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Short Story Prequel to Sea, Sand, and Sabine
A New Home
Sabine sat in the back seat of her mother’s black Chevy Tahoe and scowled at the house that was supposed to become her new home, at least for the summer.
“I love it,” Chandra, Sabine’s older sister, declared from the shotgun seat. “And it’s right on the water.”
“I though it was supposed to be a beach house,” Sabine grumbled from the back seat. She scratched unconsciously at her left arm. Her arms were covered by the long sleeves of a black t-shirt. Most of Sabine’s wardrobe consisted of long sleeved black or dark gray shirts and black jeans.
“Your father told us he’d bought a house on the water at Buzby Beach,” Leanor, Sabine’s mother, reminded her harshly from the driver’s seat. The tall, dark haired woman turned and gave Sabine a warning glare.
Sabine sighed, and once her mother turned around, gave the middle finger to the back of her mother’s seat.
“I don’t care what Sabine thinks,” Chandra announced. “Living here for the summer is going to be a blast.”
“You think so?” Leanor cautioned Chandra. “Just remember this, if you two girls want any spending money this summer, I expect you to get jobs and earn it. Your free ride is over. Your father and I aren’t going to keep the tap open for you to waste your time and our money any longer.”
Chandra frowned, but didn’t argue.
What's Sabine's Father Like
Let's Meet Dad
Sabine sighed again, and shook her head. Like they’ve spent any money on me since…it happened. They’ve tried to pretend I don’t exist, and they’ve done a pretty good job of it. That whole wasting time and money speech was meant for Chandra. She’s the one who went off to that expensive private college and flunked out after a year because she spent all her time partying instead of studying.
When the sound of a diesel pickup truck pulling up on the road in front of the house caught her attention, Sabine turned and saw her father, Sam Moreno, pulling up in one of the construction company dually trucks with one of the company’s cargo trailers behind it.
Dad’s such a stickler for using company equipment only for company business, I wonder how he rationalized using the truck and trailer to move his wife and daughters down here to the beach so he can run around with his ‘executive assistant’ without interference from us. And Mom acts like she has no idea. Every back in Dunn knows he’s cheating on her.
As Sabine watched, Sam got out of his truck and slammed the driver’s door. He stalked to the driver’s side of the Tahoe and yelled at Leanor.
“I thought I told you to park in front of the house so I could back the trailer up to the garage. Can’t you do anything right?”
“I’m sorry, Sam,” Leanor apologized in a quavering voice. “I forgot. I’ll move right away.”
She reached for the keys and started the Tahoe.
“Why don’t you let us out first?” Chandra suggested.
Sabine didn’t wait for Leanor’s response. She unlocked her door and jumped out of the Tahoe.
“Where do you think you’re going?” Sam demanded of Sabine.
“Wherever I want,” Sabine shot back. “You’ve barely spoken to me in three years, don’t start trying to boss me around now.”
“You watch your tone with me, young lady,” Sam warned. “Or I’ll…”
“Or you’ll what? Hit my like you do Mom when she does something you don’t like. Do you knock your mistress around, too, Dad? Maybe she likes it, huh?”
I Never Wanted To See This
Sam’s face puffed up and turned a brilliant red.
Leanor swallowed hard, and whispered, “Sam, don’t.”
Chandra was looking studiously at the house, ignoring what was transpiring between her father and sister.
“Go ahead, Dad,” Sabine said. “Hit me. I dare you. I’ll have the cops on you so fast you won’t even have time to call that slimy lawyer of yours.”
Sam lowered his hand slowly. “Get out of my sight,” he growled. “You little slut, get the hell out of my sight.”
“With pleasure, Daddy. If I had my way, I’d never set eyes on you again.”
Sabine turned and stormed off up the street toward the drawbridge.
Sabine’s Army surplus boots slapped the sidewalk as she hurried away from her father and the painful scene that had just played out between them. My own father still thinks it was my fault, what happened to me that night. Everyone else still thinks so, too, so why shouldn’t he?
