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The City of Centsia sat beside a range of mountains called the Barr, named for their tendency to barricade attacking armies. The city itself consisted of tall buildings, the kind of buildings where you could see the first few floors from the ground and the last from the stars. The material was glass: a greenish kind of glass that made each building twinkle beautifully in the moonlight.

There were two kinds of people in the City of Centsia: the winged and the walkers. The winged were the sacred people, worshipped by all, and the walkers suffered a superfluous amount of disadvantages in their wake. There were blood sacrifices every night, sacrifices made to the winged. Every winged needed a sacrifice, every night. Of course, the ones to be sacrificed were the accused, the people who had disrupted this perfect society with their crimes.

Emerald Hayden was a half-winged. She carried an angelic, beautiful appearance. Her green eyes were large and open to the world, welcoming conversation. Her hair was a warm brown color, the color of melted chocolate in the pot of a good chef. Her lips formed a perfect dainty smile, ever-pleasant and friendly.

Unfortunately, no wings braced Emerald’s back. She was forced to saunter through the same streets as the disgusting walkers, born to die. Most walkers carried disease and almost all of them were accused. They reeked of poison and unhappiness, and they had no aspirations for their futures.
That’s what Emerald had thought.

Dusk was her only winged friend. His eyes were a cool blue and his hair a creamy white. His skin was pasty and eatable. His wings, however, were by far his most striking feature. The feathers formed intricate patterns, almost like pictures, when he spread them out. They were beautiful, and they were the only things that set Dusk and her apart.

At night the two would sit atop the golden building, the only plated building in the entire city. He would take her by the hand and leap from the place unexpectedly, sending her heart racing. As they spread apart, only clasping fingers, it almost felt as if she had wings too. She wasn’t a walker up here. She was a winged.

In the daytime, though, Dusk was separated from her. He would go to his school, somewhere in the sky, and she would go to hers. There were no other half-winged in her school, which she felt was completely unfair. She had no friends here. She would simply sulk in the shadows of her classrooms, opening ancient text and praising the winged.

It was early December when her destiny changed paths. She was hungry, hungrier than she ever had been before. Dusk delivered food to her here and there, but it was against the order, and he was always afraid to be punished. Emerald would scream at him silently for being so foolish. The winged were never punished or accused, no matter what they did. Everyone knew that.

There was a food stall in the center of Emerald’s town. It taunted the villagers: it was covered in salted fish and meat. Delicious oysters and greenery presented themselves to the world. But no one could afford the stall-owner’s prices. No one would dare steal from the stall, though. Everyone who had attempted to was never seen again; accused and sacrificed.

It was late; almost her meeting time with Dusk, and Emerald was determined to take her share. She walked casually past the stall several times before producing a plan: she was to walk past as if heading for the library across the street, and take one of those delicious looking pieces of meat as she went. There it was, a flawless plan, and it would certainly put some good food into Emerald’s stomach.

She breathed deeply several times before beginning her walk across the block. The journey was slow and harrowing: each step felt like miles and miles. Suddenly, the stall was right beside her, and she snatched a piece of that thick red meat.
Her loose shirt became snagged.

Frantically, Emerald tugged at the fabric of her shirt, to no avail. It was obvious what she had been doing. Her fingers were tainted red with blood. She was doomed while she stood there, and eventually surrounded. The winged guards were the scariest winged Emerald had ever seen. Their wings were scarlet red, their faces dark and unforgiving. They never showed mercy, not to anyone.
Something burned her back: the mark of the accused.

“Bring her for blood sacrifice.” One of them declared before turning to her smugly. “Aren’t you happy, Emerald? You made it just in time.”

“Please, don’t do this.” She muttered, scared stiff.

“Oh, you know we always consider the requests of the accused.”

They never did, and Emerald knew it.

Slowly, she was dragged through the twisting roads and finally to the altar, the altar that told stories of death and destruction. It was the altar that people saw before they died, and everyone paid their final respects to the altar.

One of the winged stood before her, behind the majestic altar. “Emerald, you are hereby sentenced to death for your crime as an accused. Actions are decided based on the need to maintain a civil, perfect society. Would you like to meet the one who you will be sacrificed to?”

“Yes, I would.” She said. Why not? It would be the last person she would see, anyways.

Emerald lowered her head to the footsteps of her winged, and when she looked up she was staring into cool, elegant, beautiful blue eyes.




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This article has 88 comments. Post your own!

WytchBrisingr said...
today at 10:27 am:
i thought this was really good!
 
