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In a place known to those who live there as Threchan: three societies reside. These societies are permanent, once born into one; there is no escaping its deadly claws. You must abide by the rules or be executed. There is no sympathy for those who disobey the law. Any breach of the law is considered heinous and will not be taken lightly. Those who obey will be reworded at the age of 82.
You are expected to obey.
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Chapter One; Bonitans: Part Two
Her feet were carrying her out of the house before she realized what she was doing. Jolene ran out onto the dusty dirt road, gagging on dry air she was breathing in. She ran until her lungs burned, a dull fire glowing in her chest as she bent over; hands on her knees, eyes squeezed tight.
How could they be taking James? James was the closest thing that she had to a friend. While most siblings fought, her and James laughed. They were two peas in a pod.
Faiens didn’t have time for friends. It was generally work, education, eat, and sleep. There was no time to hang out with anyone who didn’t live within the confinements of one home.
Jolene was there when James needed him, and she was there when he needed her. She couldn’t bear the thought of her older brother leaving to fight in the army. It wasn’t comprehensible.
She opened her eyes as she felt something ice-cold run over her toes. She hadn’t realized that she had brought herself to the ocean. This was where she went whenever she was upset.
After a heavy sigh that burned her lungs she walked over to the tree and sat down, not worrying about her sister freaking out that she had run away. They knew where to find her. If she sat there long enough, someone, most likely James, would come looking for her.
She put her head between her knees as if to keep from passing out, but she wasn’t actually dizzy. She sat there for what seemed like minutes, listening to the water lapse over the sand when she heard footsteps.
She didn’t have to look up to know that it was indeed James who had followed her. She could tell by the way he walked. He always seemed to step down harder with his left foot, almost stomping. He was limping, and he didn’t look like he was limping, it was just the rhythm of his steps.
“You alright,” James asked as he sat down next to her, leaning on the tree.
“Shouldn’t I be asking you that?” Jolene asked in return as she looked up at him.
He didn’t reply.
“How can they do this?” Jolene’s voice was hardly above a whisper. She looked away from her stoic brother and out to the water.
“They can do whatever they want. Hurting a Faien family doesn’t concern them.” He was talking about the High Office. The H.O. The place that made every decision that took effect. All run by Bonitans.
“This isn’t fair.” She said, slamming her fists into the sand. “They can’t just take my only brother away, especially not since you’re the only male in the family!” She could have been screaming, but her voice was so low that she wasn’t even sure that he heard her.
“You have Henry.” He said in a cool, nonchalant voice. Was she really taking this harder than he himself was?
“Henry is no blood relation to us. He and Anabel aren’t even married yet!”
“But they count as our– your legal guardian.”
Jolene let out another sigh. The burning in her lungs had receded immensely. “I wish that they couldn’t take you. Who am I going to talk to?” She hadn’t meant to say the last part. She didn’t want her brother feeling bad for her about leaving to his possible death.
“Anabel,” He answered anyway.
Jolene didn’t reply, instead she stood up, noticing how low the sun had gotten. She offered her hand to her brother, who took as he stood up.
“We should get going.” She said, looking up at him.
“It’ll be okay. I’ll come home before you know it.” He smiled but we both knew that he wasn’t coming home. Hardly anyone ever came home from fighting the Muerten.
He messed with the hair on the top of her head she managed a smile, for his sake. He turned around and started walking home. She followed in silent pursuit.
Once they were back at home Anabel looked concerned for the both of them. Jolene tried to give her a reassuring smile, but knew she wasn’t much of an actress.
After that she went straight to her room, locking the door behind her. She shouldn’t have run out like that. It was stupid and rash. Now her sister would never stop worrying about her. Anabel didn’t need to worry about her, Anabel needed to worry about James.
Jolene hadn’t realized that she had fallen asleep until she was awake. She still had her shoes on and her curly hair was frizzed out in strange directions. Her grandmother’s quilt was rolled around her like a tight cocoon. There was a kink in her neck from having lain on it strangely. She sat up and looked at the little clock on her nightstand. It was six in the morning.
She blinked her eyes groggily and stood up, carefully unwrapping herself from the quilt. She walked to the door and unlocked it. She listened out but could only hear the gruff breathing of Henry down the hall. She slipped out and into the bathroom, turning the water on and stripping herself of her sweaty clothes.
The water ran like a lukewarm blanket around her shoulders. She let it pull the tangles from her hair and then grabbed the bar of soap from the window sill and cleaned herself. She felt stiff all over.
After she was finished she tiptoed into her room and got dressed, letting her long, dark hair lay around her shoulders.
When she came out Anabel already had breakfast finished. “Good morning,” Anabel said to her as she walked into the kitchen.
“‘Morning,” Jolene replied back in a rather flat voice as she sat down at the table.
James walked in, clearing his throat. “I never, uhh, got to finish reading my letter to you all.” He said awkwardly holding the piece of paper in her hands.
