Chapter 3:

"Edwards, Lavender." She was the first to be called, to be put out of their misery. Most importantly know their job, their to-be husband. Everything. I felt her freeze, as she stopped breathing, before numbly standing and walking forward onto the concrete stadiun. Nobody clapped, nobody spoke. The room tence, as we waited. Trying to figure out the fate of the young girl who used to overly laugh and run around with a yellow bow in her hair as she tried to pick up the lizzards that sat on the tree. She would be special, how so?, was the question.

The woman gave her a small hug, kissing her on the cheek. "You look amazing. The Center picked well." She whispered into the microphone so all of us could her compliment the girl that could wear a patato sack and paper bag on her head and still be the to-be girl in the town. She smiled at the compliment, nodding her head. "You look worried child, don't be. The Center knows who's best for you. We've watched. And trust me, you two will be perfect. The Center is never wrong." I wanted to snarl in disguist at last part, to rip her limb from and tare out of this dress or sell to make whatever fortune so I could actually buy the food. Not illegally have to stash it inside my house.

"Hostyn, Seth." She called up. And I knew from the moment Lavender smiled, she thought it perfect. And in a way it was. It had been a gross concept to watch the two flirt as it wasn't allowed for children to date as they would get their perfect husband there. She'd had a major crush on him since she was twelve and he gave her a pencil to use durring math class. And he hadn't shown intrest untill two years ago, and it had then become a contest of who could stare lovey dovey at the other for the longest time without being caught.

He was on the shorter side, being only two or three inches taller then her. With dark brown messy hair, and wearing a lazy tux. It looked almost like an insult to her, but I knew most girls thought it was hot, so I left it alone. He shock her hand, a smirk on his face as he winked at Lavender. "You two are to be together. Seth as ranger, and Lavender a teacher." The woman paused, a wicked smile on her face. "They're so cute, and I ask that they go back to their seats. We have many couples to get to." She whispered, before pushing them towards the steps. Nobosy seemed to notice as they walked their hands entertwined, most would take as it a symbol that they were ready to be together. Only I knew it was a symbol of finaly.

There was name after names. Each name causing my stomache to roll and jump off a cliff. It was getting closer to the end, and Lavender kept sending me reassuring looks. But I could tell both us of were nervous. I felt sick to my stomache, like I could throw up at any second. But all my thoughts creesed to exist when I heard Rayne's name. And the air went out of me. And I had to tighten my hold around my stomache, because I was legitaly about to throw up now. And it was like a punch in the gut hearing his name. I felt frozen as he walked up, and smiled. The woman smiling overly as she looked around the room, talking mush as she called another girl's name. And it was like I couldn't breathe. I couldn't move. Nothing. I was a statue, as the pain consumed me momentarily.

Then, I breathed in a sharp breath and I forced it back as they walked off the stage. "That concludes this years Ceremony." She chirped, just as the iron gates in the back were thrown open and the stomping only induced from the sound of marching rolled in. I felt like I was about to pass out, everything was just going from bad to worse. Because my name had never been called, and everyone had already been promised. Mistakes weren't possible in The Center, only perfection. And this was a mistake that couldn't be over looked.

Murmmers filled the air as she smiled. "There has been no mistake child." She sneered as I flinched. "You know what you've done, and what you are. And now you pay." Ice ran through me as the gates behind me were slammed open and the marching of the guards filled the room. They found out I had been crossing into the gate. They found out I had been doing something illegal, and now my family's name is going to suffer.

They all were camo outfits, guns, spears, and burns covered their backs and I flinched knowing all of thoose would be tossing into my skins. Burns were black beads that were thrown and latched into your skin intill they burned away. "I suggest not running, but my men do love the chase." One in the middle spoke, as I bolted to my feet. My heart was in throat, as I felt myself start to shake. "Get her." I heard someone whisper, before I bolted around them running into the town. The noise ponded into my ears, but I never stopped to look at the area around me. Chasing for the cover of the woods, as I heard running and shouting.

I couldn't believe this was happening. That after all I had been through, I was now getting even more worse luck. Might as well a stake put through my heart and kill me off, and I nearly stopped. To just allow this to happen. I just nearly stopped, and took the easy route. But for some reason I didn't. Something told me to continue on, and I'd find a way to be safe. As long as I ran. So that's what I did. Ignoring the sticks in my face, and the sting it put on my toes as I had ran out of them long ago. Or how blood was pouring from my arms and back as the burns attached themselves to me, but I never allowed myself to scream. Then they would know, and I would surely be killed quicker than I was meant to.

Tears streamed down my face as they I hard explicts being shouted at me. As I heard them gain more and more speed, as I ran blindly around the forrest. Trying not to trip on the rocks or trees, but it was nearly impossible. My lungs ached from the chill that was spreading into my bones, as I gave an unvolentarily cough. I heard the forrest go silent, untill the seperate marching and running all came centered towards me. Sucking in a sharp breath, I ran faster and harder. The dress ripping around me, but never did I slow down. I barely noticed, as cried harder. Knowing I was about to die.

