Unexpected Change (A Short Story)

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Chapter 1

Chapter One

It was a mundane Thursday afternoon as I strolled down the street, heading home from school. I shook my hair loose from it's ponytail, a required part of our uniform. I despise having my hair up and always take it down immediately after leaving. I was taking the same route as I always did after school and I stopped to talk to Miss Whitney as I passed. "How y'all doin' Miss Whitney?" I asked, same as I did every day during the months it was warm enough for her to sit out on her porch. She was a little 80 - something, southern, grey-haired woman, whom I've known my entire life. She responded with the same old response "Half-deaf, half-blind, and all the way crazy. But thanks for checkin', Sugar." I smiled. "Where's your gentleman?" She asked. I immediately knew she was talking about Benjamin Kastleton, my best friend since first grade. We always walk home together, except he wasn't at school. If I didn't have work, I would go straight to his house and check on him. I told her I believed he was sick and she gave a little monologue on how I should date that boy. Everyone in town, not to mention both our families, thought the same thing. Eventually I said goodbye and kept heading towards home, the sound of her rocker slowly dying out behind me.

My name is Maybelle Grace Jones, Belle to all who know me. I am seventeen years old. I have lived in the same old tiny town in Georgia since the day I was born. Nothing changes here in Brookesburg; no one leaves (except through death), no one comes in (except through birth), and no one makes any trouble. I am a creature of habit and repeat the same routine every week: school on weekdays; work on Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday; hang out with Ben on Saturday; and church on Sunday. Nothing ever changes.

I arrived home at exactly 3:51, same as always. I had exactly 39 minutes to change into my work uniform and get a start on my homework, nothing new. That is, until the moment my world came crashing down. Literally. Our front door fell in with a crash, and a man I had never seen before came running in. I was stunned silent. In case I wasn't clear earlier, new people NEVER come into Brookesburg. Everyone I know I have known since either their birth or mine.

Not to mention his outfit was the strangest thing I had ever seen. He had on a white muscle-tank, green skinny jeans, combat boots, and a black trenchcoat. He looked like a combination of Sherlock Holmes and Forest Gump in his war days. And he wasn't some big, steroid-guzzling, iron-pumping man eater, either. This home invader was about 5 foot, 8 inches, and 120 pounds, if I were to stretch it. He looked fit, but a little scrawny. He has auburn hair and blue-grey eyes. If my very monotone life weren't flashing before my very eyes, I might have considered him handsome.

Oddly enough, the last feature I took notice of was the huge machine gun strapped over his shoulder. Within a split second of the removal of my family's front door, he screamed "RUN!" and instinct took in. Though I didn't know why the hunter would tell his prey to take off, I ran towards my parent's bedroom, the room farthest from where I had been sitting doing my homework. I tried to think of what Ben would tell me to do; he played war games like Call of Duty compulsively and was always telling me how to survive the craziest of situations. Then it hit me, I need a barricade. As I slammed the door and began the painstaking process of moving every piece of furniture I could find in front of it, I realized my parents wouldn't be home for hours. Janice, the Dairy Queen manager would definitely note my absence, as I never skip work or go in late without calling, but it may not arouse enough suspicion for her to call anyone.

Once I believed I had a proper barricade, I plopped down in the corner farthest from the door. I tried to regain control of my breathing. Adrenaline was coursing through my veins, taking up any room for fear. The noise from the front of the house was insanely loud. Crashes, bangs, curses, and explosions seemed to be occurring in the very house I sat in, but I didn't dare to go out the door to peek. Eventually, after what seemed like hours, but was closer to thirty minutes, I hear a loud thumping on the bedroom door.

"Who are you? What do you want?" I screamed. Silence may have been a better option, but it was kind of obvious I was in that particular room. I could only hope my barricade held.

"My name is Will Matthews. I just killed seven hunters who were surrounding your house and waiting to blast your head open. I have no doubts that more are on their way and they are not going to stop until they can taste your blood on their hands. You need to open up and come with me now." What?

"Why should I trust you? You sound like a crazy person!" I screamed. I heard a sigh on the other side of the door and then the sound of wood splintering. Apparently this guy has real door issues.

"What the hell?" I jumped up and got ready to fight (or more likely run). He had a few inches and a machine gun on me, so I wasn't exactly about to attack him. He came closer, and managed to pick me up and throw me over his shoulder. Matthew was definitely a lot stronger than he looked. I squirmed and struggled but didn't even get close to wriggling out of his iron-clad grasp. He was probably going to take my to his basement and chop me up into little pieces.

Except I wasn't his first victim, that much was certain. All across my living room and out onto the front lawn, lay dead body parts; a head here, an arm there, blood everywhere. I could hear assorted organs and bones squish and crunch under his feet and he carried me towards what I presumed was his car. What is going on?

He threw me like a sack of flour into the passenger side of his car, before jumping in and speeding down the road before I could even reach the handle. We drove in silence, him speeding and swerving like a maniac and muttering to himself, before I snapped. "You want to explain to me what is going on? And have you even driven a car before?" I ironically grab onto the side of the door and he swerves off the road and back on again.

"Well, Belle Jones, to put it simply, a lot of people want you dead. I just saved you from those people, and you can thank me before you keep yelling. And no I have not. I'm only 15, after all."

Part of my brain contemplated how he could be only 15, while the other have whirled with the thought of why anyone would want to kill me. As if reading my mind, Will answered for me. "Belle, have you ever noticed that you can do things other people can't?" My insides lurched in horror. How could he know?

Ever since I was eight or nine years old, I knew I was different from the other kids. I never had trouble making friends or getting what I wanted. People seemed to gravitate towards me, give me whatever I asked for, always point out my assets and never flaws. Even animals would follow me around. And even that wasn't as weird as when I started being able to predict what people were about to say...

I had always tried to cover up my many weird talents. Not let anyone know. So how could this 15 year old killer barge into my house and know my identity and my secrets?

"Belle, I am here to help you. I'm like you; I lifted my first car when I was ten and only got stronger from there. There is a lot of us where we're going, and they all need you."

"Me?"

"They need you to lead them, Maybelle Jones. You are the only one who can help." As I was trying to think of some kind of response to match the nonsense he was saying, Will surprised me by reaching over and pressing a wet rag over my face. It smelled sickeningly sweet and my head began to buzz until everything went black.

***

When I woke up, I had no idea where I was, only that I had the worst migraine I had ever had in my life. I sat up and instantly had to lie back down. It didn't help that memories came flooding back, did that psychopath 'Will' cut me open or something? I was in a dark room, with a large but plain bed, and one small dresser, anything else was outside the range of what I could see.

After lying down and contemplating how I was going to die for several minutes, I heard the door open. Someone pressed a glass of water into my hand and I instantly chugged it down, not caring if it was poison. "How are you feeling?" I heard Will's now unmistakable voice ask. I chose not to answer.

"Sorry I drugged you, it was better that you don't know where you are. When you're feeling better, I will take you to the training room."

"I'm not going anywhere with you!" I yelled as loud as I could and threw the glass in his general direction.

"Fine, if you don't trust me, go with him." Will growled and stomped out of the room, muttering to himself again. I couldn't sit up to see who he was referring to, but I managed to roll over and look before I felt like my head would explode. I barely made out the shape of his face.

"Ben?" I croaked out, before everything went black again.

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