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Dr.FeelGoodThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Nov. 5, 2013 at 12:05 pm:
most sacrafices are pure. they can not be tanted
 
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Kestrel135This teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Sept. 11, 2013 at 5:08 pm:
Whoa. This book is amazing! I love the way you included the details but kept them clean and consise, all leading up to the one moment where she is accused... Even in such a short passage I was drawn into the writing and the world they were in, from the beginning to the end. The final sentence made my heart wrench; I had connected with Emerald and created a pity for her fromt he article, a pity for the gruesome world she is in so segregated from one and the other. The end is so amazing, but sad! ... (more »)
 
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Writer_JordanThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Oct. 9, 2012 at 2:59 pm:
The Sacrificed is signed with Entranced Publishing and will be released in Ebook format on June 24, 2013. It is now recognized by the U.S. Copyright Office.
 
aladine_98This teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
May 13, 2013 at 7:10 pm :
Wow! It's great to think that a published story started out simply as a story on TeenInk. Congratulations on your success! This story definitely was fantastic. :) I'm curious: how did you get your story to a publisher?
 
QuartermasterThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Jul. 11, 2013 at 1:42 am :
After a second reading, I noticed you describe the city of Centsia from the perspective of a winged person. Your descriptions of the city are all positive, your descriptions of the walkers all negative, and then you justify the sacrifices quickly and matter of factly.  This creates a tension, as the reader immediately grasps the horror of the city and the speaker refuses to admit it. Emerald agrees with the speaker. I believe it makes all the more powerful to see her die, because she didn... (more »)
 
QuartermasterThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Jul. 11, 2013 at 1:44 am :
Well done. Very creative and well thought out
 
Writer_JordanThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. replied...
Jul. 31, 2013 at 11:14 pm :
Thanks everyone. The novel is out now. I sent my manuscript to a small publisher, and it was contracted and released on May 6th, 2013.
 
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Writer_JordanThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Aug. 30, 2012 at 7:41 pm:
-excited gasp- the sacrificed novel based on the story *which I decided to write from the comments and positive feedback* has received equally as praising replies from a publisher!!!! They just told me to make a few changes, and to send it back in...aaahh!!
 
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Armor said...
Aug. 16, 2012 at 5:55 am:
Perfect ending! I love how you leave everyone hanging. That is my type of short story!!!
 
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Varlen-Byrd said...
Aug. 2, 2012 at 2:49 pm:
i really liked this story. i'll make sure to check out more of your work. Good luck with the compitions.
 
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Writer_JordanThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Aug. 1, 2012 at 1:25 am:
Thanks to everyone who left positive feedback on this piece--such response inspires me to compete on other competitions such as the Balticon Young Writers competition. *I won first place!!* No really, thanks! I wouldn't be inspired without your constant courtesy!
 
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albinotiger said...
Jul. 30, 2012 at 6:12 pm:
Amazing!! i love sci fi and this is sci fi at its best!! (maybe check out my work sometime)
 
Writer_JordanThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. replied...
Jul. 31, 2012 at 10:02 pm :
Thanks a lot! Read your story about the girl with anger management issues and enjoyed it!--great voice throughout, left a comment + rating
 
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nakubaraThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jul. 21, 2012 at 7:48 pm:
This is amazing, I do not typically like scyfy/fantasy stuf but you made me a fan with this piece. Exellent work!
 
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MeMadiGraceThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Jul. 18, 2012 at 10:53 pm:
This is such an amazing story in the begining it reminded me of greek myths like half-bloods and stuff like that but it went in a completely different dirction than i expected. It had amazing vivid descriptions it was really easy to picture.
 
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Rocker_Girl_SilentChaos said...
Jul. 8, 2012 at 3:59 pm:
Its really amazing, i've never read anything like it. Your an awesome writer!!
 
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ArtemisiaThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Jun. 29, 2012 at 9:52 pm:
I wasn't sure where this was going in the very beginning, but then... woah. I got completely engrossed in this story (something that doesn't happen often). And now that it's over, I'm reeling, in a really good way. The descriptions were so vivid, and the action was so well-paced! Fantastic job. :)
 
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MadameElizabeth This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jun. 29, 2012 at 10:59 am:
I really liked that! The descriptions were really good:)!. All it needed I think was for a deeper relationship between the two characters, or some time with both of them together in the book. I really liked it all. Nice job!:)
 
Writer_JordanThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. replied...
Jun. 29, 2012 at 1:25 pm :
Thanks, and I think everyone who has responded agrees! It is hard to develop a relationship in a short story such as this--I should have elongated it. I commented on your review, am waiting until it shows up!
 
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