Sample – The Kayla Chronicles: Rebirth

Charming brunette in bed with her teddy bear

I left my worn clothes behind and padded on bare feet to the wardrobe.  I don’t know what I was expecting, but what greeted me was a shock.  Inside were dresses, frilly and brightly colored, the Easter dresses of a young girl.  I pulled open the drawers at the base of the wardrobe and found women’s underwear and bras and stockings and tights and everything a young girl would need to be presentable.  The other wardrobe was more of the same, only with more focus on formal-looking clothes.  Still, not a single pair of pants or jeans or a plain tee shirt could be found.

I hurried back into the bathroom and dressed in my clothes from the night before, sure that a mistake had been made.  Maybe this was never supposed to be my room at all.

I descended the stairs, eyes on the lookout for my new pixie-like crush, but met no one until I followed the smell of cooking to the kitchen.  When I entered, Claire and another girl, this one blonde and buxom and dressed in white, but similar in style to Claire, looked up.  I nearly laughed at the matching ‘O’s their mouths formed when I appeared.

“No, you can’t be in here!” the blonde said in a whispered tone as she approached me, pushing me out the door I’d entered only a moment before.  “You must not be seen here!”

“I’m just looking for my aunt.  Is she around?”

“The dining room.  That door,” she said pointing, in that same hushed, panicked manner.  “Now go!”

I watched her return to the kitchen, confused.  I was still looking behind me when I entered the dining room, a portrait-lined hall with a great dining room table in the center, big enough to support twenty guests.  Aunt Caroline was at the head of the table, a place set beside her that I assumed was mine.  Before I could make my way to her, she stood abruptly, chair legs groaning as they scooted across the floor with the violence of her actions.

“What are you wearing?”  It was the most emotion I’d seen her express, and I shrank from the angry expression she wore.

“My clothes,” I said, more confused than ever.  “I couldn’t find the things from my suitcases.”

“I have provided you with the clothes you need.  While you are in my home, you will abide by my rules!”  As she came closer, her voice rose.  There was a manic fire in her eyes, and I was frozen in shock at her suddenly aggressive behavior.  “You march back up those stairs and you put on the clothes I bought for you or you can just go without breakfast, young lady!”

“Young lady?” I said, more to myself than her.  Was she insane?  “I’m a b-”

The sting on my cheek came in a blink, the smack she gave me loud in the otherwise-empty dining room.

“You are what I say you are.  Or do you prefer going to a foster home?  Maybe just run to the streets?”

“Oh my god,” I whispered.  “You are crazy.”

Another smack, this one hard enough to push me back a step as I held my burning cheek.

“I am your aunt.  You are my niece.  As long as you do what I say, when I say, you will be given everything you could want.  If you choose to disobey me, punishments will be enforced.  Now, do you want to go upstairs and change or would you like a more proper punishment?”

“You realize I’m not a girl, right?”

Smack!  Tears were welling in my eyes, and I could feel my cheek getting puffy.

“Go up to your room, then.  You may eat when you’ve decided to come to your senses and behave.”

Open-mouthed and hurting, I backed out of the dining room and rushed up the steps to my room.  Suddenly the house didn’t seem just gloomy, it felt like a castle, one I was trapped in, kept away from the world.  I thought about the lack of homes I’d seen on the drive here, the remoteness of the extravagant home I now resided in.  In the relative safety of my room, I searched desperately for the cell phone I’d left on the bed beside me when I collapsed the night before, tearing away the sheets and falling to my hands and knees to look beneath.  Nothing.  Maybe Claire had taken it while I slept.  Or when I went downstairs.  All I knew for certain is that my one way to contact the outside world was gone.

I waited in my room for hours, alternately terrified that Aunt Caroline would appear in the doorway or that she wouldn’t come at all, and I’d be left to starve in the home of my assumed caregiver.  I paced the room, looking across the landscape for signs of life beyond the glass.  There was nothing.  I was alone, abandoned by fate and accident.  Left in the hands of a woman who seemed to refuse my very gender.  And there, in the corner of the room, that oversized crib that had taken on a more sinister aura.

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