Disclaimer: Stephanie Meyer owns all.

What a shocker...

Emmett McCarty

My name is Emmett McCarty. I am sixteen years old and I live in the Florida Keys. To me there is no better place to live. The Keys are hot, thank god (I can't stand the cold), and flooded with water. You grow up to love nature as you are sharing your home with the creatures that reside there. I love the Keys. I've lived there my entire. Honestly, I wouldn't have it any other way. I think I would miss the Keys too much. First of all, you know everyone in the town and everyone is so friendly, you're never alone, it's like one big family. In the Keys, there is always something to do from fishing, to kayaking, to playing football with friends. Most of all I would miss the peace of the River of Eden. My river. Well, I guess it's not my river but I'd like to think so. When I was six I went out for a hike and came across a beautiful river containing crystal clear water and the most colorful assortment of fish I've even seen. I remember it like it was yesterday.

Flashback

I pulled back yet another tree. Where I was going, well there was no destination, just away. Away from life, problems, people, drama, everything. I heard a faint trickling sound. What was that? I pondered the question and decided to go explore.

I'm the next great Christopher Columbus! I thought. We had just learned about him that day. 'Columbus sailed the ocean blue in 1492.' I laughed quietly to myself. Everything is funnier when it rhymes. The trickling noise was getting louder and was now more like a tap running. I pulled back the final branch among a rather large spruce tree.

Whoa.

There stood a river. Not just any river. This was the most beautiful river I had ever seen in my entire six years. This river held warm, clear blue water and multi-colored fish that darted to and fro. The water was moving at just the right pace, slowly moving, yet not completely still.

I compared the beauty of this river to the other things I'd seen. It was prettier than the eagle soaring through the air with its wings sprawled out and the feathers shining blindly in the air. It was prettier than the lithe step of the jaguar just before it was to pounce on it's pray. It captivated my eyes more than the purple fish that frolicked gaily among the countless creeks and banks I had fly fished in. No, this was no comparison. This river belonged in the Garden of Eden, we had just read about that in Bible Class two Sundays ago.

"Stupid Bible School." I muttered incoherently. "But, alas I have found a name for you, I dub the River of Eden." I spoke with great pride, talking to the river as if she was a human being.

End of Flashback

I still go to that river today. I still talk to the river like it were a friend because the river listens but will not tell any secrets, get me in trouble, but most importantly judge me for what I think or the way I have acted. Whenever I have a problem I pick myself up and carry myself to the river. There I sit on the edge on the river and think. I let my thoughts unravel by saying them aloud, organizing the inhabitants of my mind. Most of my worries drift down the river like the water itself. No one knows where I go when I'm angry, sad, or need to be alone but I'm always at my river. I've never told anyone about it because it's private; it's one of those things that is so precious that you want to keep it to yourself. I'm not usually a selfish person but just because the Keys is small it doesn't mean that it is without drama and pain. So when I want to escape it all I go to the river, my river.

I live in a moderate house, not that it matters I'm always outside, with my mom, dad, and sister, Dahlia. My mom, Diane, works as a nurse for the local hospital. I'm really close to her, she is the brightest person I know and has a solution to any problem I present to her. She has dark, straight brown hair with caramel brown eyes. She is petit and pretty, for a mom. She loves nature and knows almost everything about all of the species that inhabit these Keys. She has the best sense of humor you will ever see and her spirit makes you feel all-warm inside. She looks delicate and has a fragile laugh but she can be scary when she wants to be.

My father, Remus, works for as a kindergarten teacher. I know that sounds lame but it's actually really cool. All of the little kids adore you and worship the ground you walk on. They don't question you and will do exactly what you say; they only seek approval. My dad LOVES kids so his job isn't even a job for him. He's always quoting Confucius, "If you pick a job you love and stick to it you will never have to work another day in your life." My father has curly dark brown locks. His eyes are an extremely dark brown color that seems almost black, especially when he's mad. He has a great sense of humor too and a great booming laugh. He is really tall yet quite slim.

I have curly dark brown locks like my father but my eyes are caramel brown like my mom's. I have a pretty face and am popular but I'm known for my great sense of humor, which I get from both parents. I have a booming laugh like my dad's and am also good with kids. I have muscles, to say the least. I have broad shoulders and a big build from my dad's side of the family, specifically my grandfather.

