Chapter One - The Dream

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My heart was pounding in my chest.

I struggled to stay quiet while someone creaked through the school. My eyes widened when I saw some mist swirling from underneath the door as if someone had opened a freezer. I wanted to make a break for the open window but I knew that they would hear as soon as I moved a single inch.

Slowly but surely, I began inching up to the corner and, while keeping my eyes on the door, made my way towards the window in the black room.

I saw a shadow pass from the crack, two feet moving so slowly and then paused for one moment, slightly turning--

Then suddenly, a hand covered my mouth and I found myself staring into black eyes.

I woke up with a start while I gasped for breath in my sweat covered state. I wasn't in that dark room. I wasn't being kidnapped. I was alone, in my bed, and completely safe. Taking another deep gulp of air, I collapsed back into my pillows and waited for myself to calm down.

Lately, nightmares have plagued my nights. Some worse than others, but this one seems to be a recurring one. It wasn't early enough to start getting up and because going back to sleep wasn't an option, I decided to wait out the time until the beeping of my alarm signaled the start of my day. I watched time go by until the numbers switched to 7:00 and I sighed in disapproval.

Beep, beep, beep.

With a groan, I flipped over and buried my face into the pillow while the alarm kept blaring on. With a sleepless night, I definitely did not want to have to endure eight hours of a useless school day.

"Taylor, get up already!" My dad called from his room that was adjacent to mine. I knew that he couldn't care less if I got up or not, but only really wanted me to turn off the alarm so he could enjoy sleeping in until noon like he usually does.

Regardless, I sat up and reached over to my nightstand to stop the unforgiving beeping. Light just barely peeked through my blinds but I was already squinting at it like I was looking staring straight up to the sky on a clear, sunny day. Slowly stretching my legs out, I got up and began my easygoing morning routine of getting ready for school.

After getting ready as easily and quickly as possible, I headed downstairs while dodging the mass amounts of leftover beer bottles that my father must have ingested the night before. His alcoholism started after my mother had died in a car accident. For the past five years he has turned to booze as his family and left me to fend for myself as much as I possibly could. Sometimes when I was younger, and lucky, I was left with babysitters who would take care of me more so than he ever did following my mom's passing.

My mother's death killed him too, in which some ways. He lost his job and hasn't gotten one since. More times than one has our house almost been taken away from us but he always somehow gets the money to pay off the bills and his alcoholic tendencies. We didn't have any other family and many times social services have threatened to take me as well, which is a scary thought. As much as my father and I don't get along, I would much rather be with him as opposed to living in some foster home.

"Dad, I'm leaving!" I called up to him but only got a muffled snore in response. Sighing, I headed outside and began the trek to school.

My only hope for getting out of this dull, small town was to be accepted to a college far from here. While my grades were subpar, I just hoped that I would be granted admittance to at least one of the many I apply to. However, I wouldn't only need acceptance. I would also need to scavenge up some kind of scholarships, loans, and financial aid to help me pay my way through. That way I'd be able leave my father to his own demise and away from the memories that swarm me here.

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