I am currently putting the finishing touches on the second novel in my book series which I’ve temporarily titled THE ORDER.

 

In the first novel, set in the not-so-distant future, the world is a far different place and one young woman finds it stifling. She was born to be different, unlike so many who are forced to be the same. Sometimes being different can be torturous. Other times, it can be freeing. She finds hope for humanity in the sky after which she was named and the stars that she loves.

 

When her world begins to crumble around her, she finds it difficult to balance trust and love. Battling not only the officials in the Sector who are out for her blood, but also battling her torn heart, she isn’t prepared for the ash that is about to settle over the city and destroy her life. Will she survive it? Only time will tell…

 

In book two we find the young narrator on the brink of death. Having relied on herself for so long, she now is at the mercy of another as she is tortured from the inside out. It’s her obligation that keeps her alive and her lack of trust that keeps her searching for the truth. But will she find it before it’s too late, or will she walk into a trap and get burned?

Could not sum up this book series any better than these lyrics do! Plus the video is amazing!

February 17, 2016

THE ORDER - Teaser #1

At home in bed I close my eyes, but despite my body’s exhaustion, I do not find sleep. My mind is filled with thoughts about the object I keep concealed beneath my pillow. I slip my hand beneath it and clutch the knife.

 

Powerful.

 

After a while I prop my head on my fist and look down at my parents. Both cuddled close on the small mattress of the lower bunk across from me. One of Father’s strong arms wraps around Mother, his hand linked with hers at her chest. Like this, they look happy. They look peaceful. The cares and stresses of the world have melted off of their weathered faces – have been feathered away by fairies in the night. So in love, at least in sleep.

 

This is the one time when Mother can truly be herself – when her subconscious state that usually lies dormant, invades her dreams. On clear nights, when the lights cast by the guard posts do not get lost in the mist or swallowed up by clouds but bounce mercilessly off of windows and shines bright into our compartment, I can see the movements of her face that never otherwise appear. I hear her cooing like a little child, like how Axel used to do when he was a baby. Those are the nights that I often lie awake and watch her, full of wonderment at what scenes play upon her mind.

 

Sleep is the only time I’ve ever seen her smile.

February 17, 2016

THE ORDER - Teaser #2

Sleep must have come at some point in the night, because my body emerges from sleep covered in a cold sweat. Nightmares do not usually wreak havoc on me. Truth is, I hardly ever dream at all.

 

I do not like to sleep and when I do allow my body and mind to slip into its embrace, it is when I have reached my capacity of exhaustion. By that point I am too tired to dream. For those few hours when I am enclosed in sleep’s grasp, nothing exists. Not darkness, nor time.

 

But last night I dreamt. It was long and scary and real.

 

Recalling the nightmare, I realize how impossible it was, but what plays upon your subconscious during sleep does not follow the rules of reality.

 

In the dream I was being pursued by a giant, slithering serpent. I never actually saw the creature making chase, but I knew instinctively what it was, what it looked like. It was green with a long, forked tongue that dripped blood when it hissed my name over and over. Skyelar. Skyelar.

 

I ran through the dark hallways of my building. But they were not my hallways at all. It was my building, I was sure, but the walls were all jumbled and put in the wrong places so that I kept running into them as I tried to escape.

 

At one point, in the frenzy, I crashed into a wall so hard that my nose cracked and undoubtedly broke, trickling blood down my front. When I breathed in I sucked blood into my lungs and they gurgled from the buildup of the fluid.

 

At the end of the dream, I could feel the tongue of the snake licking at my heels as it caught up to me. I somehow managed to find my bearings in the lobby of the floor I was on, I thrust open the doors of the elevator, and threw myself in. I fell with arms outstretched, into darkness. I fell like a rock, but felt like a bird. With no light to tell my direction or surroundings, I might as well have been soaring through the sky or through space. My body fell and fell and continued to fall. The thirty-eight floors between me and the ground turned into infinity.

 

Then there was the hissing. Skyelar. The serpent. It had jumped as well. I awoke as its slimy body wrapped around me and dragged me downward faster and faster, choking me as we went.

February 17, 2016

THE ORDER - Teaser #3

We make our way through the maze of identical corridors until we come to the stairs and proceed calmly down them in single file. In front of the doors in the main lobby we stop and wait in line. One by one we approach the desk.

 

As I wait, I stare absently at my image reflected faintly in the walls. Transparency is something the Order prevails at. We are all made so transparent that there is no possible way we can rebel, or resist, without their knowledge. Any suspected uprising is quelled before it can begin, supposedly.

 

In this way – reflected, translucent – I look softer, the angles of my face muted, like I’m a blank canvas. That’s what we all are after all. We all walk around doing what our controlled minds tell us to do; living with no lives. We are all blank sheets, ready for someone to put down their pen, their marker, their paint brush, and color us vivid, to brighten our world. But no one ever comes. Even resistants like me appear transparent and ordinary, blank in the presence of others, waiting for some color to come and breathe life into us.

