Good morning! So Kat and I have finally made some progress on our newest story, The Cliffs. We hope you enjoy!

Prologue

I always dreaded going to a new foster home.   Always gripping the fear of meeting a new family who would just continue pulling at the already thin threads of my existence. Never had I once considered it was possible for someone to weave me back together.

Instead of simply moving to a different home in London, I was moving out of the great city, into some small town on the coast. It was strange, knowing that I wouldn’t see the false glow of the grand city lights any longer, or hear the screeching cars from my bedroom window at night.  I supposed I would only hear the howling of the wind and the anger of the waves as they crashed against the sea cliffs of Moor-Upon-Ambridge. At least that’s what I expected to hear…   

The couple I was supposed to stay with had no children.  Miss Irene, the social worker, hadn’t  told me much about them, but I knew a little. They were a fishing couple; they ran a bait shop out of the side of their house. I was hoping they didn’t have worms stored about everywhere.  As in the fridge.  The Mahoney’s had stored crazy stuff in the fridge…That’s why I was removed…

Oh, dear God, please don’t let these people be like the Mahoney’s…  

I was nervous, my fingers bounced against my khakis as I ran through everything that could go wrong.

My social worker was driving slowly, or perhaps my nerves were making it seem much longer than it really was. Another factor might have been the fact that she was listening to opera: my least favorite kind of music.

We drove past small hills, covered in weeds. The land was so green. So different from the usual gray I had grown accustomed to. And it seemed so vast, when before I could only see a short way down a large road.  The sun was setting over a vast hill, and a little stone-rimmed village nudged itself against the warm bulk of that massive star.  I didn’t like stars.  They reminded me of problems…   Frozen nights spent on starry rooftops, away from the yelling of stepfamilies inside, then windows cracking like ice when the police burst into a flat as isolated as Siberia, icy voices and chilly breath smacking sharp against my face as Blankley threatened me, the little foster girl nobody cared about, the ten-year-old rooftop hostage, gun cold as liquid nitrogen, frozen to my face –

I guess you could have said I’d had a rough childhood.  

***

My nerves were almost to their breaking point when the social worker pulled up on a chalky driveway.  My face was smashed against the pane, trying to make out the structure in the dim evening air.  A lone porch light gleamed in a faded, tired sort of way through the fog.  The social worker slid off the slick leather seats of her Londoner’s car, stumbled through her heels to my door, and tugged it open.  I stepped out, tugging my bag, and slipped.  My chin hit the porch, and I grimaced.

“Maggie Fuller, darling, are you alright?”

The social worker padded over to help me up, but I forced a laugh and turned my face away from hers as I stood up.  

So she wouldn’t see I was bleeding.

“I’m fine Miss Irene, just a bit of a bump, that’s all…”  I attempted to chirp, as the social worker floated up the stairs in her Ponte sheath and stilettos.  I was wearing threadbare khakis and a fading sweater.  The last family hadn’t deemed me to be worth my keep.  They said I was too quiet.  The ones before them said I was too sassy… I had tried to laugh it off again and again…

On the inside, I felt I was unloveable.

Miss Irene knocked on the door, and a hollow, splintery sound echoed within the house.  I grimaced, hearing Miss Irene’s finely polished nails grind on the wood.  A young man, in his mid-thirties, answered the door.  He had a smiling face as prickly as a cactus and plain gray overalls.  A woman, whom I assumed to be his wife, flowed over to me.  I sneezed at the scent of Night-Blooming Jasmine perfume, which smelled to combat the stench of drying fish.  She was dressed in a flowing bohemian skirt and layers of smooth glass beads.  Quickly, her plump self enveloped my skinny one in a hug.  Miss Irene, talking quietly with the man, scratched at her neck.  My nails scratched my skin, firm, to prevent me from crying.   Was I expected to stay in this fish shack, with a couple of hippies?

“Hi, you must be Maggie,” the woman said. Her face then crumpled into a confused look at my frown. “Well, if you’re not Maggie than I’m sorry I lunged on you like that.”

I nodded quickly, confirming that I was, in fact, the right girl.

“Good evening, dear,” she said. “Oh, this is my wonderful husband.”  pointing to the man in need of a shave. Miss Irene was still discussing something with him, but once she heard the woman say this, she spat out one of the worst things she could have said.

“All right, the paperwork is completed.” Paperwork.  As if I were a physical object, something you had to rent to own. She turned to me. “I hope you’ll be happy here. I’ll be back to check on you next month!” She shook the couple’s hands and squeezed mine.

It only took all of about fifteen seconds for her to get in her car and disappear back into the road.  

I felt lost.