Fallen Prologue
The Boxcar


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I came to this town trying to get away from myself. From as early as I can remember I have been afraid of the night. Sleep came at night, and so did he. I grabbed my backpack and walked up the stairs away from the dark water of the small harbor. As I walked, I counted the steps. Ever since I was a small child, I had counted steps when I had to climb them.

After 15 steep stairs, I paused and looked at the warm yellow light of a diner. I was hoping for something to eat and a place to sleep so I wouldnt have to stay outside in the dark. Then tomorrow I would look for a job. At this point, I would do just about anything to get off of the street for more than one night at a time. The shelters werent any safer than the street, and both were dark and lonely places. I felt my pockets for money and came up with ten dollars.

I paused outside the diner to throw my messy red curls into a ponytail and to loosen the straps of my backpack. It had been green at one time, but now was faded to a dingy gray, like my life. I noticed the sky begin to darken towards night. The knot at the pit of my stomach started twisting again as I unzipped the brown musty jacket I was wearing.

I had bought it at Goodwill for two dollars when it started getting cold, that and a pair of mismatched mittens, one red and one purple, and an orange hat that made my head look like a fat pumpkin which is why I didnt wear it. It was in my backpack along with the rest of my life, all crammed into the small space and squished together until the bag was ready to burst like a balloon.

Then I sat down on a wooden bench overlooking the harbor. The bench was rough, the pale wood peeling in long pieces from the rest of the seat. I sighed and pulled a worn yellowish envelope out of the small outside zipper of my backpack. It was the only thing I had left from my father, a man who I had never really known.

I hoped to be able to find some answers to my questions if I only looked hard enough at the letter this time. I had carried the letter with me as I ran from place to place. It was the only constant in my life, and the one thing that was always at easy reach in my overcrowded backpack. I closed my eyes briefly, almost hearing my fathers words echoing in my mind.

Dear Autumn,

If you are reading this it means that I am no longer alive. I loved you a lot NEVER forget that. I could no longer handle your mother's drug problem. I would have taken you out of the house if I could have, but I wasn't able to, and now I want you to know why.

I was already married when I met your mother, and I cheated on my wife with her. I am sorry honey that nobody ever told you the truth before, I am sure that your mother has by now filled your head with lies about why I left and haven't talked to you since. My wife took me back and we had a beautiful daughter together.

I told her about you and we tried to look for you but you had already moved away and we couldnt find any information. I am sorry again and in my will I left instructions for some money to be left for you in a safety deposit box until you need it. Please know I love you and I hope someday you can find your half-sister. Enclosed is a picture of her at age 7.

Love Your Father,


Tears flowed down my face as I read my father's words. He wanted me after all, someone wanted me, and now he too was dead, and had been dead for a long time. My mother hadn't saw fit to give me his letter until she was on her death bed when I was 15, even though the letter was actually written when I was 8 years old.

I wondered where my half sister was now. I hadn't been able to find her in California or anywhere out Webber, but I hoped that she might be living here out east. I longed to have family, someone to give me a reason to stop running after all these years. Like so many of my dreams this one would probably die and I would continue alone, running away from everything I had ever known.

I stood up slowly, taking a deep breath to stop the wild thoughts and pushed open the door to the diner. The bell shook softly overhead letting out a faint ringing noise. I sat down at the first table I saw and looked at the menu. It was so old the plastic crinkled and stains from previous customers were visible under the lamination. This looked like a good place to disappear.

Chapter 1