Byron Falls High School Class of 2015

What Next?!
The Change of Winter/ first day back

I remember the first thing I heard when everything was over was the sound of rustling paper.

As the panic subsided, breathing started to regulate and the pounding in my ears from the rushing blood began to fade.

Despite that, I didn’t move for hours.

Laying face down on the branch of an oak tree I struggled with my fear. The fear that if I so much as breathed loudly it would come back and try to claw its way up to me again; the huge claws would find the needed holds to work their way up the trunk and that snarling, snapping mouth would find more meaty bits than just my ankle.

Just my ankle. Funny how perspective can change about such an important part of your body. I had fits over the gopher holes and hills in the football field last year. My lead trumpet had twisted his ankle after stepping in one right before our state competition. . . It was a disaster, our whole set was based off of his solos. After hounding maintenance and petitioning the principle multiple times we finally had the gophers “removed” and the field was re-landscaped. Smooth as silk for the next fall.

Just my ankle. . . It took me a while, but I pushed myself up and leaned back against the tree. It hurt like hell but I was able to bring both legs up on the branch, my injured right ankle crossed over my left thigh. I tried to see how bad the injury was, but it was difficult to determine much past the fact that it was swollen and covered with dry blood.

Useful assessment.

After giving up on the ankle I looked around the bottom of the tree. My sheet music was still swirling around in the wind, bits caught in bushes here and there, some even in the crowns of a few of the shorter trees. My flute case was destroyed, in pieces at the base of my oak. The huge dog didn’t take too kindly to having it bashed across his face when I used it to make him let go of my ankle and had destroyed it before he left. The brute had grabbed hold of me when I tried to climb up when he chased me down, but his bite wasn’t good enough to bring me to the ground right away. Swinging down desperately with that case I got lucky when some part of it connected with something soft, though I think it let go more out of surprise than pain.

The sun had started to set when I finally got the courage to shimmy down the trunk. I planned to support my weight on my good leg when I landed, but lost my balance on a root. I collapsed in a ball when pressure hit that ankle. I can’t remember if I screamed or not, the pain was so bad it killed every other sense I had for what seemed like an eternity. When I was able to think again I looked around for something, anything, to support my weight.

Nothing was around but a two foot long stick about as wide as two of my fingers. I was about to give up when I saw something silver stomped into the dirt. Digging it out I found the foot of my alto flute, and after rooting around in the wreckage of my case I found its head and body. It actually wasn’t in bad shape considering what had happened to it. Pushing the pieces together it gave me a good three feet of metal to work with. Desperate for anything that would get me home I shoved the stick into the foot of my flute, cringing when I heard the bark scrape against the metal. I pushed myself up and tested some weight on the horrible creation. The metal screamed a bit, but kept its shape and the stick didn’t break. So far so good. I slowly hopped my way home, using the improvised walking stick only sparingly to help keep my balance. When I finally made it to the back porch it was after 8, and that meant waiting for my parents to get back from their date night, which wouldn’t be until 10 at the earliest. I went strait for the bathroom and started filling the tub. The bathroomed steamed up pretty fast due to the winter chill as I got undressed and gingerly peeled the socks off my feet.
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The Assassin & The Sword

This weekend was exciting…..

I came up with the grand idea to trap Morgan, like we had trapped Cricket, in a circle. This by itself sounds like a great plan. A fey, even an unseelie, one trapped can’t use her magic or physically harm us. Worst case it would slow her down long enough to ensnare with a braid of human hair.

I’m still working on collecting enough hair for it. Finding human friends willing to donate is the hard part. I need a spell for telling the difference…maybe I can get Olivia to help me make glasses to see who the veil is broken on or not.

Firstly, I need to figure out how to inlay a three metal circles in my ceiling…I might need Garrick for this. He’s so so on the magic and probably won’t recognize it for what it is. Devyn is in on the plan but I don’t trust him with a with tools in general.

I still need to collect the materials for the actual spell. There are only two material that are a little hard to come by. A branch from the Juniper tree and water from the pools of Avalon. The rest is easy and if I don’t have it Whitewood won’t miss it. I borrow components for spells and he’s never said anything before. Some girls hit up their older boyfriends for beer and drugs, I use mine to get salamander eyes and ground quartz.

