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Chapter 1

Aurelia's POV

I've tried to convince myself many times over that it wasn't really killing.

It was more like... ridding the society of evil menaces.

But every time I try to think of it like that, I cringe.

In reality? My society is just some killing machine.

I walk down the street, returning the bright smiles people give me to avoid suspicion. They obviously know I'm a tiati; the necklace resting on my chest was in the shape of a rose, my middle name. My branch. My class. Whatever you want to call it. You can see me as some kind of judge. I make life or death decisions on the daily.

It's as fun as it sounds.

Us tiatis are something like a celebrity; we're probably more famous than the singers and actors in this society. It probably was because we technically could kill them at any time, so people made it a point to know who we were, and treat us nicely.

As Madison, the head tiati says, "It's not murder, in fact, your doing your society a favor!" She's pretty sold on the entire 'perfect utopia' act.

I should be too.

Key word; should.

A small and simple overview of my society: show negative emotions = you are dead.

It might've sounded like a perfect solution to those who came up with it - 'if no one is negative, therefore nothing bad can happen!' - but bad things do happen.

People just don't see it.

Everyone pretty much is forced to act uber sweet around me; I think that they believe that if I see them showing negative emotions, I'm going to go all rage tiati mode on them, and turn them in. Sometimes, though, all the sweetness is exhausting.

One girl goes as far as hugging me.

"Aurelia!" She screeches, her entire face lighting up with joy.

She must've already done something pretty horrible if she was trying this hard to be positive and stay in line.

My eyes rest on her pretty hairclip; a lily. So at least I know her middle name.

"What's popping?" I mentally facepalm Even by my standards, that was weird.

The girl grins widely at me. "Nothing! Just wanted to say hi!" She skips off.

I continue walking to the tiati court. The sad truth; those occurrences were normal.

"Aurelia!" Audrey calls. "You're early again!"

Audrey has been my best friend for forever. What can I say? Opposites attract. Audrey is quite literally the yin to my yang. I told her everything. Strangely enough, she would never confide in me the way I did to her. With her ever cheerful voice, sweet eyes, and short curls framed around her head, she was promoted to a tiati in no time.

"Audrey, I'm surprised you're here," I grin as she hands me a case file.

"Well, I do make an effort sometimes," Audrey points to her ponytail. There were some loose curls in front that cover her left eye.

"What's the case today?" I flip through the papers quickly, not really reading any.

"The usual, you know? Some kid stole something, a toy of some sort," Audrey informs me.

"So, gluttony and thievery?" I tsk.

"Always cut and dry with you, huh?" We took the left turn into the hall. "Anyway, the parents came forward and turned in the child."
"You mean the Defect?" I reply absent-mindedly.

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