Home > Mr. Ultra Mega Love

Mr. Ultra Mega Love
Author: Mimi Jean Pamfiloff

 

 

CHAPTER ONE

 

 

Joy Ferris


I’m curled into a tight ball on the locker room floor, begging for my life. The pain is too horrible to give a shit about which girl from the cheerleading squad is delivering the blows. Face, arms, back. Pain.

I’m in serious trouble here, and no one’s coming to help. They made sure of that. The entire school, including my friends and teachers, are busy with finals, or they’re out on the field, preparing for tomorrow’s grad ceremony.

I yelp with the next blow, unable to stop myself from crying in front of them even though I don’t want to. But what’s the point in pretending they didn’t just crack my rib or that my nose isn’t broken? Or that, save a miracle, I am about to die? They aren’t going to stop until I stop. Breathing.

My mind starts drifting in and out of consciousness, producing a string of random thoughts: Who will protect my little brother? I never learned to dance salsa. I wish superheroes were real, and they’d come to save me.

And just like that, I see my heroes surrounding me. Hope, Dreams, and the all-important Love. Funny how they look like versions of me in different-colored capes that match their hair. White, blue, and red. In real life, I’m a dirty blonde.

“Tsk-tsk,” says Hope in white. “Such a shame that this is how it ends for you, Joy.”

“Yeah,” says Dreams, shaking her head of bright blue hair. “Just when I thought you’d made it, too. Valedictorian. Eighteen at last. Full scholarship.”

“And you had such a bright future,” says Love in red.

My mother said something similar last Sunday, when we gathered for a little pre-graduation BBQ. Kyle and Huff, my two brothers—one older, one younger—chipped in with my parents to buy me a trip to Disney so I could go with my friends.

So sweet. So thoughtful. But that’s the sort of thing my close-knit family does, because my success is their success. Their triumphs are my triumphs.

And now my death will be their pain.

“Maybe you should fight back,” says Hope, arching a platinum-blonde brow, crossing her arms.

I want to fight, but it’s no use. There’re four of them and only one of me. They’re ruthless. I’m not. I’ve never been able to inflict pain on anyone. Not intentionally. It’s my Achilles’ heel.

As the beating continues alongside my superhero hallucinations, a new wish sparks in my mind. I wish that, when people died, they could give their one best trait or skill to a person they love.

Wouldn’t that be awesome?

You spend your entire life learning to paint like da Vinci, and on your death bed you get to pass along all your talent to one lucky person. Or maybe you’re a gourmet chef. Maybe you’ve read five thousand books, and all that knowledge could be shared.

In my case, I would pass along my heart. I’ve always known it had too much love inside. More than my fair share. It’s why I’m lying here on the floor, about to die and feeling so, so sorry for these girls. They just don’t get it. They don’t understand how their lives are about to change forever. No one kills an innocent human being and comes out the other side unchanged.

“Stop. Please stop,” I whimper between the belts and kicks, but my pleas are no longer for me. They’re for them. For these girls’ souls. For my family when my bloodied body is found shoved into a locker or in a ditch somewhere.

Of course, no one will step forward to point a finger because their families run the town.

It’s the reason my older brother, Kyle, is running for city councilman right out of college. The town’s power families laughed him off until a poll showed he’s about to get over seventy percent of the votes. People are sick and tired of letting a handful of fake do-gooders run this place like it’s their personal kingdom. The challenge is long overdue.

I just didn’t have the heart to tell Kyle about the repercussions of his choice—the threats, the elbows in the ribs between classes, and the gum magically appearing in my hair once a week. Not when he would drop out of the race because of it. Nothing matters more to him than family. He’s one of those guys. Protective to the core.

Then there’s Huff. Hudson Ulysses Ferris. Born six weeks early. Small for his age. Scared of his own shadow. He’s the baby of our family, who lives trapped in a bubble of fear. I think it’s because my parents always treated him like he’s fragile. He’s tougher than he knows, but in their minds, he never left that preemie chamber. It clouds everything they say or let him do, and he’s been drinking their Kool-Aid. It’s why he ran to my room after his first day of high school nine months ago, crying because he’d been dumped in a garbage can by some dickhead seniors. The next day, I gave those jerks a piece of my mind and went to the principal.

Detention.

Really?

That was it?

So typical of this damned town.

And even though I’m the one who told, Huff hasn’t been able to shake the rep of tattletale pussy. He cries almost every night, wishing his rep weren’t true. Sometimes, I cry for him. I’d give anything to make him see that his life could be happy. He’s not worthless or weak. Fuck no. It’s the bullies of this world who are tormented by insecurity, so they live life like hammers. See a nail. Hit it. Kill, end, destroy, cancel anyone who doesn’t agree with them.

“Hey! Let up. I think Mrs. Mosley is coming,” says one of the girls who’s keeping watch by the locker room door.

Lana maybe? Perhaps it’s Tasha. No, it has to be Manda. Her mom is the councilwoman about to lose her seat to Kyle.

A pair of lips graze my ear, speaking with the venomous hiss of a cobra. “You tell anyone about this, and I’ll be sure your little brother gets ass-raped by the entire football team. Got it?”

I know the guys on the team. They wouldn’t do that because they’re a bunch of homophobes, but they’d sure as hell fuck up Huff if Manda snapped her perfectly manicured fingers.

“Tell me you understand, bitch,” says…yes, it’s Manda speaking now. I recognize the sugary stink of her perfume. “Say it.”

I try to move my head and nod but can’t. Too much pain.

“She’s going to say something,” warns one of the other girls. Tasha probably.

“I’m not missing graduation because of her white-trash ass,” says another.

“Shut up. Just leave. I’ll take care of this,” replies Manda. “Joy isn’t going to say a word.”

No. Probably not. But my superheroes will.

I give my heart to you, Huff. I hope it gives you strength to dream and find yourself. I hope it helps you find love after I’m gone.

 

 

CHAPTER TWO

 

 

Huff


With my blue backpack slung over my shoulder, I head to my locker with a bounce in my step. I just took my last final. History. It was way too easy, but school always is. At least, when it comes to studying and tests. I never have a problem getting good grades.

My social life, on the other hand? Fucking mess.

One more day. Just one more and summer will be here. All I have to do is clean out my locker and turn in my books tomorrow. Done.

I almost smile, but it’s hard to celebrate the end of something I just want to forget, like getting my ass kicked every day. Not everyone on the football team is bad, but they’re all afraid of Conner, the asshole quarterback. His dad is the mayor and has everyone, right down to the football coach and sheriff, in his back pocket.

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