My family has recently decided that we are moving. When I found this out, I was not happy at all... I only thought of the bad things. Losing my friends, getting use to a whole new school for my senior year... This is a nightmare to me. Last weekend, we went across the state to see the property, and oddly enough, it was in Bucks County. Then, as if it really did mean something, Signs was on television tonight, and the whole family watched it, joking about aliens attacking us in our new home. I didn't find it too funny because I'm still upset, so I decided to write this. I am writing this off of the top of my head inall night, so I hope it fairs well. Maybe I'll feel a little better in the morning, too. So here goes a little something that has to do with something strange happening to someone like me who gets uprooted and thinks that the worst thing about it is losing her old life back across state when she never even imagined the possibilities. This is totally spur of the moment, but I hope it's okay, and I hope you like it. It's sort of a self-insertion, but not entirely. I'll write off of my feelings, though. You just read it and tell me what you thought. Enjoy.

x x x

Chapter One

My life was changing as I knew it would at this age, but I never thought it would be in such a negative way. Every few months, people I know have been leaving me. Getting sick, dying, moving, some just drifting away because I serve no purpose in their lives any longer. I don't think they knew ho much they meant to me when they left me, though. It felt very careless and cold of them to do such a thing. I can't even concentrate on my music anymore. My keyboard has been collecting dust now for about three and a half months. I try every so often to read the pieces of music I do have, but everything keeps coming back.

I didn't think it would get any worse after my dog died and I was diagnosed with heart cancer the same day. I'm supposedly not allowed to get worked up or it can spread and increase my risks, so it hurts to fight back tears. So for a week a sat eating hardly anything and staring out into space sadly as if my life had already ended; my friends were gone, music was no longer appealing, my dream to teach it - my future - was gone before I had even found a college to attend. I felt lifeless everytime my heart had beat when I sat on the swing on the pool deck just watching the water. Nothing else felt like it could possibly go wrong.

Until dinner.

We're moving. Dad's found a plot a land out around Philadelphia he wants us to go to now. There's ten acres - plenty of land for my parents and the three of us kids to live on one day when we have families of our own. But I just deteriorated. I was furious. I had finally planned not to tell anyone at school my last year there that I was sick and keep on with my music major and now I'm moving? I remember running down to the Honda in the driveway and lying across the front seats crying with the windows rolled up on that hot summer evening. I didn't care about my heart then; maybe it would explode then and there and save me from having to say too many painful goodbyes to my friends, my school, my teachers, my church, my home, and my memories.

The next day we drove six hours across state to see our soon-to-be new home. It was terrible. The house was falling apart and the yard was overgrown, but that's what our parents wanted - a flat yard and a fix-up house. They said it would be worth the ten acres of land we were getting instead of the little squat we were in now between two houses on a giant hilltop. I didn't care. I hated the house. Ours was so much nicer. You'd think after eighteen years of making it beautiful they'd want to stay there, but no. My parents want to sell it.

So we did. Not even two months later.

The buyers were newlyweds expecting twins they had said. On the day we showed them around, the woman adored every inch orf the yard while the man marvelled over the craftsman ship my dad had done on the house itself. When they saw my room that had been built in the basement after my brother was born four years ago and told me it would be perfect for their two bloodhounds though, I looked at my turquiose carpet sadly and walked away.

My home was gone.

At least the one I knew.

x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x

Thompson's Plothad to bethe dirt hole of the state of Pennsylvania. True, my life had not been luxurious and I shopped daily at WalMart unlike most of my old peers, but I felt like I had gone from a limousine to a junkyard Geo in seconds flat. I looked at the house sadly as I got out of the car. I comtemplated suicide for half a second, but I couldn't bare to miss anything interesting... what if the place had a working toilet? Even a lightbulb? Heck, two lightbulbs? That would be amazing.

I went inside without a word. My sister eagerly tromped up the stairs, every single one with their own unique creaking noise. I walked up slowly, not as thrilled as getting to share a room with my equally opposite sister after having my own room my whole life. We got to the top landing, and she picked the first door she saw and opened it. She stepped inside with her face falling a little as if she has expected the grand ballroom or something while I just stood in there looking at what I had expected to see - absolutely nothing in a small room.

"Well, at least we have our own beds," Hattie said. I slumped my shoulders still looking at the green mint wallpaper peeling on the walls. I sighed quietly but miserably.

"Yeah," I said. "If the floor can hold them it'll be a miracle."

Hattie was already dropping her things in the left hand corner to claim it. I walked over to the right side and sat down my duffle bag carefully while my sister walked out of the room to go get some more of her things out of the Caravan until Dad got here with the U-Haul. Mom, from downstairs, was yelling at us to hurry and get our things to our room so we could help bring in her and Dad's stuff. I was about to cry again, but the pain in my chest restricted me. I followed my sister downstairs without a word.

My mom began to hand my sister huge boxes with the words 'plates' and 'crockpot' and stuff written on it. I saw the box with all of our glasses in it and went to pick it up, but my mom suddenly lowered her arm between me and the box. I stood back up looking at her with an expression she must not have been able to read.

"I'll let your sister get that," she said. "You can just do some light work for now. How about sweeping off the front porch?"

I stared at my mom evenly. "Why can't I get the glasses?" I asked. "I can handle it."

