Chapter 1:


Game of Life

Water. It was all she could see. Everywhere, filling her mouth and nose, making its way to her lungs. Everything was blurry. And the dolphins. The dolphins were laughing as she tried to grab hold of the land. So close, but so out of reach.

As she’d grab onto the land, the dolphins would grab her and pull her down, further into the water. She’d claw and scream, but she could feel herself die, slowly losing feeling throughout her body. And she could eventually only hear the screaming of people. Her older sister, her older sister’s best friend, their crush, the six other kids with them. And finally, the screams of her best friend and twin brother.

“Talia! TALIA!! TALIA!!”

Talia woke up with a start as her brother and her best friend shook her awake. She couldn’t remember the last time they had done that. After all, everyone had been paralyzed for months, including herself. “Talia! Wake up! Everyone’s leaving!” Her twin brother shook her awake, as panic was clear on her best friend's face.

“Everyone! Logan! Drea! Even Klaus! They’re all leaving!” Her best friend said as she jumped out of bed. They raced out of her room. All three had their flimsy pajamas on, none had bothered to put shoes or jackets on, as they raced outside, into the snow-covered wonderland.

They didn’t stop, not to catch their breath, not to pick out the pebbles from their bare feet, not to look both ways before crossing the street. They made their way to the park as fast as their little six-year-old legs could.

But they were too late. It was empty.

Fresh tire tracks could be seen, and there stood the two older sisters, fourteen-year-olds, tears streaming down their cheeks. They had seen the farewell. Her best friend’s sister held two suitcases. She held his jacket and shoes.

She turned to her best friend and wiped her tears, and smiled. “Let’s go, Aaron”

Aaron was leaving too? But Talia didn’t see his parents anywhere. “Where are we going, Mei?” He asked.

“We’re running away from home. We can’t live with our family anymore” The older sister said. Aaron looked at his two friends, before running to his sister and putting on his jacket and shoes. He didn’t say anything, just followed. Maybe he thought his sister wasn’t strong enough to live on her own.

“Mei, don’t do this!” Talia’s older sister cried, but the two had already gotten into a taxi and had left, as Aaron waved sadly.

The only thing Talia remembered after that was falling to the ground with her brother, as she blacked out.