Charlotte Jones is stuck in a world where love is looked at as a disease. She is caught talking about becoming a Shadow with her friends Talia and Madi. Shadows believe in love, which most think is bad. The three friends must now escape without getting caught. If they are caught, they'll be given a choice. A world without love or death?


15. Flighters

I think about an hour had passed and we were still all down in the safe room. Talia and I sat next to Madi and talked to her. We talked as if everything was normal.

Normal. Even that word feels weird coming out of my mouth. Nothing is normal anymore. Strange is my new normal, and probably will be for the rest of my life.

Talia and I informed Madi, whispering of course, of all the boys here. We rated them on a scale of 1-10 10 being the hottest. Talia isn’t in to boy talk as much as we are, but she still participated, probably for Madi’s sake.

Xavier- 6

Darrel- 7

Mitchel- 7

Zach- 4

Glen- 3

Then we got to Kyle’s name. Talia gave Kyle an eight, saying he was around our age and pretty cute. I didn’t know what to do. I just agreed with Talia and moved on.

I think Kyle is an 11. He breaks the scale in my book. What was I doing?! God! I don’t like Kyle! Maybe I do though. No!

I continued to talk with Madi and Talia for what seemed like another solid half hour. Then I excused myself and went to talk to Kyle.

Kyle’s shirt had a little blood on it and I wondered if it was his. It was on his left shoulder. It seemed to be thickening slowly. I figured I’d use that as my conversation starter.

“Is that you’re blood?” I asked pointing to his shoulder.

“Yeah, but I’m fine. It’s just a scratch.” He smiled.

I loved his smile. It was perfect. I shook those thoughts out of my head. I was here to talk, not daydream.

“A scratch? Come on! Do we have a first-aid kit down here?” I teased.

“In that corner over there. But seriously, I’m fine Charlotte.” He replied.

I didn’t listen to him. I walked over to the corner and grabbed the first aid-kit. I brought back over to Kyle who rolled his eyes. He must have a lot of pride. I riffled through the kit pulling out some anti-bacterial spray, gauze, and what looked to be a wrap of some kind.

“You can’t take no for an answer can you?” He playfully joked.

“This might sting a little.” I warned.

I sprayed him with the anti-bacterial stuff and he didn’t even flinch. Probably a pride thing. Then I grabbed a water bottle off a shelf, and the gauze. I cleaned his wound and got a better look at it.

“Oh my god Kyle!” I said a little too loudly as everyone turned their heads to look.

“What?” Kyle asked calmly.

“Where you stabbed?! This is like three inches deep! You’re gonna need stitches!” I didn’t even bother to keep my voice down.

“Yeah, I mean, I guess one of the Flighters got me good on the shoulder.” One of them, as in, there are multiple? Who even are these flighters? And what do they want?

“What are Flighters?” I asked continuing to clean up his stab wound.

He sighed, “Odies. Flighters are Odies who are paid by your freakish Governs to come every now and then and fly planes over different homesteads in the Shades. They bomb us, or drop people down to come kill us, or burn our homes down.”

This gave me so much information at once. First of all, it told me what Flighters are. It also told me what they’re doing here. I still didn’t know why, but I can only assume it’s to scare people and torment the Shadows. I also know now that there are more homesteads out here in the Shades. More people too. One thing that bothered me though was that Kyle said ‘my’ freakish Governs.

“They are not ‘my’ Governs! They never will be again!” I screamed with rage.

“Sorry.” Kyle replied softly.

I didn’t know how to give people stitches, so I called Claire over for that. Luckily, there was a little thread left and a needle. I can’t imagine how much that must hurt though. I sat by him while Claire did it though. He let out a few grunts, but that was it.

I decided to go back over and see what Talia was talking to Madi about, but Talia was asleep. Along with most of the others except for Claire, Kyle and Jessie. I wanted to talk to Jessie, but I was too scared. I went over to talk to Claire instead.

Claire seemed pretty quiet. I hardly knew anything about her.

“Hey.” I said sitting down next to her.

“Hey.” She replied softly.

“That’s a cute necklace.” I started with small talk, pointing to the light blue heart gem on a silver necklace chain.

“Thanks. My parents gave it to me before…” She paused.

I could tell she didn’t want to finish her sentence so I changed the subject, “Do you have any crushes?” It was a random question.

“No. I used to have a boyfriend, but you don’t want to hear all about that.” Claire replied sweetly.

“Actually I do.” I gave her a slight smile.

“His name was Will. He came here to the homestead after escaping. This was about three years ago. He and I got to know each other pretty well, and then just like that, we started dating. He meant the world to me. We’d been going out for about a month when the Flighters came.” She started tearing up, “They raided and I was trying to get to the safe room, but my foot got stuck. Will pulled it free, but it was sprained really bad. He helped me to the safe room entrance. We got there and he ushered me inside first. Before I knew it, The door slammed shut behind me and I heard the most awful scream in my life!

“When we went back up about three hours later, there was Will’s body. Just laying there.” She started to shed a few tears, “He was stabbed right through the stomach. He died because he was saving me. I’m the reason he’s dead.”

Claire was now bawling in to my chest as I held her tightly. She was right, I didn’t want to hear all about that. Our polite conversation took a severely unexpected turn. I just let Claire cry until she cried herself to sleep. I felt bad, but there wasn’t a single thing I could do.

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