Dani’s Diary Entry Four

 

Entry Four: 

 

Mom I have never felt so much pain in my life. The Society tried to hack my Numbers software to find out where I was. Luckily Aaron and Evelynn were able to disable the tracking without taking out my Numbers. Mommy it hurts so bad. I was being electrocuted. I can’t get the memory of the pain out of my head. I guess there is some good The Society does if it keeps people from feeling things like that. I hope wherever they have you they aren’t putting you through stuff like that. When I was waking up I heard Willow talking to someone I think about me. It was weird and I don’t really know because I am so messed up from the pain. She came to check on me and I found out that she has never been a member of The Society. She doesn’t have Numbers or anything. Willow has lived inside this mountain her whole life. My heart broke for her mom. To know nothing of these walls would be awful. I also feel terrible because when I realized that she wasn’t Aarons soulmate my heart lept out of my chest. I feel so guilty to be so happy about her misfortune. 

Mom Aaron just came in to check on me so I will write soon. I love you

 

Dani

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Dani’s Diary Entry Number Three

Entry Three: 




Oh my god!!! I met the sexiest guy I have ever seen mom. I wish you could be here to see him! You would die! The thing that sucks though mom is that his Numbers are at zero. He has a match. I wish I could have matched with someone like him. Not only is he super hot but he is so nice. You can tell he really wants to be my friend. His match Willow is really beautiful too. Her skin is so fair and her hair is long and white. She doesn’t seem to like me much but hopefully she will come around because I think she is so cool, and her mom is even cooler. Mom, Evelynn is seriously the most amazing bad ass woman I have ever met. No offense. She runs the whole Entity and she is so nice to me. I guess you know her though because they found me. I can’t wait to see you again mom. I miss you so much. I love you

Dani.

Dani’s Diary Entry Two

Entry two:




I have been driving for so long. I am so tired. I finally found a place to stay, and I got to sleep for at least a little while. I woke up to the phone ringing The Society called to warn me to stay where I was but I ran anyway. I’m at the car dealership now waiting for the guy to get all of my paperwork done so I can leave again. I am terrified of The Society catching up to me but I have to get a new car. They really messed mine up. I don’t know how I am supposed to run like this. I have no idea where I am or where to go. I miss mom so much. Maybe I should go turn myself in so I can keep her safe. No I can’t do that or else she would have sacrificed everything for nothing. I have learned in such a short time that everything I know is a lie. I can’t help but to hate myself. I am a mistake. Maybe the world doesn’t need me around, it’s not like there’s anyone to love me anyway.




Dani.

Dani’s Diary Entry One:

 

 

Hey there. So mom gave me this to write in during my time in college so I guess I will start now. Tomorrow is the day my Numbers run out, and I am freaking out. I don’t know how i’m supposed to sleep on a night like this. Mom says it will be amazing. You will see them and just know. I keep looking down at my arm thinking the time is going to change but it doesn’t. I wonder what he will be like. What if he is shorter than me? What if it is love at first sight? My heart is racing, I am so excited. I haven’t met many people here so I am excited to finally have someone to talk to. I really need to get to getting everything ready for tomorrow but I just can’t focus. Well I don’t really know what else to write so I guess I will just go to bed now.

Dani’s Diary Entry One:

 

 


Hey there. So mom gave me this to write in during my time in college so I guess I will start now. Tomorrow is the day my Numbers run out, and I am freaking out. I don’t know how i’m supposed to sleep on a night like this. Mom says it will be amazing. You will see them and just know. I keep looking down at my arm thinking the time is going to change but it doesn’t. I wonder what he will be like. What if he is shorter than me? What if it is love at first sight? My heart is racing, I am so excited. I haven’t met many people here so I am excited to finally have someone to talk to. I really need to get to getting everything ready for tomorrow but I just can’t focus. Well I don’t really know what else to write so I guess I will just go to bed now.

Chapter Five

Each bump the van takes hits my body. I reach up to pull the hood off but it wont move. The Society put a lock around my neck making the opening to tight to fit over my head. Sitting up I lean against the wall and try to breathe in deep. Freaking out now won’t help me. This is exactly what we wanted. It just sucks that it happened right as Aaron was about to tell me something. I close my eyes and think of our kiss. I wasn’t my first but damn it was amazing. My heart races even thinking about it.

It takes what seems like hours to get to wherever The Society is taking me. I pray that Aaron is okay and that he is going to the same place as I am. Finally the van stops and I hear the doors opening. A hand grabs me hard and pulls me out. I fall and hit my knee hard on the concrete. A scream comes from my throat, my hands going to my leg. A gruff man huffs and pulls me forward. Panic bubbles inside me as I stumble on with a strange man squeezing my arm.

I try to look around but the bag over my head lets no light in. I struggle to breathe as my panic rises. I can’t get enough air into my lungs and I start to hyperventilate. The bag gets sucked into my mouth as I gasp for air, gagging me. I try to focus on where we are going to calm me down. I count my steps and turns quietly whispering them to myself to calm my breathing. 15 steps forward, turn right, 30 steps forward, turn left, 22 steps, stop, enter a room. I’m then shoved into a chair and the door shuts. They left the hood over my face. I want to cry. I am not strong enough for this!

