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The Demolition Series, Book 1
The Demolition Project book cover

The Demolition Project

M.J. Padgett

If I’ve learned anything in life, it’s this—good looks will only get you so far, and only for a limited time. I’m beautiful, or so I’ve been told, but when I open my mouth the beauty fades, and poison drips from my tongue. When you grow up the way I did, you can’t help but be heartless and hardened.

Maybe that’s why I hated Knox so much, his innocence? But we’ll get to that later in the story.

It began a few weeks after my eighteenth birthday—miserable weeks spent living in one run-down hotel or another after getting kicked out of the group home. Aging out, that’s what they called it. As if, in some way, I had outgrown being an orphan and should just move on with my life. 

I only went to school to get two free meals and to stay out of trouble. Most of the time, I felt like I was the only one who had any idea what real life was like. My worries were real. Where will I sleep? When will I eat again? Will I have enough money to put a roof over my head?

Those were the questions on my mind when Knox walked by, laughing loudly with his friends, seemingly without a care in the world. Of all the ignoramuses in school, he was the worst of them. I swear, nothing ever phased him. It was like he had a forcefield around him and bad stuff just bounced right off. I just didn’t like him. I mean, yeah, he had a nice face, but finding him attractive only irritated me further. 

Something in me snapped. I decided then and there I would show him what real life was like. I’d show him the atrocities of the world, what it felt like to suffer, how easy it was to lose everything in one fell swoop. I would ruin the beautiful picture he called life. I would ruin him. 

 

The unfortunate reality of my situation was lost on me. I had no idea the number of ways my plan could backfire, but I don’t think it would have mattered even if I had. I had several classes with Knox, and every time I saw him my mind wandered to my plan. I was so consumed with the idea of bringing him down to my level of misery, there was no room in my mind for any other thoughts. Certainly not thoughts of how it could all go wrong.

 

I sat in the back of every class, staring at the back of his head. The fact that he did not feel my stare boring holes into his brain maddened me beyond belief, especially since it gave me a migraine. He sat with his friends, laughing and joking before the late bell rang, then took notes like a good little student the entire hour. All the while, I plotted and schemed. Every laugh that escaped his lips sounded like the screech of nails on a chalkboard. Every word like two pieces of Styrofoam rubbing together.

 

I made it through most of the day before the sight of him made me too angry to focus, and I couldn’t take it anymore. When he walked into the fourth class we had together, said hello to the three people seated in front of me, skipped over me, and said hello to the brand-new, never-been-seen-before girl who had recently relocated from Kentucky, I screamed internally. Why do you ignore me? The new girl giggled, and it was all I could do to keep myself from turning around, ripping out her vocal cords and shaking her until she could see Knox for what he really was—a fake.

 

American Literature, I hated the class as it was since there wasn’t a thing I learned that was of any use in my survival, but it was also the one class we had together that Knox sat at the rear of the classroom. I shifted in my chair constantly, crossing and uncrossing my legs, tapping my pencil with frustration. Does he even see me? It drove me absolutely bonkers that I didn’t know what he was looking at, and that it could very well be me, the loser sociopath everyone avoided. I am certain the new girl thought I was insane, and she was probably right, but I was more concerned that I would explode from agitation before the bell rang than her opinion of my inability to sit still.

 

When fate finally took mercy on my tortured soul, and the bell rang, Knox said goodbye to everyone in sight. Everyone except me. That agitation, the crawling feeling I suffered through the whole class was ready to erupt from my mouth in a stream of expletives that would make a sailor blush, so rather than get detention, I decided it was best to leave school a little early and avoid the last class we shared.

 

I

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