Chapter 1

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"Zoe? Hey, Zoe!"

I rolled my head to the side and stared at Willow, my eyes meeting with her dark brown ones. She was sitting next to Matteo, Matteo having his arm protectively around her waist, and I was lying down on my back, on my own bed.

"Are you alright?" she asked, concerned.

I nodded and gave her a weak smile. "I'm fine."

In fact, I wasn't fine. So much information had been dumped onto me in a short period of time and I didn't know what to think of all of it. The fight with Zack, the thought of my family, and most importantly, the fear-filled voice of Zack's mother, Joan.

"That's it. They're gone. We're all that's left."

What had she meant by, 'we're all that's left'? Were we just disconnected from people like Ace, or were we the last compound left in general?

"Are you sure?" Wyatt asked while he swung his legs over the side of his bed as he sat up and looked down at me.

I did the same, my feet meeting with the floor and nodded my head for the second time. "I'm fine, really."

Matteo swatted Wyatt's dangling feet out of his face with a glare before looking at me again. "Ever since you came back, you've been very quiet. What happened? And please don't lie to us, you're a terrible liar."

I pressed my shaking hands against my thighs as I looked down at the floor. "Do you guys ever wonder what happened to your memories? Family? Friends?"

"Sometimes," Willow said, glancing down to the ground. "How come?"

"I-I remember things. Things from before any of this."

Different forms of shock displayed across each of their faces and it took them a few seconds to compose themselves.

"What do you remember?" Matteo asked.

"My parents," I replied, "and my sister, Sara. I even remember seeing Joan for the first time."

"What was your family like?" Willow asked with a frown.

"We were... happy."

I trailed my eyes to my hands and willed the tears not to fall. I didn't want to cry, not again. I then took a few deep breaths, pushing the sharp pain away from my chest, before looking back up at them.

"I talked to Zack about it-"

"Hold up." Matteo took his arm away from Willow's waist and rested his elbows on his knees as he leaned forward. "You talked to Zack about this!? You do remember what happened to the girl who remembered her own sister? Rebecca?"

I was momentarily shocked at how he had remembered her name because of what happened after Ace had taken the frightened girl away, but I quickly pushed that all away and nodded my head.

"I know, but I trust him." I saw the look that flashed across Matteo's face and I quickly raised one of my hands to stop him from opening his mouth and interrupting me. "You may not trust him, but I do," I dropped my hand, "and I'm glad I talked to him. He told me some...interesting things."

"What kind of things?" Wyatt asked.

I looked toward the door and then the floor before meeting their eyes again. "They don't forcibly take us away from our families."

My head spun ever so slightly and I could feel my chest tightening again as I remembered what Zack had told me. I didn't want to believe him when he told me then, and I really don't want to think it was real now.

Wyatt's eyebrows raised. "Then how did we get here?"

I swallowed the lump in my throat and looked down at the ground. "They paid our families to take us."

The room fell into silence, no one knew what to say. A few minutes later, I could see Matteo shaking his head as he looked back up at me.

"He could be lying," Matteo said, not wanting to believe the words that had left my mouth. "Maybe he just said that to make it seem like this place is better than it really is."

Willow furrowed her eyebrows as she looked at Matteo. "Better?! How is this better? Our parents would rather have money than have us."

"No." I watched as a tear fell from Wyatt's green eyes and he shook his head sharply, his dark curls bouncing with the movement. "No. My parents wouldn't do that."

My teeth attacked the inside of my cheek as I chewed on it.

"But you don't remember your parents," I finally said, looking up at him. "How would you know what they would or would not do?"

A sob wracked Wyatt's body and I immediately regretted the words that had left my mouth. He quickly wiped the tears away from his cheeks before laying back down and rolling over to face the wall. I sat there, staring at his back, wishing I had kept my big mouth shut.


I forced my eyes away from Wyatt and looked at Willow who bit down on her bottom lip. Her hands were both clasped together and resting in her lap, and I could see the tension in her shoulders.

"How do you remember?" she asked.

"When I hit my head," I replied, looking away. "It was like something in my mind just lodged out, and a few things suddenly became clear. I don't have all of my memories back, but I do have some."


We sat in silence for a moment longer, Wyatt's sharp breaths as he tried being silent as he cried, the only sounds in the room other than the small air vent located in the top corner. Matteo finally broke the silence, his eyes still cast down at the smooth grey floor.

"Was that everything?"

"No." I shook my head and glanced down at my hands before staring back and forth between the two of them. "There's one more thing."

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