The door opens with a screech and I hear footsteps over to me. The stranger stops next to me. I can feel them next to me, they lean close enough to me that I can hear their breathing softly. I feel the air brush against the hood. Goosebumps crawl over my skin. After several breaths my captor moves to unlatch the chain that is keeping the hood secure over my head.

Light overwhelms my eyes and I flinch to the side, away from the person in the room with me. I look around the room, anywhere but the person standing so close to me. The bright room is the size of an average bedroom. All of the walls are stark white with what I assume to be a one way mirror on the wall on the farthest side from me. The table that sits right in front of me is white as well. It has two hooks in the middle of it for someone to be cuffed to the table. The room I am in must be an interrogation room, at least from what I’ve seen on TV it looks like it. Finally I have nowhere to look but the man that’s at my side.

Slowly I take a deep breath in and turn my head to see my company. When I finally meet eyes with this man I have to blink several times to even begin to register who is standing right next to me. My dad. The man who I haven’t seen for years. The man I believed dead, is right in front of me. My mouth runs dry as true sadness overwhelms me. This person who I had mourned when I was 8 is standing next to me alive and well. I lick my lips trying to replenish moisture in my mouth. “Dad?”

The dead man smiles at me. He looks as if he finally was whole again. My heart sinks further into my stomach. How many times had I wanted to see that smile again. Tears well in my eyes as I stare up into my long lost fathers. He has the same eyes as me. I think back to just before he died. He took me fishing, one of the only times I actually caught anything. Mom had packed us a cooler full of snacks and sandwiches for lunch. We went down close to the water and set everything up. He held my hand the whole walk from the car to the water, something he rarely did. Normally dad was really distant and kept farther away from me, but not today. We each had a chair his was giant compared to my small pink and purple kids chair.

I sat and watched as dad set up my pole, putting a hook and bobber on. Then he pulled out a little jar of small grey fish. He unscrewed the jar and pulled one of the small wiggly little fish out and shoved the large hook through its face and then cast it out into the water. I stared up at him as he handed me the pole, “why did we have to hurt the tiny fish daddy?” He looked down at me in amusement a smile at his lips. “Because that’s the world Dani sometimes you have to kill to get what you want.” With that he did the same to his pole and cast it out into the water as well. I never thought about the comment again until now. Now with him standing in front of me those words ring true but I am not entirely sure why.

“Hello Danielle, I am sure you are surprised to see me again.” He smiles and takes his hand and runs it down my hair. I look at him allowing the confusion to show in my expression hoping that is enough for him to explain himself. His smile grows wider with the amusement growing inside him. “I work for The Society Danielle, you were broken and they knew it. When they told me that you were broken I didn’t want you anymore. Your mom was a bitch and you were broken, no one was meant to love you. So I had The Society fake my death so I could be rid of your mom and you. The Numbers work perfect for some, I was an exception, and being so high in The Society I was able to get out of my match and get a new wife and start over with a less broken family.”

So dad had known from the start that my Numbers were broken and he didn’t do anything to help or fix me. He left. He never loved me. That’s why he was always so distant from me. “Now Danielle, since you didn’t come in when we asked your fate will be worse than your mother’s.” Shock crosses my face and my heart rate quickens when the one way mirror lights up showing me the room next door. Mom sits in a chair just like mine. Her arms are cuffed to the table and her body chained to the chair. She is slumped down with just the chains holding her up. Her face is bloodied and bruised like she had been beaten several times.

I look to dad pure hatred showing over his face at the mere sight of my mom. Her clothes have been torn and are stained with blood. Her torture has been going on for so long and it’s all my fault. I look back at mom my heartbreaking for everything all at once. My mom has been suffering while I am gaining friends. My dad was probably the one to do this to her, and I didn’t stop it when I could. “Please can I go to her one last time if you’re going to do anything to me. I am so happy I got to see you again before anything happens to me, I would like to see mom one last time too. Please?” I look at him putting all the love for him that I had into my eyes, pleading with him. Looking down he nods to let me go through the door to see my broken mother.

I run into her room and over to her. “Mom, I’m here. Oh god I am so sorry I didn’t come earlier. Mom I love you, I am so so sorry.” I kneel down beside my mom and take her face in my hands, careful not to touch any bruises she has. Tears form and roll down my cheeks as hold her. Just after I came into the room mom started to come to a bit. A smile formed on her lips as her eyes fall on my face.

“Baby girl, you’re here. I missed you so much. Oh sweety I love you so much.” tears spill from her eyes streaking down her cheeks mixing with the blood on her face. The tears must burn her wounds because she winces. The pain brings her back fully into the world and she sits up and stares at me. “You shouldn’t be here. How did you get here? I couldn’t have told them where you were because I didn’t even know. Oh my god. He is going to kill you.” She looks around with a wild look of confusion and anger.

“Mom. It’s okay. Listen to me mom.” I take her face in my hands again and direct her to look into my eyes. “Mom it’s okay, I let myself get caught. I found the Entity, we have a plan.” I say all of this under my breath into her ear like I’m pretending to just hug her. I whisper the whole plan to her then I do hug her. I really hug her, as tight as I can without hurting her broken body.

We sit and cry together. We cry for dad, we cry for each other, and we cry for hope. Something that has been lost to both of us for as long as dad has been dead. To both of us, the thought of him hating us but still being alive is a better fate than him being dead.