The Juniper Tree was difficult to figure out, apparently there are seven evil unseelie Princes. For some reason Whitewood has been hiding this from me. I can’t figure out why? What am I going to do run off to the unseelie world to get at him for physically holding out on me. Well I am going to run off to the unseelie world but only for a weekend to get a tree branch that’s not revenge it’s magic practice. Pools of Avalon, I know where they are and with Warren hiding out somewhere else, probably kidnapped by some gate loving cult, it won’t be hard to sneak in.


I discovered some bad news just before we left for the unseelie world. Mishka can’t travel through Mistletoe’s world, I haven’t been able to decipher Mistletoe’s name yet, because he’s one of the weird werewolves. So we have to travel through Elder’s world. I’m really worried about this. Supposedly, you can live but the book explains that they hate that plan it’s really bleak.


Well, I have survived a trip to Blackthorn, Rowan, Elder, Juniper and Avalon all in one go. The unseelie world is really messed up. First we get there and Blackthorn’s world is kinda odd. Rowan, the anchor not the prince, was really creeped out too so he was moving us briskly. We must have been noticed though because he took off in a gallop and I swear I hear six hoof beats behind us. Not six horses or one and half horses. Six hooves hitting the ground. Thankfully we didn’t see anything though.

Rowan’s world was really quite. The prince this time not the anchor. I don’t know why it was quiet or why we never saw him. The book did say he was really lazy. I don’t care though it was one less hassle to deal with.

Elder’s world looked a lot like a forest out of a movie. Completely normal filled with completely normal woodland creatures. OH WAIT! NONE OF THEM HAD EYES! It was soooooo creepy but we carried on with only one world to go to Juniper. Then Olivia spotted this patchwork mocking bird in a tree. It didn’t have the empty eyes but it was obviously made from a lot of different mocking birds. It flew fairly close to us and Mishka spiked it like a volleyball. It crashed into the ground it’s head barely attached and wing at the wrong angle. So much for stealth. He got to the bird first. We had something just short of a Mexican stand off for who go to keep the bird. Magic vs Werewolf. It wouldn’t have been pretty. Reason won the day though. I was the only one who could repair the bird and we needed to keep moving.

Juniper was were our luck of not running into any unseelie Princes failed. I swear we’d been there ten minutes when he found us. Feihelmden, the Prince of Juniper, Morgan’s Assassin and all around bad guy. My skin cracked. I’d been doing so well at holding the human form in the fey world but he broke my concentration. We were able to barter with him for safe passage. It cost us his brother’s birthday. Totally worth it. I wasn’t taking it home.

Mishka climbed the Juniper tree, once he found it. Feihelmden followed us the whole way…it was creepy. Then the werewolf and the panther anchor had a fight. He owes us four favors now and took us to Avalon. He likes his mother about as much as I like mine.

Avalon was a disaster and a half. I WOKE UP THE SEELIE ARMY! It was a complete accident. We saw Excalibur was we ended at the bottom of a dried up moat. Of course we were going to go play with it. The problem happened when I touched the sword and it came free. I blame my mother for this. It’s probably not Dad’s fault. Then there was a LION who was threatening us with his big claws when we entered the room with all the sleeping sidhe. I gave him the sword and claimed we were bringing it back to Arthurion. He bought it but who knew that was the key to waking them. We managed to get the water but almost had to take Arthurion home with us. Mishka talked him down, I think it’s a warrior bro thing. I’m not complaining. I was still really shaken up from the confirmed royal blood and unseelie world. We got a nice escort back to Byron Falls though. Easier trip out ever.

Olivia sent Whitewood pictures of the fey world with Feihelden in them…..Whitewood is going to be so pissed.

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Call of the Wild
The Hunt

The morning sun crested over the hills and shined a bright light through the trees. A patchwork quilt of shadows was cast over the sleeping bodies of five naked teenagers. To the outside observer this would look like the lingering remnants of debauchery and drunken sex. And for the most part it was, except, there was no alcohol, nor sex. There was however, a plethora of excess and self-indulgence. The last evidence of this excess was the blood stained snow and the dead deer by the tree line. It could have been worse. It could have been a whole herd of sheep. But the Bryon Falls pack was small, and they hunted bigger game last night. The deer was a sacrifice necessary to fuel the hunt.

