Free Broken by Mary Ann Gouze

Book: Broken by Mary Ann Gouze Read Free Book Online
Authors: Mary Ann Gouze
the foggiest notion what JD had just said. Someone turned up the stereo and Elvis filled the room. “…and I can’t help falling in love with you…” 
    *     *     *
    Anna Mae’s mouth was dry. She licked her lips and tasted soot. Her sweaty, bare legs stuck to the wooden pew. There were lights in the darkness. Little lights. Lots of little lights. And the familiar pungent scent of incense.
    She breathed deep, gazing at the lights as they flickered like stars against a black sky. The black softened to gray. Images unfolded as a bank of votive candles bloomed before her.
    Church? Okay. I’m in church. She looked to the Gothic windows. She turned around in her seat and looked toward the door. Is it evening? Traffic rumbled outside. Heavy traffic. The kind she would expect in early evening.
    Wasn’t I supposed to be at Debbie’s? That’s why I’m dressed this way. Stanley’s party—I didn’t want to be there so I was going to Debbie’s.
    She tilted her head thoughtfully. And then what? Something about George.
    Frowning, she leaned back in the pew. What was it? She breathed deeply, stared at the candles, and waited. It was no use. She couldn’t remember.
    It was almost dark when Anna Mae hurried down the church steps. She paused beneath the streetlight in front of Vinko’s Market, trying to decide which was the fastest way to Debbie’s. Suddenly she was grabbed from behind. She lurched forward but could not break free.
    “You little whore!” George Siminoski bellowed, scaring the pigeons into the street.
    “What’s wrong with you?” she yelled.
    “Like you don’t know!” he said, pushing her against the wall.
    “You let me go,” she threatened, “or I’ll scream.”
    “Go ahead, bitch, scream!”
    “Why are you doing this to me?” she wailed. “What did I ever do to you?”
    “What did you do?” he asked tightening his grip as she winced in pain. “You’re asking me? What did you do?”
    Joey Barns stepped out of the shadows. “Let her go!”
    George looked up. “Well! If it isn’t the village idiot. Want something, stupid?”
    “Let her go!” Joey seethed.
    “Or what? Who’s gonna’ make me?”
    The blow to George’s head was as fast as it was unexpected. Before he could regain his balance, Joey had him in a chokehold, his leather headband down to his bloody nose and his thick glasses hanging precariously from his ears.
    “Don’t you ever touch her!” Joey shouted, hurling George to the sidewalk.
    The frightened pigeons flew to the rooftops. Without taking his eyes from George, Joey put a protective arm around Anna Mae. She looked up with gratitude.
    The side of George’s face was throbbing in pain as he carefully adjusted his glasses. He then quickly got up and lunged toward Anna Mae. Joey blocked him with an outstretched hand, sending George stumbling off the curb. When he regained his balance, George moved backward toward the alley and his car. “I’m getting out of this filthy town,” he shouted. “But I’ll get you!” He pointed a shaky finger at Anna Mae. “If it takes the rest of my life, bitch! I’ll get you!”

    One and a half years have passed
    March 20, 1966
    The sky was overcast. The wind howled outside Anna Mae’s bedroom window. With her freshman schoolbooks strewn across her bed, she snuggled back against the wall with Biology One, Chapter Nine, Anatomy of a Frog , open on her lap. However, she couldn’t concentrate, because Stanley and JD had just gone up to the attic where she was sure they would get high. That was scary stuff.
    Trying to dismiss her anxiety, she turned the page to a picture of a bisected frog with its vital organs color-coded. But she didn’t look at it. Instead, she looked at the window where bare black branches slapped and scraped down the pane. It was starting to rain.
    It worried her that David was at the Tamero’s house, watching cartoons with Angelo’s little brother, Johnny. Ever since Dobie

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