Chapter 1

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Chapter 1

- August 7, 2008 -

Voices filled the forest's fresh air, laughter echoing all around.

"Ready or not, here I come!"

Small feet hit the leaf covered ground, the small eight-year-old boy running around searching for his hiding sister. It was their favorite game, hike-and-seek, and with the woods as their back yard, they could play for hours.

They weren't allowed to wonder off too far though, their parents always telling them the woods were full of dangerous things that could hurt them. One time the two children were playing tag and ran off too far into the dense forest. They hadn't even realized until their mother came running after, yelling at them for breaking the most important rule. She had been so angry, scared even. They weren't allowed to play outside for a whole week after that.

Their game of hide-and-seek had been going on for a long time as the seconds turned to minuets, and those minuets soon turned into hours. The young boy had yet to find his sister in the forest. He had checked high and low, searching in all the known hiding places.

"Skylar, I give up!" He yelled out as loud as he could. He waited a moment, listening for any response.

Nothing.

"Skylar, you win!"

The boy bit his lip as he didn't get a response. He looked around, noticing for the first time just how far off from home he had wondered. A shiver raced up his spine as he realized he was too deep into the woods. He didn't want to get in trouble, so he quickly turned on his heel, ready to scurry home when a sound caught his attention.

"Sky?"

He held his breath as he listened. It was a small cry, a sound someone made when they were hurt or scared. He'd heard his sister make a similar sound when she had fallen off her bike a few days ago, and he knows he's made it before when he'd woken up from a nightmare.

The boy took off toward the sound, his short legs moving as fast as they could. Whatever the cause of the sound, the child knew someone needed help, and that someone could be his sister. He slipped on some leaves as he broke through the trees and came to a stop. He was standing in an open area full of tiny purple wild flowers and willow trees all surrounding the glistening water of a small pond.

The boy didn't stop to admire the beautiful view though, he stop at a different sight. There, on the ground underneath the long branches of a willow tree, was another small boy, curled up into a tight ball whimpering.

The child took a step closer. "Are you okay?" He took another small step, closing the distance between the two and bent down on his knees, next to the crying boy.

"Are you hurt?"

The boy gave another whimper and nodded. He lifted his head, his hazel eyes that were full of tears connected with the boy's blue ones. He looked terrified.

"It's okay, I want to help you." He touched the boy's back. "Can you tell me your name?"

His hazel eyes blinked shut, forcing a tear to roll down his pale cheek. "St-Storm."

"Storm," He repeated the unusual name, a small smile warming his features. "My name is Oliver. Can you show me where it hurts?"

Storm slowly uncurled from the tight ball he was in, revealing what used to be a white shirt now stained a deep shade of red. Oliver breathed in a sharp breath when his eyes landed on the end of an arrow sticking out of the boy's stomach.

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