Mishka was the first to wake. He sat up and rubbed his eyes. Every muscle in his body screamed in protest. A jolt of pain shot up his spine. The sounds of cracking bones soon followed. Suddenly the vision of last night’s adventures flooded his head. Mishka fought back the pain and squinted his eyes as flashes of what happened last night rushed back to him. First was Cricket, the blond Fae he and a few of his friends were trying to ensnare. The Fae was under a curse of sorts, possession by another Fae. From what Mishka could understand, Cricket has two personalities, Dream Cricket and Nightmare Cricket. Two separate beings, but also the same. Nightmare Cricket has possessed Dream Cricket, and was disguised as Dream Cricket. It made more sense when Lolly explained it to him yesterday. The best Mishka could figure out was the Fae were like the forest Fairies from his homeland. Although, they don’t like being called fairies. Mishka, Lolly, and Olivia were trying to catch Nightmare Cricket so they could free Dream Cricket. But during the fight Cricket managed to escaped their trap and started running. The next thing Mishka remembered was his instincts taking over. Instincts triggered by the moon and the scent of prey. There was moment of pain that coursed through his body as he ran. Mishka had experienced the sensation numerous times in the past. After the pain subsided, the tunnel vision set in. All Mishka could see was the Fae in front of him. Cricket sprinted through the forest like a terrified rabbit. Running and jumping in zigzagged patterns meant to confuse her pursuers. He remembered chasing the frightened Fae through the woods allowing his animal instincts to take over. He also remembered his friends chasing after Cricket as well. Although, they chased Cricket not to trap her, but to protect the Fae… “From whom?” Mishka thought to himself. “Oh, from me.” There was a moment of guilt as Mishka jumped to the inevitable conclusion of Cricket’s fate. Another vision quickly distracted Mishka from his guilt. This vision reminded Mishka of the others who joined the hunt. Friends he remembered running with from school – and the rival who joined the chase not as a competitor but as kin. After that everything was a blur. Mishka remember catching their prey, but he does not remember what happened to Cricket. That was part of the curse. Once the excitement of the hunt takes over, all sense of humanity was gone. All that was left was the raw primal animistic instincts. Mishka looked down and saw the blood on his hands. Then there was lingering taste of iron in his month. In a panic he looked around, afraid the blood was Cricket’s. He spotted the carcass of a completely devoured doe by the tree line. Two wolves pick at the remains, but soon lost their resolve and ran into the woods as Mishka started to stir. Mishka licked his lips and sniffed his hands. The blood smelled and tasted of deer. Mishka was relatively satisfied that the blood did not belong to Cricket, but he was not sure. It was possible that blood from the deer was masking the scent of the Fae. But from Mishka’s limited experience with the Fae, Cricket’s scent would take more than deer blood to cover. His running friends from school were lying with him on the snow-covered ground. Lolly and Olivia were not with them. Everyone was naked. Not by choice, but as a side effect of the lunar hangover. Together they rested as a pack, probably to conserve energy and share warmth during the cold night. Mishka stood up. Again his body protested. The original transformation was painful. But when it happens, there was usually enough adrenaline coursing through your body to dull the pain. The transformation back did not have that same luxury. Mishka walked over to the dead deer and examined it. “Thank you for your blessings Lesnik “ Mishka said quietly, unsure if Lesnik could hear his pray so far from his homeland. His thoughts then turned to Susi, the charming red head from school. She was the only female in the group. To the uninitiated, this would appear to be a dangerous place for a lone female. One female in the midst of four males governed by primal urges. However, she was as safe as every other member of the fledgling pack. She was asleep next to Donnel and Raul. Now that Mishka had moved, part of her body was exposed to the elements. She reacted to the cold by curling up into a ball and snuggled in closer to Donnel and Raul. “Who was the pack’s alpha?” Mishka thought to himself. He remembered taking lead during the hunt, the spot designated for the Alpha, but he was the new kid in town and he was the newest member of the pack, if they would have him. “Perhaps it was because it was his hunt, and the pack joined in after it had started was why they let him keep the alpha’s spot.” Mishka concluded. “Or was the pack without an Alpha?” Mishka decided now was not the time to reflect on pack’s hierarchy. The pack was safe for the moment. He shifted his focus on getting clothes and warmth. “I need to find out what happened to Cricket.” Mishka said to himself. “And apologize to Lolly.” She asked him for help, and he let her down. Mishka started to slowly trudged toward the cabin in search of clothes and blankets, and Lolly.

