It's the final week of summer between grades eleven and twelve


It's the final week of summer between grades eleven and twelve. You and your mother just moved to southern Ontario form Whistler, British Columbia. You are exhausted, pale from staying indoors all the time, and, most of all, alone.

"Oh, sweetie, don't think about it too much!" Says your mom.

You aren't. Or at least trying not to. But you miss Whistler, you miss skiing and hiking and mountain biking. You miss waking up to the sight of Whistler Mountain every morning. There are no mountains here. Only hills.

Here you have no friends, or father. It is just you, imprisoned by your own thoughts and fears. But it could be worse. You still have your mother and the new house is pretty big. You're not even sure you mind being imprisoned. It's much better, you figure, to be locked in than locked out.

The only thing here and Whistler have in common is a lake. Your new house has a sliding door that leads to a beach. Lake Ontario is much bigger than Whistler's Green Lake, but they both have a familiar call. No matter where you go, you are close to water. The gentle lap of the waves is like a mother's hum. You are not alone, it says.

That call is irresistible; you want to go swimming today. You are sitting in the kitchen with a cup of coffee that has long since gone cold, and the urge to pull open the sliding door, strip off all your clothes, and plunge into the early morning water is strong.

You let your thoughts wonder. Will the water be cold and refreshing like at Whistler? Or will it be different? Will there be other people? Boys? Maybe you'll meet a boy. The thought makes you smile.

The doorbell rings and you jolt up. Who is it? Mom isn't expecting anyone. What do they want?

You take a deep breath and can't help but laugh. Having a freak-out over a doorbell will not make your time here easier. It's probably just the paper boy or something.

"Can you get that for me, hon?" You hear your mom call from upstairs.

Determined to not be surprised, you look through the peephole before opening.

There's a girl your age on the front porch. A girl with dark hair who you believe to be much prettier than you. She was wearing a white blouse with a navy skirt. Knee socks too, like she's fresh out of prep school.

Great, you think. A snobby know-it-all wants to talk. Reluctantly, you open the door.

"Morning," she begins, then she frowns. "I don't know you." She says, as if it's a rare occurrence for her to meet someone new.

"Um, hello," you say. "Yeah, I just -"

"I'm Alexandra," she doesn't stick out her hand like you expect. "Alexandra Nathair."

The girl must be exhausted. She has dark circles under her eyes and can't stop shifting her weight from side to side. A wagon full of shiny posters is parked on your front lawn.

"You gonna tell me the good news?" You ask, noting the golden crucifix at her neck.

Alexandra's head snaps up. "What?"

You curse yourself for being so childish and hope Alexandra doesn't notice the blush that colours your face. So much for being relatable. "Sorry. Bad joke."

"Have you seen this girl?" She doesn't even smile, she asks. She hands you a poster and looks you in the eye. Her midnight eyes are like hooks and you can't avert your gaze.

This is not what you expected. Missing! Says the poster in bold red text, like it's a prop from a movie. You try to speak, but the words won't come. Your throat feels dry and strange, all you can do is shake your head.

Alexandra sighs. She doesn't look disappointed, just a tiny bit annoyed. "OK. Thank you," she says wanly. She leaves at that, pulling her wagon along with her.

You close the door, your heart hammering.

"Who was that?" Asks your mom. Her hair is damp from the shower.

"There's a missing girl," you say, handing her the poster. "I think her sister, or something, just came to ask if I saw her."

"Ah, yes. Maddison Nathair," she gives a small sigh. "I talked with her mother, Susan, at the gym. It's sad, really." She hands you back the poster. "Hopefully she's alright. Maybe she just, you know, ran off somewhere."

"Am I the last person to know?" It's a silly concern, but it makes you wonder if it's possible to be that disconnected from your surroundings. You've never even heard of Maddison Nathair before. 

She's cute, beautiful even, you see that now looking down at the poster. Her hair is like a gold halo and her brown eyes are warm and friendly. Her face seems to be carved out of marble. She has a pink, rosebud of a mouth. She reminds you of those happy-go-lucky, athletic types at your old school. You wonder if she has ever gone swimming in the lake.

As you sit back down at the table, you wonder how such a pretty girl could want to run away. You feel jealous. She's attractive, popular - no way could she be a loser being that hot - and loved. And you are you. Girls like that don't need to run away. They have no problems.

And yet, she was last seen on the night of August 30th. Two days ago.

You fold Maddison Nathair's tan face in half and stare out the window at the lake. The grey waters are sloshing calmly against the rocky shore. The sun is a weak light behind a thin veil of fog

Maybe she's out there, you think. Just beyond, waiting to be found.

pparently this is very similar to PLL's opening, I don't know, I've never read the books

pparently this is very similar to PLL's opening, I don't know, I've never read the books. This was not the first chapter but a type of  prologue meant to set the atmosphere for what's to come. Did you like it?

 The entire story isn't going to be told in second party, the next chapter (the official first chapter) will be told in third omnipresent person.  

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