My sister Dal has straight hair like my mom but it's dark brown in color, like my dad's. She has extremely dark brown eyes, which are almost black, and is short like Diane but strong like Remus. She doesn't make empty threats and always follows through on her promises. I'm not exceptionally close to Dal but we're not distant. We leave each other alone for the most part but can have deep heart to heart stuff too. Dal is an insomniac, I like being able to wake up at any point in the night and knowing she's awake too; she's with me.

Flashback

I pushed open the door to my parent's room; I hadn't seen my mother in three days. Tissues were placed haphazardly around the room. Untouched food remained scattered throughout the chamber and the bed's sheets were twisted and looked as thought it hadn't been slept in for days. The once warm, comforting forest green that lies on the walls sent off now dark, mysterious vibes. The pillows were lying on top of the dresser and many mementoes and pictures were smashed and torn-up. Clothes lie, obviously trampled, on the group. But, there, in the middle of it all was my mother. She was a ghostly pale white and had obviously lost weight. Her eyes were red and lined with tears while her clothes were recognizable to the last time I saw here, three days ago. Her hair was oddly askew and greasy. She sat, rocking on the ground with a single picture frame in hand. She held onto the picture for dear life and didn't even realize I had entered.

I cautiously approached her. I lay my hand on her shoulder. "Mom." I croaked.

She snapped out of it. She looked at me with a pained expression on her face. She carefully unwound her arms from the black picture frame and showed me a picture that I had seen so many times before. It was the picture that had been on her once clean white dresser. The picture contained my mother when she was fourteen and her brother, my uncle, Rob at sixteen. It was taken at Camp Geneva and my mother was laughing while getting a piggy back from Rob. Rob was smirking slightly and had a mischievous twinkle in his eyes. "Dead." My mother choked out.

What? No! Rob couldn't be dead. My uncle, my mother's only brother. He was the best uncle. He always knew what to say and treated me like a son.

"No," I whispered and ran from the room. I fell onto my bed overcome with exhaustion and fell into a deep sleep.

I dreamed about coming into my mother's room, over and over again. I woke up sweating and exhausted. It was two o'clock in the morning and as much as I tried I couldn't fall back to sleep. I sighed and made my way down stairs. I flipped on the light to the kitchen only to find Dal staring deeply into her hot chocolate mug with a pained expression on her face. She glanced up at me and we just stared at each other for about twenty minutes strait. Finally, she broke the stare down by pushing a cup of steaming hot chocolate towards me that I only just noticed she had. She knew I was coming.

We didn't talk. I was glad that Dal wasn't one of those people who think that you need to fill every silence with words. We just sat there and drank our hot chocolate in silence. Not an uncomfortable, the I don't know what the hell to say next, kind of thing but a calming stillness, much like Rob's life now.

A few minutes in I asked her, "Why do people have to die?" She seemed surprise that I had spoken but then a contemplating look washed over her features. After a minute or two she spoke.

"To make life important." (A/N: I can't remember what TV show this is from but I did not come up with this)

"Why him?" I asked her in a whisper.

"Why not him?" she replied in a hushed tone.

"He never did anything wrong, sis, he was a good guy."

"Cancer doesn't care if he's a good guy. Cancer doesn't even know that he was a good guy. People die good and bad everyday Em, this person just happened to touch our lives. He was a good person Em but his time was up. Everything happens for a reason."

I sighed and went to go clean out the mug. I headed upstairs and fell into a dreamless sleep.

End Flashback

We never talked about that again. To this day Dal has never brought it up. It's a kind of mutual agreement we've made. We both know that we're there for each other. We can fight but we're there for each other when we need it most.

You see, all of these things I'm going to miss when I go to Talent Terrace this summer. Talent Terrace is a camp for "teenage child prodigies." I know that I should be honored to go there, blah, blah, blah. I've heard it all before. Honestly I think this camp is a camp for all of the kids who are obsessed at what they do and will do anything to get to the top. Freaks. Backstabbing, cheating, lying, self-centered, kiss-ass freaks. That's what they are. I for one refuse to become that and am relying solely on my talent to get me there.

Flashback

I made my way over to my next-door neighbor's house, the Carson's. I walked in and grabbed a coke from the fridge while calling "Yo, Mr. C you're out of Sprite!"

