So small it rarely appears on a map, Waterbury, Pennsylvania, is settled in a break in the northern wilderness. Here, spruces and evergreens are interspersed with sugar maples and mighty oaks. Flowing from the northwest diagonally down to eventually connect with the Allegheny River, is the Waterbury Creek, slow and majestic with its greens and browns. It's calm enough and peaceful enough but when a storm comes through, the Waterbury magnifies its fury. Needless to say, everyone in town had flood insurance.
Waterbury gave off an outdated and slightly neglected feeling. Down the crumbling road of Main Street, their, well main street, were lines of faded, peeling storefronts with buzzing neon lights indicating that the owner was inside, probably playing cards with his friends. Behind a baby blue and brick building housing Cleo's General Store was a peeling white shed, and between that and the creek was a low, mismatched rectangle of a building, covered in ivy and dead leaves. The windows were thrown wide open, as no fan stirred the heavy August air. Inside, three boys sat in a circle on a ratty green rug. Each held a half empty beer bottle in his hand. The creaky door opened, and everyone stopped his conversation to see who it was.
"Jay!" a tall, skinny boy cried, laughing loudly, "We thought a grizzly had found you!"
Jason Lloyd crossed his arms. "How many times do I have to tell you not to call me that, Adam?" he asked, partly in annoyance at his friend. Adam just shrugged and took another swig from his can. Jason shook his head. "Lightweight," he muttered, then took a fresh can of his own from the cooler. "Sorry, Daniel held me up," he said. He winced and rubbed the back of his neck.
"You should really tell someone about this," said a serious, dark-haired boy, "This is getting out of hand."
"Tyler, I can't. He is my brother, and since he can't take care of himself, I have to. I can't do that if he is in jail." Jason didn't look angry, just weary, as if he had been fighting this battle for years.
"Obviously," said Ian, a muscular boy, shaking his dirty-blond hair at Jason, "The guards will take care of him. In fact, if you can't stand the sight of him in prison, just send him to a mental institution. They'll treat him real good at Hope Pointe; that's where my Aunt Hanna is."
"I can't do that to him," Jason stated firmly.
Adam replied, "He can't do what he does to you!" The others murmured their agreement.
Jason sighed. "If it gets much worse, I might," he conceded reluctantly, "If it makes you happier." I just don't want Dad to know, he added mentally, He already doesn't like him much. If he finds out what Daniel's been doing to his favorite son, he won't need an asylum; he'd need a coffin. He finished off his drink and laid back. "Enough about me, how's your girlfriend, Turtle?"
"Turtle?" Adam asked smirking, "I could beat any of you in a race, easily."
"Yep," Ian chimed in, "'Cuz slow and steady wins the race."
The track star rolled his eyes. "Courtney is doing great. We're seeing a movie tomorrow night."
"Which one?" inquired Tyler.
"She wants to see The Notebook, but I don't, really."
"How romantic of you," Jason said teasingly.
"Oh, shut up," muttered Adam, throwing his empty can at his head. He turned on Ian. "How're you and Stacey doing?"
Ian shrugged. "She's been avoiding me, but whatever. I think she's seeing that science genius, Jared or something. I don't care much; we weren't going to get very far." He nodded at Tyler. "When are you going to get a new girl, huh?" At Tyler's shrug, he snorted. "You're still hung up on Kaitlin, aren't you."
"Not really," he protested weakly, "I just..." He shook his head hard. "I've been thinking about Madison, but she seems a little bratty to be honest."
"Hon," said Ian, "Most of them are bratty."
"Doesn't stop me from trying to single the good ones out," Tyler replied.
"True, true," Adam laughed, "Sounds like a plan." He reached for another beer, but Jason grabbed his wrist.
"Uh, uh," he tutted, "No more for you today."
Adam pouted and stuck his tongue out, which served only to solidify Jason's point. "Meanie."
There was a pause while they waited for Tyler to ask Jason about his love life. He looked at his feet, not wanting to be the one to ask. "So what do you we head over to the Sugar Bowl, maybe get some ice cream?" he asked instead.
"I don't know," murmured Jason, "I probably shouldn't leave Daniel alone for so long."
Ian let out a huff of frustration. "He's twenty-four, for God's sake! If he can't occupy himself for a few hours, he shouldn't be living there in the first place. They do have places where he can live happily, you know."
"I know," said Jason, "Fine, I'll come with you guys. Let's leave before he comes looking for me, though. The last we want is for him to find out about this." He gestured around at the hut made of stolen materials and the empty cans of beer. "He would go crazy, or he'd tell Dad, who would also go crazy."
"Crazier than he already was," corrected Ian, "He is already plenty crazy." Jason just gave him a half smile.
They all ducked out of the low doorway, except for Tyler who didn't need to duck. Ian and Tyler grabbed their bikes from under some foliage, not that anyone would steal their bikes, and Jason and Adam started walking ahead. Once back on the street, they turned left and walked towards the little pink and white striped store. Inside, one wall was lined with jars of candy while the opposite wall had frozen yogurt dispensers and a freezer with containers of hand-dipped ice cream. It wasn't crowded now, but it got busy pretty quickly in the evenings.
"Good afternoon, boys," said Mr. Travis, the owner. He smiled from behind the shiny chrome counter. "Can I do anything for you?"
"No thank you," replied Tyler, "Just getting some ice cream."
"Frozen yogurt!" yelled Adam, raising his fist in the air, "The best thing ever. Especially when it's from here."
"Why thank you, Adam. That compliment saved you from being kicked out for disrupting my customers." Mr. Travis shook his head playfully.
Adam put on a devastated expression. "You would kick me out?"
At his exaggerated face, Mr. Travis had to fight down a smile. "Nah, it'd be too quiet."
