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Chapter 1

I look down at the drawings and words carved into the desk. I’d added to it, scraping my pen into the plastic-covered wood. I wuz hur, I had written. A ruler slapped down hard somewhere near me and I look up.

“In April of 1912, what happened?” Murmurs of ‘I don’t know’, and ‘who cares’ echo throughout the room, but my voice is loud and clear.

“The Titanic sank on April 14, 1912 at approximately 2:22 am, in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. It was her maiden voyage.”

“How many years ago was that?”

“355 exactly in April, Miss Greene.”
“And what happened between now and then?”
Now it wasn’t just me talking. The whole class drones: “The world was taken over by creatures thought to be imaginary, and we are the last human settlement left alive.” Cheery topic, I think.
“Good,” Miss Greene smiles a gruesome smiles a gruesome smile. “And why is that?”
“Because we put up our fence and hid like cowards while the rest of the world got eaten alive?” I offer up cheerfully.
“No,” Miss Greene practically shouts over the laughter of 20 teenagers. “We are still alive because we are smart. We are still Alive because we fought off the immediate danger and set up some way to defend ourselves.”
I was mad now. “Don’t you think they fought back?! Their numbers were dwindling by the minute! They were being eaten alive by their best friends! Their siblings! Their own parents! And you think they didn’t even try?” I was yelling, carried away by my anger.
The screen on my tablet flashes. I glance down to read the message sent to me.
Settle down.
-Kyler
Grabbing the tablet, I run out of the one room school, built just for 16-18 year olds. Passing the buildings for the younger school goers, I see my tablet flash again. This message read:
Wait up
-Kyler
I stop running and sit down in the grass, wet from the constant rain we get here, wherever that is.
I see myself in a puddle, the reflection distorted a bit by the water, but still me. My brown curls, my bright blue eyes, and my pale skin. My jaw is still clenched in anger, and my eyes still burn with it.
“If only looks could kill.” My head snaps up at the familiar voice. My eyes take in the blonde-haired, blue-eyed boy whose face was lit up by the goofy smile he almost always wore.
I nod at him. “Ky.”
Ky’s face turns serious. “Kate.”
We both burst out laughing, attracting the attention of an elderly woman out walking her dog. Her glare quiets us down. Laughter is a rarity now that there’s zombies and werewolves practically on our doorstep. Unless, of course, you’re Ky and I.
People are scared. Very scared. We only won the war against the supernatural because we were cowards. Even I, who was only 2 when the fence was put up, know that you can kill any creature with one swift cut to the neck. Decapitate the creature.
“You need to stop listening to your Grandfather’s stories.” Ky says.
I just look at him. “Maybe you should start.” I laugh half- halfheartedly. “You and I both know that we think the same. You were fuming back there too.”
“I know.” Ky pauses. “You need to control it. Kate, you know what they do to the rebels. You know what they’ll do to you if that happens again. That was your second strike. One more, and you’re out.”
I look at my friend. His sky blue eyes display his concern, as does his facial expression. “I know. I’m sorry,” I say, bowing my head.
Ky bumps into me. “It’s cool. But don’t do it again.”
I cry out when he bumps me. Reaching into my pocket, I pull put the switch knife I always kept with me. The blade was out and covered in my blood. I look at my leg. “Oh s***. Ohshitohsitohshit.” I say, looking at my blood soaked pants.
Ky looks down. “Oh my God! I’m so sorry! I didn’t mean-“
“Don’t. It’s my fault. I left the blade open. Take me to the meadow.”
“But it’s so close to the fence.” Ky protests.
“Do it. Hurry. I’ll die if you don’t. It’s a knife, Ky. Strike three and I’m out, remember?”
That shuts him up. Picking me up, he runs to the edge of the woods, hesitates, and then runs again. He runs until we come to a large meadow that the fence cuts in half.
“You know what to do, Ky. Go,” I say when we arrive at the meadow. I limp over to a tree near the fence and wait. Wait for the monsters to come, and for Ky to come back.
Sure enough, a vampire arrives, drawn by the smell of my blood. It is a smiling male, and might have been handsome if it was alive and didn’t have a blood- stained mouth and wardrobe.
“Hello,” it purrs. “Why don’t you crawl over here for me?” I laugh.
“Hello, and I’m fine right here, thanks.” I reply. I often come out here to tease the ones that can still think. The ones whose brains were still capable of making memories and processing information.
The vampire frowns, the sniffs the air. “There’s two of you.” He smiles.
