CHAPTER 2

Setting her bag and keys on the blonde nightstand, she looked around her new room. It was at the back of the house, next to the bathroom. Small, but cozy. It was obvious that it wasn’t used much, everything had a thin layer of dust on it. In the corner of the room, a radio softy played a beautiful classical melody that seemed to brighten up the space. I wonder how long that radio has been on, Fallon thought to herself, noting that it was on when she entered the room. Her eyes surveyed the space, and she grimaced. The decor was a bit old fashioned her taste but…it wasn’t the back of her car.

It took a bit for her to unpack, placing her items in wooden trunk. After putting away her things, Fallon went to take a shower. The bathroom was nicely sized and impeccably clean, with a slight scent of dutch cleanser and lemon. What bothered her was the shower. The water was an odd temperature, not quite warm enough to be satisfying but not too cold either. No matter how high you turned it up, it stayed that tepid warm. Again, she couldn’t complain. A private shower only happened if she changed across a gym or community center. This place wasn’t perfect by any means….but when she was living in a home she had 20 roommates and no private room or bathroom. Sleeping in in car had been an improvement, even after the life shattering news that her stay at the rehabilitation center had expired. Part of her liked to pretend that she didn’t understand why Lorena’ lived all the way out here on her own. But now that she was here? She really did. To get away from people and a life back in Willow Creek that had been tough for them both.

The last time she spoke to Lorena, she was engaged and living with her on again off again boyfriend Darren. At this same address to be precise. Instead of going into a facility, she had promised to get clean with the help of her partner. It was now two years later and Lorena was living alone, with a cat in the middle of nowhere. What had happened? Maybe she would find out one day.

Turning off the water, she stepped out of the shower and toweled up. Returning to her new bedroom, she grabbed her nightie out of the dresser and put her hair up into a long sleek ponytail. Looking up towards the ceiling Fallon spoke into the air, “Mom? Hey, it’s Me. I am okay. I am doing better, I promise. This is a great move for me, and you’ll be so happy to know Lorena and I are friends again….at least I think so. I know you’re there. I miss you.”

Fallon climbed into bed and snuggled into the fluffy down sheets immediately falling asleep.


The next morning she woke up bright and early. Sitting up a little groggy, she realized that she fallen asleep and slept through the night, leaving the radio on.The radio announcer introduced the song as Symphony No. 8 In E Flat. For a moment she just laid in bed, waking up, letting the music settle her mind. After what felt like an eternity she wondered the time. There were no clocks to be found in the room, so she checked her phone. 9:57AM….Damn I thought it was earlier than that,  she tapped several times on the screen, activating apps and then closing them shortly after.

No emails, no messages…..unsurprising. Sighing, she put her phone away, climbed out of bed and made her way to the bathroom to wash up. She hadn’t noticed the night before, but there was a small bulletin board on the wall with a yellow sticky note. Fallon stopped to read its contents, written in with all caps,

HOUSE RULES: DON’T LET SPICY OUTSIDE. THE RADIOS IN THE HOUSE STAY ON. DO NOT CHANGE THE STATION. NO MEN ALLOWED. QUIET HOURS AFTER 11PM. NO SMELLY FOODS. BLEACH AND SCRUB THE TUB AFTER EACH USE. DO NOT EVER TURN THE DRYER ON WITHOUT CHECKING FOR SPICY….”.

The list went on and on.

Damn, Fallon thought to herself, I thought we were gonna talk about the rules but….okay….uhm good for me to know as reference? Granted. I did fall asleep super early last night.

She hoped that Lorena would be back at some point during the day to chat. In the meantime, Fallon got ready for her day.


After getting dressed in her workout gear, she decided to go for a jog. It was nice to be able to get back into old habits without worrying about where she parked her car or if her things would be stolen. The morning was dewy and cool as she stepped onto the large porch. Everything looked different now that the sun was rising instead of setting. A diffused blue and yellow light covered everything in her line of sight. Her blue Kompensator sitting idling in the yard. Lorena’s beige pick up truck sat next to it, a metallic clinking sound coming from it every once in awhile as the engine cooled off. Hm. She must have just gotten in from work, she thought to herself. Lorena had left for work not too soon after Fallon arrived and she hadn’t seen her for the rest of the night.

Fallon stepped off the porch, stretching her limbs before setting off through the bramble that hid the tiny road leading to Lorena’s home. Dense trees and shrubbery bordered her patch as she ran east, under a overpass and onto a slightly worn boardwalk. Quicky she found herself closing in on some sand dunes. Wow! I knew the beach was close by….but not this close! she thought excitedly. There would have to be trips to the beach this summer.

Soon a break was needed as she approached the pier. Her ankle was starting to throb so she took advantage of the wooden beach sitting at the end of the pier and took in the warm salty ocean air. It was absolutely breathtaking. There was a sense of peace that fell over her as she soaked in the warm sun. The scent of salt filled her nose. “Ah…..” she breathed, I wanna live here forever, she thought as she stared out at the water in front of her.

Willow Creek was nothing like this. Miles and miles away from any bodies of water and mostly industrialized and modernized. Apartments and townhomes decorated the streets, intermingled with a bodegas and laundromats on every other corner. The sleepy little town of Brindleton was seeming to be the answer to her prayers the more she experienced its salty humid air. Fallon took a few more moments to take in the scenery around her before continuing her jog around the Bay.

About 3 miles from her Lorena’s she began to get tired. Making a right turn hoping to make a small loop around, she followed a sparsely populated sidewalk, passing a pet hospital and town hall. A little further down she found a small grocer, right next to a small strip mall; empty storefront for rent, chinese restaurant and hardware store.

“What an odd combination of stores,” she thought, approaching the grocer. Entering the cool building, she was thankful for the change in temperature. It wasn’t hot outside, but jogging always made her base temp go up and she was feeling a little overheated. She took her time, walking through the maze of aisles, finding a counter fully stocked with pre-cooked meals. Her eyes scanned over all the contents, none of which looked particularly appealing.

After wandering around the store for awhile, she gave up, it was huge and she was growing tired from the run. Deciding against buying anything she exited the store. She sure as hell wasn’t going to jog with a bunch of bags and decided to come back when she had her car.

Lost in her thoughts she continued on her jog, this time headed back to Lorena’s. At first it was easy going, but overtime her ankle ached more and more with every step she took. I wonder if I can soak in that tu. Ah that would be a dream, she thought grimacing through the pain. In her head she repeated, No pain, no gain, remembering that her physical therapist as a teen in Willow Creek was adamant that she exercise it as much as possible. Exercising it didn’t seem to help much, but she kept it up anyway, enjoying the freedom of a run. I wonder if there is a spa nearby….hm….mental note: search for nearby spas. That would be so amazing. As she ran, her mind went to a happy place, daydreaming of hot baths in scented water and foot massages by beautiful individuals, whose sole purpose was relieving the intensifying pain.

After a short while she was greeted by Lorena’s darkened home. The beige clinking truck still sitting beside Fallon’s Kompensator in the massive yardway. Inside the house was cool a welcome temperature now that her workout had just ended, and the sound of classical music filled the air as she made her way from the front of the house to her temporary bedroom. Another radio playing the same classical tune greeted her as she entered her room. Her bed looked oh so inviting and after promising herself only a 20 minute nap, she laid in the cool sheets.

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