Hello, and thanks for reading to the next chapter! I'm hoping you enjoy it as much as you did the first chapter, and if not, please tell me why. R&R please!

Ruth's POV

My heart beats frantically against my chest, each sharp intake of air sending jolts of pain at my chest. Wind whips past my cheek, branches scratch at my face, and rocks dig into my bare feet. The heavy footsteps of Group 4 are closing in for the kill, and this time, I just might not make it out alive.

"Get her!" Jacob, 4's vicious leader roars, pushing his group even faster, "Move it, you fools!"

I desperately use the energy I have left to gain some ground, but it is quickly lost, leaving me more exhausted than ever. Every bit of strength in my body is gone, and my wounded leg threatens to buckle at any moment. My braid of brown hair sticks to the back of my neck from the sweat, and I make a mental note to whack it off the next time I have a chance. After constantly fighting for my life, I've learned not to waste my time obsessing over how I look.

"Why haven't you caught her yet?" Jacob bellows furiously, "She's outnumbered 15 to 1! How hard can it be! Get her, or I'll kill you all myself!"

This threat sends Group 4 rocketing towards me, and I know all hope is lost when my leg collapses, sending me flying face first into the dirt. I make no attempt of escape, there isn't any point.

I'm snatched up roughly from the ground, my hands and feet bound sloppily with rope. My knife is stupidly left in my grasp. Group 4 may be blessed with brute force, but they weren't born with brains.

An old, smelly piece of cloth is forced into my mouth, and I'm dragged over to Jacob.

"Well, well, look who we have here." Jacob smirks, his face shining triumphantly, "Take out that gag, I want to hear what she has to say."

The gag is ripped from my mouth, but the taste of sweat and grime remains.I attempt to stand, but am shoved to the ground by a gruff man.

"Look who got caught!" Jacob taunts like a five year old, spitting in my face, knowing I can do absolutely nothing about it.

Great. Make that three gross tastes. My face contorts at the disgusting thought.

"Why so cocky, Jacob?" I retort, glowering at his smug look, "As I recall, your group was the one to catch me, while you were back here giving death threats."

This earns me a painful kick to the head. My vision blurs and my head throbs. Sometimes, I can't help myself, and it usual results in some injury to add to my ever growing list of them.

"I didn't ask for your opinion, Ruth!" Jacob growls, "Don't let me hear another word out of you!"

"Why'd you take the gag off if you wanted me to be quiet?"

"That's enough!" His face is blotchy and red from anger, "When will you learn to keep those witty comments to yourself!"

"Group 4 has always had issues with anger management." I mutter, loud enough for him to hear, ignoring the consequences that will surely follow. It's too tempting to pass up.

Obviously straining to control himself, Jacob attempts a toothy grin, which was, frankly, more like a grimace.

"Insult me all you want, but that won't save you from getting killed," Jacob says nonchalantly, "And every time you do, I'll be sure to make your death is a little more painful and drawn out."

I've been through many forms of physical and mental torture, but I'm not going to risk a drawn out death. If I have to die, I want it to be quick and painless. Unfortunately, knowing Jacob, he will make my last few hours as painful as possible.

"It's time for us to get some rest," Jacob announces, still grinning, "And you, Ruth, can lay there and prepare yourself for tomorrow's death."

He's going to leave me here for a torturous night dwelling on the next day. Talk about cruel.

"You, watch her, the entire night." Jacob orders, "I want you awake and watching."

"Yeah, yeah." A gruff man shuffles towards me, and he looks like he's about to drop from exhaustion.

I watch as Group 4 settles down in clumps to rest, the man observing me closely. The families huddle together and close their eyes, bringing back painful memories of my childhood.

I'm woken by a pair of hands shaking my shoulders.

"Ruth, get up!" my mother orders urgently, "We have to go! Now!"

I scramble into a standing position and grasp my mother's hand. Fear pulses through my veins as I look around me. People are screaming, dead bodies litter the ground, and pools of blood are everywhere.

My mother yanks my hand and together we sprint from the cause of this destruction. Dai.

"Don't waste your time running, my dears." Dai smiles, her perfect white teeth glinting in the moonlight. "You can't escape me."

She raises her hand as we attempt to dash away and a jet of flame erupts form her palm, spreading rapidly.

