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The First Variable

By Raven Young

Romance / Adventure

Chapter 1

Chapter One

Her new life began with the sound of metal against metal. A slow, grinding sound that made its way through the depths of her subconscious, waking her with a start.

She gasped for air as she rolled over, instincts telling her to get on her feet as fast as possible. She pushed herself up onto her hands and knees in an attempt to stand, but her body immediately found the ground once again. She laid still for a moment, willing herself to slow down and let the world rush in so she could gather her senses.

She breathed in the cold, stale air and listened the sound of rattling chains, all while staring into the blank darkness surrounding her. After about a minute of waiting, she felt as though wherever she was, that it was moving. She slowly sat up and slid along the floor until her back found a hard wall and leaned against it. As her eyes began to adjust to the darkness, she found herself in a small metal box, which she was now definitely sure was moving. Upward. An elevator, she thought. Before she could think of anything else though, another thought popped in her mind. An answer to a question she hadn’t even asked yet.

Amelia. My name is Amelia.

Suddenly, as if the the world were a wave crashing down around her, she realized that she couldn’t remember anything else. Her mind became crowded with simple, common questions that had blank answers. Where was she? Who was she? How did she get there? Why was she there?

She stood up, surprised at how strong her body felt as she adjusted to the moving room, and began to pace. It was so strange, she could remember how life worked - eating dinner, walking to school, umbrellas in the rain - but not specific people or events. It was even more peculiar to her that she could remember having memories, rather than the lack of them themselves; as if she had expected to be more confused.

She stopped pacing and looked around, pushing the confusing thoughts aside. Amelia decided she needed to figure out what was going on, and to try to understand her lack of memory later. The walls of the room were lined with crates and bags. She searched through them, finding mason jars, bags of rope, and even a box of running shoes, which puzzled her even more. Finally, she found a crate filled with tools, but as she rummaged through the only thing she could find that would suit as a weapon was a spade. If I’m headed somewhere, the chances are something is waiting for me on the other side, she thought. Her inclination took her by surprise, but once again she pushed all thoughts aside as she gripped the spade and stood looking up at the ceiling. She would face it, whatever it was, fighting.

But then nothing was what she expected. The elevator stopped with a large jolt that sent Amelia to the ground. She kept a tight grip on the spade as she quickly stumbled back onto her feet, heart fiercely pumping adrenaline throughout her body. She stared upwards.

A minute passed. Maybe two. She was laced with anticipation. She wanted to get this over with, but nothing was happening. The moment she sucked in a breath to call out for help, a thin line of yellow light split the ceiling in two. She watched as it expanded, putting a hand up to shield her eyes until they could handle the sharp brightness. She heard a couple voices, and then several gasps all at once. She removed her hand and blinked rapidly, willing her eyes to focus. She could see shapes and shadows, but everything was silent. And then, as if someone had wiped a film of dirt off a glass window, she found herself looking up at a group of boys all staring down at her. They looked shocked - frightened - actually, creating a panic in Amelia’s chest.

Get out, she thought, get out of here. She grabbed a crate and stacked it on top of another, ignoring whatever she was breaking as she climbed on them. Once at eye level with the ground outside, she put the spade between her teeth and jumped, reaching out and pulling herself up in one swift motion. Surprised at her own strength, Amelia’s feet found the ground and she stood in a fighting stance, grabbing the spade and looking all around, readying herself.

But the more she took in, the more unsure she felt. The group of boys encircling her were young, none of them looked older than 17. One young kid she made eye contact with couldn’t have been older than 12. There were about 20-30 of them, and they all stood frozen as they looked her up and down. Why are they just standing there? She thought. She began to lower her arms until she realized one chilling fact: they were all boys. There was not one other female. This terrified her more than anything else.

“What’s wrong with you slintheads?” she heard from behind. Amelia spun around, waiting to find the source of the voice. She noticed a section of the boys began to move as someone made their way through the crowd. He shouted again as he pushed through “What the hell are all you shanks just star-,” but stopped once he saw Amelia. He was one of the older boys, with semi-long, dark brown hair, medium skin, and deep, green eyes that seemed to carry the weight of the world in them. Another boy came up and stood by his side, he had dark skin and a brown-eyed glare that could cut glass - which was fixed on Amelia. With another round of silence, Amelia decided to speak.

“Where am I?” she asked, startled by how her own voice sounded. It wasn’t what she expected, deeper than she thought it should be, and much more frightened than she would’ve wanted it to sound. She glanced around the circle, no one said anything. They kept looking at the brown haired boy, then back to her. She figured he must’ve been the leader, so this time she looked him directly in the eyes and asked, “Where. Am. I?”

“Well . . . uh, greenie,” he said, uncertainty intertwining with each syllable. His next words would be something Amelia would never forget, “Welcome to the Glade.”
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1. Chapter 1
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