I swept my hair out of my face as the sunlight illuminated the book. I stared at it, feeling the old, worn, burned, scratched, dark pages under my fingers.
This book isn't supposed to be real. It was supposed to have been destroyed.
I muttered my thoughts under my breath. "This...this book... It's too old. All books were destroyed. All of them were. And this one survived... Someone wanted to hide it. To keep it. It must be special."
Then it hit me like a bomb.
"The Few. The Few. Oh, God!" I said loudly. "The Few. They're after this book! And the Few don't go after useless things. This must have something-- something-- that they want. But what? Does it have a secret? Was it part of one of the members' families?"
I paused, running my fingers over my messy dirty-blonde braid. "I have to find out," I said loudly.
"Find out what?" said a drowsy voice.
I spun around.
There stood Lizzie, half-asleep. "Who were you talking to?"
I blushed slightly. "Why are you awake?"
Lizzie yawned. "It's been four hours..."
What? I was out here that long?
I nodded. "Yeah, I know, but--"
"Who were you talking to?" she cut in.
I paused. She waited.
I took a deep breath. "Myself."
She nodded. "You said you had to find something out. What? And what for?"
"That information is irrelevant and doesn't concern you."
She looked into my hand, then looked up. Her eyes were hurt. "D-Did you take my book?"
I didn't answer; I didn't need to. I looked at the book.
I shut it slowly and looked back up. "Look, Lizzie. The Few are out for you. You in particular. And me because I'm with you."
"Why?" she asked.
"The book. It's the book. That's what they want." I explained everything to her.
Her face fell. I could see fear in her eyes. "Y-You mean..."
I nodded. I thought for a second. "But the book isn't complete. Parts are cut out of it, pages are ripped out of it, it's covered in ash and--" I sighed.
Lizzie thought. "They want it. All of it. And any part that they can get. There's parts of it everywhere. We need to know what's in it because it must be important."
I nodded slowly. "So?"
Lizzie's face hardened. "So we find it. We figure out what's so important about this book. Before the Few do. And before the Few get it."
I crawled back inside, wanting to speak to Dani.
"Dani?" I called. There was no answer.
I stepped in further. "Dani!!" I called again. No answer.
"DANI!!" I bellowed. Nope, nothing.
I looked around the front room until my eyes found the bed.
It was empty. Dani and Cody were gone.
I yelled in rage. "Ungrateful sons of--!"
"Sissy?" said a small voice behind me.
My face softened, knowing it was my sister.
I turned around. "What, Lav?"
"Why are you so mad?"
My mouth curled into a sour smile. "Nothing, Lavender. Just the fact that Dani and Cody are terrible, abandoning traitors," I said sweetly.
"Why do you say that?" she said.
I sighed. "In this world, when you leave your family, inside you only love yourself, and you're selling your family to the wild for solitariness. Families are like packs, Lav. When one leaves, everything else changes. They might even collapse." I sighed. "We welcomed Dani and Cody as family. They left. They traded us to the wild for solitariness. They abandoned us." I paused to change my expression into a savage one. "They're traitors! And Lizzie and I must find them. Before the Few do."
Lavender wiped her sleepy eyes. "Why?"
"They know about the book. They know where we live. They know about everything. And if the Few find them before we do, only God knows what they'll do to them for information."