Chapter Four

It’s been about a week since my procedure and I’m finally starting to feel like myself again. My arm is healing and Evelynn said I should be getting my stitches removed soon. Every night since though I have been having very vivid dreams. I can’t tell if they are memories or if they are just dreams. Everyone of them have seemed so real. Sitting in the cafeteria now I can almost still feel the sand of the beach from my first dream.

Aaron waves his hand in front of my face as I sit and stare into space. “Hello? What are you thinking about Dani?” I look up not even realizing I had been spacing.

“I was thinking about this dream I had. Can The Society erase your memories?” I look at him expecting me to tell me no right away, instead he looks at me with surprise. “Yes they can. Do you think you are remembering something?” I tell Aaron about my dreams and how real they feel and how I remember bits and pieces of some of them

He looks at me puzzled. Most of the time when your memories have been messed with they don’t come back. Then I think about how the dreams started the night that we turned my tracking software off. We must of fried something else during it. I stop talking about it and Aaron and I sit in silence for a little bit. Not soon after Willow comes and sits down next to Aaron immediately grabbing a hold of his arm and pressing herself against him.

I roll my eyes at her clingy-ness. She begins talking about the jobs they have to do today. She has white blonde hair that flows down past her waist. She has piercing grey eyes that look at me warmly. Lately she has been very nice to me. She has been coming around more and more just to hang out and talk. I must have been imagining her dislike of me at first. I would even begin to say that we are becoming friends. I start to feel guilty, I am falling for my friend’s boyfriend. I have been hoping what I had been feeling was just a crush, but over the past few days these feelings have been getting stronger and stronger.

We all get up and walk over to the area of the mountain where we are to meet with Evelynn. When we enter the large control room Aaron’s hand brushes mine. My heart rate spikes and my stomach flips. I pull my hand away and tuck my arms against my chest. I don’t want to like Aaron. Not while he is with Willow.

Evelynn is already sitting at a long table with several other older people. I have only met a couple of these people, but they all smile at me. We all sit down and look at each other. Evelynn clears her throat and stands up. “As you all know The Society has been trying to find young Danielle. Their pursuit has been endless, and they almost found their way into the mountain. We have come up with a plan utilizing Danielle. We want you Dani, to infiltrate The Society.”

Whispers rise in the group of people. I look around startled by the request. How am I supposed to go into the society. They want to kill me. I start to protest but Evelynn interrupts me telling us the plan. Both Aaron and I are fugitives who are wanted by the society. We are supposed to go out and get caught and infiltrate the society. WE. ARE. SUPPOSED. TO. GET CAUGHT. My heart stops with fear. Tears threaten to spill out of my eyes. I don’t want to do this. I don’t want to stop the society. I just want to live my life like normal. I want to go to college like a normal girl.

I look over and see Willow, she looks at me and mirrors my fear. We are supposed to get caught by the society, then try to gather as much information as we can, then Willow and Evelynn are supposed to come and help us get out. Aaron reaches over and gently rubs my shoulder as support. I can’t tell whether or not he is afraid. He will go without questioning Evelynn. She saved him, he will always be loyal to her.  After the meeting is finished I stand up and walk out of the room in a trance. THis can’t be happening. Evelynn saved me and I will do what she says, but how? How am I supposed to do this.

I make it to my room in a fog. Finally I let myself cry. I’m being a baby, but I can’t help it. All my life I have lived with my life handed to me. The Society chooses everything, who you will marry, what schools you attend, what you have for a job, absolutely everything. They do it in a way that you won’t see it. They make everything seem like your choice. Everyone knows though, that it isn’t your decision. It’s all a ploy to keep citizens happy. Make them think you are living a life of your own when really it’s not. The perfect way to keep everyone complacent. Up until my numbers went haywire my life was exactly what I wanted. I was going to school to be an engineer, I only had days until I met my SoulMate, and soon I would be moving for job position. Life was perfect until The Society fucked everything up and made a mistake with my Numbers.

Sitting staring at the ground a pair of feet appear in my vision. I look up to meet Willows eyes. She smiles at me grimly. “I get to leave the mountain finally. I’m sorry it’s at expense to your life.”  She looks down and sits next to me reaching out to hold my hand. Her soft thumb strokes the top of my hand. Her hand slowly moves up and touches my Numbers. She runs her fingers down my faint scar then traces the small little zeros under my skin.

I remember the past few days the way we all got along so well. A few days ago Willow and I had went to the T.V. room together and we sat for two hours and watched movies. I had never seen the two movies before but she had. We sat on the couch together her legs curled up beneath her. She looked so beautiful the way she laughed at parts. Her skin wrinkled around her eyes when she smiles, the way she would tilt her head back and let her teeth show as she laughed. We were becoming closer than I ever thought we would. My favorite part of that day is when something important would happen in the movie she would watch me to see my reaction.

I look at Willow now with the sadness in her eyes and I wish so bad that we could go back to that day. I turn her hand over and intertwine my fingers in hers and lay my head on her shoulder. “I’m glad your getting to leave the mountain, even if it’s at my expense.” She reaches up and pats my head. “ Dani, You are my only real friend, and I’m sorry this is happening.”

After Willow leaves I feel a little better about my mission. I am doing something that will finally get her out of this place even if it’s for a little bit. I am helping her do something that she has wanted for her whole life. To see the outside. Soon enough I am composed enough to get showered and get ready to leave with Aaron on a mission that might end my life.

