Chapter 28

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While we run back to camp, I turn to Cassia and say, "So you were spying on us?" "Of course not! I just came looking for you, and I see you about to kiss him. My apologies for interrupting, just thought you'd like to know that camp's being attacked," Cassia answers while rolling her eyes.

"Who's attacking us?" I ask. "Just our friendly rivals that eliminated about half of us," She says. "I guess Tatum told the Council where we were once she went back to them," I reply, feeling shame from my faults.

When we reach camp, there's complete chaos. Using insight, I can see the fragile transparent barrier straining to keep the Council out as they attempt to break through. People run for safety, and others stay and fight. "I have to go back to the healer's tent; there's still people in critical care that have to be protected," Cassia says. I nod, and she runs to where she's needed.

Suddenly, I hear a massive cracking sound. I quickly turn around only to see the barrier shattered into millions of little shards. Then, the Council invades us. Most people flee the area, and very few stay behind to help. "Peter," I say as I turn to face him. "There's too many of them. I'm the one they want; I can stop this fighting," I finish.

His hard-set brown eyes look back at me with more intensity than I've ever seen before. "No. I'm not going to let them take you. I can't lose you!" He pleads. "Just look at what's happening around us," I say, gesturing to the damage beginning to unfold. Our people get pushed further back, the tents are raided, and someone starts lighting our supplies on fire. Then, I hear Henley's voice in my head as she uses control to talk to me. You can't hide forever, Julia. Come out now and we'll leave your friends alone.

"Try to understand that I can't allow anyone else to die. You have to let me go," I explain. "I can't," he responds. I see tears starting to form in his eyes, making him look foreign to me. I've never seen him cry out of longing before. "Peter, look at me," I say. He looks down at me as if he's creating one last memory of myself. This is how we'll leave each other; life is unfair.

"I have to go; you know I have to go. But promise me this: promise me that you'll go on. No matter what happens, I want you to fight with everything in you until this war is resolved. And whenever you miss me, just look at the trees. It's the place where we first met, the place where someone didn't make me feel out of place. You made my life worth something, and I thank you," I breath out, beginning to cry with him. He wraps me in a hug, definitely creating one last memory of me. You are good, Peter. You are a good person.

He releases me, and I begin to walk away. Taking these steps are the hardest things I've ever had to do, because each step leads me further away from him.


"YOU WANT ME? WELL HERE I AM! STOP THIS!" I scream aloud. The Council and their allies turn to me, their eyes boring into my soul and threatening to obliterate me. "Well, well, well, look who it is," I hear a familiar voice say. I turn and see a man with closely cropped black hair and cruel brown eyes. It is then where I remember him from; I stared into those eyes as he burned me. "You," I spit out. "Thought I had killed you, but no matter. Taking you into custody makes this moment that much more sweet," he says maliciously.

I feel people seize my arms from behind and bind me in handcuffs. "Ladies and gentlemen, take one last look at this person that you fought for. I can assure you that this is the last time you'll see her," Henley says to my friends. I turn my head, only to see the sad looks of the remaining people on my side. Cassia has tears streaming down her face, Adam can't even look at me, and Peter looks at me desperately, almost as if he's waiting for me to pull a trick to try and escape. Using my control, I speak through his mind and say, Peter, this is it. I can't get out of this one. Remember what I told you.

Peter, receiving my words, gets angry and throws a nearby frying pan. Luckily, it hits one of the Council members in the face. "You're going to pay for that, you little-" "Enough. Let's go," Henley interrupts. Impressive throw, I transmit to him. But then, I am pushed forward by the people who handcuffed me, and I never got to see his reaction.


The Council tries to talk to me on the way back to prison, but it's not friendly talk. "How's it feel to finally lose?" One of them taunts me. "You're going to be locked away forever, and even that's a generous punishment," another says. I just keep my head down and don't look at anyone, not wanting to bring any worse punishment than what they have planned for me upon myself. "What's the matter? You don't wanna talk?" Someone taunts. Ignore them. "Are you mad we took you away?" They push further. Don't listen to them. "Away from your friends and the one you love?" Another snaps. Contain yourself; don't pay attention to them.

"Oh don't worry; once you're dead, it won't be long before they join you," someone laughs.

To heck with containing yourself.

I jut out my foot and trip someone, which inadvertently creates a domino effect, and they all fall. "You think you're tough? My foot just took you all down, literally. You people talk too much, so I figured it was time to shut you up," I snap.

They begin to get up, sending looks of hatred at me. If looks could kill. "Enough of this child's play! Once we get her to the prisons, she's done for! All I ask for is some cooperation!" Henley yells at us. Then, she makes a slamming gesture with her hand, and I pass out.


For the second time in less than a couple weeks, I have woken up in a prison cell after being knocked out. Only this time's different; I'm not in an ordinary cell with bars and bricks and a window. I am locked inside I giant metal box with steel floors and no windows. The only light I have comes from a flickering lightbulb about ten feet above my head.

The other cell wasn't scary considering I was enclosed in a hallway, and I could actually see where it led to. This time, I am in a box. I feel my breath start to become shallow, and it seems as if the walls begin to close in on me. I know they're really not, but it feels like they'll crush me if I don't get out. So I turn to yelling and screaming and beating the sides of this cage they've put me in.

I hurl myself against the wall, the metal echoing and the cold steel burning my skin. "Let me out!" I plead to someone that I know won't be listening. "Please, someone get me out!" I sob. The walls feel like they're getting closer, so I start screaming. I scream and cry and continue to hit the walls, but nothing happens. I scream obscenities at the Council, I scream for Peter, I scream for help that I know won't come, and I just scream in general.

When I am finally finished screaming, my voice is gone, bruised collect in bunches on my arms from hitting the wall, and my head is throbbing. The world feels like it's spinning too fast, and I lose my balance and fall. But do I get up? No. I haven't even the strength to hold myself up anymore.

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