I wasn┤t sure before, but now I was certain that I┤d went insane.
Since Aurora died, the voices had only got louder. I constantly found myself muttering to no one in particular without being aware.
And, of course, my stomach emptied itself through my mouth more than ever.
I was a shivering, babbling, snuffling ball of insane misery.
"We┤re nearly there now, Aurora," Ryder would say reassuringly, but we never seemed to get any closer to...
I didn┤t even know what we were trying to accomplish here.
Why are we going to the Capitol?
Won┤t we get caught there anyway? I didn┤t even bother asking. If I could, I would end my pain and misery with just one misplaced footstep into the staggeringly deep ditches we pass every so often, but I couldn┤t do that to Ryder.
He┤d lost everyone else, and even had to put Octavia out of her pain...I admired him for being stronger than I, and not spiraling into deep depression and insanity.
"What┤s this up here?" Ryder asks. His arm is wrapped steadily around my shoulders, guiding me forward.
I see the beginning of a hot pink wall in front of us, which as we emerge more from the forest which had been our home for days now, turned to be a fuchsia house, with a sickening green tiled roof, surrounded by mustard-coloured chrysanthemums.
I know I should have been rejoicing for this torment to be finally over, but instead, the intense colours make my stomach churn.
I empty my stomach in a nearby bush, but there┤s not much in there anymore, so instead bile burns my throat as it jets out of my system.
Shaking violently, I stagger toward Ryder and hide with him behind a tree.
"We made it to the Capital, Kenzie!" he grins at me. I stare blankly back at him. He continues, "We┤re meeting with the others at a quiet place called Tealwind Park. It┤s a short walk from here, but we need to be sure to not be recognized as Sanrokers, okay?"
I nod and gulp. I knew we had to make a dash for this ┤Tealwind Park┤, but I couldn┤t walk, let alone run. Hopefully, I could stumble my way there.
"On the count of three, okay?" he says.
I breath deeply, and find my lips moving of their own accord. I glance up to Ryder, and notice that he had gone- I had missed the countdown.
I stagger out into the blinding, colorful light of the Capital. Gaudily dressed people mill about the loud streets, and gasp as I barge blindly through the throng.
I see a flash of grey ahead as Ryder motors ahead of me. Gasping, I finally stagger out of the crowds and onto a deserted area of luscious grass, and fall face-first onto it.
"Ryder?" I shout, panicked.
"Shh!" he hisses, pulling me to my feet and dragging me to an empty outback behind a large, magenta factory.
"We┤re here!" he whispers to me, hugging me tightly.
But I feel nothing, just like in the asylum.
Nothing had changed.
Aurora is dead.
We were still in the same place as when we started this journey- worse, in fact -but, hooray, we were in a different place where we┤ll probably get shot.
I see a few silhouettes standing out against the burning cyan sky, and I blindly fall towards them, knowing they┤re from the Asylum, knowing they┤re safe.
"Kenzie?" I hear a familiar, quiet, gentle voice.
I look up and see a freckled face, with choppy chestnut hair hanging loosely, and emerald eyes. "Kenzie, it┤s Luka. Is that you?"
"Yes! Yes, it is!" I whisper, hugging her tightly. Warmth spreads through my body, and for the first time, I feel safe.
"You look beautiful."
I smile to myself. No one had ever said that to me before. "So do you."
I break apart from our hug, and see a shrunken girl with curls and curls of blonde hair, shallow eyes and a pale face.
She stares at me like a wounded dog, with sorrowful eyes and tear-stained cheeks.
"Felic," she wails, and she covers her face with her hands.
I see a black-haired, tanned Scout pat her back. When I look at them as a whole, they all look equally mournful.
"Tell us what happened," Ryder says softly. "And we┤ll tell you."
"So, Felic...Winter...Paige, and Millie..." I stare at the ground, biting my bottom lip in an attempt to not be sick again.
"Octavia and Aurora...oh, god, I feel sick!" sobs Tashie. "And-and Felic!"
She buries herself into Luka┤s side. Through all of this, Luka had managed to keep herself calm and composed, despite Winter dying.
"We need to think of what to do next." Scout stares blankly at us all with chocolate eyes. I knew the loss of Paige had affected him.
"How about we find-"
"Halt!" a strong voice booms, and before I know it, I was hoisted in the air by my ankle, tossing my stomach upside-down. I gag, but manage to keep everything inside of me.
"Is this the girl who attacked you, sir?"
I look around wildly to see who┤s speaking.
"Yeah! She┤s a bleedin┤ Sanroke, she is!" snarls a familiar voice. "Killed t┤other one before they both got away, though."
"YOU SON OF A-" the person holding me in the air punches me harshly in the left cheek.
I see everyone else dragged into the air as well, but pain controls the left side of my face, and my left eye is blinded with agony.
"We┤ll take these ones away for questioning. Take the boy and the girl away to the nearest asylum. We┤ve got a surprise for them when they meet their friends."
Ryder and I are pulled away in the opposite direction of Tashie, Scout and Luka.
"STOP! STOP!" I scream, hammering on the Capital Guard┤s back. I feel a prick on my arm, and black engulfs my vision.
I knew it was all over now.
I was off to an asylum.
My friends were going to be tortured until they tell the Capital who else had escaped from Sanroke.
And there was absolutely nothing I could do about it.
-END OF BOOK 1-
Stay tuned for volume 2: ┤Fireflies: Thick Insanity┤
Thank you so much for all your support! Love you all lots xxx