I haven't done a lot of advertising about Dimension Thieves, since things have been a little busy on my end--but after I got some great feedback from my amazing beta, M.R. Polish, I thought maybe you'd like a sneak peek too.
The following is the Prologue to the first episode of Dimension Thieves, my new serial of shorts, coming January 31. New episodes will be available every month, for the entire year.
I hope you enjoy!
She realized now that they were hopeless amateurs, huddling around the fire deep in the Alaskan Bush.
They’d lived in Oregon, for Christ’s sake. In a damn short plat, with food stores and neighbors, gas stations and schools. How did they ever believe they could make it here?
The truth was, they hadn’t believed that. It’s just that they didn’t have a choice. It was either try to survive as outlanders in the remote bush or accept whatever fortune President Baro dictated to their lower, social class.
She understood that now, but she had to keep all her worries buried. The children were frightened enough, cold enough, hungry enough that she didn’t have time or ability to voice her worry. She had to keep up a calm front for them and focus purely on their survival.
The children wedged between them for warmth, her husband clutched the squealing transmitter in his hand. It whistled when he played with the tiny buttons, trying to catch a signal.
“Turn it off,” she snapped. Her babies were shaking. They knew better than to cry—the tears would sting and burn their delicate skin. But she couldn’t stand to hear another damn word of misery and that was all that came out of the tiny black box in her husband’s palm. He swiped one viscous hand through the air to shut her up.
“Listen!” he snarled. The box spit and crackled and words came. They weren’t safe from any language.
“New South Wales is a safe town now. Queensland is a safe town now. Citizens who resist President Baro’s edict will be put to death immediately. Please do not resist. Droning will effect only those necessary. Please do not flee your towns. Bounty hunters will capture those who try and they will be droned or put to death immediately. Tasmania is a safe town now…”
The list went on and on. Her husband swore and spat, the spittle crackling as it hit the ground.
“They’re in Australia now,” he said. The children whimpered at his tone, so she tried to draw the two little ones closer.
Mmm hmm was all she said.
“Those bastards say droning only effects those necessary, but then they say that anyone who flees will be droned or put to death?” her husband ranted. “But they don’t mention that everyone is fucking necessary! They’ve been droning almost everyone in every town across the map! They’re only sparing the upper classes! Who do they think they are, splitting us up into fucking levels? There’s the upper class and then, there’s us.”
He stood, the transmitter continuing to squeal and list towns, some in the United States, some across the ocean.
“No place is safe!” he shouted at her. “We’re freezing out here, but if we were back at home, they’d drone us or worse! Didn’t I say, when the President droned the prisoners and the homeless—didn’t I say this would happen? And then the bastard sent forces into Europe and Asia. He’s not making the world a safer place, he’s making it his! Didn’t I say this would happen?”
“You did,” she agreed. She hoped her soft voice would be soothing, but their oldest began to cry. “Please stop, Danny, please stop now. You’re scaring—”
“How can I stop?” He crumbled down on the log that held the four of them, the whole thing shaking beneath them, the fire snapping at the steel toes of his boots. He began to sob into the mittens that hadn’t kept his fingertips from frostbite. “We’re going to…”
“Sir,” the flat voice boomed from beyond the ring of light cast by their fire. Her spine went rigid and her littlest whimpered.
They’d been found. The guards entered their clearing. Surrounded them.
Her husband stood slowly, as if he would surrender, but with one wink to her, she knew. He was the man she’d married, after all. Her hero. He would go down fighting. He would want her to run.
But she was the woman he’d married, after all. The girl with the soft heart, the one who had always wanted children. She’d cried the day they were born, kissing their tiny hands with promises that she would now keep. She would not leave her babies motherless. He had to know that she would surrender upon his death.
As the armed guards closed in on them, she smiled. Most of it was shock, but part of it was knowing that her children would not die in Alaska. The three of them would survive, dammit, in some small way, they would survive.