683 words (2 minute read)

Chapter 1 Preview

When the girl woke up, the first thing she saw was the sky.

Then she noticed the boy kneeling beside her, watching her with attentive grey eyes. He had a head full of disheveled, sandy blonde hair that reached past his ears. His beige skin was covered in freckles. The girl could see that he wore a name tag on the chest of his black cape; it read HAYDEN. Something in his expression looked worried, but the girl didn’t know what for.

The girl felt around for her own tag. When she felt the cool rectangular piece of metal, she pulled it free of her cloak and sat up to read it. It said MAISIE.

“She’s awake now,” said Hayden. His grey eyes focused on another person the girl couldn’t see.

Maisie’s eyebrows furrowed. She didn’t recognize the boy, nor did she know where she was. She opened her mouth to say something, but the words escaped her mind as soon as she was ready to voice them.

“Finally,” a voice said. “Now we can get to—”

“Wait,” Hayden blurted. “Let me explain things to her. She just woke up.”

Maisie whipped her head around.

She was in a clearing, and aside from her and Hayden, there were six others there. Some of them sat on rocks that were arranged in a circle, others standing around. One girl stood in the center, a brown skinned girl with a shock of curly, fair hair. She had thick, pale brows and dark eyes that looked like a cat’s, searching for prey. Maisie could barely make out the name on her name tag: GENEVIEVE.

The whole group seemed to be watching her.

Maisie looked back to Hayden. “Explain what?” she asked, her voice rushed.

“Why you’re here,” Hayden answered. “Well, we don’t actually know why you’re here, or why any of us are, but—” The boy stopped abruptly; his gaze had shifted from Maisie to the fair-haired girl in the center of the rocks.

The girl’s deep brown eyes were aimed at Hayden, almost piercing. She was wearing an impatient expression, tapping her foot.

Hayden turned back to Maisie. “We all woke up here, maybe an hour ago,” he said quickly, “but you were still sleeping—”

“We thought you were dead,” interrupted a swarthy-skinned girl with a peculiar head of hair. It was a rosy, copper color with a metallic sheen that was pin-straight as it reached to her shoulders, then curled slightly at the ends. Her eyes were a piercing, alluring yet intimidating green, and she had a heavy brow bone that made her look upset even though her mouth was smiling. Her nose was slim and curved upwards at the bottom, making her look snobbish. Her tag said GIADA.

A smattering of laughter resounded through the group.

Hayden shook his head, sighing. “Yeah, we thought you were dead at first. Obviously you’re not.” He chuckled. “But the other thing is, none of us remember anything. None of us know how we got here.” The boy paused, then said, “Wait. Do you?”

“Asking if people remember anything won’t make them remember anything,” remarked the girl in the center of the rocks.

“I know that,” Hayden said. “It didn’t work with you guys. I know.” He sighed. “But do you remember anything…” He trailed off, looking at her cape where her name tag should have been.

Maisie realized she was holding the bit of metal tightly in her sweaty palm. She loosened her grip, then said “Maisie. My name is Maisie.”

“Maisie,” Hayden repeated, nodding. “Do you remember anything, Maisie? How you got here? Anything?” His eyes seemed to search her for an answer.

Maisie was hesitant to answer. There was no reason to trust these strangers. They very well could have kidnapped her and were just trying to make sure she couldn’t remember them dragging her here. Or maybe they were—well, there were plenty of maybes, Maisie decided. Finally, she answered “No.”