The Edge of the Earth

Mallory's world is thrown out or control when her mother seemingly leaves her father in the night. Though her father seems unchanged by the absence of his wife, he moves the both of them to a new town.

In addition to coping with her mother's leaving, Mallory has to learn to live in a new place while going to a brand new school with a brand new set of people. Nevermind that she seems to have been targeted the attention of the local conspiracy theorist.

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The wind was blowing so hard the small trees along the driveway were bent to the ground. Rain poured from the sky, wetting my hair and clothes in seconds. Lightning cracked in the sky, illuminating our house. The windows were broken and the door was hanging from one hinge. What had happened here? 

I ran to the house and found the inside soaked. Looking up I saw a gaping hole in the ceiling that let me see straight up into the storm outside. The floor creaked loudly as I moved through the atrium. A beam fell through the ceiling in front of me and I screamed as I covered my head. I had to get my parents out of the house before it collapsed in on them. 

Another crack of lightning lit up my surrounding for half a second. It wasn't long, but I knew this house, and it was enough for me to find the staircase. Half of them were broken through like someone had stomped over them. At the top of the stairs, the hole in the floor was much bigger than it looked from downstairs. The hole in the roof was bigger up here and more rainwater poured in on me and everything my family owned. 

"Mom!" I screamed until my throat was raw. Thunder continued to rumble overhead, and it was all I could hear. I burst into the study where my parents could often be found, but neither of them was there. Turning back, I called out again, but my voice was gone. Nothing came out. I hurried toward my bedroom, thinking maybe I could find something worth saving. 

As I stepped in my childhood bedroom, I heard a thick crack and suddenly I was falling through the floor. I couldn't scream for help and everything I reached out the grab was gone before my hand could meet it. I just kept falling and falling until finally, the ground came. 

I jerked away and found myself lying in my dry bed in a house that wasn't falling to pieces in the middle of a storm. It was a solid minute before I was aware of my alarm blaring. I knew if I didn't turn it off, Dad would come in and start yelling, so I reached behind the night stand and ripped the plug out of the wall. It stopped just a Dad's footsteps started stomping down the hall. 

"You're going to be late, Mal." He said as I threw the covers aside. I didn't really care if I was late. He seemed done with any other part of a conversation and went back down the hall. I wondered if he'd slept last night.

I made myself get out of bed, and I put on a sweater and a pair of shorts I purchased yesterday. I wasn't sure what I'd need for the day, so I stuck with the bare minimum. 

I found Dad in his room, just sitting on the end of his bed. For the first time since Mom left, he looked depressed. I leaned against the door frame and crossed my arms. I didn't want to disturb him, but I wasn't about to leave the house without telling him first.

"I'm gonna head to school," I said, suddenly feeling familiar flutters of nervousness turn over in my stomach. He started slightly and took in a quick breath as his attention turned to me. 

"Right, have a good day." He said, suddenly acting like a dad is supposed to act. I left him alone and took the ten-minute walk to the High School on Main Street.  It was cleverly called Main Street High School. I took note of all the kids loitering around the front yard and in the street. I had yet to see any drive on the road. Of course, why does anyone need to drive when everything is walking distance? 

I wasn't too sure where I was supposed to go. The only information I had was that I was supposed to start today. Making my way inside, I tried to find the front office. All I could seem to find were locker-lined halls and empty classrooms. I'd never even been inside a school before and trying to find my own way wasn't working.  

Finally, just before I broke down and asked someone where to go, I found the office. I must have passed it about six times before I noticed it. I shoved the door open, thinking too late that I should have knocked. 

I startled the poor secretary sitting at a desk facing the door. She clutched at her heart and brushed her bleached blond hair back as I took a hesitant step closer. 

"I'm sorry, I didn't mean to scare you," I said, feeling nervous again. "My name's Mallory Alexander. I'm new." 

The woman smiled warmly and folded her hands in front of her, "Yes, come in and have a seat, Love." She nodded to me and I took the seat in front of her desk. I wasn't sure what I was supposed to do while I waited. I looked around the room to pass the time. It was small and hardly decorated. There was a large wall of photographs of a senior class going all the way back to 1975. There wasn't much else to look at, and I thought maybe it was to draw attention to the photos.

I was too far away to see any faces clearly, but I wondered if anyone in any of them still lived in town. This didn't seem to be a place that people got out of easily. You know the type of town in movies where people live in a place and there's always the guy who wants nothing more than to get out? This place felt like one of those towns.

"Alrighty Miss Mallory," The woman said, drawing my attention back to her, "I have printed out your class schedule for you, and I'm writing down right now your locker number. Each class will give you the textbooks you need and Mr. Clifford in Homeroom will assign you someone to show you around."

"Thank you," I said standing up. The bell rang out in the hall. I was late for class already and I hadn't even been to one yet. 

