The Patchwork Girl [Kindle Edition]

The Patchwork Girl [Kindle Edition]

by Sebastian Bendix


Publisher Sebastian Bendix

Published in Science Fiction & Fantasy/Fantasy, Literature & Fiction/Horror, Literature & Fiction/Contemporary, Teens/Science Fiction & Fantasy, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Literature & Fiction

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Book Description

What could be worse for a 16 year-old girl than waking up to find that your skin has transformed into a bizarre, calico patchwork? For Padget Beaumont, the answer is: a lot. The Patchwork Girl is a dark fantasy novel for young adults that will appeal to fans of Harry Potter and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The adventures of The Patchwork Girl promise to draw the reader in with action, romance and fantasy while at the same time addressing the real-world issues that trouble both young and adult readers alike.

Sample Chapter

Tap tap tap…

She hadn’t seen the bird land on the sill, hadn’t heard the fluttering of its oily black wings. But the tapping drew her attention. She turned and found herself staring into the blank, red-rimmed eyes of a large crow.

Tap tap tap…

“Ms. Beaumont, if I may coax you back to reality.”

Padget Beaumont was dimly aware of her name being called but she couldn’t take her eyes away from the crow. She was transfixed. The bird looked at her with instinctual hatred and slammed its beak into the glass, splintering it with a TAP! Her face, the cause of much recent concern, was segmented in the cracked reflection.

“Ms. Beaumont!”

She turned to the source of the intrusion. At the head of the typically suburban classroom, her algebra teacher, Mr. Mather, stood expectantly before a chalkboard scribbled with an elaborate equation. She was being called on to answer it. The duty and dread of every high school student. And at this moment Padget was woefully unprepared. She caught a quick glance back at the window to see if the crow was still there, offering an escape from this dreary schoolgirl reality. But the crow was gone.

“Do you have the answer or not?”

Her head snapped back to find Mather’s cold, cruel eyes narrowing on her. She silently cursed her luck. The clock on the wall mocked her, a solid minute stood between her and the period-ending ring of freedom. There was to be no escaping. She would have to suffer the humiliation of Mather’s scorn, feel the sting of his ridicule in front of the entire class. Maybe it wasn’t a school shooting or a viral outbreak or a nuclear war, but at this very moment it felt like an apocalypse. One more tiny cataclysm to toss on the pile of what was turning out to be an exceptionally bad day.

It had started the way her mornings often did, being pulled reluctantly out of a dream. Today’s featured a boy she had been kissing, a boy with dark hair. She assumed she had been dreaming of Daniel, but now, as the dream faded into memory, she wasn’t sure. In truth it could have been anyone. All she could remember was that he was handsome and that he could never, ever be hers.

She had spent the next few minutes staring at her personal alarm clock, a three-foot plus Ball Python covered in random, diamond-shaped patterns. As always, Sundown’s slatted green eyes looked blankly back. She mentally traced his body winding through the hills and valleys of her bedcovers, then rubbed his arrow-shaped head, as was tradition. “You jerk, I was enjoying that,” she scolded lovingly. By way of apology he leaned into her hand, enjoying the rub. For a reptile his behavior was positively feline. She often wondered if he had been a cat in a past life.

On the subject of past lives, Padget had been wishing lately that she was on to her next one. Things had been going from bad to worse since she turned sixteen, and just when it seemed to be getting a little better, her father had suddenly disappeared. But she didn’t want to think about that right now. She got out of bed and set her mind to preparing for another day of high school. Not a pleasant proposition itself, but better to think about school than dad and his inexplicable absence.

Padget padded across the cold wood floor to her dresser. On it was a CD player. Old school. Padget liked CDs. She liked to hold them, look at the artwork, photos. Read the liner notes. She had an iPod like everyone else, but listening to CDs start to finish was the way she liked her music best, especially when she was alone in her room. Which was a lot these days.

She checked her iPhone, which was also on the dresser. Force of habit. She had forgotten to charge it and it was almost dead. No matter; there were no calls, no texts – no messages of any kind. Up until recently it had been like an extra appendage, its constant usage driving mom crazy. Now, she might as well not even take it to school. Just one more way she’d be labeled the class freak.

