Chapter One

According to them, my story is fiction. I’ll leave it up to you to decide.


My story begins in a quaint little town called Cherry Valley. A young girl with industriously absent parents sneaks off into the night. The headlights of a rumbling car flicker on and off at the end of her street.

A group of teens struggle to keep their volume low as she approaches. Turning the dial left, the young driver whisper shouts over his shoulder, “Get in the back, B.”

“What? Really?” B. groans. “Kch,” he clucks with his tongue and teeth. “You fucking suck,” he adds, grumbling beneath his breath.

“What was that,” the driver changes the station on the radio, not affording B. so much as a glance.

“Nothing… I said Nothing.” B. huffs as he grabs his backpack and opens the passenger side door.

The second he realizes he’ll be sitting next to Maddy, B. perks up. Madison is not so enthused.

Keeping both hands on her purse, Madison gives up her window seat. As she does, Sarah jumps on J.’s lap. J has a girlfriend (not Sarah), but sometimes he forgets.

As Sophie reaches the car, Seth reaches over and lifts the handle of the passenger side door. He pushes it open, and Soph leaps through. She lunges toward him with the warmest embrace.

As she sits back in the seat, she notices Seth’s smile doesn’t reach his eyes. Her own fades. Something’s wrong… but, before anyone else can catch this exchange, she fixes her smile back in to its place. Everything is fine… everything is fine.