In a dark prison, a girl ran through the corridors, trying every door she came to. They were all locked. She screamed in frustration, sweat pouring down her forehead and chest. She tried another hallway, running until she was dumped out into a blank room. Dead end.
She could hear the other prisoners chuckling in their cells. They knew she was trapped just as well as she did. Their laughter mocked her, taunted her. Distracted her from her flight.
She wouldn't let that happen.
She pressed herself against the dirt wall, trying to think of a solution. Tears threatened to burn their way down her dirty cheeks.
Cell by cell, the other inmates fell silent as her pursuer walked slowly towards her.
She tried to picture a place, any place. Just somewhere she had been happy.
That was hard to find. Everywhere she had gone in her life, she had been locked up. Slowly, it came to her. The warm sun, pouring down on the dew-dropped grass, sparkling in the light. Under a tree was a swing, gliding to and from in the breeze.
Knowing there was no hope left, her captors were only a few steps away, she slid down the wall, thinking of her swing. The weightless feeling in her stomach when she leaned back too far. Her mother- at least, she thought it was her mother, was calling in her in to dinner.
It almost felt real... the smell of freshly cut grass, the gentle warmth of the sun, the rough bark scratching her back through the rips in her tee shirt...
Her eyes snapped open. She saw the old tree, and the swing, rocking back and forth in the afternoon breeze, just like she pictured it. Except that it was real.
Then, she looked at her hands. She was free.
She had finally done it. She had gotten away!
She laughed, a raw aching sound. She hadn't laughed in years. She unfolded her skinny legs and spun around, her bare feet
Then, she stopped.
If she had gone from one place to another, that meant that she was one of them. NO! She couldn't be one of them, not one of the travelers. The travelers, more often called Jumpers were the enemy of the Paladins. The Paladins had imprioned her all her life, but that was the only way she had known.
Her mother was a famous Paladin, second in command. No one knew who her father was, that's why she was kept a secret... Just in case she was a Jumper. And that's who she turned out to be.
How could she have been so stupid? This is what they wanted all along. They wanted to force her into a jump so that they could have a legitimate reason to kill her at last. That meant she could never go back if she valued her life at all.
She snorted. Of course she valued her life, Jump or not. She was a Jumper now... sooner or later, she would die. Until then, she could live.
Then, a tall black man stepped out from behind the tree.
Rowland, The head Paladin.
"Well, well. I always thought you would end up one of them" He growled, starting to unwrap something.
The girl didn't like it, she knew what it was. A knife, weather steel. The servants had told her the name of Rowland's knife... The Jumper Slayer. And now he was going to kill her with it.
But he hadn't tied her up, he was just walking forwards, bringing the slayer out of it's wrapping. She could still run.
Faster than she could have imagined, he lunged with the knife, slashing her arm and narrowly missing her heart.
She screamed, propelling herself back away from him and clutching her bleeding arm.
"Go." Rowland said. "I will grant you mercy now, since you are a child.
She backed up further, confused.
"When you get older, beware. I will come after you. And I will kill you."
Then she Jumped, watching as Rowland melted away, and Broadway Street took over.
Miles away, David Rice woke up in his bed, sweating. He had this dream every night about the girl, a Jumper, just like him.
He'd been having this dream since he was nine... He felt like he knew her now. He could picture the girl's face - long brown hair, charp cheekbones, cupid's bow mouth. She looked so sad, so scared. Amelie, he had called her. That probably wasn't her real name, but since they weren't likely to meet anytime soon.
"When you get older..." Rowland's words from the dream echoed in his ears. Amelie couldn't be dead if he was still having the dreams, but she couldn't have much time left. It wasn't any of his business, but David felt drawn to her. He should find her, fight for her.
But where did he start?