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to my goals as a writer,

you’ve always believed…

Prologue


Thrills…

In all her teenage years, they had never come more powerfully than the moment Heather zipped her small suitcase. After all, she had been waiting for this crossroad for what felt like an entire lifetime.

Today she would be saying a welcome goodbye to the fenced hay fields and run-down barns of her small hometown; today she’d be parting on her own, moving out to college; today couldn’t have come soon enough.

Last night she lay in bed for an hour trying to fall asleep to the loud, obnoxious banging and clattering sounds coming from just outside her locked bedroom door. It should have been easy to deal with her stepfather’s drunkenness for one more night. But one more night seemed nearly unbearable when freedom was so close.

After an hour of listening to him thrash about the house, she grabbed a sweatshirt, tucked her pajama bottoms into boots, snuck out her window, and walked the familiar moonlight route to the safe haven of her best friend’s bedroom. And really, there was nowhere else she would have rather spent her final night.

Waking early, she’d trudged home and snuck back in her bedroom window to start packing. It took all morning but she was finally ready to go…for the most part.

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