Chapter One

Chapter One

A Chapter by Elizabeth Reed

Our feet pound the earth beneath us and our hearts pound in our chests. All I can hear is the sound of our heavy breathing and the leaves crunching under us. Sam takes my hand. His is hot and sweaty but I don't care, I tighten my grip on it. We can hear the men shouting after us but we ignore them. I also try to ignore the pain in my chest and legs as we continue to run through the darkness. How did this even happen? How did we get here? Not just Sam and I, but the world. How did the world come to this?

+ + + + +

I sit quietly on the floor petting our cat, Lucius as he lays sleepily beside me. Mom is knitting something on the couch and Nana is sitting in her rocking chair, staring out at nothing. Or if she's staring at something, I don't know what it is. We are all anxiously waiting for 5:00pm because that's when we get to see my dad. We get to have dinner with him every Sunday from 5:00 to 6:00. We usually try to eat in a half hour so we have another half hour to relax and talk. I'm wearing my nicest dress that flatters me the best. It's white with soft pink hibiscus flowers and a pink tie at the waist. I'm rather skinny and average height. I don't look much different from the other girls my age in our division. With so many people we don't get too much food. Three square meals a day, but they aren't the most nutritious or natural foods. Some of us are skinny because we can't afford to eat the proper foods, some because we refuse to eat what's available. But the dress I'm wearing gives me a better shape and makes me look more curvy. I also had Mom braid my long, chestnut coloured hair, tied at the end with a black bow. I'm so excited to see my dad and I want to look nice for him. Mom does too, but she doesn't have many nice clothes. No one does. I was fortunate to have this dress. It used to be my mom's when she was my age, and she saved it for me. Today Mom pinned her graying blonde, short, wavy hair up nice and is wearing a simple white blouse and tan skirt. Her nicest clothes. I did notice that she painted her nails a pale pink. Nail polish and other extravagant things like that are hard to come by. Mom has one bottle of pink nail polish that she hardly uses, saving it for special occasions. This dinner was especially special because it was Mom and Dad's 18th anniversary. I know Mom is very excited, but it doesn't read too much on her face. Her eyes are always tired looking, with dark circles under them and little wrinkles next to them. She looks a lot older than she is, but I still think she's beautiful. Mom glances at her watch then sets down her knitting.

"Your father should be here any minute," she says, her voice breaking the silence. Lucius flicks his ear at the sudden noise, but can't be bothered to actually move. "Are you ready, Gracie?" Gracie. A nickname my mother often used. My full name is Gracelynn but most everyone calls me Grace. Mom favours Gracie. She says it reminds her of when I was baby and reminds us both that I'm still her little girl. I rise to my feet, this making Lucius get up and find a less disturbing spot.

"I'm ready," I say. "How do I look?" I half turn to the left then half to the right, my dress swaying gently. Mom smiles. Even her smile looks tired.
"You look great," she says, giving me a soft hug.
"You too, Mom," I say. "Are you ready, Nana?" Nana slowly nods.

"I'm ready," she answers. "I've missed my Noah."

"We've missed your Noah, too, Eve," Mom says. She sighs quietly and turns to me. Most everything Mom does is gentle and quiet. "Can you check and make sure the table still looks nice and is set properly, please?" she asks. I nod and walk to the kitchen, which is only a few steps away from the living room. Our house is quite small, as are all of the houses in our area. We don't live in the rich divisions. We live in Division 3-F, which is the poorest of the Female Divisions. There's Division 1-F and 1-M, 2-F and 2-M, and 3-F and 3-M. The 1 divisions are the richest where they have big houses, more visiting hours between F and M Divisions and lots of things to do. The 2 Divisions are very moderate. They have enough money for what they need with plenty left over for what they want. They don't get too much longer visiting hours, but they do get more and each house has a room for each member. And our division, the 3 Division, is the poorest. We have no money for extras unless we save for months, only an hour of visiting a week and the smallest houses. Mom and Nana share a room, kindly giving me my own. They said that a teenager needs privacy, and they were right, but I still kind of feel bad having my own room. But even though I sleep alone I still feel like I have very little privacy. When you walk in the front door you're in the kitchen, which is only about 10x15, and the bathroom is just off of that. Right next to that is the living room, which is also about 10x15. In the living room there's a staircase of about 10 stairs, leading to the bedrooms. Mine is about 7x10 and Mom and Nana's is about 10x10. So we're always in really close quarters. You can't really do anything without being heard. Sometime's it's hard, but being so close all the time, we have a really strong bond, which we really need right now. And it teaches you how to be patient and understanding and when to bight your tongue. I'm very good at being a quite, obedient child, which goes a long way right now. It keeps everyone out of trouble. I walk into the kitchen and examine the table. Four clean white plates, each accompanied by a fork and a knife on a napkin, and an empty glass. I watched Mom set the table earlier. She spent a few minutes on each set, making sure everything was straight and lined up neatly and that the table cloth had no wrinkles. I walk back out to Mom and catch her fixing stray hairs in the mirror over the fireplace. I smile at her reflection and she smiles back. I walk over to her and take her arm, resting my head on her shoulder.

