Okay, after yesterday’s long-winded and a little too honest post, how about something fun? Sneak peek? This is rough draft work so it will go through changes, but it’s from UNNATURAL SELECTION, a futuristic–somewhat dystopian young adult I’m working on. I plan to write a short series in the Surviving Scrap City novels. The opening to this book is in a tab above.
I picked this scene because it’s fitting with this FREAKING HEAT. The humidity here sits like a layer of ick on the skin.
Frustration nearly ate me alive as I waited until the early hours of the morning. Or late hours of the night. I wanted dark, deep dark, when most were sleeping. Couldn’t sleep anyway. Not with the gnawing worry in my chest and the layer of sweat smothering my skin. Plus, I was tripping on a wicked mix of fear and excited adrenaline.
I planned to steal from rotgut man. Out of everyone in this building, he could afford it. He also deserved it. Wouldn’t have to pick locks because I was skinny enough to fit through the ancient crawl space this old building had winding through its guts. It was supposed to connect the heat and air systems, but no one alive remembered when those worked. The Intellective didn’t allow us to use the juice for comfort things anyway. No one knew when we’d find another working pump or a store of fuel that hadn’t been blown to smithereens or ruined by algae.
Plucking the sticky collar of my T-shirt away from my neck, I blew underneath. I couldn’t imagine what life must have been like when people could control the temperature of their homes. Must have been nice.
Leaving my loud, clanking boots behind, I skirted the torn part of the old gray, linoleum floor with my bare feet and quietly moved a chair under the vent. I used my hammer to pry off the board I’d nailed over the vent hole. The metal vents had been long since recycled, but we had to cover the holes to keep out rats.
I usually kept this hammer carefully hidden when it wasn’t on me—which wasn’t often. Outside of cutters, this was the most valuable thing I owned. Most Scavs wouldn’t hesitate to lay me flat for it.
I had one corner of the board pried off when I heard a noise in the living room that instantly doubled the sweat on my body. My hands froze. I sucked in a breath. Held it. It was a weird noise, a low, scratchy hiss. Heart pounding, I knew what it was as I eased off the chair and crept to peek into the living room.
Every nightmare I’d suffered came to the front of my mind. I’d only seen them being loaded in metal cages into Intellective Control vans, nothing more than hints of gray or black fur and gold eyes. It looked a lot like the cats I’d seen in picture books, only it was smaller, close to rat-sized. It had long, visible black claws. They clicked softly on the floor as it crept toward the back of the couch.
“You can stay if you’ll just be quiet and not let Rae see you.”
My little brother’s whisper caused my heart to lurch, then pound as terror replaced the blood in my veins.