A handful of burns hit my already burnt back and I heard the grotesque sound of sizzling. The smell of burning flesh and blood hitting my noise. I gagged, but my empty stomache had nothing to offer. Sending painful, empty heaves through none of this comparred to the pain that spread through me. And it took everything not to scream, or revealing where exactly I was by making any noise. Or worse stopping.

I had been told the territory ended, but I'd never seen it. Never even thought it could be possible. But right in front of us was the cliff. Where a good fifty drop lead to a deep lake. The trees covering where it streamed in. It was going to rash descion I knew it, but I wasn't going to die by The Center. I wasn't going to give them the happiness of getting to complete their mission. If I died, I wanted them to stare at my body and think. A seventeen year old girl outsmarted and outran over twenty guards. So I could look down from Heaven and think, I'm more happy up here then I could ever be down there. And they would have to deal with it, because once I was dead. Well unless your a vampire, I'm staying dead.

I jumped just as an arrow pierced my arm. I ignored my pain, clamping my nose shut and squeezing my eyes shut. Waiting for the impact, as I pointed my toes down. The feeling off it enveloping me was such a shock, I gasped breathing in the water. It felt like eternity until I reached the top where I coughed and sputtered the air. Looking around the air as I the cold seeped in and I swam towards the end of the lake. Looking up they were gone, and I knew they either believed me dead. Or were figuring out how tog get down here. I was hoping the first. My teeth chattered as I stood up looking around.

The air had taken an even bigger bite down here, and I was so cold. But the sun was setting, and I knew I needed to find shelter. Closing my eyes, I breathed in and out filling my lungs with air. The knowledge that I was still alive, was such a relief I was weak to my knees. Or I was just so cold my entire body was becoming an icile. Either way, I headed into the forrest. Hoping to find a cave. Picking up sticks on my way, so I could make a fire. I was shaking so bad, I would drop the entire stock of wood I had gathered.

The tears that were streaming down my face were freezing to face, and I was so tired. So very tired, that my eyes would close and then I would have force them open. I never relized I had tumbled forward, just that the feeling of the sweet relief as I got to stay asleep. A voice saying a forever later, 'Sleep Juniper.' With that statement, I was pulled into a long stream of mindless dreams.

My eyes fluttered open, as I gasped. Looking around, I was begging for the what had just occured to be a dream. But from where I was, it most deffiantly wasn't a dream. There was no way this could be a dream. My family could never offored the door on the wall. A warm fire blazed from across the room, a soft calming feeling swarming around me. And I let out a soft, satisfied sigh. The bed was like large cloud, except hot and warm. The warm vinalla color sticking out of the browns and dark reds. I clutched my arm as I tried to move it and the pain was like the air had been punched out of me.

"Go get Alec." I heard a voice say from outside of the door, just as it was thrown open. Whoever it was liked to wear some armor, and kept themselves hidden. Silver armor was covering her or his head, a yellow lace fabric covering the nose down to the neck. She or he had on thick black cloth that covered them complete. I heard running from behind the door as it closed. "You need to lay back down." She said calmly as removed the hat, pink hair cascading down her back.

Walking calmly, she pushed me softly back on the bed, before covering me with the covers. "The prince will be here shortly, know that the colony has been very worried for you. We need you to rest." She whispered. "Alec, the prince, going to come here now that your awake, and make sure your healthy enough to move around. If so I'll come back and get you ready to meet the rest of the people." She paused, just as the door clicked open. "Your lucky to be alive Juniper." She muttered, before walking out of the room. Leaving me stare at the guy was watching me such an intence look that I had to look at the fire or I would have exploded. Questions bubbled up in my mind, but before I could even open my mouth he started talking.

He had shagyy dark black hair, and a hard look in his silver eyes. His pink lips were slightly parted, as he breathed in and out. And it was obvious that he was taking something in, and there seemed to be a fogged look in his eyes. Black stubs surronded his cheeks, giving him a scruffy look. And dark bags were under his eyes, and I wondered what had happened to make the people this way. It was obvious he was the prince of where ever we are, he aura deemed respect, authority, and domiance. And he wasn't hard to look at either, infact he was the perfect thing to look at right now. Because he was still, while the rest swam with patterns.

I watched as his beautiful face turned to concern, and start rush forward. But not before everything turned black. And not before he grabbed the back of my head, instead of it hitting the solid grey stones on the side. The same voice whispering back in my ear. "Sleep Juniper." This time I didn't even wait or for the command to finish before I snuggled into the warmth and fell asleep. Wondering if I was ever going to be warm again. An angel's chuckling following me into the sweet dreams.

A'ight. What are you guys thinking so far. Love reveiws, so please do. Is it good, bad, okay, need to slow things down and add more of something. Love suggestions. Thanks.