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Beth Adair

As I hummed The Brady Bunch theme, my eyes finally shut and I quickly drifted off… I carefully climbed into my bedroom window, but accidentally snagged my shirt on a nail. When I got inside, I quietly closed the window and looked at the clock. It was 12:30 am. Just as I was about to change into my pajamas, my ten-year-old sister flung open the door. 

"Aha! You are sneaking home late, I'm telling!"

"Carmel, ssshhhhhhhhh. Go away. This is none of your business!"

Carmel ran down the hallway to my parents, screaming and yelling. "Mommy, Daddy, Erica snuck into her window. She was s'posed to be home
at nine o'clock!" 

What a brat! Carmel rushed back followed by my parents. My mom flicked
on the light and narrowed her eyes, "Erica, you said you would be home by nine. You lied to me." Turning, she gave Carmel a loving, motherly look. "Carmel never lies to me. Why can't you be more like Carmel? She would never disobey me." As she said this, Carmel smiled the kind of smile that said, "I am perfect and you are not." My blood boiled and I felt the familiar feeling of hatred and jealousy against Carmel. 

"Mom," I said, "I can explain everything, see…"

My dad interrupted, "No, Erica, no excuses. My goodness, you teenagers can be so exasperating!" 

Carmel faked an exaggerated yawn. He put his arm around her shoulder and said, "Carmel, sweetie, you must be tired. Let's get you to bed." As he ever so cordially escorted her out of the room, Carmel turned and stuck out her tongue. I could have snapped her neck right then and there. 

My mom glared at me. "Erica, you go straight to bed. Tomorrow, we will discuss your punishment." She turned off the lights and slammed the door. 

I was so mad! She did not even let me explain. I had been over at my best friend Renee's house. Her parents had just had a huge fight; I was trying to calm her down. My parents would not believe me; they never listen to me. Everything I say is a lie and everything Carmel says is, like, a message from God. The irony, of course, is that God would never talk to Carmel because only God knows what a little devil she is! 

The next morning, my alarm went off at 5:00 am. I turned it off, knowing I had not set it. It was Saturday, my day to sleep in. I turned on my night-light. There was a post-it note stuck to my lamp:

Rise and shine Erica

Love, Everyone's little angel, Carmel
P.S. Don't step on the floor, you'll be sorry!

I told you she was a devil! I was already wide-awake so I decided to get up and watch TV. Forgetting her polite little warning, I jumped out of bed. As I did, a sharp, painful object dug into my heel. I looked down. Amidst the blood I saw a gigantic tack. I sat down and picked up my foot. As I pulled the tack out, I couldn't help but let out a quick yell. Soon, I heard a quiet knock on the door. 

"Erica, dear, can I come in?" Carmel was the last person I wanted knocking on my door! 

"What do you want?" I growled. I turned around to see Carmel's disgusting face. Her blonde hair shone in the light of the hall and her blue eyes were wide with mischief. Smiling, she whispered, "Hello, Erica. " She saw the blood and cooed, "Oh, dear, what happened to your poor little footsie-wootsie?" 

She came over to my bed and put her arm around my shoulders as she sat down next to me. I shrugged it off. "Oh, come on, Carmel, like you don't know." 

Carmel gasped theatrically. "Why, my dear Erica, whatsoever do you mean?" I grabbed the post-it note and threw it at her. 

"Oh, you don't think that I would do anything like that, do you?" 

"Oh, Carmel, give it a break. Mom and Dad may be blind to your devious
tactics, but I am no idiot!" 

She smirked and muttered. "Wanna bet?" I pushed her off the bed. As soon as she felt the ground beneath her, she let a bloodcurdling scream. My mom and dad ran to my room to find the source of the hideous howls. 

Carmel still lay on the floor, howling and moaning. My mom came over and pulled Carmel onto her lap. 

"Oh, honey, are you okay?" She looked up at me suspiciously. "Erica, what did you do?" 

I looked at her in astonishment. Carmel was lying on my floor at 5:15 in the morning, howling and moaning, and it was my fault. I grabbed my foot and stuck it in her face. 

"Look, this is what Carmel did. She put tacks on my floor so I would step on them."

"I did not, Mommy. Erica is lying!"

"You did too you little brat!"

"Girls, stop it!" My mom commanded. "Carmel, are you okay?" 

Carmel nodded. 

"Erica, you are already in enough trouble from last night. If I were you, I would not go beating my little sister." 

My dad, who had been silently sitting on my desk in the corner, finally spoke up. "Sandy, let's just forget about this for now and go back to bed." 

My mom, looking weary, stood up and sighed. "Erica, go back to sleep. Carmel, I will go tuck you in." Carmel and my parents left my room, shutting the door as they exited. My foot had stopped bleeding, so I picked up the tack and tossed it in the garbage. I'd rather have stuck it right smack into Carmel's rear, but, unlike her, I could never get away with it. 

I got back into my bed and turned off the lamp. I began to brainstorm ideas of how to seek revenge upon Carmel. How I could put her through eternal torture, pure misery. Then I fell back into reality. I could never get away with any kind of harm against Carmel. Finally, I drifted off to sleep. 

When I awoke, I could hear my parents and Carmel talking in the kitchen. I got out of bed and went downstairs. When I walked into the kitchen, my parents' backs were towards me, so Carmel gave me a cherubic smile. When my parents turned around to look at me, the smile turned into an evil grimace. 

"Hello, Erica, I hope you are all ready to work!" My mom gave me an emphatic smile. 

"Work," I said. "Today is Saturday! Why do I need to work?"

"Why, for your punishment, of course." 

"Just for getting home late?"

"No, not just for that. You also woke up the whole family at 5:00 in the morning with your horrible scream, and then when your sister came to comfort you, you throw her on the floor! You are so rude!"

"Mom, Carmel set my alarm. She put the tacks on my floor."

"Yes, Erica. I'm sure she did."

Carmel came over to me and slapped me on the back and shammed a smile. 

"Don't worry, Erica, I'll help you." 

I glared at her.

My mom picked up a piece of paper from the table and handed it to me. "Here is your list of chores. Enjoy!" 

The first thing on the list was to re-caulk the roof. I decided not to retort, and to obey. I put on grubby clothes and climbed the ladder. I crawled over to edge of the roof and set down the caulking gun. I positioned my self in a moderately safe angle and began.

Soon I heard footsteps behind me. I turned around just in time to see Carmel thrust her arms towards me. I lost my balance and tumbled backwards. There
was nothing but air beneath me and I waved my arms and my legs. I could feel myself falling, farther and farther. I let out a scream. Then everything turned into a blur. Then I heard a very familiar yell. 

"Erica, get out of bed. You'll miss the bus." It was my little sister, Carmel. She opened my door and walked in. I sat up and rubbed my eyes. Carmel was sitting at the end of my bed, smiling.  "So, how did you sleep?"

"Oh my gosh, I had this terrible dream. You hated me and you were trying to kill me."

"Oh, Erica, I am so sorry. It must have been that horror movie we watched last night. That must have been horrible. Oh, by the way, do you have some tacks I could borrow…….for……" I looked at her suspiciously, then dismissed the thought.

Maybe some therapy would do me some good.

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