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01

ELEANOR has her hand's full, one holding a bundle of plastic bags, and the other with a pocket knife. She slides her green winter coat on, and sticks the bags and knife into her pocket. She's going out. Not to hunt, but to pick berries and gravel up sticks. It was her chore for the day, and even if she didn't feel like doing it, she had to. It was the only way to make money during her time off of school and work.

Christmas break started a week ago, November fourteenth, and ends sometime in January. It was long, and already boring. Eleanor is actually glad that she has something to do for the next couple of hours. At least her brother Fred doesn't have to be such a drag, and annoy her all day, like he usually does.

Walking into the living room, Eleanor grabs a gray beanie that is just lying on her white couch, and pulls it on her head and makes sure it is covering her ears. Picking up her brown boots, she slides them on, and then yells, "Mom, where's the wheelbarrow!"

"Should be outside, leaning against the garage. If it's not there, ask your father. He's in his office," Chipper, her mother, replies stepping into the room. "Be careful, and if you see a bear-"

"Why would I see a bear during winter?" Eleanor asks.

"-or a wild moose, kill it. We really don't need you dying. You're the only one who does anything," Chipper says, wiping down a small coffee table with a wet rag.

"Okay," Eleanor sends her mom a tight lipped smile. "I'll be home in a couple of hours," and then she is opening the front door, and stepping out into the cold, winter air. Snow covers the ground in a thick sheet, making Eleanor's foot sink in. She takes a deep breath, and walks over to the garage. Not seeing the blue wheelbarrow, she huffs, and spins around, going straight back inside.

"Not out there?"

"Nope."

She continues heading to her dad's office, dreading every moment. Eleanor and him aren't close at all. She just never felt like he cared for her, like he did for Fred or Lucy or Eddie, her other three siblings. She was like the black sheep, always grumpy and alone, while her brother's and sister were just perfect.

Grabbing onto the doorknob, Eleanor twists it, and walks in, waiting to be hit by the over powering stench of old man. She hates that smell.

"El, what do you want?" Bobby, her father, asks, clicking away on his computer, not paying any attention to her.

"Where's the wheelbarrow?" She questions, sticking her right hand into her pocket.

"Why?" He inquires, making her let out an annoyed sigh.

"Because mom said I had to go pick up sticks," she replies.

Bobby looks up at her. "Why do you need a wheelbarrow to pick up sticks?"

Growing impatient, Eleanor clicks her tongue against the roof of her mouth. "Just tell me where the wheelbarrow is," she says, refraining from just going up to him and kicking him right in the jaw.

Her dad rolls his eyes. "Behind the house," he drags out the last word, and then drops his gaze back down to the computer.

"Thanks," she snips, sauntering out of the room with crossed arms.

"Did he tell you where it was?" Chipper asks, fixing the pillows on the couch to be in a straight line.

"Yes."

"Okay, bye, I love you!"

"Love you, too," Eleanor says, slamming the door shut behind her, and stomping towards the back of her house. When she finally sees the blue wheelbarrow, she let's out a stressed heave, and grabs onto the wooden handles. She makes a bee-line to the woods, and heads in, hearing the sound of wind rustle bare tree branches behind her.

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