Prologue"Harry, this is not fair!"
They're at it again. I open my eyes and throw the covers off. It's no use sleeping when my parents are arguing.
I creep out of the room, wincing at a creak of the floorboards under me. I slowly turn down the hallway. Angela is outside, clutching her teddy bear and staring down the stairs. At the sound of the creaking, she turns and looks at me.
"Back to bed," I whisper.
Angela nods, then slips quietly back into her room.
I start down the stairs. I don't know what made me go there. I just walked down, my feet pulling me forward.
I stop at the bottom, my hands clutching the railing. This was maybe not a good idea. But my head cranes around the doorway, peering into the hallway.
"Joule, go back to bed." Dad. He notices me as soon as I look in.
Mom turns to me too. "Go back to sleep, honey." She looks tired. Lines are around her eyes, and the bags under her eyes seem to have gotten darker.
I sigh, then whisper. My voice sounds hoarse. "Why do you guys have to argue so much?"
Mom smiles sadly. "I'll be up in a moment. Go."
I turn away from the doorway, then walk up the stairs.
"But why are you sending them away?"
My eyes widen. They're sending us away? Me, Angela, and Harker?
I hear Dad clear his throat. "Look. Do you want them to get reaped?"
I gulp. My name in the reaping ball. That's one of my worst nightmares. A gloved hand digging around the slips of paper, fingers closing over my name...
"No, Harry! But–"
"But what? What choice do we have? The Peacekeepers promised a happy life for them if they join them!"
Dad...wants...us...to join...the PEACEKEEPERS?
I slowly walk down the steps and crouch by the doorway.
"Harry, NO!" I hear a push, and put my head in the doorway.
Mom was pushing Dad, tears streaming down her cheeks.
Then Dad gets angry. I can see it in his eyes.
I watch as he grabs her shoulders, spins her around, and put his arm to her throat.
Slowly choking her.