 

While I stare blankly at my reflection, I’m made aware of something I’ve always known is true, but always try to push aside. Nothing about me is beautiful. Not like the official yesterday, whose beauty was obvious. No. I’m plain. Just like everyone else. The way we’re made to be.

 

There is nothing distinguishing about me or anyone else.

 

Even my eyes are like everyone else’s. Small ovals of gray-blue, like the sea after a storm Father likes to say. Nevertheless, they are gray; they go on forever; and when I look at them, I do not see a window into my soul. I see an empty abyss.

 

My dimples. If I had to name anything about my appearance that differentiates me from the others, it is the dimples which threaten to carve like craters into my cheeks. As always, I hide them beneath my learned appearance of indifference: facial muscles relaxed, eyes cloudy and vacant; no stress, no tension, no thoughts, no feelings registered there.

 

Eventually I avert my eyes.

 

My reflection tells me nothing, except that I look just like every other girl in the Sector: short hair; plain, un-made face; porcelain skin that hardly ever sees sunlight; a thin frame; gray clothes. In short: drab, ordinary, equal.

 

There is nothing distinguishing about me.

 

I shouldn’t care, but I do. Beauty is only skin deep, I tell myself. But no matter how many times I repeat this, I still don’t believe it. But one day I just might.

February 17, 2016

THE ORDER - Teaser #4

“Yes, we do. We lie every day,” I say to Father, sullenly. “We have no reason to tell the truth.”

 

It’s true. I do lie every day. Every time I am in the presence of another citizen or an official, anyone outside of my family or Van’s, I am composed and complacent and I force myself to be like everyone else. I play a game of charades every day of my life, because what other choice do I have? To face death at the hands of the Order? No. No one wants that fate. No matter how bad life gets here, it is still better than no longer existing at all.

 

We all lie and we all cheat. We cheat the system by resisting its Programmings and fooling its Probings; we cheat equality by trading in the underground; we cheat death by adapting and learning how to disguise ourselves among the others; we cheat and we lie every day.

 

In a way, the Order is right not to trust us. I don’t fully trust us.

February 17, 2016

THE ORDER - Teaser #5

Father speaks to me in hushed tones now – returning to the father that I’ve known and loved my entire life – the fury that he had built, evaporated. I misread him when I walked through the door. I thought he was using anger to mask his worry over me venturing to the outside during the day; he was using it to mask his concern over this. “Skye,” he says snapping his fingers in front of my face as I stare blankly ahead.

 

My heart has leapt up, stopping as a lump in my throat. Luckily, too, because if it had come up any further it would have fallen out of the gaping hole my mouth has formed. Through that hole I feel like all my energy is being sucked out of me. I feel very small, weak.

 

He takes me by the shoulders. “It’s alright,” he says and hugs me tight. I try to cling to this moment, remembering the times when I was a child when we used to hug like this regularly. Now those moments are few and far between. “We knew this was coming. It’s alright.” He repeats it soothingly over and over again, like he’s trying to convince himself of it, too. I never told Father what happened between the three of us, why Finn dropped off the map. And he has never asked. So he can’t understand the amount to which this affects me.

 

I feel nothing.

February 17, 2016

THE ORDER - Teaser #6

The only sound I hear is the sound of my own breath. In and out. My nostrils flare with each intake.

 

I am staring out the window in the bedchamber. Smoke and debris fill the air, encapsulating the world outside as though it doesn’t exist and turning the compartment dark as if it is night in the middle of the afternoon. Every few seconds the electricity tries to flicker on – the clock registers three o’clock in the afternoon – then it goes out all together.

 

Thirty seconds ago I was enjoying a restful afternoon nap with Axel only to be awoken by an intense rumbling of the building and a series of inconceivably loud blasts. Now there is a cloud of dust on the other side of the glass that my eyesight cannot penetrate.

 

I don’t know what has happened and a part of me doesn’t want to know because there’s only one logical answer, and its one I don’t like.

 

I have felt the distant rumble from the detonation of buildings set to be demolished in the past, but this was different. This has consumed the city and blackened the sky. This was big and it was close.

 

I release my hands from the tight fists they are in at my sides. There are white marks in my palms from where my nails drove into the flesh. I feel helpless and insecure. The safety I have always felt in this compartment diminishes in an instant and I am suddenly terrified by my position.

 

I grab Axel’s hand and pull him out of the compartment and into the hallway. It seems like everyone who is home has had the same idea, for the halls are crowded, mostly with children, a few older ones like me, and a handful of mothers. I step into stride with everyone else, running towards the stairs. The building rumbles again and Axel and I are thrown against a wall. For a moment I am dizzy after my head hits the wall, but I brace myself with one hand on the wall and continue on. By the time we reach the stairs, I have regained my balance and am able to move freely without support. I have a firm hold on Axel’s hand and push through the crowd and onto the stairs.

 

What is normally a calm and orderly process, is now a frantic mob, pushing and shoving each other trying to make the descent as quickly as possible. The screams of worried mothers and crying children echo as the stomping of thousands of feet fills the air and vibrates the railing in my hand. We all stop as the building rumbles again. Some people fall. Then like a flood, we begin to pour down the stairs again.

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