Adam skipped over to the frozen yogurt and got himself a huge bowl of vanilla coated in dark chocolate shavings. Jason was already at the table with his peanut butter ice cream, and Tyler was slowly weaving his way over with his raspberry ice cream, trying not to spill the soda water he was holding. "Where's Ian?" Tyler asked as soon as he caught up with the others.
"Over there," Jason answered, "Flirting with that girl in the corner." He nodded towards a petite, brown-haired girl who was giggling after every other word.
"Typical," said Adam good-naturedly, "Can't stay away." He took a bite of his frozen yogurt. "This is really good," he said around his heaping mouthful.
"Glad you like it," Mr. Tyler said, overhearing them with his hawk-like hearing.
"Does he always listen to his customers' conversations?" whispered Ian, sliding in the booth beside Adam.
"Yes," answered the man in question, as if Ian had asked him himself, "Yes I do. Gives me some sort of entertainment."
Ian snorted and stood up. "Hey guys, I think I'm gonna head out now. I have some things I need to tell Stace."
"Finally going to end it, are you?" asked Adam.
"Mmm.. probably.." said Ian. He gave Mr. Travis a wave and hopped on his bike. "See ya tonight at the bonfire."
"Yeah, see you then." Tyler turned back to the other two. "I heard that there might be a new girl moving in."
"Really?" Jason was intrigued. A new girl in a town this small, this old was rare. "Huh, my dad didn't say anything about it."
"I just found out today," said Tyler in response, "She might not even come; it's only a rumor." He drained the rest of his soda-ice cream mix.
Adam slid out of his booth. "I think I'll head home to. I've got things my mother dear wants me to do, and I haven't even started." He jogged out of the store after bidding farewell to the owner.
Jason and Tyler both stood up as well. "Yeah," said Jason, "Daniel's going to give me hell for leaving him alone for so long."
"Want me to come with you?" Tyler offered, "He wouldn't hit you with me there, would he?"
"He might," Jason said, "And if he doesn't, I'll pay for it once you leave."
He shook his head sadly. "I really think you should do something about him. He'll be the death of you."
"Well, at least I tried," said Jason as he turned to go to the house at 62 Thistle Lane that he called home.
Kaelynne finished pinning her hair back and stared at her reflection in the window. She stood there for so long, the shopkeeper came out and asked if there was anything she could help her with.
"Oh, no," replied Kaelynne quickly, "I was just looking. I have no money on me right now." The last sentence was a lie, but it saved her from having to buy something. She smiled gracefully and swept away in a practiced swirl of skirts. It wasn't as magnificent as it would have been with the heavy fabric of her old dresses, but it was impressive nonetheless.
She took a deep breath and went up to the black gates encircling the castle. To the guard standing strictly at the entrance, she said in her most attractive voice, "Hello there, sir. May I have an audience with the King? I have something rather important to say to him, and I prefer it fall upon his and only his ears, unless His Majesty decides otherwise. His word is law." She smiled and waited to see if he would recognize her.
The guard nodded once. "Yes, madam. I shall send for a messenger." Even with his eyes placed firmly on her, he didn't give a single hint of recognition. So the King must have altered the servant's memories as well. Once again, she felt a spark from the loss of Nan.
"Thank you, good sir," she said breathlessly, "I don't know how to express my gratitude."
The guard patted her arm, completely against protocol, and whistled for a messenger. A short, harried boy appeared. The two exchanged murmurs and the boy ran off. A few minutes later, another boy came scurrying out.
"I'm here to take you to see the King, miss," he said politely.
She nodded once, then followed him in, past her favorite niche in the garden, past her old room, past all of the servants she used to chat with, all of whom didn't even glance her way as they passed. Finally they reached the King's room. Her escort opened the double doors and brought her inside.
Kaelynne noticed there was a new girl standing before the King. She had sharp features: steely gray eyes, strawberry blonde hair, a petite nose. She wondered for a moment who she could be, then her former father spoke. "Wisteria, daughter, I must speak to this young lady about something. Would you mind stepping out for a moment?"
Wisteria nodded. "Yes, Father." She turned and walked primly away from her father, purposely bumping into Kaelynne's escort. "Watch it," she snarled.
Kaelynne turned her gaze from her replacement to the man, who was once her father, sitting before her. She felt disappointed, in herself and him. He was doing this because he wanted what was best, but the was he wrong, to say the least. She could never live in the same building as someone who did that. Inexplicably, she still felt a bit of attachment to him. He was her father, her real father. She was one of the few people he really trusted. It was probably a hard decision for him to make to disown her. "I would like to apply to go to the Wastelands, just for one lifetime. Maybe I'll have realized what I'm doing wrong now."
He looked surprised. "You really don't understand why I'm doing this? It's for your own safety, along with the safety of the rest of the citizens. If I let the Anomalies stay, it will be like it is in the Wastelands."
"Then let me go and see for myself. Maybe one day I shall call you Father once more." She had to understand. Maybe she was the one not seeing the reality.
The King looked pained. "You know you could lose your wings doing this?"
She lifted her chin. "Then I will go back until I have regained them. I need to do this."
"Very well, Kaelynne. It seems as if you really are worthy of my name." He handed her a piece of thick parchment. "Fill this out. I will see you when you come back."
She quickly read the disclaimers and warnings, swiftly signing her swirling signature on the line: Kaelynne Silvia- She hesitated, not knowing what to put as her last name.
The king, noticing, smiled and said, "Go ahead, put our name."
She took a breath and wrote the name on the paper: Faey. "Goodbye... Father." The moment her pen left the paper, she was sucked away in a whirlwind of color and sound.
A/N: Sorry, the first part was kind of filler, but I needed to get in the boys' relationship and the town. Tell me what you think!