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I suppose my troubles all began seventy-five years ago, in 2025. When the people of the world realized that the dark creatures they heard about in books and movies were living among them, as their neighbors, their teachers, their doctors, unlike the books and movies, they could exist in the daylight. Anyone of them could be a vampire, or a shape shifter, or a witch. For a while, a tentative peace existed, both sides agreeing it was best to coexist. Sure there were supernaturals that looked down on humans, wanted to rule them. But there were also humans who wanted the creatures eradicated; some claimed they were soulless creatures of the devil, others, that they were unnatural, evil even.

About ten years after they came out, a war erupted humans versus supernaturals. Supernaturals are given extra strength and senses; some had been around for centuries and won countless wars. They won within two years.

Humans fled to live in rural areas, forests in small, hidden communities. The extremely rich could pay off the vampires and live relatively the same lives, with all of their luxuries and technologies, while most of us were set back hundreds of years.

My great-grandmother used to tell me of a time when there were practically no worries, no cares, she thought vampires and other creatures were myths. No such luck. Now all we know is surviving, there's nothing else. We survive and hide until the world is set right again. That's out motto and that's all I've been trying to do, survive.

We haven't had anything to eat in practically two days. My little siblings cry and beg for food, but there is none, my mother lost her mind years ago and as the eldest, I must take care of our family. My father died in a rebellion when I was four, all I remember of him is bright blue eyes and a deep laugh. My step dad died three years ago, the father of my three younger siblings. My older brother, Sam, left two years ago looking for work and never returned. That is why I am now in the forbidden section of the woods.

There's a fence surrounding our little village that cuts through the woods, if you go past it you're on their territory and free for the taking. But I have no choice, everyone in town is starving and they have picked all of the edible plants, killed most of the animals in the safe zone. I have to go past the barrier, it is either that or I die.

I carry only a basket and a small bow, it's been hours and I've found nothing. Discouraged, I start to turn back, hoping I've missed something, when I see a rabbit. We haven't had meat in weeks; I could maybe make soup with a few of the ragged vegetables in our garden. I slowly notch an arrow and pull back, taking aim, when something jumps out behind me, running into my back. My fingers slip and the shot goes wild, far off into the forest. I turn around to the intruder.

"Daisy," I say exasperated. "Did you really have to follow me? You just lost us our supper."

"You're not supposed to be back here." Daisy says with a scowl.

"Yeah? Well neither are you." I snap.

At twelve, Daisy was the oldest of my half siblings and a total nuisance. She was supposed to be watching the younger two, Emerald and John, both eight and five, but she never listened. She was always spying on me, determined to help now that she was almost a teenager. But it was too dangerous, I couldn't lose someone else. I've trained her a bit in case something happens to me; showed her how to shoot, what plants to eat and what plants to use as medicine, how to cook, but I don't want her taking risks like I do. And she knows it.

"What are you doing out here?" She demands. "Why didn't you ask me to come? I can help you know? I'm not totally useless." I see the hurt in her eyes and sigh.

"I was trying to get us some food and you know why I didn't ask you. If both of us go missing, they'll put mom in the asylum and sell Emerald and John. Do you want that?"

"No but—"She begins to protest.

"No buts, I say firmly, now go back right now." I hear a shout and freeze, holding a finger to my lips. I can hear horses whinnying, and dogs barking. Oh God no, a hunting party. I turn to Daisy and I see her eyes are wide with fear.

"Aspen—"She whispers, voice trembling. The sounds are growing closer.

"Go," I hiss. "I'll lead them away."

"But what about you!" Daisy's blue eyes fill with tears.

"I'll be fine," I say, giving her a reassuring smile, although I know I might never come back. "I love you all," I say giving her a quick hug. "Remember to tell mom and the kids that. Don't forget anything I've taught you. Here," I say shoving the basket at her. "If anyone stops you say that you became lost while looking for berries."

"But it's not berry season." She says confused.

"I know," I say with a grin. I hope that she'll just appear stupid. "Now go!" With one last look at me she dashes back for the barrier, and I take off to the left.I hear angry shouts coming ever closer and I dart behind a tree, breathing heavily.

"That damn arrow was an inch from my foot!" An angry voice growls from mere feet away.

"Calm down Matt, is it really worth it?" Another, much calmer voice says. "You weren't hit and it was probably an accident. Can't we just forget about it and go home?"

"No," The first voice growls. "We let those peasants get away with far too much. They're nothing more than cattle." I flinch in horror. Supernaturals. I was being hunted by supernaturals.

"All right fine," The second one says with a resigned sigh. "But hurry it up." Their voices go faint and I let out a sigh of relief. What the hell am I supposed to do? I notch an arrow, having suddenly had an idea, and shoot it wildly off into the distance. It works. I hear excited shouts and them crashing off into the forest.

I take of in the opposite direction, aiming for a town about five miles away. They are known for their extreme preparedness against supernaturals and hopefully they will let me in. A big, rough hand suddenly clamps on my arm and I hold back a shriek.

"Found you," He says triumphantly, jerking me around. I see a tall, broad shouldered, threatening looking man in his thirties. His arms ripple with muscle, and when his eyes flash gold, the sign of a shifter, I know I'm doomed. "Did you think you could get away from me girl? Did you think you could practically shoot me and get away with it?" He shakes me violently with each word, making my teeth rattle.

"I-I'm sorry sir," I stammer. "I was hunting in the woods for food. We haven't eaten in days. I was scared by a-a rabbit." I silently pray that he buys my act.

"A rabbit?" He says in disbelief. "I was almost shot over a damn rabbit?" He roars, pulling his fist back to strike, I brace my self for the pain.

"Wait!" His companion, a shorter, thinner, younger man, says, coming to my rescue. "She's pretty under all of that dirt. We could fetch a good price for her down town." The big man, Matt I presumed, scowls, but doesn't go through with the punch much to my relief.

"I suppose you're right. But let me rough her up a bit before we sell her. She needs to be taught a lesson." He says barring as many sharp teeth at me as a tiger.

"Fine, just don't hit her face. We won't get as much for damaged goods."

"Naw, some of them like them that way, it cover's up their own hits." I swallow hard, realizing what they're saying. I'm going to be sold into slavery like so many young woman before me. A fate worse then death. I'm already numb with shock when the first punch hits. After that, I somehow manage to detach myself from my body, forgetting that the young woman I see being beaten is me.