I had lied to Lavender. I had lied to my little sister. I had said that I was going for water.
I was going for rabbits. Orville's favorite meat. Not because I wanted him to get spoiled. No, because it was three days away from his birthday. My makeshift cooler would keep it safe to eat.
I was walking at a leisurely pace and fiddling with my father's necklace. I heard a yell in the distance. And I knew what that meant. The Few. They're here. No one screams in the woods. It would give away their position. But why are the Few so far east? I-
I felt a sharp hit in my side. It knocked my breath out of me.
I fell to the ground and gasped. I looked over to see who or what had hit me.
It was a girl. She must've been at least thirteen by the looks of her face, but she seemed shorter than a thirteen year old. Her hair was the color of toffee--a brown that was not to light and not too dark. Her grey eyes looked carefree and painless. She had a camouflaged dungerees on. It definitely better for blending in than my suit, but harder to move in. She had no shoes on. She obviously knew how to stay away from the Few. But if she was here, she wouldn't stay away for long.
I toughened my face up, ready to intimidate her. "What'd you do that for?!" I hissed.
"I'm sorry," said the girl, stumbling on her words. "I heard..."
The poor girl. She's so innocent, so sweet, I thought. Stop being stupid, Blaise. Don't be so optimistic. She could probably kill you in a flash.
"You need to get out of here," I said, as sympathetic as I could while remaining intimidating. "Unless you want to sacrifice yourself. The Few are here. They're coming. You need to go back to your hiding place."
I saw fear and confusion in her eyes. "Who are the Few?"
I examined her. Was she tricking me? No, I could see genuine confusion.
"You must not be from around here if you haven't heard of the Few. You'd better come with me. I have a place you can hide for a bit." She's innocent. She must-- wait! Be safe. Play it safe, Blaise. "First, though, before I'm sure whether to trust you, you'd better give me all your things."
She looked at me in dismay. She stopped moving for a second, and then she squeezed her eyes closed and quickly turned over her bag, as if in pain.
I saw a little slip of hand, and I saw some pages displayed. It's just a book. It's harmless-- is it really though? That could easily conceal a weapon.
"What's this?" I asked. I snatched the book out of her hand and stuffed it in my small black satchel. I turned her hands to see if there was anything else in them, and then started to walk away.
I didn't get very far when I realized that the girl wasn't following me.
"Coming?" I called to her and grinned.
She ran to catch up with me.
I glanced over at her out of the corner of my eye, wondering if we would talk, and who would talk first.
It was she. "What's your name?" she asked.
"Blaise," I answered. "Yours?"
"Lizzie. What, is that short for something?"
She shrugged. She looked at my suit. "What's with the suit?"
I straightened my back, and my view went foggy with tears. "My mother gave it to me. Before she was killed. For my tenth birthday," I sighed.
"Oh," she said.
I heard a scream nearby. "Hurry! They're getting closer!" I said, speeding up.
I saw the large concrete building up ahead. It was far away, though. At least a quarter-mile. It was just that large.
I heard a crack! from behind me. And it wasn't Lizzie.
I spun around, dropping the large bag of food and forgetting to pull out my bow and an arrow.
I saw Sam in a bloody sling, pale skinned and angry, and Cain in front this time. "Well, looks like the little brat's got a friend," he said with an evil grin. "And enough supplies to survive months."
"What?" asked Lizzie in a shaky voice.
I shushed her and reached behind my back for my bow. My arm was on my bow and I yanked, just as Cain charged at me, a dagger in his hand.
I dropped my arrow and bow to the ground. Cain jumped on top of me, the dagger on my throat.
"Give me the food," he growled.
"Who said it was food?" I said. "Lizzie, show them the books in there."
Lizzie looked confused for a second, but then she nodded. She walked over to the bag and pulled out the book that I had taken from her.
Cain's eyes got wider and hungrier. "Then give me the b--"
But he was stopped by Lizzie taking out a knife and charging at Cain.
Cain jumped off of me and looked angrily at Lizzie. He ran at Lizzie. I looked around and grabbed my bow and arrow. I aimed just ahead of Cain, wanting to his the heart. Instead it hit his thigh and went through. He fell to the ground and yelled in pain.
"Run!" I yelled at Lizzie, placing my bow back on my back and not bothering to fetch my arrow again. I grabbed the bag and began to run towards my house, Lizzie just ahead.
We reached my house out of breath. I searched through the leaves for my door, found it, and jumped in the hole. I motioned for Lizzie to follow with the bag. She did.
Lizzie looked at me.
I grinned. "I guess that answers your question. That was the Few."
I couldn't face Lavender again without water. Her face would fall, I knew it. For some reason, that was her favorite thing was water, and we never had enough around. We had a creek a half a mile down from the house.
I got Lizzie halfway down the pipe and told her that I had to go.
"Where?" she asked.
"I need to go get water," I said, and grabbed a bucket that I kept down there in the pipe. "I'll be right back."
I crawled as fast as I could down the pipe and through the door, sure to cover it back up with leaves.
Bucket in hand, I ran quickly to the creek and reached it in a minute. I bent down to fill up the bucket when I saw movement in the distance. I jumped into behind a tree that I had hollowed out years ago. I looked out from behind the tree.
I expected to see the Few boys, cleaning their wounds, but instead, I saw a girl and a boy, laughing and splashing in the water. I saw something shiny on their hands. Were they...rings? Diamond rings? Those were so expensive, and you could only get them in the city!
The girl kissed the boy. "Cody, when will the wedding be? And where will it be?" she asked.
"I think that we should do it as soon as we can. I think it should be private though, Dani," said Cody. "If it were public, we would probably be bombarded. Private is safer."
I inched forward to see better when I stepped on a branch. CRACK! The girl's eyes darted from tree to tree, and they fell on me. She gasped.
"What?" Cody asked.
"There's someone there!" she said.
I stepped out, hands up, bucket still in them. "I'm sorry I startled you. I just need water."
I ran up to the creek and hurriedly filled up the bucket.
CRACK! I heard another branch break. But not from me. And not from Dani and Cody, who watched nervously as I filled the bucket.
And I was right. Byron in the front, Sam, Jackson and Cain behind, the boys swaggered over to us. "Hello, ladies," said Byron. "How are the three of you doing?"
"Just fine," I said. "Now, if I may, I must be going."
"Not so fast," growled Byron, tackling me with no weapon in hand.
I heard a click! like that of loading a gun.
"Don't move," hissed Dani.
Byron growled and pulled out another gun. "No, you don't move," he said.
But I knew that gun. I knew it. It was Cain's old one. The one that didn't work.
"Shoot him, Dani!" I shouted. "The gun doesn't work!"
Dani looked surprised, but aimed the gun and shot, hitting Byron in the ear.
I heard a dull sound as the bullet pierced through the inner ear.
Byron screamed. I pushed him off of me, grabbed my bucket, and ran, Dani and Cody in tow.
"You guys better go off and hide," I said when we reached my house.
"Our house is miles away," said Cody. "We thought we'd be safe here."
"Well, they're here now. You can hide at my house for a while-- if you give me the gun," I said, just to be safe.
Dani was taken aback, but, seeing that it was the only way to live, handed me the gun. The metal was cold against my skin.
I pushed the leaves off of the door and jumped in the hole, Dani and Cody following. I closed the door and started down the pipe to meet up with Lizzie.
What would she say?