Kenzie Brooks needs to vanish.
All she has ever known is a string of misconceptions, including her name.
Upon her mother’s passing, Kenzie is left with no other choice but to disappear without a trace from all she has ever known which is The Society.
She must vanish.
Will Kenzie be able to fool The Society into thinking she’s dead? Or will they put the pieces together and discover she’s learned the truth about where she came from?
My head throbbed. The one thing I wanted, I couldn’t have—to crawl in bed with my mom while I asked her endless questions about what I should do. It was against the Keeper’s command to waste time thinking on anything that wasn’t productive. All thoughts were to be used for betterment of The Society. That was hard for me as I constantly desired to learn more.
I thought back on the last minutes with my mom.
Candles were lit on every surface, letting The Light know my mom neared the end. It was a haunting site. The Keeper’s raspy voice broke the silence. “Anita, your light has shown bright and will live on in Sarah. You will continue to burn bright in the light hereafter.”
My mom closed her eyes in acknowledgment. Speech had stopped hours ago as it exhausted her.
A week ago, she started not feeling well. We tried all of the herbal remedies, but she never got better. It was a mysterious disease that took one to two people every year from our group. The sickness started as an extreme headache and quickly turned to excessive vomiting.
Now, not seven days later, she lay in her bed dying and my world was falling apart.
The Keeper laid his hand on top of Mom’s and looked at me. His steel-colored beady eyes made me feel queasy. “Sarah, we shall give you a few minutes alone with your mom as time is coming. We shall all be downstairs.” A tear seeped from my mom’s eye. She appeared as scared as I felt. How was I going to survive here without her? As soon as we were left alone, I lunged toward my mom’s bed as I allowed the fear of the situation to take root in my mind.
“Mom, please don’t leave me. I can’t bear to think of a world that you’re not in. You’re my everything,” I sobbed.
My mom’s hand shook as it came to my face. Her fingernails had become dry, cracked and discolored. The herbalist said it was from lack of nutrition since my mom couldn’t keep anything down. I leaned into the touch before she had to drop her hand while I tried to memorize what it felt like to be near her—warm and loving.
She softly spoke, “Sarah, I should have told you sooner, but we haven’t been alone since I got sick. The truth is in an envelope in the bottom of the locked chest in the attic. The key is hidden underneath your nightstand. There’s not much time.”
I became desperate. “Mom, please don’t go.” A sob erupted. “Please. Please.”
Her eyes closed. “Shh…sweetheart. I thought I had more time to prepare. You’re not going to understand what I’m about to say, but it’s the truth. Your real name is Kenzie Brooks. If you want a choice and a say in your life, read the letter. Your inquisitive mind belongs in the world.”
My heart raced frantically. Kenzie Brooks. I’m Sarah. The world. Choice. Life. Those words were jumbled in my head as my mom’s breathing became more labored. My breathing increased while panic took over. “Mom, please. I don’t know what you’re saying. I don’t understand.”
We spoke in hushed whispers. “Kenzie, I love you. You are the light in my world. I’m so sorry for the choices I made, but know that I have loved you with my entire heart. Never doubt that.”
Mom stopped and took a few breaths. These were moments I was supposed to treasure, not be told secrets that would change my life more than it was. I wanted to argue with her, but she didn’t have much time. Her hand got colder. These were the last moments I would ever have with my mom. I wasn’t prepared to be left alone. I wasn’t strong enough to survive without her.
She continued, her voice growing weaker. “Regardless of what you think of my decision, know that I loved you. I tried to do what was best for you.”
Closing her eyes for a moment, they fluttered open as I spoke, “I love you, Mom. I will love you regardless of what the letter says. Know that. Always know that I’ll never stop loving you.”
“You’re so strong, my sweet Kenzie.” Mom’s eyes fully closed. A few more breaths followed, then she exhaled her last breath.
She was gone. Forever.
The room seemed dimmer without her in it. I crawled up in bed with Mom and sobbed as I held onto her. My body racked with uncontrolled sadness as I lost the only thing I cared about in this world.
She was gone. I was alone. Those two words echoed in my head—gone and alone.
Kristin Mayer Bio
Kristin Mayer is a wife, a proud mother, and a full-time Analyst and Import Manager. Since an early age, she has always enjoyed reading and writing. While visiting her father one weekend, he suggested that she should take up writing again. With family and a career, she didn’t give it a lot of thought, until a story entered her mind and wouldn’t leave. It just kept forming and developing over a couple of months.
At the beginning of 2013, she decided to sit down and write it all down, but she kept it to herself. One sentence developed into two, and before she knew it, she had the makings of a novel.
Kristin tries to live life to the fullest during every moment. She loves to travel and meet new people. She holds a degree in International Business and uses it daily in her job. Kristin now adds “author” on her list of jobs, and feels very blessed and thankful.
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