Eight teenagers wake up in the middle of a large shopping centre with no idea how they got there.
Sycamore, Joseph, Ash, Aaron, Melanie, Ramona, Max and Lacey learn quickly how to survive - do what the announcements over the tannoy say or die.


2. Introductions

Everyone woke up quickly after that.

There were a few things that struck Sycamore about them: number one, they were all dressed differently. That might seem unremarkable but it seemed fascinating. Number two, they were all aged between thirteen and eighteen. Number three, they all reacted differently to their surroundings.

One screamed. Another started yelling obscenities. Two of them just stared, apparently too shocked or frightened to move or speak. Another one began rubbing his eyes, apparently convinced it was a hallucination.

"Will everyone just shut up!" Sycamore yelled after a minute or so.

They were so surprised that they stopped and stared at Sycamore instead.

"Who put you in charge?" snarled one boy after a moment or two, who looked about eighteen, the oldest. He had rugged black hair and the shadow of stubble on his jaw. He had been the one yelling rude things at the top of his lungs.

"You seemed too busy panicking to care about anything else!" Sycamore exploded, folding her arms. She surprised herself. Maybe it was just that she was irritated because of the headache the others had given her.

The boy was so shocked he quietened down.

"First things first," Sycamore said, "let's not panic about location. This is a shopping centre, right? Not exactly crocodile swamp central. Can we all introduce ourselves?"

They stared blankly.

"Name and age," Sycamore said firmly, feeling an almost army-sergeant tone in her voice. "Go!"

They went clockwise. There was a boy called Max, with spiky black hair and a red t-shirt, aged fifteen. The girl with the fluffy blonde hair and blue eyes had a blue lacey top on and black Capri pants, called Lacey, aged fifteen. The girl with the high black ponytail and a fierce scowl was called Ramona, aged sixteen, with trainers, black leggings and a red and white basketball vest. The boy with the straight mousy hair and glasses wore a grey t-shirt, called Aaron, aged sixteen. Melanie, a girl with shoulder-length auburn waves and green eyes, cargo pants, vest and black Doc Martens, aged seventeen. The rude boy was Joseph, aged eighteen, navy t-shirt. The youngest one there was a tiny, delicate-looking girl of thirteen wearing a pink vest, shorts, and a faded blue denim shirt, unbuttoned with the sleeves rolled up, called Ash. And then Sycamore.

"Sycamore? What kind of a name is that?" hissed Ramona.

"I don't know," Sycamore shot back. "I don't remember anything."

"Neither do I," Aaron said worriedly. "After I got taken, nothing."

"No, I mean I don't remember anything," Sycamore said. "Like, anything at all. I don't even know how old I am. Sixteen, maybe?"

"You mean," said Max, "you don't have any memories? Like a newborn baby, but obviously fast forwarded a bit. Like, zapp! And now you're here, sixteen years old and gooorrr-juuuusss."

Lacey hit him around the head with her ballet pump.

"Exactly," said Sycamore, nodding. "OK, introductions over. Now we move on to some important bits - like where the hell are we?"

"That, you will find out later."

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