Status: I will be posting a new story soon, so this one might be delayed a bit.

Rarae Aves

Miserable Morning's Start

It was rare that Amber’s alarm clock actually scared her, but that morning, it did. “Ah!” she exclaimed, jumping awake with a start. “Oh geeze,” she uttered, shutting off the loudly ringing clock, “It was just the stupid clock.” She let a shaky breath out, closing her eyes and placing her hand over her heart, which was beating at a million miles an hour, it seemed.

“Oh, God,” she whimpered in pain when she turned her head. Her neck was so stiff and sore, since she didn’t have a pillow for proper support. She yawned and ground the sleep glue from her eyes. “Better go do some chores,” she decided, “I’m not in the mood to get yelled at again.”

She put on a pair of shoes, used the bathroom, and went to go see the dogs. “Hey guys,” she greeted as they both happily ran to her. Jack-Jack and Princess loved her so much. “Come on, let’s go for a walk,” she announced, putting on their leashes, “I want some time outside, anyway.”


“Good morning, Mr. Jones,” Amber greeted her neighbor, just like she did whenever she saw him. Again, he gave her a look of disgust and went right by her without a word. “I don’t know what his problem is with me,” she said to the dogs, “It seems like all the adults have it out for me. Well, at least you guys like me.”

After they used the bathroom and she picked up after them at the dog park, she decided to play with them a few minutes. She just needed some time away from Delia and Keith, who was still there. She took out the squeaky toy ball that she had brought along with her to the park and threw it out to them to fetch. It was cute watching the two play fight over which one was going to bring it back to her. The two adorable puppies were acting like it was a competition, as it would actually make a difference which one brought it back. But, it didn’t matter, for Amber petted them both lovingly when one of them came and dropped the ball at her feet.

“Okay, that’s enough for today,” Amber concluded, taking the ball after Princess dropped it, “I have stuff I have to do back at the house.” She got down to their level and rubbed them. They both licked her face, making her giggle, even though it was kind of gross.


“Okay guys,” she began as she finished filling the dogs’ food and water bowls, “Enjoy.” They were now back inside the house. Amber left the dogs room, stepping over the little gate that blocked off the doorway. “Great,” she thought, going to get the vacuum cleaner, “Now I have to deal with these annoying people.” Sometimes she wished that people could be more like dogs. She always had fun with Princess and Jack-Jack. They were never mean to her and always liked to play with her. Animals were so beautiful; they never judged her or treated her wrongly. Any prejudices animals had were entirely based on instinct, and instinct alone. People were mean to her just because they felt like it, because they had ridiculous made up reasons to support their hatred. Animals attacked only when they felt threatened or scared. Humans had few enemies, yet most were out to destroy each other, to create competition when there was no one. They didn’t strive to be the alpha, to knock down others, to survive. They did it just because they wanted to.

If Delia was more like her dogs, she’d be a lot nicer to Amber. She wouldn’t order her around or make her do everything that she was too lazy to do herself. All she’d ever ask of Amber is for her to give her food and water and to take her out for a walk. After all, that’s all Jack-Jack and Princess ever asked of her. They were satisfied with the simple things in life. They never did her wrong. Animals were friendlier than people.

“What are you doing in here?” Keith asked, breaking Amber out of her thoughts. She didn’t answer, just plugged in the vacuum cleaner and started vacuuming the living room carpet like it said on her to-do list. “Hey, get out of here,” he told her, “I’m trying to watch my shows. I can’t hear or see anything with you making all this racket and blocking the screen.”

Amber just rolled her eyes, thinking, “If you want to watch your stupid show so much, why don’t you go home and watch it?” She didn’t pay him any mind, and kept working, focusing on not missing a spot. Soon, the loud roars of the vacuum ceased unexpectedly. “What?” she wondered, looking at the device. Had it broken?

“Why don’t you just do this later?” Keith grunted, “Why are you up so early, anyway? And, why are you cleaning?” His voice made her realize what happened. She followed the trail from the vacuum to the cord. Her suspicion was correct; he unplugged it. She snatched the plug off the floor, annoyed.

