It was roughly midnight, the moon shining in the sky like a bright candle, cradled by the soft, white clouds. The trees were still, for there was no wind, and the woods stood silent. Suddenly, there grew a faint noise that pierced through the restful peace. Deep in the calm forest stood a number of young adults, trapped in this oddly amazing world. They had found themselves alone, waking up to not their families or friends, but one another. Each was a stranger to the other. Among them were traitors, criminals, heroes, and protectors. Each had their own goals in life, but life had now changed. Not one of them was alike the other, but some grew quite attached to ones either friendly or dangerous.
Each of them had a story, even the ones who seemed to have the darkest soul. Without first reading their story, one might say you don't know someone at all. All stories are building blocks of one's character. I'm about to tell you a story of eleven young adults that experienced one obstacle in life, and suddenly everything changed. However, before I tell you what is about to happen, I must tell you what has already been that shaped these characters into who they are now.
Michael Evans was the first to awake, finding himself in unfamiliar surroundings. His story is one filled with tragedy, regret, despair, and loneliness. He stood among the crowd as a lone wolf and he liked it that way. In his book, a lone wolf was higher than everyone else, alone and separated. A lone wolf had no heart, no sincerity; nothing but pride. Not ever knowing his parents, Michael ran away from foster care at the age of eight. He joined a local gang in New Jersey to provide something of food, money, and shelter. Through his first five years, Michael was required to accomplish five tasks in order to permanently be one of them. The first four seemed simple enough: bank heists, car thefts, quick getaways. Nonetheless, the fifth task became rather difficult, even for him. On one gloomy night, Michael was required to meet four men at a boat harbor to dispose of a package. At first, it appeared to be a task to perform with ease, but there was a twist.
The four men stepped onto port once their boat stood still. Two of the younger men dragged something...no...someone...behind them. A bag was draped over their head and their wrists and ankles were chained together. Now, at the age of thirteen, Michael tried to contain his fear. He knew that fear was only for the weak, but what was to come next made him question his decisions of the past five years. When the men made it to Michael, the view of the prisoner grew clearer. He was thrown down on his knees, right at Michael's feet, and the bag was removed. His appearance was that of a kid not much older than Michael. His face, however, was bloody and bruised; evident that he had been through too much to survive. The gang had a method to their madness. After information was spilled, the individual had to be disposed of.
Michael had one more job to do before he finally became a full-time gang member, but now he was questioning if that was right or not. The kid looked Michael in the eye. With all the strength he had left, he used it to plead for mercy to live. Michael desired to turn away, to leave this life. After all, kids his age only worried about if the girls thought he was cute and what was the best selling video game. Yet, his life was much different, it always had been. He wondered how he could turn this around, but nothing came to his mind. It was either shoot the kid or be shot himself. The man portrayed to be the leader walked up to Michael, placed his hand on his shoulder and handed him a gun. The serial number, as a precaution, was filed off and Michael wore gloves to protect his identity.
Stepping away from the captive, the three other men stood behind Michael with smirks. Their jobs were to train the kids who desired to be members, and they seemed pleased with Michael's achievements and efforts. Nonetheless, Michael tried his best to hold the gun steady, straight at the boy's head. He wanted to close his eyes, wanted to walk away from all of this, but he knew that was a risk in and of itself. Straighter than a statue, Michael pulled the trigger and refused to move. The body collapsed to the ground, lifeless. The bullet pierced the boy's skull right between the eyes. Pride overtook the faces of the four men, but only disappointment overflowed Michael's heart. Never sharing with anyone what had happened, Michael locked away any feelings that left him vulnerable. The gang trained him to be one of them, and that's what Michael seemed to be. All his guilt, anger, and pain was used to mold him into an unexpressive warrior capable of taking care of himself and striking fear into every victim and anyone else who came across him.
However, there was one who wasn't afraid. One who could see the fear and loneliness within his heart. Nikki Fox was the second to discover the mysterious land. She laid right beside Michael. Nikki had the same feelings bottled up inside her. Instead of anger and destruction, Nikki masked her pain with sarcasm, witty comments, and an attitude that didn't care. Her story is the next to tell. One grounded by loss, loneliness, pride, and fear.