Author note: Hi everyone! This is a story I wrote for Camp NaNoWriMo 2014 and I should have edited it... But I just couldn't get into it so I decided to post the thing as is. So there may be mistakes here and there, sorry about that. I just want the thing out there and not sleeping in my computer. I'm still working on Bestania but I ask a lot of patience of you on that regard; there is a lot of translation work to do on it. v_v

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Anna Shepherd, thirty-two, and Maria Scott, twenty-eight, were the regular sisters, so to speak.

Anna married a really nice guy, Alec, two years older than her, she met during her studies' time. She worked as a nurse in a hospital and was the mother of a four years old young boy.

Maria was an element without romantic ties. After her studies at the biology university, she was staying at her father's place while looking for a job.

They looked somewhat alike, their shoulder-length black hair, almond brown eyes and full lips a living proof of their Armenian heritage received from their father's mother; Hamest Mahdesian Scott's parents had fled the Armenian genocide at the end of 1915 and got their daughter late on in life. She was still strong at the age of eighty-five and the women absolutely loved her since she filled the loneliness they felt while their father was out on duty.

Kalter Scott was a retired officer of fifty-eight years old. He had lost his wife, also in the army, during a raid in the Kosovo War. He had from then on tried raised Anna and Maria, being as present as his missions would allow him, which was not as much as he had hoped himself.

While the family was not complete, it was, all in all, a pretty normal one with its successes and difficulties.

Yet, there were Anna and Maria, standing in front of a court, holding each-other's hand – which looked awkward with the handcuffs and the orange suit – as the judge was receiving the result of the jury's ruling.

Three bangs resonated to inquire for silence as the judge hammered the table.

"Anna Scott Shepherd and Maria Scott," the judge began in a solemn tone. "The jury has taken its decision regarding your case. For the accusation of producing and storing illegally lethal drugs, the court declares you… guilty."

Anna and Maria felt their heart sink at the breathtaking news. Some indignant murmur animated the crowd assisting the audience.

The judge used his hammer one more time.

"Silence in the room!" he ordered harshly. "For the accusation of using lethal drugs on patient in final phase without their written consent or the written consent of their families, the court declares you… guilty."

More murmurs were heard but quickly stiffened themselves as the judge was aiming for his hammer again. Maria felt some warm drops slide down her cheeks. She couldn't do anything to stop them but stiffened her chokes. Anna managed to keep her tears in, but her throat felt like burning from the false accusations they had been sentenced for. The air itself felt like treachery. But they knew the worse had yet to come.

"Following those count of indictment, the court hereby condemn you to be sent to The Border. This decision has no recourse to appeal and is irrevocable."
The judge hammered a final time the table before standing up and leaving the room together with the jury.

It felt like the whole room suddenly entered a fervent animation. Some journalists were either scribbling frantically on their notepad, trying to get as much details of the scene as possible. Other journalists were talking in microphones, sometimes with a video camera aiming for the perfect plastic they were hired for.

As Anna and Maria were pushed toward the exit by policemen, they made a halt at Alec and Kalter's level. Anna's son was looking up at her with watery eyes. Despite his young age, he knew he might never see his mom again.

"Please let her hold him!" Alec begged. "Remove her handcuffs so she can hold him!"

But the pleas were lost in the crowd's roaring. Anna was barely allowed to peck the small boy who laced his arms around her neck.

Some policemen tore the two apart, telling the child harshly that his mother was a criminal and she'll be sent where criminals were supposed to be.
Anna felt rage in herself and she wanted to kick around, throw a fit. She was innocent for God's sake! Only her granny's education was saving her from aggravating her case; she didn't need to be beaten up before arriving in The Border.

Maria somehow managed to lend toward her father who just look at them gravely. He told something for Anna to hear and she took a shocked expression while being dragged to the main door.

Just how ironic was it to get out of the main door while being convicted?

The babbling of journalists never ceased as they walked in the corridor. As soon as they were outside, cameras' flashes made red dots dance in their eyes. It was such a painful contrast in the darkening evening.

Anna's nerves broke when she saw the armored vehicle waiting to take them to The Border. Just screw it! She started trashing against her better judgment, stopping only when she felt a slap hard enough to make her neck crack in protest.

Maria was looking at her with concern. Her tears had dried out eventually and Anna could read a solid determination and – was it hope on her sister's face?

They were pushed inside the vehicle unceremoniously, sat forcibly on an uncomfortable metal bench as four policemen in full armor sat in front of them.

Anna and Maria curled up against each-other; it was the only way for them to communicate without any of the men hearing them.

One of their guardians lit up the small TV screen that filled the cabin with static noise until the image settle on an uptight journalist lady wither graying hair up in a tight French twist.

