09.05.2015

Okładka do Through the Dark + fragment po angielsku


Opis Beyond the Night:

The government-run "rehabilitation camps" have been shut down, but kids with Psi powers are anything but free. Sam would rather be on her own than put in the care of a foster family and given the "cure"--a dangerous procedure that unclaimed kids across the country are being forced to undergo. But there's more at stake than just her own safety. Sam once made someone a promise, and the time has come to fulfill it.

Now that she's out of her camp, Mia only has one thought in her head: finding Lucas, her beloved older brother. She hasn't seen him since they were separated and taken to different camps years ago, before Mia even became Psi. When Sam, Lucas's childhood best friend, rescues Mia from the government's inept care, Mia learns that nothing is as simple as she thought--and the past that she's so desperate to salvage may not be possible to recover... 

Fragment:

SAM

Unclaimed.

I think it is the worst word I’ve ever heard. The worst label they’ve tried to give us, at least. Call us freaks any day of the week, we’re all so used to it that the sting barely registers. But this… it confirms that one fear that so many of us have carried around like a blister on the heart.

Part of me wishes the news and officials would just be honest about it; “unclaimed” is the polite whisper of unwanted. Unclaimed is an open end, something that could change any minute, any day. It’s something that gets lost, or left behind, is only waiting for the owner to return to retrieve it. It’s only a matter of time…




Unwanted is a statement. It is something to come to terms with and move past. Wherever my parents are, whatever they’re doing, they are never coming back for me. And that’s by choice.

How many times did Ruby and I used to talk about exactly this? When this is over, I told her, no one is going to be waiting. No one will want us.  She’d nodded in that quiet, sad way of hers. It was the same for both of us. We were the only girls in our cabin who wanted to admit it.  

I swallow the bile in my throat as I finally pry the piece of plywood away from the doorframe. I’ve been carrying around this screwdriver for the past few weeks; I don’t know how to use a gun, and I’m not sure where I’d find a knife, but this is more than enough to hurt anyone who tries to hurt me.

This is the first time I’ve had to use it, and it’s not even in self-defense, but a break-in. I’m already a thief, why not add trespassing to my score?

I found this emergency exit after a full day of slowly circling the towering hotel. Someone, or something, smashed in its center glass pane, and if I’m right… I am right. There’s a turn lock on the other side. I grip it with stiff, half-frozen hands, turn my wrist until I hear the metal click as it unlocks, and slowly ease the door open.

My shoes are coated with so much mud and snow I have to take the time to wipe them off against a nearby patch of carpet to keep them from squeaking and alerting everyone to the fact I’m here.

This is an in-and-out type of thing. I need to see if she’s still here, confirm that someone’s already come to get her, and then I’ll be able to go. But if they catch me, identify me… well, they’ll have another Unclaimed to add to their list.

I sidle up along the far wall, keeping to the edge of the open space. There are a few soldiers in uniforms milling around, most sipping cups of coffee to stay awake, some finally taking down the tables lining the opposite end of the room along with the signs above them, where the families were supposed to line up to claim the kids by last name: A-D, E-H, I-L… Highlighted rosters, the names crossed off, were dumped into the overflowing trashcans.

The concierge desk is empty, dark. I wait there in a crouch, hanging back. My hair is stuffed up into a knit cap, my oversized parka zipped up all the way, half-masking my face. I picked them up out of a charity bin somewhere in Kentucky, thinking, these jeans, this sweater, these sneakers, this coat, they’ll give me the confidence I can’t fake. All they do in the end is make me feel like I’m ten all over again, wearing a costume pieced together from Mrs. Orfeo’s closet.

Someone’s already come for her, I think, hoping I’ll believe it this time. You can go in a second…

The hotel’s lobby has been left in shambles by the media. Empty, half-crushed soda cans scattered around with empty food wrappers. There’s a protest sign, highlighter yellow, that’s somehow found its way inside. A soldier bends down to pick it up, angling it so the other man can see: WOULD YOU FREE CRIMINALS FROM PRISON? They laugh.   

 I almost can’t believe how filthy the world is—in every sense of that word. Thurmond might have been falling down around us, the grounds covered in enough mud to make walking a challenge, but we kept the buildings spotless. Not a crumb left behind in the Mess Hall. Everything stowed neatly in the Factory. The wash rooms scrubbed on hands and knees.

But trash is the media’s footprint, their calling card, and it’s exactly what they’ve been producing each night on the TV and each morning in the papers. I had to wait for them to leave, all day. The news—the channels that have been turned back on—love this. They serve everyone the sweet stuff, try to make them feel better about what they did to us by shoving image after image of family, tears, hugs, in front of them.

What are they trying to prove? That it’s all good now? All better? All anyone has to do is look at the window, see the peacekeeping force on their patrols, implementing the new curfews, distributing meager foreign rations of imported food and water. Because, of course, even our crops have been watered with Agent Ambrosia.

Business as usual, the Washington types keep saying. We’ll get there soon.

Yeah. Right.

I count about a dozen kids left—not bad for a camp this big. The radio report said there was upwards of twelve hundred kids at Black Rock—a little less than half the size of Thurmond, but it’s like comparing a tiger to a lion; size is relative when a camp has you between its teeth.

They’ve been reporting on camp closures for the last three weeks. The peacekeeping force is clearly working their way down some secret list. Most of the shock and novelty of seeing the kids and the camps has worn off, but Black Rock sent a ripple back through the calming waters. It’s one of only two camps that took kids before they changed, whether the families volunteered them or not. To study them, or… I don’t know.

Mia would know. They grabbed her before her switch was flipped: death or freak? Lucas didn’t even know if she’d survived the change when they were separated.

I squeeze my eyes shut, grateful to whatever stone is lodged at the base of my throat. It’s the only thing that keeps me from screaming.

Because… she’s here.

She’s still here.


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