Prologue: Don't Look Back

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Kennedy Faye's chip breaks when she tries to put too much salsa on the fragile shell. Her lipstick stains the edge of her plastic cup. She sits at a glass table with her friends, all enjoying the beautiful day. They're celebrating "The Final Day" just like everyone else throughout the country. Two of her guy friends are throwing a baseball in the yard on the other side of the black fence. Their hair is messy and so are their throws.

"They're being kinda rude. I wish they'd come over here with us," Penelope says to Kennedy. Penelope has always been crazy about the boys. Always wearing too much make-up. Too much cleavage.

But not Kennedy. Kennedy always wears the right amount of make-up and actually enjoys the color of her skin sometimes. She doesn't feel the need to put layer upon layer on her face. She always keeps her nails covered in a 'comfort' blue, though. She thinks it keeps her calm. She's always been one to find the calm in the storm. Not at first... but eventually. She may be in a rough place, but she always finds her way back.

Her parents seem to be ignoring her for their drinks. They usually do. Kennedy hasn't had the best life, but she makes sure to turn every negative into a positive. Her parents look her way when it's convenient for them. They think she's too old for their care. But Kennedy refuses to acknowledge it. She'll just continue to smile.

Unlike Penelope, Kennedy gets butterflies around some boys. She would rather be herself than seductive. She truly is nothing like Penelope and doesn't know why they're friends.

"Shoot!" one of the boys yells from the yard. The ball rolls down the hill and into the edge of the field by the forest. It pokes at the foliage.

"Dude, seriously. Catch the ball!" his friend yells at him. When he meets the ball, he hears something in the forest next to him. Wait—it's more than one thing. He prepares to run, but the gun poking from between the leaves is faster than his legs. The gun goes off, without making too loud of a noise. But it was loud enough for Kennedy to freeze back at the house. She knows something isn't right.

Her friend falls to the ground, dead. But no one notices. Penelope is distracting the other baseball player from the fence. Kennedy feels her stomach tighten and her heart fall. Her throat feels dry as she steps closer to the far door in the gate. She's ready to run, but what is she running from?

A deafening gunshot goes off and Penelope drops, covering her ears. The group disperses but has nowhere to run. They're trying to get inside and away. They're all confused and unprepared. People in black clothing are running up, killing people who try to fight and tying up people like Penelope. Her parents fall to the ground, along with their snobby friends.

Kennedy flares her arms to open the gate and runs as far as she can. She doesn't stop. She doesn't look back.

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