Bay: I started reading Nothing, Everything the other night and saw that you had used a D/P myth, too. XD I was actually very excited about that because those myths make for great fan fiction devices. The Canalave library is so cool. ;___; I wish they had more books to read.
You might remember quite a bit from this first chapter, but I've added a newer beginning and tweaked some things here and there. Otherwise, it's pretty much the same. ^^
But that prologue is incredibly important, I'll have you know. In fact, most of that wasn't in their imagination at all.
Kiyohime: Yeah, I'll just bug you on Facebook. :P And hey, it wouldn't hurt to see a new story released by the infamous Miss Scrap. You know I'd be on it like a zombie on a leper.
Lady Myuu: Glad Yams could tell you about those myths. D: They are really something. They make my imagination go wild, nehoo.
Hurrah, the first chapter is here, and by Jove, it had quite a few grammatical errors before I revised it. :3 I think I'll post one new chapter on a weekly basis or something close to that, so no worries about falling behind.
CHAPTER I: PALLET TOWN
Trees swayed in the cool, autumn breeze, dropping their fiery leaves to the ground which would shelter the grass from the oncoming winter. The sun was high in the sky above Oaken Falls, a masterpiece metropolis of iron, steel, and glass wrought by cold-cut precision. Despite smog looming over the horizon of the seaside city’s landscape, its numerous skyscrapers were admired by both citizens and tourists alike as they created that sense of feeling small in people.
But really, Oaken Falls was never large to begin with. It had only begun its ascension to industrial presence and corporate power after stepping on the serenity of a small, quiet town in Kanto, nonetheless famous as the birthplace of modern Pokémon research.
To what depths had Pallet Town sunk?
A teenaged girl garbed in heavy, thick sweatpants and a sweatshirt jogged through Samuel Oak Park, sunglasses plastered to her face by the humidity. She breathed calmly as she pulled down her baseball cap over her forehead, admiring the beauty of the shrubs and colorful trees all around her.
As her running carried her further along the park trail, she soon encountered the center court, which was littered with trash, young couples making out on benches, and scavenger Pokémon digging in the rubbish bins for a midday meal. But the girl ignored them all completely, for the true regality and dignity of the park was embodied in a monument erected before her.
She stopped short and took time to pay her respects to the twelve-foot-tall, bronze statue of the legendary Professor Oak, forever preserved in time as the man with heavy-set eyes and a warm smile handing the first Silph Pokéball prototype to an eager child, and essentially, passing down his legacy of Pokémon research to a new generation dedicated to the exploration of the Pokémon world and all of the exciting adventures along the way.
It never failed to bring a tear to the girl’s eye, but her pride remained unseen behind those thick sunglasses. She slowly stepped up to the pedestal to read the inscription, which she had read a million times before as a child but had never fully understood until now:
Professor Samuel Oak, a lifetime resident of the town of Pallet, was a world-renowned researcher and possibly the greatest authority on Pokémon of all time. A loving, passionate man, Samuel Oak devoted his entire life to digging up the archaic mysteries of Pokémon, exploring their physiological functions, and raising his two grandchildren, Blue and Daisy, all in the same day.
He perished on an expedition to an uncharted island near the Hoenn region in a terrible shipwreck thirty years before the erection of this monument. It was an event that shocked and devastated the entire world. His grandchildren cannot survive his legacy as they, too, had joined him in his seafaring expedition to oblivion.
Samuel Oak Park and Oaken Falls, Kanto were, therefore, named after the famous professor, a unanimous decision made by the former city council of Pallet Town before its inception as a major city. We request that those who cross this statue pay a moment of silence to honor a professor’s accomplishments in understanding the creatures of land, sky, and sea, and recognize his efforts to maintain the harmony between man and beast.
You will be dearly missed, Samuel.
May you and your family rest in peace.
“What a joke, huh?”
The girl spun around to see some older boy leering up at the statue, shaking his head and laughing sheepishly.
“The idiot goes to look for his precious Pokémon, and then gets blown up on the way,” said the boy. “Sooo stupid.”
“What’s your name?” the girl asked.
“Okay, ‘Tommy.’ Where the hell are you from?”
“Well, I live here—”
“That’s not what I asked.”
“Uh-huh. And you know jack shit about Pallet Town and Professor Oak,” the girl barked, whipping off her sunglasses and advancing on Tommy. “That man had bigger balls than you’ll ever have. Why don’t you run back home to your mommy and go buy some Pokémon? God knows none of your human friends want to hang out with a blockhead like you.”
