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?


13. The Old Life is Gone

I was back in my room, which I now got a better look at. There were three cots in the room. One was mine, one was Talia’s, and one was… Madi’s. Each cot had a very thin sheet and a thin fuzzy white, tattered blanket. Luckily, I packed my own blanket. The cots also each had one pillow. The pillows were thin though. Not very comfortable either.

I sat on my cot and just thought for a while. Thought about the past, present, and whatever the future will be. Suddenly I jump when I heard a knock on my door. Before I even said to come in, Kyle entered and closed the door.

“I came back here after an hour, but you weren’t in here.” Kyle said walking closer to me.

“Sorry. I went to see Madi.” I explained not feeling sorry at all.

“It’s alright. How’d you find out though?” Kyle asked.

“Talia told me everything.” I stated quietly.

Kyle just noded and took a seat on Madi’s cot. It kind of bothered me, but I wasn’t in the mood to say anything.

“I heard you were put on Medical duty.” Kyle changed the subject.

“Yeah, kind of a snooze fest.” I giggled a little.

“You should come with Kadence and me. We hunt and gather. It’s really fun. Much more exciting than meds.” He offered.

“I don’t think I get to pick.” I mentioned thinking about Jessie.

“I can get a good word in with Jessie for you.” Kyle gave me a wink.

No boy has ever winked at me before. I know it wasn’t flirty or anything. At least I don’t think it was. I haven’t ever had a conversation with a guy close to my age. We go to separate schools and everything. I felt like I was gonna be sick. It’s just so much to take in in one day.

“Thanks Kyle. That’s a nice name by the way.” I didn’t know what else to say.

“I hate my name.” He began catching me off-guard, “My parents didn’t ever believe in love. They were Odies.”

“Odies?” What that some secret Shadow talk?

“Odies are love haters. My parents were very definite Odies. Even the word ‘love’ sickened them. I hated my parents. I ran away when I was twelve and Jessie took me under her wing.” Kyle explained.

I didn’t want to pry, but I couldn’t help it, “How long has Jessie been here?”

“She was born here. Her parents died when she was sixteen I think. She’s pretty open about things actually.” Kyle was good at telling stories. I liked that about him.

“What about Kadence?” I asked remembering her stern look.

“You’ll have to take some time getting used to her. She can be very… well…stand-offish. She’s like a closed book, only she’s not just closed, she’s glued shut. She’s pretty cool though once you get to know her. It’s fun doing the hunting with her.” Kyle explained.

I didn’t know what to think of Kadence. Would I like her? Would she be too stand-offish? I guess only time will tell. It will help if I get to hunt too. I might be able to create a friend with Kadence. I’d also be able to stop thinking about Madi.


Why did my brain have to go back to Madi? I hate myself for thinking about her so much, yet I know that I’m only doing it because I care so much. There was an awkward moment of silence before Kyle spoke again. His voice was soft, soothing even. It made something in me flutter. I couldn’t place what that flutter feeling was. I’d never experienced it before.

“So um, what was your life like, before.” This was a strange question he asked.

“I don’t know. I only had two friends. Talia and uh-” I paused trying not to cry, “Madi. We used to hang out by Lake Luv and talk about escaping here. That’s pretty much it.”

“Oh come on Charlotte, there’s gotta be more to your before life than that!” Kyle urged.

“Look um, I’m pretty tired.” I closed the discussion.

“Oh, okay,” he looked disappointed, “I guess I’ll see you at breakfast then.”

I nodded as Kyle left, waiting for the door to click shut so I could let out a few stray tears. I didn’t cry about Kyle, or Madi. I cried because I just realized that my old life is gone forever.

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