But first I quickly want to say that I have become addicted to Inkpop. If you know what Authonomy is, it's the exact same thing but for teen writers. That is, you post writing and people review it and "pick" it. At the end of each month, HarperCollins editors read the five most popular stories. I've recently set up an account, so if you have one look for me! My username is Brigid.Rose and so far I've posted Unraveling. My rank is like 746 right now, so yeahhh my story could use some love! Thanks :) And if you don't have an account, I recommend getting one. It's a great site for getting/giving feedback. Seems like the people on it are online pretty much all the time––so if someone says they'll do a review for you, they usually do it pretty fast. Check it out!
NOW IT'S STORY TIME!
Today I am going to share a bit of Sky-Fall, since I haven't yet. I've only written a chapter of this story so far––except that one chapter is like 10 pages long since there are four points of view and soooo … Never mind. I'm rambling.
I know I've mentioned it briefly before, but just a reminder that this is a sci-fi/dystopia about four teenagers living in this world where people fight with giant robots. There are no giant robots in this part though because it focuses on Avery, a girl who is currently trapped in a concentration camp––inspired by the Holocaust and Japanese Internment camps. (Hooray for history class.) Enjoy!
Avery had grown very used to the sight of her shoes. She had watched their condition deteriorate every weary day for the past three years. Once, the leather had been smooth and brown. Now the color had faded to a dull gray to match the dusty ground. Her feet had once been too small to fit in the shoes; now she had to curl her toes, and they ached from being crammed up inside. She knew it was only a matter of time before the shoes fell apart and she would have to walk the Camp barefoot … that is, if she survived long enough. She wasn't even sure if she would survive the next five minutes.
She held her breath and watched the guard's boots trudge by. She was standing next to her older sister, Elisa. They were holding hands, and she couldn't remember who had reached for whose hand first. A story ran through her head––a story her parents had told her years ago. The story was about two sisters stuck in a tree, and at the roots there was a demon singing “Don't look down, don't look down” and the girls knew that if they looked down, their souls would be sucked into darkness. Yet, even knowing what would happen if they slipped for just a moment, they had still been tempted. It was how she felt right now––knowing that she was dead if she looked up, and yet feeling this rush of curiosity.
The black boots passed, but she heard them as they crunched against the ground, moving down the line. The silence made her ears ring, made her want to scream. Why couldn't someone speak already? She didn't care what horrible news it was, but she needed to hear a voice, something to assure her that she wouldn't be standing here forever.
At last, the sound of footsteps came to a stop. The guard spoke, and he spoke words that had chased Avery through her nightmares ever since the day her parents were killed.
“Someone escaped last night.”
No one said anything. No one screamed, no one sobbed, no one made a sound. But Avery knew, without looking, that almost everyone was crying silently in fear. She felt the tears sting at her own eyes, and she had a sick feeling in her heart.
“There will be no protest. There will be no accusations of who ran away or who let them run away. You all know the rules.”
Of course she knew the rules, just like the rest of them did: If someone escaped from the Camp, one other person would be killed at random. It always made her feel like screaming in rage, to think of those who escaped. She wished that she could get away; everyone wished for that. But how could you be selfish enough to actually do it, knowing that some innocent person would have to die because of your actions?
Avery was aware of a pounding headache blossoming between her eyes, like nails being driven into her skull. She swayed on her feet, but she didn't move. If she made one small movement, if she caught the guard's attention for one second …
“You.” The bark of an order jolted all of her nerves alive, making her so tense that she felt like she was sculpted out of ice. Even though the voice had come from the other end of the line, she still felt that rush of horror, waiting to feel a hand grab onto her arm and shove her down onto her knees in the dirt. But she was still standing, still alive, and she could hear a woman screaming, “No, no! Don't take him! No!”
Avery dared to look up, just out of the corner of her eye. She saw a young man kneeling on the ground, his head bent in submission. The woman screaming was probably his wife. Two other women were holding her back, whispering to her––probably reminding her that if she kept screaming, the guard would shoot her, too.
Again, there was a demon-voice in Avery's head, singing “Don't look … Don't look …” but she couldn't look away. She saw the guard step behind the man, raising a gun and holding it to the back of the man's head. But all she could think about was when her father was in the same position, and then how her mother had been killed in the same way, for the same reason. She heard the crack of the bullet as it was released, the noise that always ended her dreams and made her wake up sweating and sobbing in terror. She saw the man drop to the ground, not making a single noise. He was probably dead before he knew it.
Avery stared at the eyes turned towards her––lifeless, like a pair of glass marbles. Blood spread around his head, appearing black as it seeped through the gray dirt. The dead man's wife let out a choked noise, holding back her screams. Avery remembered how Elisa had covered her mouth after they'd watched their parents die, how her sister had whispered fiercely in her ear, “Don't scream, don't scream.” But she'd heard Elisa's voice shaking, and she'd known that her sister was stifling screams of her own.
She had lost track of how many deaths she'd seen by now, but she knew the pattern––first she felt the numbness, then the ache of weariness and hopelessness as the day dragged by, and finally, at night, she would cry in the darkness. She would see the injustice of it all.
The only reason they were here was because they were Eversio. Even before she and her family had been taken to the Camp, she'd seen the way people looked at her parents and her sister, how people spat on the ground and called them scum, called them Hostilis. It hadn't been until she was about nine or ten years old that she understood: People thought they were enemies, just because of the darker shade of their skin, the black hair, the brown eyes. They came from the same land as the Hostilis, as the enemies. That didn't mean they were spies, but Avery had learned from an early age that when someone called you Hostilis, you didn't defend yourself. You kept your eyes on the ground, and you kept your mouth shut.
For Avery, it had always been less of a problem, because she confused people. Her skin was a few shades lighter than that of her parents and sister. It still had that darker tint to it that betrayed her Eversio blood, but it was light enough that she could pass as Moenian––as one of the city people, as someone who belonged here.
Elisa had suggested several times that if Avery could escape, she would actually have a chance of surviving in the city.
“One look at me, and they'd just send me back here, right back where I started,” she'd said. “But you could be mistaken for one of them. You could make a life for yourself.”
Avery had never quite believed it. She would never live a life free of discrimination. Maybe no one would ever outright call her Hostilis, but she was still just a little too dark to automatically be considered Moenian. People would always look at her twice. People would always look at her with that hardness in their eyes, biting back insults just in case they were wrong about her––but nevertheless, the taunts and the accusations would always be there … at least until the war ended.
But she had a feeling it wouldn't be over for a long, long time.