Chapter 1 (Scarlett): The Day the Sky Fell
Sometimes I wonder if I’m the only one who has dreams in this town. Everyone here that has ever dreamed of something other than this small bland town has given up and joined the zombie like civilization of Harrison, New Mexico. I’m still surprised they put up one of those “Welcome to our Town” signs like someone is actually going to find this place. There’s nothing here for any tourists to see; they might as well have put “Welcome to our Town, You Took a Wrong Turn and now You’re in Hillbilly Hell. Hope You Brought Your White Hood”.
Ugh, I hate this place. The only thing interesting that has happened here was a meteor shower eighteen years ago. The entire town was almost destroyed; about everything had to be rebuilt. It wasn’t exactly hard. My dad used to joke that it only took two trips to the nearest Home Depot to fix the whole town. A couple of the “builders” took one of the few cars that were within town limits to get everything. Any outsider we’ve ever had was convinced that we were more Amish because of the three to one ratio of horses to cars.
Although I make light of the clean-up process, the accident was devastating. My mom got killed during all of the destruction and my dad’s been using the life insurance money to keep us going. It’s just been him and my brother Jet since that day.
I was fresh out of the hospital when it happened. Everything I know about that day was told to me. It was a sunny afternoon and my mom had just put me down for a nap when the tornado alarms started blaring. She ran outside to check the sky and saw that fiery hail had begun to pepper the earth. It started small like little marbles, deadly fiery marbles. She ran back towards the house but was struck by one of the marbles in her calf. It was hot enough to burn straight through the bone. She didn’t stop. She grabbed me and limped down to the cellar. The rocks started getting bigger and bigger and with every thump the noise grew louder. The phone rang, and my mother ran back upstairs believing my father would be on the other line. My older brother Jet came stumbling into the cellar from the side door. He was only six at the time and had been playing with his friend Veronica down the street. Tears streamed down his face and he had a tiny scar that made it look like he had been sword fighting. When my mother came back downstairs she hugged my older brother and assured him that everything would be alright. The entire house shook sending rubble and debris in drives to the ground.
My dad had crashed the car into the house to avoid being turned into meteorite swiss cheese. My mother had run back upstairs to drag him downstairs. The marbles turned to giant boulders and in seconds my house was nothing but shredded woodchips. One boulder took out the top floor and my mother was crushed to death. My father broke every bone in his body and was hospitalized for a month. He won’t ever be able to walk again, but he escaped that day with his life and was able to take care of us the best way he could. Everyone lost something that day; I was lucky enough to still have my dad and brother.
There were two tourists that day who had a baby child with them. Of all the days to get lost, that day was not the right day I had always thought. The sheriff said he found a car crushed by a giant boulder and a baby boy that was lucky enough to survive. The sheriff decided to keep the little survivor as his own. He named him Freddy, but I call him Scavenger (he loves to scavenge through the forest).
After the reconstruction was over we moved to the other side of the one neighborhood everyone lives on. The memory of what happened was too hard on the broken souls of my family. We became neighbors with Sheriff Sims and I grew up with Scavenger. We connected immediately. It’s because we both lost someone we barely remember but still love. I at least have pictures of my mom and know who she was; Scavenger doesn’t know who his parents are, what they look like, or how to find any of his relatives. Him and Sheriff Sims tried for years to find out where he came from, but Scavenger was a ghost. The car was too destroyed to recover anything from it and Scavenger wasn’t in any computer database before Sims registered him as his adopted son. It’s a mystery that’s been haunting him his entire life. I imagine he thinks about what his life would be like if he wasn’t stuck in this terrible town. I know I do, and we share the same brain.
He’s the only one that’s a dreamer like me. I want to get out of this town and go to college and become someone that can change the world. I will not be trapped here like every other success story that this town has consumed. I have one more year in high school before I get to leave is my common mantra. My one other wish was that Scavenger would come with me. He’s a goofball and a dork but he’s my best friend. We used to joke that he would be my maid of honor when I eventually got married. He’s always there for me and I’m always there for him. He might be one of the best things about this crappy town. I’ve succeeded in school and wish to succeed in college so if you’re reading this Harvard I’m single and ready to mingle… with college... disregard that last part. I’m very mature and ready for the responsibilities of college.