CHAPTER 1: HAWKINS, INDIANA

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Nine hours and thirty-one minutes. Nine hours and thirty-one minutes stuck in a damn car with nothing but The Beatles and The Supremes blasting non-stop for nine hours and thirty-one minutes... I hit the back of my head on the window repeatedly with my arms crossed as I heard the same music being played over and over again. Suddenly, the music stopped, and all I could hear was my dad's scratchy high note, singing along to the song. My dad stopped and cleared his throat as my mom stared at him with her brows furrowed. I let out a stifled chuckle and grabbed the bag of potato chips on the ground.

"We'll be there in less than thirty minutes. How do you like it so far?" asked my mom.

I looked out the window and saw nothing but green trees, green grass, and some flowers here and there. We were driving on a back-road, so there wasn't really anything to expect. But, I found it a lot more entertaining to look at nature than to listen to another four minute long opera song.

"It's very...green." I said.

"That's good! You love nature! Your sisters and Jacob use to hike and go on bike trails all the time back at home!" said my dad, turning back at me for a split second to give me a smile.

"Yeah," I said, faintly, "But, I can't do that here because they're not here with me."

My parents glimpsed at each other and let out a sigh. My dad had been offered a great job opportunity from his company's branch, Hawkins Technology. They wanted my dad to move to Indiana, and, in an instant, my dad said yes. He always wanted to live somewhere else after being cooped up in Vermont his whole life. At first, my mom was apprehensive about moving, but it didn't take long for him to convince her to move. The only thing that prevented him from going forth with his plan was me.

My older sister, Violet, and her fiancé, Jacob, both of them lived in the same house as me, got to stay in Vermont because of their jobs, even though they got offered the same opportunity. My other sister, Ashley, got to stay also because of university, that was understandable. I, on the other hand, had no choice but be dragged into the car and off to Indiana. My dad tried so hard to tell me that it would be nice for a change. He showed me pictures of the new house and told me that Hawkins was such a small town, making it easier for me to make friends, but I constantly blocked it out. I loathed the idea. I would have to leave my sisters, Jacob, my cat, my friends, my school, my cat! But, most of all, I would have to say goodbye. I hated goodbyes. It was like a stab in the heart, and it leaves an unsettling ease in my stomach.

"Well, we can go with you! I'm not as athletic as I use to be, but a little exercise wouldn't hurt." said my dad smiling at me through the mirror.

"Mom hates nature." I smiled back at him.

"She'll get used to it!" laughed my dad.

I let out another stifled chuckle and opened the bag of chips. I stuffed a series of chips in my mouth as I looked out the window. We were finally at the core of the town. There were little shops for everything in walking distance. But, what really caught my eye was the breakfast platter for $7.99 ad on the window at the diner place. It was a nice little town, but it was too small. Everyone knew everyone and a single scandal left its mark for years and years.

We entered a suburban neighborhood. It looked similar to my old neighborhood back in Vermont. Then again, most suburban neighborhoods are just a bunch cookie cutters. My dad pulled up in a driveway of a red brick house with a beautiful garden surrounding the walkway. Most likely, those plants will start to wither and shrivel up in a week. My mom had more of a black thumb than a green one. The house had beautiful three arches near the front door and two big windows, on both sides in the front of the house, looking out of garden.

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