Walking out of my room I see Aaron down the hall. I pick up my pace to meet him. He smiles at me “Are you ready for our excursion?” He asks my this like it isn’t my life on the line. Grabbing my hand he looks deep into my eyes

“It will be okay Dani, I will take care of you. I promise.”

“How? What if we get separated? How will you protect me then?”

“Dani, I can’t tell the future. What I can tell you is I care about you and I will do everything in my power to not let anything happen to you.”

With that sentence I see him, I mean really see him. That energy between us is back and I starve to take in everything about him. My eyes examine every part of his face. The way his eyes are hard but shine with tenderness. The sharp turn of his jawline, the way it squares out his face. His stubble that runs across his cheeks and chin. I find myself lifting my hand to touch the sharp hair on his cheek. My hands meet his face and he leans into it. Sparks ignite at the touch. Why? Why am I so drawn to this boy?

I turn away and walk to Evelynn’s office. My heart rate races by proximity of Aaron, and at the thought of what lies ahead. Aaron and I have to go out into the world and get caught by The Society. How any of that is supposed to happen is beyond me. I guess that’s why Evelynn called us down here before we left. Evelynn greets us with a smile and a hug. She reminds me of mom. Her compassion and caring mixed with her stubbornness and leadership.

We are debriefed on our job and sent to entrance of the mountain. I stop and turn around taking in the enormity of this place. I gaze down to everyone getting dinner ready in the large grey cafeteria. The rows and rows of rooms for everyone seeking safety from the society. This place is one of few that I could call home, and I want to remember it. Even if everything goes terribly wrong I will still stay loyal to this place.

Evelynn reminds us once more of our task, then scoops me up into a big hug. Just as she is about to release me she whispers in my ear “I’m sorry i’m putting you in danger, but we can change the world.” With that she turns and hugs Aaron. Those few words set something inside of me on a track I never thought I would go. Change the world rumbles on in my head and I see all of the good and the bad in the world I live in now.

The seat of the car hugs my back in an almost comforting way, where the seat belt holds me in the car like a prison. I’m confident yet terrified in this whole plan. Aaron drives down the side of the mountain next to me. I can see in his body that he is just as worried as I am. His jaw is set in a fine line, his eyes hard focused on the road. Anxiety hangs thick in the air.

We drive down the steep road to what seems like our demise. The farther down the mountain we go the farther my heart sinks into my stomach. I look over to Aaron he meets my eyes and smiles. I breathe out and he reaches for my hand. We stay that way all the way down the mountain, holding on to each other for strength. Once we reach the bottom of the mountain we turn onto the road that leads us to the gas station where Aaron picked me several days before.

I think back to that day. It was sunny and beautiful, the mountains in the background rose up to meet the clear blue sky. Aaron interrupted me putting gas into my car to save my life. I was afraid and alone. My mom had been taken away, I didn’t know where I was going or who I could trust. Then Aaron appeared out of the blue with no warning and changed my course for the better. He smiled at me, his eyes begged me to trust him. The sun was at his back going down giving a warm glow as he outstretched his hand to me.

We park and Aaron turns to me. “This is where we first met, it seems kind of poetic we start our next journey in this spot as well.” Leaning down he takes my face in his hands and inches me close to him. His eyes search deep into mine, his breath warm on my lips. His lips stop just inches from mine waiting for me to close the gap. I do with anticipation. I lean forward into his kiss, the seat belt digging into my hips and shoulder. My body twisted to the side to meet his eager embrace. His hands move from my face down my shoulder and arms. One of his hands stop at the top of my hip, the other moving to release my seat belt buckle. I lean farther into Aaron moving across the center console. Putting my knees on the bottom cushion I lean into his chest, his hands run up and down my hips. As we kiss it feels like electricity sparks between us at each point of contact. My heart beats faster and faster with each second that his lips are on mine.

Our kiss leaves me breathless as I sit back on my feet. My heart slows as the world around me comes back into focus. A soft wow escapes my throat and Aaron turns to me. Smiling he too whispers wow. I look down at my wrist where my Numbers lie beneath my skin. Who needs a countdown, when you can find something like this all on your own. After a moment my heart breaks a little when Aaron looks down and mouths Willows name. In the heat of the moment we both forgot about her, my friend his girlfriend. I am both sad that I just hurt my friend and what I can’t have.

Aaron looks up at me and puts his hand on my knee, sparks shoot up from his touch. Just as he is about to say something our doors are thrown open. Two men at each door pull us out of the car. There is about ten men surrounding us all dressed in all black with bullet proof vests. The men that pulls us out of the car have large guns strapped to their back, while all the other men have theirs out ready to shoot us on site. I look at Aaron one last time before they put a black out hood over my face and throw me into the back of a cargo van.

Chapter Three

Evelynn grabs my wrist and begins examining my flashing Numbers. Panic rises inside my chest. I feel my head swim, they are trying to find me. I thought that I was safe. I was wrong. She starts telling me I need to remove my Numbers. I look down at her large scar on her arm and true sorrow really overcomes me.

I won’t be a member of society anymore. There is no going back from this. After a few minutes of thought I tell Evelynn no. I will not take away any chance for me to see my mom again. I touch my wrist where my Numbers lie underneath my flesh flashing. I don’t know what else to do. Lost in thought I faintly hear the door open. Aaron walks in his mouth is set and his eyes determined.

“ I have an idea Evelynn.”

