An original story....

The main character's name is Valerie.

Chapter 1

All Dressed Up and Nowhere to Go


I'm not quite sure if I'm okay with the move. I mean, I want to be sure that there is more to gain in leaving than there is to lose. Not that I have much of a choice.

I've lived in this town all my life and it's so beautifully familiar, a blissful blanket of safe safe safe. How can I let that go?

I guess it doesn't really matter how, because either way I am leaving.


The sky is bright and clear, and I watch it at intervals during our entire drive (which lasts roughly 4 hours). The tires roll steadily, the road is smooth and our speed is high. My parents sit peacefully up front, my mom at the wheel. Me and the cat, Swish, lounge in the back. The gas tank of the 2007 Chevy Cobalt looks suspiciously low. I can't bother to point it out, tough. Running out of gas could really spice things up. Running out of gas on the Interstate, going 68 mph... well, talk about spicy.

Swish is making awkward cat noises. She is going to town, bathing her long silvery fur, salivating excessively. Up front, my parents share a few scientist jokes. I am uncontrollably bored.

I pop a few pieces of cat food out of the plastic ziplock baggie. I discreetly put a few on my tongue, curious.


I spit it out, inadvertently smushing it into my dark hair. My eyes tear up a little.

Looking back up, I find my parents beholding me in quite an awkward manner. Welp, I'm not sure how to explain this one.

I smile calmly. They turn back around and try not to question it.

Nothing else happens.


The town looks very old. I am okay with this. Our house is a block from downtown. One and a half stories, 2 baths, 3 bedrooms (can convert to an office), new deck, furnished basement, full sized kitchen, den, living room, 2 stall garage, cult of elephants chained to a tree out back. Prime locale. $97,000, non-negotiable. Don't call us, we'll call you.

My mom pulls us into the driveway and finally notices the fuel-O-meter and it's dangerously low calculation. She gives it a look, as if to say, "In the name of SCIENCE, how dare thou get so low!!" She lets it go. We made it here alive.

Dad looks back at me, "What do you think, kiddo?!"

He's so excited that I smile and tell him I think it's nice. I could have done with a simpler shelter, however. Like a cave or teepee. I mean, do people really need decks?

I pull Swish out of the car and take her up towards the house. I hear the moving van pull up for a rest, hugging the curb like a lover.

It's time to move in.


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