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5 months ago

Comfortable Madness First PDF 4-13-18

still the only teacher

still the only teacher who let me get away with that. Thank you, Ms. Rolston, for being the greatest English teacher on the face of the earth and for pushing me to do more than I thought I could do. Thank you to all the amazing friends who took the time to read the book and to offer me some feedback and reviews. Special thanks to Steve for popping my ad in the magazine. Thank you, specifically, to those who remembered to ask for updates and who got excited and jumped around with me over this, especially Larissa. Thank you, Eileen, my Surrogate Mom, for the most wonderful, kind, and loving joy you showed for me. Thank you, Keira, for hugging me even though neither of us are huggers, and sorry for drawing attention to it (but not really). Thank you, Emily, for writing ridiculous stories, screenplays, and haikus with me for almost twenty years now and keeping me inspired. The leprauchuna will be with me always. Thank you, Bethany, for your unwavering support and for writing with me so much. I will keep those smiley face boxers forever. Thank you, Rob, for making this the only novel I’ve ever known you to read and for all the love and support you gave me along the way. Thank you, Sputz, for getting me into the paranormal in the first place and for taking many road trips to creepy, abandoned, and allegedly haunted destinations to keep the fear alive. Thank you, Chris, for sitting in the car, listening to Elvis, and working through plot holes with me until 3am even when you had to be up for work the next morning. Thank you, Pete and Adam, for having my back when the lights went out from the very beginning, and Marti, for never letting me wind up like Tucker. All of you mean the world to me. Finally, thank you for making it all the way to this page. I would hug you if I could. Never give up on creating your own story, whatever that may be, and make sure to stay away from demons in closets.

  • Page 2 and 3: Comfortable Madness William L. Alto
  • Page 4 and 5: Dedication For Lisa, who showed me
  • Page 8 and 9: Hush I was eighteen. I was dreaming
  • Page 10 and 11: Lines Mornings sucked. Anxiety pois
  • Page 12 and 13: In the Real World Smokers and stone
  • Page 14 and 15: On the Outside Narrow, gray lockers
  • Page 16 and 17: Everything went quiet. Even the big
  • Page 18 and 19: things from me. Tayla wanted courag
  • Page 20 and 21: He crawled to his feet, looking for
  • Page 22 and 23: “Yeah?” “Absolutely.” “Wh
  • Page 24 and 25: All the courage vanished. I was sma
  • Page 26 and 27: Color came back with a crack. Laugh
  • Page 28 and 29: Kissing my temple, she took me insi
  • Page 30 and 31: Movie We smoked too many cigarettes
  • Page 32 and 33: Surrender I couldn’t refuse him.
  • Page 34 and 35: “Not yet.” His hands stroked my
  • Page 36 and 37: Lost Meaning I danced. Alone. I dan
  • Page 38 and 39: Poverty Dinner was one egg, a piece
  • Page 40 and 41: Unconditional I couldn’t make my
  • Page 42 and 43: Sour The world was quiet, and I cur
  • Page 44 and 45: watched her sleep for a long time w
  • Page 46 and 47: from under the hood played through
  • Page 48 and 49: Promise Gid stood in the corner sol
  • Page 50 and 51: Pretty Words “Do you love me?”
  • Page 52 and 53: A Dream in Daylight Coy was small a
  • Page 54 and 55: Return I neither slept nor woke. It
  • Page 56 and 57:

    She put her hand on my knee. “It

  • Page 58 and 59:

    More Trouble Coy came looking for t

  • Page 60 and 61:

    Consequences Pastel landscapes hung

  • Page 62 and 63:

    Time Out Even at sunset, Hagg Lake

  • Page 64 and 65:

    Missionaries Two boys came around t

  • Page 66 and 67:

    Tad’s face was hard and pointed.

  • Page 68 and 69:

    Doorway It happened fast and it las

  • Page 70 and 71:

    Visions People talked. They talked

  • Page 72 and 73:

    Alone But Then Not I danced with th

  • Page 74 and 75:

    Dread In the space between sleep an

  • Page 76 and 77:

    Blurred Tayla started the coffee. L

  • Page 78 and 79:

    The Object of Envy Ravens rose on b

  • Page 80 and 81:

    Unprovoked A large mirror covered a

  • Page 82 and 83:

    “I’m sorry,” I said. “Me to

  • Page 84 and 85:

    screamed. I screamed and screamed.

  • Page 86 and 87:

    Glorious Downtown. Sunlight and bri

  • Page 88 and 89:

    Drinks and Sex Men came and went. N

  • Page 90 and 91:

    That World Everything was incompreh

  • Page 92 and 93:

    ain pierced my face and forearms wi

  • Page 94 and 95:

    But she didn’t know. She had no i

  • Page 96 and 97:

    Angie leaned in. Her lips traced a

  • Page 98 and 99:

    Promises Gid stared at me and I sta

  • Page 100 and 101:

    The seatbelt gave way and I jumped

  • Page 102 and 103:

    Taking Charge I lost my mind. Faces

  • Page 104 and 105:

    from the sink. A call button hung f

  • Page 106 and 107:

    Laps Walls the color of eggshells h

  • Page 108 and 109:

    Burning Sin Pain shaped my dreams.

