Chapter One. Welcome To Millsbe.
Reader discretion is advised.
Welcome To Millsbe, where crazy shit always happens and the locals like to watch you eat. Millsbe is known for the bizarre things that take place, like the time my best friend came back from the dead, we still have no flipping clue how the hell that happened. Or the time a couple was attacked by a pack of wolves, or when a school counselor stalked one of the students. Needless to say, this town is a freak show and you'll find that out soon enough.
October 14th, 1988. Friday 9:56p.m.
I glance at my older brother Gavin's plate as he yells at Floyd, red flushed cheeks and nostrils flared. I reach over to snatch his breadstick, his eyes scatter down to my hand across his plate, he wraps his weirdly enormous hand around mine, twisting my fingers backwards. "Ow you douche bag!"
He rips the breadstick from my hand, "Aye, I worked an eight hour shift today-"
"Picking up slutty chicks, if that's what you call work." I retort, arms crossed.
"Hey you dickwad!" Jenny shouts from the kitchen. "Mom! Nolan ended my call!"
Nolan snickers and dashes for a chair at the table. "Wow, real mature Nolan." I comment.
He shrugs and tears at his chicken, "Hey, mom told her to get off the phone."
"You better watch your language young lady." Mom advises Jenny, pointing her finger sternly.
Gavin reaches over and flicks me on the forehead, "Ow you ass! What was that for?"
Mom comes stomping out of the kitchen, yanking at Gavin's ear, "Gavin!" She scolds, "You are twenty-one years old, you best start acting like it!"
"Yes ma'am." He nods. He gives mom a quick glance as she walks back through the swinging doors. He grabs the collar of my shirt, bringing me to his face. "Don't be a little dibshit River," he spits, "I will get you back for this." He shoves me back into my chair, causing me to fall backwards.
My younger sister Maggie leans over me, drool dripping out of her mouth and onto my face. "Ew Maggie! You're eleven, not two! Don't act like a baby!"
She giggles and wipes her slobbery mouth, "So? It's always fun to watch you squirm!"
"River!" Mom shouts, "Get your ass off the ground and sit in that chair the way you're supposed to!"
"She said butts!" Floyd cackles.
"Oh my god Floyd, your fourteen!" I seeth.
He grins, his green eyes squint at me, "Still funny none the less."
I roll my eyes and stab my chicken with my fork. Jenny sits down next to me, twirling the landline cord around her finger as she giggles to her friends, in my ear. Jenny and her friends are annoying, constantly giggling, not that cute giggle, the kind of giggle that makes you want to choke.
"Could you keep it down?" I inquire, spreading an annoyed grin on my face.
She glares at me, flipping her blonde hair in my face, "Shut up." She mouths, embedding her pink manicured nails into my skin.
I pluck the tan colored phone from her pasty hands, "Girl, imma have to call you back!" I mimic her perky voice and click the end button, hanging the phone back on the wall.
"You just ended my call." Jenny states bluntly, giving me her I'm going to kill you look.
"No duh! I sure did."
"Your a hoser."
"Wow," I snort, "What a lame word to call someone."
Gavin chuckles, raising his hand for a high-five. "Good one brotha."
I smack his hand, "I thought so too."
"Ugh!" She scoffs, her hands rolling into fists, she darts towards me. Just as she's about to reach me I grab my backpack and run out the door. I pull my car keys out and hurry to open the door, locking myself in my car. Before she has the chance to open the door I back out of the driveway and head to Burger Bash.
As I reach the restaurant I slam my car door shut and walk into the restaurant, taking a seat at the bar. "Well well well, if it isn't River Williams." Valerie Li, a close friend of mine grins, leaning against the bar top.
"So what brings you by? It can't be the worlds most amazing burgers."
"Nah I just wanted to see you in that apron."
Her cheeks pinken, "One jalapeño burger comin right up."
"A cola of course! I would never forget it." She slaps my arm playfully, twirling around and grabbing a glass Coca-Cola out of the refrigerator. She pops it open and places it in front of me.
"You're right on with my order."
"Yeah, well you've been ordering the same thing since I met you back in fifth grade."
"Hey, it makes things easy. Besides this place really has the best burgers."
"That's one of the reasons I decided to work here." She grabs a cloth off the counter and wipes down the stools next to me, pulling herself onto the one beside me.
"How long have you been working here now?" I ask, picking the laminate counter top.
She props her chin in her hand, her brown eyes scatter to look at me. "It'll be two and a half years in November."
"Anddd how many of my meals have you paid for?"
She smiles cheekily, "Hmm, lets see, about all of them."
I raise my hands in defense, "Aye, I've never asked you to pay for them, besides, I always pay you back."
"Yes, you do."
"Did Danny go to the football game tonight?"
She nods, "Yeah she did, she has a crush on player four."
I smirk, "Grody."
She giggles and nudges my arm, "It's cute, not grody."
"Nah it's pretty grody."
She hops off the stool and walks over to the jukebox, "Which song should I play? Hold Me Now or I'm Still Standing?"
"Hmm.. Hold Me Now. It's always a killer."
"So what really brings you by?" She questions.
"My insane family, there's never a quiet moment with them."
"Yeah, I've been to your house many times." She giggles, now her giggle is that giggle, you know the kind that makes you gush and then you grossed yourself out because your catching feels. "Your not the quietest person ya know, every time you and Atlas...I'm sorry-"
I raise my hand, "It's okay Valerie. It's been six months, you can talk about him."
"Can I? Every time the gang mentions him you go silent and then don't speak to us for the rest of the day. I'm sorry, I don't mean to come off harsh, but it's been hard on all of us, not just you, River."
Atlas and I have been friends since we were three, just hearing his name gives me goosebumps, it's hard to explain. My jaw tightens, I clear my throat and hop off the stool. "You know what Val, I don't think I'll take that burger after all."
She sighs, brushing her hair out of her face. "River don't act like this."
I shrug my shoulders and push my hands into my jacket pockets. "Can't help it, have a good rest of your night, Valerie." The bell on the door dings as I exit. It's probably best if I take a drive to cool off and then head home. I pull my seatbelt on and pop the radio on, nothing but static seeps through the speakers. I twist the knob, Atlas's and I's favorite song comes on, Under Pressure by Queen and David Bowie. Damn, this song gets me every time.
*Pressure pushing down on me
Pressing down on you, no man ask for, Under pressure that burns a building down Splits a family in two Puts people on streets*
I sing along and tap the steering wheel as if it's a drum set. I pull onto an empty two way street, I spot something hobbling on the side of the road, I have the urge to pull over, so I follow my natural instincts. I leisurely make my way over to the injured person in front of me. The person looks back at me, covering their eyes from being blinded by my car lights. "Hey, are you okay man?"
As I step closer I squint at the person, the person before me looks precisely like my dead best friend, who by the way, drowned six months ago. "Atlas?"
He jogs up to me, his hair dripping water down his face, he's looks the same as the last time I saw him. "River!" He says in disbelief.
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