“What would that be Aaron?” I notice Willow has followed Aaron into the room. She looks around annoyed.

“Why do we have to help her? We can just give her to the society. Maybe they will let some of us off the hook.”  Evelynn looks at her daughter in shock.

“Willow! Do not ever speak of giving up one of our own again. That is not how I raised you, and certainly not how our entity works. Aaron what is your idea?” She looks at her daughter with complete disappointment.

“I think I can figure out a way to disable the tracking software in her chip. It will be difficult, but that means that if this all gets sorted out she can live in society again. It also means that we can use her on the outside since some of us can’t go outside anymore.”

Aaron explains that he can hook me up to their computer and override the tracking software that is built into the Numbers chip. I will be able to live a normal life again. If this nightmare ever ends. Willow rolls her eyes. She must really not like me. I don’t know why I have barely said a word to her. She seemed like she was trying to be a friend when she walked me up to introduced myself.

Soon I am sat in a room with a giant computer and a bunch of sterile tools. My stomach rumbles with hunger and anxiety as I wait for Evelynn and Aaron to join me. After what seems like an eternity they walk in with blank faces. Evelynn washes her hands at the sink on the wall by me, while Aaron boots up the computer. After washing her hands she walks over to me and picks up a scalpel. “I’m sorry we don’t have anything to take the pain away.” She looks at me with pain in her eyes as she cut a slit into my arm right above where my Numbers show.

Pain screams through my arm as she cuts into me. Tears well up in my eyes and spill down my cheeks. I have never experienced pain like this. The society almost completely rid the country of sickness, and it really takes a lot to hurt yourself now. Evelynn then picks up a needle with a long power cord attached to it. She tells me that she’s sorry and this will hurt worse, but I can’t make out the words. Everything is blurred under the pain. When I think it can’t get any worse she inserts the needle and begins to dig around for the connection port for my chip. My throat is raw from screaming, when the electricity begins to shoot through my body. My chip and whatever Aaron is doing is electrocuting me from the inside. My vision swims and all my muscles contract. This is what it feels like to die. I dive in and out of consciousness but my screams continue.  

Finally the pain ends, and I am left with a buzzing inside my head. I look over to Evelynn who also has tears in her eyes. I then look down at my wrist where many tiny little stitches bind my skin together. My Numbers shine brightly underneath them, they are now at zero. I look up to Aaron whose mouth is set in a line. He looks upset, I hope he didn’t mess up.

“It was success. I disabled the tracking software, and I set your Numbers to zero. Everyone will think you’ve met your match.” He pauses and looks down. Pain flashes across his eyes. He hated hurting me.

“Thank you both for helping me. Though I am very tired. Can someone help me to my room?” Aaron stands up fast and walks over to me. He offers to take me then helps me out of my chair. Slowly we walk back up to my room my feet dragging behind me. We reach my room and Aaron opens the door for me. I flop down on my bed the weight of the procedure falling down on me. Aaron follows me in and helps me take my shoes off. He helps me lay in bed and then covers me up.

Soon I drift off into a black world behind my eyelids. I dream of my mom. The way she smiled at me when I was doing something I loved. The way she frowned when I did something stupid. She had always been my rock. She was beautiful and strong, made me do anything I had set my mind to. The dream started out with a memory. One where she and I went to the lake and played in the water and sand all day.

I was little five or six and my mom had to have been around 26. She was beautiful with her long golden hair and her brightly colored bathing suit. She sat and watched me with the biggest smile across her face. She was so happy that I was there. I was her saving grace.

We played until the sun when down. I ran around and splashed in the water. It was an amazing day. Just when the sun is almost gone several men approach us. All of them are dressed in black with bullet proof vests on and have large guns strapped to their backs. This part of the memory I don’t remember. One of the men approach my mom and she pushes me behind her.

I can hear her begging to leave me alone, that I am little and haven’t done anything wrong. She starts to cry. This I remember as if it were happening all over again now. I remember that it was one of the only times I have seen my mom cry. But why don’t I remember the men. As the dream goes on I hold on to my mom’s hand as she bargains with the men. Finally they come to an agreement. One of the men in the back turn and walk toward me. He has a weird look of disgust as he walks toward me. He then pulls out a syringe and shoves it into my arm and pushes the liquid inside of me.

I wake up in bed sweat covering me sticking my hair to my face. Pain shoots through my arms threatening to make me pass out. I sit up looking around. Was that really a memory or just a weird pain induced nightmare? I slowly go to stand up, testing my legs not trusting them at the moment. I make my way to my bathroom when I notice my door is open a crack.

Willow stands just outside my door speaking to someone on the phone in a hushed voice. “She is asleep right now… I thought you would be able to find her faster… My mom was able to turn off the transmitter because you weren’t fast enough… Now you have to come up with a new plan, and you better not get me caught…” She presses the end button and I rush into the bathroom and shut the door.

I turn on the sink and wash my face. What did she mean by that? Was she with The Society? Couldn’t she just tell them where I am? I step out of the bathroom and she is in my room on my bed. “Hey how are you feeling? Can I get you anything?” She smiles at me and sounds sincere. Moving over she makes room for me to lie down on my bed. I walk over and sit by her. “I am okay. I had a nightmare so I just went to wash my face. I was sweating bad.” She frowns and then stands up. I glance at her wrist looking for her Numbers. She doesn’t have any sign of ever having one.

