She'd imagined her capture a million different ways.
Standing alone in the middle of the forest, it was easy to picture them sneaking up behind her, clad in their standard gray city uniform.
Rachel shut her eyes and focused on the forest with its buzzing of animals preparing for winter.
There was the tune of the wind whistling between the tree branches and if she tried hard enough, she could even hear the sound of twigs breaking under military boots, as if they were really coming for her.
She could almost, but not quite, taste the leather of their gloves as they clamped over her mouth.
Would she kick and scream?
Or would she go quietly?
She'd like to imagine she'd be brave, maybe they all did, but she was smart enough to know that bravery didn't gain you much, not against the capital.
When they kicked her feet out from under her and shoved her face into the earth, would she cry?
If so, what would she cry for?
Maybe she'd cry for the loss of her freedom but mostly she thought she'd cry in relief.
Because hiding was exhausting.
And maybe giving up was easier.
Her blue eyes flung open.
The only thing she cried for now was Jed.
Her little brother, who had run away to the city to be Marked exactly two weeks before, had he thought giving up was easier too?
She tried not to imagine Jed with empty eyes.
Jed as one of them.
But it was difficult.
Once the capital had their hands on him, a strong, unmarked boy, she knew there was no hope of them ever letting him go.
That funny notion of bravery snuck up on her again.
She shoved down her sob, wiped her face and picked up her bucket of berries, determined to snap out of her grief.
YOU ARE READING
Marked ✔️Science Fiction
After World War III and biological warfare destroy two-thirds of the world population, what was once known as North America has become the Council of Nations, a ruthless society that has closed off its borders, trapping its citizens in. Now every ci...