Rachel didn't see Amy all day. She asked Nia, who pointed towards the Homestead.
"She's either asleep or watching Michelle."
"What are you doing here? Why aren't you out running?"
Nia shrugged. "Amy asked me to stay. To help out in case any trouble starts. What are you going to work today?"
"You're not going to start running until tomorrow. Are you going to work the fields? Are you going to the Bloodhouse?"
"I don't know. I'll just go do whatever is needed."
"Fields," Nia said immediately. "Let's go." She took Rachel's arm and guided her towards the Gardens, where the Track-hoes were working. Rachel tried to ignore the violent and skeptic glares coming from all over the Glade.
"Hey!" Esther came running to them. "Michelle wants you."
"Me?" Nia asked blankly.
"No. Her." Esther nodded at Rachel. Nia turned to Rachel, her face puzzled.
"Guess we'd better go." They headed up to the Homestead. Amy was waiting outside nervously. Esther gently opened the door and let Rachel in. Rachel turned back to Nia, who had a look of precaution on her face.
"Aren't you coming in?"
"No. She didn't ask for me. It's not my place. Go on."
"How about you, Amy?" Rachel asked nervously.
"Yeah." Amy walked in with her and shut the door behind her. "Michelle?"
Michelle looked up weakly."Hmm?"
"Esther said you wanted to talk to Rachel."
"Are you okay now?" Amy leaned in and took Michelle's hand, but Michelle pulled it away.
"It's all going to change."
"Rachel. The boy. The Maze." Michelle's head shot up, a look of lunacy on her face. Amy jumped away, shocked. "It's all going to change!" She screamed.
"What do you mean?" Amelia asked.
"I asked for Rachel."
"Well, she's right here. Talk to her."
"No." Amy crossed her arms. "If you have something you have to say to her, I'll hear it too."
"Amelia. Slinthead. Leave. Now."
"LEAVE! I SAID TO LEAVE, GOD DAMN IT!"
"Okay! I'm leaving!" Amelia shouted, obviously hurt and angry. She turned towards the door and stalked towards it. Dread filled Rachel.
She's really going to leave?
"Don't expect me to kiss your bloody shuck butt when you come crawling back to bugging apologize, Michelle." Michelle's best friend snapped as she opened the door.
"Close the door." Michelle snarled back. One final insulting blow. The door closed with a loud, angry slam.
"I know who you are."
"I said I know who you are!" Michelle repeated, impatiently this time. "I know who the boy is too. I remember...the Flare. I saw everything."
"Well, please tell. I'd love to know who I am."
Michelle glared at her, and Rachel wondered what had happened to the kind, outspoken girl who's greeted her on the first day. "You-" Suddenly her hands flew to her own throat and squeezed. The girl began thrashing, making retching sounds.
"Amy!" Rachel cried. "Amy!"
Amy must've been standing outside, because she banged open the door before Rachel had even finished calling her name.
"Michelle! Michelle! Stop! What are you bloody doing?!" Amelia tried to grab Michelle's legs, but instead got kicked in the jaw, earning herself yet another bruise. "Grab her hands, Nia! Pull them off of her bugging throat! Rachel, try to keep her still and get her shoulders." She grabbed her friend's legs again, this time pinning them to the bed.
"Michelle! Stop!" Nia shouted, tugging at the girl's arms. Rachel moved to the head of the bed and pushed down of her shoulders with all of her weight. With a loud grunt, Nia finally managed to yank the strangling hands away from Michelle's throat. Michelle stilled, coughing and gasping.
"What was that?" Amy asked. She released Michelle's legs after a minute.
"I'm-sorry." Michelle rasped. "It was like-I couldn't-control my own body."
"What do you mean?"
"I-I don't know." Michelle looked as confused at Rachel felt.
"Whatever. Just go to sleep. Esther, have Ivy stand guard here. She's a Track-hoe, she'll be strong enough to handle it if it happens again."
"Watch the maps." Then Michelle closed her eyes.