“Dude, whatever! Get away from me!” Tommy screamed, pushing back against the girl’s grey-eyed glare.
She then made a roaring noise in his face, which was enough to send him scurrying off like a disturbed little Spinarak. The girl placed her hands on her hips and grinned in approval, and then slipped her sunglasses back on.
Today was going to be a great day!
“Mom…do you ever wonder why the sky gets so gloomy?
She glanced at her son quickly before continuing to drive with her hands clutched on the wheel.
“I mean, it’s always been like that,” said the boy, peering out the passenger side window at the looming clouds above the planted trees along the streets with shining, blue eyes. “Always dark…it’s depressing here. Sinnoh was more vibrant. It was alive.”
“It’s called ‘pollution,’ Alex,” said the woman, stopping at an intersection and turning toward her only son. “This area became industrialized after Silph decided to spread the corporation; lots of other companies broadened their profits, too. The economy’s boosted since then, which is nice.”
Ms. Gregory would know all about the capitalistic world of business that had begun to consume the globe. After all, she had served as head advisor of the Pokétch Company’s ad campaign for nearly five years. Although she had left her position as representative of the company’s Veilstone branch shortly after divorcing her husband to pursue a quiet life with Alex in her custody, she could not help but relish the chance to flaunt her superfluous knowledge of the status of her former company’s rivals.
“But the small businesses don’t get by anymore,” said Alex, furrowing his brow before he looked out at the stoplight to wait for their signal to go. “Didn’t you say Pokémon Centers used to be free to use?”
“Does it matter to us?” she sighed, pushing on the gas pedal slightly as the traffic lights transitioned. “We don’t have Pokémon. One less bill to pay.”
“Yeah, but what if I ever wanted a Pokémon, mom?” the boy complained.
“Out of the question,” she replied smoothly, watching the road. “They’re far too expensive, and we just bought a house. Maybe you should get working to earn your own money.”
“I’m not even old enough to work!” Alex cried hysterically, rolling his eyes. “I could just go catch one myself!”
“First of all, do you think I’d even let you wander that far to go capture some monster and bring it home? For what? Ruining the furniture? The lawn? Secondly, do you really know if there are any Pokémon left in the area? You can’t catch any of that street filth!” his mother exclaimed, laughing with incredulity. “You can have a Pokémon—when I’m dead.”
“No, mom,” he replied heartlessly, “Because you’ll find some way to take it from me anyway.”
And with those words, Alex crossed his arms and stared out the window once more, just as Ms. Gregory whipped her head around to glare at him.
Let her gawk at me, the boy thought. He was right. Working at a rising corporation had only taught his mother ruthlessness—a trait that had transformed from something positive in the beginning of her career to something that hampered Alex’s own goals.
Growing up around the filthy streets of Veilstone where drunks came hollering out of casinos with their life’s savings spent and mobs lurked within the shadows of a nearby alley made the boy long for the life of his predecessors: the life of Pokémon Trainers. In those days, he would have been scouring the lands for fantastical Pokémon instead of going to school, doing chores, and watching television for hours on end.
Unfortunately, any dream he would have outside his mother’s expectations would be shot down right away. There was no excitement left in his life.
Ms. Gregory had turned back toward the road. The nerve of the boy—she felt as though one of her arteries was going to burst! Why had Alex become so unruly these past few days? She thought he wanted to move away from Veilstone and start anew. But the more the single mother pondered on her son’s callous remark, the more she realized that it was not the move that had aroused her son’s crankiness. It was her.
She started to see herself through Alex’s eyes as this cold-blooded bitch who domineered over all their family affairs. However, Ms. Gregory could never admit it to herself or to anyone else for that matter. Despite the overwhelming evidence of her controlling behavior, she convinced herself that it was in Alex’s best interest to never own a Pokémon.
But she need only watch her child’s expression in the rearview mirror change from frustration to pain to feel the guilt weighing down upon her again. She knew she was affecting him with the way she was acting all the time. Alex had always been receptive to the emotions of others surrounding him.
He was just like her…
Markets, businesses, and the sidewalks were booming with people bouncing around from one place to another, commuting back and forth to work, or to shop. Daylight poured into the valley of skyscrapers and glass, casting great shadows of power on the dismal outskirts of the city.
Small bands and singers performed and artists displayed their work along the crowded streets as customers flew in and out of ice cream and coffee cafés, laughing with pleasure and excitement. Some Flying Pokémon perched on statues and buildings while others dove into the plaza where a glorious fountain was situated, ravaging crumbs and searching for any dropped food. Everything was supersonic and buzzing.
