Who Am I?

Welcome to #MysteryThrillerWeek2017. We continue today with a novella about identity questions.

All teens question who they are at one point in their lives. It’s a natural event when they disagree strongly with their parents or don’t look exactly like everyone else. What if your suspicions were more than that? What if you ended up in a place where everyone stared at you strangely or asked questions you wouldn’t answer? What if your own investigation reopened long suppressed memories and you began to realize your whole life was a lie?

Brooke English never belongs. She changes schools twice a year, as often as her looks and name change. Her thoughts about belonging to her "family" get even more viral when they stop in Landry, Georgia. Then things start to go wrong. Then Brooke starts to have dreams.

Will she find the answers she wants? Or will her worst fears become reality?

Mama opens the mail as Daddy drives toward the high school. He doesn't need directions, which has always spooked me. My parents do so much research about a town before we move there it's almost eerie.

"Oh, lookee." She waves a handful of credit cards over her head. "The limits are outstanding, Artie. We'll have ourselves a good time at the stores while our children are in school today. Brooke looks so adorable in her outfit. I just have to get her more like that."

My face flames with embarrassment, especially when Tim grins at me.

"Just don't get me that crap," he says. "I'll do fine in jeans and t-shirts."

"Oh, no," Daddy says. "You have to dress the part. We all do. No one can suspect we aren't what we say we are."

They sure are dressed for their new roles. Daddy has on a three-piece suit in navy blue. His dress shirt has what looks like white lines on top of the white, and the tie is black with little multi-colored squares on it. She wears a pair of slacks in black and a maroon shirt open at the neck, flashing a diamond necklace they somehow got at a store on our trip out here. I suspect they stole the necklace, since we never have much to spend during our moves.

He glances at Mama. "How many approvals?"

This is the part I hate, the part where they claim victory over supposedly tough credit rules to get a card. Usually, we get about a dozen cards for them to use. Once their limits are reached, the cards are destroyed, and any calls from collection agencies go ignored. They then start in on cards they've applied for before the credit for whatever name they are using is destroyed. The process goes on until they can't get any more cards, and then we're moving again with new names.

"There's eighteen in your name," Mama crows, "and twenty in my name. Oh, Artie, this is heaven. We can spend, spend, spend!"