― one: the invitation

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[ CHAPTER 01 : THE INVITATION : i hear the drums echoing tonight but she hears only whispers of some quiet conversation. she's comin in, 12:30 flight. the moonlit wins reflect the stars that guide me towards salvation. i stopped an old man along the way, hoping to find some long forgotten words or ancient melodies. he turned to me as if to say, 'hurry boy it's waiting there for you.'.]


          WAKING UP ON A COUCH in her family's living room, is nothing new to Parker Henderson. Constantly studying, and wreaking havoc over her aptitude for grades and school, often leaves her to kick it wherever a soft seat lies. Being so close to graduating from high school, forces her to take upon the relentless drive of getting straight B's and taking the graveyard shifts at work. Of course, her parents have promised to help pay for college; but, she vehemently refuses to take the advantage from then. Because, at that point, she'll be an adult. And the topic of being adult is associated with one's responsibility. She'd love to just take their money and run but it's better for all of them if she works for it. Not to mention, she'll be attending a cheap college to get a cheap degree that'll get her an average income for a boring life. And taking money to do so would only make her feel bad.

          Tiredly, Parker rises from the beige couch she'd taken refuge on. The fluffy purple blanket slipping off her body, revealing the dangerously cold air to her skin. It nips at her bare thighs, and flushes her face. The dark grey sweater she wears sits uncomfortable on her body as she pulls herself up. At some point, in the night, it must've gotten twisted around and bunched up into her black shorts.

          A low groan leaves her mouth as the feeling of her aching bones overwhelms her. She stretches her body, her spine making a satisfying popping sound and her bones seem to feel less painful than before.

          She steps out from behind the glass coffee table decorated in hundreds of different interior beige color strips her parents tend to go crazy over, pink sock covered feet drag across hardwood floors as she tracks her way through her house. From where she stands, near the hardwood staircase, she can smell her mother's pumpkin pancakes. Cinnamon and nutmeg combining in the air to overwhelm her senses. It makes a smile filter onto her lips.

          "Morning, Champ." Glancing up, Parker spots her dad standing by the entryway. Papers spilling out of his hands, his round glasses teetering on the edge of his nose, and his brown hair a mess blob atop his head. He doesn't look at her but merely stays in his spot, and taps his foot for a few minutes.

          "Morning, dad." She responds, watching as he lifts his head to smile at her, then moves to go up the stairs to his bedroom. While passing her, he pats the top of her head and continues upward—papers threatening to fall out of his hands. Pieces of her hair fall over her face, framing her face and blocking her vision. She doesn't care to move it, instead heading for the kitchen.

          Despite the coldness in the air, she rather favors' this time of year. Fall and winter in Arcadia, Maine is like the perfect picture of an all year long holiday. The leaves of the trees turn red and orange; before, cascading down upon the dark green grass. The smell of cinnamon, pumpkin, and nutmeg fill the atmosphere along with the morning dew. Sweaters, snow, and hot chocolate become the norm of society and most of all: the fireplace burning every night. Hearing the crackling, smelling the wood: it's all part of the scenery. The aesthetic. Although, sometimes it can suck. Every morning, her feet freeze on the tile and hardwood throughout the house. In order to keep warm at night, she forces herself to wear an uncomfortable amount of clothes. And wishes, every Christmas, for a small compact heater for her room.

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