Seconds later, Ky returns, clutching his side with one arm, and carrying herbs in the other. His clothes were dyed bright red with blood. He kneels beside me and I realize I’d cut his side while he was running. Dropping the knife, I yank off his shirt and begin to tend his wounds. I chew an herb and spread it over the gash.
Ripping off the bottom of my own shirt, I wind it tightly around his torso, chewing another herb to seal the bandage shut.
“I hope you don’t mind seeing me in my underwear,” I joke as I cut off my pants. I don’t have a gash, but a puncture wound, a very deep one, actually.
“Ooh, that’s bad.” Ky jokes, trying to distract me from the disturbingly large amount of blood flowing out of my thigh. The look I shoot him makes him realize he should just be quiet.
I tend my wound, cleaning and bandaging it just as I did Ky’s.
“Tick, tock. Tick, tock goes the clock. Time is running out humans.” The vampire says this as if it were completely rational. Ky and I look at each other, surprised. We’d completely forgotten it was there. “Tick, tock, your time’s almost up.” The vampire smiles as it slips into the darkness of the woods behind him.
“That was creepy,” Ky states.
“Thank you, Captain Obvious,” I say, wondering how long the saying’s been around. “Everything about vampires is creepy. He was probably just trying to scare us.” Ky nods and we sit in silence. I stand, leaning on the tree. Both our faces hold solemn expressions.
Just then, a zombie enters the meadow and flings itself against the fence. It’s thrown back onto the ground by the high voltage of the fence. The sight of an unconscious zombie gets both Ky and myself into high spirits.
When the sky grows dark, we make our way back home. I was using a branch for a makeshift crutch and stumble a few times.
“See you for re time tomorrow?” Ky asks, even though he already knows the answer.
I nod and we say our goodnights. I stand in the doorway, watching him walk down the path, turn, and walk towards his home.
I turn around and take in my surroundings. The small couch and chair, the tiny kitchen, a table with a set of four matching chairs. Wait, I think. There’s usually only three chairs. Maybe he’s back! I look around and hobble to the table. It has a touch screen on it that gives our news, receives our phone calls, and keeps track of who is currently living in the house. There’s one in every room because their original purpose is to keep an eye on us for Them.
Their proper name is the Touch- Hawk, but each house has its own name.
“Sylvia,” I say, bringing forward our house’s name in my mind. “Who are the current residents of this house?”
“The residents of this house are Timothy Micheal Forbes, Jill Ann Taylor- Forbes, Jacob Michael Forbes, and Katelynn Elizabeth Forbes. That is all.”
“Thank you!” I say, suddenly excited. He’s back! After 5 years! My brother is back! I run into my room to change out of my blood- stained clothes. The moment they hit the floor, a hole opens up, forcing them to fall in the laundry. Of course, I had taken my illegal weapon out of my pocket first.
I throw on some clean clothes and hobble as fast as I can into the room where Jake used to sleep. Sure enough, he’s there, sleeping soundly in his bed with his things scattered around as if he’d never left.
I creep up and put my hand on his mouth. “Jake,” I whisper, and nudge him awake. His eyes fly open and he looks around frantically. Then they find my face and he smiles under my hand.
I remove it and hear my brother speak for the first time in 5 years. “Katie,” he whisper-shouts. “Where were you this afternoon? I was waiting for you but you never showed up!”
“I was, uh, in the meadow.” I say. Jake’s face grows alarmed. “With Ky. Because I got hurt.” I pat my sleep clothes where the bandage is, wincing slightly.
“What happened? Are you O.K?” Jake questions.
I nod. “I’m fine. I just forgot to close my-“ I’m very quiet now. “-blade, and it stabbed my leg. So Ky carried me to the meadow, but I forgot it was in my hand, so he got cut. It was small though, a minor wound. I,” I sigh. “on the other hand, got a puncture wound that was pretty deep. I lost a lot of blood. But I’ll be fine. Don’t worry.” I don’t tell Jake about the vampire. Nobody needs to know about that but me and Ky. If word got around, the whole civilization would get into a panic and They would put a Lockdown into action. After 15 years since the fence was put up, and only 3 break ins right in the beginning, people still didn’t trust the system. They are always afraid. So I keep to myself and hope Ky does the same.
***
The next morning, after I eat my breakfast, get yelled at for breaking curfew, and change my bandage, I head out for the recreation center. I’m ouside waiting for Ky when I hear the scream.



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