"You look beautiful, Mom," I assure her. She rubs my hand and kisses my head. We stand there for just a moment before the doorbell rings. Mom and I smile wide at each other and we rush to answer the door. When we open it we see Dad standing there, looking as nice as he can manage. A button up shirt, dress pants, a dark gray tie and a bouquet of daisies. Next to him is two police officers. His escorts for the night.

"Mrs. Nina Ross?" asks one officer. They know who we are. They come every Sunday. But they have to verify everything to be safe.

"Yes," Mom answers, her hand clenching the doorknob tightly.
"Your husband is Mr. Noah Ross?" the officer asks.
"Yes," Mom answers again.
"Mr. Noah Ross is the father of your daughter, seventeen year old Gracelynn Ross?"
"Mr. Noah Ross is also the son of widow Eve Ross?"
"Today is Sunday, the seventh of May, twenty forty, at five in the evening. Visiting hours are until six this evening, Sunday, the seventh of May, twenty forty, and at that time we will escort Mr. Noah Ross back to Division 3-M," the officer says this every single time and I find that today I am more anxious for him to finish than in previous visits. I can tell that Mom is too. "Hugging, closed mouth kissing, hand holding and cuddling while in a sitting or standing position is permissible. Not until the first of twenty forty-five may further physical contact be discussed. Please sign this form that states you understand and agree to the terms of visitation and if any rules are broken you you understand that you will be persecuted to the fullest extent of the law." Mom takes the the pen that the officer offers and scribbles her signature on the paper. My turn is coming up and I step forward to take the pen. "Ms. Gracelynn Ross, please sign this forms that states you also understand and agree to these terms of visitation and know that you are legally obligated to come forth with any violations you father, Mr. Noah Ross, or your mother, Mrs. Nina Ross may commit." I take the pen and scribble my name, like I do every Sunday. The officer allows Dad to come inside and bids us a good evening. Mom closes the door and immediately wraps her arms around Dad and kisses him, the plastic holding that the flowers are in crinkling. I carefully take the flowers from Dad, laughing a little at the sight of the two of them. I take the bouquet into the kitchen and find a vase to put them in.

"Oh, Noah," Mom says. "Happy anniversary. I've missed you so much this week... I can't stand this." I hear them kiss.

"I know," Dad says gently. "I hate it too. But it's how it has to be." They kiss again. And once more. "Happy anniversary. How has everything been?" Mom sighs.
"Okay, I guess," she answers. "Gracie has been doing well in school and your mother hasn't been coughing as much."
"That's wonderful," Dad says. I hear the stove timer beep so I open the door to check what's inside. Mom made Dad's favourite. Lasagna. She must have been storing the ingredients for a while. This is a very special meal. We never get things so tasty and expensive in 3-F. Grabbing a pot holder I reach inside and take the pan out, setting it on top of the stove.
"Oh, thank you, baby," Mom says as she and Dad walk into the kitchen. "Noah, why don't you go get your mother? I made your favourite." Dad smiles at the steamy, cheesy pasta in front of him.
"Of course, sweety," he says. He walks off to get Nana and Mom comes around to me, thanking me for putting the flowers in a vase. She hugs me tightly. She smells clean, as usual. Like lemon and bar soap. I can tell how happy she is that Dad is here and I wrap my arms even tighter around her. She kisses my head then we both sit down. Dad comes in seconds later with Nana and they sit down as well. Mom and Dad sit across from each other, Nana and I across from each other. Mom serves everyone a nice portion of lasagna, then retrieves the frozen corn and the bread and butter. I looked at my family, happy that we're all sitting together again. We all look quite similar, I've noticed. My father and I have Nana's big, blue eyes and chestnut hair. My mother and I share the same wavy hair and cupid's point in our lips, as well as fairly defined cheeks. I have my mother's slender fingers and my dad's small chin. I was blessed with good looking family members. Even my Nana is pretty, even more so when she was young. My Grampa was quite handsome as well, before he died. I sigh contently and take a bite of lasagna. The taste smacks me and I inhale deeply. Incredible.

© 2013 Elizabeth Reed

Author's Note

Elizabeth Reed
All feedback is appreciated

My Review

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Great description you have included. Love the start. You really jump into the action. I am really enjoying it so far! You really ease us into the character! Great job. One piece of feedback is the ending. I think you could have left it on a different note if you added more of a cliffhanger maybe, or a final though, concluding what happened in the chapter for the main character. Another suggestion; maybe a question? This will leave your readers really thinking about your book, chapter, and they will be wanting more! Even so, overall Love it:) Keep up the great chapters! One other thing is the spacing. You could maybe add more spacing through the chapters, especially the dialogue areas. It would make it waster to read as well as understand. It's more visually pleasing as well. Please don't take this in any negative way, I honestly really enjoyed your chapter! I really can't wait to read more from you!

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Added on January 30, 2013
Last Updated on February 1, 2013
Tags: Dystopia, Dystopian, World, Fantasy, Girl, Boy, Teens, Teenager, Love, Trouble, Adventure, Escape


Elizabeth Reed
Elizabeth Reed


I absolutely love to write, but I'm not very confident in myself. I would love honest feedback. Negative or not. If you'd like to see pictures of my characters, go to my photos. The letter(s) at th.. more..