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Misfit Like Me

Misfit Like Me is the second novel I have published. It was originally published in the fall of 2014 with Instantpublisher and Samshwords, then in 2015 published with Createspace.

Growing up different is hard; especially when you're a Goth in the Bible belt. No one knows that better than sixteen-year-old Madeline Warner. The teasing from her peers, many of whom claim to be Christians, has hardened her heart toward the people around her and the God they claim to serve. If they can be so unkind, then what would God Himself have to say to her?
Lonely and in the middle of sophomore year, Madeline gets a new locker buddy, punk rocker Alice Wang. With her colorful make-up and hair and unique taste in music, Alice seems like friend material, but some of her choices may keep the two apart. And on top of that, Madeline's Bible toting Grandma is on her way for a visit.
All things considered, Madeline can't help but wonder; how can she survive this season in her life? Find out in this story of rejection and ultimately hope.

Enjoy a sample of Misfit Like Me!

on't stare, she'll put a spell on you,” a girl says to her friend, staring at me with wide eyes. The two shriek, pretending to be scared, and then laugh as they run down the hallway.
I would go over and give those chicks a piece of my mind, but I’m just really not in the mood today. This has been one of the worst days of one of the worst weeks of my life. It's September now, and school is back in session. That means I have to spend eight hours a day, five days a week in a pathetic building doing schoolwork that I could care less about, assigned to me by teachers who "don't understand me." And, yes, some of them have actually said that to me. Not to mention my peers who hate and relentlessly tease me- their favorite thing to call me is “Goth Girl.” Their lack of creativity honestly makes me want to cry.
Seriously, it’s as if they all think that I, Madeline Warner, am possessed by the spirit of an evil demon. And it is all because of the way I dress. You know, black clothing, black hair, piercings and dark makeup- as if all that represents something evil. Everyone always acts uncomfortable around me as if they think I'm going to steal something from them or start chanting a spell. Give me a break. I’m surprised no one has tried to perform an exorcism on me yet. As if God would even want to rid a girl like me of evil demons. And the kids at school aren't the only ones. My crazy, super-religious neighbor Mrs. Andrews has no problem letting me know that my choice of clothing and lifestyle are buying me a one way ticket to hell.
Honestly, I think that these people are really just jealous and that’s why they choose me as their target. They can’t stand the fact that I can think for myself and they can’t. As if this is my fault.
As I walk toward the exit doors of my school, I throw the test from last period math in my locker with a wince.
“Another fail for Miss Warner,” said Mrs. Dawson (the oldest teacher known to mankind) as she laid the paper on my desk, peering condescendingly at me over her nose. There in front of the entire class she made me feel like a nasty piece of gum stuck to the bottom of her ugly penny loafer. My peers stared and snickered, some shaking their heads in disbelief. I felt like yelling at her and calling her names to give her a taste of how awful she made me feel. But honestly, I’m too chicken to do that. As much as it seems to follow me, I do not enjoy getting into trouble. So instead of tearing into Mrs. Dawson, I just laid my head on my desk until school was over.
 Yet before I can get too far from my locker, Billy Watson has to get a jab in.
“Hey, fish lip,” he says from behind me, throwing a paper airplane at my head. Ever since I got my bottom lip pierced last spring, Billy thinks this is the funniest name to call me. It’s so childish.
Trying to ignore him, I dash out the door and run to the bus as quickly as possible. Taking my usual seat at the back, I curl up in the corner and pull out my iPod. As the dark and gloomy music dances through my head, I watch the town pass by; not that there’s much to look at. A stretch of highway rushes by and the bus stops by a gas station combo before pulling onto the bypass. All there is to see of Lake View, Arkansas passing before my eyes.
Before long I drift off to sleep. For how long I don't know, but the sound of the bus driver Ms. Lowell yelling awakens me.
“Here’s your stop, Warner!”
Moaning, I grab my backpack and make my way down the aisle. A young girl, about seven or so, sticks her foot out in an attempt to trip me. I notice it just in time and jump over it. She gives me a dark look and I laugh.
The house that I share with my mother is really nothing to look at. It's a split level red brick with a chain link fence surrounding the perimeter. Inside there are three bedrooms, one bathroom, a family room and a kitchen. All of the walls were painted a clean shade of white long before we moved in but are now stained yellow with age. Mom says all the grayish brown carpet needs is a good shampooing but if you ask me, I think they just need to be ripped up and thrown in the garbage. And of course there are the mismatched and outdated furnishings that my mom has collected from resale shops or friends that were just looking for a place to dump their unwanted items. So no, our house is definitely not something you'd see on HGTV, but it puts a roof over our heads.
“Hey, Maddie,” Mom calls as I walk through the front door. I absolutely loathe being called “Maddie.” It sounds like something you’d name a dog; but I cut Mom some slack. Since my so-called father split the minute my then sixteen-year-old mother’s pregnancy test turned out positive, Mom is all I have.
As I take my thick combat boots off, Mom asks how my day went.
“Pretty crappy, as usual.”
“Well, just give it some time. It’s the first month; you just have to get back into the groove of things.”