Jolene’s stomach turned but she looked up at him to listen anyway. Most of the rest of the letter was just about training before officially leaving the city and safety precautions. But Jolene felt her stomach drop as he read the last paragraph.
“Officials would like you to pack up immediately and leave for the training center by Wednesday. You may bring nothing with you. Clothes, food, water, and stationary for communication will be provided for you there.
Good luck soldier, High Officer Bolts.”
Jolene felt as if she were going to throw up. She clutched at her stomach as James lowered the letter from his face.
“I have to leave by tomorrow.” He said, telling us what we all already knew.
No one said anything after that. Not even Anabel who could never keep her mouth shut. Jolene wished with all her heart that she could just make time stop, or even reverse it. She wanted things to go back to the way they were yesterday, before the man came to their door with the terrible news. But that, of course, was impossible.
“Will you excuse me?” Jolene asked, already standing up.
“Of course dear,” Her sister said, but she had already gone. Once she was in her room again she wished that she had at least taken a drink of her water on the table. He throat was bone dry.
Her brother, her best friend, had to leave by tomorrow morning.” She felt tears sting the backs of her eyes, but she would not cry. She took a deep breath and stood up as straight she could. She would not cry. She would go back out there, and make today worth it.
She would enjoy her last day with her brother, if was the last day she had with her best friend, she wanted it to be a good one.
Alrighty guys, I hope you liked it. It is written in third person, I hope you don't mind. I think I may switch to writing in third person, due to the fact that I prefer it. BUT I would like to know your opinion! Which did you like better, first or third person?
Anyway, your usual opinions and predictions are appriciated!
IT'S SO WONDERFUL! I adore this story Claire!
So the third person was okay?
Awww. This sucks that James have to leave on Wednesday! Wow! I would cried all the time! Love it.
Oh yay! Thank Nikki!!!!
Chapter Two; Abbot: Part One
Jolene pulled at her dress uncomfortably. Her plans to make James’ last day the best had been crushed by her sister’s authority. “Let’s all go out to dinner tonight!” Anabel had suggested enthusiastically. There was not turning down Anabel’s suggestions, ever. What Anabel wanted Anabel got, both because she was the legal guardian of both Jolene and James (well, not James any more) and because Henry was quick to baby her, to let her have whatever she wanted, whatever the cost. Jolene hated getting dressed up almost as much as Anabel didn’t. She didn’t mind wearing dresses, she actually liked dresses, but she didn’t like the fancy ones that clung to a person like gnats to a bright light.
Anabel loved getting dressed up though, so they all did. She loved to go out to eat too. She liked being around the Bonitans. It made Jolene sick. It wasn’t even as if her family could eat in the same restaurant as the Bonitans anyway. It’s not like it wasn’t allowed, but if a Faien walked into a prejudiced restaurant they were guaranteed bad service, bad food, and bad everything else. Jolene heard herself sigh.
“Stop fidgeting.” Anabel said to her batting her hands away from her dress.
Jolene obeyed and looked across the table at James. She could feel his unease. Everyone wore a smile except for Jolene. She could hear the tension in the air; it was like a thick, static sound. Everyone tried to break through it, Anabel with her giggles and positive comments, Henry with his lame jokes, and James, grinning away as if nothing was wrong.
Was she the only one that wasn’t afraid to act upset? Apparently so.
The waiter cleared his throat and set down a tray with our plates on it. He was a tall, muscular boy; he appeared to be James’ age, maybe a bit younger, more like Jolene’s age. She recognized him, but not enough to tell anyone from where, or what his name was. “Here you are guys; I hope you’ll find everything to your liking.” He grinned down at them, his eyes bright and blue, his hair the color of wheat in well-taken-care-of field. She could see that his smile was just that, a smile, it had no emotion behind it. But with that, he was gone, leaving us to sort through our own plates. James and Henry quickly grabbed up theirs. Anabel handed Jo hers and then grabbed her own.
“So, I was thinking that tomorrow, when we drop James off at the train station, we could go fabric shopping.” Anabel said casually, looking over at Jolene.
Jolene felt her chest tighten, how can she be so nonchalant about this? James was going away, and most likely never coming back. “Sure,” she said, keeping her eyes down on her food.
“What kind of fabric do you want to get? I hear that that thin cotton you used to like when you were little is coming back into style. I even saw a Bonitan wearing a dress like the one Mom used to love so much.” Anabel blabbered, taking a bite of her chicken salad. “I could make you one just like it.” She finished once she had swallowed her food.
Jolene tried to smile nicely for Anabel as she nodded her head. “Sure, I’d like that.” She said, even though she didn’t know what dress Anabel had been talking about. Their mother died when she was very young, she didn’t remember her much. She wished that she did, but she didn’t.
