This novel is limited to 100 free copies due to its part in Inkitt’s Novel Contest.
I stare out at the sky, feeling exhilaration surround me.
There is really nothing to be seen; the world is just painted in a blurry monochrome, Even the sky. Shadows flit across the land, but there’s no one to be seen. Of course, I’m used to this.
I wonder what it was all like long ago when the elders told us stories about it passed down for many generations- about those colors. Not the black, gray, and white that paints our world now, but real colors. Not the monotony- colors.
It’s already 6972, and I wonder after three thousand years, the world would ever change. Of course, that’s impossible. But I can’t let go of the hope. I know, I’m just damn naive.
I slip down from the roof and consider going back to bed. The latter would be to go out to trade.
We work at the farm, my mother and I. My father left us a long time ago. I’ve never considered the inner details important. To leave my mother and me in this state, I doubt that he is anything but a damned man.
I decide the more slightly safer option. I go back to bed. Trading is supposed to be illegal, but I do so because just relying on the farm will mean certain death for us this year. There is a drought going on, and I doubt that we can get much out of the farm, if anything at all.
I slip through the window, fall into my bed, and look up at the ceiling. I finally get up after a few moments as I realize that the sky is brightening.
“Ekaterina!” calls a voice- my mother. Who else would call me Ekaterina?
My full name is Ekaterina Sacremoto, but no one but my mother calls me Ekaterina. Everybody else calls me Katia; the people of the trade market, our neighbors and friends, mostly everybody in Section Eight, I suppose.
There are ten Sections, simply called Section One, Section Two, Section Three, et cetera. I belong in Section Eight, where we are the farmers. They say that ‘careless talk cost lives’ in the ancient times from the few books that we own in the library. In here, careless work cost lives. One mistake, and we will have almost no food for the entire year.
“Ekaterina!” calls my mother again, this time more urgently.
“Yes?” I call back.
“Come over!” There is a tremor in her voice.
I frown. Are the trading people here for something? But then, why would my mother be so frightened? Has something happened?
Questions flood my mind as I hurry downstairs. As I see the people on the front door, my mother trembling, I stare.
The Officials are here.
It makes no sense. Why would they be here, at this moment?
The Officials are the people who take care of us, who are the rule-makers and follow the orders of the High Officials. But there is no reason for them to be here now. I am not illegally trading, not like some others do. There is no reason for them to be here.
“Ekaterina Sacremoto?” asks the woman.
“Yes,” I say.
“Sixteen years old?”
“We have been given orders to take you into the Training.”
I gasp. “But it’s not-”
“No, it’s not the usual time.” The woman’s blue eyes pierce me, and for a moment I see- is that sympathy? “But we have our orders.”
“We’ve been given no warning,” my mother protests.
“We have our orders,” the woman repeats.
When all of us turn sixteen, we are forced to live in the wild for sixteen days, without anything special given; no jackets, no water, no food, no weapons, nothing.We have to do it all by themselves- whether we want it or not.
If we can’t supply themselves with any of these things, we will die. And our families, our friends- none of them can help us, and those who can are not allowed to. Those are the weaklings, fated to die. Only the strongest can survive here.
Before this, we are allowed to Train for three days. There are people who are experts on fishing, weapon-makers, camouflage experts, et cetera.
But it is at a certain date- April 21st. Right now, it's the middle of winter.
It makes no sense. Why now?
OpheliaJones: This story took a different kind of spin on the "normal girl lives with definitely not normal guy" plot. The plot points of Frey's father, Liam's family, and Frey's view of Liam's world were good to read. She did not fall in love with him in the first couple weeks. Their lives were not smooth in ...
maewilde25: I liked this, though it dragged on for over 200pages and heaven knows I did not expect the plot twist in the middle. David being Cristiãn. I was wondering when he would show up and didn't know he was there all along. it looks like there should be a sequel, please let there be a sequel. I know the...
Ruby0h: Overall I thought your story was really good! It drew me in right away and kept me interested as the story progressed. I loved the character of Kayla being inserted into this story, and the way she affected and shaped the life of the original story into something totally new and interesting. I lo...
Flik: Hi! ^.^ huge fan of yours on ff.net! When I saw the note about this contest on The Way We Smile, I couldn't help but rush over here, create an account, and vote! XD Seriously love this story and would recommend it to anyone! :D best FT fanfiction out there. Amazing story, amazing concept that wa...
Giuliana Cassetta: My face is full of tears, I never cried like now with a book or even a movie. I loved every single chapter. I truly don't know what to say, I'm out of words and my eyes hurt from crying. Such an bittersweet story, it's so wonderful. One of my favorites for sure. Keep it up!
Alex Rushmer: Chapter One: Not much is happening in this chapter, but I was absolutely fascinated by the depth of your character development. I love how you just sat there with the reader and explored Eddward. Usually, that sort of thing gets boring very fast, but this was actually really cool! He's so unique ...
Jason Phang: More, I want MORE! Your stories are keeping me from games and (gasp) even sleep! Each chapter brought fresh hooks that I willingly wolfed down (pun intended) and I just couldn't bear going to sleep not knowing what happens next to Lindsay and Wayne. I also loved how the epilogue was done. Excelle...
Jennifer Sibley Jannise: So, I originally read the book because my daughter asked me to. However, I read it in 2 days and thoroughly enjoyed it. It is well written and thought out. If the author writes and publishes any more books, I would definitely read them.
zoheusher20: What more can I say? The writing style and little details drew me into the book and for the entirety of the story I was Juliet. I felt her turmoil and emotions and every trouble or triumph as they arrived. This story was very different and had quite a few little but unexpected twists that made it...
JONANNA: As an avid reader it is not often I say that about a book. The plot is what was different and the twists where unexpected. This book is defiantly a page turner and enjoyable read. I can't wait to reread this novel after a little editing to finish off the shine on this wonderful novel.
kwilliams: I am an avid reader, and I do mean AVID and few indie authors capture my attention the way you have. I absolutely fell in love with these characters and their story. I'm usually not a fan of the cliff hanger endings (be it a series or not), but this one made me download the Kindle app just so I c...
Satabda Chatterjee: Each and every charecter develops during the whole course of the journey and keeps secretly love for the princess . However the way that writter expressed each situatuons that the princess faced quite relevant and keeps the suspense always at the end of the chapter. . . .which makes the reader m...
Sandra Estrada: I loved every minute of it and I thank my lucky stars that brought me to the story, it's been a whirlwind of emotions, plot twist after plot twist but I never got tired of them. Abby and Kade's story is a hard one to understand but once you're submerged in their story and love, you can't help but...