Yup, I'm not dead! Lo and behold, my newest fiction! As always, enjoy and comment!

Also, the parts in italics are about Jamie. Normal text is the main character's narration.


"Jamie...Jamie..."

Jamie eyes flickered open.

"Jamie..." A quiet, feminine voice that sounded almost...desperate, and pained whispered in his ear. He recoiled instinctively and looked wildly around, but nothing but the suffocating blackness was keeping him company.

"Who's there?" he called.

"How could you let me die? Why didn't you stop me?"

A shadowy figure appeared in front of his eyes and Jamie drew in a sharp breath. The face was pale and kind, the eyes, a deep shade of royal purple: a face of perfection. "Why?" she asked again in a frightened voice. "Do you not care for me?"

"Please, my Goddess!" Jamie exclaimed. "I'm sorry! I just need more time!"

The Harvest Goddess began to fade before his eyes. He reached out with his hand, as if to bring her back to him. But it grabbed nothing but air as the floor fell beneath him, and Jamie soared into the abyss...

He gave a gasp as he awoke sitting up in his bed, sweat coating him in a second skin. His heart pounding an embossed pattern on his chest, he threw himself back down on the mattress and stared at the ceiling. The Goddess's words were echoing in his head, over and over.

"I'm sorry..." he whispered to himself as he put the pillow over his head and prepared himself for yet another long night. "Forgive me."


Winter.

A time of death, quiet, and sadness.

But it's also a time of starting over, as I learned that first year.

My life was at what you'd call a moot point. The city life can be hard on a young girl, fresh out of high school, with dreams and ambitions too big for her own good. An office job didn't suit me; I was too active to waste my days on a desk job.

So, naturally, when I saw the opportunity, I took a risk and went for it. The newspaper ad read something like this:

Looking for something different?
Tired of the same old, same old?
Need a change in routine?

Then come to Flowerbud Village! The land is fertile, perfect for farms, and the people are kind!
And who knows? Maybe you'll meet that special someone here too! For directions, call...

"Farm...?" I said aloud to myself as I ate cereal in my minuscule apartment. "I could do that..."

The next thing I knew, I had a bag packed with only the bare essentials. I had no desk job, my apartment was sold, and no limitations. I was free, and I was on the bus to Flowerbud Village.

I will admit, I was nervous. Here I was, no home, no job, just expecting to waltz in this unknown place in the middle of nowhere and automatically assume that they'd have a place for me. Stupidly enough, I hadn't even thought of that prior to boarding the bus.

I spent most of the 3-hour ride tracing icy patterns on the bus window and worrying about what was going to happen to me.

"Flowerbud Village!" The bus driver called, breaking me from my stupor. I grabbed my bag and was halfway up the aisle when I froze.

"Where's the village?" I asked, staring the the emptiness in front of the bus.

"Sorry," he said apologetically. "This is as far the the bus will go. You're about half of a mile away from the village. Just keeping going straight and you'll find it easily."

I put on my bravest face as I got off the bus and into the cold. I shivered in my coat and began to walk. The snow crunched under my feet as I walked carefully to avoid any icy spots I might find. I broke my wrist last winter falling on ice; I wasn't going to take any chances.

Just like the bus driver said, I found the village quickly. Good thing, too. I was pretty sure that if I went any further my feet would freeze. I was surprised to see a few people roaming around, talking happily and carrying things, like they didn't mind the cold. "Hello?" I called to one of them.

Only one heard me, or at least he was the only one to look up. It was a young man, maybe my age, was wearing a dark coat. And he had something long and slim slung over his shoulder. He walked up to me and I realized that it was a fishing pole.

I was right: he was about my age. He had the tanned face of someone who spent a lot of time outside and dark hair pulled back into a ponytail. He had a broad smile that, for some reason, instantly made me feel warm. "Hey," he greeted. "Are you lost or something?"

"A-actually," I stammered, inwardly cursing my natural shyness. "I was moving here, but I'm not really sure what I'm supposed to do..."

"Ohhh," he grinned. "Don't worry about that. You see that building over there?" He pointed to a small building not too far from us. "That's Thomas's house. Go talk to him, he can help you. I'm Ray, by the way." He held out his hand and I took it.

