“Sorry, which ones are the pine trees again?”

A flicker of irritation crossed Clarke’s harried face. “The ones with the needles instead of leaves.”

“Right,” Glass said, nodding. “And the blackberry bushes will have—”

“Actually, don’t worry about it,” Clarke cut in. “I’ll go myself.”

“No, it’s fine. I can do it,” Glass said. She was sure Luke had pointed out the blackberry bush to her at some point. “I’ll find it.”

Clarke sighed. “It’s just easier if I do it. But thank you. Maybe next time.” She hurried away, leaving Glass standing on her own, cheeks burning as she wondered how long it would take for her to stop feeling like an outsider. Or worse, like a burden.

In the distance, Max raised a hand, and the excited buzz of conversation died down enough for Glass to hear. He welcomed everyone to the feast and explained that while the tradition had evolved over the centuries, it’d always been a holiday for giving thanks. “And so, let us all take a moment to think about our blessings, to feel gratitude for what we see before us now, and for the gifts that enriched our pasts.” His voice cracked and he paused, sending a jolt of pain through Glass’s chest. She hadn’t known Sasha well, but she knew the agony of grief. Every night, just as she was drifting off to sleep, an image crept out of the recesses of her mind: her mother, throwing herself in front of Glass on the dropship to protect her, blood blooming bright on her shirt and spreading and spreading until the light dimmed from her eyes.

Max’s voice was suddenly drowned out by applause. So many people were standing up, it was hard to see what was going on, but it looked like he was hugging Wells.

Glass took a breath and began walking toward the gathering. If she couldn’t be helpful, she might as well join in the festivities. As she neared the tables, a large pinecone dropped from an overhanging branch and landed at her feet. Without thinking, she kicked it away like she did when playing with the children. It bounced once and landed a few meters away, then burst apart.

The light hit Glass first, a blinding flash that seemed to reduce the entire world to searing brightness.


Then came the wall of air, and the shuddering of the heaving earth. She barely had time to process the thunderclap of sound before it was replaced by a piercing whine in her ears.

Her face was in the dirt. Glass wrenched a gasp, and the air that she tasted was smoky and thick and wrong. She pushed herself upward with a feeble groan, her body trembling.

The camp was on fire. She brushed a hot ember off her cheek seconds before another explosion rocked the far side of the clearing, near where the guard tower was. People were shrieking, running. Glass scrambled to her knees, stretching her arm along the ground to pull up whoever was on the ground beside her… and realized a second later that it was just a hand. Attached to nothing else.

She shrieked and recoiled. Vomit rose in her throat, but she swallowed hard and fought to stand, screaming, “Luke! Luke!”

She couldn’t get her bearings and spun three times before she realized why. The landmark she was searching for, the guard tower, was gone. It was no more than a smoldering mound of wood, the whole area around it scorched.

The building Luke had been in was destroyed.

Glass staggered toward the ruins, numb to the protests of her battered body. The only thing she could feel was panic flooding her veins. She tried to scream, but was unable to produce any sound.

Just when she thought she might collapse from the dizzying whirl of fear and grief, she spotted a familiar shape emerging from the cloud of smoke. Luke. He was fine; he hadn’t been in the building after all. From across the clearing, their eyes met, and she was sure the relief she saw on his face was mirrored on her own.

But then he looked over her shoulder and his eyes widened in fear. She couldn’t hear his words, but she was sure he’d said, “Run.”

Glass turned around and got a brief glimpse of a tall man striding toward her. He had a shaved head and was dressed in strange white clothes.

And then he jammed a needle into her neck.

The world went from red-hot to spotty white and then black. As if from a great distance, Glass felt herself falling into nothing.





As people screamed, fled, and fell all around, two thoughts occurred to him:

This can’t be happening.

And… I knew it.

They’d never be safe on Earth.

Then more pressing thoughts sliced through the fog. Clarke. Octavia. Wells. From his position at the Council’s table, Bellamy scanned the smoke-filled clearing, but his eyes were burning and he could barely make out anyone’s face. “Octavia!” His sister’s name tore from his throat, but the sound was lost in the din. “Clarke! Where are you?” He lurched forward. He had to keep moving until he found them.

A bone-shattering sound pierced the roar of frantic screams. Gunfire. Even half-crazed with panic and fear, Bellamy registered the strangeness of it. The Earthborns who’d attacked them last time didn’t have guns.

“Bellamy! Get down!” A forceful hand wrapped around his wrist, wrenching him to the ground. Felix was crouched under the wooden table alongside five or six other trembling figures. “It’s coming from the woods… oh my god… oh my god.” Felix gasped. “Eric is out there. He was bringing supplies from the village. Can you see him?”

The thunder of gunfire paused, leaving Bellamy’s ears ringing. Their attackers were reloading.

“Everyone, stay down!” Max’s voice bellowed from somewhere nearby. But it was too late. As the smoke began to dissipate, Bellamy saw an Arcadian woman he recognized crawl out from under a table and sprint toward the cabins. There was another spray of gunfire, and she fell backward, blood spurting from her neck.

A moment later, Clarke’s mother jumped up and was at the woman’s side, pressing her hand against the woman’s neck. A new round of bullets tore through the air and she flattened herself against the ground.

“Mary!” Bellamy shouted. “Come back!” But he knew he was wasting his breath. Whatever gene kept most people from risking their lives to save others, the Griffin women didn’t have it. His heart lurched. Clarke. He needed to find her before she did something well-meaning and reckless.

Bellamy gritted his teeth and began crawling forward on his stomach. He glanced up and saw Wells and Eric sprint out of the forest. They grabbed an injured Earthborn from the ground and dragged him toward the edge of the clearing to take shelter in the trees. Bellamy sprang to his feet and ran over to them, crouching next to Eric and Wells behind a large tree.

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