The Darwin Chronicles, Book Three: The Blackfire Meadows

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Chapter 11

A new leader was appointed. His name was Mark, and he was ruthless. He installed ridiculous new laws-such as, if you got into a public conflict with someone and it got physical, it was a fight to the death, and only one person could survive. Anyone who refused this would be put to death anyway.

A scouting group was assembled to go to Blackfire and take anything useful and bring it back to Blackfire-the Blackfire citizens wouldn't need it anymore anyways. Amy insisted on going, although the new head of the troops, Dan, insisted on her not going. After awhile he relented, grudgingly agreeing that she should have some closure.
The scouts ominously walked over to the eerily abandoned city. It looked as if no one had ever left-as if Andrew or Rosetta or Lucas or Isaac would see them and blow the conch horn to announce their arrival. But no one came. There was only one thing missing-the people. The group scattered, looking for anything valuable or useful. Emmett climbed the bell tower, only to find Amy already there. She gently stroked the conch horn, then raised it to her lips, inhaling deeply, about to blow. A scout from Blackfire announcing the arrival of Briarlight warriors. But instead she fell to her knees, hugging the shell, the breath she'd taken exiting her in a mighty gust of wind, a sigh, and she started to sob, rocking back and forth, shoulders shaking.
"Where did you all go?" She cried thickly. "Why did all you leave me?"
It broke Emmett's heart to see her in such pain, but he kept silent.
"I need you," She murmured, her emotions once again more suppressed.
"Amy..." Emmett said, wanting to comfort her. Her eyes shot up to him, angry, bloodshot, puffy.
"What are you doing here?!" She leaped to her feet, the conch horn clattering to the ground.
"Please-don't hate me," Emmett pleaded. "I need to explain things to you."
"I don't want to hear it."
"Amelia! Listen to me!" He stepped forward and grabbed her hand, but she yanked it away, angry tears streaming down her face again. She angrily wiped them away.
"I HATE YOU!" She screamed, each word stabbing him. "GOD DAMN IT, LEAVE ME ALONE!" She raised her fist and stepped forward, as if to punch him, but a screech distracted her. They both looked up at the sky, and dozens of various winged creatures were flying towards them. Forgetting about their conflict, Amy turned away and raised her bow, carefully firing a shot at one of the birds. A falcon screeched and plummeted to the earth, turning into a dying human.
"The Ciis," Amy whispered. She grabbed the conch horn off the ground and blew into it.
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