Songbird Trilogy Book 1: The Maze Girl (complete)
Author: Julia R. West

Chapter 2
The Drawing

   "A half-truth is a whole lie."



  The "winners" are announced one each day for the rest of the weekdays. Sunday, and Monday, the names were submitted. Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday always come with dread. And even though my name isn't in the mix, I still worry for Rory. No doubt his name will be picked, because mine isn't there to take the place.

I sit in my room working on homework the first night, praying that Rory is not being visited by the Mayor, that the Mayor is not congradulating him, shaking his hand, and probably frightening him to death.

The hours go by. I haven't been visited, and Rory hasn't showed up either to tell me he was. But why am I expecting a visit myself, when my name is not even a possibility?

I go to bed, wondering who is awake, whose lights are all on, whose family are shedding tears tonight. I find it hard to sleep, even though I am extremely tired, as if I could extend tonight so whoever's turn it is tomorrow gets more time in peace, but I know I can't.

School is dreadful. I learn nothing, because I'm so worried. But I manage to finish all my homework during school hours. Oh, wonderful; I can spend the night full of worry and with nothing to do.

I walk home with Teryn Westfall, a friend of mine for times when Rory and I aren't speaking. She's about the nicest person I know, and always makes me laugh. She wouldn't hurt a fly.



A crying Teryn knocks on my door around 8:30. Oh no, I think. No, not Teryn. She doesn't deserve this! Not at all.

The instant I open the door, she flings her arms around me. "I'm going, Elle, I'm going!" she sobs.

I won't let myself believe it. "It'll be fine. It'll be fine," I repeat, though it's more for my sake than Teryn's. My mother comes in, and knows right away what happened.

I barely get any sleep, and I'm sure Teryn gets even less than I do. What am I going to do? Teryn is my best friend--other than Rory. Eventually, I just give up, and stare out the window at the street. It rains a little, on and off, with the occasional lightning illuminating the velvety sky. Thunder loyally follows it like a dog. By the time morning comes, I'm terrified, tired, and I want this over.

Thursday passes uneventfully. Rory does not come knocking on my door. He didn't get picked, I tell myself reassuringly. He would have come. But there was always Friday...

Stop thinking like that, Ellery, I think. And that's me. Always pessimistic.


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