“Did you grow up in here Willow?” I ask her trying to not seem to nosy.

“Yeah I did. I have never left the mountain. My mom left The Society when she was 16. She was pregnant with me. Her and my dad had gotten together against The Society’s rules. She found this place and had me. Back then there was an older man that was fronting the Entity. He helped raise me and my mom. He was like my grandpa.” She looks down at her wrist and I see what might be longing. After a minute she walks out of my room and closes the door.

I sit on my bed and think about everything that had just happened. She was talking to someone on the phone about a plan. She had never left the mountain. And there was someone running the Entity before Evelynn. There was something weird about the way Willow looked at her wrist too. It looked like she was sad that she wasn’t a part of The Society. My arm starts to throb making my head spin so I lay down trying to get a little more rest.

I sleep for what feels like days and when I wake up Evelynn is sitting in the chair across from my bed. I roll over and sit up to look at her. She smiles and greets me. She wanted to come check to see how I have been healing and to change my bandage. I then find out that I had only been asleep for a few hours since Willow had checked on me. She then walks over and puts her hand out for me to give her my arm.

She moves and examines the wound before slowly pulling off the dirty bandage and replacing it with a fresh one. The second my arm hits the air pain zips through my arm down my back. Who knew such a small thing could hurt so bad. It subsides as soon as the new bandage is placed, but it doesn’t stop the memory of the pain. Evelynn then tells me that I need to rest for a bit longer but in an hour she will have Aaron bring up a meal for me. I didn’t get to eat dinner but I hadn’t even thought about it since my Numbers went haywire.

My stomach starts to rumble so I ask if I can have my meal sent up now. Evelynn complies and within minutes Aaron knocks on my door twice and enters the room. He walks over eyes glued to the ground and he sets the food on the bed next to me. I thank him expecting him to leave but he stands there with a twisted guilt-ridden face.

“I’m sorry. I didn’t know it would hurt you that bad. If I had known I wouldn’t have done the procedure.” He looks at me and all I see in his face is pure disappointment in himself. I move the tray to the table by me and gesture him to come sit on the bed with me.

“I am okay. Aaron, I’m glad you did it. I don’t want The Society to be able to follow my every move. Yes it hurt but it was worth it.” I look down at his Numbers and I slowly lift my hand to touch the skin that covers his chip. Goosebumps ripple up his arm and his breath catches. “Where is your SoulMate?” I whisper.

His eyes burn a hole in my hand. I can feel his heartbeat underneath his skin. “I don’t have one. That’s why I am here. I was born with a zeroed out Number.” My heart drops but speeds up at the same time. We are equals. We are both mistakes. He raises his opposite hand and covers mine. This time it’s my turn to get goosebumps. My heart does flips as he raises his head and looks straight into my eyes. His face just inches away from mine. The pain in his eye melt away and I see a beautiful vulnerability.

He closes the space and our noses touch. I can feel the intensity in his touch on my hand. I push closer to him and our foreheads press together. We sit there like that hand on hand, nose to nose, forehead to forehead. Both of us not wanting to go further, both of us wanting much much more. I’m the one to break contact first. I sit back looking down. Shaking my head I tell him sorry. His eyes show me that I have broken a wall inside of him. “I’m not sorry. I could tell from the second I saw you at the gas station that I wanted to kiss you.”

Stunned I sit and look at him. “I don’t know you. I don’t know why this just happened, but it shouldn’t have. We haven’t even taken the time to build a connection.” I know in my words that it’s wrong as I say it.  I too have known that I felt an instant attraction to this boy that met me at the gas station. I am just too afraid to love outside of The Society’s rule. Aaron gets up to leave, but before he does he leans down and presses a hand to my shoulder. My arm tingles with his touch. He leaves and I go over to eat my long awaited dinner.

A few days have passed since my procedure and I am finally starting to adjust to life inside the mountain. Aaron tries to hang around as much as he can when he isn’t working. I have learned so much about him in the past few days. When he was born The Society took him just like they do with all newborns, but when he returned he was given back with his Numbers already zeroed out. His parents fought for an answer but nobody would give them any answers.

When he was about 7 his parents were trying to get answers once again when The Society’s army came into his house and shot his parents right in front of him. He ran and ran until he ran into Evelynn. She had been on her way to his house to speak with his parents when she found him. She took him into the mountain and showed him the way of the Entity.

Every time Aaron told me a piece of his story my heart broke for him. I understand the pain in his eyes now and a part of me wishes I didn’t. I don’t complain when he hangs around me anymore. With each moment that passes between us the feeling in pit of my stomach grows. I have never been in love but I think I might be getting there.

CHAPTER TWO

Things get thrown into my bag as I rush to leave. I have to get out of here. My legs carry me out of my room. 100 dollars flutter from my hand to the front desk along with my key to the room. I jump in my car and put the keys in the ignition, turning it on. Throwing the car in reverse I peel out of the parking lot. Back onto the interstate I go, my heart in my throat. They can’t find me. They can’t. Determined to get a good chunk of distance between me and the Society I weave in and out of traffic.

Twenty minutes into driving I notice a large SUV speeding up behind me. Their lights are bright and blinding making it hard for me to concentrate. I swerve and almost hit the car in the lane next to me.  I speed up and merge into the next lane to get to a lane that my pursuers can’t get to. The SUV also speeds up so they are right next to me. Panic rises inside me. I’m blocked in, nowhere to go. The SUV starts to careen toward my car side swiping me. I get knocked into the car next to me. The car behind me swerves into my attackers as I slam on my breaks.

