A/N: Have no fear! I will eventually introduce Artemis! (No prize for whoever guesses which character our dear little Arty’s going to be;)
When I was nine, I met The Creator. No-one believes me, but they’re all dead now. Everyone’s dead, except for me and Tyler. Tyler is my brother – no, was my brother. It’s better not to pretend. When the fire came we ran straight to the river-the now empty river-and jumped in, I don’t know what happened to Tyler but I ended up here. I’m not quite sure where here is, but it’s warm, and warm is good.
There’s food on a small table, and I eat it quickly, leaving nothing. Life on the street has taught me not to waste anything. There were more of us before the fire, not a lot, but enough. The Gamers would hunt us for sport, tasering my friends and family, before hauling them back to The Unspoken Ones. Our kind didn’t make money, but there were people worse than us, The Auders. If you didn’t pay close enough attention they’d come from behind with their knives. They didn’t need to kill you, but they did for fun, stab and steal was their motto, and nobody got away alive. We were The Shadows, fast, quiet, and defensive. We lived in an abandoned office building; every Shadow had a room, a place of their own. It may not have been a great place, but it was home. Until The Gamers came.
They came in the night, taking us one by one. The bottom floor went first, but not quietly. My floor was the fifth, the highest. We were the only ones that had time to get away. The other Shadows were taken prisoner or or killed, barely making a mark in the Gamers’ flanks before being thrown into one of the shiny, black cars waiting outside. My floor had only three people, Tyler, Jeremiah and I. Jeremiah was in my class before the schools were burned down in another mindless act of rage. No one knows who starts the fires, and no one knows how to stop them, but they kill families. Burning down whole towns before eventually consuming themselves. Tyler and I ran to the window, Jeremiah having run to his own brothers aid as soon as the screaming began. We clambered onto the roof and started to slide down the other side before catching sight of an orange spark on the bottom floor. Tyler hesitates only briefly before leaping down, landing silently in the bushes below. However I pause, taking a deep breath before preparing to follow his lead. A large hand grabs my shoulder and I jump, instinctively jolting away from the person behind me. I hit the ground hard and roll, taking some of the impact off my legs as I glance up to check the identity of my pursuer. Jeremiah is barely keeping a straight face as he gently lowers his brother off the roof before following quickly. They run ahead as I grab Tyler, sprinting to catch up. I round the corner and barely have time to repress a scream of horror before Tyler is at my side, shrieking at the sight of our only friends being brutally murdered by the Gamers.