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Paragons 1.1.2

Book 1  ♣  Episode 1  ♣  Chapter 2

Savannah devises a risky plan. Chapter 2 of the Paragons episode The Invisible Stranger.

Chapter 2: A Risky Plan

Bayshore was a cluster of towns that framed the bay, crisscrossed by a spiderweb of mostly-deserted, multi-lane highways. I lived just off one of those highways. Every day, a bunch of us would clamber onto the old abandoned overpass, squeeze our faces against the chain-link fence, and watch one of the Government’s supply trucks rumble along down below, a massive whale in a vast and empty ocean.

Mom said that long ago, before the Curse, over a million people had used those highways each and every day. Nowadays, the only vehicles in operation around here were Government owned and approved.

No ordinary citizen had a car anymore. Sixteen years ago, shortly after the Curse hit, the Government had confiscated all the survivors’ vehicles in the name of the common good. And whatever the Government hadn’t saved to drive themselves, they’d cannibalized for parts or melted down for materials.

“Have you finished packing?” Mom asked me.

The two of us were standing at my bedside in Slumber Hall, the open room I shared with all the other sixteen-year-olds in town. Mom slept just down the hall, in one of the adult common rooms. The post-Curse world wasn’t big on privacy or personal space.

“All done.” I patted the slim suitcase on my bed.

I’d packed anything worth bringing along with us, which, to be honest, wasn’t all that much. Just a few books, and a photo of Mom holding me and Dante the day we were born. I’d decided not to bring any of the ugly school uniforms they forced us to wear in Bayshore. I wouldn’t need them at the Fortress.

People called the Fortress ‘the City of a Million Possibilities’. It’s where we were moving to tonight, after Dante’s Blending ceremony. That was one of the perks of being Chosen; when Dante left for a better life, he got to bring his family along with him.

“Ok, I’ll bring this to the front.” Mom grabbed my suitcase. “You just wait here, and try not to do anything rash.”

I didn’t say anything.

Mom set my suitcase on the ground. “Savannah.”


“Look at me.”

I looked. It was like gazing in a mirror—and into the future. Everyone always told me I looked just like my mother, and they were right. Mom and I shared the same amber eyes and the same long, mocha-brown hair that shimmered with caramel highlights when the sun hit it just right.

And when we met someone new, we both saw that same, undeniable I-have-no-idea-where-you-come-from look in their eyes.

Mom had ancestors from seven continents; one of them was even born in Antarctica, to parents who were scientists.

So when strangers asked her, Where are you from?, she always replied, Gaia.

And so did I.

We totally confused everyone.

I guess it’s because humans really liked to stick people in boxes—in categories—and Mom and I didn’t make sense. People couldn’t place us in one box, in one race, in one culture. We kind of totally disrupted all of their notions about the universe.

“Promise me you aren’t planning on trying any shenanigans tonight,” Mom said.

“What makes you think I will?”

She sighed. “Because you’re my daughter.”

“Yeah, I hear shenanigans are genetic.” I flashed her a grin.

“Funny. But you’re not going to distract me this time, Savannah. We are having this conversation.”

“About shenanigans?”


“So you are going to give me tips on how to pull off shenanigans? Great!”

The corner of her mouth twitched, even though she tried to hide it.

“Don’t worry, Mom.” I gave her an easy smile. “I can take care of myself.”

A smile broke through her serious facade. “I’ve never had any doubt about that.” Mom surged forward and crushed me in a big, mama-bear hug. “Just promise me you’ll be careful,” she whispered into my ear.

“I’m always careful.”

Mom drew back, her eyes wet and worried. “Ok. I trust you, Savannah. Do what you must.” Then, with a shaky smile, she picked up my suitcase and walked out of the room.

I couldn’t tell Mom what I was going to do. I couldn’t make her an accomplice in my scheme. Because if anything went wrong—which was way too likely—the Government would arrest me. And if they found out she knew anything about my plan, they’d arrest her too.

Copyright © Ella Summers

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