Here's a look at my next book Fadeout, a YA dystopian.
Thirteen year old Silas and his older sister, Malina, have lived on futuristic human farms their whole lives. They have no future. They know it’s just a matter of time before the day guards come to take their memories and emotions leaving them shells. And Malina’s day is much closer than either of them would like to admit. Silas realizes they have to escape before this happens, but it’s not going to be easy and he’s running out of time.
I plan to release Fadeout in February 2013 with the sequels to follow shortly.
Chapter 0.5: SilasThe guards brought the fifteen year old boy in yelling and kicking. They forced him down on the table in the center of the room. Two guards held him while a third secured the straps for his arms, legs, chest and chin. He was left alone for a few minutes, but the time did nothing to calm him. He strained and pulled and screamed.
There was a nervous hush on the other kids that eight year old Silas could almost taste. All 27 of them had been locked in the adjacent room for over two hours, but no one wanted to move. They were frozen, watching the boy through the glass wall. It was the first time Silas had been taken anywhere without his parents and now they said he wouldn’t be living with them anymore.
Silas leaned closer to the glass. The boy on the table looked a little like his parent’s neighbor, Mrs. Dowell. He had her light brown eyes and the same lips. Although he had several strands of dark hair growing on his upper lip, that weren’t quite enough for a mustache. Silas knew Mrs. Dowell had children and her youngest had been a boy. She didn’t like to talk about it but she had left a teddy bear in the old crib and boys were always given teddy bears. It struck Silas deep inside that this could be her son.
A man in a white coat walked calmly over to the boy and began attaching some kind of head gear to his forehead. A thick strap went completely around his head. Two studs were connected to the straps and a visor was hooked to them so that it curved around the top of the boy’s head. Lastly, a sensor on the top of the visor was screwed to a large metal box with a clear tube running to a deep rectangle container. The man stepped back and went to monitor the numbers on one of the screens.
Now that the boy was connected, he struggled even more. The man in the white coat clicked several sections of the screen and different colored lights reflected off the table. The boy stared up at them and his muscles began to shake involuntary.
“Please, don’t,” he begged.
Silas couldn’t see what the boy was watching. It was higher than the top of the glass would allow him to look. One of the other boys in the room tried to press himself against the glass, but it must not have worked because he gave up after a minute.
“Stop please. I won’t do it again,” the boy repeated over and over. Tears began to form and slipped down the side of his face.
Something flashed on the screen the man in the white coat was watching. He glanced up to a small room made from darkened glass with metal stairs leading to it.
“He’s ready,” was all the man in the white coat said.
There was a loud click, a speaker crackled and a deep voice said, “Start the Machine.”
At those words the boy began struggling again. There was a grinding noise. All the lights in the building brightened and the boy screamed. He kept on screaming as small glass balls rolled down the tube from his head to the container.
Some of the girls in the room began to cry. Soon it seemed as though everyone was screaming or crying. A girl ran to the door and began pounding on it, but no one let her out.
Silas swallowed. He tried to close his eyes, but he couldn’t. The process lasted for hours. Most of the kids huddled together in small groups as far away from the window as they could. Silas wanted to hide with them, but he was motionless. He wanted to cry or scream, yet nothing would come out.
The more glass balls that rolled away, the quieter the boy got until he was completely still and then everything became too quiet. The boy’s eyes were dull and unseeing. His fingers limp and his mouth parted. His chest breathed so softly that Silas kept watching to see if it would stop, but the boy kept on breathing, in and out. Then the man in the white coat came back and unhooked the completely unresponsive boy. Another man came, lifted the boy into a wheelchair and took him away. There was no need for restraints. Silas didn’t think the boy even knew what was happening to him.
A speaker in their room crackled and several of the girls started crying again.
“This is your only warning,” the same voice from earlier said. “Fall in line, obey the rules and don’t make waves or this will happen to you.”
The kids struggled to their feet and lined up by the door. Silas joined them secretly relieved to be moving again. They waited in line for another hour until a guard came and escorted them to their new rooms, a ten by ten foot cell with a double bunk, a toilet and some cubbies. Boys were taken to one ward and girls another.
That night Silas huddled in his new bed. He couldn’t sleep. He kept picturing what had happened earlier. Every sound made him jump. Even the hissing of the hallway light was strange. So when footsteps sounded down the hall, Silas was immediately tense. The door to his cell slid open and Silas watched in horror as two guards entered. They grabbed him and moved him out of his cell, away from the boys ward and into the building where the Machine was kept.
No sound would come out of Silas’ mouth and he felt like he wanted to collapse, but somehow his feet kept him upright and held his weight. There was a spotlight on the empty table where they had strapped the boy. It made the chrome seem shiny and dangerous. Silas could hardly take his eyes off it, but then he heard someone talking in the corner.
“This one might be damaged. See how he’s not crying or shaking.”
“Test him anyway.” It was the voice from the speaker.
The man in the white coat appeared out of the darkness and held a scanner near Silas’ head. It beeped and whirled but did not hurt. Silas stood still holding his breath and hoping that whatever they planned to do would happen quickly.
There was a final beep. The man pressed the button and held the scanner to Silas’ head again. When the final beep sounded once more the man grunted.
“He doesn’t even register.”
“Test him again.”
“I tested him twice to be sure. This boy has no emotional registry at all. He must be defective.”
There was silence from the darkness, then a sigh. “Not necessarily. I’ve heard of cases like this. We’ll have to keep our eye on him and I want to get regular updates sent to me, my eyes only. Wipe the last hour from his memory and take him back.”