In the masses of colorful bodies spread about the city, the young jogger girl crisscrossed her way to downtown Oaken Falls.
“’Scuse me…don’t mind me,” she called as she pressed between clusters of people.
Eventually, she made her way through to a three-story building with a great logo spread on a sign above the revolving doors leading within: Devon Products. Gradually strolling by it, she looked at everything in the glass display at the front. All sorts of electronic gadgets and new Pokéball prototypes glittered in the shining sun, all hanging on racks and placed on well-lit shelves. Most of them looked very interesting, but were fairly useless. After all, what’s a Pokéball without wild Pokémon?
Suddenly, out of the corner of her eye, one little gizmo caught the jogger girl’s attention.
She leaned in closer to block the glare on the window, and that was when she saw it: the newest Devon Corporation PokéNav model, Globe. Gaping at the round, smooth, electronic device glazed with a shiny coat of white paint and a glowing screen, she had almost fallen in love with it before another girl and her younger brother came walking up beside her, glancing at the same product and sighing dreamily.
“They’ve got all sorts of different colors you can get them in,” said the new girl to the jogger girl. “Metallic Blue, Strawberry Red, Tulip Pink, Obsidian Black—”
“Not to mention all the cool features!” her little brother cried, earning him a disapproving look from his older sibling. “Like, it has a VS Seeker built in, cell-phone, map, radio, digital music player, clock system…”
“Well, it’s my thirteenth birthday today,” said the jogger girl, grinning from ear to ear as she looked at the two other kids. “Maybe I’ll go have a look-see.”
Closing the conversation, the thickly-clothed girl walked past them and into the store while the siblings watched her.
She was soon greeted by the coolest breeze she had ever felt blasting from the air conditioning inside. Stacked along aisles and aisles were products of every variety and purpose and hip combinations of rock and techno music played over the lobby speakers. Buyers all around her were making purchases at the check stands and workers circled around the store like Sharpedo, desperate to earn a commission. Cold, sleek steel curved the store into an auditorium of technology and paradise for lovers of everything digital. The girl twirled in circles, basking in the brilliance of it all.
What to choose!
Why, it seemed like it was only a few seconds before she had her hands on a box containing a Metallic Blue model of the PokéNav Globe and cheerfully walked straight out of the store that security alarms were sent spiraling into mad frenzies of honking and beeping. Several clerks and a few security workers darted after her in response.
“HEY, YOU! MISS! GET BACK WITH THAT NOW!”
From their chilly cavern, the employees rushed out onto the sidewalk into the burning sun, shooting glances all around as their eyes worked urgently at adjusting to the vast amounts of light bombarding them.
Many people scattered at their presence as the clerks went about furiously, shouting and asking if anyone had seen where the thief had gone. Eventually, they were led to the two children who had spoken to her before by the display case, who also pointed out the direction in which she had run. The Devon workers immediately raced in that direction, hoping to stay on the trail of the perpetrator. Soon the city police had accrued at their tail, also swept in by the events of the clever, daylight robbery.
Soon enough, the police dismissed the workers back to the store and took the reigns over this case. Searching dutifully for the jogger girl, they wandered through the thick neighborhoods in the vicinity of the crime.
How they had lost her so easily, they were not sure. It seemed like she had just vanished into thin air with the Devon product! So they went around asking and interrogating individuals on the streets who had witnessed the scene to describe everything they possibly could. They also badgered several individuals who were far too busy to be bothered with such affairs. Their cause was defeated.
“I don’t think we can track her,” said one male officer to another, walking back from a street they had searched. “It’s rush hour, and she’s done it again. So much for catching the Daylight Robber.”
“Hold on a sec, Jakes,” replied the other, turning from the pathetic rookie to someone he was already questioning. “So you’re sure you didn’t see a young kid in all sweats come by here holding the stolen goods?”
“Yeah, I think so,” answered a soft-faced girl with long, brown hair and a red and white blouse. She pulled out a lollipop and sucked on it. “Except…I did see someone with sunglasses that went down Main Street into those cruddy-looking buildings over there. I don’t remember if they were wearing sweats, though. I was busy buying a new outfit for my party.”
Smiling and shaking the young woman’s hand, the officer thanked her and followed Jakes along the crosswalk back to their police cruiser.
“I don’t think Jenny will be too happy,” said the more experienced cop as he unlocked the doors. “This is the fourth time we’ve lost the thief, and she doesn’t seem to have a specific pattern. I think it’s best we put up more surveillance and posters so we can look out for her.”
