Chapter 1- Amara

Wondering through the woods I remembered the first time I ran in here. That was the worst and the best day of my life.

I am Amara Cross and I am sixteen years old. I am an 11th grader. My hair are reddish brown in color and eyes, chocolate brown. I have pale skin and I am 5 foot 3 inches tall. I skipped a grade, so I am in the same grade with my sister, Elena. Elena and I moved in with our father Robert Cross this year and by that I mean Elena moved in with our dad and I moved to a cabin in the woods. Robert lives in Greycoast. I know weird name right. It's a small town surrounded by thick woods and you can barely see the sun due to the clouds covering the sky almost every day. Ironic, isn’t it. But I love it here. I have my own little heaven in the woods waiting for me, so I was quite excited to move here.

Elena and I lived with our mother Emma Cross till now in Esterden. This place is a total opposite of Greycoast. It's hot there most of the time through the year. I love the warmth in Esterden though. We used to spend our summer in Greycoast every year, which never felt like summer due to the weather. My parents got divorced when I was barely a month old. They got married when they were just out of school i.e. at the age of eighteen. Teen love and all that shit. My mom was pregnant with Elena at that time. They used to live in Esterden, a warm place with lots of beach. Almost eight months after marriage my sister was born. One kid is not that much of a problem for a low income family right. They managed pretty well. But after about three months, my mom got pregnant with me and that's when things started going downhill. They were not ready for a second child. They were barely managing with the first one. When I was born the situation got far worse. With so less money and two kids to raise, their relationship snapped. They were not ready to handle the pressure. They started fighting a lot and eventually ended up getting divorced. That’s what everyone tells me. I was too little to know anything then. My father moved to Greycoast and my mother stayed in Esterden. I for the part, became a bitter memory for them.

But that was just the start of the problems. My mother wouldn't look at me and father, he did not even consider me as his daughter. Elena, she hated me for breaking her perfect family. I was a kid back then, barely a month old at that time and can't take care of myself. That's when Uncle Dale and Aunt Claire stepped in. Uncle Dale is father's older brother. He is eight years older than father. Aunt Clair is his wife. They took me in. They have a son named Alec. We are two months apart. Alec is two months older than me. So, we practically grew up as twins. If it wasn't for uncle, aunt and Alec, I wouldn't be here. My mother, father and Elena are just my family on papers but my real family is uncle, aunt and Alec. My parents refused to let Uncle and Aunt officially adopt me. Nobody knows the reason why. Maybe they wanted to see me suffer more. Who knows!

But the summer ritual was compulsory for Elena and me from when we turned five and four. I didn't want to go there as father practically ignored my existence whenever I was there. I always felt lonely and unwanted in that house. I never understood though why they would send me there if they don’t want to see me. I mean I was happy being away from their scowling, loathing faces. I used to take care of myself. Dad used to smile at Elena and would never pay attention to me. He would take her to eat outside, to the movies and I would be home alone starving or eating anything I can find in the kitchen, which they made sure not to leave much. But I would still wait for them in hope to be noticed just once maybe. I studied hard and got good grades so that mom and dad would praise me. I made myself perfect in extracurricular too but, still no avail.

The year I turned ten, we went to Greycoast as usual for the summer break. It was almost the end of the summer break. On that particular night my father came home early from work. Elena was staying at her summer friends Leah and Mia Butler's house. Dad went in the kitchen and started drinking. I was watching him from the small storage room door which I would get as a bedroom over the summer every year. After an hour or so he stood up and started coming towards me. That was the first time he looked me in the eye. The emotions in his eyes were not what I wanted to see though. His eyes were full of hate and that hate was directed towards me. He stood right in front of me and started shouting at me, "Because of you my family broke. Because of you Jessica left me. I wish you were never born, then we would have been one happy family. I will make you suffer for everything you put us through." And with that said he slammed his fist on the wall, an inch beside my head and went in his room. I started crying. I didn't knew he hated me so much. I always used to think he is just mad at me about something but hate, it was a whole different level.

And I did the most rational thing a scared ten year old could think of. I ran out of the house and into the woods that were surrounding it. It was raining at that time as the summer break was about to end. I ran aimlessly in the woods, tears streaming down my face. After sometime it got harder to see as it was getting dark and the woods were dense. Only little light passed through. I tripped on a tree root and fell face first and hit my head on a rock. Everything became woozy after that. My head hurt like hell and I was in and out of consciousness. I thought I would die here with nobody to look for me. Even if they did try to find me, what was the possibility that some wild animal wouldn’t eat me up first? I mean it’s a freaking jungle for crying out loud. I thought I was done for.

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