With the sound of screeching metal they get hit into the wall of the interstate. This gives me enough time to drive around the stopped cars and merge back into the traffic. After a good five minutes I can tell that my stalkers are no longer on my tail. As I pull of the interstate I see a sign for a used car lot. I pull into the car lot taking in all of the available options. After about 30 minutes and 2,000 dollars I drive off in a older prius. One good thing to come from this is I get drive a car that I have wanted for a long time. Slowly I ease back on the interstate in my cute baby blue prius and drive to god knows where.

I have been driving for hours when I finally see the sign for Fort Collins Colorado. I have no idea where I am supposed to go, all I know is I have to go to colorado. I would be stopping soon to find somewhere to call my mom, but I can’t do that now. I am on my own. Closing my eyes I take a deep breathe and focus. Where would mom want me to go. I let my breath out and my eyes fall to my gas gage. I need to stop and fill up.  Stopping to get gas is terrifying. I don’t know where I am and I don’t know who here is in the society. Cautiously I look around taking in my surroundings. The mountains. I have never seen such an amazing beauty in my life. I had been to frantic to get away that I never saw the true beauty of what I had been driving in to. I lean against my car and begin to cry.

“Dani?” I jump at my name and turn right into the person who addressed me. Stumbling back I reach for my car door to flee. “Dani don’t run. I’m here to help you.” I grasp for my car handle behind me, but I can’t seem to find it. “I don’t know who you’re talking about but that’s not my name.”

“It’s okay Dani I swear I’m on your side. Your mom sent me.” My heart sinks as butterflies rise up in my stomach. “What do you mean my mom sent you?” The boy talking to me gestures to the inside of my car and we get in. Adjusting from side to side I take my helper in. His eyes shimmer and I can see the sadness in his eyes. He knows what happened. His fingers fidget with the hem of his shirt, and he lets out a sigh readying himself to tell me what I have to face. He begins to tell me what I already know, and a lot of information I didn’t know.

My mom is most likely dead and the society is ready to kill me to. Apparently The Society can’t control everyone’s Numbers and sometimes they slip up. My number apparently was programmed wrong. Mom had known the entire time and was trying to find a way to fix it before my Number had hit zero and the society realized their mistake. I had no soulmate. They made a mistake. I sit back into my seat and feel the weight of what truly is happening sink in. Before I know it hot tears roll down my cheeks.

When The Society messes up like with me they eliminate the threat. They don’t want us citizens finding out that they are flawed. There has always been entities trying to disband the society, but they have always found a way to stop the rebels before anything too bad happened. There is a new rising though. One filled with mistakes like me. My mom had found them and been in contact with them, trying to figure out a way to save me before The Society found out.

My new confidant looks at me waiting for me to say something. “ You never told me your name.” That’s the only thing on my mind? I internally smack myself upside my head. This boy just told me that my mother’s likely dead, I am a mistake with no soul mate, and I am on the run like several others, and all I can think to say is asking him about his name. I. Am. An. Idiot. The boy smiles “I’m Aaron! I know this is a lot to process but it will be okay. You can join us, we will protect you.” Smiling I agree, though the smile doesn’t reach my eyes. I have never felt betrayal and pain like this. My entire government has lied to me. I don’t feel like a citizen anymore. How can they make a mistake like this? I follow Aaron’s directions into the mountains.

We drive along the mountain on one of those roads you see cars careening off in T.V. shows. This is the first time I have ever seen the mountains, nevertheless driven up the side of one. My stomach does flips every time I have to turn with the mountain. We finally stop at on the side of the road and Aaron tells me to get out. Doing what he says we walk over to the side of the mountain. I watch as he takes out his cell phone and types a passcode into it. The ground starts to vibrate as the side of the mountain dissolves into an opening the size of a door.

What am I getting myself into. Aaron walks forward into the doorway then stops to turn around to see if I’m following him. Sure, why not follow some strange boy into a weird dissolving mountain to my death? Sounds like a great Idea mom, thanks for getting me into this. I follow my strange friend into a cement entry way that hollows out into a large open cafeteria looking room.
We are greeted two women both armed with guns. The first to approach us was an older woman who looked about mid 40’s. She was beautiful with long auburn hair and slate grey eyes. Her eyes even though they were beautiful they were haunted. You could see the pain she had endured. I looked down not wanting to stare for too long. My eyes grazed over her the top of her wrist. Where her Numbers should have been was replaced with a large keloid scar. I fight the urge to look down at my Numbers just then. Looking up I stare into the eyes of this woman, she has been through hell, and she is just like me. A mistake.

She greets me with a smile, “Hello Danielle, I am Evelynn. I am the one in charge of this little entity. We will keep you safe.” I know she means the words she says, and I do feel safe. She reminds me of my mom. I send a prayer to whoever is listening, “Please don’t let her be dead.” Evelynn walks me into the cafeteria room explaining that this is the main meeting hall. Every morning everyone gathers in this area to have breakfast and talk about what the day will bring. She talks with authority swinging about her gun as if it’s an extension of her arm itself.  

The other woman that walked up with Evelynn has remained quiet but has attached herself to the side of Aaron. She walks pressed up against his arm holding his hand. We all follow Evelynn around until we stop at a hall with several doors on each side.

