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Sunday, July 17, 2016

*****Special Sneak Peek from SC Hutchinson's Work-in-Progress*****

**All material is protected by copyright.  No reproduction in any form without consent of the original author will be tolerated****

Chapter One


It wasn’t supposed to be like this.  My soul was reduced to nothing more than tiny, dark fragments of my former self.  The pain, it wasn’t supposed to break me.  But it did.  Now, the darkness is more than a part of me—it’s who I am.  Nothing can change that.  There is no going back.  
If you would have asked me five years ago where I’d be today, I’d tell you that I would be working as an editor for one of the top publishing companies in New York.  If you would have asked me, I’d have told you about the cute two-bedroom house on a nice half-acre lot in a gated subdivision with a mortgage. I used to dream of it all the time as a kid—baby blue silk curtains, sky blue walls with a massive oak tree painted on the wall opposite of the door, photographs ‘hanging’ from the branches showing my family tree, and a fireplace decorated with the latest online suggestions. 
Those were the idle dreams of a wide-eyed innocent kid who had no clue what was to come.  
The darkness crept up like a fog, unnoticed for quite some time, lying in wait on its cat-like haunches for just the right time to launch its attack.
By now, it makes some sense that you would have some questions.  I suppose it would be logical to just begin with the beginning, as David Copperfield did, but there’s no room for logic here.  Nothing really makes sense anymore anyway.  
You see, five years ago, life was perfect.  I was eighteen, fresh out of high school, and had tons of friends.  Colleges were practically begging me to attend, offering scholarships and other perks.  I even had the picture-perfect boyfriend.  Everything a girl could ever want was mine right down to perfect hair and teeth.  So, where did it all go wrong, you ask?  
It’s complicated.  
All through life, we are taught as children that home is a safe place.  Our parents, whom we trust implicitly from birth with the deepest of love, are the ones we are to turn to in times of trouble.  Our family is supposed to be an extension of that parental support system.  The innocence of our souls and the purity of the core of our being depend on this foundation being rock-solid as we grow from children to adults.  But, what are we to do when this foundation is shaky at best?  What is a soul to do when it is left to fend for itself, wither, and die, only to find itself nothing more than dust on the wind?  Who do we become?
The things that I have done warrant no less than an all-inclusive trip into the ninth circle of hell.  The thing I have become is no less than worthy of such a punishment, but I’m getting too far ahead of myself.  For you to truly understand the thing I have become, you must understand the person I was—when I WAS a person.  
It was 1999, and I had just graduated from Hope High School in Hope, Alabama.  All of my friends stood on the field at Volanta Avenue Stadium in their blue and white caps and gowns awaiting our families to receive us and share their congratulatory greetings.  
“We’re so proud,” my mom said as she walked toward me, arms outstretched, waiting to hug me.  
“Good going, sis,” my little brother, Topper, said.  I knew at this moment that I should be on cloud nine, but there was no way I could be more depressed than I was.  I did try to feign happiness.  I really did, but on the inside, emptiness filled me.  The world crushed me.  I didn’t really even want to go through the pomp and circumstance of it all—the senior portraits, the senior trip, the senior banquet, the senior dance, the senior anything.  I just wanted to finish my classes, grab my diploma from the office, and leave.  
“You’ll miss these moments ten years from now,” my mom said, as she held back her happy tears.  My dad wasn’t at my graduation because he was on assignment with the Mobile Press Register in Montgomery—something to do with the governor.  I didn’t care.  He was never home.  
No, my dad being away from home so much had very little to do with my becoming the monster I am today.  Everyone tries to psychoanalyze everyone these days, blaming everything on mothers, fathers, siblings, environment, genetics, etc.  However, it has nothing to do with all of that.  It’s personal choice.  We choose our demons, and we choose to bear our own burdens.  My only burden at this time in my life, however, was an overbearing family, gushing at every little thing I did.  
I suppose my mother was right, though.  In hindsight, I have come to gain a great appreciation for those simpler times.  You see, that night was the beginning of my metamorphosis.  That night was something I’ll remember always.   


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