Hey everybody! I have not posted a story in I don't know how long, but I desperately miss it. So, I have concluded that the only way to get back to posting stories is to just post. With this in mind, I have a story idea and this is the first and only chapter so far. I realize it is probably not very good, but I hope you will still enjoy it!

The Outer Banks. Quiet, low-key, surrounded by ocean. It was the perfect place for Aspen. The little house raised up on three-foot stilts was a work in progress to be sure, but it was hers. The exterior walls were covered in muck and grime from the past few hurricanes, and the blue paint of the door and shutters was half peeled off already. The yard was a complete mess, nothing but sand and weeds to speak of surrounding the house. Yet there was a certain charm to it that had made her close on it the day she had first walked through. Now, pulling up in her little Honda Civic, she gazed at her new home with a new sense of excitement.

All she brought was stuffed in the trunk and back seats of her car and she had it unloaded in less than an hour. The lighting wasn't very good, but she'd always preferred her house to be a little dimmer anyway. Walking around to open the dusty blinds, Aspen gazed out into the small forest of tress surrounding her house. Just a few miles beyond, though, were the white sand dunes that led to the ocean.

With a soft sigh and small smile, she dug out a full sized, fuzzy comforter and walked into the master bedroom with Sharky, her little blue French Bulldog, waddling along behind her. She laid out the comforter on the floor before digging out a couple more soft blankets and a pillow, tossing them on top of the comforter as a makeshift bed. Though there was going to be little padding between her and the wood floor, a smile still curved her lips.

"Looks cozy enough, doesn't it?" Aspen looked down at Sharky, who seemed to be inspecting the makeshift bed and looking up at her with that adorable little frowny face.

"Don't worry. I brought your bed."

Aspen walked back out to the living room and scooped up a little blue and gray square bed. She tossed an old reusable shopping bag filled with toys and bowls over her shoulder and walked back into her room. Setting the bed down next to the comforter, she set it up with Sharky's favorite fish print blanket and a couple toys. Once she was sure her little pup was set up for nothing but comfort, she made her way into the kitchen to start unpacking there.

Two hours passed before the house was set up as best as it could be without furniture. Aspen looked around with a content but sad smile. Maybe eighteen years old was a little young to be on her own, but things could be much worse. She was finally where she'd always wanted to be, she had Sharky, and she had been hired on at the ferry. This was the new start she needed. Nobody out here knew her name, and nobody back home knew where she was. This was a chance that she could not afford to blow.

With one more sigh, Aspen turned and headed to take a shower. Afterwards, she fed Sharky, wolfed down a rather unsatisfying protein bar, and went to sleep. Despite the stiff floorboards pressing against her ribs, she fell asleep almost immediately. With Sharky curled up in the bend of her knees and the blankets tucked under her arms, Aspen fell into a deep, much needed slumber.

Shortly after Aspen had fallen asleep, there was a soft creak as the bedroom door was pushed open just slightly. A shadow noiselessly entered the room and stood, gazing down at the sleeping girl. With a groan from an old floorboard, the shadow crouched down, reaching a hand out to her. As the shadow's fingers brushed the soft locks of hair that fell over the girl's shoulder, there was a "whoosh," and the shadow disappeared.

And that concludes our first chapter. Reviews are very very very much encouraged and appreciated! Because I will be posting as I write down new chapters, I am very open to suggestions and ideas. Also, because I am posting with this method, I cannot promise how consistent I will be. Ideally, I would like to get a chapter up every other day if not every day, but I make no promises. I can tell you, though, that reviews greatly inspire me to continue writing and to do it at a much quicker pace still with quality material. So please review! I would love to hear from you guys, your comments, suggestions, criticism, etc. Thank you!