• I often used to wonder what it would be like if I could just hit the rewind button on life. If I could just fix all the little things, every day would be so much easier. Little did I know it’s only life because you keep moving past the things that happened yesterday.

    “Marie! Wake up already! You’re late for school!” my mom’s voice rang through the house, piercing my eardrums.

    Groggily, I sat up and rubbed my eyes. “What…?” I looked at the alarm clock beside my bed, which almost never went off on time.

    “Eight o’clock….” It took a few seconds for it to actually register in my mind. “Oh crap! Is it that late already?!” I twisted in all sorts of directions in an attempt to escape the ever-tightening clutches of my bed sheets and landed on the floor in a head. With a jerk, the blankets flew away from me.

    “Ah, uh, o-okay, let’s see. I need to, um, brush my hair, and uh,” I began telling myself, flustered and dazed from the fall.

    “Marie! Get up off the floor and get ready, for God’s sake!” my mom interjected, hand on her hip, with the sheets held high over my head.

    “Huh? Oh, r-right!”

    Boy was I a mess that day. As I brushed my teeth in the bathroom, I stared at my own horrid reflection – pasty complexion dotted by a dusting of dark freckles, with light blue-gray eyes and thin lips; it took nearly ten minutes to get all the knots out of my long, wavy black hair, and I pulled it into a loose side-pony. I tugged on the nearest tee-shirt and jeans I could find and charged down the stairs, still trying to fit my leg into my bright purple skinnies as I hopped down the steps and landed flat on my face.

    “Young lady, you are not leaving this house until you eat –,” came the cry from the kitchen. The smell of burnt eggs and toast stung my nose, drawing a few tears. At least she was worried, but that was one meal I would have to skip.

    Scrambling to my feet, I rushed past her and out into the foyer. With my hand settled on the handle of the door, I turned to shout a final goodbye – “Sorry, love ya, bye!” – and dashed out into the cold, wet morning.

    On any given day, this seems kind of normal, at least for me. I’m typically klutzy, emotional, and any other negative characteristics you could name, and today was particularly bad. There was this nervous feeling in my gut – kind of like the kind you get when you’re alone in a strange, dark corridor at night – that told me something just wasn’t right. Don’t’ judge me for this, but I’m a rather superstitious person. I don’t necessarily believe in things like bad luck, but legends and myths like Dracula and the red string of fate seem possible at the very least. Who says we’re not all tied, hypothetically speaking, of course, to one special person?

    At that moment, a cold wind blew across the back of my neck, chilling the depths of my soul. I shuddered and spun around, but there was no one there. My gaze swept up and down the street that ran alongside my house, but nothing stirred; all that moved were the clouds of my breath as they rose into the still-dark sky. I looked at my watch. Eight fifteen. I was half an hour late. Still jumpy, the only choice I had was to turn back around and keep going. After all, I was tardy enough already. With that nagging sensation that someone was following me, I continued on my way down the narrow alley that would start me on the journey of a lifetime.

    to be continued...