"Mom! No, don't go! Don't leave me! Please!" I cried as tears rolled down my cheeks.

My mother knelt down to give me one last embrace. She pushed away and cupped my face.

"Honey," she said, "I have to. I don't have a choice. Stay safe, sweetheart. And hide—never go out in the open, and keep in the shadows. Okay?"

I hung my head in resignation. I couldn't go up against my mother's last words to me. Deep down I knew she had to leave. Every day that passed, she was putting my life in more and more danger. It was only a matter of time before I was exposed, before they discovered that she had a daughter. A human daughter.

Why couldn't she be one of them? Why did she have to go through all this? I would rather it be me! She served her time there. She had done exactly what they wanted…but failed.

I knew that even though she said to stay safe and hidden—which was possibly the hardest thing any girl could ever hope to do—I would eventually follow in her footsteps, and be taken as well. I wasn't old enough yet, and I hadn't matured enough, but it wouldn't matter once I was found out—or, according only to my mother, if I was found out. I couldn't bring myself to understand why she was trying to comfort me. My own mother was being taken away. She was leaving. Permanently. I would never see her again unless… I felt heavy shivers run through my spine.

Why couldn't those monsters just do what we did? They didn't have to steal us from each other! We could all coexist if we tried! There was no real need for separation of the classes, so to speak.

I frowned; my teeth gritted, my tears still flooding my eye, and my soul currently being torn apart with each blink of her eyes. No…Mom… I needed her… If she was going, I wanted her to— No… I couldn't say that I wanted to go with her. I wanted neither of us to go, but we both had to face facts—she was going no matter what happened. Not because she wanted to of course, but because she had to.

I shook my head and tried to tell her to come with me, to hide a little longer; but no words would come forth as I moved my mouth. My throat had closed up and wouldn't allow for a single sound.

My mother gently kissed my forehead and smiled. "I'll be okay, sweetie. It'll just be for a little while."

No… No it wouldn't… It would be for the rest of her life. Then it would be my turn.

I shook my head again and looked up at her, silently pleading my heart out to stay with me. We had a chance if she would just stay. That's what I wanted to believe at least. The truth was that no one had ever escaped the place she was going.

Although there had been a rumor as of late that a hole had opened in their security. Somehow people were starting to come out. They think it was something from the inside that was malfunctioning. Maybe my mother would be able to get through that hole, if it existed. I sure hoped so…

Because what girl wants their mother to go? The freaks. The ones that take their mothers for granted. They were blind. Blinder than bats. Everyone would endure the same fate, which would be passed on to the next generation, and then the next, and so on and so forth. When I was younger, I was the blind freak. I grew older, though, and realized how this twisted world worked.

I only realized it, unfortunately, after my mother miraculously came back. I didn't know whether she had escaped or was allowed out, and I never bothered to ask. I had been so happy to see her again…and now she was leaving, this time never coming back.

I just…I didn't want her to leave… I needed her but I knew she didn't need me. And she was going to be taken sooner or later. It was hard to believe she wanted to turn herself in just because I existed.

"Honey," my mom cooed, "I'll be fine. Just remember what I told you about hiding. Do not let them find you."

I reluctantly nodded. I hoped she knew how hard this was for me. She was the only family I had. Now I would have to turn to my friend Tucker, whose mother had already been taken and unlike mine, wasn't going to come back. At least he has his father though. I didn't know what happened to mine. One day he was there, the next he was gone. I doubted he left us—he loved us too much for that. Something had to have happened to him. I just didn't know what.

But for now, I would have to stay hidden like my mother wanted me to. But to stay safe? Well. We'll have see about that because I honestly don't think that would be possible. Hidden and safe just didn't go together in this world.


Other chapters will be longer. Consider this one a prologue.