The first chapter of Come Nightfall is officially live on Wattpad and Figment! I’ll be updating the story every other Friday, with a preview in the middle of each publishing.
So, here below is the initial draft of Chapter One, if anyone was interested in reading it as well. Make sure to check out the story!
It only took three days for my mother to break her promise.
It wasn’t a surprise; she wasn’t particularly good at keeping them. She made them all the time, ones like “I’ll be at your recital” or “I’ll be home for dinner”, but she is rarely able to fall through. Her empty words used to make me angry, but after so long I got used to them. They followed me like a shadow, manifesting a ghost in the absence of her presence. At least I had those to keep me company.
To this day I can still say her worst promises were spoken as my father was dying. If I close my eyes and try to recall hard enough, I can still perfectly picture my mother clutching onto my father’s hospital bed, tearfully promising “you’ll get through this” to the rhythm of his beeping monitors. He would smile at her, his face fatigued from fighting for too long. He was used to her useless words as well.
She tried to say we were going to be okay after we gave our final goodbyes, but that was one promise she couldn’t even attempt to make.
Now, our new home echoed her most recent broken promise. The words all blended together, continuously bouncing off the bare walls and hiding in unpacked boxes. “This new start will be good for us” and “I’ll be there for you, I promise” relentlessly mocked me in my mother’s soft tone as I sat in our new living room. Her subtle ghost greeted me in the form of fresh coffee stains spilled on the floor, probably from her rush to get out the door early in the morning.
New start, old us.
Trying to repress the slight disappointment I felt, I reached out for the packet of information that we received from my new school. Welcome to Arlee High, home of the Eagles! emblazoned the first page. Fumbling through the papers, I found my class schedule, map of the school, and other various items regarding my transfer. I didn’t feel the particular need to go, but I knew that I needed to put effort into school. I wouldn’t ever approach my mother about it, but I knew she had considered sending me to a private school. A few weeks after my father’s funeral I had come across the brochures, each of them scribbled with notes about costs and distance. I’m not sure what made up her mind about me staying, but I didn’t want to give her a reason to change it.
So, school it is.
Closing the door on my shell of a home, I began to cross our unnecessarily large lawn to the edge of the dirt road. Arlee High was located in the center of the sleepy town, much farther than I should be walking. Of course my mother forgot that my car was in the shop and that I would need a ride. Letting out a sigh, I weaved on and off the empty road, skimming the edge of the thick forest that surrounded Arlee. Small strands of sunlight shined through the lush wildlife, illuminating the dust that spiraled from the rocks that I started to kick. Shuffling on, the center of town seemed to be farther away than I first started.
A soft voice, a whisper, stopped me in my tracks. It was faint, so soft that I doubted that I actually heard it. Turning in a circle, I nervously scanned the area around me.
Picking up my pace, I continued my trek to school. Unease prickled down my spine, motivating me to quicken my steps. The outskirts of town were now in sight, complete with the distant noises of life.
“I need your help, please!”
The voice was louder now, audible over the faint buzz of traffic and the humming of the birds. It was frantic, youthful, and female. A chill swept over my body as I surveyed the area again.
“Hello?” I unsteadily called out. My feet itched, almost begging me to run. My only response was the rustling of the leaves in the wind.
A string of curses flew seamlessly through my mind as I began to walk again. The streets of Arlee welcomed me within minutes and, for the the first time since our move, I was grateful.
Lockers slammed loudly as the first warning bell for the start of the school day rang through the halls. I had never been more thankful for the comfort of a classroom.
It had taken approximately one second within Arlee High to be completely ignored by the student body. Every student glanced, but no stares, no whispers followed. They parted in the halls effortlessly, almost as if it didn’t take any thought to blatantly ignore the new face. I tromped through the hallways, willing to make a scene. I didn’t want to admit it to the hesitant, distant students around me, but I was already lonely. I didn’t want to be lonely at school as well.
But, life never works as we would like. Three classes passed, same treatment, different faces. No one tried to talk to me. It was humiliating.
Passing through the cafeteria doors, I couldn’t say I was surprised that no one turned to look. I didn’t exist. Choosing an empty table in the farthest corner of the room, I slid into a seat that faced the wall. Rummaging through my backpack for my meager packed lunch, it took a moment to realize that the room had gone silent. Only the small tapping sound of shoes moving across the tiled floor could be heard.
I scrunched my eyes tightly, my heart skipping a beat. Ignorance wasn’t my friend, I knew the person was walking towards me. Refusing to turn around, I nitpicked at the food in front of me, even when the clicking had disappeared.
Everything was at a standstill.
Taking a deep, uneven breath, I broke off a piece of my sandwich and popped it into my mouth. Seconds after, an icy sensation shot down my spine, cold seeping through my body. Someone had dumped water on me.
“Consider yourself saved. Next time, don’t show your true self so soon.” A low feminine voice hissed next to me.
Without thinking, I turned around and slapped the unknown female.