She didn’t have to pop the lid to know what was in the CD player. Violator by Depeche Mode. It had become her favorite album in the past few months. It might be her favorite album of all time now. She hit the power, skipped forward a few tracks to “Policy of Truth”. The winding, snaky synth-bass kicked in. It always made her want to dance. Padget had no idea if she was actually a good dancer; she only ever did it alone in her room. She wasn’t really interested in criticism frankly – she got enough of that in school. She let the music set her feet in motion, and following the rhythm she danced a musical path across her room to the bathroom. It wasn’t much of a dance, but as far as starting the day was concerned, it was good enough.

Waiting for the shower to get hot took the usual five-plus minutes. Mom wasn’t too up on fixing plumbing issues. It was annoying, but there wasn’t much point in making a stink about it. There were bigger battles to fight. A few tracks later, the room filled with steam and Padget disrobed and stepped into the cascade of hot water. The auburn dye was still rinsing out of her hair, cascading down her legs in red rivulets. In an effort to cheer her up,mom had agreed to let her do whatever she wanted with her hair and even suggested crazy colors like electric blue or magenta. But Padget wasn’t looking to draw undue attention these days. She wanted to blend in, to fade into the woodwork. So auburn it was.She watched mesmerized as a little whirlpool of reddish brown made a swirl down the bathtub drain.

Down the drain. That pretty much summed up how life had gone in the past year. But again, best not to dwell. She shut off the water and stepped out of the shower, allowing the crisp New England air to shock her out of this spiraling thought pattern. She wrapped a fresh towel around herself and went to the mirror, wiping the fog from the glass. She loved her shaggy new haircut, though she swore she heard mom’s heart breaking when the hairdresser chopped off her girly-girl locks. Oh well, mom could keep her own hair the way she liked it; long and natural. Padget tousled her hair into a satisfyingly messy look and leaned in to see what surprises may have manifested on her face during the night.

At first, she wasn’t sure what she was looking at. There weren’t any zits; her complexion had cleared up with the passing of her awkward phase. No, the thing she saw on her right cheek was more accurately described as a blemish – a patch of skin that was a slightly darker color than her normal, pale skin tone. It could have been a sunspot but it looked too large, and this had been a particularly gloomy October. She was prone to freckles, and normally a patch of them crested the bridge of her nose, but she had spent so much time indoors lately that they had faded. Whatever it was on her face, it wasn’t a freckle.

It was troubling to say the least.

Padget thought about telling her mom right away. What if this was some form of skin cancer? Mom was generally pretty levelheaded about things, but Padget could see this turning into an emergency trip to the dermatologist, and she really didn’t feel like spending the afternoon in a doctor’s office. It was the first day of gymnastics try-outs, and being one of the few school related activities she still enjoyed, Padget didn’t want to miss it. Better to apply some cover-up for and see what the situation was tomorrow morning. So that’s exactly what she did.

She put her apprehension aside and went about the process of getting ready for school, selecting a pair of skinny jeans and a cool olive top to wear. She had been gravitating to natural browns and greens lately as they brought out the color of her eyes. Her favorite accessory was a leather wrist-band that gave her a satisfying tomboy vibe, plus it went well with the lace-up boots she bought with the money she made from her summer job at the plant nursery. Padget looked at herself in the floor length mirror, pleased at the overall effect. It was a subtly stylish look but one that didn’t demand attention. In the warm natural light of the room her make-up job was flawless. If she squinted, the troubling blemish was barely even noticeable.

Sundown slithered into the room and lifted his head, seeming to share in the admiration of her reflection. He flicked his tongue with approval. Her friends, when she had them, had always found her choice of pet to be unsettling. But Padget hadn’t cared then and certainly didn’t care now. She bent down and petted Sundown’s scaly head, and went about her business with as much cheer as she could muster. She grabbed her bag off the floor, picked up her school books from the dresser and headed out the door.

Breakfast had been the usual yogurt and granola, followed by the daily debate over school lunch. Padget was campaigning for money to buy lunch, but mom wasn’t going for it. “The school lunches aren’t organic,” she said for what must have been the millionth time. Not organic was her mantra. So yet another day of the slightly embarrassing brown bag lunch. Then it was in to the Hybrid for the drive to school.