"You're welcome, Sweetie. Now my name is Ms. Julie, and if you need anything you march yourself back here and let me know okay?" She handed me a few papers and I nodded quickly. "Mr. Peters is the principal around here, his office is right there. He's always available if I'm not, okay?" She pointed behind her to a door just as it opened. 

A tall lanky boy walked out looking like he'd just had a good talking to. It was odd to me since the school day just started and it was nearly impossible for someone to already be in trouble. 

"Now Carter, what are you doin' in here so early?" Ms. Julia asked, getting up. She was really funny. She reminded me of the women on Designing Women. She had the accent and everything. Her hands moved to her hips as Calvin walked toward the hall. 

"I got caught jumping the fence around the tennis courts again." He rolled his eyes and Ms. Julie tsked at him disapprovingly. "I only got a lunch detention." he shrugged and his eyes flicked over to me. I turned my attention to his shoes awkwardly and noticed he had a really awesome pair of white Chuck Taylors. He'd drawn in red Sharpie all over them. 

"Well," Ms. Julie sighed, "I'm going to have you take Miss Mallory Alexander to Mr. Kendrick's class. She's new and doesn't know her way around yet."

Calvin gave a deep sigh and I looked at Ms. Julie. She had a clever grin on her face like she'd been planning this for months. Calvin gestured for me to follow him, and I stumbled after him quickly. I didn't want to make him anymore late than he already was for his own class. 

Mr. Kendrick's class seemed to be on the complete opposite side of the school. I wasn't sure if it actually was, or if it just felt that way. Walking next to Calvin made me nervous. I kept thinking I should make some kind of conversation with him, but I struggled to come up with a single thing to say to him. 

When we reached the correct classroom, Calvin opened the door and held it open for me. At least he was a gentleman. I stepped inside and found everyone was now looking right at me. There were a few snickers as Mr. Kendrick, who was a balding man who wore a pea-green sweater vest, turned his attention to me. 

"Can I help you?" He asked frowning. Maybe not everyone knew I was supposed to be going to school here. 

"Uh...." I turned to look at Calvin for help, but he had already disappeared. "My name is Mallory. Ms. Julie sent me here for Homeroom." Realization dawned in Mr. Kendrick's eyes and he smiled now. 

"Right, I remember now!" He said, "Welcome Mallory. You can take a seat beside Franki." He gestured to the only open seat in the room beside a girl who had cheerleader written all over her. I took my seat, feeling more awkward and nervous by the minute.  

Mr. Kendrick spent most of the time talking about things that were coming up during the week like football games, and fundraisers. By the end of the hour, everyone seemed ready to move on with the day. I wanted to stay there forever. I didn't know what to expect. Everyone seemed pretty nice so far, but I just knew someone was going to ruin my day somewhere. Not to mention I could embarrass myself at any time of the day. 

Just before the bell rang, Mr. Kendrick turned his attention to me. "Miss Alexander, why don't you take the next few minutes to tell us all about yourself." He leaned against his desk and crossed his arms. I felt like I was going to be sick as I stood up. I turned around and looked at everyone as they stared back at me. 

"Well," I started, my voice shaking more than I really liked to admit, "My name is Mallory Alexander, I just moved here from Chicago with my Dad." I wasn't sure what else to say, so I just stood there uncomfortably. 

Mr. Kendrick cleared his throat, "What does your father do for work?" he asked, obviously trying to pry something out of me. 

"Um, he's a writer." I said nodding, "He's written a couple of science fiction novels and he used to write for the local paper where we used to live." 

"That sounds really great, Mallory. Do you plan on following in his footsteps or do you have other plans for your future?" Mr. Kendrick smiled at me and I couldn't help but think that maybe these people were bordering on creepy. Why did they ask so many questions? They all seemed too nice to pass for normal. 

"I don't know." I shrugged, "I'm not a very good writer. I like the reading side of books more than the writing." Mr. Kendrick nodded thoughtfully. He seemed about to ask me another question when the bell rang, signaling the end of the period. 

"Saved by the bell, Miss Alexander," He said smiling, "Ross, can you show Mallory to her next class today?" I looked back as a blonde boy with a leather jacket nodded. Everyone got up and I was one of the first people out of the room. I waited in the hall for Ross. I wasn't sure what I was expecting, but he wasn't anything I expected. 

He was shorter than me, and he didn't say a word as he took my schedule from my hands. "You've got calculus next with Mrs. Leonards. Follow me." He mumbled. He crumpled my schedule in his hand as he walked down the hall. I walked after him quickly. 

It wasn't that far away, and when we got there, Ross gave me back my schedule and I took a seat toward the back. I hoped I didn't have to stand up and talk about myself in every class today. I mainly wanted to keep to myself. I couldn't do that if every teacher was calling me out to say something about myself. 

I sat back and kept my head down on my desk while I tried to pay attention. Maybe if I could stay in the back and keep quiet, no one would even notice me. 

 

 

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