"Why did you never worship me?" she asks, sounding pleasant enough, "I created this world for you with all the things you could ever need, including an entire Group."

"Oh no, the only reason you created this world was so that you could watch humans slaughter each other like pigs!"

"I divided each Group fairly." Dai explains as though she is obviously correct, "I have given you the opportunity to hunt your enemies down and kill them. Is that not what the human race did before I spared you all? You fought with guns and machines, but with me, you all fight with the same weapons, no one has the advantage. In edition, when you die, you are reborn -"

"- into eternal enslavement!" Mother cuts Dai off angrily, "Have you ever been thrown into a giant arena with twenty different Groups hunting you down?"

"I have been in plenty of wars myself." Dai replies calmly, but I can see her simmering with annoyance on the inside, "I have been alive since the creation of this Earth, in fact, it was I who created the very ground we stand on. I assure you, I have taken part in more wars than all of you put together. You should worship me like all the rest of my faithful Groups."

"Why would we worship you?" my mother snarls, gripping my hand tighter, "You've forced us into a game where our lives are constantly at stake!"

Dai shakes her head sadly, "I was planning on sparing you. I wouldn't want to waste two perfectly healthy girls, no matter how rude."

"We would rather die!" my mother declares vehemently.

"Well, if you are so set on avoiding me," Dai's smile stretches wider as a silver bow and arrow materialize in her hand. She notches a glimmering arrow, and aims it at me, "Then maybe if I kill your daughter you will learn to worship me without complaint."

She pulls back the string and releases. The arrow whistles as it comes rocketing toward me. Somehow, after seeing Dai's magic, I don't think it could ever miss. My eyes close, preparing for death, but it doesn't come. My mother launches herself in front of the whizzing arrow, and it impales her heart instead of mine.

"Mommy!" I cry as she topples to the ground, "No!"

"How touching, your mother saved you from the first arrow." Dai's bow disappears, and it is replaced by a simple sword with a blood red blade. "Too bad she isn't here to save you from getting skewered by my sword!"

"I hate you!" I scream, unsheathing my father's knife I had received after he was killed by Adriene, leader of Group 14.

Dai takes a few steps forward, looking down at me in disgust. She wields her sword and I make a split second decision, spinning around, and running directly into the blazing fire.

The last thing I hear are Dai's threatening words, "You may run, Ruth, you can hide, but no matter where you go, I will find you." Dai bursts into flames and disappears.

I fall to the ground, every inch of my body in pain, and all goes black.

I feel tears brimming in my eyes as I remember how brutally Dai had killed my group, but I force them back, creating a large lump in my throat.

Focus, Ruth, I order myself, This might be your only chance of escape!

As I swivel my head, I find that everyone is sound asleep, even my guard.

It takes me a while to calm down, but finally I'm thinking clearly enough to plan my escape.

First, I lower my arms and jump over my linked hands so my hands are in front of my. I grab my knife and slowly begin to saw at my feet. It's tedious work, but better than being killed. With a few more saws, the rope snaps. Untying my hands is more difficult, but I finally manage to free my wrists. Red burns show where the ropes rubbed up against my skin. I draw my finger over the marks, wincing.

Making sure everyone is still sleeping, I creep across the camp and pick through a few of the group's belongings. They've carelessly left all their possessions lying out, unprotected. Another reason why Group 4 falls in to the "stupid" column in my classification of all the Groups.

I come out with a backpack filled with an extra pair of clothes, some food, a canister of water, a small array of knives, a bow, a quiver full of arrows, a flint stone, and a yard of rope.

As I'm about to leave the camp, I hear a rustling behind me, and I whirl around to face the guard.

Before he can warn the rest of his Group, I whip out my knife and stab him in the gut. He staggers, a dazed look still on his face, and collapses into a bloody heap, dead.

If I were a normal fourteen year old, I would have been terrified at my actions, but I'm not, so I silently tread into the forest, not even looking back. As I imagine Jacob's reaction when he wakes up to find me gone and the guard dead, a grin stretches across my dirt - streaked face.

So... How was it? Anything I should fix? Next chapter will be coming out sometime next week, no guarantees. Thanks for reading all the way to the bottom!

-mtorchic