Green Hills

It was nine 'o clock in the morning and standing on the curb, two suitcases and a trunk in hand, stood a girl in her late teens. The heat had forced her to wear a pair of beige cargo shorts along with a plain blue spaghetti strap as well as a pair of leather sandals. A loose bun held up her elbow- length brown hair, small light blue barrettes pinning back her bangs. This summer, the school had offered a course for the junior and senior classes to prepare them for life in the "real world." Of course, not much information had been revealed, only that the students who planned on attending needed enough clothes to last them for a three-month stay in an undisclosed location. And now, the first day of summer vacation, Crystal Parker, 17 and a junior at Lincoln High, stood in front of her house waiting for the promised car to come and pick her up.

She had hardly waited ten minutes when a sleek, black BMW X5 rolled up next to her. The door opened and she saw two students who she recognized from school already piled in. The cars were obviously much bigger than they seemed from the outside because her things along with 3 other suitcases managed to fit comfortably in the trunk of the SUV. Once in, the car drove off, leaving Crystal's empty home - her mother had left for work earlier that day - and made its way to the freeway. Crystal looked to her left at the two other girls - what were their names? Lina and Tye? - and introduced herself.

"Any idea where we're heading?"

Tye - a very tanned girl with blonde hair and blue eyes - shrugged. "We've tried drilling the driver, but he won't even talk to us. We've come to the conclusion that we're being taken to the mother ship to spend our summer on an alien planet."

The three girls laughed and continued talking about what they might expect when they reached their location. Nearly twenty minutes passed and the sounds of a group of people could be heard. The car made a right turn into a large apartment complex. A silver-painted sign with the words 'Green Hills' painted in green flashed before Crystal's eyes. Cars filled with students came and left the complex, and theirs was to be no exception. No sooner had the car pulled into a parking spot, the three girls jumped out, eager to see what was going on. The driver, who Crystal now recognized as one of the teachers from school, informed them that their luggage would be taken care of and that they were to head to the main building near the entrance for instructions.

Looking around Crystal recognized the buildings from an ad she'd seen on TV. The complex had only recently opened and was doing some sort of summer publicity stunt to attract people to the complex when it officially opened in December. She hadn't paid much attention to it before, but thinking about it now Crystal realized that this must be what they'd been talking about.

There was already a large amount of students near the entrance when the three girls arrived. Voices everywhere called out to other people, conversations flew every which way towards all ears; whispered rumors snaked along the ground. A few minutes later shushing noises could be heard as Mrs. Rigby - the kind of woman who didn't need a microphone - stood on top of a low wall surrounding one of the many trees. When everyone was quiet she straightened up a bit and beamed.

"I'm sure by now some of you may have figured out what is to be this summer's big activity. But for those of you who haven't, I'll explain. This summer the faculty arranged it so that all of you could get a dose of what it's like to be on your own. Over the next three months you will be staying in these complexes here, two to an apartment. As you more than likely noticed on your way here, the town is rather small, thus making it easy to get around in. Students may decorate their apartments any way they choose, however vulgar or otherwise offensive material is not permitted. You will all be responsible for going to the market and getting your own supplies, however, the bare necessities of what you may need for the first week has been provided for you."

At this many people voiced concerns over money. How were they to pay for all of these things? What happens if you don't have enough money?

Mrs. Rigby cleared her throat and waited for everyone to quiet down. When they had all settled down she began again. "Another thing all students must partake in is getting a job." There were moans and gripes among the students at that, but with one swift glare it stopped almost instantly. "Now, I don't expect you all to stand around here all day listening to what will be going on over the next three months, so now we'll begin the room arrangements. Once in your rooms you will find two packets, one for each person, that goes into more detail about what you are expected to do."

Nearly an hour later everyone had their room arrangements and was heading towards their respective buildings. Crystal waved goodbye to Lina and Tye, both of which had been assigned buildings on the opposite side of the complex, and made her way to Building 3. As she walked she noticed many people that she knew and called out brief hellos.

She finally made it to her building, which was at the very back of the complex, overlooking the park behind it as well as the roads beyond. She was fairly close to one of the two pools in the complex and silently thanked her mother for reminding her to pack her bathing suit. Looking down at the envelope in her hand she found that she was on the fourth and top floor of the building and as she began to climb the stairs, was immensely grateful that she wasn't obliged to pack her own suitcases up these stairs.

She saw more people walking along the walkway that surrounded the buildings and wondered just what she'd gotten herself into. The key in her hand fit into the lock on door 428 and she prayed and she turned the knob and pushed inwards that whatever lay ahead wouldn't kill her.