Chapter 1

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Jenny walked by the church, the church where the newborns got their tattoos. Jenny looked down at hers, the black ink had faded over the years but the numbers were clear. She took a deep breath, she was going to die today. Midnight.

She was one of the unlucky ones, the ones that died young. The mayor believes in prophecies, that everything is fate. But Jenny didn't, she didn't think it was fair, her best friend from the orphan home died a few weeks ago.

Jenny was an orphan, as far as she knew, her parents died when she was 1, but not by fate, but by murder. So she had lived her whole life at the orphan home. This feeling was scary, just waiting to die.

It might not have been the best idea to wear short-sleeves, people saw her mark and turned away and whispered. That made her feel uncomfortable but she wasn't going to let that ruin her last day. She hung around her favourite cafe and the barista whipped up a giant hot chocolate and said it was on her.

That cheered up Jenny a bit, she was going to miss this world, the sunshine and the rain. She didn't have anyone to miss, no family or friends. Maybe a few people from the orphan home but they would hardly notice if she was gone. People come and go everyday.

She felt the evening sun warming her face, the houses cast long dark shadows. She bought a packet of bread at the convenience store and headed across the road to the local park. Jenny wrapped her shawl tighter towards her body, Autumn nights can get really cold. She found a small park bench positioned near a pond.

There was a small wind and the rustle in the leaves, the park lights were on and Jenny felt relaxed. In the light, a small group of ducks were cruising in the pond. Jenny tore open the packet of bread and started ripping the bread into smaller bits.

As if the ducks had smelt the bread, they rushed over and watched her with their big brown eyes. Jenny smiled and started tossing the bread at the ducks, the calm surface of the pond was interrupted as the ducks dived and snatched for the pieces of bread.

The sky started to darken and the sun disappeared behind the trees. The moonlight shone down and reflected on the pond. Jenny breathed out and a cloud of air and continued to rip up the bread. She laughed when she accidentally tossed a piece of bread at a duck's head and the others all went snatching for it.

Jenny was glad she spent her last day alone, with a flock of ducks. She pulled out her phone and checked the address for the safety rooms. When a person was about to die, they spent their last night in safety rooms. Because when midnight strikes, you could be easily transported to your coffin. Jenny thought the real reason why they put you in special rooms were because of sudden outbreaks.

It happened once last year, a man named Tom. It was nearing 12 at night and he suddenly started pounding at the door. He was screaming and yelling like a madman. But he quietened down when the Big Ben signalled 12.

She quickly finished feeding her bag and stood up to leave. She dropped the bag in the bin before exiting the park. Jenny turned onto the street and instead of the normal suburban houses, there were block grey buildings. All of them identical, all of them 2 stories high.

It was scary thinking that so many people can die at once. Jenny shook away that thought and found her building. A3. She rang the doorbell and she was led in by a tall and skinny woman in a nurse uniform. She ushered Jenny in and closed the door behind her.

"Jennifer Hawkwood? Can I see your mark please?" According to her badge, Shana had a high squeaky voice and a heavy British accent.

"It's Jenny actually." Jenny corrected her but she didn't seem to care, so she stuck out her arm and showed Shana the tattoo.

"Thank you, uh, Jenny. Follow me please." Shana led them through into a hallway, there were steel doors on both sides. Jenny felt cold, in each of these rooms were people waiting to die, whether they were teenagers like her, or even just little kids. Shana climbed up the staircase and stopped at a door not too far up.

She unlocked the door and there was a bed in the middle of the room. The room was cold and the candle light only lit up a small part of the room. Shana said goodbye and left Jenny to her room, she heard the door lock and she knew there was no backing away now.

Jenny didn't feel tired, but she had nothing better to do. She climbed into the cold single bed and wrapped the thin blanket around her tightly. Then she let herself sleep, knowing these were her last hours before she died.



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