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Bats Posed to Soar High Over Rivalton
School Paper

Bats Posed to Soar High Over Rivalton

By Micah Kurt

Zane Brady returns to the helm for one more chance at bringing home a state title. Byron Falls was state champions eight years ago when Connor led the team to its first state title. The senior and team captain is excited at Byron Fall’s chances this year. “Practice hard, winning comes easy,” said Zane after practice this week. Later he added, “We’ve practiced hard during the offseason, and the sophomores and juniors have really stepped up their game.” However, the road to a state title will not be an easy one. This week the Byron Falls Bats travel to Rivalton to take on the Weasels. Rivalton is eager to settle the score from last years final regular season defeat to Byron Falls. Team captain Kurt Ulric is returning for his senior year with Rivalton. “Kurt is a strong player and has a smart eye for the game,“ Coach Morris was commented in saying after practice. However, Coach Morris feels confident the Bats are up for the challenge. Coach Morris went on to say, “We had a really good week of two-a-days, and practice all this week was productive and full of hard hitting football. All that hard work will pay off Friday night.” Kickoff is 7:00 p.m. at Rivalton High School Stadium. The Booster Club is hosting a pre-game tailgating event at Byron Falls stadium at 3:30 p.m. The team bus and caravan will depart at 4:30 p.m. Remember to wear your blue and silver in support of your Byron Falls Bats.

Football
Byron Falls Schedule
9/6 Rivalton – Away
9/13 Madison – Home
9/20 Ashland – Home
9/27 Middleton – Away
10/4 Greenville – Home
10/11 Jackson – Away
10/18 Iowa Town – Home
10/25 Centerville – Away
11/1 Salem – Away
11/8 Rivalton – Home (HC)

Photo courtesy of Brandon Shinji Thomas.

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Letter from Rocky (aka calrification)

The letter Rocky Left (aka Mandy realized she left out major plot points, sorry about that)

Hey guys,
By now you’ve probably noticed I’ve disappered. Not long after I had the accident with the box and turned full Huldra, Nana told me that Full Huldras need to spend time in the Earth Fae realm, every so often. Expecialy when puberty hits. Truns out that the longer they stay away from home, the nuttier they go (figures). Being half, it was more of a formality, but not nesessity. Getting suddenly changed like I did, she wasn’t sure how soon I’d have to go, but the sooner the better. I have been putting it off. I can’t just dart in and back out, like other Fae Realms visits. It’s more reminicent of Orin needing to go home to recharge, he’d stay longer if he wasn’t still technicaly banished. The longer the visit is put off the longer the visit has to be. First visits are apparently the longest. I’m sure you can see why I’ve been putting it off. I’m not sure when I would get back. Could be tomorrow, or 10 years from now.
I can feel the madness creeping on the eddges of my brain. The wierdest things start getting blown out of porportion. I’m getting moodier and irrational …. or more so than my usual self. I’m writing this in one of my calmer moments. I know when I go it will probably be durring one of my bad moments. I’m sorry if I do something to make you up set or hurt you. To be honest I’d rather go prank Delano’s house than go on this undertaking. I hate the thought of leaving you short handed so I hope the items I left you are useful.
Here’s to hopeing the time difference works in my favor and I’m back before you even know I left, but not counting on it.

Hope to see you soon,
Rocky

P.S. IF you need any of my stuff while I’m gone, feel free. Just don’t scratch up my motorcycle.

