Chapter One

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Most people would have groaned and complained by the sight outside, but not me. The raging storm only added to the excitement I felt in regard to the new day that stretched out before me. Strong winds and unrelenting rain were components of a volatile beast that most people mistakenly viewed as a portent of dread. I did not hold to the same superstitious belief, and neither did I think the weather was some extension of a deity's rather human emotion. I viewed the storm as something at which to be awed, revered in a secular manner, whereby its beauty instilled peace.

My name was Reigh, pronounced like Leigh except with an R, and I resided in the small seaside town of Ritomy. I could not see the ocean from my location at home, but I could smell the salt as it was carried by the winds.

I turned away from the window, slung my backpack over my left shoulder, and silently closed the door behind me so as to not disturb my father who was sleeping in his room only a few feet down the hallway to my left. It was a small trailer with thin walls. The hallway ended at his bedroom door. Between both bedrooms was a bathroom on the left and the back door on the right.

To my immediate right, the direction in which I headed, was the living room and beyond that was the kitchen. The front door was between both of those rooms. At the front door I grabbed the umbrella set to the side and made my way outside to the carport area. There was no room to park a vehicle due to the trailer being perpendicular to the driveway where my father's car was parked and exposed to the elements.

I opened the umbrella and walked toward the bus stop. The umbrella managed to keep my upper body dry, while the rain did what it did best by soaking my legs and shoes.

Even though the trailer was the only residence in the middle of nowhere, at least there was a proper tar road extending the quarter mile from the trailer to the highway where the bus went out of its way each morning. I was always the first one on the bus. Any seat could have been mine, except that I would have been immediately kicked out of certain seats once other kids were picked up on the way to school.

I usually did not have to wait too long at the bus stop, for time management was something I took quite seriously. That morning, however, I had to factor in that the bus might be a little late due to the heavy rain that reduced visibility.

Most of the time I wished that I did not have to ride the bus. My father could not drive me because he worked the night shift and he usually got home shortly before my alarm went off in the morning. I had my license, but my father was not exactly in a good enough financial position to purchase a vehicle for me. I would have been happy with a cheap used clunker, but it seemed he could not even accommodate that for his one and only son.

I was not bitter. My life was what it was, and I knew that I alone was capable of making it a better one for myself. Which was why I was considering a part time job somewhere in town. If I could work to save up enough money, it was possible for me to get my first vehicle before I left for college.

The sound of an approaching vehicle disturbed my reverie. I figured it was the bus, but I could not see through the rain that was unusual for that time of year. When the headlights made an appearance it was obvious that they were too close to the ground to belong to the bus. Yet as the vehicle approached, revealing itself to be red, its reduced speed made me feel nervous up to and when it stopped in front of me.

The honk of the horn made me even more nervous. My first thought was that I was going to be kidnapped. I realized how stupid the thought was immediately after it had flitted through my mind, because I knew I was too old to be kidnap worthy. My second thought was that someone was lost and needed directions, but I did not perceive that as a possibility since the vehicle had come from the direction of town.

The window rolled down and a familiar voice asked, "You getting in or are you just going to stand there all day."

No way, I thought, but I said, "My shoes and pants are wet."

"I don't care. Just get in already."

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