Chapter One ~ Muted (Just a preview chapter. More will come later in larger sections)
Someone once said that when you can't sleep at night, you are awake in someone else's dream. I wondered who could possibly be dreaming about me. I heard my clock ticking deeply. It sunk into my bones. I was barely 15, and yet I, Lyla Richmond, was supposed to die the next day. Me. Die. The next day. November 11th, 3027. When everyone is born, they get the exact date and time they will die tattooed on their arm, but only they can see their own. To everyone else, Its invisible. Did I tell anyone I would die tomorrow? No. I didn't want to cause much trouble. Plus, no one would be expecting me to die so young. So there I lie in the dark. I rolled over and looked at my arm. At least I would be gone early in the morning. 2:23am. Then no one would have to see me. I groaned softly and turned back over. My eyes traveled to the open window. Wind bustled through the half-dead trees. For some reason I really wanted a closer look. Without hesitation, I got out of bed and walked over. I placed my hands on the nicely cool sill. So many times had I been tempted to escape through this ground level window. Why not now? Again, without hesitation, and maybe even with a little smile, I quietly climbed out of the window in my pajamas. The dirt was soft and little dark brown wood-chips clung onto my feet. Barefoot, I crept slowly away from the house and into the night.
It was dark. The cold concrete stung my feet, but I kept walking. To where? Not even I knew that. I just wanted to make the most out of my last 2 hours. Even if that meant walking outside in the middle of fall. After about 15 minutes of strolling, and seeing nothing out of the ordinary, I came across a black park bench. As I approached, I noticed that someone was sitting on the side farthest from me. It was a girl, about my age, also in pajamas. She turned her head to me as I grew closer. A chill went down my spine. I realized who it was. Aveline Crosken. The muted girl who loathed everyone and everything. She looked at me with a straight face and maybe a little bit of fear in her eyes. It was absolutely awkward and silent. We both kept still. She put a hand on the seat next to her. Realizing she wanted me to sit down, I hurried over and sat. Mostly because I was scared, and partially because I didn't have anything to loose. Rumor had it that she was born without the ability to speak. People said she was a violent person, but her appearance didn't look threatening. Very blonde hair and soft brown eyes. I had never encountered her until now. We didn't look at each other for two very long minutes. Probably the longest in my life. Finally she turned to me and looked at me in the eye. She slowly began to smile. For some reason I felt that I should say why I was out at 12 am. I began. I explained why I didn't tell anyone that tomorrow was my day and why I wanted to come outside for the last few hours. I suddenly became aware of just how cold my feet were. Her smile faded and she turned back to look forward.
"I'm telling you this because you can't tell anyone." I said.
She looked down and laughed a little. "Yes I can."
I'll admit I was a little frightened at the sound of her voice. Okay, a lot frightened. Here was the girl that everyone in the city stayed away from because they were afraid of her silence. And there I was sitting next to her and she starts talking. She had a surprisingly smooth voice, considering she probably hasn't talked much in her life. I all of a sudden realized that I just gave away a secret that was a pretty huge deal to a stranger. I felt a moment of defeat. She could clearly tell from the sadness in my eyes that it bothered me.
"Don't worry. I'm an Outsider too."
At first I was almost offended, a stranger telling me that I didn't belong.
"Yeah" She had a strange smile. A smile where she knew something bad was going to happen to her but she didn't want to show any fear. "Basically, the government doesn't like us. I'm guessing you were supposed to turn 15 tomorrow?"
"Yes.. How did-"
"I just kind of assumed. Turns out a lot of us were born on November 11th. The President didn't like that. Too little food and water to go around to that many people at the time. He wanted our death date to be the same day as our birth date. Turns out the staff got confused and made our death date 15 years later on the same day. Well, lets just say that the President got angry that none of us had died on the same day, but there was no turning back. We've been shunned by the government I guess you could say. They didn't want to kill us directly because 'that would be wrong'" She rolled her eyes. "So they found as many of us as they could and did something to each of us that would make us different than everyone else."
"How come they haven't found me?"
"Well-" Her voice cracked.
There was a shaking noise in a bush behind us.
"Run." She whispered.
A man in a mask leaped out of the bushes and grabbed Aveline's shoulder. Then looked over at me.
In no time I was down the street and running so fast that I couldn't feel my feet or the freezing surface beneath them. I was too afraid to look back. I couldn't look back. Too many things were on my mind. After what seemed like forever I arrived back at my house, climbed back through my window and slammed it shut. I fell into my bed and waited for 2:23am to strike.