Chapter Two

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The next morning I was a mixture of nerves, excitement and in an almost permanent state of shock which had lasted all through the night. I got exactly zero seconds of sleep. My mind wouldn't stop working enough for me to fall asleep.

I carried a duffel bag stuffed with my most near and dear clothes. My snowflake necklace was on my neck, I had on my favourite grey long sleeved sweat shirt with a hoody and jeans. This is my lucky combination.

Hopefully good things would happen today.

"Towards the exit," one of our guards said, directing us towards our left.

I saw that most of the people around me were dressed in long sleeves, hoodies and jeans. Those who had children had them bundled in winter clothing as well. Younger ones were held close to the chest, a little older ones were clutched protectively.

But most of them had just bags to accompany them, like me. No one had much to carry.

I noticed that, surprisingly, the guards were dressed like they usually were. In their black uniforms.

To be distinguished? I didn't know.

When we assembled near the entrance, I saw dad and Ren walk out through the corridor that lead to the men's cabins. Their eyes immediately spotted me and they headed straight to me.

When they were close enough, I took their hands in both of mine.

We took a deep breath together, hoping for the best.

That's when I noticed that my dad was carrying a really large cloth bag over his shoulder.

"Um dad?" I said, throwing a pointed look at the bag that seemed to weigh a lot.

"Books," he said in reply, a sheepish grin lifting his face.

Ren and I shared a look and rolled our eyes.

Of course he'd carry only books.

The head guard, Frederick, stepped up to the front near the exit and clapped his hands to silence the low buzz of conversation.

Immediately everyone went quiet, curious as to what he was saying.

"The C'Riel will be here in a few minutes. Please follow their instructions without question. If they say jump, you will say how high. Do you understand?"

Wow. Okay.

At the murmur of acceptance, he started talking again.

"Remember, we are at their mercy because we will live according to their rules. Do not subject yourself to their punishment or their attention. Be safe. Be smart. Not only are we going to adjust with their kind we will even have to adjust with our own. We are not the only survivors. People are being rescued this very moment around the world."

Shock prevailed as we considered the possibility that more of us existed. We always thought that more survivors should exist. This was confirmation that they did. Excitement caused a little buzz of conversation to ensue again.

"Remember," Frederick said a little louder, drawing our attention back to him, "We are at their mercy."

I heard a woman sob softly as she clutched her child to her chest. I saw no man next to her. She was a single mother. Alone. Dropping my father and Ren's hand, I slowly moved towards her.

When I pressed a hand to her shoulder, her watery eyes met mine. I realised she looked too young to be a mother. I didn't remember seeing her around, which meant we probably had different cycles. Because most of us were from different places cooped together in these survival cells, we slept and woke up at different times. Just like our guards who took rotations as well. This was why our artificial light was always on. Except in our cabins of course.

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