It all started with a dare. My life was pretty normal - nothing too bad, and nothing too good. Then, I did the unthinkable. I broke the long standing rule in my district, or any other. I went into the dead forest, found my way to the old abandoned hut, and went in.

I could hear my friends, Ash and Gwen cheering me on through the old, creaking wood walls. They wouldn't come in with me because the silly rumors got to them. They believed that anyone who went in never came out. I went in to prove them wrong. Ash gave me a pretty, green stone for good luck, which I put in my jacket pocket. The stone called out to me the moment I saw it.

Ash was so nice sometimes. Gwen thinks he likes me, but with the Calling coming soon, there was no way Ash would risk that. The Calling was the list of optimal matches of who each person was to marry and procreate with so we could better our community. I thought it would be better to find someone you loved and married them, but the council didn't like that one bit. They never really liked what I thought. I was the complete opposite of the rest of the youth in the district that they didn't really know what to do with me. I questioned the teaching of everything and never did exactly what they said. They said I was too passionate and that hopefully my matching will calm me down. That is one of the reasons I know I will never be matched to Ash. We both are wild spirits, but the council doesn't berate him as often because he is the Leader's son. He was the reason we could get out of the city so easily.

Gwen was the odd ball in out group. She was quiet and never liked going against the council. We somehow always managed to get our way and drag her into whatever mischief we were doing. She was very sweet and naive. She was also brave and would never have her strength in question. She refused to go in the house, and Ash promised to stay with her, but truly I think he was frightened as well.

The inside of the house wasn't what I expected at all. It wasn't nearly as ancient as the stories told. From what I had heard, there were dead bodies, witches' brews, giant rats and the works. The place was nothing like that, though; it just seemed like an old house.

"Winterlyn, how is it in there?" Ash called out, his voice strong and loud.

"Yah, Snowy, how is it?" Gwen's voice was trembling. I could sense her trembling from fear. I smiled at her use of my nickname, though. She used it to appear nonchalant.

"It's warmer in here," I called out to her. She was too strong to admit she was scared.

A shaking laugh came from her, "No thanks, I am fine here. Just hurry, Snowy."

"Okay, Gwen."

I looked around the room for something to prove that I had indeed been in the building when I spotted the old computer. It looked broken down, like it was made during the war. It looked exactly like the pictures I had seen in books. High technology was forbidden after the war. That included everything except basic water flow and plumbing. The World Wide Web collapsed. Now only the highest ranking officials could use high technology, and only after proper testing. The human race had abused the technology, and now we must live without it. Even our transportation was affected. We walk and if it is very far, we use carriages. Frankly, the speeds the 'cars' went seem too fast for me to imagine. On my horse, if I go even a fraction of the speed that they used to go, it feels like I am flying.

The computer, the relic of the old times, seemed to call out to me.

I felt compelled to touch the metal edge of the old computer screen.

Suddenly, the stone in my pocket began to heat up. I had barley brushed the edge of the screen when I yanked my hand away but it was too late.

Iron vines shot out of the screen, winding around my hand and preventing me from walking away. I yelped in surprise. The metal curled rapidly around and around, pulling me closer and closer, refusing me an escape. It spun around my waist and yanked me off the ground. I screamed in terror. The metal reached my head and quickly covered my mouth and eyes. I heard Gwen shout but I was no longer able to scream. Then, the vines vanished just as quickly as they came, but there was a problem. I was no longer where I had been. I was in the middle of an unfamiliar Forrest. But what was worse was that I was up in the air, quickly hurling toward the ground.