"What do you think?" I asked, pointing toward the small house on the edge of Eastern Vendona.

Serena followed my gesture, but no one was there. "What do yah mean?"

Then, she came out. Right on time.

The girl had a terribly predictable schedule. This time, every Sunday, she walked to the main square, bought food, and returned. She couldn't have been much older than Serena, but she looked just as well-fed as her. And I meant that sarcastically. The girl was stick and bones, yet I never saw her sneak extra food to herself. Nothing. Not even a scrap. If I had to bet, she'd be a housemaid for three more years, and then possibly sold to a brothel house or a gang. A teenager wasn't worth it to most of the buying families, and the girl was pretty enough for plenty of crimes. It was one of the main reasons I hated letting Serena walk around by herself. Vendona was dangerous in more ways than one.

"Who's that?" Serena asked, but I grabbed her arm and pulled her along. "She looks like me."

"A lot of people look like you," I said, even though it wasn't entirely true. No one looked just like Serena. Only Serena was Serena. She always would be. "But that's sort of the point."

"What point?"

I turned around and firmly held onto Serena's arms. "What if you had a sister?"

She froze. "I don't have a sister." She said it too quickly, too desperately, like she was terrified I knew the truth.

I kept my face neutral. "I know you don't," I said, "but you could have one."

Serena's eyes darted past me. "But she has a home."

"That's not a home."

Serena bit her lip, deciding not to question what I said. She knew me well enough to know I was saying it for a reason.

"She could live with us and play with you and eat good food and—"

"And we could be a flock?" Serena asked, and my stomach dropped. "Like the Northern Flock?"

So she'd heard the rumors, too. I should've known. The streets were whispering about them like crazy. The Northern Flock, a new flock of bad bloods, a group run out of a mysterious location with faceless kids running the street. It was the first one since the Western Flock massacre and the Eastern Flock went missing. It was the only one. Some even said they recruited the shadow in Shadow Alley.

"We don't need to be a flock," I clarified, but she smirked.

"It'd be kinda fun." Fun. "Is she even bad blood?"

I nodded. I wouldn't have taken the girl in otherwise, but if I found out as easily as I did—just by seeing her glow every now and then. A harmless power, but one that would still be welcomed in the execution room.

"So?" I asked, and this time, Serena nodded back, and I went off to get her.

June 1, 2083


Catelyn was ten—only a half year younger than me—and up close, her eyes were a pretty cobalt blue. Like the sky. Or a lake. Or even an ocean on a really, perfect summer day. When she cried, they were even bluer.

For the first ten days, that's all she could do—cry—but for the last ten, she managed to smile. Once she ate more dinner than me, but only when Robert left her and I alone. After that, he left for the week.

"Is he a bad guy?"

I looked up from the seeds of broccoli I was planting in a house pot to stare at Catelyn in the doorway. Today, she wore one of my purple dresses. A gift on my last birthday from Robert. It fit her just like it fit me. Sisters. We could be sisters.

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