Chapter One

The Beginning of the End – Underground, San Francisco

Quinn Karson


The subway car rattles and screeches around a turn down one of the hundreds of dark, dank tunnels beneath San Francisco. Micah looks as bored as I feel. The ride from Oakland into the city is a long one. I squeeze his hand and he looks up at me; a crooked smile races across his face. I wrench my eyes open as far as they will go and smile so hard the tendons in my neck flex. He draws one eyebrow skyward and purses his lips. Our wordless conversation ends when his gaze leaves mine.

I’m exhausted. Micah wears a heavy shade of sleeplessness under his eyes. I can only imagine how my face must look. I’ve never been this far from home, but Micah has been to California a few times. Mom must be worried, I think to myself. Micah and I have been planning our escape for weeks. I let my mind wander back to the moment he told me he was leaving.

“I have to get out of here,” Micah says, his voice is desperate. “I’ll be 18 in 2 months and I’m not going to stick around and wait for the fosters to kick me out.” I can feel the tears threatening to spill from my eyes. The thought of living without Micah threatens to crush me. The six months we’ve spent together have been the best months of my life. I clear my throat.

“So where will you go?” I ask keeping my eyes on the grubby carpet of his bedroom.

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