“I think it’s ridiculous,” the other replied, getting into the passenger side. “Some kid just walks into a store, grabs expensive stuff, walks out, and seemingly vanishes.”
Later, they started the car and drove off down Main Street feeling pretty hopeless, angry, and fearful at the same time. Jenny was infamous in the precinct for her beatings with a nightstick.
Leaning out around the corner and listening to the sirens of the police howling over the streets and into the distance, the brown-haired girl in the red and white blouse frowned and sucked on her lollipop. Shaking her head and rolling her eyes, she pulled out a shiny-new cobalt PokéNav and placed it into her hand, experimenting with the buttons.
Concentrated on discovering the features of her latest prize, the girl walked calmly down the sidewalk and away from the crowds.
“This is Oaken Falls!” Ms. Gregory said as they pulled their car into the suburbs of a bright, neat city.
“Great,” said Alex sarcastically, staring out the window at ritzy houses and clean-cut lawns.
“Well, at least all those grey clouds you were talking about haven’t hit here yet. I guess it was a storm rolling on,” his mother stated quaintly.
Silence. Ms. Gregory sighed heavily.
“Listen, Alex, I’m sorry I’ve been so tense lately,” she blurted, gripping the steering wheel tightly. “You know how I get like this. But things are going to be different, I promise.”
“Don’t make me promises you can’t keep,” he shot back, looking at her in the eye. “Look what happened to your marriage.”
“Don’t you dare talk like that to ME,” she shouted, nearly pulling over into the wrong lane. “I am your MOTHER. I’ve taken much better care of you than your father could have. You know that, too.”
These facts stabbed at Alex’s heart. He knew them to be true. His father, Red Gregory, was now a lowly bartender working in Olivine City after his divorce from Janice. Red was a caring father who loved his son very much, but it seemed that the good looks and sharp wit that had landed him a wife had not been enough to hold together the thirteen-year marriage. Janice’s spot-free financial record and sensible bookkeeping made his own look hideous, which is what the judge had based his ruling for custody over Alex upon.
The boy sighed in defeat. There was no way to claim that he had more opportunity living with a bartender who made minimum wage than living with a businesswoman who had a reputation for success.
“We just…need to work this out,” she said wearily, exhaling. “Together. The first few months, we’re going to be on a budget you’re probably not used to, but soon, we’ll be able to do all sorts of things, and we’ll have a great time. I’ve been offered several positions from Silph and Devon. Maybe with a job again, I won’t be so anxious…”
Alex did not lift his head.
“And…who knows?” she said, turning and casting a smile at him. “Maybe when we’re all settled…a Pokémon could be permitted.”
Alex’s heart stopped cold. Did she actually say those words?
Janice hesitated before nodding. She had just relived a golden memory as a girl running through a grassy meadow chasing some Oddish in a game of tag…
“Really,” she confirmed. “And starting tomorrow, I think that we shou—”
“MOM, WATCH OUT!”
Confused, Ms. Gregory looked at a horror-stricken Alex, and then suddenly shot her eyes to the road in front of her—where someone was crossing the road and she hadn’t looked. Instinctively, she slammed on the brakes, feeling a thud and watching as the person in front of them fell to the pavement. She screamed brutally.
Frightened and livid, Alex took no time in opening his door and hopping out onto the street, running out to the person they had just hit. His mother soon followed, hand cupped over her mouth, hyperventilating.
As they pulled around to the front of the car, they saw a girl around Alex’s age with long, brown hair and wearing a red and white blouse. She stood up steadily, wincing and clutching her leg.
“Oh my God, are you all right?” cried Alex’s mom, rushing up to the girl as her son stood a few feet away. “Are you hurt? Do we need to take you to the hospital?”
“Ahh, no, I think I’m fine,” said the girl, gritting her teeth. “You just bumped me—I scraped my knee when I fell on the concrete. You just scared me. That’s all.”
“I am SO sorry,” Ms. Gregory responded, holding the girl by the shoulders and helping her dust off her clothes. “I should have been watching the road. Are you sure you don’t need to go to the hospital?”
“Well, it’s just my knee…”
The girl then glanced down at her leg, Alex’s mother followed her gaze, and on that exact spot, they found a fairly thick blotch of blood trickling down to her ankle.
“Well, we’re not too far from my house. We’re new here, you see, so I have some bandages packed in a box there,” Ms. Gregory clucked, leading the girl along to the side of the car. “We can get you a bandage, and then give you a lift home. Does that sound all right, sweetheart?”
