Chapter 18: The Autre World

No wonder Avery wore so many layers when she came to visit. They hadn’t even touched the surface yet and their teeth were chattering. When they pushed the boulder out of the way, they collapsed outside the Main Exit Tunnle panting out cold breath. Avery made it look easy, but the rock weighed almost asContinue reading “Chapter 18: The Autre World”

Chapter 17: Cameron’s Reading

Cameron lay in bed, staring at Avery’s phone, holding their stomach in pain. They would’ve blamed the throbbing on hunger—they hadn’t eaten all day—but they knew why they felt so awful. Every time they closed their eyes, they saw Avery yelling at them for their misdoings. They’d tried to explain themselves, but it hadn’t beenContinue reading “Chapter 17: Cameron’s Reading”

Chapter 16 : New Year

She’d planned on spending her birthday with them. She’d planned on having two Christmas parties, one with her family around their fake tree and honeyed ham, one with Cameron, celebrating whatever harvest or winter solstice they believed in. Maybe they didn’t believe in anything and continued on into the new year without flair. She neverContinue reading “Chapter 16 : New Year”

Chapter 14: Runaway

Avery always wondered what passing out felt like. She’d seen movies where people lost consciousness, and whenever she presented in class, she dreaded the lightheadedness that foreshadowed the tumble. She didn’t even remember it happening, but when she awoke, she couldn’t breathe, and the memories of the cave-in buried her. She was still alive—she hadContinue reading “Chapter 14: Runaway”

Chapter 13: Cameron’s Choice

What should’ve been a fifteen-minute sprint back into Arkeh:na stretched out into a half-hour slog. The cave-in had destroyed the quickest route back into Arkeh:na’s main levels. The main tunnles, buried. The shortcuts, destroyed. It kept Cameron in the dark about the Community’s safety and lessened Avery’s chance of being saved. They felt more brokenContinue reading “Chapter 13: Cameron’s Choice”

Chapter 12: The Oak Tree

“You say it like this,” Avery said to Basil, then added a whole bunch of complex English words that Cameron didn’t understand. They all sat together in the Centrum that day, they, Avery, Basil, and Maywood. Maywood had gotten out of work early with Basil, and Cameron had just finished up scouring through the tunnlesContinue reading “Chapter 12: The Oak Tree”

Chapter 10: Questions

Avery only visited Arkeh:na two times in the next two weeks. Something about being a “middle schooler” apparently made her life horrible. Traversing through “hallways” of judgmental “high-schoolers” who all “hated” her sounded awful. They couldn’t imagine someone hating her, and knowing she had to “learn about subjects she’d never use in life” made evenContinue reading “Chapter 10: Questions”

Chapter 9: A Wardrobe Change

The following week, Avery went to school like she hadn’t a secret to keep. She paid attention in class and greeted teachers who greeted her first. She acted perfectly normal, the average eighth grader. She wanted to cry the entire time. To fight through it, she managed to skip her last period. She’d pleaded withContinue reading “Chapter 9: A Wardrobe Change”