We are so please to be working with Shannon Duffy and Entangled Teen to bring you an excerpt tour for Awakening!
Tension in the streets is high. Saying a murderer has not only escaped and is wandering free, but that he’s now breaking into houses isn’t a good way to get people not to panic. But at least the Prime Minister was honest, and The Protectorate clearly is doing everything in their power to catch Darian.
“You ready?” Mom’s eyes are unfocused, lost somewhere in a trance.
I plop onto the sofa next to her, hook my arm through hers, and curl my legs beneath me.
“Of course,” I say as though it isn’t a big deal, forcing my voice to keep steady.
Mom rests her head against my shoulder as Dad triple-checks the lock on the front door.
It’s hard to believe we’re barricading ourselves against the one boy who used to protect me. “It’s just tha—” Mom starts then stops, looking up at the port screen facing us from across the room. The steady red light glares from the top of it like a beacon, reminding us of its presence. Every house has several port screens installed which double as cameras, ensuring compliance.
“It’s okay,” I say so she doesn’t have to finish her sentence. I lean into her and whisper, “Only five minutes.” I know the five minutes of mandatory viewing will seem much longer and that it’ll be horrible to watch. Witnessing a close friend suffer is never easy.
My mind drifts over times we’ve spent together with the Monroes. Our families went to the yearly Rockin’ River Festival together this past summer. Shia’s mother, Coral, and I were the only ones to brave the Tower of Death roller coaster ride. I can still see the horror on my mom’s face as she watched Coral and me come down a deep decline. Even though it boasts the biggest drop of any coaster, we both raised our arms high into the air as it plummeted, sharp and swift as an arrow. I screamed, but Coral smiled, a euphoric expression warming her face. Nothing can beat that feeling of exhilaration.
Hardly a day would pass without Coral visiting my mother at my house or my mother having tea at hers. They were always too deep in conversation to notice when I came home from school. It’s so hard to think of the Monroes as Noncompliant. I would’ve never imagined they’d end up in the Terrorscape.
Mom was devastated after hearing the news that Coral and Owen were caught stealing from the distribution center where they work. The two were immediately whisked away to the Olympus Jail and into the Terrorscape. Mom hasn’t seen Coral since and I wonder if she’ll forgive Coral.
Dad peeks through the window blinds and the swirl of police car lights cast eerie, dancing shadows through the room. “Damn criminals causing chaos.” He shakes his head.
“C’mon, Griffin,” Mom says, patting the sofa beside her. Their eyes meet a moment and she lifts her eyebrows slightly toward the port screen. “It’ll be over soon.” Dad’s hands clench by his sides as he walks over and drops with a sigh beside Mom.
It’s not like we’re totally prepared for what we’re about to witness. It’s not often that someone disobeys The Protectorate, and it’s never fun watching their suffering on the port screen—not even when I know the Noncompliant deserve to be punished. But tonight, watching the neighbors whom I’ve grown up with, it will be far worse.
Mom unmutes the port screen as the regular station is interrupted. A picture of The Empire spreads across the screen. The terra-cotta colored building looms into the sky, growing narrower as it rises, like layers on a cake. On the outer tips of each corner perches a stone snowy owl, wide-eyed and looking alert. Rolling granite waves the color of a Caribbean ocean burst out at the crown of the structure. I eye the giant clock at the center, its pearl face shimmering. It reads eight o’clock.
The picture of The Empire fades and is replaced with images of Coral and Owen as the camera zooms in. They’re strapped side-by-side on their backs to a stretcher. Owen’s face is pale, eyes pinched tight, flickering. He grips the sides of the stretcher as though readying himself for the inevitable. And the unknown.
But it’s Coral I’m drawn to. She stares straight into the camera, eyes narrowed. She wears an expression I’ve not seen from her before. Disgust? Defiance? She looks nothing like the woman I’ve known my entire life.
Desiree Six (because she was born on a Friday) believes in everything the Protectorate stands for. She likes the safety and security of having her entire life planned out—her career, her mate, even the date of her death. She doesn't even think to question when Darian, her childhood friend and neighbor, is convicted of murdering his parents. They had seemed like such a loving family. But if he was convicted, then he must have done it.
Then Darian shows up in her room late one night. He has escaped from the Terrorscape—a nightmare machine used to punish all Noncompliants—and needs Desiree's help. What he tells her rocks her world to its core and makes her doubt everything she's ever been told. With this new information, will Desiree and Darian be able to escape the Protectorate before it's too late?
Awakenings Excerpt Tour:
April 2nd Reading Teen
April 3rd Nose Stuck in a Book
April 4th Always YA at Heart
April 5th Once Upon A Twilight
April 6th Hypable
About Shannon Duffy:
I write middle grand and young adult books. I’m the author of the YA Paranormal romance SPECTRAL th with Entangled Publishing.
and the MG Fantasy Adventure series, GABRIEL STONE AND THE DIVINITY OF VALTA (Feb/12) and It’s sequel, GABRIEL STONE AND THE WRATH OF THE SOLARIANS (FEB/14). Look for my YA Cyberpunk, AWAKENING coming April 7
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