“Um,” replied the girl, biting her lip and placing her hand on one of her bulging pockets, “I suppose so…yes. Thank you.”
“Oh, look what I’ve done! Oh dear oh dear oh dear, let’s get you inside the car now. That’s a girl, watch your step…”
Ms. Gregory had opened the backseat door for the young girl while Alex walked back to the passenger side, sitting down and shutting his own door. After a few minutes, everyone was inside and buckled up. Alex felt a bit awkward, so he tried not to say much. His mother then put her key into the ignition and started the car, proceeding to drive back on course to their new house as fast as she could without getting a speeding ticket.
Ms. Gregory told Alex to open the glove box and hand the poor girl some napkins to clean up the blood on her leg. After she threw the red-soaked towelettes in a little plastic trash bag in the back seat, there was silence between the three of them. Unable to stand the awkwardness of it all, Janice attempted to break the ice.
“Is your leg all right?” Ms. Gregory asked politely, watching the road carefully this time.
“Fine, ma’am,” the girl replied. The woman frowned at the simple response.
“So, darling, what’s your name?”
“I’m Anneliese Valsign. Most people just call me Annie, though,” she replied softly, her eyes wandering around the backseat. She felt almost obligated to speak as these strangers were graciously helping her.
“Well, pleased to meet you, Annie. I’m Janice Gregory, and this is my son, Alexander.”
“I usually go by Alex,” the boy piped up, looking in the rearview mirror at Annie. “It’s only Alexander if there’s trouble involved.”
Annie laughed, and the atmosphere seemed to lighten up a bit. Ms. Gregory smiled, and Alex couldn’t help but smirk himself.
“Same here. There’s a lot you can do to get into trouble in Oaken Falls,” said Annie.
“You know, this place has changed a lot since I lived here when I was a little girl,” said Ms. Gregory, scanning the horizon of buildings cluttered in the center of the city. “I remember when this place was just called Pallet Town.”
“Yeah, and Viridian City is just another district of Oaken Falls now,” said Annie, glancing out of the back windshield. “After development, they named it Oaken Falls for some famous scientist, I think…”
“Of course!” Alex’s mother exclaimed, getting an odd look from her son. “Professor Oak! I remember him dearly. He was the gentlest of gentlemen. We used to be his neighbors! Well, then again, the town was so little, everyone was practically a neighb—”
“Wait,” said Alex, hesitating and taking this in. “The Professor Oak? The inventor of the Pokédex…?”
“That’s the one,” said Annie, smiling weakly.
“Why the heck is the city named after him? Isn’t he still around?” asked Alex.
Ms. Gregory suddenly became solemn. Annie looked somewhat at loss for words. The tire axles hummed against the interior of the car.
“What did I—?”
“He’s dead, Alex,” the girl said.
“Died in a shipwreck. There was a tsunami and…they didn’t make it.”
“But I had no idea he was dead!” Alex cried, begging for innocence. “In all the books I’ve read, he was always talked about as if he was still alive.”
Ms. Gregory shook her head, blinking repeatedly.
“Sweetie…no dissertations on Pokémon research or discussion of Samuel Oak’s findings have been written since the professor’s death,” she said quietly. “Those books you’ve been reading are about as old as I am, if not older. There’s no interest in the field anymore.”
No interest left in the field? Alex could hardly believe what he was hearing! When the boy was not in the isolated safety of his house, he was always at the library. Books had been his marvelous escape from being trapped in the dirty world of Veilstone City. The boy would sacrifice his health by taking a walk to the library in the ever-thickening smog nearly every day as a child. He sought out fantasies and stories of his father’s generation hidden in textbooks sitting on every bookshelf, just waiting for him to uncover their secrets.
Never once had he read a book that did not reference Professor Oak and his work
But never once had he checked the publication dates, either. Could his death really mean the desertion of the wonderful things he had read as a child?
“Whatever happened to his lab? He had an observatory,” the boy muttered, slowly emerging from his disbelief.
“It’s still here,” said Annie as the car took a right turn into an older neighborhood. “His estate and lab are on the outskirts. They’re abandoned, though.”
“His fellow researchers couldn’t keep the funds and grants going long enough to maintain the laboratory,” Alex’s mother replied. “With their lead scientist gone, a lot of his assistants were just…discredited and dismissed. No one thought there was any quality left in the field of Pokémon research.”
For a moment, Alex analyzed this information. This man—this single human being had held together a scientific community and revolutionized the world as they knew it. After disaster struck, everyone just lost hope and faith? How could anybody ever stay held down by such tragedy?
