Unbeautiful Page 1

Author: Jessica Sorensen

Series: Unbeautiful #1

Genres: New Adult , Romance

Chapter 1

The Escape Plan


Madness is my life, the only aspect of living I’ve ever known. During the day, my life is perfectly structured: school, cheerleading practice, time with my boyfriend, studying at the library. But the simplicity of my schedule nearly drives me to insanity. Too perfect. Too much order. Too much structure.

Once I’m at home, that structure silences as insanity swirls around me: pills, crying, screaming, my mother instructing me on what to do, my father dictating and nit-picking my every move. This has been my life for the last eighteen years. Every second of every hour of every day belongs to someone else.

Then nighttime comes.

Every evening when the moon and starlight kiss my eyelids goodnight, after my family and my house rise from the dead, waking up from the peaceful slumber it settled into during daybreak, I dream of chaos and serenity. Some might call what I dream a nightmare, a madness of the mind. Me, I think of it as a foreshadowing of what’s to come in my future, of what I hope to achieve one day.

Despite the terror the beginning of the dream brings, I willingly surrender to my drowsiness. My eyelids drift shut, and my mind sinks into darkness as the noises and cries from somewhere in the house flood the walls of my room and ghost across my bed, spilling madness over me like a heavy blanket.

In the center of the narrow street, I walk the long line stretching down the asphalt, near where the forest welcomes the dirt. There’s no one in front of me, no one behind. No wind. No noise except the flow of a river. I don’t know where the river is, have never been able to find it. But I try. Oh, do I try.




Calculated measures, step by step, with the moonlight as my guide, just like I was taught to do in real life.




To never…



Under my own free will.

To only exist on the line of the road, the map of my life my parents created for me.

But where does the road even go? To the river?

That’s what I’ve started to wonder. Started to question.

Unlike in real life, I violate the rules and allow my feet to break free from the slow footsteps they take. A slow jog at first, but then I move quicker, running down the street.

I start to lose sight of the moon as darkness encompasses me, the orb fading along with the stars.

“No, come back!” I always cry with my hand stretched out to them. “I can’t do this without you!”

Before I know it, my voice gets lost in the distance, echoing away into the trees and following the moon. All I have is the line on the road, begging me to follow it. Don’t break the rules. Follow the line to the end of the road, the end of your life.

I run down that line, past the woods, the trees. But the perfect line is guiding me away from the river to the end. A perfect journey straight to the end of life.

Perfect, so perfect, like everything else I’ve ever known.

I abruptly stop in the middle of the road, beside the silhouettes of trees.

What do I do? Keep going? Keep letting the line lead me? Stray?

Stray. Such a foreign, forbidden word, one I desperately want to taste. Live my own life that I structure. God, what I would give to have that.

Even though my muscles scream, I turn around and stare at the opposing end of the road. I can hear the flowing water beckoning me to find the river. To discover another route of life, one that twists and curves and creates its own path.

Before I can stop myself, I lift my feet off the line, off the road, off the only path I’ve ever known, and drift into the darkness of the trees.

That’s when I wake up, never making it to the river, never quite reaching the unknown path. God, do I want to make it there, though.

One day.



When I open my eyes, I’m surrounded by my bedroom walls. The cries I fell asleep to have shifted to incoherent chanting, a warning of what’s next. Soon, my room will be visited by the tall figure.

Most nights, I wonder if the visitor is my mother or father checking up on me to make sure I stayed in my bed, that I haven’t somehow escaped my restraints. There are other occasions, though, when the air doesn’t feel right, making me question if it’s someone else, like one of my father’s friends.

I usually call out from my bed, “Who are you? Tell me this time.”

In ritual, the person simply stares back. All I can do is lie helplessly in my bed until morning brinks and they vanish with the sunlight. Then the madness of my life starts again as my mother strolls into the bedroom to wake me.

“Time to wake up, Emery.” She strides for the window to unfasten the bars from the glass and sets them aside. Then she turns for my bed, leans over me, and unfastens the padded cuffs on my wrists. She leans back, and I sit up in bed, rubbing my wrists and breathing in the temporary freedom.

“You know, if you behave well, your father might allow you to sleep without the cuffs,” she says, stepping away from my bed.

I swing my legs over the edge and plant my bare feet onto the cool tile floor. “I’ve been trying to do the best that I can.”

“I know you have.” She flips strands of her black hair off her shoulder. “And I think, just as long as there isn’t another incident, you’ll be fine. You just need to prove your sanity and trustworthiness to him again.”


Is that what I had before my eyes were opened?

Pressing my lips together, I glance out the window at the homes and the bare land stretching around the lowly populated town of Ralingford, Wyoming. The small area is out in the middle of nowhere, away from civilization. The citizens abide by their own unique rules: such as a town curfew of seven o’clock, morning meetings about town laws only adults are allowed to attend, and my absolute least favorite, a split society. People rarely leave, and if they do decide to escape the solitude, they never return. I’ve always envied those people and have my own escape plan, which will hopefully lead to the dismemberment of this town.

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