She walked with her hands crossed and her fingernails dug deeply into the insides of her forearms through her shirt sleeves until spots of blood began to soak the cloth a reddish shade of black. Feeling the stickiness of the blood soaking through the sleeves brought Sabine a certain twisted relief from the pain her father’s words had caused.
The smell of frying seafood caused Sabine to stop outside a market that doubled as a sort of seafood takeout restaurant. It was well past lunchtime and she hadn’t eaten any breakfast. Her mother had mentioned stopping for lunch along the way but her father had insisted they drive straight through.
Just another case of him being a jerk because he could, Sabine thought as she walked through the door into the seafood shack. Not that my mom is much better, but I don’t see why she stays married to him. I’d have kicked his sorry butt to the curb a long time ago.
Clean and Dash
Her first order of business after entering the seafood shack was to find the bathroom. To the right of the counter where a Vietnamese man Sabine guessed was in his mid-thirties stood watching her was a sign proclaiming a uni-sex bathroom was just down the short hall. Sabine headed toward it.
“You gonna order something?” the man behind the counter asked. “Bathroom’s for customers only.”
“I’ll get something when I come out,” Sabine said sarcastically. “Is that all right with you?”
The Vietnamese man didn’t answer, just pointed with his thumb toward the bathroom and went back to what Sabine guessed was the kitchen.
In the bathroom Sabine pushed up the sleeves of her shirt, revealing a trail of scars reaching from her elbows nearly to her wrists. She used wet paper towels to carefully clean up the blood from her scratching and then held dry paper towels over the bleeding spots until they dried up.
The sleeves will just have to wait until I can put this shirt in the wash, Sabine told herself as she rolled the material back over her scars. She then used the room for its intended purpose before washing her hands and heading back out to what she thought of as the dining room. The Vietnamese man wasn’t at the counter, so Sabine hurried out the door and on down the street.
At The Corner of Ocean and Bridge
Sabine reached the intersection of Sound Street and Bridge Street. She stood on the corner, looking both ways. On her left was the drawbridge leading to the mainland. To her right, the road took her toward the ocean. Diagonally across from her to the right was a sign that read ‘North Buzby Island Count Park.’ The gate was open and as far as Sabine could tell entrance to the park was free.
I’ll grab a water at that store over there and take a walk around the park, she decided.
The store clerk, a perky blond co-ed working a summer job, looked up when Sabine’s entrance to the store caused the buzzer to sound. Sabine noted how the blond’s smile faltered when she caught sight of Sabine’s black wardrobe and spiky red and black hair.
“Welcome to the Bridgetender Shop. Can I help you find anything?”
Sabine shrugged. “I just need a bottle of water.”
“The waters are all in the cooler at the back left. We’ve got all kinds.”
“I just want a bottle of spring water. You do have that, don’t you?”
The blond’s smile faded completely, much to Sabine’s satisfaction.
“Well, yeah, we’ve got spring water. It’s all there in the back.”
Sabine wore a smirk all the way back to the cooler where she found there was quite a selection of water, spring, flavored, ionized, and purified. She grabbed a twenty-ounce bottle of Deer Park with a sports top and carried it back to the counter.
“Will that be all for you today?” the blond asked in a tone that told Sabine the girl hoped the water was all Sabine wanted.
Sabine dug her wallet out of her front pocket and paid for the water. The blond handed her a receipt and her change. No ‘thank you’ or ‘come back and see us’ was forthcoming.
Outside the store, Sabine pulled the top off the bottle of water and threw it on the ground. This earned her a disapproving look from an older lady walking by on the sidewalk.
“What are you looking at?” Sabine scowled at the older lady.
“A youngster whose parents evidently have failed to teach her any manners,” the fiesty elder shot back.
Sabine laughed mirthlessly. “Lady, my parents have failed me in a lot more ways than just that.”
“That’s a crying shame,” the lady said as she walked on by. “A crying shame.”