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good bye

I can’t put it off any longer. I’ve been putting it off for months. I kew I had to leave, but I didn’t want to. It’s not right, but it’s the way it has to be apparently. No one is going to miss me. They all have thier own lives. They don’t need me. I was hopping to graduate with the others, but looks like it’s not going to happen. I guess in reality no one thought I would, how many years was I voted most likely to drop out? Without Dustin I probably would have. At least he’s in a suportive enviroment with Mom and Dad. I think he’ll acttualy go to college after high school. I gave Hooch to Dustin’s little sister. They bonded really well, and I told Hooch that she is his to take care of. He knew I was leaving and handled it well. If he didn’t have her, he may have tried to follow. Trish and Trevor will be alright. Tiewaz was given the order to obey Lolly among his usual protect orders. He will only listen to Lolly and I. I left my Phone in Micah’s Locker. He’s going to need it.Lolly can explain how it works. Shame that I have to leave when so many cute guys joined the school. I left my Angel Monocle in Olivia’s Locker. I have a feeling she’ll need it. I left a not explaining how it works. The rest of my stuff is packed up in storage, If I ever come back I can get it. I hate leaving with the gates open and the Unseelie coming through, but what good could I do? I don’t have strong magics like Lolly, or can make useful potions like Olivia. I’m sure Micah will fill any void I leave be hind. He seems capable enough. I’ve been a side note for a while now. None of them even remembered my birthday. Nana is right. It’s no good putting it off.
Scene Cut
Rocky and Nana Eleanor in full huldra form walking in the woods. There is a golden shimmer and they vanish.

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First Day Gets Complicated

The first day of school went well, accept for the whole Mr Delano getting read the riot act in his office. Things were loud and then the filing cabinet came through the window and well we decided it was time to leave.

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Yeah Junior Year
Things Get Complicated

The trip home from Japan was uneventful, accept for the rough landing at the end, okay the crash. A couple of days in the hospital and I was left with a broken leg. The first day of school and Lolly would not let me drive, so I had to tell her that I was giving Sadie a ride. There I was in the limo with Lolly, Trixie and then Sadie. That was the quietest ride ever.

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Summer of Junior Year

This summer has been Psychotic! Lolly’s Sweet 16th birthday almost had a star invasion. Brandon and I hid the giant ice swan sculpture at the lake. Some where along the line it came alive, and is living in the lake, not melting, had has been given dragon feet to waddle around on. Believe it or not but I had nothing to do with giving it feet. That was Olivia and Cricket’s doing. Olivia some how made Amber psychotically of her and Cricket’s friendship and only a promise from Warren to make sure Olivia and Cricket are never alone together kept her from blowing up the northern half of the continent. I got a job at the Vet office. It has a capture and release program for supernatural creatures. Catch them and then put them back in the right realm if possible. I thought the spirit realm had weird shit. Olivia’s Aunt, Uncle, and Cousin moved into town (may have been before summer), and around the 4th of July the Mom’s got into a Better home and gardens war to see who could out do each other with pseudo-patriotism celebration. Uncle Sam exploded over those 2 houses. This is what you get when Earth Fae and Glitter Fae compete with each other in non Fae areas. I blame Olivia’s mom for some how convincing my mom in to entering me (and Olivia) into Miss Teen Byron Falls. No Escape! I don’t know what I did to make mom so Mad at me. What ever it is mom I’m sorry and will never do it again! Just tell me what it was! Olivia was eliminated fairly early. Because Ami wasn’t there I ended up with second place. No one knew I knew how to play the Violin. My secret is out. I think if Lolly thought I would beat her, I would have had an “accident” That girl gets scary competitive. I wonder if that’s her star crazy showing up? So on the 4th there’s the hubbub of parade and usual craziness. I couldn’t find Kye all day (turned out he was partying by the pool) What I did find was Snotlings. They look like if you took a creature from the movie critters, shaved it and painted it green, you have a Snotling. The little Boogers were breaking into my room and trying to steal the Hope Chest! I called for Scooby gang back up and went to fight the intruders off. I’m kicking and swinging sending them flying when next thing I know I’m falling into a dark place of pain and agony. It felt like I was in there a life time, but it was probably a few moments. I vaguely remember being crawling out of the chest and blacking out due to pain or drugs. Maybe both. When I woke up Nana was there, caring for me. I had turned a full Huldra. I have a hole in my back my tail has gone crazier, and I look all stretched out. I was already tall. Now I feel twice as tall. Ok maybe a foot or so, but when your constantly hitting your head you feel like Gulliver in Lilliput. My guise looked awkward while it was still reshaping to my new form. Anorexic runway models watch out, here comes Rocky. I look starved to death, but I’m stronger and tougher. My already shoddy attention span is gone. Every thing looks different. I was so out of it, when I saw Warren I almost got my self blasted into oblivion. I accidently made a short joke at him. I forgot I was taller than him before the change. He hates being short, but is stuck with it. I didn’t mean to call him short, but it happened. Good thing I can run fast. Who needs a car to go from 0 to 60 in 4 seconds when you have a Huldra running for her life. On the 5th the Scooby gang got to hang out in Japan for a few weeks. Olivia and Zane were humping like rabbits a good portion of the time. Brandon got Lolly to cos-play and I pretty much ran free all over the place. It was fun. 3 weeks with no disasters to take care of. Best Vacation ever! The Plane ride both ways was horrid! Small, tight, confining places with no where to go or any thing to do. I’m pretty sure Olivia and Zane joined the Mile high club. When we got back I found out Kye is staying in California and wants me to move in with him… This summer seems to like kicking my feet out from under me. I told him I’d have to think about it. I’ve never been to Cali before. I mean, it can’t be worse than Spain or Japan so I’m not sure if it’s the area or the offer that scares me. We haven’t slept together yet and he wants me to move cross country with him. He’s a creature of the sea, and I a creature of the forest. I don’t know if it would work. I’ve not even told him yet I’m a full Huldra yet. I’m losing him to the sea. Do I drag it out and try and painfully hold on, Like trying to hold sea water in my hands; Or do I let him go and wish him all the happiness in the world?

