Chapter Ten

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It didn't matter that I hadn't asked Mace about the search party. Soon, it was all anyone was talking about as I walked around the compound.

I could feel everyone staring at me as I went about the day. I heard whispers as people tried guessing who I was. I should've expected it. That's what anyone did when something new came into their lives: they talked about it. I wasn't sure how often the compound got new people, but I did feel extremely isolated. I was used to isolation, and maybe if I was the same person I'd been before all this, it might've bothered me. Now I barely blinked at the pointed fingers in my direction. The whispers also happened to be the only way I heard about the search party.

The search party was lost.

Nobody knew what had happened to them.

I still had no idea what Mace had even meant by "search party" in the first place. Why would a refuge need a search party? How little I knew about this place was almost disturbing. I didn't feel the need to dig deeper into my suspicions because of all they'd provided me with.

Currently, I was at the back of a crowd that had started forming in the main room. Mace stood at the head of it. It looked like he was about to give a speech. I was curious about what he'd say.

I felt someone touch my shoulder lightly and I turned to my right to find January staring at me. "Hey," she said, barely audible above the murmurs of the rest of the crowd.

"Hi," I replied just as somebody next to me accidentally bumped into my side. The room was quickly getting unbreathable as people entered and filled the room. "Do you know what's going on?"

She just shrugged. "Nope. He never tells me anything." She looked almost sad as she said this, but the expression died away in an instant. Suddenly, a hush fell over the crowd, and I could tell Mace was about to speak.

"As you all know, one of our search parties has gone missing as of last night," he announced. I could feel the crowd shift at these words.

"We are planning on fixing this, so don't worry. We have decided to send out at team tonight, with the hopes of bringing them back before sunrise. We will find them." There was authority in his voice that I hadn't yet heard. Everyone else was looking up to him, nodding their heads. It was then that I realized how much power Mace seemed to have over the rest of the people here. I hadn't just come upon any member of this group; I'd come upon one of its leaders.

"Thank you all for listening." Mace departed from in front of the crowd as people began talking loudly again. The announcement had been short, and had left me with only more questions than I'd had before.

Seeing my expression, January grabbed my arm and began pulling me out of the room. Once we were in the open hallway, she walked with a purpose down to one of the sleeping areas. I stared at her back in confusion.

"Wait!" I called out, fast walking to catch up to her. "What...?" I didn't understand where she was going or why she had pulled me out of the main room.

"You already got the compound tour, so now I think it's about time you get a different kind of tour. A social one." January turned around and gave me a small smile before walking alongside me. "Wait...so you mean, like people?

January just turned around and raised her eyebrows at me. "Yes, people. So, you know absolutely nothing about what this place is, right?"

"Kinda...?"

"You really don't know anything."

She stopped walking right outside one of the doors and knocked on the metal. "There's a lot more to this place than what you do know. I call us the Snow Society, but, in reality, we are just a large group of survivors who decided to create this refuge in the middle of a nightmare. The majority of us are teenagers, which is mostly due to Mace's ruling. He doesn't trust anyone above thirty, since they tend to be the ones related to gangs. It's easier to just stick with what we know. And those are people like us."

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