Henry tapped his glass with his fork, making a loud noise, attempting to get the waiter’s attention. Jolene took the first bite of her meal, Anabel had ordered her soup, which was fine with Jolene, she liked soup, but this one was a strange pink color. She tasted it, and to her delight found that it tasted like strawberries.
“I believe that waiter was making eyes at you.” Henry said as he watched the waiter walk away with his glass. Henry looked over at Jo, grinning.
“Probably because she had her face in her soup,” Anabel said, taking a bit of her own food. “I’m guessing that I ordered you something yummy?” She asked, looking up from her plate at Jolene, giving her a bright smile. Jo nodded and smiled herself.
“Why would you think that?” Jolene asked, her eyes prying the busy restaurant for the boy.
“Because he was,” James said, a grin playing on his own lips. Jolene could feel her cheeks heat up ever so slightly. Henry and James liked to tease her about boys; it was one of those things that never ceased. They had even tried to set her up with a boy once. It hadn’t worked out very well, the boy was a total jerk, had actually nearly made her cry. Her teeth sunk into her bottom lip. “Should I ask him for his number?” James asked, his tone sarcastic, face lighting up.
“I think that’s a wonderful idea!” Henry said, “We’ll ask him when he brings my drink back!”
“What?” Jolene’s tone had risen in her exasperation. James’ voice had been teasing, Henry’s was dead serious. “I don’t think so.” Jolene said, shaking her head and raising her eyebrows, but grinning all the same.
Henry’s face lit up as he came back, “Don’t!” Jolene whisper yelled.
“Here you are sir,” The boy said, setting Henry’s drink down. Jolene caught the boy’s eyes for a quick moment.
“Thank you, now I have a question,” Henry grinned, watching Jolene. She felt her heart speed up to an impossible pace. How could he do this to her?
“Yes sir?” The boy asked.
“Your name, you aren’t wearing a name tag.” Henry grinned and looked up at the boy, who looked down at his shirt, looking surprised.
“Oh, I’m sorry, It’s Abbot.” He grinned, his eyes glancing to Jolene and then back to Henry.
“Well, Abbot, I’ll be sure to leave you behind a nice tip.” Henry said and patted the boy’s arm.
“Oh thank you sir, that’s very kind of you.” Abbot grinned with a nice smile, his teeth were white and straight, unlike James’ which were crooked and slightly yellowed from not having good toothpaste.
“Don’t mention it kiddo.” Henry said and then nodded Abbot and goodbye for the moment.
Abbot said another thank you and left to attend another table.
“Was that really necessary?” Anabel said, looking up from her salad, “You nearly gave the poor girl a heart attack, and you know that we won’t be able to afford a large tip for him.”
“We’ll manage him something.” Henry said, his voice losing some of the joy that had been there only a second before.
The rest of dinner went by in a whirl of strawberry and laughs. Despite the circumstances, Jolene was sincerely enjoying herself. She was almost sad when it was time to leave. Henry left Abbot a nice tip and Jolene added her pocket change to it when no one was looking.
Henry said a loud goodbye to the boy as they walked out the door into the humid night. Anabel took Henry’s arm and walked ahead of James and Jo.
“Did you recognize that Abbot kid?” James asked her, looking down at her.
“Yeah, but I can’t pin point where, why?” She asked, looking up at him.
“I don’t know, it’s just been bothering me.” He said, scratching the back of his neck.
“I know what you mean, but I wouldn’t worry too much about it, you probably recognize him from when we were in elementary school or something, before we were forced to pay.” She said, thinking back to that time. They had gone to public school until she was ten. Then, in her switch to a middle school program, they, the High Office made all Faiens and Lavoratens pay for public schooling. Most people went to home schooling after that.
“Probably,” James said, stretching his arms back behind his head and looking up at the sky. “You know, I wonder if I’ll be able to see the stars through the trees when I go wherever I’m going outside of the city.” He said thoughtfully.
“If you look hard enough,” Jo’s voice was hardly above a whisper, “I’m sure you’ll be able to.”
James nodded. The rest of the walk home was spent in silence. Once they got there everyone dispersed to their bedrooms except for Jolene.
She brought her quilt out into the living room and sat down on the couch, curling up inside of it, even though it was too hot for it. She stared at the blank screen of the television and then at the photo albums, lined up neatly in the shelves around it.
She got up and pulled a few out then went back to her spot on the couch and lit a candle.
She didn’t know how long she spent out there, but she finally found the photo she was looking for. It was of her whole family. Her parents were smiling, in the middle; a very young Anabel was standing next to her mother. Their grandma was on the other side, next to Dad. Sitting in her lap was two small toddlers; James and Jolene. Both of them were grinning away, as if there was nothing wrong in the world. Of course, back then, there wasn’t.
Hey everyone! I hope you liked this part of chapter two!
Please don't forget to leave me your opinions, predictions, and even tips!
-Claire J. Darling