Chapter 1

She walked into her room and looked around. As her eyes scanned the room she wondered what the new year would bring. Theodore was still living in the apartment next door to hers and neither schedule had changed. He still worked late in the night and she still worked in the afternoon and planned on waking up early so she could talk with him and get a walk in before work. Life was routine. Annabelle sat on her bed and stared out her window at the full moon as she whispered to the empty room, "Please, let something happen that will bring some excitement once in a while." She looked around her room another time and slipped under the covers of her bed.

Theodore and Annabelle had lived next door to each other for over a year and had quickly become friends despite their different schedules. Theodore worked security for a company at the edge of the city. Beyond the city there was a forest with a small clearing not far in and they'd heard there were more the farther in you got. Neither Theodore nor Annabelle cared to explore deeper into the forest. They'd managed to get time together and sit in the clearing to watch the leaves changing with the seasons and as storms would begin rolling in.

Annabelle no longer needed an alarm to wake up early. Day after day she'd woken up early to have conversations with Theodore and do other things that it became routine and her body seemed to crave the activity. The few times she was sick she still managed to make it to her door and at least wave to him or leave a note on his door saying she was sick. She never saw him get the notes but he would always text her with a message saying he hoped she felt better soon. She always managed to reply to him before letting him know she was going to get some rest.

In the morning Annabelle looked at her phone, which doubled as her clock, and gasped at the time. She'd already missed three messages from Theodore. "You sick?" "If you are I hope you're better soon." And "Message me when you can. I don't care what time it is." She sighed and started a message to him.

"Overslept. Still feeling tired. Day off thankfully. Going to take it easy. Feels like someone used me as a punching bag. Not sure why. Maybe I can catch you before you head to work tonight if you're on schedule?" She read the message two more times before she hit send and eased herself out of bed. Her muscles were sore and she couldn't place why. She hadn't overexerted herself the day before or any time within that week. She got to her bathroom and shrugged it off as a bad night of sleep. She stripped down and fell but caught herself on her sink.

This isn't like me. She thought as she steadied herself. For once she was thankful that she was required to have some sort of non-slip item on the floor of her shower. She stepped in and turned her water on. Not long into her shower she winced and stepped away from the spray of the water. She wasn't sure what had happened so she stepped back into the spray. Again, something hurt. She stayed in the spray and turned to try and figure out what was hurting. She began checking her body and discovered scratches on the back of her right leg just under her butt.