Chapter 1

"So here I am once again," Allison Brookes said to herself as she gazed out upon the small town of Harrisville for the first time in years. Her initial thought was to turn and run away, but then the reason of why she had came back to the town hit her hard in the stomach. Allison pushed back a wave of nausea and forced herself to sit back down in the car before she became sick again.

That sting of guilt and anxiety was overwhelming as she looked at the sky and let out a long shallow breath. 'This is going to be harder than I first expected,' she said to herself. She pulled slowly into the traffic that gathered around the only entrace into the small town.

The mustang she was driving had been a present to herself while in Los Angeles the year before. It was a cherry red convertible; which she loved even though living in New York had not allowed her to use the car as much as she had wanted too.

The town, she noticed, had not changed at all since she had moved on. She wondered secretly how one place could stay the same for so long, while she didnt even remember the person she had once been all those years ago.

'Stop,' she yelled at herself. 'It's all in the past. You have to move forward!'

The past was just a scary monster waiting to rear its ugly head at any moment it was dwelled upon for too long in her memory.

The wind whipped softly through her red curls as her car glided slowly through the main street of the town. Children's laughter filled her ears as she passed the local park. She stopped and sat watching the children playing for a moment, hesitant to move forward, knowing what awaited her just a few miles up the road.

A woman who appeared to be about nine months pregnant caught her gaze as she sat quietly reading. The woman glimpsed up occasionally to watch her five-year-old son who had found amusement with a caterpillar.

"Put that down," the mother insisted as the child held the bug a little too close to her face. "Put that down," the woman repeated.

Ali, as some people called her, let out a small chuckle and began driving again. Eleven years had passed since she had left Harrisville, but it still seemed the same, almost as if she had never left. Harrisville was close nit community in East Texas, with plenty of family and friends too go around. With a quick turn onto a dirt road Allison was making her way closer to everything she had left behind. Nausea rose up again in her throat and fought hard to keep it down. Her stomach once again, she then remembered she had fled out of New York so fast she had skipped breakfast, and lunch.

Besides the feeling of constant nausea and a growling stomach her mind was playing with her emotions as well, letting her drift back to the memories she had long since put away.

She had enjoyed the hustle and bustle of New York and she had her share of the wild life; which had nothing to do with furry and cute little animals. Through college parties, company Christmas celebrations, and hormone crazed men, she had survived it all. Deep down in her soul she longed for a life of privacy and beyond all reasoning she couldn't understand why, but she wanted a family of her own.

'Hormones,' she screamed to herself.

Her car came to a grinding halt as she came upon the white picket fence that wrapped around the property of her childhood home. "Nothing changes around this town," she said to herself as she stepped carefully out of her car. The butterflies in her stomach seemed to grow as she looked upon the land and then the house.

Her life was about to take a drastic change, and she realized that literally when she looked down at her neatly painted toenails. Weekly trips to the salon, gone! Her double mocha latte at the best coffee shop in New York, gone! Shopping at all the best shops and buying the cutest fashions, gone!

She sighed and picked her head up; forcing a smile on her face she walked forward trying to keep her balance steady on what seemed like unsteady ground.

A man in the distant field caught her attention. She pulled her hand to her forehead blocking out the bright sunlight so she could get a better view of her father.

Henry was a patient man who had always put his children first no matter what it cost him, especially Allison. He had favored his youngest Ali, but nobody really knew why. Maybe it was because their personalities were so much alike, or maybe because she was the baby.

She took the steps of the porch slowly as the memories of teenage years came flooding into her mind. A first kiss on the porch steps hoping mom and dad wouldn't see you. "That was such a long time ago," she said silently.

A sweet woman's voice interrupted her thoughts. "May I help you?" She looked up at the woman and with a shrug of her shoulders she tried to smile. The woman looked at her curiously, her brows forced into a confused look.

"Mom it's me Allison!" The woman who had been frozen in place slowly slithered to the ground and fainted.

Panic swept over Allison as she bent down and tried to revive her mother. She had never imagined this happening. She had expected them to be happy about her returning. Bending down and holding her mother's fragile body it was then that she saw the blood flowing from her mother's head.

The panic in her body had changed into fear and dread. Not sure of what to do she screamed as loud as she could hoping that someone would hear her cries.