PROLOGUE


Amongst the rubble there are no discernable landmarks, no way for me to tell which pile is mine. As far as I can see, the landscape all looks the same. The line between the Townies and Seam inhabitants finally blurred, united through horrible tragedy. Everything has been decimated, reduced to piles. It's all brown - mud covering splintered pieces of wood and undiscernible household items. There are places where even the earth is shredded, the force of the wind has ground a clear path. The devastation is profound.

We are a small, bustling community so the quiet is disconcerting. There is always someone around and noise emanating down the street, busy voices, the thriving sounds of life. That's all gone now, there is nothing indicating life as it was. The occasional wail punctuates the eerie silence, mournful and drawn out and then gone, as if they realized that there is no need to cry because there is no one to answer.

I pass a woman cradling a child's broken body and I realize that I don't even know where to begin looking for my family. Our lives were meager already, the only richness coming from relationships with others, but now even that has been stripped away. There are some people, bloodied and wandering aimlessly, but none of the faces look familiar, even though they should in a place as small as this.

I should have never left the district. Hunting could have waited, we had tesserae bread to tide us over.

I felt it. I never should have crossed the fence into the forest, not when I felt it.

Just like everyone else, I noticed it. That heavy feeling to the air, the dread pricking my stomach from the knowledge that the atmospheric pressure was just a bit off. I knew it was what the old timers call a perfect condition type of day, a precarious day between spring and summer when hot and cold collide and bad things happen. Perfect conditions that resulted in a nightmare of epic proportions.

I just didn't think that it would happen.

Who does?

Who thinks that today will be the day that my district is reduced to piles of wood and broken bodies.

I stop in front of the wreckage of someone's home and take it all in. I believe I am in Town now; the wreckage is all so similar, but it feels as if I have crossed that line between Town and Seam. Some family's life lays bare before me, their entire story reduced to one heap of rubble. Everything is destroyed except for a small rag doll, laying in almost pristine condition amongst the muddy piles – I can guarantee that from the state of the house, the doll will never be played with again.

The shock suddenly fades and the urgency hits, I have to find my sister…my mother…but I have no clue where to start.

How to I begin to search for them when I don't even know exactly where I am?