The First Variable

Chapter Two

Chapter Two

Amelia had enough. She didn’t know who these boys were or what the hell was a Glade, but she felt an urgency to get away as fast as possible. The only problem was they were surrounding her and she didn’t want to hurt them. She laughed at herself for a moment, how did she even know she could hurt them?

Pushing all thoughts aside she decided to act. She spotted where the group of boys was thinnest and charged, elbowing one of them in the stomach as he tried to grab her. Her legs moved as fast as possible, hand never letting go of the spade. Her eyes found a split in a giant, grey, ivy covered stone wall up ahead, and she had to force herself not to stop moving to take in the rest of the view. Thankfully, most of them seemed surprised by her sudden attack, giving her just enough of a head start before the dark haired boy shouted, “Stop!” She glanced back to see them racing after her. Fear ran through her heart, but she was moving fast, and there was enough distance between them and her that she could make it to the gap before they caught up. Still, she pressed herself to move faster.

She was almost there. Ten feet. Five. She was going to make it, but right when she was about to cross the threshold a splitting pain seared through her head as she heard a voice call out STOP. It slowed her down long enough for someone to hit her from the left side and send her to the ground. She struggled to get up, but the boy who tackled her - a blonde boy with long hair and brown eyes - was on top of her in an instant. And damn, he was strong. “Calm down! It’s okay, just bloody calm down!” he shouted as he grabbed the spade and fought with Amelia to keep her still.

“Get off me! LET ME GO!” she screamed, but it was no use. The other boys had caught up, she knew she couldn’t take them all on.

“Relax! Greenie, it’s alright, we’re not goin’ to hurt you!” The boy’s voice was thick with a strange accent. She stopped struggling, there was no point. The group surrounded her once again. She was stuck. “Listen, ya can’t do that. You can’t go out there. Please, just calm down. Give us a buggin’ chance.” he said as he let go. She pushed herself out from under him and sat up, leaning her back against the stone wall. What the hell was that voice? She knew it didn’t come from outside; there was no echo, nor any distance to the sound at all. It was almost like she thought it but, at the same time, she still heard it. She was so confused. The blonde boy stayed kneeling on the ground, giving her some space, but in just the right position that he could stop her from getting up at any moment. She looked up at the boys, fighting back tears. What were they going to do?

The dark haired boy from before pushed through the crowd. “Man . . . Greenie . . . can you run!” he said, panting and releasing a chuckle. Some of the other boys gave a weak laugh, but most just stared at her with the same awe-struck look as before, except the dark skinned boy. His glare had only intensified. Why does he keep calling me Greenie?, she thought.

“Nick, ya wanna tell me what the bloody hell is goin’ on?” said the blonde boy.

“Don’t know, came up in the box same as any,”

“Who shuckin’ cares, she should be thrown in the slammer! She just went completely psycho.” said the dark skinned boy.

“Oh pipe down Alby, I’m sure you’d go ‘completely psycho’ waking up to a bunch of shuck-faces like us. She doesn’t even know anything,” Nick said, sending a wave of relief through Amelia, but she was considerably more confused.

“Can someone please tell me what the hell is going on!” she shouted.

“You should watch yourself gre-” Alby started to shout, but the blonde boy shot up and pushed him back.

“Knock it off Alby! Quit bein’ a hot head!” he shouted back. Amelia was shocked at the sudden defense, but glad for it.

“Alright chill out you two!” Nick shouted, splitting the boys by pushing them back. Once he had them at arm’s length and calmed down, he turned back to her. “What’s your name?” he asked in a surprisingly calm voice.

“Um, Amelia,” she answered, taken aback by such a simply question.

“Hi Amelia. I’m Nick, and I’m in charge around here. Here we got Alby, second in command. He’s in charge when I’m not around, and don’t worry, he’s always a shank,” the group of boys laughed heartily this time while Alby rolled his eyes. “And here’s Newt, who’s just plain good at stuff. You’ll meet the rest of the Gladers eventually,” none of this answered any of Amelia’s questions.

“What, what the hell is this place?” she paused, dreading to ask her real question, “Why am I the only girl?”

“Amelia, you’re asking a lot of questions with answers we don’t have,” Nick said.

“What the hell does that even mean?!” Amelia shouted as she stood up. Newt was by her side in an instant, way too close for comfort, guarding the gap in the wall in case she ran again. She kept her eyes fixed on Nick. “Answer my question. Why am I the only girl? What do you do to them? Why won’t you let me leave? Why can’t I remember anything?!”

“Do to them? Greenie, you don’t know nothin’ about nothin’,” Alby said, with a glare from Nick in response.

“Listen, Amelia, just calm down alright? We don’t know why you’re the only girl,” Nick stated, once again very calmly.

“That’s not a good enough answer,” she replied.

“I know, but it’s the only one we’ve got. Why do you think we were all so shocked when you came up in the Box?” he gestured back to the elevator Amelia crawled out of, “Only boys have ever been sent up. Once a month, a new greenie. All with our memories wiped. You’re the first girl I’ve ever seen, literally.” Amelia felt dizzy. The wheels in her head were spinning like clockwork. He just said they were “sent up”, but that didn’t make any sense. Why would someone send up a bunch of kids with no memories here? How would she even know if he was lying? She barely even noticed when Nick turned back to the rest of the boys, “Alright, get to unloading the Box and finish your day’s work. Keepers, we’ll have a gathering in the morning after breakfast. Let’s go!” he shouted as he waved his arms, ushering them to disperse and do as he told. Most of them lingered to give Amelia one last look before walking away. Nick, Newt, and Alby stayed.

“Hey!” Amelia shouted at Nick as she took a step forward, causing Newt grabbed her by the arm. “You still haven’t answered my question!” Nick turned back to her and waited for her to speak, with a look on his face like he was contemplating how to save the world, “Why won’t you let me leave?” she fought with Newt a little, but mostly focused on Nick. He gave her a long stare, then an odd look shifted over his face.

“It’s not that simply greenie. Look, are you going to run again?”

“You haven’t given me a good enough reason not too,” she answered sternly. Nick rolled his eyes and shouted,

“Fine then! Take off! Newt, let her go,” he said, with a look in his eyes Amelia couldn’t figure out.

“Nick-,” Newt started, but he cut him off.

“No, let Amelia go! If she wants to go through those walls and find out what’s on the other side, then fine. Be my guest. I don’t have time for entitled greenies,” Newt looked stumped, but let Amelia’s arm go. She stared back at Nick, as confused as ever. Now they didn’t care? After about a few seconds, he sighed, then continued, “Greenie, we’re not going to hurt you. We didn’t let you go to protect you, okay? It’s not safe out there. And we’re not answering questions because that’s not how it works. First day is always hard, and if we told you everything you’d be a klunking mess and no good to us. So, you can either go out there and die, or you can stay here and choose to be one of us. I’m not going to stop you. It’s your choice. If you choose to stay, find Newt. He’ll take care of you,” and with a nod to Alby and Newt, he walked off. Alby didn’t hesitate to follow, but Newt gave her one last look before going. Just before he caught up though, he turned back with a look of true horror on his face and said,

“Trust me Greenie, ya don’t wanna be out there,” and then walked away.
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