Chapter 1

It was the little things that got to me: The small shoves as I passed by. The not so subtle coughs disguising the word "snitch" or "nark". The notes in my locker that went along the lines of "Snitch=Bitch," "Rye the rat," or the "slut!" The spit wads that had a way of finding my hair during class...

It was the little things.

It didn't bother me that I didn't have anyone to talk to; that I went straight home after school. Even when they painted "SNITCH" on my locker, at least the faculty was on my side for that one. But when I had to chop 12 inches off my hair because someone had buried too much gum in it, I was done.

My life hadn't always been like this. I wasn't always the victim of vicious torment. My first, second, and mostly third year in high school, I was just an average student. I had that one really good friend and a handful of people I talked to in class. But that was it. For me, high school was not the social party the movies made it out to be- maybe it was, but I just never knew… I don't know. Anyways, life was fine. I never made an effort to make friends because hell, I was leaving in four years anyways. In four years I was going to kiss this small city of Bailey Falls goodbye, attend a Liberal Arts College in New York, and major in Journalism. Everything was planned out.

But one night was all it took for my whole plan to get fucked up.

Lacrosse was the "big thing" where I lived. This was probably because the only two high schools in town really didn't have enough bulky men to play football. For Bailey Falls, lacrosse was life. Even the parents, faculty, and alumni attended all the games. The most enthusiastic fans of course were the students. Having a winning year in lacrosse defined how years went for them. The more games won, the better the year seemed to be in general. Less homework, fewer tests, more rallies, more alumni support etc. The graduating classes of those years also seemed to be remembered more often. If an alumnus of one of those classes were to come home from college four years later, he or she was usually met with bundles of job opportunities. The kids of the loosing classes however, never seemed to come back.

Despite my "anti-social" nature as my mom called it, I actually enjoyed attending the Lacrosse games as well. Other than my writing, lacrosse games made me feel like I was a part of something. Bundling up to watch those early spring games and standing on the sidelines with my journalist notepad, for some reason, made me feel like my high school career wasn't all a waste. Everyone was usually there to watch. I was there to record. We were all there for the team, each other; so no one ever missed the Drayton vs. Dashner rivalry match.

Drayton and Dashner High were the only two high schools in Bailey Falls and, incidentally, it's usually always these two schools that compete for state at the end of the season. It was after this game last year when my world turned upside down. Our school of Drayton had beaten Dashner. For the first time in three years, we had beaten the Dashner Hawks, our rivals on the other side of town. The only reason we'd won was because Dashner's two best players were absent but that didn't matter. We had won and the student body responded by throwing the biggest party of the year.

I rarely attended parties. And if I did, I never drank. My father was the Chief of Police, so he had pretty much instilled in me an aversion to illegal substances at a young age. So how the cup came into my hands, I still have no idea. One minute I was just trying to move through the mass of people with my arms up over my head, and the next thing I know, a red plastic cup was in my hand. I remember the music blasting out the speakers and a sweat breaking out on my upper lip. I remember the stifling heat emitted from the dancers. The stink was horrendous and couples were constantly rubbing up against me in an attempt to have more space. So maybe that was why I decided to drink. To drown everything out, to loosen up. And initially, that was all that happened.

After a few moments though, the room started to spin… and I wasn't stupid. As the roofies passed through my bloodstream, I felt my eyes drooping and my body collapsing. Leaning up against a wall, I scrappily pulled my phone out of my pocket and speed dialed my father. I struggled for words but he seemed to understand. The last thing I remember was him saying he was coming.

Apparently he came- with the entire police force.

The next morning I woke up in my bed. Still feeling slightly nauseous I stumbled out of my room into the living room where my mom was sitting on the couch in front of the television. The sound was blearing. "Breaking News: what happened last night at the Richardson household and why the entire lacrosse team of Drayton High School has now been suspended until further notice. Coming up next."

I had collapsed on the floor, much to my mother's shock. The entire team- suspended. This meant our chance at nationals was gone. It would go to the runner up- Dashner High. And of course, it wasn't long after that night until it was discovered I was the one who "snitched." I was the one called the police, had ruined my junior year. So began my torment from my junior class and the seniors alike.

Which brings us to now. A new year, a new school, a new name. Dashner High, meet Riley Renolds.