When I get home from college, I find some random guy sleeping in my bed, and Jin is passed out on the living room floor, so I crawl into the empty sleeping back next to Chauncey and try to remember how safe I felt in the dorm on my first days there, even though the whole dorm was full of nearly strangers. But of course, one of those strangers in the dorm was to become my best friend, and I know I sensed Shea’s friendliness from the beginning.
Sleep well. Things will feel brighter in the morning, and you’ll find a solution.
In the morning, I scrounge through the fridge to see what kind of breakfast I might make. Looks like I can make pancakes, if I substitute yogurt for eggs.
As I’m washing the dishes, the random guy comes in.
“Morning! There’s a plate of pancakes on the counter,” I tell him. “They’re still hot.”
He’s complaining about always starving in this crazy house.
I introduce myself. He puts down his plate of pancakes and says he’s happy to finally meet me.
Turns out, Jack’s our new room mate.
“So, you know,” I say, “the house is pretty full with three. I mean, it was only supposed to have two, then somehow, Jin moved in. And now you’re here, and I’m just not sure this house can handle four.”
“That’s ok,” he says. “I like it here. I’m pretty sweet on Jin, to tell the truth. But this was just a temporary thing, just while my place was getting painted. It should be done by now. I can move back to my place this afternoon.”
See? I knew there’d be a solution in the morning!
That night, I get to sleep in my own bed. I must have been really tired from sleeping on the floor the night before, for I have the strangest dream.
I dream that I hear noises outside the window–a loud bass from a rap song and weird groaning and munching sounds. In my dream, I look out the window, and there in the garden, in the midst of a snow storm, a teen girl leads a horde of zombies in the smustle.
The next day, I discover that several of my plants have died. I can revive the pear, the mandrake, and a few of the Midnight Bean plants, but some of them die.
I spend the day building a fence around the garden and yard, with lockable gates, just to be safe.
Such a pity about those Midnight Bean plants I lost.
To get my mind off feeling sad about dead plants, I head to Winter Fest.
It’s so fun to ride my bike in the snow. The snowflakes get caught in my eyelashes, and if I ride really fast with my mouth open, I wind up with a mouth of snow.
It feels magical.
I’m starving when I arrive at the park, so I buy a veggie shepherd’s pie. It’s sweet from carrots, butternut squash, and onions, and savory from garlic, basil, and marjoram!
On the table stands a jar with pickles in it or something. But when I look closer, I noticed the pickles are preserved specimens, and the specimens are Freezer Bunnies! Who would stick a bunch of Freezer Bunnies in formaldehyde?
I was hoping that my time in college, when I really worked at stripping away as many cultural biases as I could, would help me feel more open-minded towards Moonlight Falls. But my first few days back seem to just confirm my original impressions: this place is weird.
Weird can sometimes be interesting.
But maybe that’s not the worst thing in the world, to live in a town that’s not run-of the-mill.
“Are you new here?” asks a friendly seeming woman.
“Not exactly,” I reply.
We talk for a while, and I learn that she’s not exactly new here, either, having moved to town with her husband and daughter about the same time I did.
“But I feel new,” she says. “Everyone I met, besides you, seems so established here. Like they go back generations. And they’re all so–I don’t mean to sound prejudiced. But OK. I know it is prejudiced. They’re all so different.”
“As in weird?” I ask.
“Exactly!” she replies.
I’ve got a feeling that Annie Nix and I are going to become fast friends.