, but maniacal laughter spilled like water. I couldn't stop. I was already triumphant, though a small part of my brain was still disbelieving what I was about to do.
    I took out a bag of Beth's face pack, dumped the contents of the plastic bottle, then resealed the bag and shook it so that everything was mixed. Then, I returned to my room and waited. I squeezed my pillow, expecting the results to come any moment. I heard Beth humming k-pop as she made a racket in the bathroom. Goosebumps sprang all over my body; my muscles clenched; my breaths turned shallow; I stared into the distance, concentrating solely on my ears.
    Suddenly, a piercing scream of agony reverberated through the house. Footsteps of my parents crashed. I stepped out of my room to see them crouched in front of the bathroom door, gingerly holding Beth. Their cries of distress and her cries of pain melted into one cacophony of noise. Beth's face was bloody red with welts all over. Deformed. Specks of face mask still remained on her neck. She must have tried to wash it off. As our father frantically called 911, I hugged my pillow tighter. I held it up to my face, and behind it, my lips widened into a delighted smile.
This was my entry for this local contest: surreylibraries.ca/programs-se…
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