The City (On Hold)

Ariana lives in The City. The people there are oppressed by The Dictator and fearful of his Ritual. But soon, their fear is fading and they are no longer willing to suffer in silence. When rebellion breaks out, Ariana runs to freedom, leaving The City, and her family, to burn. Having lost everything she has ever known, she accidently stumbles upon her gift and unknowingly enters a world in which she is more than the daughter of a drunk.
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The question is; What will she do to save the ones she loves?...
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3. Chapter One (part two)

 

 As the rabbit bounced away into the bushes, I let out a low chuckle at my own stupidity. And then I immediately clamped my hand over my mouth.

Just because there were no enemies nearby, did not mean I could let my guard down. I glanced around, double checking that there was no one around.

After my survey of the small patch of forest I was standing in was complete, I gave into the smile that was tugging at my lips. How could I be so idiotic? Any enemies had consisted of The Dictator's men and those who lived in The Circle. And every single one of those people were afraid to come into the forest. The same can be said for the majority of The Rim. Very few people dared to venture into the large cluster of trees that had become my second home over the past few years.

I realised I had been standing in the same spot for too long and I resumed walking.

 My smile widened as I remembered the rumours that had driven people away from the woods I loved so much.

The most common one was that wild animals had mutated in the Great War. People believed that there were wild dogs and cats that had almost doubled in size lurking in the shadows. Even though this was the most believable rumour, I still found it so absurd it was almost laughable.

I have spent more time in these woods than I have at home and I have only ever seen one wild cat. Sure there have been traces of both species living in the woods; paw prints set in dried mud, claw marks etched into tree bark and occasionally the carcass of a dead animal with most of the meat stripped away.

But I had never encountered anything that indicated an animal of that size. Surely a den able to house something that big would be difficult to hide? I knew every inch of these woods and hadn't come across anything that verified that rumour.

After that, the stories about the forest get more and more far-fetched. Savages that would kill you for food. Unsettled spirits, roaming through the trees, looking for revenge. My personal favourite was that The Dictator had raised evil spirits and put them in bodies made from parts of the forest. These 'demons' had supposedly fled to the forest when the War had ended, as The Dictator no longer had need for them.

   I've tried to persuade people that the woods are perfectly safe, but they are all too convinced by superstition to pay any attention to me.

   The rumours do have a bright side. In the woods, you're free. With no soldiers to enforce the laws that exist in The City, I could do whatever I wanted. Even if I was alone in being able to do so.

    Being in the forest wasn't illegal. It didn't need to be.  Fear kept everyone away.

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