I’m working on an R&R for Foretold, the first in my Norse YA trilogy. And because I feel like I’m seriously neglecting readers here, I’m going to share another snippet of the dystopian YA I plan to rewrite as soon as this is done and off. I REALLY love Rae and the others in this book and I’m missing them. Plus, it’s been enough time since the first draft was completed. So ready to rumble!
Hope this bit of Unnatural Selection to tides you over while I dive back into deep rewrites. 😉
Three Intellective helicopters roved the sky like vultures that night. The air came cool and salty off the ocean and I huddled in the shadows of my tenement rooftop, opening my mouth to savor the salty bite on my tongue.
Wished we’d had salt for tonight’s fish. I was so sick of bland fish.
Pickings were slim until the Intellective opened the next warehouse section for scavenging and it had been a while since I could afford salt, fruit or even a new pair of shoes for my brother, Neal. Kid was growing like the yeast in our starter. We had the basics when it came to food thanks to shared rooftop farms, but everything else —clothes, books or anything new brought in by the boats—all of it cost money.
Now that our parents were missing, my sister, Jessie, and Neal had only me to provide for them.
I curled my sore hands into fists. I’d planned to join the Engineering Sector like my father, had planned to earn decent money. Though Mom had trained me to be a Runner and to be ready for anything—even the Warehouse Sector—she’d made sure I had schooling and lots of books. Both my parents believed knowledge equaled power.
But all those plans were useless now. Without Dad to train me, I could only work in the worst part of Scrap City to earn enough to keep us going. Barely.
When the copter moved away, I crept to the edge of the roof and lifted the binoculars so I could watch the boats. I’d found this pair in the Warehouse District and was technically not supposed to have them. But they were small and I could hide them in the pockets of my baggy pants.
A light on the top of one boat blinked on and off three times. Explorers and food seekers rode out on the boats, or so we were told in the news vids. The scrape of unease that raised the hairs on my arms told me something else. Why did so many leave in the dark if these were innocent exploration trips?
I scurried back into the shadows as another copter approached. The spotlight swept the roof. We weren’t supposed to break curfew—not even on the roofs of our own tenement houses. Once the metal bird passed, I crept into the roof garden, spotting new, ripe tomatoes. Though we had rules about divvying up food equally to the entire building, I couldn’t resist. Wrapping my fingers around a still-warm-from-the-sun tomato, I plucked it from the vine and held it to my nose. When I bit into it, the juice stung the cuts on my hand and my dehydrated lips. I eyed the water tanks. We needed rain. Badly.
“Guess it’s good I’m the one who came out.”
I jumped and hurriedly swallowed, cradling the tomato protectively so I didn’t drop it. “Jessie! Don’t creep up on me.”
“You’ll have to stop sneaking out here.” She knelt next to me in the dirt and looked out to the water as the lights on the boat were starting to fade. “Be glad Mr. Sans didn’t catch you filching that tomato.” She sighed, turned back on me. “I can’t stay long. Don’t want to leave Neal alone.”
“I meant to kiss him goodnight.”
“You still can. He won’t sleep until you do anyway.” She dug her fingers into the dirt. “Still think something beastly is going on with the boats?”
Jessie had inherited our mother’s good looks, but unfortunately, not her distrust of the Intellective, Scrap City’s poor excuse for a government. It ruled, all nestled in on Mount High, away from The Salvager’s fumes, away from the filth of our city. Jessie didn’t share my bad feelings; she trusted the Intellective to keep us safe.
Trust didn’t come so easily to me.