“But that was a long time ago.”
Alex looked to his mother, and he thought for a moment that he saw tears in her eyes.
“I’m sorry I asked. I didn’t mean to stir the pot,” he apologized quickly.
“No, no—it’s fine, Alex,” said his mother, wiping her face with her free arm. “I mean…he was such a wonderful person. He was the heart of Pallet. It’s no wonder this place was named after him. I would have expected no less.”
For the last few minutes of their drive, they discussed the new aspects of the city and what sorts of things they could do there, such as going to the cinema, visiting museums, and activities at Pier Four on the edge of Kantonian Sea.
Meanwhile, Annie was trying her best to hide the fact that she had stolen a rather expensive item only an hour or so before they had all “met.” She was certainly proud of what she had done, because if everyone had to pay such ridiculous amounts of money for what they wanted, no one would ever be content. She considered herself more of a vigilante than a thief.
Out of the blue, Annie jumped to Alex’s side of the car to the window, gaping down the street outside, gasping, and then laughing.
“Is this the drive where you guys live?”
“Yes. Clear Creek Drive,” Ms. Gregory said with dignity, pointing to a two-story white house with red trim just a few yards away, complete with a couple of moving vans parked outside. “That’s our new home.”
“Seriously? Because I live just across the street!” Annie exclaimed, thrusting her head between the both of them, grinning crazily.
They all began to laugh as they spotted a nearly identical house directly across from their own, except with blue trim and an iron mailbox stuck at the end of the carport that read “Valsign.”
“If you’ll excuse me, I’ll just go home and get this thing washed up,” Annie explained, motioning to her knee as they slowed down to pull into their driveway. “My mom’s got tons of medical supplies.”
“You sure you’ll be fine, Anneliese? I think it would be best that you tell your parents what happened today. I should be held accountable for roughing up your poor knee!”
Annie’s thoughts wandered back to the dumbfounded looks on those cops who were scavenging the streets looking for her that afternoon. Ha, she would never be able to tell her parents about that. However, when the Gregorys started to pull their car next to the curb by her lawn, she snapped back to reality.
“Oh, don’t worry about it, Janice,” she quickly replied.
“No, really, I insist you let them know,” said the woman, although her pleading eyes told another story. Annie seemed to pick up the hint.
“It was just an accident! Nothing to worry about,” said the girl, opening the door and stepping out onto her lawn. Janice was incredibly relieved at her response.
“Well, don’t be a stranger!” Alex’s mom called. “We need to plan some kind of block party. If you want, you can visit us anytime! All right?”
Annie chuckled, and said before closing the door, “Sure! See you guys. Thank you again for the ride.”
Ms. Gregory waved at her cheerfully from behind the wheel, and she waved back. However, Annie’s gaze wandered to Alex, who was staring at her from the passenger seat. She watched him for a moment and stared back just as intensely into his deep, blue eyes. It must have rattled him, because after a few seconds, he turned away from her. She smirked, then turned around and walked toward her front door just before hearing their car pull into their own driveway.
A thought hit her, and she hesitated for a moment before she went into her house.
“Oh, I’ll visit,” she muttered to herself with wile. She then walked past the door and closed it tightly.
After they had parked the car, the Gregorys jumped out and went straight to the trunk, where they had packed their last bundles of supplies and clothes left from their old home. Together, they unloaded their possessions and carried them up the steps and onto the landing.
“Well, I think she’s a nice girl,” said Alex’s mother, watching him as he brought in an empty fish tank. “You should hang out with her sometime.”
“Yeah,” Alex replied skeptically, looking at his mom, then back toward Annie’s house across the street. “Sure.”
The slender form of a young woman stood on the side of Route One as cars and trucks whooshed by it carelessly. Here, the dark, dreary clouds withholding the weight of a hideous storm began to deploy their contents, little by little. She could feel the droplets plucking on contact with her coat and little beads of the stuff dripping along her rich, velvety hair. No one else could feel it coming, not even the absent-minded souls zooming by in their gas-guzzling cars without a care.
She could feel them warning her, telling her not to get involved. But they weren’t going to have any mercy for her. Why should she submit?
She stared at the “Entering Oaken Falls” sign with apprehension for a good few minutes, contemplating her fate.
Then, with the swift flick of the wrist, she lashed out a gloved hand clutching a pair of rusted, coppery keys and purposefully trudged alongside the road to her next destination, the rain trailing with her like a grudge.