Chapter One

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Imagine something for me. Pretend you’re with your best friend, right now, walking down the street. You both are laughing at some silly inside joke you always use, and everything seems normal. But then, out of nowhere, you hear the screech; the loud, ear-piercing noise that freezes you in place.

You only have one moment- one second, to look before the unthinkable happens. You vaguely see the car as it speeds towards you, desperately trying to stop. But that’s the thing; it can’t. It only a single moment, you feel pain jolt through your whole body and then you’re on the ground, facing your best friend.

You see them, their eyes wide open as they stare up at the sky. And as horrible as a thought it is, you know, you just know, that it will be the last time you ever see them again.

“Gemma?” Doreen says, pulling me from my thoughts. “Are you even listening?”

“No,” I mumble, moving my gaze away from the window. There’s nothing much to look at anyways. Just forests full of trees and the occasional farm.

Doreen groans and shoots me a look. “Well, then you’re going to have to learn how things work yourself because I’m not explaining everything to you again.”

“Whatever,” I shrug, moving my gaze to my left wrist. I brush my right thumb over the jagged scar, feeling the numbness take over. “It’s not like I’m almost seventeen and perfectly capable of taking care of myself.”

“Sarcastic remarks are going to get you nowhere,” Michael chirps in the driver’s seat, smug to be able to be into the conversation whenever he can. I guess he’s still pissed about the whole kicking him incident.

“Well, I guess I’m going nowhere,” I retort, looking out the window as we pull onto a dirt road. On either side of the van sits a thick forest, full of maple and pine trees. Five minutes later, we end up in a sandy parking lot where other identical vans sit. Ahead of us is a medium sized log cabin with the words ‘Safe Haven’ printed on the side in giant letters. Above the wooden door is another sign, telling me that it’s the main office.

“Your father has packed you some of your things,” Doreen says, pulling a brown suitcase from behind her. Michael comes around the van and opens my door, making to say out of reach from my feet. “You will also be given some standard clothing and items.”

I climb out of the van and turn just as Doreen shoves my suitcase into my arms. Caught off guard, I stagger and fall onto the dirty, sandy ground, not expecting her to be so rude.

“Don’t need to be a bitch,” I mutter, standing up. I brush off my elbows and knees before glaring at her.

“It was an accident,” she explains, and I’m unsure whether I should believe her or not. “And this is a very respectable turn-around camp, Gemma. We do not tolerate bad language.”

I roll my eyes just as a light-haired boy runs by, carrying a large stick above his head as he chases another boy in front of him. Not only is this a bit strange, the stick is also on fire.

“But you tolerate that?” I snicker, pointing my thumb in the yelling boy’s direction. Doreen’s mouth falls open and she doesn’t reply, but instead starts to jog in the boy’s direction.

“Danny! What in God’s name are you doing?” Michael and I watch as Danny slows to a stop, behind him, the other boy continuing to run along a trail through the woods. “I thought we just searched you for lighters yesterday!”

“You didn’t search everywhere,” he smirks, and Doreen grabs the top of his arm roughly and starts to drag him towards the main office.

“I guess I’ll get you registered,” Michael mutters, obviously not happy to be alone with me. He leads me towards the main office which Doreen and Danny had just entered, not bothering to even help me with my heavy suitcase.

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