“I have to vacuum in here,” she asserted, plugging it back in and continuing. Again, Keith unplugged it. Amber gritted her teeth in frustration. Now, she couldn’t even do her stupid chores without someone trying to bother her and tell her she was in the wrong. Why couldn’t people just let her be? “If you want to watch TV so bad, go watch the one upstairs,” she grumbled, “Or, better yet, go watch it at your place. Either that or you can just leave me alone so I can work. The less you bother me, the sooner I’ll be out.”

“Geeze, what’s your problem?” he snorted.

“You. Now let me do my chores so I won’t get in trouble. I’m not in the mood to get yelled at by my stepmom this morning, and I’m not in the mood to deal with you.” Amber didn’t care if she was being disrespectful or not; he was an intruder. His presence wasn’t welcome and him being there was only going to result in more work for her. She wouldn’t have said anything if he had just left her alone. She would’ve been quiet and kept to herself, but no, Keith just had to make her upset. She was still upset from the previous day’s events, she was tired (as usual), and her neck ached. She didn’t want to put up with any unnecessary crap.

“Oh, shut up, before I tell Delia about that smart-ass little mouth of yours and get her to teach you some manners,” he threatened. He sure was strange. One minute, he was saying he wouldn’t tell on her to Delia, and the next minute, he was threatening to do just that.

“Looks like you need a lesson more than I do,” Amber came back.

“She was right, your voice is annoying,” he uttered before adding, “Shouldn’t you still be in bed, or rather, on your mattress?”

“I have chores to do. Now, let me do them, because God knows no one else contributes around here.”

“Your stepmom is the one that goes out to work every day to make sure you have clothes and food,” he asserted, “and, you’re not even her biological kid. She told me about all of the hard work she does, and you’ve got the nerve to complain about a few chores. Oh, boo hoo, you have to clean stuff. Go cry to someone who cares. If you ask me, you’re just a little ungrateful brat that can’t appreciate anything. Your stepmom busts her ass all day to care for you, and you have the nerve to…”

“You don’t know anything about me!” yelled Amber, fuming. She wanted to punch him right in his big, fat, stupid face as hard as she could right then and there. Delia had been feeding him lies, and he believed them, having the nerve to assume that she was some sort of lazy leech or something.

“Amber Liu, how dare you!” yelled another voice. Uh-oh, it was Delia. “Yelling in this house in the early morning,” she continued, “And you have some nerve getting loud and rude towards our guest. What are you even doing in here, anyway? Shouldn’t you be doing chores?”

“I was trying to, bu-”

“-I don’t want to hear excuses,” Delia interrupted, “And did you feed the dogs?”

“No,” Amber rejoined with sarcasm, “I just decided to let them starve today. What do you think? Of course, I fed them. I actually pay attention to their needs, unlike you.”

“You need to watch that mouth of yours, little girl,” Delia hissed, wagging a finger with a long, claw-like manicured nail in her face, “One of these days, you’re going to say something to the wrong person, and you’re going to get into a whole lot of trouble. You’re lucky that I’m so lenient with you. Most people wouldn’t put up with you like I do.”

“Yeah, lenient,” Amber thought, “Because making me cook, clean, and work all the time to the point where I have to put off studying is real lenient.” She wanted to say something so badly, but decided that the situation was heated enough as it was, and that she should keep her mouth shut. Even Amber agreed with Delia to some point; she should be watching what she says. She doesn’t want to anger her stepmom too much.

“Just the other day,” Delia continued shrilly, “I was watching this show about this family. The girl on there was just like you, except pretty, and she was always talking smack. Whenever she did, her parents would make her walk ten miles, even if it was snowing. And then, they placed her plate of food on the floor, and they made her get down on hands and knees and eat like an animal.”

“Oh, I saw that, too!” Keith blurted, almost out of nowhere, “And then, the girl dyed her hair behind her mom’s back, so they shaved it all off.”

“You see?” Delia shrilled, shoving Amber slightly, “You have it good here. I let you eat at the table. I don’t make you eat on the floor.”

“Wow, gee, thanks so much for treating me like a damn human being,” Amber thought, “Just because you give me basic rights, doesn’t qualify you as a good stepparent.”

“And, I don’t make you walk in the freezing snow.”