I turn around and roll my eyes. How can she say that? It's not like I just started hating school the minute sophomore year began; I’ve hated it from the get-go. Mainly because I feel like such an outsider there. I've never been able to make friends, which, I guess I could be partially to blame for. My dark and shredded attire can be a bit off putting to the average person, along with my dyed black hair and smudgy makeup. But hey, have they ever considered the fact that I don’t like the way they dress? Probably not.
Some people probably think I dress this way as an act of rebellion; a way to get back at someone or something along those lines. But I don’t. I’ve always been attracted to this kind of style. It's just who I am.
As I enter the kitchen in search of something to drink, I notice Mom rushing around, shoving things into her purse.
“Where are you going?” I ask as I grab a can of soda from the fridge.
“Work,” she says breathlessly. “Nancy called in sick so I have to fill in for her tonight. I’ll be home around midnight.”
The convenience store my mom works at has only two employees; Mom and Nancy. So if either one is sick or can't come in for whatever reason, there's only one person to call.
“Oh,” I say lamely. I have to admit, the thought of being alone tonight really stinks, but no way would I mention this to anyone. No need to sound like a big baby.
“There’s some left over lasagna in the fridge whenever you get hungry. I'll lock the door on my way out. Be careful.” She kisses my forehead. “I love you.”
“Love you too,” I mumble, wiping the place where she kissed me with the back of my hand. This makes her laugh.
"You're so ornery."
 “Well, I come by it honest.”
Mom waves a finger at me, smiling, and then leaves.
Our house is very quiet as I stand in the kitchen, wondering what to do. My stomach growls, so I remove the lasagna from the refrigerator and pop it in the microwave. As it does its thing, I grab a cigarette from the pack Mom keeps in a kitchen drawer and light up. I need something to calm my nerves after the day I’ve had. Mom doesn’t know that I’ve been smoking since the beginning of the year, nor does anyone else for that matter. I would be so dead if Mom ever found out. Usually I sneak one while she's not looking or when I’m by myself at the house. I don’t even have to go outside because Mom smokes too which means the house has always smelled like smoke. I really have no idea what she thinks happens to the cigarettes I sneak, though.
The microwave timer goes off and I take the lasagna out to let it cool. Sitting at the small wooden table in the kitchen, I slowly eat my dinner. Once I’m through, I wash my plate and go to my room. I have a few homework assignments to do, but I don’t feel like doing them. When am I ever going to use the things contained within these books? So instead of writing down definitions for English class or whatever else I'm supposed to be doing, I grab my sketch pad and work on my latest drawing.
Warming the charcoal in my hands, I study the black and gray stormy sky I've started, trying to determine what needs to be done. I've added lots of rolling clouds and rain drops, but there's still something missing. Then it hits me; I need a lightning bolt. I go to work, the charcoal gliding in a fluid motion over the thick paper as I draw the jagged lightning bolt cutting through the sky. Much better.
 Before too long, the sky starts to come alive and it's almost as though I'm right there, staring at a real rain storm. And to think I made this with just charcoal and paper. This is one of the reasons I love art; seeing things form from nothing.
 My drawing's not quite finished yet, but my wrists are beginning to ache, so I take a break. Placing my sketch pad on my nightstand, I try to think of something else to do. I always feel the need to keep my mind busy on nights like this when I have to stay home alone. A good book would do the trick, but I've already read all of the books I have on hand, except for one. The white leather Bible Grandma sent me last Christmas still lies on the bottom of my bookshelf collecting dust. I have no interest in reading that anytime soon.
Walking through the house, I feel slightly unsettled. It is eerily quiet; the only sound coming from the low hum of our old refrigerator. I think of screaming just to break the silence, to know that there is still life in this house. But I don’t because I fear it may make me feel a tad silly afterward.
The quietness causes me to think. Events of the day pass through my mind which leads to thoughts of past experiences. Times when I’ve been bullied; kids tossing out names like “Freak” or “Vampire Girl.” These labels are very hurtful to me. Regardless of what anyone thinks, I have feelings; very real feelings that get hurt. I just don't like to share them.
 These thoughts haunt me and I long for something to drown them out. So I turn on the TV and my stereo, turning the volume on both devices way up. It’s almost as though having two appliances running at once makes the house feel less lonely; like there’s more than one person in here just now.
I lie down on the couch and flip through the channels on the TV until I see What's Eating Gilbert Grape is playing. I leave it there, thinking that maybe watching a movie about a family far worse off than I might make me feel better about my own pathetic life. But it doesn't. As I watch the scene where Gilbert shows Becky his house from a distance and describes his family to her, I feel a tear roll down my cheek. At least he has someone to talk to; someone who will listen to him. As another tear falls, I wipe at my face and see my hand covered in thick black eyeliner. Before long, the waterworks are really letting loose, loneliness taking over me. Why did my dad leave me and never come back? Why does my mom have to work such crappy hours just to get us by, leaving me home alone? Why can’t I have any friends? And, if God is who He says He is, why does He allow all of this to happen?

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