They were all laughing in the car feeling good about the moment. There wasn’t that usual stress that one of the gifted carried of being found by the Shroud, so far not on this journey. They’d all met by accident while on their way to sanctuary. There was three of them. Millie was the oldest at forty, it was her car that they were driving but at the moment she was sitting in the passenger seat Nora was the one driving, she was seventeen. In the back seat was Jeni, she was twenty six. Millie had started this journey by herself eventually coming across Nora at a grocery store. Nora didn’t notice that Millie was gifted she was still too young to pick up on such things. But Nora was experienced she instantly could sense that Nora was one of the gifted. The gifted were naturally stronger and more agile than humans and it showed at least to one of the gifted, Millie picked up on how Nora carried herself, it was very obvious. Millie just walked up and introduced herself and informed Nora who and what she was. Nora was relieved that she’d come across one of her kind, up to this point it was sheer luck that she hadn’t been killed yet by a Shroud agent. Nora’s mother had been killed years ago when she was ten, she never knew who her father was, the end result was that she was left to fend for herself alone. Maybe because she merely lived like other humans being so careless actually kept her under the Shroud radar. A few weeks ago she met a terrified man who said he came across Seekers, he warned Nora to make her way to the safety of sanctuary. Sanctuary? She didn’t even know what that was because she’d never been. When she asked where a sanctuary would be she was told that she would know by feeling where it was. Then the man fled leaving her to guess on how to get there, so she was overjoyed to meet Millie, now she knew someone who had been to sanctuary before. This would make the trip easier. As for Millie she had been brought up by two parents who had taken her to sanctuary when she was eleven, they were both gifted. Millie knew the life all too well, and had been trained by Judge Schmidt in the California district where she stayed for several years before leaving. Unlike Nora who was untrained, Millie knew full well that finding a sanctuary was not by sight but by feeling. Any sanctuary was like a beacon that called out to them if you knew how to feel it out. Millie had however been to Judge Moses sanctuary before and enjoyed her last visit. She was looking forward to meeting him again. Some Judges seemed kind of cold and distant, maybe it had to do with their immortality and after living for so long they became detached from how they used to be, shedding their human emotions. Of course it was Millie’s personal view, she’d only met a few Judges in her lifetime but she liked how full of emotion and kind Judge Moses was. And then there was Jeni. Jeni was pretty confident, she grew up with two parents her mother was gifted, her father was not. But her father fully embraced the lifestyle because of his deep love for his wife. He was killed though by a Shroud soldier when Jeni was eight. She was taken to sanctuary when she was she eleven upon her gift blossoming. She was taught by Judge Morrow in a sanctuary in the state of Alabama. Her mother left her there but never returned when Jeni had completed her training. Judge Morrow told Jeni that more than likely she was killed by the Shroud, he wasn’t very consoling about it. This made her realize how serious her life and survival was about so maybe that’s what Judge Morrow was trying to emphasize. Unlike both Millie and Nora, Jeni was very promiscuous making love to both men and women whenever she pleased. She cared little for love, life was too short and dangerous for a relationship so for her she lived in the moment. Even the way she carried herself, her vibe was extremely sexual. The funny thing was she looked nothing like how she acted. In fact she had a very innocent small round face with a set of very large brown eyes and a very short conservative looking hair cut. Well they always say it’s the quiet ones. She had the body and face to pull in anyone that she chose as her current lover as a sure fire temptation, breaking many hearts upon leaving them after hours of play, or sometimes days of passionate love making. Love wasn’t for her, she saw where it got her parents, and she heard too many stories from other gifted who had lost loved ones. Being alone and just having sex with who she pleased when she wanted, that was best, no commitments. She never knew when a Shroud agent might cross paths with her, maybe she’d live, maybe she’d be killed. If she was killed there’d be no one that she’d have to leave behind mourning her. And although she thought in such ways she was quite easy to get along with, she didn’t shy away from chatting with the other two ladies, even though she was quite the loner. Jeni was very outgoing and personable always up for a laugh or conversation, and she was always the one to tell the first joke between Millie and Nora. Her most common joke was that both of her comrades had old lady names. Since the group got together they hadn’t encountered any trouble, Millie and Jeni informed Nora that sanctuary was much closer now. They were driving down a country road out in the middle of nowhere that was surrounded by forest. “We’ll have to pull off the main road in about twelve miles or so and walk the rest of the way” Millie commented while looking out of the side window, her curly blond hair blowing in the wind. The setting sun shot it’s final rays of light into her blue eyes she squinted upon contact of the light, she had crows feet around the edges that she caught sight of in the side mirror, she cursed under her breath at the sight of them then forced herself back into the good vibes of the moment before. Jeni was stretched out in the back seat against the passenger side door, the window was down. Nora gripped the steering wheel excitedly, her eyes lit up like a little girls. “I can’t wait to get to sanctuary! It sounds so exciting!” She said in perky tones. Jeni rolled her eyes. “You won’t be saying that once the Judge starts training you for combat!” Then she laughed lightly derisive, but no harsh intent was meant. Nora remained bright eyed keeping her eyes on the road. “To be honest I’ve lived so long without our way of life I’m really looking forward to it all!” Nora said positively, now it was Millie’s turn to laugh. “You sound so gullible!” She said. Nora felt hurt by that comment, she glanced over at Millie quizzically. “What do you mean?” She asked. Millie adjusted herself in the seat realizing that what she had said affected Nora negatively. “I didn’t mean to hurt your feelings, I guess it’s just that I don’t really see anything exciting about being gifted. Our life is made up of running, and a fear of being killed by the Shroud. Sometimes I wonder if I should’ve left you alone back in that grocery store and not introduced myself. You’re life would’ve been easier not knowing” Millie said, Nora didn’t seem to agree. She gave a serious stare at Millie. “How could you say that?” She said. Jeni caught sight of something on the road in front of her through the crack of the seat where she was sitting as Nora and Millie continued their debate . Sitting up she positioned herself in the middle focusing. “Guys…” She said transfixed on the road. Nora and Millie heard the seriousness in Jeni’s voice. They both turned their attention to what Jeni was staring at. It was a man standing in the middle of the road as they came closer to him they knew that it was a Shroud soldier, they didn’t know however that it was a Seeker. “Floor it!” Millie said urging Nora to pick up speed. From the left another Seeker dashed out of the forest reaching into the driver side window with his dagger instantly severing Nora’s head from her body. Millie cried out in rage, a Seeker landed on the top of the car hood stabbing downward penetrating the hood stabbing into Millie’s skull. It happened so quickly Millie had no chance to summon her power. The Seeker that stood on the road ran toward the car leaping unto the hood with ease he unsheathed his dagger breaking the front windshield stabbing Millie in the chest penetrating her heart. “Noooo!” Jeni cried out at the horror that was taking place, in an instant both of her friends were killed, this was why she preferred to remain alone. She opened the car door rolling out onto the road as the car continued to maintain speed before veering off hitting a tree on the side of the road. Both Seekers leapt from the vehicle before impact. Coming to her feet she saw two more Seekers dart out of the forest coming right at her. She outstretched her arms eyes squinting. Both Seekers twitched before falling to the ground paralyzed. The other two Seekers that initially attacked saw what happened to their bothers and hastily picked up speed to assault Jeni but it was too late, she extended her arms and they too flinched before falling to the ground paralyzed. She looked around nervously knowing that there had to be more but nothing happened, no other Seekers came out to attack. After a few minutes she ran into the forest, she was still far from sanctuary but maybe just maybe she could get close enough. Or maybe this time her luck would run out like Nora and Millie’s did. She wasn’t going down without a fight.