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Memories of Family
I remember, when I was a small child Dad would tell me stories about his travels in Europe when he was in and just after college. He studied ancient cultures in college, the Vikings were his favorite. He studied abroad in Norway and spent every summer on Viking dig sites and in Scandinavian museums, when not camping and hiking the forests. I miss looking at his photo albums, so many pictures of places he’s been and people he’s met. He even met my mother while on his first hiking trip though the Scandinavian forests. He was camping near a small town, (I can no longer recall want its name was) when under the light of a full moon he saw the most beautiful woman he had ever seen strolling through the forest. Before he could call out to her she disappeared into the night. Dad said he thought he had seen a wood elf and went back to his tent. A few days later when he went back into town, he saw her again at the market buying food. He went up to her and tried to ask what her name was, but she did not speak English at the time. He tried to use his language guide book, but he failed so badly, a shop keeper had to step in and translated what he was really trying to say and not calling her a fish. For Dad it was love at first sight, but it would be many years before he could tell her. When he got back to college first class he took was Scandinavian languages, it was on his to do list of curriculum but she inspired him to focus on it first. Every summer he would camp in the woods where he first saw my mother and once he was officially studying in Norway he was back to that village every weekend he could. Mom thought he was a weirdo at first, but as he got to know her better and speak sensibly she fell for him as well. She would go visit him at college and sometimes at the digs. The digs had a tendency to creep her out, but she claimed that dad would get the most adorable look on his face when he gets excited. (I think she said that to make Dad blush, he would turn so red that his whole face and neck would turn red). They got married after Dad graduated from college. They traveled all over the world together till Mom was pregnant with me. She had learned English from him so they decided to move closer to his family, (I guess Vermont was as close as he wanted to get. I never met my Uncles or Grandparents till much later. I guess connecting with his family didn’t go as well as he hoped.). A few years passed and my brother Mikey was born. We traveled around quite a bit at first, but as I got to school age Dad insisted that we stay in one area. Mom wasn’t too thrilled about living in suburbia Vermont. If we were to settle down, she wanted to do it back home near her family. I didn’t know why at the time this would cause so much argument between them. All I knew was to take Mikey and hide when they would fight. Mom would get this wild look in her eyes and would revert back to her home language. Things would often go flying. Mom had a temper to match a Furry. I remember the last night. Mikey and I were already in bed when the fight started. I don’t know what it was about at the time, but it was the worst one I ever heard. They were in the kitchen, I could hear dishes shattering. I crept out of bed to check on Mikey, he was sound asleep so I climbed out the window of my bedroom and into Dad’s garden. It felt like a sanctuary there and the sounds of the fight were muffled. Suddenly there was an explosion from the house. The Kitchen area looked like a bomb had exploded. I couldn’t get in the house from any of the doors, so I climbed back up the tree and into my room, the hall way was already on fire, down stairs was an inferno. I tried to get to Mikey. I could hear the fire engine and sirens, I knew help was coming but I had to get to Mikey. As I opened the door to his room another explosion shook the house. I held on to the door for dear life. The smoke was thick but in the dark room I could see Mikey hiding under his bed crying. I start to run towards him as I felt hands grab me around my waist and pull me away from my brother just in time to see the floor beneath him give way and drop him with the bed on top of him into the fiery inferno below. I kicked and screamed trying to escape my rescuer, but to no avail. At some point I blacked out. He took me out of the fiery hell pit that was once my home. The house burnt to the ground along with the garden. The fire fighters were hard put to keep