Hello everyone! This is my first time posting a story and man am I nervous. Please review and offer any criticism. Thanks!

Chapter 1

"Hey you okay Evie? You're looking a little out of it," said my brother Jackson.

"Yeah I'm fine I'm just a little tired is all," I said bracing for another pothole in the road.

"Didn't get much sleep last night?"

"No not really, I've been having the worst headaches lately," I said as the truck bounced down the country road.

"Well I'm sure grandma is just dying to get her hands on someone to feed that disgusting tonic. So don't let her hear that," said Jackson

"Let it be our little secret then," I said gripping the door handle with white knuckles.

We were the last ones arriving at our grandmas house. Every two years me, my parents, and my brothers get together at our grandmother's house in Charlotte, North Carolina. I held my phone out the window to see if I could find some signal. It never worked but I tried every 5 minutes. It was a good weekend to come out here. The sun was out, the sky was blue and the cicadas were buzzing. I was dying to get into the lake. I could feel the cool water sliding over my skin already.

"Ow!" I said as my head hit the ceiling of the truck.

"Almost there!" said Jackson, rubbing his head.

"When are you going to fix this damn thing. You have the money now."

"Yeah but then I won't be able to torture you anymore. Where's the fun in that?" he snickered.

Jackson had just graduated from graduate school and was at this new tech company. They paid him good money because of a line of code he had written for them. Not bad for a 23-year-old. The whole family was proud of him. He was only two years my senior. I had just graduated from nursing school and was about to start my first real job at a hospital in the city.

I could see the house in the distance as we drove on the bumpy road. Suddenly the truck started rumbling and shooting out black smoke.

"Oh no, come on baby," said Jackson as he rubbed the dashboard. He continued to coo at the truck until we finally came to a sputtering stop.

"Dammit!" he said. He jumped out the truck and slammed the door.

"At least we're not far away," I said as I jumped out and walked around to the back. "The house is right there."

"Yeah I guess you're right," said Jackson pulling the latch on the flatbed.

He pulled both of our suit cases out and started walking towards the house.

"Hey why didn't you bring Nicki to the family reunion?" I said waking beside him.

."'Cause grandma can be weird sometimes and I didn't want her to scare her off."

"She's not that bad," I said.

"You say that because you're just like her," he remarked.

We walked for 5 minutes until we reached the house. I stopped to look up at the house and Jackson stopped next to me. The house was white with red shutters. It was three stories and had a wrap around porch. It was made of white wood that had seen better days. The wood was showing through the paint in some spots. There were a lot of memories in this house for me. When I was younger I would beg to stay with my grandma for the weekend. We walked to the porch steps and started climbing the creaky staircase when the door swung open.

"My babies! Come here!" said grandma with her arms wide open for an embrace.

She was dressed in a long black and white tribal patterned skirt that touched the ground. Her shirt was white with embroidered flowers and beads on it. Her arms jangled with colorful bracelets as she waved her hands to motion us forward.

"Hey grandma," said Jackson and I in unison. We both went in for a tight hug. I put my head in the crook of her neck and into her long black hair that smelled of flowers and earth. She was always one for physical affection. I breathed deeply and filled my lungs. I missed this, I missed her. Grandma pulled away and her bracelets jingled as she cupped my face between her hands.

"My Evieā€¦," she breathed. The only wrinkle on her face was a sudden frown between her eyes. I felt like I was frozen as her blue eyes stared deeply into my own. "You're not well," she murmured.

"I'm fine grandma," I whispered, trying to pull away.

"You're lying!" she hissed. I didn't know what to say and I couldn't if I did. My tongue was stuck to the roof of my mouth. I could do nothing but endure her probing eyes. Time had stopped for me and a sudden weariness overcame me. I'm sure I would have fallen to the ground if she let go of me. I was entranced by her blue eyes, so much like my own except that hers were suddenly darker. They were as dark as the icy lake at midnight. We were interrupted by another voice.

"Alright, alright they need to breathe mom," said my mom as she rushed over looking between my grandma and I.

"Cynthia hush, I haven't seen my babies in so long they never come to visit," she murmured tightening her grip on my face.

"Well they have their reasons mom," said my mom touching my grandma's wrist. My grandma suddenly let go and the moment was broken. She stalked away with a swish of her skirt.

My mom gave Jackson and I quick hugs and reassuring smiles. "Everyone's in the backyard guys," she said grabbing our bags and dragging them to our rooms. "Evie, I'm putting your stuff in here! Jackson you're upstairs with Dean and Patrick!" she yelled from the third room down the hall.

"Got it!" Jackson yelled. He looked at me with wide brown eyes. "What the hell was that about? I know she's weird but that was plain crazy," he whispered.

"I know, I've never seen her like that before," I said looking down the hall in the direction of my grandma's study.

"Are you okay?"

"Yeah I'm fine, I think," I said rubbing my temples.

"You don't look it sis. Why don't you go lie down you're looking pale," he said rubbing my arm.

"I might do that," I said. My voice sounded strained I almost didn't recognize it.

"Ok let me know if you need anything Evie. I'll be in the back," he said as he walked into the kitchen and disappeared through the sliding doors into the backyard.

I stood there for a couple seconds trying to compose myself. My headache was pounding all of a sudden and I felt the sudden urge to throw up. I pushed my chin length black hair behind my ear and closed my eyes.

"Hey hun you okay?" my mom said startling me out of my stupor. She was always light on her feet. She was dressed in denim shorts and a pink blouse and she made no sound as she moved. It was something I didn't inherit as I was clunky and awkward on my feet. She gripped my shoulders and looked at me waiting for an answer.

"No I think I need to lay down mom," I whispered.

She didn't miss a beat. "Well let's get you to your room then."

She linked our arms and pulled me down the hall and into my room. It was next to my grandma's study and I craned to see into the room but my mom blocked my view as she pulled me into my room. The room was painted yellow and had a full size bed in the corner. She eased me down on the bed and looked into my eyes. She furrowed her brows and sighed. "Honey, no matter what, just know that everything is going to be ok alright?" she said. I nodded and laid down on the bed. She pulled the covers over me, kissed my forehead and pulled the door closed.