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The old truck finally stopped and the motionless quiet woke me up. I was sweating pretty hard and think I may have let out a small gasp because both my parents and Anna were looking at me with concern.

"Where you having that avalanche dream again?" Mother said, worried for me for the first time this entire road trip!

I brushed off my forehead with the back of my hand, and dropped my head to the back of the chair. I was breathing lighter now, and realized I was back to reality. I looked over, and saw that Anna was white with remembrance of that horrific day...

I had grabbed onto a branch just in the middle of the wall, miles and miles from the ground below. We were so high up, that even whole duplexes looked as miniscule as ants. I hung there with Anna in one hand, and the life-saving branch in another. We must have been there for around near two hours before Kurt and the Medics finally found and sent troops down to rescue us. Anna never boarded again, and me--- Well, I stuck to contests and avoided deep backcountry slopes as much as my heart could bear.

Kurt socked me good that next day for scarring the crap out of him, and our terrible story was in the paper and even the news for about a week. On the off note, I never saw Dino or Ben again, and frankly I was thrilled. Kurt beat the snot out of them even more so than he did me, and he told me they packed up and left that very afternoon while we were in the trauma hospital.

"Y-Yeah, I was having that dream," I sighed reluctantly, my head still moist with cold sweat.

"Maybe we should get you into a therapy class Derik?" Dad convinced, "The docs said it really helped Anna."

"Anna had her eyes shut the whole time Dad! I was the one watching us dangle from fifty-feet up!" Realizing my tone, I took in a breath and calmed down, so I could change the subject, "I don't want to talk about this anymore---Where are we? Why did we stop?"

"It's ten o' clock now," Our mother informed, "We decided to stop at this gas station for lunch--- And by dinnertime, we should be in our new home."

I sank into the leather seat and huffed. That nightmares been going off every week or so since it happened. It used to be every night before Kurt and some of our lodge friend ripped the annual Resort contests at the end of vacation. The win really brought back my confidence, and my edge, but it was dreams like these, which reminded me of how much I missed Colorado and Kurt. I tried not to think about it anymore for the rest of the ride.


By noon, we were in the drowsy town of Sequim. The sky was as grey and dull as I felt inside, and the streets were covered in old raindrops from this morning. Apparently, It rained here more than anything, and it hardly ever snowed more than two-feet, so snowboarding was out. My folks said we'd go back to Colorado for Christmas and stuff like that, so at least I could count the days until I could be back home.

For now though, I had to endure the hardship that awaited me. A new school, a new town---I didn't know where the first thing in this place was at, but I knew it was too small for big industries like a Wal-Mart or McDonalds. Everywhere had a Mickie-D's... Even China! But, not in Sequim---No, we'd have to drive two hours to Forks for a freaking Big Mac! One whiff of the damp air and I could tell, Washington and I were NOT going to get along.

Our new house was fairly small, it was up on a hill so I knew I wouldn't like parking in the garage. The home was a blue-ish-gray color and was made of round smooth stones… The roof was a navy blue steel that matched the trim on the chimney. There was a white porch light to the right of the creamy yellow colored door with a big brass knob, and to the left, was a single living room window with gold curtains behind it. I only hope it's bigger on the inside than it looks on the outside.

Inside was a fair little room---smaller than the living room in our old house. It was a bland tan color with nothing even remotely sticking out---Just boring. My mother hung a right into the kitchen and raved about what a cute little garage was connected to it. Meanwhile, I went straight through the living room into a hallway with three doors on each side. I decided to try the first door on the right and as I opened the wooden door I was overcome with nothing but pink! Pink tile, pink walls covered in even pinker hearts. It was the girliest bathroom I'd ever seen! I shivered and shut the door hastily behind me.

The room directly across the hall, turned out to be pink and purple with a little window seal on the other side. It obviously belonged to a little girl. Anna, who wasn't the slightest bit interested in exploring our new home, was digging for forgotten change in the leather couch cushions. Even so, I called for her, and she pattered over to the new room, squealing with excitement.

The next room at the end of the hall beside hers was much longer than the others… It had a walk in closet and two windows--- One viewing the backyard and one on the side of the house next door. This was the rent's room for sure! I paced directly to the other side so I could open the little door by itself on the lonely wall. It turns out it was a little gray and blue bathroom with old sailor boats lining the wallpaper and (like Anna's) it had a pretty decent sized shower, normal toilet in the corner, and a sink with a wall mirror above it---The rest of the walls lined with little cabinets.

The room across from this bathroom was a big empty square. My footsteps echoed as I stepped inside; the light from the cloudy sky the only light ing the room, but strangely it was enough. The mahogany wood floors were as dark as the windowpane, and the walls were a deep navy color--- Sort of like my old room. I guess this was my new home---I called dibs on it anyway, I thought, setting down my travel bag. The rest of our junk was supposed to be here tomorrow along with my red pickup truck and Mom's black Audi.

