By the Time You Read This, Ill Be Dead | Page 1 of 108

Author: Julie Anne Peters | Submitted by: Maria Garcia | 20021 Views | Add a Review

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1 Day Day of Determination

Discussion Guide and Resource List

To C. J. Bott for her tireless campaign against bullying

— 23 DAYS —

The white boy, the skinny, tal boy with shocking white hair, sneaks behind the stone bench and leans against the tree trunk. Since I can’t move my head, I watch him out of the corner of my eye. He could be a ghost. For a minute I think he’s here to contact me, but that would be stupid. I don’t see dead people.

He pul s out a paperback and starts reading. I hunch over my own book. Mom’s black CR-V crunches to the curb and idles. I rip out the page I just read,

bal it in my fist, and stand.

The white boy watches me. I don’t make eye contact. Not with him. Not with anyone. I shoulder my book bag, walk to the car, open the door, and get in. My thighs

squeeze together.

“Who is that?” Mom asks. She’s peering over my shoulder at the white boy. In the side-view mirror, I see he’s moved to the bench and taken my spot. Like he did yesterday. “Was he talking to you? Do you know him?” He’s into me, Mom. He likes ugly sick girls who have to wear neck braces.

She shifts into drive. “I don’t want you associating with people outside of school, people I don’t know. If anyone talks to you, go back inside the building.”

What if I talk to them?

That was a joke.

She checks the rearview mirror to merge into the street. Her face is fil ed with worry lines. “Your father has a late meeting with a client, so it’l just be us for dinner.”

She smiles expectantly.

I can’t even look at her.

“I’l be leaving for Houston in the morning, but I shouldn’t have to stay more than two days. Dad wil drive you to school and pick you up. He may be a few minutes late if he can’t get away by two thirty, but you just wait for him on the bench.” We circle the roundabout and she adds, “If that . . . person, if anyone bothers you, tel your dad.”

Sure, Mom. I’l use sign language.

Wal-Mart, on my right, is packed. “Oh, I real y need to stop for deodorant and toothpaste.” She slows at the entrance, but doesn’t turn in. We pass the Wal-Mart. “Never mind. I’l get them on my way to the airport.”

Her eyes betray the fear. She’l never lose it.

She doesn’t stop because she’s afraid I’l have a wack attack. I’ve only had one in public, but it happened when she left me alone in the car. It was in our red car, the old one. I was ten. She needed to pick up a few groceries at King Soopers on our way home from school. She said a

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user comment image
Great book, nicely written and thank you BooksVooks for uploading

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