Chapter One.

I don't know if this is exactly accurate or exactly what happened, but I will tell you something. And I'll tell you what happened. From my point of view.

It was a Friday night, a cold and rainy December evening. Typical right? I sat looking out my bedroom window, to where the Parkon's huge mansion sat right across my house. All its windows were illuminated with bright lights and discoball colors. I could practically feel the booming techno beat vibrating through my own walls. The Parkon's kid could never lower the volume down, really. But tonight, the music was thriving extra deafeningly.

Also from the windows, shapes and silhouettes of people moved through and at and across. Drinks in hand, red party plastic cups. Laughter, more laughter, talking all at once, and trying to be heard above the music.

So, there I sat. Looking out my bedroom window and right across to their windows. It was a little while that I've been doing that, but right now, as I'm explaining it, it really is a rather quick scene. I was contemplating, that's what I was doing. To go or not to go. I wasn't exactly a party person, and I was an avid spectator of the parties that take place in the Parkon's mansion normally. This occasion was no different. A Christmas party. Just like last year, you know.

I'd say I go to at least two of the numerous parties each year. Bryson Parkon, that's the kid's name. I knew him for about five years now, since he'd moved in. He and I were the both juniors, but he was a year older. Pretty popular at school, obviously. If not, his parties would be not so successfully fun. His energy and charisma reeled in friends and girls and the cool boys. He was chill with everyone, even the teachers loved him. He and I were the mutual. You know, the I-ran-out-of-sugar-can-I-come-over-to-your-house-and-get-some-please?-kind of mutual.

He'd always invite me over to his social bashes anyway. Sometimes a call, or an email, or whenever he sees me at school. "Hey, come over tonight, everyone's gonna be there, and the music will be thrashing!" he'd say. Dude, your music is always thrashing, I wanted to reply. But I'd just nod and be like, "Yeah, sure. If ya know, I'm not busy." At my usual response, he'd just give me a one-cheek grin and a playful wink as he's walking away. I used to be flattered. At the invite and the wink and stuff. But I soon figured out he does the same thing to all the girls in school.

When I was able to come over though, one of those times when I was just extremely bored or curious, he's greeting would be the same. "Oh hey, glad you could come!" he'd shout before being dragged away by one of his friends. I'd spend the rest of the night chatting with someone I knew from a class with a beer in hand. It was always just one beer. I could control myself.

The reason Bryson threw so many parties was because his parents were the 'business abroad' type. The kind who left notes on the refrigerator door with messages such as: 'Gotta go on a business trip to Spain. Be back by Monday. Take care of yourself. If you need anything, just call. Love, Mom and Dad'. Then Bryson took the opportunity to do whatever he wanted, of course. Bryson Parkon was a social butterfly. I don't think there was ever a moment when I saw him without a person by his side.

So, there I sat. Quick shot, quick scene. I stood up, taking one last glance at the celebration going on next door. I decided, for some reason, to go tonight. I pulled on my thick black boots, and wrapped the matching wool scarf around my neck. I dabbed a little bit of red cheek stain on my cheeks, and Chapstick on my winter chapped lips. I met my mother at the kitchen, just reading the morning newspaper now, and she looked up at me in question.

"I'm going to uh, the Parkon's Christmas party next door," I told her.

She nodded once. She thought Bryson's parents would be there. "Alright. Don't be home too late."

The mansion was right across our house so I didn't really think it should matter much, but I nodded anyway. I walked out the front door, pulling my hood over my head, bracing for the whipping rain. I sprinted across the street, my boots splashing over small puddles. Quick shot, quick scene.

I'd arrived on the Parkon's well-cut front yard now. Just a few more steps down the stone path to the front doors. The electronica reverberating through the walls. The heavy rain drumming all around me. I felt a chill. Not just a oh-it's-cold-weather- kinda chill. The holy-shit-something-strange-is-about-to-happen chill up the spine was what I felt. I took a breath.

BANG!

Sudden. Crisp, staccato. Heart-thumping. Heart-racing. Silence. Silence.

What the fuck was that?

At the noise, I instinctively ducked. At something, who, what, I don't know. But I flinched and ducked. Three more seconds, the music died. Then, a scream, shouts. I blinked and looked around and my eyes rested on one of the near windows of the mansion. Everyone inside had frozen mid-step or mid-sentence or mid-sip, whatever, and I could easily read the words pouring out of their lips. What the fuck was that?

I don't know about you, but I wanted to get the hell out of where I was currently standing. Get under a shade of a tree or something, just out of where I was so exposed. It seemed like everything had frozen, everything except the downpour that continued to drum the sidewalks.

Then, a voice. "Shit."

I squinted through the rain that blurred my vision, looking for the source of the voice that seemed to come from outside. I took a step, eagerly leaving my stationary and exposed position, yet anxious by what I might find.

The noise. That was a gunshot, wasn't it? Now, I've watched many action movies and that indeed was a gunshot. But I can tell you, hearing a gunshot in person is a very odd and confusing thing altogether. First off, it is 10 times louder and for the first 10 minutes, you deny it's a gunshot at all. A gun blast? In this quaint little neighborhood? Oh dear no, the water pipes must have burst again. Well let me tell you another thing: a gunshot and a water pipe bursting are two wholly different sounds.

So, there I crouched. Right outside the Parkon's mansion in the pouring rain squinting around suspiciously like an idiot.

"Shit," the voice said again.

The human figure came into view. Standing under the big oak tree. Tall, lanky, male. Dark hair, and as he raised his head and spotted me, dark eyes. My eyes narrowed, and my finger rose to point feebly in his direction as if in accusation. He stared blankly back at me, an unmoving yet controlled gaze.

"Raegan!"

I jumped. Jumped out of my crouch and raised arm and tense figure. I turned suddenly. There, standing at the front door, was Bryson Parkon. And he was looking at me like the complete and confused idiot that I was, standing out in the rain outside his house, staring and pointing at something unseen.

No. I turned back, raising my finger again. No, what the hell? Dark hair, dark eyes, he was gone. My finger pointed at nothing. I looked around. Nothing. Nowhere. Where the hell…

"Raegan! What are you doing?" Bryson.

"He was…" I sputtered.

"What are you pointing at?"

Nothing, nowhere.

Quick shot, quick scene.

Now I don't know if this is exactly accurate or exactly what happened. But I can tell you something. It was a rainy, cold December night. And a holy-shit-something-strange-is-about-to-happen chill ran up my spine. There was a gunshot, a stranger, and it was dark.


AN:

Story title from Explosions in the Sky song. No copyright infringment intended. Reviews, yeah? :]