Curiously, I decided to go next door and visit the last room in the house. I creaked open the door and was blinded by a bright white. The whole room was white, except for the black, matted floors, but it was big and sturdy looking. Maybe if I was lucky I could get Dad to turn it into a weight room like we had in Colorado? Besides Snowboarding, lifting weights was my favorite past-time (except for the occasional reading, but that was a secret passion on my part.)

A few minutes later, everyone was trying to settle into their rooms, but since I'd already set down my bag, that was about all I had to do. I decided to explore the backyard and stepped out onto the porch. The yard was long--- way longer than I had imagined, and it didn't seem to end, but drag into a heavily forest of willow and pine trees. There was a little in ground pool closest to the left of the fence, and a built in barbeque stove next to it. This was actually a pretty nice house I had to admit, but it had an awful view. Where was the snow, the mountains, the ski-lift?

I glanced left and noticed a green stone house with cream color roof--- It looked just like ours’ with the exception of the color, and the fact there was nothing but a garden in their backyard. It just screamed of old people. Then I stretched over left at a red brick home with brown shingled roof; the smoke from the matching chimney lit their sky a foggy gray that started blending into the clouds. I peered around until my eyes fell on the tan, burly back of a guy. He looked around my age, strong, with spiky black hair the color of charcoal. He was chopping logs on a little stump in the middle of his yard and, though it was cold, he only wore a pair of faded light jeans and a pair of black sneakers.

The feeling of my stares must have caught on because the boy turned my way and stared back, before I hastily walked back into my new house.


The next morning, the movers came and unloaded the rest of our junk. I was helping lift the heavier boxes onto the curb when a rough hand tapped lightly on my shoulder. I turned and gazed into the old Indian face of a tired, yet kind looking man. He was darker than the boy I saw yesterday (who was standing tall right beside him) and he had thick grey hair all the way to his knees, beneath an animal skin cap with a long hawk feather stuck in the side.

He stared directly at me with two smoky black eyes that were squinted in the light. The boy from yesterday was still not wearing a shirt---I didn't know if he just didn't own one, or maybe he just liked showing off his muscles? He had a white, greeting smile wrapped warmly across his face and looked me almost eye to eye length with a pair of brown puppy-dog eyes.

"Name's Ricochet Redfoot," The old man greeted scratchily, as he tipped his hat, "And this is my son Ricochet Jr. ---You’re our new next door neighbors."

I grabbed his rough, leathery hand, and shook back politely. Junior cut in warmly, saying, "I just go by Ricki, if you don't mind city-boy."

Great... Six hours in and already I have a nick-name.

"My name's Derik Peterson," I grinned with a nod. Noticing Anna step out onto the front porch, I called her over and she skipped towards me with her Twilight werewolf-guy doll clutched in her arms. Though, when she noticed the two strangers, she got a little more timid and hid being my leg… "Anna, these are our neighbors Mr. Ricochet Redfoot and Ricki."

She let go of my leg and her jaw dropped about ten feet as she starred from her toy to Ricki and back.

"You’re a werewolf!" She cheered in a high, squeaky voice.

Ricki started to laugh as he knelt down towards her. He got on his hands and knees and smiled to her, "You bet I am, and I think there was a full moon out tonight, so you better be careful."

Her eyes got wider and he started howling and whooping on the sidewalk, making her dash back into her room before she could even blink. He rose up laughing and I couldn't help but laugh at her too. By now my parents and Mr. Redfoot had started talking by the fencepost, so it was just me and Ricki the Werewolf.

"Sorry about that," I shrugged, "She's one of those vampire enthusiasts."

"Don't sweat it," He smirked, "This isn't the first time some girl compared me to Taylor Lautner. But I think Anna's just precious."

"Thanks, but you don't have to live with her. So---Hey, what grade are you in anyway--- Do we go to the same school or what?"

"I'm a junior, and yeah there's only one school in this town. Our graduating class is thirty-five people including you now---assuming you're a junior too and not some ripped freshman?"

"I'm a junior," I laughed, "Seventeen as of last month. We started moving down here from Denver, Colorado after my birthday---that was the deal anyway?"

"Seventeen?" He scratched, "I don't turn that until three months from now, but oh well, age is just a number right?" He laughed, "Denver huh--- The big city--- What brings you to a tiny town like this then?"

"Dad's a big, important general, and guys like him are sometimes relocated in promotions or something? All in all, I don't know the whole story; I just know I'm stuck here."

Ricki grew a frown from my unpleasant voice right then, but slapped me on the back and started laughing… "Don't worry Derik, I can show you around here and at school--- Show you were a guy can have a little fun, and who knows you might even come to like it?"

"Is there snowboarding?" I sassed with a serious look on my face.

"Umm, no not for a few towns north?" He struggled to guess.

I huffed and looked around the deserted Sequim Street… "This may be harder than we thought."

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