Seven years ago the world was a happy place. It was the world that you know now. Raelyn had little to worry about. She was an outgoing, excited college junior. She was studying at the school of her dreams to be an artist and a writer. She wanted nothing more than to have a successful career as a children's book author and have a wonderful family of her own. Her weekends were spent off on adventures with her best friend Bridget, Bridget's twin brother Bryant, and Raelyn's boyfriend Joe. They would get off at random stops on the subway in New York City, and explore the area. Or they would go hiking off in the woods, purposely getting lost.

Then, something blocked the sun. The world went dark. Civilization fell apart. The Society rose to power, creating a new "nation".

Now Raelyn wants nothing more than to survive.


She quickly stuffed her leftover food into her bag, filled her water bottle, and yanked on her leather boots. She went over to the door and put her eye to it. Footsteps and voices. Too risky. She would have to exit through the window. She threw open the window, and checked to see in anyone was nearby. No one was around, so she swung herself out the window, grasping the bricks to climb down.

As soon she was on the ground, she dashed around the corner and down an alleyway. At the end of the alley was The Gate. She wouldn't be safe unless she got to the other side. She had to find him; otherwise she may not live much longer. Only the Gatekeeper could open The Gate and he wouldn't be back until around 11 that night so she would have to find somewhere else to hide until then. She found a small hiding place in an ally a block away.

Inside the City things weren't great, but it was better than out here. Also, Chris was inside the City. At this point he was the only one that could help her. Bridget and Bryant had also manage to get inside. They got lucky and happend to be there when the wall was put up. Raelyn was less fortunate. With any luck though, she would be in there tonight.

She looked down at her watch. 10:30PM. Her watch had once been a beautiful bright white gold, inlaid with tiny diamonds. Joe had given it to her on her 21st birthday. Now the metal was scratched up and dull, many of the diamonds missing. Still, even its deteriorated state, it was valuable. It was dangerous to own something of such value in this new world. But she didn't care. It was all she had left from the Better Times, as many people called it. It was all she had left of him.

Half an hour passed. She quietly left her hiding place and headed for The Gate. The Gatekeeper was just arriving at his post when she turned down the alley. Hearing someone approaching he pulled his gun pointed it into the darkness.

"Show yourself!" he shouted. She stepped carefully, but assertively into the dim light.

"Hi, Will," she said keeping her voice calm. Showing any weakness or fear would just get her killed.

"Raelyn? Is that you?" he asked squinting at her. His face light up. "Wow! How long has it been?"

"Seven years," she responded lightheartedly. It paid off to have gone to college with people in a position of power.

"What are you doing here?" he asked.

Raelyn took a deep breath. "I need you to let me through. I'm asking as a friend."

"You know I can't do that."

"Please. My life is depending on this."

Will sighed. Most people lived in poverty. Only those who worked for the Controllers or mobs prospered. As a Gatekeeper he made good money. Letting someone through without a pass could cost him his job and his life. On the other hand, Raelyn had been a good friend in college.

He looked right into her eyes. "I can't let you through." But as he said this he tapped his foot to a certain beat. Morse Code. He walked passed her leaving her and the alley behind.

Raelyn knew that she only had minutes before he returned. Acting fast, she found the lock and punched in the code. She slipped through the door just as she saw Will turn back down the alley, shouting at her. She smile at him and then let the door lock behind her.