Disclaimer: I do not own Rise of the Guardians.
The chilly wind blowing at my face through the open window of the sedan I was seated in made me wish that I had shorter hair so as to avoid the whipping of black strands as they hit me repeatedly in the face. It was the beginning of winter, Christmas being in only a few days. My feet were tucked up underneath me as they began to go numb from almost an hour of remaining in the same position. The old fashioned tan sedan I was riding shotgun in was traveling down an unfamiliar long, winding road toward a destination that was completely known to me. The blacktop seemed to be eaten by the front of the sedan as we drove over it. Bordering the deserted rode on each side were hundreds upon hundreds of evergreens that seemed to spark with the beautiful white snow that frosted them like natural cupcakes. Dressed in a dark green jacket with a matching scarf, hat, and gloves- I was quite warm even with the breeze hitting me. A little too warm, I took off my gloves for the time being.
Biting my lip, I continued to look outside the open window in search of signs of life. The bark of the evergreens, barely visible through the snow, was all that greeted me. That, and the darkness that came with it. Shivering slightly at the shadows, I turned to face the driver of the sedan, my social worker, Susan. She was in her mid to late thirties, her pretty, short brunette locks already lightening and gaining grey hairs in random places. Both of her small, warm brown eyes were focused on the curving road through her purple thin framed glasses. She had crows feet in the corners of her eyes and laugh lines around her forehead but right now the worry lines on her forehead were the most pronounced. I was the cause of two of them- they had developed since she had taken over my case, after all. Susan despised the cold, which explains the purple hat with matching gloves, scarf, and sweater. Not to mention her winter coat, a bulky looking piece of apparel that was a deeper purple than the rest.
"The Smiths were very nice to have given you this opportunity to join their family, Artemis. Can you please try to behave, just this once?" Susan looked over at me for a moment, her voice sounding slightly pleading. The Smiths were a kind couple I had met a few times at the foster center. Mrs. Smith was a teacher with dimples and medium length curly red hair and freckles splattered across her high cheekbones whereas her husband was an artist with brown hair that always looked as if he had been sitting in front of a fan for hours and blue eyes full of excitement. They didn't have any kids, only a Husky named Sammy that had pretty black and white fur with big blue eyes. Mr. Smith had brought a picture of the dog one of the times that he and his wife came to visit me before officially signing the adoption papers.
"I never try to cause trouble," I objected in a low mumble, looking down at my small ivory hands that were clutched in my lap over the bottom part of my pretty green dress. Susan sighed next to me, putting a hand that was almost twice the size of one of mine on top of my hands. It was a comforting gesture, one that she used whenever she heard the slight tremble of my voice and saw the beginning quiver of my lower lip. I immediately wanted to snatch my hand away. I didn't like to be touched.
"When are you going to learn the Boogeyman isn't real?" she asked me, taking her hand back as the sedan wound around a wide curve of the rode. My eyes went back to the outside world as I thought of the shadows and monsters under my bed. He followed me everywhere, the Boogeyman that is. To every home I was placed in, hiding under every bed I ever slept in. I would try to tell my guardians but they all thought me mentally ill. Susan begged me to stop with the 'nonsense', as she called it, and act like a normal child. How was I to dismiss the monster that haunted my every nightmare?
Despite my insistence, Susan was adamant that it was time for me to grow up. She had even started threatening therapy.
Not long after Susan had gone silent, we arrived at a two story brick home with a simple driveway and a good sized snow covered yard. The lights were on in the home, promising warmth and shelter from the bitter cold that had driven my small hands back into my gloves and resulted in the raising of my window. Now that we had arrived, I was squirming in my seat due to the nerves. As soon as Susan parked the sedan in their gravel driveway, I took to unbuckling and climbing out of my seat. I was nine years old and no longer had to ride in a car seat, although I was quite petite so Susan always insisted I ride in one anyway. It made my favorite seating position, the one I had been in most of the ride, highly uncomfortable. Stumbling a bit, I regained feeling in my small boot wearing feet- diminishing the prickly feeling. Susan had gone over to the back seat and was pulling out my green and blue plaid suitcase that I took with me wherever I went. It had seen its fair share of wear and tear but it was a fighter- like me. After she settled it on the crunching gravel, I walked up to her so that she could do her final inspection.
"You sure you have everything?" Susan questioned as she straightened my jacket and pulled at the bottom of my hat so that it came down to cover the top half of my small ears. I nodded, giving her a thumbs up. She grinned at me before taking my suitcase handle in one hand and my right hand in the other. We walked up to the front door and she knocked. Loud barks met my ears almost immediately along with a feminine cheer. Smiling, I watched the bronze knob on the brick house turn, awaiting a fresh start in a new place, with new people, in a new home.