“Well, no one should be forced to do that,” Amber thought, “Just because those people on TV are terrible, doesn’t make you good. Besides, how do we even know that show was real? If it was real, wouldn’t they be in jail for that?”

“And, I would never shave your head,” Delia said, finally, “Even though your hair is disgusting and dry and dull, and shaving it off would probably be an improvement. Not like I’d have all that much to shave, anyway. Hell, I won’t be surprised if one day I catch you shaving it yourself, considering how much of a freak you are.” Amber was too embarrassed to say anything, a heavy blush coming over her face. She hated it when Delia criticized her; it always made her feel like she was only two inches tall. She could hear both Delia and Keith laughing, which made her blush even harder.
“I would not,” was all she could manage to squeak out, as she looked at the floor, face burning.

“Whatever,” commented Delia, “Just go do your chores and get on to school so we can be rid of you for a while.” Amber nodded and did as she was told.


“Okay,” Amber exhaled, wiping sweat off her forehead. She was finally done with the morning’s chores. She ran through the checklist aloud, “Feed puppies----check. Water plants in the garden and in the house----check. Scrub the toilets----check. Wash dishes----check. Mop the bathroom floor and clean the sink----check. Vacuum the living room---nope. Well, I would have, if it wasn’t for a certain someone bothering me. I doubt anyone really cares. Finally, I’m done.” That’s when she looked at the clock. “Oh God, I’m late!” She exclaimed, “Later than usual.” She quickly put on some clothes, not even noticing that she grabbed the exact same shirt that she wore the day before. She washed her face and brushed her teeth before running her fingers through her hair, which saw her way of combing it. No matter what she did, it never managed to look right, so why bother. She grabbed a hoodie and a jacket and threw them on and grabbed her black backpack and set it on her shoulders. She quickly rushed down the stairs, accidentally bumping into Delia when she made it to the bottom.

“Watch where you’re going, idiot!” yelled Delia.

“Sorry,” Amber apologized as she ran past her, “I’m going to be late.”

“Wait a minute,” Delia called as she caught up with the teenager, pulling her back by the hood of her hoodie, “You’re not going anywhere until you apologize.”

“I said I was sorry, Delia. I didn’t mean to bump into you.”

“Not to me, idiot, to Keith,” Delia corrected, “For being so rude to him this morning.”

The teenager mumbled a barely audible, “Sorry,” rolled her eyes, and tried to walk out the door.

“A real apology,” asserted Delia.

“Fine,” the teenager exhaled, “Fine. I’m…sorry for…being rude and for yelling.”

“Meh, I don’t care,” was all that came from Keith.

“Okay, now go away,” Delia instructed, nudging her towards the door, “We need some time away from your ugly face.”

Amber bit the inside of her cheek to keep from saying something that would get her in trouble. She didn’t have time to make a comeback, anyway; she had to hurry before the bus left her.


“Wait, don’t leave yet!” screamed Amber, as she chased after the bus that was slowly preparing to leave, “Wait for me! Please! Wait!” Tired from running, she heaved a little as she boarded. “Oh, thanks for waiting,” she expelled in an airy, exhausted voice.

“I’m getting tired of always having to wait for you,” Mr. Farquar snapped, “You know when the bus comes. Next time you’re late; I’m going to leave you behind on purpose. I’m going to floor it, too. Then, as I look into my rearview mirror and see you failing to keep up, you know what I’m going to do? I’m going to laugh.” The bus roared with laughter as Farquar pressed the gas pedal, not even bothering to wait for Amber to sit, which he was required to do. The bus jerked forward, causing her to fall, which only stirred more taunting laughter. It was humiliating, but she tried to play it off by just laughing along, too.

“Why are you laughing, weirdo?” a girl then spoke, “We’re laughing at what a loser you are.”

“Oh my gosh, shut up,” the girl sitting next to her scolded, nudging the other girl, “I think she-” –she pointed at Amber- “Is, like, mentally challenged or something.”

“So like,” the first girl started, “Slow?”


Being too bashful and too discomfited to tell them any different, she looked over to Mason for help. He was too busy glued to his lap top to notice anything that had happened. She casted her brown eyes downward, got up, and took her seat.

