Chapter 1

Camdyn LeVaigne

The light came in through her window like an explosion of diamonds. Camdyn blew dust from her face as she woke to her mother screaming at her from the kitchen. "Camdyn! Get up, you lazy maggot!" Her mother hated her. She made that clear. Camdyn didn't care, she could leave soon anyways. The Jastens would come to their town soon. She intended to join them. Only very few people did, but she didn't care, as long as she got to leave this place.

She got up, dressed quickly and ran downstairs. Her mother would kill her if she took too long. "Put your hair up, Camdyn, you look like a street rat. I wish you would start caring what you looked like."

"I do care, Ma. But if I take too long I'll miss breakfast." She tried her hardest not to anger her mom. She knew what happened when she got mad.

"Well, start getting up earlier." She had venom in her voice.

Camdyn ate her cereal fast, grabbed her bag and raced out the door. The bus wouldn't wait for her. She ran towards the stop, already late enough as it was. She arrived just as the bus did, and climbed on last. She sat in the very back seat, ignoring everyone who stared at her. She knew why; she had dyed her hair purple and had a black eye. The Jastens wouldn't appreciate her shiner. She ducked her head.

"I hope you're not trying to block me out." Matt sat beside her, speaking in a joking manner that made her feel better about everyone staring at her. "Cam, do me a favor and dye your hair red again. I mean, this is gorgeous, but it's a little scary."

"Fine, be that way." Camdyn didn't want to dye her hair red again, but no one seemed to like her purple hair, so she figured she would anyway.

"Some kids at my stop think the Jastens are gonna come today." He said, sounding sad.

"What? They're not scheduled till the 24th. It's only the eleventh." She was close to panicking. She had the things she needed in her bag, of course, but she didn't want them to come early.

"Are you gonna join them?" He was sad indeed, probably hoping she wouldn't.

"Are you?"

"I don't know. My family wants me to, but I don't wanna leave." She all of a sudden felt guilty for wanting to leave, leaving him. He was her only friend. She just nodded.

The bus came to a stop in the space between the high fence and the cafeteria. Camdyn and Matt were the last to leave. "Cam..." Matt said, pointing at a suspicious purple van with a red J on the side door. The Jasten van. It took her all she had not to burst into tears right then. The rumors were true: the Jastens had come early. She looked at Matt. "What's gonna happen now?"

"I don't know."


"Everyone ages seventeen and up to the auditorium. NOW." Principal Stevens's voice came over the intercom with urgency that made Camdyn shudder.

She gathered her bags and walked out of the quiet classroom with two other people tagging along beside her. They walked in silence, others coming out of classrooms to join them. When Camdyn saw Matt coming out of a lab up ahead, she ran to him. They walked in silence too. They had nothing to say. They probably all had seen the van, and knew what was happening.

They arrived in the auditorium to see three men and a woman in black and purple suits standing down in front. "Take a seat." The woman said. The kids all sat near the front. Camdyn sat with Matt.

"Now, you all probably already know who we are, but we're going to introduce ourselves anyway. My name is Sydney Danmore." Said the woman.

"I am Charles Hampton." Said the tallest of the men.

"I'm Parker Kindorman." Said the short one.

"And I'm Kanen Scott." Said the last.

"We are four Jasten representatives. You may call us by our first names." Sydney said.

"We are here to speak to you about joining the Jastens. By law, we are required to tell you everything good and bad about joining us. The first good thing is that you don't have to pay for your living space, which we will provide you. The first bad thing is that we don't let you get a job." Kanen said, sounding bored.

"Since there is alot to tell you, we figured it'd be easier to just type out a list and give it to you." Parker said, handing them the paper. Camdyn didn't mind any of the bad things, but she didn't see why anyone cared about the good things. It didn't change the fact that the Jasten compound trained people to be capable of murder. They'd train them to kill.

"Now that you've read the list, is the for the question. Would any of you like to join us? Would anyone like to be a Jasten?" Charles spoke with nervous excitement. It was unsettling, but it didn't stop Camdyn from standing up. Matt gasped, looking at her in horrified awe. Then a boy with messy brown hair and green eyes stood up too. Then Matt, to Camdyn's surprise, stood and grasped her hand. Just three, out of the hundred kids in the room. Only one person spoke, and that was Sydney.

"Well, let's get you to the van."

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