To anyone else this may seem weird but for me this was a regular day. Zach Carson and I were brothers. We fought but would do anything for each other.

"Emmett?" I heard Mr. C call.

"Sup, Mr. C?" I asked walking into the living room where he was currently sprawled out onto the couch watching a game of football. Mr. Carson was what I considered a cool dad. Don't get me wrong I love my dad, but he never watches television. If you ask him why he goes off on a huge rant about how it fries your brain and how many other productive things you could be doing. My dad likes to read, hike, and go over last minute lesson plans. He's a neat freak too, so there is always something for him to clean in his eyes. No, Mr. C was cool. He even set up a basketball hoop outside of their house and sometimes-even plays with Zach and I.

"Zach told me to tell you he's outside."

"Kay, catch you later!" I hollered running through the door.

One outside I found that Zach wasn't alone. Our friend Michel from down the block had also come over and they were throwing a football back and forth.

"Hey Em." Michel called.

"Hey guys." Michel passed me the football and it landed at my feet. I had never played football before, I was eight and my dad wasn't the athletic type. I picked up the ball and with both hands swung the ball down under my outspread legs and launched it towards Zach. Both Zach and Michel began rolling on the floor with laughter. Zach managed to choke out, "Good one, Em."

"Yeah." I smiled weakly. What do they mean good one? I think I threw it pretty far.

Once they had finished their rounds of laughter Zach threw a perfect spiral straight into Michel's arms and grinned. Oh. My. God. They want me to do that? Michel threw it to me and I barely caught it. I tried throwing like they did but the ball wobbled in the air only got halfway to Zach.

"Wait, Emmett. You . . . you can't play football?"

"Um, no." I admitted rather stupidly. Both of their mouths dropped to the floor. Zach was the first to recover. He ran inside. I internally sighed. He's not going to want to be my friend anymore is he. I turned to see Michel with his mouth still wide open. I was just about to head home when I heard the back door close and looked up to see Zach pulling his Dad along with him.

Once they reached me Zach spoke. "Dad, Emmett here can't play football so I think you, master of all things related to football, (Mr. C smirked here) should teach him."

"Course my boy. I think you'd make a good quarterback."

The rest of the day was spent teaching me the ropes and basics of football. We did drills and played two on two. At the end of the day we knocked on all of the neighborhood kid's doors and went down to the park to play seven vs. seven touch football. I had a blast! There wasn't a better time I had ever had.

End of Flashback

I told my dad about it and he looked into a local league. Zach, Michel, and myself all tried out for the local team and we all made it. It turns out I was better at football then I thought as I made the all-star team too.

Dal started playing soccer about the same time. She plays forward and was also known as a star on her team. Both Dal and I now play for the best team in the Keys. I'm on the team The Titans and Dal is on The Keys: Division 1.

The Titans are good. It's not me bragging but a fact. We made it to the championships two out of the three times I've been on the team. I was team captain at age sixteen and ready to lead the team to the state finals. I know I was young, I still am. Younger than a lot of people on the team but I knew I could do it. We had a perfect season. We didn't lose one game and I scored the winning touchdown.

After I was given the game ball a scout came up to me and handed me a letter. The scout told me how they had kept an eye on me for a while and that Talent Terrace would be challenging but you can do it if you try. It turns out Zach also got a letter. Even after all of these years Zach and I were still best friends. I still yelled, "Yo, Mr. C you're out of Sprite!" and we still went knocking on the neighborhood doors' to see if they were up for a little touch football. Unfortunately Michel moved to Wyoming when we were thirteen. We kept in touch for a while, but it wasn't the same and soon Michel made new friends and both pushed each other to the side.

Dal was mad that she had to wait until she was sixteen to go to Talent Terrace. Her words exactly, "Wait. You made it in? That's not fair I'm better at soccer than you are at football but I have to wait for another three years!"

My response. "In a nutshell . . . yes."

So you see I could never leave the Keys. With Dal and her insomnia, the River of Eden, my parents, the way the pond smells, how someone is always there to talk to, and the football field at the back of the school. But I guess I'm going to have to this summer for Talent Terrace. Wish me luck; I'll probably need it.

Hey - Please Review! constructive criticism, praise, etc..

ya know. thanks,

dal, evie, ava