chapter one

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     My lungs burned with fatigue as I ran, but I pushed myself to go farther and not stop. Not when I was so close to freedom.

     Shouts of soldiers rung out behind me, bouncing off of the trees in the forest. They didn't want to help me, or keep me contained.

     They wanted to kill me.

     My mother always said that people are afraid of what they can't understand or control. And there was no way in hell I was going to give them the chance to even try to understand me, let alone to control me.

     The pack I had strapped to my back was heavy, hitting my shoulder blades as I jumped over fallen branches and dodged limbs that hung from trees.

My breathing became heavier, my lungs begging for more air. I wanted to comply, but the rational side of my brain refused and forced me to continue sprinting.

The voices of the soldiers had begun to fade after I had ran for what felt like ten miles, but was probably barely three. I cautiously slowed to a jog, allowing a small part of me to rest as my eyes nervously darted through the trees.

The aching in my feet became more noticeable as I slowed down, a sharp tingling sensation making its way up my legs.

I kept the pace of my jog, allowing myself to breathe for a few minutes. I only stopped when the trees had started to thin out and I could see the black outline of concrete.

"Finally . . ." The word fell out of my mouth as a small crooked smile graced my face. I readjusted my bag, tightening the straps so it fit more snugly against my back.

     With my hands rested on the straps, I carefully walked out of the safety the trees provided.

     The sun was beginning to set, causing a soft orange glow to present itself on my cheeks along with a warm sensation on my skin.

I turned to begin walking around the bend of the road, but was met with something a lot more . . . unexpected.

A van had quickly turned around the corner, my hands shot up in an instinctual manner, my eyes turning a bright blue color that showed I was ready to use my ability.

     But I didn't need to. The van halted to a rough stop, just before it could reach me. My hands slowly lowered themselves, my eyes still containing their blue color, until I hear shouting.

     "This is why we don't let you drive! You can barely see ten feet in front of your face!" The van door slid open and figure jumped out.

     "Stay back." I warn. The figure raises their hands in a surrendering gesture, showing that they didn't mean any harm. "Who are you?"

     "My name's Liam. It's alright, I'm not gonna hurt you." The figure takes a few steps closer.

     A light scoff leaves my mouth, "Says the guy who almost ran me over."

     "I — that wasn't even me. That was my friend driving. What are you even doing this close to the camps?" Liam comes closer and my eyes glow a stronger blue, a warning to the stranger.

     "Hey, take it easy." He walks closer I can see an outline of his features due to the bright headlights from the van. The boy's eyes glow blue like mine. "We don't want to hurt you. We can help? If you want. You just came from the camps, right?"

     My eyes dim as I nod stiffly, "Yeah." He looks back at the van with a gesture, "So, do you want any help? We don't want any trouble, and you probably don't either, but if you want the help, I'm offering."

     The more intellectual side of me takes over, going into pros and cons. My eyes fade from blue to a bright green, showing my other ability. Liam looks taken aback, but doesn't say anything.

     "Yeah, uh, thank you." I hesitantly walk towards the van and climb inside, only to be met with two other people.

     Liam climbs in behind me, shutting the door as he sits down. "Uh, this is Zu and Chubs." He points to his companions, both cautious of my arrival.

     "Charles. Only my friends call me Chubs." The dark skinned boy stuck out a hand that I gladly shook, offering a small smile. I looked to Liam's other companion, Zu, she gave a slight nod of acknowledgement that I returned.

     "I don't suppose we'd get your name?" Charles asked smartly.

     "Emily." I sigh out of relief as I sit down, "Emily Collins."

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