the neighbor’s houses from catching on fire. I keep a copy of the report. It’s surprisingly easy to figure out what happened with hindsight. The house had been a fixer upper when we moved in and Dad tried to do all of it him self, even the gas and the electrical wiring. We also kept propane and gas cans in the garage for camping events. Dad loved taking my brother and me out on his ATV. The garage was next to the kitchen and below Mikey’s and my rooms. Mom must have thrown something that messed with the gas stove and caused it to leak while arguing. They probably didn’t even notice the smell. Then something caused a spark. I don’t know what. Either something was thrown, or Mom tried to make some tea. I don’t know. What I do know is that they didn’t survive the explosion. Mikey died of a broken neck, from the bed and fall crushing him. At least he didn’t suffer slowly in the fire. I didn’t even notice that when the last explosion hit I was on fire. The back of my night gown had caught on fire and the polyester fused to my back as it burned. I don’t really remember any of that. I was in the hospital for weeks before they found a relative to ship me off to. Dad had a brother. I was still in a daze for a long time after the fire. I wasn’t with “family” very long before I was shipped off to an orphanage in New York. I can’t even remember much about Dad’s brother or his wife. Never knew their names and just called them Uncle or Aunt. I remember them arguing about me with the Child Protective services. They didn’t want any thing to do with me. They kept referring to Mom as an outsider. I thought they didn’t like Europeans or something like that. (I didn’t know Mom wasn’t human). They flatly refused to pay any the hospital fees and did not take me to a doctor for any follow up appointments that I needed. I was still in a lot of pain from my back and they often would strike my back when they did not like something I did or did not do. One stormy night a strange man showed up to the house and Uncle and &Aunt looked relived. I could have sworn that when they opened the door lightning flashed behind him. He was the scariest man I had ever seen, tall, thin, gray, solemn, and had a cold air of death around him. (He looked like the reincarnation of Judge Frollo from the Disney movie to me) He wore a long black coat and a black hat, I thought death had come for me and they had told him where I am. Before I could get my feet under me to run away they grabbed me and shoved me at him. He took a steel hard grip on my arm with one hand, while taking a fat envelope with the other. I panicked. I screamed and kicked and fought as hard as I could to get away, but my Uncle backhanded me across the face so hard, I blacked out. I woke up in the back seat of a car and the Gray Man opening the door to drag me out. I was conscious but my mind was numb with fear. I did not know where I was, but was convinced I had been sold to the Gray Man. After hauling me out of the car and into an old building he pushed me towards an equally gray woman, who led me down dark halls and tossed me into a room full of sleeping children. She told me to go sleep in an empty bed, and then shut the door behind me. I quietly did as I was told. My mind racing so bad I couldn’t have slept even if I wanted too, that and the large welt on my cheek my Uncle had given me. I waited in the cold dark room waiting to see what horrors would befall me by dawn. I am pretty sure that my Aunt and Uncle told Child services that I ran away, if the ever checked up on me. When the shock wore off and I realized where I was, I was angry. Angry and hurt and felt that I should have died in the fire with the rest of my family. I quickly became the monster child of the orphanage. Even when I didn’t do something wrong it was blamed on me any ways. I learned there were multiple hells, and I had been through three of them in less than a year, Pain, Abandonment, and Agony. I believed them when they told me that no one would want me. I was too scared to be pretty enough to adopt, too stupid to make it though school and become something better, too lazy to even car about trying. By age 7 I had given up on the world. By the age of 9 I had a gang of fellow misfits I considered friends, as we would terrorize the school, orphanage, and neighborhood that we lived in. Until the Rhoads came to the orphanage and saw something in me that none of the other potential parents ever saw.
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