Max was looking through an old photo book that he found on a bookshelf. He smiles at a picture of his mother and father on graduation. Max's dad looks so innocent and his mother looks so...alive. Max hears his father stumbling through the front door. He is probably drunk again... Max thinks to himself. He slams the book close and jumps off his bed, trying to quickly find a place to hide the book. He hides it under his pillow and runs out to the living room, turns on the television and plops himself on the couch. He hears the rhythmic sound of ice clank into a glass cup, followed by the pouring of beer. "Max! Get in here and do these dishes!" yells Max's dad, Luke. Max sighs. He hasn't eaten all day, so there should be no dishes! When he walks in, he looks straight at his father, his blue eyes are now blood shot and, his good jeans are tattered, and his yellow shirt has more than two rips in it, his shaggy brown hair is a mess sticking up everywhere. He is a total mess. Luke glares at Max. "This house is a mess. Your mother would ha-" Luke starts, but at the mention of Karen, his wife, he get's angry. He runs for Max, and punches him in the stomach, knocking him to the ground. Max crawls up against the nearest wall. His father starts to yell, "How dare you make me mention her again! Do the dishes and get out of my sight!" Max fights tears, but the mention of his mother makes tears fall silently, making clean spots on his dirty, tan face. He slowly gets up and let's out a shuddering sigh. He walks up to the sink. No dishes, of course. Wren sits at the old wooden table, trying to think. Finally, he makes a decision. Luke wants Max out of his sight? Fine, his wish will be granted. Max gets up and runs out the door. When he steps out, he doesn't stop, he keeps going, straight to the woods. When he gets that far, he stops. He sits down under a big weeping willow. It is raining. Max ruffles up his shaggy red hair and blinks his blue eyes fast, trying to get his vision under control. He takes off his red shirt and wrings it out. He puts it back on and does the same with his blue jeans. After he is a little less wet, Max takes a good look at his surrounding. Wet and... woods. He knows that there is supposed to be a queen up about a mile North. They say she is evil, but is the most powerful and will make a deal with you, if you have what she wants. Max paces, his face in his hands. He knows if he goes to the queen, he could get killed. On the other hand, he could bring his father back to normal. He decides he will go, but it will be a very risky journey. He starts to walk, when he sees an abandon log cabin about a block ahead of him. He starts to run for it, but is stopped, because all of a sudden, it gets really cold, and the wind sounds like it is whispering to him. "Max. It's me, your mother. You can save our family, Max! Go see the queen, she has what you need, and you have what she needs!" Max's mouth drops. The wind goes around him until it whips out his red medallion from around his neck. Why would the queen want my medallion? Max shakes his head making hair fall over his eyes.
"Why are you coming to me now? I am thirteen, and you decide you want to come and give me advice now?" Max yells. He turns toward a tree and punches it with his fist. He places the medallion back in his shirt and starts toward the log cabin again. He knocks on the door and it flings right open. He takes a step in, his face wrinkled in confusion.
"Stalker. What are you doin' here?" He hears an unanimous voice say. His eyes widen in surprise.
"I-I am not a stalker. I-I just need shelter. Who are you? And, if I may ask, where are you?" Max asks, looking around for a shadow a sign of life.
"This is my cabin, so I must know who you are first, before I tell you anything about me or even show myself." Max mites his lower lip, then crosses his arms.
"Fine. My name is Max. I am a thirteen year old boy and I need a place to stay, at least for the night." The voice is quiet, as if considering him to stay. He hears footsteps coming down a hall to his right.
"Alright. I guess I should tell you about me now." A girl comes out. She has long, red hair, down to her waist. Her eyes are a light blue, and she has medium tan skin. She is wearing a black Mario t-shirt, dark jeans, and black sneakers. Max give her a sharp nod. She glares at him, looking him up and down. Finally, she nods.
"I am Reylinn. I am thirteen as well. Why must you stay here? Reylinn asks. Max straightens his back, trying to look tough.
"Why do you need to know? I think you have learned enough. But what I want to know is, why are you not at home with your family? Why would you, being only thirteen, be out here all alone?" Max asks suspiciously. Reylinn punches Max right in the nose. He staggers back, holding his face.
"My parents are dead, you idiot! I am out here fighting for my life, trying to stay alive while I can! I mean, how hard is it to put two and two together?" Reylinn yells.
"Holy crap, chick! I did not know, you could have been abandoned here, for all I knew! I am kind of out here for the same reason! I have a drunk abusive dad back at home and my mother is dead so she can't stop him! I am trying to find a way to help him!" Max yells. Reylinn sighs. She grabs his non bloody hand and takes him to the kitchen. She sits Max down a tall stool and tends to his wounds. He gives her a small smile and she returns the favor. After he is all better, they sit down in the living room. Max lays out on the long couch and Reylinn melts into the arm chair.
"So, uh, nice place you got... here." Max says. Reylinn gives him a look like 'stop lying, you know you are lying.' He props his head up on one elbow and say, "I'm not lying! It's better than what I had when I first got out here! I had a sneeze and some trees! I just totally rhymed!" Reylinn throws back her head and laughs. Max laughs, too. They laugh and giggle for about five minutes until they are finally trying to catch their breath.
"I want to come with you, Max. I have never laughed so hard in my life, especially since, well, yeah. But, if you do fix your dad, I want to come live with you. I need a real home." Reylinn says. Max sucks in a lot of air and let's it out after a few seconds.
"I-I guess... I could use your fighting skills, and we do have an extra room. Alright. Let's leave tomorrow morning." Max says. Reylinn gives him a small nod, then dashes down the hall and into a different room. She comes back holding four comforters. She hands him two.
"It gets cold at night. Two for each of us. Well, good night, I guess." She says.
"Thank you. Good night, Reylinn." Max says, but Reylinn is already curled up and asleep. Max stares at her. She is so peaceful looking in sleep, like, she is relaxed, and not trying to look tough. He lays back, thinking of his mom. And before he realizes it, he is asleep as well.