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Written in the U.S.A.




Sanaa had fallen to her knees hours ago, but she still couldn't get up. Rubble simmered all around her. Emergency vehicles had never shown up. They never did in those cases.

Her life was gone. Her entire clan, her master, all of her possessions, had been in Jax's club when the New Order struck. They had taken everything from Sanaa. What was going to happen to her when the sun came up?

Jax's cruel face dwelled in her mind. She couldn't get the white skin and with hollow cheeks and bruised purple circles under his blank black eyes out of her head. She knew shouldn't cry for him--in fact, she hated him--but she couldn't help it. He was dead, which meant any chance she had to fulfill her dream was dead, too.

She needed to leave. She had heard that Slayers stuck around after a bombing to pick off survivors, vampire or not. To the New Order of Slayers, anyone who associated with the vampire race was fair game.

Sanaa had no more tears left to cry, but she continued to mourn the death of her dream. She tried to will herself to leave, but she couldn't make her body move. She needed to find a place to stay. Homelessness in that city was dangerous for everyone, humans and vampires alike. She hoped she'd be able to find a clan to take her in even though she'd already been marked. She had a single friend left who might let her stay with him, even though he'd never done so for anyone else before. But if he felt only half as much pity for her and she did for herself, he'd give in.

Sanaa ordered her body to get up. Her legs wobbled as she rose and straightened them. They tingled fiercely, as if the underside of her skin was made of hot needles that continuously prickled her muscles. She gave her legs a chance to regain strength before moving any farther. Once they were ready, she gave what used to be her home one final glance and turned around.

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