Prologue: The chocolate brown leaf cascaded from the tree, that it was on only moments before. It softly landed on a nearby puddle, making many ripples come to life.

This leaf would be the key to a whole new adventure, and the key to a better life.


I looked at my alarm clock, 7:49 A.M. I lowly cursed at myself. I turned around. I wanted to hide under my blanket for the rest of my life.

Well, maybe he would sleep through the day if I didn't wake him. But his work would call.

Maybe I could unplug the phone? I quickly scrapped the idea. He would still go to work tomorrow, and his coworkers would tell on me.

I looked in the mirror. Still looked the same. Straight blonde hair to my shoulders. Some people could hardly tell I was a boy. I don't like those people.

I peered into the hallway.

All of the lights were off. I looked into his room. He was sleeping heavily in his bed. I was supposed to wake him up at 6:30, but my alarm did not go off. I could wake him up. He couldn't punish me until later. I took a deep breath.

"Brother." I said while walking into his room. He shuffled. I shook him gently,

"Brother." I repeated. His eyes opened.

"It's almost eight o'clock." I said. All the sleep left his eyes. He shot of bed and grabbed my shirt collar.

"What the hell Luce. You know you're supposed to wake me up at 6:40 every morning!" He yelled. He raised his arm, but was interrupted by the phone ringing. He snatched the phone off of the wall.

I slowly started to back away, angry. I really hated him. I regretted waking him up. It would just be another day of him senselessly beating me. I looked at him. He was talking to the person on the phone with respect. It must have been his boss.

"I'm terribly sorry. I'll be there right away." He said before hanging up. He grabbed his jacket, and told me,

" Since I can't do it, you're going to have to be the one who goes to the bank to pick up mom's monthly check." He then, walked out the door. I looked behind me, avoiding eye contact.

Our parents left us when my brother was sixteen and I was ten. I am now fifteen and he is twenty-one. Even though they left us, every month we get a check from the bank. But it's not like that makes it any better.

I didn't move until I heard my alarm suddenly burst into a parade of noises. I slammed the off button.

"Too little too late." I grumbled.

I grabbed my backpack and ran out the door. It was getting far too cold. Winter was upon us. Which I guess I liked. Considering I like the snow.

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw my next door neighbor.

"Luce, you're late for school." She informed me, as if I didn't know. I just walked past her. I didn't want to play her sadistic game. She then grabbed my arm and threatened,

"Watch your back."

"Please, you think an old granny like you scares me?" I asked, before ripping my arm out of her grip. I started to walk away, as she tossed another insult at me. Although, I didn't care enough to listen.

She's like everyone else. A player. I don't know why they haunt me, but they do. I must live with it.

After ten minutes of silent walking, I heard my phone ring.

I picked it up, even though the only one who has my phone number is my brother. So there was no question as to who it was...and who it was just happened to be someone I really hated.

"Hello." I practically barked to the other side.

"Are you going to the bank?" He asked, and I hate to admit, I was a little shocked when he didn't reach his hand through the phone to slap me.

"No, I'm going to school." I answered, very defiantly.

"I told you to go the bank!" He yelled, again, as if I didn't know.

"Well, I told you I'm going to school!" I yelled back.

"Well, someone wants to get punished." He spoke, and I had to considered what he said.

" Fine, I'll go." I replied, in defeat. I don't care.

I'm late, anyway.

I slammed the phone shut. I took a sharp turn to my right, and stepped in a puddle. Great, I thought, now my shoe is wet. I then stomped to the bank. I opened the door. There was a bunch of old people there. How fun this day will be.

I looked at the line.

Great. It looks like today is the day, when the whole old folks home decided to get their tax refunds.

Okay, maybe I was exaggerating. There was only about thirty people in view, and most of them weren't above forty. But still.

I grudgingly got in line. The lady in front of me, turned around so she could speak to me. I glared at her, not wanting to talk.

"Hello." She spoke, her voice like butter. I just looked at her blankly.

"Aren't you supposed to be in school?" She then asked.

"Does it matter?" I asked, angry. She looked surprised.

" Why are you here?" She asked. Okay, apparently, this woman doesn't know when to take a freaking hint! How annoying!

"I'm picking up a check." I answered, my arms folded.

"Well, I'm here to get my divorce money." She informed me. I looked at her and wondered why she was telling me these things.

"I'm Aimee." She told me, and I clicked my tongue. I guess this woman isn't going to stop wanting to talk to me.

"Can you believe they've finally made divorce legal?" She asked me, and I looked at her in confusion.

My grandparents divorced when I seven. That was eight years ago. She then looked away. I guessed she realized that I caught her mistake, and got embarrassed. Meanwhile, I was happy that it was back to me, myself, and I.

After a few minutes, I then grew bored. So I took it upon myself to count all of the people in the room.

There were twenty-four people in here, not including me.

I heard a clank. I looked over, and the man at the front desk put a sign on the desk that read: breakfast break.

"Dammit." I said lowly. Then, the person behind me decided to take the pleasure of annoying me.

"A kid your age shouldn't use that kind of language." He quipped, and I just imagined punching him in the face.

"Oh hush, Bert" Aimee scolded.

"Well, I'm just saying." He replied.

"It's quite alright miss. Old people get angry a lot because they are going to die soon. Oh, and by the way, if you're just saying it, like it's not that important. Maybe you shouldn't have said it at all" I said, with a laugh.

The old man tightly grabbed my hand.

"Heed your words, kid." He barked.

"I swear. When you get home, your father should whip you with a belt." He added.

I chose not to tussle with a fifty year old man, and just pulled out of his grip. I then looked around the very old fashioned bank.

"Why are you here on this fine day, Bert?" Aimee asked.

"Just depositing some money in my ex-wife's account. Ever since divorcing became legal, I've given her tons of money." He complained. Okay I know they're old and don't know what's what, but these people really need to get their facts straight.

"Oh, there's a leaf on your head." Aimee told me. I remembered, there being a leaf in the puddle I stepped in earlier. I guess it must have stuck to me.

I grabbed the leaf, and stuck it in my pocket.

"Careful." I heard an unfamiliar voice say. I looked around. It sounded like a teenage boy but I'm the only teenager here.

Bert pushed me.

"The lines moving." He barked, and I wanted to throw down.

"Thanks." I replied sarcastically.

I moved up, but then suddenly a gun shot reverberated throughout the bank. Everyone screamed. Another shot fired and multiple people jumped to the ground in fear. I stood up straight.

One moment later, a person came from the huge wooden doors. When I saw this person, my heart skipped a beat. But i wasn't sure why. First of all, since he was the same gender as me, and second of all, he was the one holding the gun.