Chapter 1: The Drummer

Holding onto his drumsticks tightly, one in each hand, Victor Nelson played a beat in perfect synchronization with the other drummers in his line. He saw the faces of the people in the crowd, all bundled up in winter wear, and he heard the sound of their cheering voices, building up to one uniform roar that was almost as deafening as the drums themselves, but none of it could distract him or throw him off the beat; he remained in perfect step with the others, loving every second of what was happening. The great pride the town felt for their high school drum line was evident, and it was the same pride Victor felt for the group himself. There may not have been many of them, but they packed a punch.

"Would you cut out that god-awful noise!"

The next-door neighbor, sticking her head out of the window, jarred Victor out of his fantasy. The crowd was gone, as well as the other drummers. It was no longer winter, but summer, and he was standing alone in the back yard of his house.

"Sorry," he said to the neighbor, but the dirty look he shot her cancelled out any possible sincerity. She pulled her head back in, and he turned and headed towards the back door of his own house, letting the strap loose from his shoulder and carrying the drum inside. He'd hoped that since none of his family members were home he'd finally have a chance to play without bothering anyone, but evidently he still lived within too close proximity to other people for that to ever be possible. He deposited the drum in his bedroom and sat down on the bed, sagging with disappointment. It had been so long since he'd last played, and he'd really gotten to missing it…