The car smelled like sandalwood – mom’s favorite scent and the bane of Padget’s olfactory system. As the dreary Massachusetts suburb passed by the rain-speckled windows, Padget struggled with her own stormy mood. She had been telling herself all morning that she wasn’t going to dwell on dad’s disappearance and had no intention of breaching the subject with her mother. But this depressing landscape stirred it up somehow, and she just couldn’t help herself.

“So, how long has it been now? Four months?”

Mom’s lips drew into a tight straight line. “Only three I think.”

“Onlythree?” Padget said incredulously, putting her boot-sole on the dashboard. Mom glanced at it with disapproval but held her tongue. If this is how her daughter chose to act out, so be it.

“How hard would it be to make a phone call, or send an email? He’s a scientist, I’m sure he could figure it out.”

“Whatever he’s doing, he’s deep into it,” mom said. She resented the excuse-making her husband’s neglect forced upon her. “He doesn’t like distractions.”

“Is that what I am? A distraction?” The pain in Padget’s voice couldn’t have been more evident.

“Bad choice of words honey. I’m sorry.”

“But true,” Padget said. The car took a turn towards the school and the tires made a swooshing sound in the rain. Mom put an instinctive arm of protection across her daughter, as she did whenever the slightest danger arose on the road. It was sweet. Slightly embarrassing, but sweet.

“Padget, your father is a brilliant man. But I’m afraid he isn’t a very smart one.”

“Is that supposed to make me feel better?” Padget was already regretting opening her stupid mouth. She needed to learn to listen to her inner voice.

“Dad loves you very much, that’s all I can tell you. He’s very proud of you.” Mom smiled, tickled by a memory. “He always referred to you as his ‘greatest achievement’”.

“That’s just weird,” Padget protested, squirming in her seat. Mom smiled, enjoying her daughter’s discomfort.

“Well, the man is anything but conventional, but what can I say? We’re an unconventional family.”

The car slowed a half-block from school. Sondra wasn’t so clueless as to drop her pariah daughter off right in front, and her pariah daughter appreciated that. She pulled into the curb and put the car into park. “Here we are, heaven on earth.”

“Leave the sarcasm to the professionals, mom.”

“Tough crowd,” mom sighed. She looked at Padget’s face and her eyes caught something. “Are you wearing cover-up?”

The blemish. Padget pulled down the sunscreen and checked the underside mirror. She anxiously inspected the discoloration. It was getting larger, but she didn’t want mom making a federal case out of it. She snapped the sunscreen back into place.

“It’s just some sort of nasty zit or something mom, thanks for noticing.”

“Nonsense,” Sondra said, almost defensively. “You’ve always had perfect skin.”

“Not today I don’t.” It was time to get out and not a moment too soon. She leaned over and kissed her mom on the cheek. “Bye, love you.”

“Love you too. Have a good day.” She meant it with no hint of irony.

“Yeah, right.” With that Padget was out the door.

As she watched her daughter trudge off in the rain, lines of deep worry emerged on Sondra’s otherwise youthful features. Is it now,she asked herself. Is it happening at last, just as we feared?

Sondra Beaumont put the car in gear and pulled away from the curb.


Excerpted from "The Patchwork Girl [Kindle Edition]" by Sebastian Bendix. Copyright © 2013 by Sebastian Bendix. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Excerpts are provided solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
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Author Profile

Sebastian Bendix

Sebastian Bendix

Sebastian Bendix is a Los Angeles based writer and musician, as well as host of midnight horror film series, Friday Night Frights. He attended school at Emerson College for creative writing and spent his formative years in Boston playing in popular local band The Ghost of Tony Gold. Upon moving to LA he transitioned back to writing, contributing articles for the entertainment site and the print publication Mean Magazine. Stepping into the world of horror fiction, Bendix has found success both online and in print with numerous stories published in the genre imprints Grinning Skull Press, Encounters Magazine, Sanitarium Magazine, Xchyler Publishing and noted podcast The Wicked Library. Bendix self-published his first horror/fantasy novel The Patchwork Girl in 2013, and his second novel, The Stronghold, is a ripped-from-the-headlines thriller that has been published and is available for order. Also an avid film lover, Bendix has a sci fi/horror script that has been optioned and is in development.

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