Chapter 10

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I open my eyes to an elbow.

"Liv," I groan. "Get off."

She moans back but doesn't budge.

"Liv," I repeat. "Move."


I shove her off of me, inadvertently flinging her into the wall.

"Ow!" She whines.

"Don't lay on me and it won't be an issue," I retort.

"Moody," she mumbles.

I roll my eyes and walk down the hall to the kitchen. There's music playing when I walk in. Danny and my mom are making what looks like pancakes. Then the smell hits me. Definitely pancakes.

"Boy, you sleep late," my mom smiles.

"What time is it?" I ask.

"Little after eight," she says.

"My apologies," I groan.

"Go wake up your little boy toy," Danny says.

"Yeah, I'm the one with toys," I mutter.

"Enough with the arguing," my mom cuts in. "Go wake up Kyle and Olivia."

I go back down the hall and tell Liv breakfast is ready. I open the door to where Kyle spent the night and toss a pillow at him.

"What was that for?" He groans. "I'm up."

"Then come get pancakes before we eat them all," I smile.

That gets him moving.

We load our paper plates with pancakes and syrup and spread ourselves out in the living room.

"How can you afford syrup?" I ask.

When the war began, prices skyrocketed on everything. When the war ended, they rose even more.

"I can't," she says.

"Then how do you have it?" I question.

"Same way I have everything else," she shrugs. "I steal it."

"But stores are heavily surveillanced," I say.

"It's not hard to wear a hood and turn your face away from the cameras," she smirks.

I never thought my mother would steal, no matter the circumstances.

"I actually need to hit the store today," she says. "Anybody want to join me?"

"I'll help," Liv volunteers.

"I could learn how to steal," Danny shrugs.

"I'll pass," I say.

"Oh, come on," Kyle teases. "Have a little fun, Mack."

"Please," my mom begs.

"Fine," I give in.

We finish our breakfast and get ourselves dressed for our task. My mother flips our hoods over our heads the second she sees us.

"We're not even out of the house yet," I say.

"Doesn't matter," she says. "If I'm recognized I'll be arrested. And depending on who recognizes you, we could hit some obstacles."

We set off in the direction of the store and keep our heads down until we arrive. My mother holds the door open for us, making sure we all get in okay. She takes a look over at the cashier, the only employee in the whole store. The cashier is a rather short girl with fiery red hair, tattoos covering her arms and neck and gauges forcing colossal holes in her earlobes.


We make our way to the back of the store, shooting down the third aisle.

"Remember how I said big pockets?" Mom asks.

We nod.

"Start stuffing," she says. "Don't overfill, we can't look like we're taking anything."

We load our pockets with food and drinks, trying to get a variety. When we're as filled as my mother approves of we sneak out the back door, heads down and hoods up. We return to the house and find a box by the front door.

"You get packages?" I ask.

"For the previous owner," she clarifies. "But I gladly take whatever comes."

Kyle picks up the box and carries it inside. I lock the door behind us and we begin emptying out our clothes, laying the food on the table.

"Not bad," mom smiles. "Now what's in today's box?"

Danny takes a knife and cuts through the tape that's holding the box closed. He peels away the flaps of cardboard and pulls out a trash bag with a note on it.

"What does that say?" I ask.

"It has a name on it," he says. "George."

"Who's George?" Kyle asks.

"Maybe he sent it," Liv guesses.

Danny opens the trash bag and instantly turns away.

"There's a head!" He cries. "It's a head!"

"Maybe that's George," my mom says, seeming like she's numb to this.

"How are you not freaking out right now?" I yell.

"I've seen so much worse from the war," she says.

Everyone goes silent.

"I'll get rid of this," mom picks up the box and bag and goes out back.

"What the hell?" Liv groans.

"I don't want to play his game anymore," I say.

Kyle walks over and wraps his arms around me, placing a kiss on my forehead.

"I'm scared," I whisper into his chest.

"It's okay," he assures me. "I'm always going to protect you."

My mom walks back in and washes the dirt off of her hands.

"What did you do with it?" I ask out of curiosity.

"I buried it in the woods," she says quietly.

"Are you okay?" I ask.

She shakes her head.

"You said you've seen worse," I point out.

"I have," she responds. "I've just never seen anything done to someone I know."

"Who was he?" I ask.

"An old high school boyfriend," she explains. "We dated for about a year and a half."

"Mom, I'm so sorry," I say, wrapping my arms around her.

"Let's just find the son of a bitch who did this," she growls, removing herself from my grip and walking down the hallway.

"I'm gonna head to bed," Liv says.

"So am I," I agree.

Sleep sounds amazing right now, if it'll come after what we all just saw.

I'll update something as soon as I can however it is a little difficult since I am writing several books that haven't made it to Wattpad just yet! Enjoy this chapter!

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