Chapter 1- Congratulations
“What the hell,” she breathed to herself, and clicked the link. That’s all it took. A click, a little information, and her fingers’ side of the story. Then waiting mixed with a pinch of a dead girl’s hope. However, little did she know, that one click changed the fate of the rest of her life.
The half head looked up from her phone only to see the frantic face of her band mate. “Jake..?” she asked quizzically.
He shoved a piece of paper in her face. “We found her.”
Ash’s golden brown eyes widened and she tore the paper out of his hand, dissecting each word carefully. “Are we sure it’s her?” she asked after a few minutes.
She was answered with a nod. “We’re lucky we’re such great musicians,” He laughed.
She nodded and smirked. “Tell Century we’ve found our winner.”
“Congratulations, Shayley Hart!”
The girl leaned closer to her laptop screen. Was she dreaming? She lifted her black and violet hair out of her face and read the same email for the fifth time in a row.
“You are the lucky winner of the ‘Victim to Villain’ contest! You are going to be flown out to California to hang out with ‘New Years Day’ for the weekend!”
The more she read it, the more unreal it seemed. She could barely look at the other information it had; the number to call if she wanted to go, where she’d be staying, the terms and conditions of the contest re-stated. It took every ounce of her petite body’s strength to stay calm.
“Whatchya’ lookin’ at, Shay?” a man, probably in his mid-forties with neat, short grey hair, and soft, brown eyes. The girl, Shayley, pointed to the email. As he read, the man’s small smile grew. When he finished, he looked back at the grinning girl.
“You wanna go?” he asked. She bobbed her head up and down quickly. He laughed and hugged her. It’d been months since he’d last seen such a genuine smile on her pale face. “I’ll ask your mother, then.” He hugged her, and walked up the stairs out that lead out of her room, which was barely a room at all. It was more of an unfinished basement, with cold concrete walls, a bed in the corner, a plank of wood placed across two cabinets, which acted as a desk and her closet, and a few lone band posters.
The sound of arguing threw Shayley back into reality, and she quickly put in her headphones. She hated hearing her mother’s voice in general, let alone when she was yelling. Besides, she wanted to hold on to the possibility of her actually being able to meet New Years Day as long as possible. She pressed play, and the loud guitars and fast drum beat of her favorite band suddenly blocked out all the bad. Ashley Costello started singing in her sweet, beautiful voice about being imitated and copied. The possibility of being able to hear the voice in person was enough to keep her rare smile on her face.
That was, however, until her father came back downstairs and placed a hand on her back, making her jump, pull the headphones out of her ears (while pausing the music, of course), and turn around in one quick motion. She had been getting better at staying alert. She couldn’t remember the last time she had felt truly relaxed and at ease.
“Sorry,” he apologized. Shayley looked at him hopefully, though she already knew the answer. “Pack your bags, Shay! You’re going to California!” he exclaimed. Shayley’s face dimmed as she looked down and nodded.
“I didn’t think she wo- Wait, what?” She looked up at him, a genuine smile drawn delicately across her face once again. He smiled and nodded. She stood up and crashed into him, wrapping her slender arms around his slightly toned torso.
“Now, what was that number again?” He looked at the email and pulled out his phone. He called the number and stepped back upstairs.
“Ash!” Ash looked up from her phone yet again, only to see Nikki Misery, the band’s other guitarist, holding a phone. He was panting. The singer smiled at him.
“I’m assuming you have good news?”
He smiled and bobbed his head. “We don’t have to kidnap anybody this time! It doesn’t seem like they know about her, though.”
“That’s perfectly fine. Better than her knowing, even.” A smile crept across her face. “How long do we have to prepare?”
After what felt longer than a day at her hellish school, he returned, his face mirroring hers with a smile of his own.
“You’ll be leaving next Thursday.”