The Awakened (The Awakened Duology Book 1)

By: Sara Elizabeth Santana

I’M PRESSED AGAINST THE COLD tile of the floor, and I can’t breathe. I can’t remember how long I’ve been here. Has it been hours? Days? Weeks? Time is lost, and all I can feel are the shivers going through me.

I’m hungry. They brought me food earlier, and the smell wafted over me. It’s been so long since I’ve had real food, and I want nothing more than to eat it, to fill myself up, scrape the plate with my fingers. Screw utensils. Utensils are for a civilized world. That doesn’t exist anymore.

I can’t eat their food. I can’t. I don’t know what’s in it. But I’m hungry. I’m so hungry, I can barely stand it; I can barely think, and the smell is overwhelming, and I feel like I’m going to throw up but there’s nothing there. I can’t throw up. But I can’t eat it. I don’t know what they’ve put in it, and I’m tired of the darkness. I’m scared of sleeping when I’m not tired, and I’m scared of what is going on outside the door that I can’t get out of.

I think of Dad. Mom. Bandit. Madison.

I miss Ash.

I’m so cold.

There’s a click, and I spring up. The door begins to creak open, but I’m too exhausted and too hungry to do anything about it.

They’ve finally come for me.


And okay, sure, I hadn’t hit the actual head on the target in at least a few rounds, but who was counting? I definitely wasn’t.

Zoey, you need to lift your arm just a little bit. I’m glad you can shoot the target now, but let’s try actually hitting what we aim for.

I sighed, trying to ignore my dad’s voice in my head. It was because of him that I was even learning how to shoot a gun. I’ve lived my entire life in Manhattan in the great state of New York, and yeah, sometimes things aren’t all sunshine and rainbows here, but it wasn’t exactly the worst place to live either. But my dad is a police chief, and he tends to be a little overprotective sometimes.

“You’re thinking of your dad right now, aren’t you?” my best friend Madison called over the partition that separated us. As soon as my dad signed me up for gun lessons, Madison’s dad had jumped on board. We both thought it was incredibly stupid, until Madison started to do infinitely better than me. Madison was good at a lot of things, and she loved being good at things. Success was her biggest talent, not that I had noticed or anything. But at least we were together. Anything was manageable as long as I was with Madison.

I raised my gun. My eyes were intent on the target a few yards in front of me. I was determined to actually hit the target that I was aiming for this time. I breathed in and out and then fired. The bullet hit the paper right in the square of the chest.

“Nice,” Madison complimented right before firing her own gun.

“Except that I was aiming for the head,” I grumbled. “You know, if I ever need to actually use a gun, I’m going to be absolutely useless.”

About fifteen minutes later, we were walking outside, heading toward the subway. Madison was gushing about the praise she had received from our instructor today. I was massaging my arm and feeling sorry for myself. My dad is on the New York police force, so he’s amazing with a gun, yet I couldn’t fire one to save my life, which I think was kind of the point.

“You’re going to get better at this,” Madison insisted, breaking into my thoughts.

“I would love if I didn’t have to do it at all,” I answered, sliding my Metro card through the slot and stepping through. We jogged a bit to make the train that had just pulled in and made our way through the car, looking for some empty seats. We found some near the back and collapsed in them.

Madison shrugged, pulling out her phone and typing a quick text message to her boyfriend Brody. I was surprised it had taken her this long to have the phone in her hand. The only times the two of them were NOT texting each other were when we were in school, at gun practice and while sleeping. “In a few months, we’re going to be in college! COLLEGE, Zoey! Your dad just wants you to be protected.”

“Yeah, except for the fact that I can’t exactly keep a gun in my dorm room, Maddie. And we applied to Colombia and NYU. We could live at home if we wanted to.”

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