The faint pattering of rain sounds from beyond the window, but the dismal gray morning light remains outside; the black curtain, drawn, lets so little in.
What light there is comes from the soft red glow of the clock; the flashing display of the stereo; the tiny glint of reflection on Amy’s eyes as she lies in bed. The eyes stare emptily at the black ceiling.
The alarm goes off, buzzing in patterns, first once, then twice, then three times. For a full minute it continues its din. Then a hand flails and hits it to silence.
The light flicks on, and is strange in that it’s capped by a red filter. The room is awash in dim crimson, shadows murky. Amy’s eyes still stare, and look black.
A bird calls through the rain, and Amy pulls back the covers. An overlarge t-shirt is draped across her shoulders, and the blood is dried and cracked on her arms. She sits up. Cuts are on the inside of her thigh as well — not as deep.
She examines the cuts. The dried blood is very black in the dim light; she scrapes it away, lets it fall to the floor. Beneath, the deeper cuts ooze, the lighter ones raised and swollen.
When she stands, she takes a towel from the floor — a big one that hangs to her knees — and drapes it over her shoulders. She wraps it tight, and the cuts are hidden. She unlatches her door, leaves the room in dim red light, steps out into the hallway.
The father is hiding behind a newspaper; black coffee steams beside him. The kitchen lights are bright, because the dawn is missing from the sky. Thick, dark clouds peer through the window instead, pouring their rain down upon the lawn.
The mother is not up.
There are footsteps on the stairs; Amy appears in the kitchen. Dressed in black, wet hair, glasses on. Her nose ring isn’t there. She walks across the kitchen, which isn’t large, for the coffee pot, still hot on the counter. Opens the cupboard, takes down a large mug.
“Don’t drink it all,” the father says. He doesn’t look up from the paper, doesn’t look at her. “Your mother’ll want some, and I want some more.”
Amy looks at the pot. There is enough for about two cups. “Can I make some more?” she asks.
“It’s a waste of coffee.”
“I’ll buy more.”
“You never buy more. You just drink what I buy.” All this while, he doesn’t look at her. He flips a page.
Amy doesn’t respond, except to take the coffee jar from a different cupboard. She tops up the coffee maker, with coffee and then with water. It hisses, gurgles, starts to drip more coffee into the carafe.
Amy pours herself a mug of coffee.
“You shouldn’t drink so much,” the father says. “You’re too young.”
“I’m almost seventeen.”
“You’re too young,” he repeats. […]
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