“Did you hear what that girl said?” she asked Mason after sitting next to him.

“Shush!” he hissed.

“And, can you believe Farquar?” she asked in a huff, “What a mean, old troll he is.”

“Shush!” Mason hissed again, too engrossed in whatever he was looking at online.

Amber scrunched up her nose angrily. Obviously, Mason was in one of his prickish moods where he’d ignore all of his friends and get mad at them for so much as breathing too loudly. Amber couldn’t help but secretly think, “I wish one day, that stupid thing breaks, and your parents won’t get you a new one.” She stayed silent for a while, trying to do her schoolwork, but of course, failing to comprehend any of it. Some of it was work for English; Mason took English with her. “Hey, Mason,” she voiced, “Did you understand the homework from last night?” She didn’t get a response. So, she kept on, “Do you think you could help me real quick, because if Mr. Smith finds out that I didn’t do homework again, he’ll probably…”


After a few more moments, she spoke again, “Are you at least going to say ‘hi’ to me today?”

“Damn it, Amber!” growled Mason, “How many times do I have to tell you to shut up? Can’t you see I’m busy? I’ve got a big project that could help the CIA take down one of the largest groups of drug traffickers in the country and very little time to do it in. So, quit distracting me.”

“I…I’m sorry,” she withdrawed, feeling as if she couldn’t do anything right that day. Even her own friend was annoyed with her.

Of course, all Mason came back with was, “Shush!”

She put her schoolbooks away in her bag, and just sat there, fidgeting with the buttons on her jacket. She thought about what a crappy morning she had had.

Delia’s voice rang in her head, saying, “And, I would never shave your head, even though your hair is disgusting and dry and dull, and shaving it off would probably be an improvement. Not like I’d have all that much to shave, anyway. Hell, I won’t be surprised if one day I catch you shaving it yourself, considering how much of a freak you are.” It was what Delia had said to her earlier that morning, along with, “I was watching this show about this family. The girl on there was just like you, except pretty.”

It was a common joke around their house, that Amber was ugly and a freak. Delia said it quite often, and didn’t really care who heard it. Amber touched her chest, where the heart-shaped necklace her father had given her was resting under her shirt, against her bare skin. Amber tried her best to be a strong, independent girl, but like most young girls, she still had her weak moments. Moments in which she doubted herself, moments in which she was self-deprecating.

She tried to be positive, but sometimes her self-esteem would drop, making her feel worthless. She would sometimes look at herself in a mirror, and all she could see was flaws. It made her unhappy. Judging by her outer appearance, most people would think that she wouldn’t be the type to care about what people thought; they’d think that she wasn’t the type that longed to be viewed as pretty. However, she was. She didn’t think she was pretty at all, but she tried not to let it bring her down. She would tell herself, “I was made this way for a reason,” and, “Someone, someday will appreciate me,” or “I just have to work with what I have,” or lastly, “Looks aren’t the most important thing, anyway.” It didn’t bother a lot, but there were days when someone would make fun of her, and it would hurt.

Delia always enjoyed making fun of Amber. She didn’t mind throwing out insults about her appearance. Delia was one of these types that was very into vanity. She was always reading fashion magazines and always trying strange beauty rituals and trends, including ones that weren’t very safe. She owned so many hair, facial, and cosmetic products that her bathroom counter was completely cluttered with them. Delia believed that the best thing a girl could be was pretty, stylish, and feminine.

Girls like Amber weren’t in her good graces; they were disgusting to her. Amber wasn’t “normal” at all, with her short hair, her bare face, and her baggy clothes. She only wore sneakers and pants, never heels or dresses. She never owned a purse or did her nails. Amber wasn’t feminine acting, either. She gave out her opinion way too much, liked sports, and was never bashful or flirty with guys. She had a deep voice, and her body language was much too harsh, too boyish. She was strong, and not delicate, like a girl should be. That’s why Delia made fun of Amber; she wasn’t the type of girl Delia was. Delia couldn’t stand that she was so different. And, in Delia’s mind, different was ugly, and Amber deserved to know. Delia had made “ugly” and “freak” jokes for as long as Amber could remember…