A Pizza Party is on the line!!!
I recently spent time with the 8th grade English classes of City High/Middle School to get them excited about creative writing. The two classes participated in a contest to develop the best short story concept. Together, each class worked to come up with the idea and to set the idea in motion in a page and a half story. Now, they need to know who came up with the better story concept! The winning class will celebrate with a pizza party on me.
Please lend your voice to the vote! In exchange for reading the three pages and voting, I will create a list on the dedication page of my next book of all those who participated. Just read, vote and then send me a message on Facebook or as a comment to this blog post with your name so I can include you on the list! Thank you so much for helping! (Please keep in mind, with thirty kids writing the story and limited time, the focus was on the story itself, not grammar and formatting. When they write their individual papers for the class, they will be heavily graded in these areas along with content. Deadline for voting is Wednesday, February 17, 2016 at 8:30pm est)
With a last shudder, I pull the trigger on the man who had brought me into the world. The feeling of regret floods through my body as I fall, trembling to the ground. The world fades to black.
I only remember fragments of my early childhood. All I know is my father is to blame. For my misery, my pain…for everything. It was as if I was cursed because of him. He brought this—this thing that was going to make everything good but it only made things worse. Not just for me, but for everyone.
The government calls it Belabor. The disease originally was designed to control the population. With small doses of poison and infection in the food my father planned to kill only the weak. The disease eventually became airborne as the corpses began to rot.
I was called Subject One and it was the only name I knew. My father was the head of the Department of Population Control because of a close bond with the President. He created the disease and they injected me with it when I was quite young. In case the wrong people were infected they needed a safeguard. My father needed to test whether it worked, so he infected me and then cured me with the only vaccination. One of my few vivid memories was the excruciating pain, like my blood was on fire. After it was over, they referred to me as The Saving Grace.
In my mind’s eye I saw the familiar gleaming white walls of the lab deep inside the Capital Building. The memory was imprinted in my brain. It was the day it all began, the beginning of the end. My symptoms were gone and my father knew the government was secure. The first shipments of infected food went out to the lower castes. The homeless, the sick, the elderly, the weak, the poor, they were the first to go. No one really cared at that point. The world had already lost its empathy. War, violence and terrorism were all factors leading to the downfall of our society.
It wasn’t until the effects of the disease became widespread that people began to care. But with a fever so high that their cells slowly disintegrated, people found it hard not to. Families and friends were drawn together for safety as the looting and rioting began. The grouping that initially saved their lives was their downfall. It only spread the disease faster.
It was three a.m. when the bombs started falling. The ceiling of the lab crashed around me and I jumped from my bed. Terror flooded through my body. I got my first vision of the night sky when I ran to take cover. I heard screams echo through the building as I
fell back to the ground from the next bomb. Rough hands grabbed me from behind and I felt the barrel of a gun against my temple.
“I found The Saving Grace!” My hands were tied behind my back and a rag was shoved into my mouth. I let out a soft whimper. “Move,” the voice growled close to my ear. I was propelled forward. A few other rebels surrounded me, all holding guns at the ready.
“Are we sure this is The Saving Grace?” A female spoke out. She was tall and held the largest gun.
“Are you questioning me, deputy?” The male with the gun to my head pulled back. “I know my orders. I’m not so sure she would give me a false description.”
The female nodded and lowered her gun. Weaving around the dust and rubble of the crumbling Capital Building, we trailed after the deputy. My throat was parched and dry and my chest felt tight as though my lungs were coated with a layer of dust and silt. We took an abrupt turn and I was herded into an office with half the wall missing. I could see mounds of corpses lining the street and I was overwhelmed with grief. Rage began seeping into my mind as I witnessed the pain my father has inflicted upon the world.
The door whipped open behind me and a woman I hadn’t seen in years was standing there. I remembered her face the moment I saw her. I’d never expected to see my mother again. My last memory of her was being ripped from her arms. A rush of emotions hit me like a wave in a storming ocean. I could not control the welling of tears in my eyes and flash of deep hate in my gut.
When I was young my mother was still with us. Soon after my father injected me with Belabor. I vaguely remember them fighting. Politics and the way they thought about the world were different. I knew my mother hated my father and his involvement with this, as I also had grown to hate him. The day we last saw each other she was pushed out of the building. She ended up on the streets and helped those in need. My mom learned of a resistance against the government.
Later she became the leader of the Rebellion against the federal government. Now she was holding a gun to the man I have hated all my life. Without words, she handed the gun to me.
Everything I had felt through the years rushed through me, the regret for my part in all of this.
“Please, don’t,” my father pleaded.
With my first smile in years, I raised the cocked gun.
Life is so much easier when you don’t have to think.
That’s why they are so content being controlled, or at least most of them are now. I couldn’t bear to see all these people give up their lives and personality. It started with just a small experiment but since I left everyone has become mindless drones. Now that I’m back, it looks like I’ve got my work cut out for me; somehow, I must finish what I’ve started and repair this broken society.
