Hungry Heart is a (hopefully) creepy little tale that I pulled out of Oberon's seventh book Visions Before Midnight. It's currently part of the Revenge is Sweet Collection of Halloween Tales, which has a suitably creepy cover.
It's the most wonderful time of the year...for revenge.
Halloween is a time for tricks, mayhem and murder. This collection of Halloween tales follows the wronged as they seek retribution for the crimes against them.
By whatever means necessary.
Read the deliciously dark stories from S. K. Gregory, Ashley Brion, R Jaye, N. D. Testa, DJ Shaw and P.G. Forte.
Buy link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09H3643ZH
Those of you who've read Visions Before Midnight will be familiar with this story, since it's basically Cara's first person account of several of the events in that book. I was really hoping to have re-released the Oberon series by now, but Life Happened instead, and a lot of my plans for this year went by the wayside. But I'm' thrilled with how the story came out, and I LOVE this anthology with its perfectly spooky cover. Hungry Heart has its own cover, of course, since it will be released later on its own. You can get a sneak peek of that cover HERE.
And, now, I think it's time for an excerpt...
BLURB: Cara Matthews is trouble. That's one thing that pretty much everyone in the town of Oberon can agree on—parents, teachers, other students, her on-again-off-again boyfriend, Seth Cavanaugh.
Well, if you give a dog a bad name, you probably shouldn’t be too surprised when they live up to it.
This Halloween, after one insult too many, Cara decides it’s time to get revenge. And it doesn’t much matter who gets hurt in the process.
EXCERPT: “Fuck my life.” I’m hanging out in the cafeteria, waiting for the chance to grab some lunch, and doing my best to appear inconspicuous. If the startled looks being sent my way are anything to go by, that’s not going so well. I guess maybe I said that out loud, without really meaning to. Or else this is first time anyone in this gulag that calls itself a private, all-girls high school has ever heard someone’s stomach growl. But who cares what they think? Not me. I’m hangry and tired and fresh out of fucks. This is not where I thought I’d be at this point, or how I imagined my life would turn out.
See, it’s my senior year, which is something I’ve been anticipating forever. Or, at least, since that miserable day in kindergarten when I was first introduced to the concept of punching down. Even at five-years-old I understood that until you’d arrived at the top of the heap, you were destined to be kicked in the face by those ahead of you. All the fucking time. But am I feeling the joy now that I’ve finally made it to the ladder’s top rung? No, I am not. At seventeen, my life is completely out of my control.
I suppose things first started going wrong for me when my mom got sick. But then she died, and everything got so much worse—like a snowball down a mountain. My dad lost his shit. I made mistakes. Although, I prefer to think of them as errors in judgment; and I don’t think it’s too much to ask that others do the same. But as usual, I’m alone in that. At least I’m consistent.
After that, one thing led to another. And now, here I am: trapped at the mercy of my stick-up-her-ass aunt, and the permanently pissed off principal who runs this place—both of whom hate me. Between them, they’ve decided that the best way to keep me in line is to pile on the extracurricular activities.
D’you wanna know what the worst part of that is? They’re gonna end up thinking their stupid plan worked. Which is not the case. I’d already decided, all on my own, that it was time for a change. Getting tossed out of my last school, where I really liked being, and where people liked me; coming too close to being incarcerated—and then losing most of my friends when that didn’t happen—that was all the wake-up call I needed. But do you think anyone believes me when I tell them that? No fucking way.
Personally, I’d’ve thought being forced to wear the same butt-ugly uniform each day was punishment enough. But, in order to ensure that I do exactly what I—swear to god—was planning on doing anyway, they’ve put me to work—before school, after school, even during what’re supposed to be my free periods. They’ve got me helping out in classrooms, running bullshit errands, mentoring the younger kids; do I look like Mother Teresa? Imma give you a hint: the answer to that is no.
I’m not convinced it’s legal. Not that anyone cares. My aunt’s made it crystal clear that as long as she’s paying my bills, I can either argue with her or I can eat. And if there’s one thing I do know, it’s that eating is important. You know that thing they say about how you shouldn’t try and make decisions when you’re hungry, angry, lonely or tired? It’s really true. And since hungry, angry, lonely and tired basically defines my life, I figure maybe I’m just better off not thinking at all.
It’s not right, though. And I’m tired of things that aren’t right. Specifically, I’m tired of things not going right for me. I used to have friends. I used to have fun. Hell, I used to be fun. But that seems like another lifetime. Now, I’m the butt of everyone’s jokes, the girl least likely to succeed at anything. Other than getting into trouble. Because like I said, that’s all most people think of when they think of me. No one appears to have gotten the memo that this version you see right here? This is the all new and improved Cara Matthews. The girl who will succeed, who’s not just a screw up, who gets to have whatever she wants. Ah, if only…
“She was watching you again,” one of the two girls in front of me says to her friend. “It’s really weird.” And, just that fast, I’m momentarily distracted from my own problems.
The girl who’s speaking has light brown hair and amber-colored eyes. I’m pretty sure I’ve never seen her before. Her companion, on the other hand, is a little taller, with darker hair and looks vaguely familiar. Judging by their uniforms, they’re both freshmen, which means I probably don’t know either of them. It also, almost by definition, means that nothing they say is going to be of any real interest. But they’re speaking quietly, in that way that people do when they’re sharing a secret. So, of course, I can’t help listening in.
I love secrets, don’t you? Good secrets are fucking delicious, way better than sex or chocolate or the kind of really good high that I no longer allow myself to think about. Nothing makes me feel more powerful or more alive than learning new things about the people around me. Especially when they’re the kinds of things they don’t want anyone else to know.
The second girl is looking puzzled. “Who are you talking about?”
“Mrs. Kline. She does it all the time. Sometimes, she stares at me, too. But mostly it’s you.”
“You’re imagining things,” Frosh Number Two says dismissively. “Why would she be watching either of us? We haven’t done anything wrong. Yet.”
I like this girl. That “yet” shows potential. But she’s dead wrong if she thinks Olivia Kline is the kind of crackpot you can write off as harmless.
Trust me on this. I’ve been stuck shadowing that bitch’s stupid ass for the past few weeks, as part of my indentured servitude gig, and I can tell you right now, that that teacher is bad news. I’m not yet sure what she’s up to—right now, it’s just a feeling I have—but I swear she’s up to something that’ll probably turn out to be Very Not Good for somebody. And if anyone were to tell me that she’s taken a particular interest in me, not only would I take their warning seriously, but I’d be very, very concerned.