"… The two sisters are currently being escorted to The Border in an official vehicle." She turned to another person and the camera's focus enlarged. "Would you mind giving us the report for last week's Hit List?"

"Of course!" the man stated before focusing on a piece of paper. "On Monday, five convicted were killed in The Border, the list is currently scrolling on our viewers' screen. Tuesday was somewhat disappointing for our hardcore followers as only one convicted, Jens Pitfall, was found dead. While he was convicted for drug dealing, his origins didn't make his case as important as one could expect. Wednesday has however managed to raise some interest in the fans as a few of Pitfall's gang's members were killed in a chase in the street of the 8th avenue. Thursday stays the most important event of the week as Baingana Matobo, convicted five years ago for the murder of his ex-wife and the kidnapping of his two children which resulted in the death of several members of the police's force. Since seventeen years The Border was established in a former industrial town and among the many convicted who lost their lives, only few with such a background survived for so long. This was enough to put The Border's fans into a craze! We'll come back with details about that case and the rest of the Hit List after a short advertisement cut."

The man made a sign that was supposed to be catchy at the camera and the jingle of the show rang inside the cabin.

Anna and Maria could hear their guardians snicker, possibly betting on how long such inexperienced women would survived in a law-of-the-jungle environment.
Maria leaned toward her sister, to whisper into her ear.

"Don't give up!" was her words.

She'd go on if a policeman didn't kick the bench they were sat on to shut her up.

Maria had a few well-chosen cursed words in mind to describe his attitude as well as his appearance but she decided to keep it all in her mind. She might need the extra boost of frustration later on.

The tablet one of the guys was holding emitted a high-pitched 'bip' and its holder smirked before passing the device to his neighbors.

"Congratulations ladies!" he said in a mocking tone. "Your entrance gate has been chosen! In an hour, we'll kick you in the East-North-East Gate! I hope you know what it means…"

Anna and Maria turned pale. Yes, they knew very well what it meant. They had, after all, been hammered with the history of The Border since their adolescence. East-North-East Gate, also known as Death-Spawning-Point. At some point, it used to be the weakest place of all the Great Wall but after several escape attempts which resulted in the death of many convicted and a few guardians, a second gate was built behind the first one. The place had become a great spot for bloodthirsty killers to stand-by. And many people lost their lives simply entering The Border in that place.

After a few hours spent in relative silence, bearing with the occasional taunts of their guardians, being sleep-depraved and actually hungry, the two sisters were finally pushed down the vehicle before getting pushed into a small room with no window.

A mid-aged lady in military uniform chased the guys out as she ordered the women to hold their hands out so she could remove their handcuffs. She then motioned for two piles of neatly folded grey camo patterned clothes.

No food however. Of course.

"You have twenty minutes," the lady said. "There are showers there if you want… a last taste of commodities. I'll fetch you when it's time."

She went out and locked the door, leaving Anna and Maria seemingly alone. They knew there were microphones in such room: They kept silent, only glancing at each-other.

A shower actually sounded good but the water was ice-cold; it barely started to warm when the guard lady hit on the room's door and screamed they only had ten minutes left.

They put on their outfits hastily. They were oversized.

The shoes were too tight however.

Whatever.

The guard lady entered again and she mentioned for them to get out. Their former trip-mates, if you could call them that, were making a circle around the door, their guns aiming at them, to unsure they would follow without resistance to the gate.

There was a short two hundred meters from the imposing Great Wall. The top of it was loaded with electrified barbed wires. People were locked up in towers with orders to shot anyone attempting to climb up the wall.

It gave Anna and Maria the creeps.

They tried to stall the march to the gate, only to get pushed forward and ordered to go faster.

As they were getting closer of it, they realized just how tiny it was: An adult man had to crouch to get it; they had to lean down.

A sob escaped Anna's throat at the thought of her husband and child having to live without her from now on. Alec was working on building sites as a manager and, as a nurse, she had been the one bringing most of the incomes to the family. She hoped they would manage through it but had doubts as convicted families were known to go through hardship in their work.

Maria took hold of her sister's hand, giving it a firm, encouraging squeeze. She kept her head high the whole time; she wasn't going to let the people tell badly of her, of how she'd break. She wouldn't: There was hope. At least, that's what kept her from trashing and risking getting killed while attempting to escape now. She and Anna had to stick together until they could get out of this mess.

A helicopter displaying the television's sign flew above them; the sound of its rotors adding to the crispy sound their shoes were making on the graveled ground.

When they finally reached the door, the guard lady pushed a button that was giving order to people in the tower to open the gate. A soft ringing tune was heard.

It felt like Hell ringing at your very door.

Only they were walking right into it.