Waking from a deep sleep, I stretch my arms above my head with a loud sigh and roll over, only to encounter something hard.
“What the..” I force one eye open and stare at the suitcase. “Oh crap.”
I had hoped it was all just some weird dream. Some messed up dream that involved Alice and I being taken captive by a rebel gang filled with maniac women and God-awful boys.
Groaning, I roll back the other way and sit up, looking over at Alice’s bed.
Only, she’s not there.
“Alice?” I glance around quickly. “Alice?”
I kick off the warm blankets and stand shakily to my feet. Trying not to stumble too much, I unzip the tent divider and fall through.
Jackson looks up from the book he’s reading and frowns.
“What’s wrong with you?”
“Where’s Alice?” I shake my hands. “She’s gone.”
“Oh don’t worry about her. Amelia took her out.”
Jackson lowers the novel, something written by James Patterson, and sits up.
“She didn’t sleep very long, only an hour or two, before getting up with Amelia. No doubt they’ll be back soon since her work shift should of finished ten minutes ago.”
I ball my hands into fists and glare at the tent opening. I would kill her. Here she is, day one of our captivity, going around with our enemies who are holding us here by force like she’s totally okay with the situation.
Not for the first time, I imagine ripping her hair out in great big chunks.
“What time is it anyway?” I dig my finger nails into my wrists to stop from lashing out.
“Three in the afternoon. You’ve slept for nearly twelve hours.”
“Okay,” I say simply.
“Are you hungry?” Jackson stands up and scratches the back of his head. “I have some fresh fruit if you’d like.”
I don’t want to take anything from these people since it’ll seem like I’m accepting the whole thing, but my stomach grumbles angrily and I have to nod.
I sit on one of the cushions in the corner, back against the tent wall as I much on the apple Jackson gave me. He goes back to reading his book so the tent is full of the sound of me eating, something I’ve always hated. To distract myself, I glance yet again over the tent and notice something that I didn’t see yesterday.
Putting my apple to the side, I crawl over the photograph that sits behind a bag full of food.
The photo’s not that old, obviously. Back home, we don’t have photographs. Why should we when we see ourselves everywhere we look?
This one is different though.
Amelia, at least I think it is, stands outside one of the trucks we were transported in yesterday, gun lazily pointed at the ceiling while her other hand rests on her hip. She smiles widely along with Jackson who leans against the truck, arms crossed and a small smile playing on his lips.
The last person in the photo is whom I guess to be Jackson’s wife. Unlike the other two, she must have stopped her needles since her skin is a light coppery colour and her hairs a light brown. She’s resting her head on Jackson’s shoulder and I realise her eyes are trained on Amelia, filled with pride. It must have been an initiation day or something.
“That’s my family.”
I look over at Jackson who’s watching me and quickly put the picture back in place.
“She was beautiful,” I say lamely, not sure what I’m meant to do.
“She was. She worked in our medical area as a nurse. A lot of people loved her.”
“I’m sorry she died.”
Just then, the sound of laughter reaches my ears and I look up to see the zipper of the tent drag down before Amelia steps through followed by Alice.
“There you are,” I eye her coldly. “Had a great day?”
“Yes I di..”
“I wasn’t actually asking,” I interrupt and I see Jackson glance between us swiftly.
“Okay,” Amelia says under her breath before speaking up louder. “Ready to go get some new clothes?”
“Okay!” Alice brightens.
“Fine,” I grumble under my breath.
The cloth aisle of the shed is filled with everything from undies, to jackets. It’s all basic stuff considering The Chocolate Society banned all extravagant outfits, but it’s still a welcomed sight.
“Here,” Amelia hands us two slips of paper. “This tells you how many you’re allowed of each and whatnot. I’ll go get you some bags to carry them in.”
The first thing I go for is the underwear. Since all women of the Chocolate Society have the same figures at the same age, it doesn’t take me long to spot my size.
The list allows seven pairs for each day of the week so I choose four pairs of red undies and three black. I ignore Alice as best as I can as I go about my thing, but eventually she starts talking.
“Why are you mad at me?”
“Oh, dear,” I snort. “I thought it was quite obvious.”
“I said I’m sorry! If I could take it all back, if I could go back in time to stop us, I would. Just accept it, would you? Stop bringing me down to make yourself feel better. I. Am. Sorry.”
I grit my teeth as I pick out two bras, one black and one white, that look my size and refuse to answer.
“Oh I see how it is,” Alice says sarcastically. “You’re giving me the cold shoulder now?”
I don’t answer.
“Here,” Amelia appears and holds out a large plastic bag to me which I quickly open and stuff my undies in.
“Thanks,” I say numbly.
The next items on my list are three t-shirts. I’ve always liked the stretchy type, the ones that hug your figure so when I have a choice between them and the looser material, it’s an easy choice.
I take a blue one, similar to what Amelia had on yesterday, a red one and a black one.
Alice, I see, chooses white, pale yellow and green.
After choosing three pairs of jeans, I select a pair of boots that zip up to mid calf and chuck them into my now overflowing bag and quickly move onto the last thing on the list.
One warm jacket.
I immediately choose a black coat that will fall to my knees and throw it on top.
“Done,” I say proudly and turn to Amelia who’s helping Alice choose her pants.
“Okay,” she glances up with a smile. “We’ll finish here and then I’ll help you girls get some hygiene stuff.”