Rolling clouds tumbled through the blue abyss as Sophie's cheerful voice echoed through the dense forest. “96,97,98,99,100!” Sophie's eager eyes peeled open as she scanned the dimming horizon; a ruffle of leaves set her ears off in the direction of the lake. She crept over the autumn leaves and into the looming forest. Unnoticed, a dark black shadow slunk through the leaves. She gasped. Heavy and raspy breathing flooded Sophie's right ear and she shakily turned around to be met with the face of the dark shadow… the shadow of her nightmares.
Her body bolted upright. Her nightdress was flooded with icy sweat. A dim golden light dribbled peacefully through the curtains. Her pillow lay in the corner of her room and Sophie's blanket was slowly descending off of her metal bed, onto the rigid oak floor beneath her. The buzz of traffic outside her window tuned in to Sophie's ears as the bedraggled girl dragged herself from her bed.
Her wooden closet leaned against the molding walls and the clothes she had set out the night before lay on her chair, immaculately clean. Just as she had left them. “First impressions count” Sophie reminded herself; for today she was to go out around the town with the Cullins. They were the the family she had heard so much about. She had heard the sad story of how their only Daughter, Poppy, had come down with cancer and how she had stayed in a perril and paralysed state for 2 years, stuck in her room unable to move. Sophie felt a terrible weight of sadness push through the room. But this was her big chance. Her only chance. Her chance to change her life. But somehow, just somehow, she felt as if the shadow of her nightmares would make an appearance...