chapter 1:

"Isobel, today is not the day to go hunting." My father warned softly. Not because my mom was asleep, or because he was tired from working three days in a row with very little sleep. But really because he knew he wasn't going to get me to back down. Fear was written all over his face and in his words. He didn't want me to go now more than ever, and he had his reasons. All quite good, and I had to respect him for that.

Wolves had been running everywhere for the past month. Making this winter more deadly than ever. Because they killed everything in sight. Not because they were bad wolves or, had had rabies. But because our people were taking them over. And that was so not heathly for either of us. Not that the Center would care. As long as they got their way, everything was perfect. And I'm not even sure I know what that word means anymore. Not with the sick, twisted words they use combined with it.

Sighing I shock my head,and grabbed my bow. Mom was to sick now to even get out of bed and it seemed Jake was coming down with it too. Shooting my dad an apologetic look, I walked out. Both of us relizing right then, that I'd grown up way to fast in the past three years. Going from a clueless thirteen year old, who believed everything the Center told her. To a rebilous sixteen year old, who would give everything to take the Center down.

Putting up the hood on the white shoulder cloak, I walked into the freezing snow. My thigh high boots, not as good as a job of keeping me cold. But it was all I had except my school flats, and they were for well... school. Trudging up the hill was alot more work than usual. Every step had to be checked for a hole, ice, wild animal, or a bomb. The wind keeping my pace even slower, and hurting my cheeks. When the barb-wire fence came into veiw, I jumped before practially running. Trying to get into the shelter of the trees.

The thick lavender dress was quickly getting heavy, and as well as cold. But I tried to ignore it as I got my bow ready, the little feeling of my fingers letting me know I had very little chance of getting something. My vision would blur as the snow turned into a moment blizzard. Making me fall to the ground and try my best to be kept from being blown into a tree. The last thing Mom would need was to help patch another broken rib of mine.

A stick cracked behind me, and slowly I spun around. My movements being unheard of from the wind. It was small, but the meat inside of it could give us a well three days of food. Which at the moment was all I cared about. Food had been a foreign word now for well over five days. And the pains from my stomach were getting to be unbareable. But in my mind Jake, my brother, and my mom deserved more food than I. Though neither new I was giving them my meal. I doubt they would ever forgive me if they did. Quickly pulling the string back, I shoot. The arrow going right in the eye so not to puncture any meat.

Smiling I raced towards it, not wanting something to come and grab it. But when I pulled I knew even though it was small, I would never make it back. I was to weak at the moment. A very familar laugh from behind told me I wasn't alone. As pure usual. "Need some help, Iz?" Rayne asked. Rayne was my neighbor, if you count the guy that lives the closest of five mil radius a neighbor that is. Though he was in the same situation, he somehow ended up with the worse situation. Becoming poorer than us. He had shaggy black hair, that covered his green emerald eyes. And even though he only black jeans and a dark blue school hoodie. He wasn't even close to looking cold.

Boosting the small deer onto his shoulders, he started to hands shock as I got another bow ready, just incase I came across something else. Not for my family of course, but for Rayne's. Because even though he could throw a knife, dagger, or sword like a pro. That wasn't what caught you dinner. And we both knew it. It also helped to always know that they also were all atleast getting some meat. It helped ease my concenious about them. Because I couldn't imagine my life without my father.

Spinning around, I shot at a mountain goat. Which was extremly plump, and full of meat. Letting out a large sounding bleet he fell to the ground. "Nice shot." Rayne murmered. Lifting the other one onto his shoulder with ease, we walked back to the fence. Very slowly. Neither of us quite ready to go home. Even if we would be rejoiced for bringing home something everyone was literaly dieing for. When we reached the middle of the walk, Rayne handed me the deer. Putting the white shoulder cloak around my waist, I put it on my shoulders. Nearly passing out from the weight. For a mere second I looked loungingly at plump goat, but knew I would never be able to even carry that thing. So after a moments talk, we both rushed home.

Dad met me before I could even see the house, quickly taking the deer. "Amazing Izzy." He whispered, rushing me inside. "Go warm up, can't have you getting sick as well. Your like the familys' life support. We need you." He pasued, pressing a soft kiss on my forehead. "I need you." He whispered. Smiling brightly, I walked to my room. Just receiving the best praise I'd gotten in a while. Normaly he was everywhere taking care of the two most important people in his life. Leaving me to stand there, feeling more helpless than ever.

After taking a warm shower, I put on a pair sweat pants, something the Center would have my head over if they ever figured out about. And a long sleeve shirt, also something else The Center would have my head over. Males only were able to jeans, sweat pants, shirts, or anything around that sort. Women were limited to dresses and skirts. That was it. Unless wold other wise by The Center. Braiding my thick chocolate brown hair into a side braid, I walked into my mom's room. Where dinner was served again tonight.

She was so thin. Thinner, paler, and even closer to pushing me over the edge than yesturday. Her normally shinning bright blue eyes were pale and sunk into her head. Through all the pain she was going through. She still placed a smile pn her face. She tried to tell me otherwise, but I was able to feel it. I always have been. And I think always will. Very softly she whispered, "thank you."

Tears swarmed into my eyes, and as much as I tried to blink them back. They stayed there, forcing me to allow a couple tears. Before sipping a large glass of sweet tea, hiding my face from her veiw. My stomache twisting, and knotting. Tears slowly rolling down my cheeks the entire time. Because I knew, with all my heart. That I would soon be without a mother. And isn't that enough to drive a single sixteen year old girl crazy?

Later that night, I twirled the cross necklace that forever hung around my neck. Another illegal thing to The Center nowadays. But I've refused to give it up, and I never will. If they want to kill me do it. God's given more happiness than they ever will. They want to hurt me with a whip, they can do that as well. It's not like God will turn away. He gives me to much hope to do so. And I will never turn my back on him. Not for the millionth time I prayed for a miracle. To get me out of here. To create a miracle and heal my mom. If anything to get things back to the way were hundreds of years ago when the world wasn't under one power. One stupid, sick power.

Which were secretly, or so they thought, killing off people. Killing the wolves that had nothing wrong. Making people sick who were imperfect sick, so they mystersly died from an unknown illness. I knew though. Because my family was quickly becoming a victim. And I knew I was going to be the worst case. Because somethings I just know.