Clarke had been a little worried about introducing Bellamy to her parents, unsure how they’d react to anyone other than her upstanding Phoenician ex-boyfriend, Wells. But to her relief, they’d warmed to Bellamy right away. Their own traumas made them sympathetic and even protective of Bellamy when he spent the night in Clarke’s family’s cabin, plagued by debilitating nightmares that tore him from sleep, rendering him a trembling, sweating mess—dreams about firing squads, blindfolds fused to his face, hearing Clarke’s and Octavia’s screams rattle his bones. On nights like those, her parents scrambled to mix herbal drafts to help him sleep while Clarke held his hand, neither of them ever uttering a word of caution to Clarke.

Both were waving cheerfully to Bellamy right now, yet Clarke felt her shoulders tensing. There was something off about his step. His face was pale and he kept looking over his shoulder, eyes wild and panicked.

Clarke’s father’s smile fell as Bellamy drew close. He reached for the bird and Bellamy dropped it into his outstretched arms without so much as a thank-you.

“Clarke,” Bellamy said. His breath was ragged, as though he had run here. “I need to talk to you.”

Before she could respond, he grabbed her elbow and pulled her past the fire pit to the edge of the ring of newly built cabins. She stumbled slightly on a jutting root and had to catch her balance quickly to keep from being dragged behind him.

“Bellamy, stop.” Clarke wrenched her arm free.

The glassy look briefly left his eyes. “I’m sorry. Are you okay?” he said, sounding momentarily more like himself.

Clarke nodded. “Yes, fine. What’s going on?”

The frantic look returned as he surveyed the camp. “Where’s Octavia?”

“She’s heading back with the kids right now.” Octavia had taken the younger children to play at the creek for the afternoon, to keep them from interfering with the preparations. Clarke pointed to the line of children holding hands while they crossed the clearing to the tables, black-haired Octavia leading the pack. “You see?”


Bellamy relaxed a fraction at the sight of his sister, but then, as his eyes met Clarke’s, his face darkened again. “I noticed something strange while I was out hunting.”

Clarke bit her lip, stifling a sigh. This wasn’t the first time he’d said those words this week. It wasn’t even the tenth. But she squeezed his hand and nodded. “Tell me.”

He shifted his weight from side to side, a bead of sweat trickling out from underneath his dark, tousled hair. “A week or so ago, I saw a pile of leaves on the deer path, on the way to Mount Weather. It seemed… unnatural.”

“Unnatural,” Clarke repeated, trying her best to remain patient. “A pile of leaves. In the woods, in autumn.”

“A huge pile of leaves. Four times bigger than any of the others around it. Big enough for someone to hide in.” He started pacing, talking more to himself than to Clarke. “I didn’t stop to check it out. I should’ve stopped. Why didn’t I stop?”

“Okay…” Clarke said slowly. “Let’s go back and look at it now.”

“It’s gone,” Bellamy said, running his fingers through his already unruly hair. “I ignored it. And today, it’s gone. Like someone was using it for something, but they don’t need it anymore.”

His expression, a mixture of anxiety and guilt, made her heart ache. She knew what this was about. After the dropships had landed, Vice Chancellor Rhodes had tried to execute Bellamy for crimes he’d supposedly committed back on the ship. Just two months ago, he’d been forced to say an agonizing good-bye to the people he loved before being blindfolded and dragged out to meet a firing squad. He’d looked death straight in the eye, believing he was about to abandon Octavia and destroy Clarke. But his imminent execution had been derailed by the sudden, brutal Earthborn attack. Though Rhodes had pardoned Bellamy, those events had taken their toll on him. The bouts of paranoia that followed weren’t surprising, but instead of getting better, Bellamy seemed to be growing worse.

“And then you add this to all the other stuff,” he went on, his voice louder, more frenzied. “The wheel ruts by the river. The voices I heard in the trees—”

“We talked about this,” Clarke cut him off as she wrapped her arms around his waist. “The wheel ruts could have come from the village; Max’s people have wagons. And the voices—”

“I heard them.” He started to pull away but Clarke wouldn’t let him.

“I know you did,” she said, tightening her hold.

He slumped, resting his chin on her head.

“I don’t want to cause a scene…” Bellamy swallowed. The word again went unspoken. “But I’m telling you. Something isn’t right. I felt it before and I’m feeling it now. We have to warn everyone.”

Clarke glanced over her shoulder at all the people milling about the camp: Lila and Graham walking past with buckets of water, teasing a younger boy struggling with his load; Earthborn kids giggling as they ran from their village with more food for the table; guards chatting as they traded patrol positions.

“We need to warn them before this… celebration.” He waved his hand dismissively. “Whatever this is.”

“The Harvest Feast,” Clarke said. She loved the idea of participating in a tradition that went back hundreds of years, before the Cataclysm—the nuclear war that nearly destroyed the Earth and forced the first Colonists into space to save the human race. “Max said it’s been celebrated here for generations, and it’ll be nice to take a moment to—”

“It’s what that splinter group of Earthborns is waiting for,” Bellamy interjected, growing louder. “If I were going to attack us, today would be the day. All of us together. Sitting ducks.”

A little boy skipped out of his cabin, then, seeing Bellamy, blanched and ducked back inside.

Clarke took Bellamy’s hands, held them while they shook, and looked him in the eye. “I trust you,” she said. “I trust that you saw what you saw.”

He nodded, listening, though he was still breathing heavily.

“But you need to trust me too. You are safe here. We are safe. The truce we struck last month is holding firm. Max says that splinter group of Earthborns moved off south as soon as they lost the fight, and there hasn’t been one sighting of them since.”

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