"I'm Jill Evans. Nice to meet you, Ray."

He readjusted the fishing pole over his shoulder and began to walk away. "Well, if you're staying I suppose I'll probably be seeing a lot of you around here. Good luck"

"B-bye!" I said. I turned in the other direction and literally ran to the building Ray had shown me, ready to be out of the cold. I knocked gently on the door; it was wood and looked so old that it looked like it'd crumble if you even touched it.

"Come in!" said a man's voice. I turned the doorknob and blissfully warm air instantly blasted into my face. I was in the door and had my coat off in half a second. The person who called me in was sitting at a table, hunched over something. He had a very...curious appearance. He was smaller than me and had on a long red coat that made him look even shorter. A bristly mustache covered his lip, and an oversize top hat completed the image. "What can I do for you?"

"Y-yeah, I'm Jill Evans, I think I might have talked to you over the phone about moving here..."

His dark eyes lit up. "Oh, yes! I remember you! You saw our advertisement, didn't you? Well, you're in luck! There's a house down by the beach, perfect for one such as yourself. What do you plan on doing here, Jill?"

"I thought about raising a farm here," I answered weakly, a little overwhelmed at the moment. "I need a change of pace."

"Good for you, because the land around that house is quite fertile and beautiful grazing land in the growing months. Would you like me to take you on a tour around the tour, and then to your house?"

I nodded my head rapidly. "Please!"

Thomas led me out of the house and we quickly went through the village, saying hello to everyone we met. Everyone seemed so nice...Joe, Katie, Woody, Gwen, and Carl, especially.

"Whew!" Thomas said after we'd finished. He wiped his brow. "That should be everything...Oh, no! Wait! There's one more place!" I followed after him, getting more and more overwhelmed by the moment. Finally we stopped at a fence painted a peculiar shade of purple that stood guard over a neat ranch. Standing in the center of the field, and looking at the sky, strangely enough, was a tall guy with a fedora over shortly cropped hair and wearing a colorful shawl over a pair of dark pants. He quickly turned around, and that's when it happened.

He stared right at me with light-colored eyes. And I don't mean it was a surprised who-was-this? look. It was nothing less than a glare. A hateful, go-jump-off-a-cliff glare that a predator would have stalking its prey. Even though I knew I couldn't get any colder, I felt as though someone had just poured ice water down my back. "H-h-hi," I stammered in fear.

He continued to glare at me before pulling his shawl closer to himself and stalking away, leaving me and Thomas standing there. "Who was that?" I said in a tiny voice.

"Jamie," Thomas said grimly as we made our way to where I assumed my new house was.

"Is he like that to everyone?"

"Yes...but I've never seen him look at anyone like that."

Oh, great. Barely an hour and I already had a mortal enemy.

Thomas and I were silent the whole way as I brooded. Thomas's announcement brought me back, though. "Here we are!" My jaw dropped. The house was tiny. It looked like a shack that was on its last leg. "What do you think?"

I could now see why he was just giving me the house.

"It's...nice," I lied, trying to sound enthused.

"Excellent! There's a bed, a table, a heater, and a tool chest in there. The last person to live here left all of their tools, so I guess they're yours know." Thomas laughed and his mustached wiggled humorously when he did. "If you need anything at all, don't hesitate to ask me or anyone else. People here are helpful, even to a stranger." I couldn't help but remember how quickly Ray had been to help me earlier, even though we'd never met.

"Well, it's getting late, so I guess I'll get going. Good luck to you, Miss Evans! I'm interested to see how you fare in our tiny town!"

As soon as Thomas had left, I picked up my bag and went inside. My house didn't seem as small on the inside as it seemed on the outside, which made me a little happier. The heater had already been turned on, so I threw off my coat and reveled in the warmth. A clock up on the wall proved Thomas right; it was getting late. I guess I hadn't really noticed the sun setting.

Instantly the extent of my exhaustion hit me. Not even bothering to change my clothes, I crawled into my bed and pulled the sheets up to my chin. It didn't take me long for sleep to take me.

The last thing I saw before I fell asleep was a pair of pale eyes glaring at me in the back of my mind.