At eight years old, moving to the cabin in the middle of the woods seemed like a never-ending vacation, even without my mom. The emptiness of her absence was filled with adventure and exploration and, of course, my dad. His thoughts on it were probably far different than mine though. I mean, an attack of biowarfare on our home that killed countless and forced the rest to live underground, that’s enough to cause at least a few gray hairs and more than a few sleepless nights.
Eight years later, it was just another normal day in the woods, when the stranger showed up. His presence shouldn’t have been possible, not according to my dad. But there he was, solid enough for me to run terrified from.
But I couldn’t get him out of my mind. Who was he? Where did he come from? And from there, curiosity bloomed. I’d never imagined that I’d find friendship among the trees, let alone a secret friendship. My dad would never have allowed it, but giving him up wasn’t even an option.
I had no idea that Hayden would set my world completely off-kilter in all the best ways. Who knew he would be everything we needed to put our family back together?