I step out of the red sunfire and look around at my surroundings. The grass is well worn by the tires of many cars; the houses are old and look as if they would fall if you pushed them with just one finger. There's a river across the road, a small bridge towering over it for you to get across, and as you glance around, there's hardly any sign of life.

I hear my name being called and turn my head in the direction it came from. There's a girl, my age, with brown hair down past her shoulders and dark brown eyes. Her friends are around her, all the same. I smile at them, then grab my bag from the trunk and quickly close it. I paid the taxi driver who had brought me here from the airport before climbing the few stairs to the front door.

"Been a while Sarah," the girl says to me. She's my cousin, Alicia. I come to visit her every once in a while, when my parents go away on long business trips and I have nowhere's else to go. She's sixteen, like me, and luckily, I get along with her quite well. Our personalities match, its as if we were sisters.

Her friends are nice too; they welcome me like I never left from months or years before. Still, something's missing. Something that just won't ever make it seem friendly to me. There's a coldness in the air that sends chills down your spine, and it's not the weather. I could never put my finger on what it was.

Her mother's boyfriend came out and took my bag from my hands. I was a little stunned by his action. Did he think I wasn't capable of carrying my own bag?

"Let me get this for you," he said, walking into the house.

"Okay then," I muttered under my breath, making certain no one heard me. If they did, they didn't show it.

"How about we go inside and catch up on things?" Alicia asked.

I just nodded and followed her and her friends inside. The house looked better inside then out. It was dark inside, but pleasant. The living room was to your left as soon as you came in the door, the furniture looked as if it had seen many years, which it had. The kitchen was to your left, and it was full of unclean dishes and empty bags of food. 'Definitely a change form home,' I thought as we walked up the stairs.

There was a short hallway once up there. And Alicia's room was the first you saw. We walked inside and the light purple walls seemed to appear like it was in a different house. The room was vibrant, and lively.

I sat down on her waterbed and looked over at her friends. I wasn't quite sure where to start, or what to tell. So much had happened since I'd last been here. And I was sure things weren't the same with them.

"How was the drive here?" Jenn, Alicia's best friend, asked me.

"It was fine. It wasn't long from the airport and the cab driver was nice." I was trying to make conversation, to do more than just nod. But it was difficult.

"This is odd," Ellie confessed. Her blonde hair bouncing above her shoulders, and her blue eyes so bright and happy. "What? We were all thinking it. I was the only one who'd say it and you know it. Why don't we get out of this house and go do some things we used to do. Like old times."

"That might make things a little less awkward," I say. "Its worth a shot."

"Do you mind if I call Thomas?" Alicia asks, her brown eyes suddenly filled with happiness.

"Thomas?" I repeat, an eyebrow rose. "Who might this be?"

"That would be Alicia's new boyfriend. Well, not really new. But new to you, you know? They've been practically inseparable since they met," Ellie says.

"No we haven't. We're just in love. And last time I checked, it wasn't illegal or anything. So, do you mind? I know it wouldn't really be like 'old times', but I'm sure he'd love to meet you. And you'll like him."

"Its fine, I don't mind. I'd like to meet your boyfriend. As long as he isn't an asshole like the last one."

"Who? Dave? No, he's way better than Dave."

"That's good to hear. Just let me get something out of my . . . Bag, wherever your mom's boyfriend put it . . ."

"Check the living room," Alicia says as she picks up her phone. "Hello, is Thom there?"

I just smile at my cousin before heading out the door. The stairs creak as I make my way down them and I cringe at the noise. I felt like everyone in the house could hear me. Not that anyone was home at the time. Aunt Mary works all day, everyday, while good old Jim stays home. Jim, now that guy was freaky. He always seemed to be . . . Around. Almost as if he was following you, and knew exactly where you were going to be. When he was at the house, it always seemed like something was holding me back from being me, because I was afraid of what he might do, or say. I know Aunt Mary, and I know she'd never hit me, or yell at me, even when I piss her off. But Jim, I'm not sure about. He seems to have a bad temper. And bad tempers, and me don't mix.

Now, where the hell did he put that bag?