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Rated: E · Fiction · Contest Entry · #2158981
Thomas has to find a way to get rid of the mark on his head.
I glared at the image reflecting back at me in the mirror. Ever since I'd tripped Mandy at school and teased the goths at the Christmas party, my forehead had been doing strange things. I assumed, at first, it was acne. Every teen in school dealt with that plague. It wasn't until I helped Toby Branders hack into the computer system and change all the jock's grades that I realized what was going on with my skin. By then, it was too late.

I slipped downstairs, hoping to grab a slice of toast before mom could notice the new me. Usually preoccupied with my baby brother Buddy or, as dad affectionately called him, "our little surprise", I was often able to fly under mom's radar. Today, however, her sixth sense must have been tingling. She looked up from spoon-feeding mashed carrots past Buddy's slobbery lips and dropped the spoon.

"Thomas!" her voice cracked as her eyes fell on my forehead and got stuck there. Her hand rose to her throat. "What did you do?"

I kicked at a stray Cheerio laying on the floor and sent it skittering across the linoleum.

"Aw, nothing, mom. Just little pranks here and there."

Mom scooped up the washcloth she'd used on Buddy's face and aimed it at my forehead. I tried to pull back but she gripped my shoulder and yanked me forward. I imagined orange goo streaking across my hairline as mom attempted to scrub the dark words spread over my eyes.

"You. Are. Not. A. Bad. Person," mom grunted with each pass of the cloth. My skin felt raw when she finally dropped the cloth and sighed. "It's not coming off, Thomas."

I picked up a spoon and squinted at my reflection. It looked like the words etched in my skin had gotten darker.

"Can I stay home from school?" I felt the whine pour out of me like a siren. "If I go like this I'll become a pariah!"

"It's your own fault!" Mom snapped, turning back to Buddy. "I don't know what you did to earn The Mark, Thomas, but you'll have to undo it."

"Aw, mom! Everyone will think I'm a goody-goody!"

"Do you want to be known as a goody-goody or a pariah, Thomas?"

I stared out the window and watched a bird swoop down to the grass.

"I'll start in on some good deeds today, mom," I finally agreed. I bent over and picked up Buddy's fallen spoon. "Can I help you feed Buddy?" Mom beamed and nodded. As I shoveled orange mush into my little brother's bird-like mouth, I realized it was going to take a lot of good works to get the Bad Guy Mark off my head.

Good Deeds
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