Fear of the Sands

Birthdays are meant to be happy, right?
Not in this world.

Years into the future, the human race was forced to leave Earth. Humans left their wasted planet behind them, in search of a newer, more habitable planet. They found Kior. This land was once lush, green, beautiful. Things turned bad pretty quickly. Plants withered, water dried up. The world's sun drifted closer to this new planet. Humans, not having enough fuel or any sort of material, couldn't get home. Instead, they built their strongholds. Deep, cool, dark stone buildings set deep down into the soil.
Food and supplies are limited. Only the strong can survive in Kior. Every year, 50 teenagers are sent out into the barren deserts. Selected by those who the humans call their rulers, the small group of 15-year-olds are sent. All others are killed. This is Kior's sick way of selecting the strong.
Andromeda's fifteenth birthday has just past. She is one of the selected. Many don't return- Will she?

Beware the Sand


1. Birthdays are meant to be happy.

Happy Birthday too you,

Happy Birthday too yooooooouu,

Happy Birthday dear Andromeda,

Happy Birthday too you!

 Birthdays are meant to be happy- Right? That certainly wasn't the feeling Andromeda (Andro for short) got now. She sat, fear throwing tendrils into her stomach. No, this wasn't the feeling she'd had each other fourteen of the ones she had experienced so far. She listened to the sound of her parents, and younger siblings singing. She could hear Alex chiming in, making notes slightly longer than he had to. God, she loved that kid at the moment.

She shifted uncomfortably in her seat as the song finished, almost forgetting to attempt to blow out the candles on her cake.

That's the last time I'm gonna do that... She thought to herself, feeling worry nibble in her gut once more. She looked up at her mum, who was clapping with the others, a cheerful smile on her face. She had tried to forget what her eldest daughter had to do over the next month. To be honest, Andromeda couldn't blame her. Her parents weren't the only adults to have survived The Sands sitting at this table. Whilst none of her mother's younger brothers had survived, Andro's only auntie had managed to make it to this memorable occasion.

She tried to give the assembled her best smile, but it came out more tired and self-pitying than she had hoped for.

"Budge up!" Her father cried, shifting her to the side so he could squeeze onto the bench beside her, and give her his famous one-armed hugs. Andro rested her head on the familiar shoulder. Her mother didn't do relaxing hugs. Quick, brief ones she was fine with, but you found she got restless if the hug lasted for more than five or so seconds. With her dad, though, long hugs were his specialty. He made you feel safe. Comforting when he needed to be, pushing when he needed to be. Protective, when he needed to be. Andro loved her dad. Just like all of her other brothers and sisters. They all loved him. He looked after them, protected them, reassured them.

It was a shame her life was in their hands, and not his. She would have much preferred it if it was, though.

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