  • Page 110 and 111:

    “Well,” she said. “You made i

  • Page 112 and 113:

    “When they lay on their death bed

  • Page 114 and 115:

    “Same.” “Want to go to your r

  • Page 116 and 117:

    Release They sent me home. It was m

  • Page 118 and 119:

    The Edge of Dreams No sleep. Every

  • Page 120 and 121:

    A Brittle Moment It came all at onc

  • Page 122 and 123:

    Date Night Tayla stood at the stove

  • Page 124 and 125:

    Tragic Morning Trees on the edge of

  • Page 126 and 127:

    Between Here and There “What do y

  • Page 128 and 129:

    Knives and Sadness Lying alone in m

  • Page 130 and 131:

    Prayer “Dear Jesus,” I prayed.

  • Page 132 and 133:

    “Soon enough.”

  • Page 134 and 135:

    ightened. Ivory lined green banners

  • Page 136 and 137:

    Back Again Voices filled the cafete

  • Page 138 and 139:

    Slipping Midnight. One. Two. Three

  • Page 140 and 141:

    Lies I hurt. Every movement. Every

  • Page 142 and 143:

    Angie nodded. “Sure,” she said.

  • Page 144 and 145:

    “Butter,” Mom used to say. “N

  • Page 146 and 147:

    Work Out Each step was a marathon.

  • Page 148 and 149:

    First Try “Dance for me,” Tayla

  • Page 150 and 151:

    Suddenly, he was inside me, moving

  • Page 152 and 153:

    “I don’t know,” I said. “I

  • Page 154 and 155:

    I dreamed of music, but I didn’t

  • Page 156 and 157:

    “Jesus,” she said and got out.

  • Page 158 and 159:

    “What’re you doing?” “He wa

  • Page 160 and 161:

    The Plan Comes Together We gathered

  • Page 162 and 163:

    Freak Out I went to bed at three, I

  • Page 164 and 165:

    Vows and Promises Tayla’s hair wa

  • Page 166 and 167:

    He turned to smoke and mist and ros

  • Page 168 and 169:

    Thoughts Biology was a class of lon

  • Page 170 and 171:

    No God Religion and government. Fai

  • Page 172 and 173:

    Almost Breakfast came at me in wave

  • Page 174 and 175:

    Help Steam rolled up and broke agai

  • Page 176 and 177:

    Animal noises ripped out my throat.

  • Page 178 and 179:

    the baby up for adoption. We talked

  • Page 180 and 181:

    Miss Tris didn’t buy all of it, b

  • Page 182 and 183:

    “Why?” “Never mind,” I said

  • Page 184 and 185:

    Fine “You’re getting fatter,”

  • Page 186 and 187:

    Faces Faces melted. Jaw lines narro

  • Page 188 and 189:

    The Beginning of the End The bar wa

  • Page 190 and 191:

    Kind of a Moment I had a plan. For

  • Page 192 and 193:

    “Fine.” When I got to the door,

  • Page 194 and 195:

    Angie laughed. It was a cruel, hard

  • Page 196 and 197:

    A Moment on the Corner Sunlight bro

  • Page 198 and 199:

    No Gray Queertopia was empty but th

  • Page 200 and 201:

    Race Haven was all movement and col

  • Page 202 and 203:

    “What?” Tayla asked. I shook my

  • Page 204 and 205:

    Confession Sleep abandoned me to th

  • Page 206 and 207:

    Silence Six days of silence. I woke

  • Page 208 and 209:

    “I need a smoke,” I said and go

  • Page 210 and 211:

    “Have you talked to her?” “Sh

  • Page 212 and 213:

    “But now,” she said, “now you

  • Page 214 and 215:

    Disturbed Even the echoes died in t

  • Page 216 and 217:

    Nothing Changed Cherry blossoms cam

  • Page 218 and 219:

    Spark All night, I sat in the livin

  • Page 220 and 221:

    Reunion First thing in the morning,

  • Page 222 and 223:

    Back in my Bed Three faces hung in

  • Page 224 and 225:

    Far From Perfect Antiseptic walls r

  • Page 226 and 227:

    Fair Angie stood in the middle of t

  • Page 228 and 229:

    Face I walked in sunlight. It taste

  • Page 230 and 231:

    Names Lunch came and we all sat in

  • Page 232 and 233:

    Fair Warning Coy had something to s

  • Page 234 and 235:

    On the Edge of Things People talked

  • Page 236 and 237:

    “She thought we broke up,” I sa

  • Page 238 and 239:

    “You’re fine,” she said. “Y

  • Page 240 and 241:

    “Some folks,” Mr. Skarey said,

  • Page 242 and 243:

    The baby hiccupped, a rhythmic danc

  • Page 244 and 245:

    “You’re going to be okay,” he

  • Page 246 and 247:

    A Comfortable Madness Middle of the