"Jack! Jack, help! Help!" Crutchie yelled as he was dragged away from the others by Snyder and the Delanceys. "Jack!" he yelled one last time as they rounded a corner. Snyder silenced him with a glare, and the Delanceys hauled him up, forcing Crutchie to stumble on the rest of the way to the Refuge. He didn't see a way out of this one.

Crutchie lost his balance on the steps, tripping and falling into the Refuge. What a great entrance. He dragged himself to the center of the room where other children were huddled around in the corner. Snyder curled his lip, and was about to walk out of the room holding Crutchie's crutch, when Crutchie sat up. He looked up into Snyder's cold eyes.

"You're even uglier in person!" he burst out, not thinking. A few kids behind him laughed, but quickly quieted. Snyder stalked towards them, glaring. He raised the crutch, about to beat Crutchie, but stopped. A girl with startling green eyes and long brown hair ran in front of Crutchie, her arms spread out wide like she was shielding him from Snyder's wrath.

"No!" she yelled. Crutchie peeked out from behind, watching Snyder's face reach a dangerous red. He threw the crutch down and walked out. Morris and Oscar closed the door behind him with a bang. The girl knelt down to Crutchie's side.

"You alright?" she asked gently.

"Yeah," Crutchie tried to shrug it off, but was too mesmerized by her eyes. "It'll take more than that to hurt me. What's your name?"

She glanced to the door, and then fixed Crutchie with her amazing eyes.