“Don’t worry, Ontario, I’ll never leave you. You will always have me here to protect you and your brother.”
Those words from a childhood memory would haunt Ontario Stratton for the rest of her life. Losing her father had been difficult enough, but her life would change even more drastically at the beginning of her senior year of high school. Only weeks into the school year Mrs. Stratton abandons her two children for a more carefree way of living. Suddenly thrown into a very different life, Ontario clings to her brother Eddy, her new legal guardian, and to no one else. Could she trust anyone anymore? Even her best friend isn’t there for her. . .
In order to feel like less of a burden on her brother, Ontario gets a job at the local fifties-style diner. It is there that she meets her new “family,” including the oh-so-intriguing Austin, the only one who can help her truly heal. In time, Ontario discovers that Austin has his own demons, and that he needs her just as much as she needs him. Some things in Ontario’s life begin to come together again, but others continue to fall apart. Though her world seems to be breaking, she is introduced to a kind of happiness she has never known before, and her new found friends show her that maybe, just maybe, she can learn to love again.
I opened my umbrella and stepped out onto the grassy lawn, twirling my toes through the wet blades of grass. It was definitely chilly, especially since I only had my night dress on, but I didn’t care. It just made me want to go even more.
I slowly began to walk through the grass that lined the sidewalk on my street. My house was the last one on our little road, and it wasn’t long before the sidewalk ended. I breathed in deeply as I walked through the now pouring rain. I was now far enough away from the street that the house lights no longer reached me, but I walked on under the gorgeous light of an almost full moon.
After a while I started to feel like I should turn back. By now I had entered the woods that were near my house, and I was not familiar with them. I turned and started going the way I had come, but it wasn’t long before my emotions got the better of me. I stopped and looked around in fear. Not the fear of my mother that I had been running from. Now it was the fear of being totally lost in a dark forest on a cold and rainy night.
I bit my lower lip as I searched for something familiar, but in my efforts to focus on something other than my mother I hadn’t paid attention to where I was going at all. I’d only been thinking about the rain and the beautiful moon, which I couldn’t see anymore. Only shards of light fell on the ground around me. After a few minutes I picked a direction and started to walk again, hoping that I was going the right way. I knew that these woods were deep, and I certainly didn’t want to be heading deeper into them. I tried to use the moon as my guide, heading for what looked like lighter areas, but that only seemed to turn me around even more. Finally after doing this for some time I sat down on an old fallen tree, which was mostly dry, thanks to the surrounding trees. It didn’t take long for panic to set in, and it didn’t help when I heard a noise behind me.
I froze, stiff with bated breath. Nothing. Had I imagined it? Just as I was starting to think that it hadn’t been real I heard the sound again, and louder this time. I wasn’t alone after all. Someone, or something, was also in the woods, and it was coming my way.
I listened to the crunch of half-soggy sticks as the thing grew closer and closer. What should I do? Run? Wouldn’t the thing just run after me? It was probably faster than me, especially since I didn’t know where I was and my feet were bare. All sorts of thoughts ran through my head, telling me I never should have done this, but that only worsened my panic, and so I just sat there, stiff as a board, waiting for my attacker to appear. It wasn’t until I felt a hand on my shoulder that I found my ability to move.
I jerked around, screaming, ready to defend myself, and came face to face with . . .
Heidi Nicole Bird has been writing for as long as she can remember and it is her favorite thing in the world. Heidi is a regular NaNoWriMo participant and is mostly a young adult fantasy writer, but also likes to write juvenile fiction and other genres. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in History from Brigham Young University and she looks forward to exploring the genre of historical fiction. Heidi lives in Utah with her family and three dogs, and loves working from home as a full time writer.
Also by Heidi Nicole Bird, Through the Paper Wall
Links to Ontario: