Chapter 1

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I wake up in a blinding panic.

The day that I have long-since dreaded has finally made its way to this time in my life: The Day of Choice.

The name in itself is ironic. No choices on our behalf are ever determined, and there's nothing we can do to influence the situation. The Council, the people in charge of our lives, choose for us.

The year you turn seventeen, you have The Day of Choice. One must travel to the Council, and they examine your heart, mind, and soul to figure out who you are. Once that's done, a power is bestowed upon you. The power can be anything really, like the power of wisdom (knowing anything and everything) and the power of insight (a person sees one thing, you see the depth behind it).

In our society, everyone has powers. Our city is a giant circle, split right down the middle with a wall. On one side, there are the dark, dangerous, and inconsiderate people with powers used for evil. On my side, the people are peaceful, caring, and prosperous with powers used for good.

We are told that in our society's early years, war broke out between the two sides. Once the war was stopped, the wall was built, and the people who live on each side are forbidden to have contact with each other.

No one has had contact with the dark side for centuries, except for the Council. They are in charge of both sides, much like everything else. And for some reason I can't explain, I don't like that.

"Julia, it's time to get ready. It's a big day!" I hear my mother say as she peaks her head inside my room. I immediately hide my look of terror from being nervous and start getting ready.

Looking at myself in the mirror, I try to fix what the effects of sleep will do to a person. I brush out my caramel-colored hair until it is straight and smooth. Then, I clean off my face and apply the slightest amount of makeup to my eyes.

My eyes trouble me.

Everyone I know has either blue or brown eyes. Mine however, are a gleaming hue of green so bright that it's almost alarming. I have no idea where they came from; no one in our society has them, but yet my sister and I were the lucky ones in the family gene pool I suppose. Someone once told me that they had tried to eradicate this trait for whatever reason, but then one day it showed back up on me. From then on, that is what has set me apart from everyone else.

Just another reminder that I don't fit in with this way of life.

Next, I make my way to my closet. My mother is always making a fuss about what it means to look presentable, so I put on leather boots, a pair of jeans, and one of my favorite purple blouses. I look myself over one last time, saying a silent prayer that everything will turn out okay today.

As I am about to head out the door, my mother and father stop me.

"Honey, we want you to know that we love you very much," says my mother. "And we will be proud of you no matter what power you get," says my father. I nod, give them both hugs, and walk out the door, taking in a deep breath of nervousness as I make my way towards the street.

As I begin to walk, I catch sight of two girls a couple hundred yards ahead of me: one has long blonde hair that is braided with her hands folded nervously behind her back while the other has shorter black hair hanging loosely.

My face breaks out in a slight smile as I realize that it's Cassia and Susan, my two closest friends on their way to receive their powers as well. I sprint to catch up with them.

"Nice of you guys to wait for me," I tease when I reach them.

"Julia!" They both say as they turn around to give me a nervous hug, each frightened by what the outcome of today might be.

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