Sleepwalking, Toes, and Dismemberment (first two pages of Chapter Two)

As you all know, I’ve been working nonstop on my book. Thus far I have over 14,000 words and seven chapters complete. I’ve decided to share with you the first two pages of each chapter, hopefully to suck you in and make you want to buy the book when it’s complete.

Here are the first two pages of the second chapter, Sleepwalking, Toes, and Dismemberment.

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My stepfather is a strange man. He’s eighteen years younger than my mother, and fifteen years older than me. He likes hunting and fishing and when I was a kid he used to have a mullet and wear belly shirts. Oh, the 90s, how you will be missed.

For all intents and purposes, he was a hick. He was engaged when he met my mother and met her by stealing her seat at a country bar. I don’t know what happened to his then-fiancé, but he came into my life when I was six and never looked back. Or maybe he did.

I admit, when I first met Timmy I loved him. He was fine, which is a weird thing for a six-year-old to recognize but I guess I had older friends who alerted me to his good looks. He was fun; he would take my mother and me on adventures all over the place in his rusty old white Chevy and he wore cowboy hats and had so much life in him. He used to pick me up, throw me up in the air and flip me around before catching me. I loved it.

But slowly he began to infiltrate the relationship, and life, my mother and I had grown accustomed to.

My mom and I had an us-against-the-world life. She dated, but I was always more important than any men to come into her life. This changed when she met Timmy. A lot changed when she met Timmy.

I had a pretty lax childhood. I didn’t have many rules. Hell, I didn’t need many rules because the worst I did was hump things. But when Timmy came around he brought rules with him, which I did not like. I rebelled. I became a bad kid, only because I was being forced to break rules that had no place in my life. Rules like a six o’clock curfew on weeknights and no boys, including cousins, allowed in my bedroom, even with the door open. One time when I didn’t want to take a shower, I was slapped in the face for not listening to him. Timmy was changing the life I knew, and I began to resent him for it.

So when I was eleven years old and my mom called me before school one day to tell me that Timmy had proposed, I fell into my father’s arms and I bawled. But that’s probably because I knew, deep down, that something wasn’t right with this man my mother adored.

When I was young, real young, my stepfather would sleepwalk into my room naked. He would lie down in my bed and sleep. In my bed. Naked. I would awake to the commotion and slowly and quietly move to the couch, and when my mother woke in the morning she would look at me and ask, matter-of-factly, “Again?”. It became that normal of a thing.

I didn’t think much of it as a child. Whenever we went to my stepfather’s mother’s house we were told stories of Timmy’s sleepwalking antics as a child. One time he sleepwalked out into the snow in only his underwear and wouldn’t come back inside. So I believed that this man I had come to know and was supposed to trust really was just sleepwalking. I began to think that he couldn’t control his actions.

As I got older it occurred to me that maybe I could get a lock on my door, but of course I wasn’t allowed. Maybe Timmy could stop sleeping naked. Maybe it wasn’t that normal of a thing for a grown man to sleepwalk into his stepdaughter’s bedroom naked enough times that her mother had to ask “Again?”.

Maybe I was wrong in thinking these things. Maybe the man really was just sleepwalking, as I learned one night when he peed on me. He got up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom but came into my room instead. He put his arm on my shoulder as one would do to the back of a toilet. And he peed. On my bed. I stayed perfectly still and when he was done, after he went back to his room, I simply covered the spot with a towel and slept on the other side of the bed. I don’t think I ever told my mom about this incident, but I do remember thinking that maybe he really was just sleepwalking, because peeing on your stepdaughter’s bed was obviously something a sleepwalking person would do.


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