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I shoved my door closed and hurled the notebook at the bin, knocking it over. Bits of paper and chocolate wrappers flew across the floor.
How could Dad have not told me? All the time I’d spent trying to work out why she’d left and hating her for it, he’d known, and he hadn’t said a thing.
I paced at the foot of my bed, forcing a few ragged breaths through my teeth. Mum was in danger. Her note had all but said so. How could he just sit by and do nothing—give up on the search for her?
Music started blaring next door and I glared out the window. Jet was in his open garage laying into a punching bag. I watched him for a moment—my brain in a sudden scramble. The music was like nothing I’d ever heard before.
Each shrill beat jerked through me, setting my skin on fire and a thousand butterflies loose in my gut. I clutched my chest, panting. Adrenaline ran a tingling course from my core to my fingertips.
My pacing picked up and my hands balled into fists at my sides. I was suddenly overcome with a need to be active—to sprint, swim or… punch something.
I glanced out the window again, Jet was still laying into the punching bag—kicking it now. His platinum hair bobbled in its bun with each strike, while the bag swung from the rafters like a stubborn pinata.
I took a deep breath and shook my head, slamming my window closed. It only muffled the sound—and the feeling. I shook out my limbs and kept circling the room, still feeling the adrenaline surging around my veins. It wasn’t until my jaw began to ache that I realised I had been grinding my teeth.
Pushing the distracting music and neighbour out of my head brought me back to Dad and his lie. Mum had not abandoned us. She had left to keep us safe—but from what?
I stopped at my overturned bin and knelt to put it the right way up, scooping the contents with it. As I stood, my shoulder caught on the edge of my desk.
A flare of anger shot up my neck and without thinking, I struck out—ramming my fist into the wall. My knuckles went clean through the plaster, connecting with a timber stud that let out a hollow crunch as it splintered against my fist.
I froze, chest heaving, while my pulse thundered over the ringing in my ears—only it wasn’t ringing. It was Jet’s music.
The shrill electronic beat had quickened, reaching a crescendo so piercing, I thought the ear-splitting sound would send me mad.
I stared at my hand, buried in the wall, as the song relented and drifted into a beat that was less frantic, but no less unnerving. My mind flashed back to the moment my fist had connected with Taryn’s nose at school—the crunch and the blood. Had I hit her as hard as I had hit this wall?
I retracted my hand. It came away covered in powdery plaster dust and a few tiny pine splinters that popped free of my skin when I flexed my knuckles.
I stared into the hole, a little disturbed by how mangled the solid stud behind the plaster looked. If I had hit Taryn that hard, she wouldn’t have had a nose left to break.
What was going on with me?
☽ ☾
Dad was already up when I stumbled, bleary eyed, into the kitchen.
“Coffee? He held up the jug, his brow creasing when he caught sight of me. “Jeez, you look like you could do with some.”
I grunted, taking the offered cup and turning my back on him. The ringing of Jet’s music had continued late into the night—along with the jittery effect. I’d had almost no sleep and every muscle in my body ached as though it had been wound tight all night.
“Look kiddo, if this is about our conversation yesterday—"
“It’s not,” I said flatly, throwing a cold glance over my shoulder. Even if I had wanted to stew on our argument, the bizarre music hadn’t let me do much other than fight to keep my body still all night. “The neighbour’s music was blaring, I couldn’t sleep.”
The crease in his brow deepened. “I didn’t hear any music.”
A bitter huff escaped my nose. “Since when are you aware of anything going on around you these days?”
“Gracie, I—”
I didn’t wait for him to finish, taking my mug and heading back to my bedroom before he could deliver anymore bullshit.
Bit more Martians stuff… going to tag the peeps that expressed interest in a taglist
@kd-holloman @wildswrites

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This is probably one of the most important elements of AL-194’s ecology- the submerged cave systems that surround the larger embedded vanta crystals and weave throughout the planet. Most single cave networks are at least partially connected to another, though few fully connect into the ocean.

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NASA image of the day, March 27, 2020: Located about 21 million light-years from our galaxy in the constellation Canes Venatici, NGC 4618 has a diameter of about one-third that of our Milky Way. Together with its neighbor, NGC 4625, it forms an interacting galaxy pair, which means that the two galaxies are close enough to influence each other gravitationally.

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