When I was young, I was always bullied about how different I was. I always dreamed about a way to make everyone the same. I guess Australia did too, when they decided to separate from the rest world and become a colony of deception. When Australia cut off all relations with the rest of the world, they did not take it lightly. Australia set up military outposts on the coast line. No one goes in and no one goes out. I am the one exception, because I found a weakness in their security system.
The guard passes by. I know he can’t see me, shrouded as I am in the shadows in the outskirts of town. I only have to get one mile further before I will be at the Black Mansion. There, I must find the good within the self-proclaimed “President,” (more like “dictator”) and convince him to shut off the chips. The problem: he has an app on his iPhone 88XLS+ that allows him to blow up every chip ever made, and their owners along with them.
I run through the back alley ways, trying to avoid the guards stationed by the wall of the mansion. I trip but then vanish before the guard sees me. It’s not like they are really paying attention. The guards got lazy over the years. I find the footholds that I first used to escape years ago. I scale the wall like a superhero and run to my destination.
I look down the air duct and it seems much smaller than it was when I was younger. I take off my Ferrari jacket and throw myself in. I crawl through and use my ninja skills to punch the air vent open. As I sneak down the dim hallway, I try to minimize the noise coming from my slick Nikes. The floors are squeaky but no one is around to hear it. Whoever built this place obviously thought no one would get this far so there’s no surveillance.
I make my way to my old research lab. I open the door and make sure no one is inside. I walk over to the desk and pick up the picture frame, the one thing still in place. It’s of me and my brother on our fifth birthday. I am flooded with memories of how we played tag and my brother would always win. Funny how the games never really stopped, we’re still playing. I smash the picture against the wall and sift through the shards until I have the original picture. On the back is the code that will shut off the chips. I can’t help but let my mind take me back to the old days when I first created the chips and this code. Unfortunately, they’re mostly bad memories.
I created the chips when I was still a child, well after Australia had cut off communication with the rest of the world. The chips were then inserted into all of the brains of Australia’s people. It’s a tedious process, but much easier when the subject is a newborn. That’s why Australia set up military
outposts on the coastline; no one can come in and interfere with their “perfect” society. Life went well, until the President became the President. He started controlling the chips and made Australia exactly what he wanted it to be. But no one here had a choice; they couldn’t think for themselves.
Most people here now live a pointless life. They just wander around, trying to remember how to make their own decisions. I should know; I was turned into one of them. However, I was one of the only ones, maybe 1 out of every 1,000,000 chipped, who was aware of the chip in my brain and how my actions were being controlled. As the inventor of the chips, I knew how to short-circuit mine. The chip is still in my brain, rendered useless after all these years of being able to think for myself. I came back now and then, just to see how things had changed, if at all. The only thing that ever changed was the President’s steel grip on people’s minds, which only got stronger. I created the code one day when I hacked the President’s iPhone 88XLS+ while he was sleeping. I would’ve shut off the chips altogether, but he woke up before I was able to, so I was forced to keep it somewhere safe: on the back of this picture in this picture frame.
I snap back to the present, looking around like in some spy movie to make sure no one had walked in during my little flashback. With the code in my pocket, I turn to open the door and carry out my mission. As I turn the doorknob, I notice, too late, that it has already been turned from the other side. I back away just in time for the door to open with a guard on the other side.
He raises his gun, but I’m too fast for him. Before he has a chance to fire, I rush him and grab his wrist with one hand and the barrel of the gun with the other. The gun goes off and the bullet grazes my shoulder. I feel a burst of adrenaline and pain and use the butt of the gun to pistol-whip the guard. The bullet hits the window and the glass shatters in slow motion. Glass flies backward to the outside and I can hear it hit the floor just as the alarm bells fire throughout the mansion. I take a step forward and do a roundhouse kick, hitting the guard in the side of the face and knocking him out cold. As he falls to the ground the door clicks open again.
The alarm suddenly shuts off and the President saunters into the room with a jacket in one hand and his phone in the other. “James.”
“You look well.” Andrew holds out the coat. “I believe this belongs to you.”
I raise my gun. “Thanks, but the game ends now.”
Andrew looks over my shoulder at the broken window. “You always have to take things too far. Now Mom’s going to kill us.”
“Not me, I’m out of here.” I run to the bedroom door and fling it open.
It’s too late. Mom is standing there with her arms crossed and she is angry. She sees what’s left of the window. “Who did this?”
Andrew and I point fingers at each other. “He did it!”
I drop my Nerf gun and Andrew drops Mom’s phone and we run downstairs.
Thank you for visiting my author page!
Here you will find information about everything I have in publication and what I'm working on now. My genres include Young Adult Paranormal Fiction, Adult Paranormal Fiction and Romance.
Because I can't resist, I will also try to frequently blog a favorite quote from one of the many, many books I've read. Some days they'll be funny, others, hopefully, thought provoking.
Below are links to the first chapters of each of my books in publication.