1 Chapter One

The refreshing sound of birds chirping was the first thing Ashlyn Carr heard as she was awoken from her deep slumber. At first, she was completely content to doze; she was comfortable and warm.

However, when she recalled the previous events... her eyes shot open.

Ashlyn was in a bed, with a thin blanket draped over her. She was garbed in some sort of... hospital gown.

Ashlyn sat up to further investigate her surroundings. She was in a bedroom, by the looks of it... but it wasn't her bedroom. She was fairly certain she had never even been in this bedroom before, or any similar one.

Ashlyn was all sorts of confused. Where was she? Where was Connor? Why did she feel no pain after being hit by a car?

Ashlyn better observed the room. Parallel to the bed she was in, there was an identical one that had been sloppily made. The blankets were crooked and the sheets were hanging off unevenly. In between the two twin beds was a small table with a simple lamp on it. On the opposite end of the room, there was a door on the left side of the wall with a wardrobe on the right. A comfortable-looking chair was in the corner, next to the wardrobe, and in the other corner was a standing mirror. There were two decently-sized windows on the wall closest to Ashlyn. A lot of bright natural light was coming through the windows.

Although her surroundings were quite pleasant, Ashlyn was still anxious. She wanted to know where she was and she wanted to know it now.

"...Connor?" Ashlyn called out softly.

She had a strong feeling that he wasn't here, but that wasn't stopping her. She had always been embarrassingly dependent on her big brother.

"Connor?" she tried once more, slightly louder this time.

Nothing. Nothing but an eerily silent house, or whatever type of building she was in. She leaned over and glanced out the window, seeing that she was in a beautiful neighborhood. It was very sunny outside, and there were rows and rows of gorgeous-looking houses. There was so much greenery, as well. There were trees everywhere, healthy green grass, and an abundance of flowers blooming in various gardens. People were out and about on bikes, in their yards, taking a little walk, and many more things. Compared to this neighborhood, her hometown was a complete eyesore.

Yet... she still wanted to go back.

Ashlyn was trembling, completely overcome with fear and anxiety. She almost pinched herself to make sure she wasn't dreaming, but she already knew she wasn't. This was all real.

Ashlyn wanted to get up and walk around, but she was too scared to. This was obviously some stranger's house and she didn't want to just wander around. So, she decided to wait.

She waited for a very long time. As every second passed by, she only grew more anxious. She began to imagine scenarios that only freaked her out more. What if she had been kidnapped? What if she was lost? What if-

Ashlyn's irrational thoughts were cut short when she heard the door creak open quite slowly. Instinctively, she curled up to herself, pulling her knees to her chest protectively. Someone was entering the bedroom.

A boy with a pale complexion and curly black hair was walking in. He was not focused on her, however. He was staring at something that was on a clipboard. Ashlyn quickly noticed that he was wearing pretty much all black. A black and white striped t-shirt was under a black denim jacket and he was wearing black, ripped skinny jeans. A pair of black and white checkered Vans completed the look. He also had a pair of simple black studs in his ears. He closed the door behind him and continued staring at the clipboard. Ashlyn just stared at him. Did he not know she was in there?

After a few more seconds passed, he looked up and was startled to see her sitting up on the bed, completely awake. He nearly dropped his clipboard.

"Oh! Uh..." he said, lost for words.

He and Ashlyn stared each other down for a long time. He was looking at her with such an intent gaze. His grey eyes were so deep with emotion, and Ashlyn found him even more interesting the more he stared at her.

"Uh... sorry. Sorry about that... I... I didn't think you'd be awake already..." the boy stammered, breaking eye contact immediately.

Ashlyn said nothing, out of nervousness. The boy nervously coughed and said, "Well, uh... I... well... I'll be right back."

The boy was out of the room so quickly. Ashlyn could tell he was embarrassed, but she didn't care too much about his behavior. She was normally just as awkward.

A few minutes passed and eventually, the boy reentered the room, followed by a man. The man looked like he was in his early forties. He had brown, greying hair with a bit of stubble. He wore a pair of old-looking, small glasses. He was dressed in an orange and yellow polo shirt and a pair of tan pants. Though he was not wearing any shoes, he was wearing a pair of blue socks with small dogs on them. He smiled as he approached Ashlyn.

"Hello there. I'm Phillip Marsh, but you can call me Phil. You don't need to be afraid, young one," he said with a calm, soothing voice.

Ashlyn remained quiet, but she nodded softly.

"I'm assuming you remember your name?" Phil asked. "That's about the only thing people remember. I know your name in case you don't remember, though."

"...Ashlyn. Ashlyn Carr," Ashlyn said timidly.

Phil grinned. "Good! Good," He then gestured to the boy standing behind him. "This is Dustin. He's one of the many kids who live here. You'll get to meet them soon, but they are at school right now. I'm sure you'll get along with all of them."

A spark of hope surged through Ashlyn. "Is my brother here too?"

The smile on Phil's face was gone immediately, replaced by a look of shock. He looked over at Dustin, who looked just as shocked. Phil turned back to Ashlyn, slowly asking, "Your... brother?"

"Yeah... I was just with him. Or... well... I think I was... I don't know how much time has passed... but... he was with me, the last I can remember. Is he here? His name is Connor..." Ashlyn rambled nervously.

"...She's Immune," Dustin said in wonder.

Phil nodded, a small smile resurfacing on his face. "She sure is."

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