Just because I feel like sharing, here’s the current opening to the post-apocalyptic/dystopian YA I’m working on at the moment. I’m thinking of it as A Brother’s Price Meets Uglies Meets Hunger Games. So far, I’m loving the world-building I’ve done and am excited about this project.
My mothers claim there once was a time when the clans dwelled in smoke-choked Cities and paid tribute to the Ageless, much as the sheep still do today. I try to imagine a world where Kindred children dodged belching cars and toxic air rather than riding free under the open sky; try and fail. Such a thing seems inconceivable to me. Like me turning my mothers in to the Marshalls, something I would never do since each and every female of my clan would be put to death. My mothers, aunts, sisters, and even my daughters. Especially my daughters.
That has me scowling fiercely, earning a worried look from the gun-toting sister serving as today’s escort. “You hear something, Cain?” My sisters have learned to trust my enhanced senses. They’ve saved us from ambush while on these foraging trips more than once.
I shake my head. “No, no. Just thinking.”
Abigail relaxes her trigger finger and a mischievous grin spreads across her freckled face. “You know what Grandmam warned you ’bout that.”
Her amusement only grows when I strike a regal pose and do my best Grandmam. “Think too much, Samuel Cain, and you’ll wind up just like your Daddy. Enslaved to an Ageless witch and stolen from the only ones what love and treasure you.”
She turns an unusually solemn expression my way. “You know what day it is, then.”
My steps falter. “Course I do. Exactly one month until my 18th birthday.”
Her elbow prods my arm gently. “C’mon now, you know that’s not what I meant.”
Course I do, despite all their attempts to distract me. Today marks an anniversary, all right, but not that of my birth. Today makes it an entire decade since my birth mother escaped her Kindred guards, dragging off my poor father in the process and leaving behind a four-line letter promising retribution unless the clan gave me up to the nearest Marshall. Something they didn’t do, something I would never let them do, and the reason our clan moved even more frequently than the other bands of Kindred spread out across these wide United States. Well, no longer quite so united as the Ageless witches would have us believe.
Abigail, older than me by 10 whole months, levels her no-nonsense gaze my way, which lets me know she’s not going to let this subject drop. She and I have always been close, as much due to similar personalities as our nearness in age, and really, I owe her honesty. She’s the only one of my womenfolk to look at me and really see me. Not just the Redeemer cherished for the life-saving traits he can pass on to his children and, by extension, the Kindred as a whole. Me, Samuel Cain Addison, the little brother who shares all his secets with her and guards her secrets as fiercely as his own.
“You reckon we’re safe now?”
“Since she ain’t found you in ten years?” I nod and can’t help but hold my breath. She ponders my words for a moment, wrinkles furrowing her brow as her expression goes all serious. “Well, I’d like to tell you yeah, course we’re safe now. Any normal person woulda given up on tracking down a Kindred clan what doesn’t want to be found. But…”
My chest starts aching but I keep holding my breath.
“Your mama’s no normal person, Cain. She’s Ageless and she’s got all the time in the world. And, since she had your Daddy and her body as proof of your existence, she’s got the Marshalls and the Courts on her side. If she ever does find you…”
I tighten my grip on the leather bag banging against my hip from the force of my steps, increasing the pressure of my fingers until they start to hurt. Even then, I don’t relent. The physical hurt soothes the emotional pain from mentally filling in the rest of my sister’s words. If she ever does find you, we’re all dead, all except you and the boys. Because in today’s “United States,” boys are too precious a commodity to waste, even those who only have one Ageless parent.