“ Willow my darling, come here and show Danielle to her room. Danielle, this is willow my daughter. She is the one that you can go to with any questions. She will show you everything in your room and help you find some clothes you can change into.”

I follow Willow down the hall and to the left to a jet black door with a silver 10 on the front. I open it and the heavy metal door scrapes across the ground. Willow follows me in then shuts the door. She shows me around my fairly large room. This is way bigger than my college dorm. I have a comfortable looking full size bed, a wardrobe, and a large bookshelf full of books. To right of the door there is a bathroom with a shower toilet and sink. How they have plumbing inside a freaking mountain I have no idea. Willow explains all of my amenities and then tells me to take a shower, and when I get out I will have fresh clothes.

I can’t think of anything to say so I nod and walk into the bathroom and turn on the shower. Sitting on the toilet I place my head in my hands and allow myself to absorb everything that has happened. After my shower I walk out into my sleeping quarters, nicely folded there are two piles of new clothes on my bed. One pile of shirts and a pile of pants, all black and my exact size. I remove my towel and shimmy on my fresh clothes. The door opens as I am just pulling my shirt over my head. It’s Aaron.

I pull my shirt down as quick as I can and turn around. Aaron’s face is beet red with embarrassment, “I… I’m sorry. I should have knocked. I didn’t think.”

“It’s okay, this is all so weird. Did you need something?”  

“ Uh, yeah I was just coming to let you know everyone is starting to gather for dinner.” He scratches the back of his head looking down. I take this time to really examine this boy in my room.

He has a beautiful olive tone to his skin something my pale ass strives for. He lives in a mountain but his hair looks like it’s well kept. They must have a Hair stylist down here or something. His hair is is long on top with a nice fade down the sides. He has it slicked back, but it doesn’t look shiny. I would love to run my hand through his hair. His body is strong but lean and he has several tattoos on his arms. I look at his wrist to see the glowing green of his Numbers. They are zeroed out, which means he has already met his match. My heart falls a little. Aaron has a match, and I never will.

His eyes shine a bright blue. They show me that he has been through to much, that he is determined to do something about it. As I look at him my heart flutters a bit in attraction. Kids are allowed to have crushes and date before they meet their match but once they hit zero that is to stop. I know I shouldn’t feel this way but I do. “Oh, I will be right down.” I answer and he turns away just like that. For a moment I wonder how he has looked at me. What did he see in my eyes?

Down stairs back in the Cafeteria people are starting to gather. The rumble of voices begin to rise, there is anticipation in the air. I try to stay in the back and keep away from the attention. After about five minutes a hush comes over the crowd and Evelynn enters. She is as beautiful as ever and enters the room with certainty and confidence. Something every woman strives for she has with such ease.

“Good Evening everyone! I hope everyone had a wonderful day. As you know we have had some interaction with the society today, I just wanted to let you know we have it under control. No one should be worried! In fact we should celebrate! Today we had a beautiful young woman join us from the outside! Danielle, Please come join me and introduce yourself.”

This cannot be happening. I feel the heat rise up into my cheeks. I can’t believe she wants me to stand up in front of all these people. Slowly I feel like self rise and gravitate toward Evelynn. After a few steps I feel a hand touch my elbow. Willow smiles at me and whispers to me “It will be okay, I’m here with you.” We walk together up to meet her mother. Once we reach the front Evelynn smiles at me eager for me to talk.

I turn to face the crowd. At least forty people stare back at me with amused looks. I begin to tell them my name, how old I am, and why I am on the run. I half except them to reply Hi Dani in drone like voices, like in an AA meeting. They all whisper to each other about me all while my stomach is doing flips. I scan the crowd some have Numbers some don’t. I glance down at mine 4 days 6 hours and 33 minutes. My mind wonders why it reset in the first place. As I’m looking down at my wrist My numbers flash on and off twice then set to zero.

I stop talking and look up at Evelynn and show her what just happened. Calmly she dismisses everyone to eat and takes my hand. She leads me into a white operating room where she begins to explain that they are trying to tamper with my Numbers to find where I am.

A Sneak Peek at Chapter Two

“It’s okay Dani I swear I’m on your side. Your mom sent me.” My heart sinks as butterflies rise up in my stomach. “What do you mean my mom sent you?” The boy talking to me gestures to the inside of my car and we get in. Adjusting from side to side I take my helper in. His eyes shimmer and I can see the sadness in his eyes. He knows what happened. His fingers fidget with the hem of his shirt, and he lets out a sigh readying himself to tell me what I have to face. He begins to tell me what I already know, and a lot of information I didn’t know.

My mom is most likely dead and the society is ready to kill me to. Apparently The Society can’t control everyone’s Numbers and sometimes they slip up. There has always been entities trying to disband the society, but they have always found a way to stop the rebels before anything too bad happened. There is a new rising though. One filled with mistakes like me. My mom had found them and been in contact with them, trying to figure out a way to save me before The Society found out.

My new confidant looks at me waiting for me to say something. “ You never told me your name.” That’s the only thing on my mind? I internally smack myself upside my head. This boy just told me that my mother’s likely dead, I am a mistake with no soul mate, and I am on the run like several others, and all I can think to say is asking him about his name. I. Am. An. Idiot. The boy smiles “I’m Aaron.”