"I don't want you overexerting yourself right now," she said. "Not with-"

"Mom, I'm fine," I said. "I told you I'm not going to always use it as an excuse. It's been almostfour months. Now may I please help move the boxes inside?"

I had a tone; I knew it. My mom simply pointed towards the worn out front door.

"It doesn't go away in four months, Madeline" she said angrily. I knew why, too; my grandmother had died of cancer when I was five, and we both missed her more than anyone else in the family. But I got defensive when she said that. She treated me like I was stupid or something.

"You think I don't know that?" I was suddenly shouting. "I'm not dumb, I know! Okay? It's not going to go away." My mom and I were both ready to cry after I had to go and state the obvious, but I just swallowed hard and looked her in the eye. "May I please move the boxes now?" I asked quietly.

She didn't reply immediately... she just looked at me. I stared back as some sort of challenge, but she finally shook her head. Normally I would have my mouth shooting off at this, but I just stood there feeling defeated and suddenly exhausted.

"Sweep off the porch," she said to me. I looked down at the wooden floor a moment before walking off to do what I was told for once. I didn't feel like arguing for once. Maybe I lost that spark to fight in me, too. I didn't want to lose my will to fight back and argue a point though. But sadly, I lost a lot of things that day.

I picked up the old broom leaning against the inside of the screen door and headed out. The handle was beginning to splinter badly, so held it carefully as I swept with little effort. My dad came with the U-Haul when I was finishing up, and he actually let me help carry some things in while he occupied my mom in the kitchen. He always helped me out somehow, and I loved him for it. Hattie and I even got our beds set up. We helped put our little brother Del's bed together in his room before the sun began to set, too.

After our first official dinner living at the Thompson Plot (pizza), Hattie and I went upstairs to our new room. I hung up some posters just to cover the hideous wallpaper while we found an actual electric socket between our beds and plugged in my CD player. I was taping up my last poster while Hattie messed with the curtains on the window on her side of the room.

"Hey," she said suddenly. I turned.


"We've got the porch roof out here."

I got off of my bed and walked over as she lifted the window with some difficulty. I held back the curtain as we looked out and smiled; it reminded me of sitting on the porch roof at my best friend's house late at night when we had sleepovers. My actions played on my memory, and I was starting to climb through the window.

"What are you doing?" Hattie asked.

"Sitting on the porch roof," I said, quietly placing my bare foot out onto the rough roofing.

"What if mom and dad catch us?" she asked, climbing out after me. That's what I never understood about my sister... always trying to make a point against what she herself is doing at that vaery moment. Hypocryte...

"Just leave the window open in case we have to get back in," I said. I slid down some so she could get out, and she looked around the wide open country in front of us. I smiled some as she sat down.

"This is cool," she said.

I half-heartedly admitted it as I looked out at the far off corn fields. "Yeah."

"Is that a house way over there?" Hattie pointed straight out, but I only made out a very samll black dot against the orange sky as I squinted.

"I don't know," I said. "Let's have a better look." I stood up and looked around for a way to climb higher onto the very top of the house. I walked around to the front and stepped on some ledging to test it for strength. it seemed good, so I started to climb. Hattie followed.

"Now what?" she asked scandalously. "You know Dad said the roof's not safe. We need to get it replaced."

"This whole place needs to be burned down and entered into Extreme Makeover House Edition," I said, climbing to the pinnacle of the roof. Hattie eventually came up cautiously as I directed my eyes on the tiny black dot a few miles away on the horizon again. She leaned forward curiously as I was.

"Yeah, it's a house," I finally said after squinting some more.

"Are you sure?"

"It's house-shaped," I said. "Therefore, it's a house."

Hattie shrugged and looked back out at it skeptically. "Okay..."

I looked at all the crops of corn surrounding the house in semi-amazment. It was sort of cool. The view was nice. Nothing obscured the flat horizon for anything, save the little house in the distance. I was tempted to go and get my camera; I could sell this picture to calendar company.

"Do you think they're Amish?'

I looked over at Hattie at her strange comment.


"Well you know... Amish... never talk to anyone? Have a horse and buggy?"

"Lancaster is farther east," I said. "You're crazy."

"Well they could be..." she said defensively.

"You don't know anything about the people that live in that house," I said. "You own them an apology even if you never do properly meet them."

"Should I write a long letter or just go to their door begging for forgiveness?" she asked sarcastically. I rolled my eyes.

"Just shut up and get back inside the house. I'm getting tired. plus, I feel a weak spot in the roof right here." Ipressed down on the spot in front of me, and Hattie joined in until our fingers went through the shingle abruptly. We stared at each other fearfully before scrambling to our feet quietly as possible and flying back into our room.

"I told you this house was a dump," I muttered as I went over to my bed.

"But it has a nice view," Hattie said. I sighed, turning out the light on the nightstand.

"Yeah, I guess it had that."

I rolled over on my bed trying to ignore the funny new smell of the room. I buried my face in my blanket trying to get back the scent of my old room as I mumbled goodnight to Hattie and she mumbled back. As I fell asleep, i thought about how much I didn't want to stay in this stupid town. I wanted to runaway or something. Go back to my better life. Before moving, before losing my friends, before finding out that I had cancer...

I thought of the horizon again Hattie and I were looking at. It was perfectly flat except for that house. It stood out like I would once I started school in the fall. I took some comfort in knowing that even though the house was placed strangely, it looked right after staring at it for a while. Maybe the same thing would apply to me soon enough.