Chapter One
Molly, Age 10, Franklin, TN

The rain came down, withering the flowers that had just begun to sprout. The rain came down, flooding the town's stores and trapping people in their houses. Storeowners had to close down the shops, and workers were sent home without pay. The rain had been coming for three days straight without stopping. And still the rain came down, pounding on the roof of the little house far out of town, through the woods, where Izzy and her family lived.

Izzy's family consisted of her mother, Sara; her father, Derek; her brother, Levi; her sister, Natasha; and her dog, Dexter. Nobody in her family was happy about the rain, except her. She always ran out into the rain, and into the woods, to see the deer and the birds. There was something magical about those woods. She didn't know what, but she knew. She was very poor. Her father was the only one in the family who worked, and he got paid very little, and very rarely. She was more or less the one who kept her family alive. She was the one who got the food, she was the one who made the clothes, and she also earned some of the money for the family.

She sometimes would sit in her room, sewing dresses for her dolls, and adding bows to their hair. One day her mother saw her and made it a chore for her to make dresses, coats, shoes, hats, shirts, pants, and skirts for the family. She would run out into the woods and make knots in her yarn to create snares and catch animals for her family. Once that was done, she went out to the market with extra meat that she had salted to earn money.

Everybody thought she was a young and naive child. She was very quiet. She only talked to her parents and her close friends, but it was not because she was naÔve; it was because she didn't like anybody. She was very isolated from the world around her. She protected kids who were bullied in school; therefore, she became bullied herself. That was how she met her best friend in the entire world, Percy. He had protected her from the bullies. Secretly, she had a crush on him, but she never showed it. He was her friend, and she didn't want to make it awkward. They always took walks in the woods and he would scare away her game. Technically, the rules state that nobody is allowed in the woods without a warrant. They never got one, so they were always on their guard. The rules of their town were very strict. If you broke one, well, we'll get to that later in the story.

One day, Percy was walking home from the woods with a rabbit in his hands, when the town's police saw him. They grabbed him from behind, blindfolded him, and took him to the place of punishment. Nobody really knows what goes on in there, but it's definitely not something good. Whenever you break the town rules, youíre taken underground, to a room called the Place of Punishment. When you come out, you are bleeding, black and blue, and sometimes have a broken bone or two. When Sara saw Percy being kicked out of the cellar with a broken leg, blood dripping down his face and gashes on his arms, she ran over to him and brought him to his mother.

She got some antibiotics and herbs to set on the wounds, and he fell unconscious the moment he was laid down on his bed. Sara had been crying the entire time. She walked over to his bed and kissed him. She knew he wasn't awake, so she let it sink in. The taste was of salt and coal, and smoke mixed into a taste that she didn't know how to describe. She sat up and realized he was beginning to wake up. She ran out of the room and back to her house.

Will Percy be okay? Be sure to read the next chapter when it comes out. Thank you for reading.

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