Complex 48 is a science fiction adventure for grades 4-8, the first book in the Underground series.
Here’s a preview of the first chapter:
Ethan Grieves huddled in the darkness. His hair hung in his eyes. His clothes were grubby and his pants were torn at one knee. He picked at the loose threads. Mom isn’t going to be happy about the tear. The thought brought a laugh that stuck in his dry throat and made him cough. After what he’d just been through, what he’d just seen, his pants were nothing, but he’d been raised to take care of his possessions. So others can have more than me it seems.
The boxes stacked floor to ceiling around him didn’t care about the chill in the air but Ethan shivered. This transport wasn’t designed with the comfort of passengers in mind.
The boxes were plastic, mostly white from what he’d seen before they shut the doors leaving him in blackness, reusable, like most everything Ethan was used to seeing, and bore packing labels listing their contents as apples, onions, and potatoes. Until two days ago he’d managed to live a mostly normal life. Nothing in his thirteen years had prepared him for what he’d just witnessed. How many people know? Dozens? At least, if not hundreds. People who load and unload the transports. People who keep us in line, underground.
The rumble of the engines was soothing, lulling him towards sleep. He hadn’t slept in days and the physical exertion and mental shock were taking their toll on his stamina.
Stay alert. They’re looking for you. If they catch you you’ll never see Shawna or Mom or Dad again. If they catch you no one will know the truth. Except that someone must already know – hundreds of someones.
He fought to stay awake but his eyes drooped. The transport rocked around a curve. The boxes never moved an inch but Ethan toppled backwards, landing hard and rocking back further until his back hit the wall of the transport with a dull thud. The blow wasn’t hard, not even hard enough to knock the wind from his lungs, but he didn’t bother to sit up again.
He tucked an arm under his head. Stay awake, dammit! But it was pointless.
His dreams were troubled by old familiar faces and new terrifying truths.
For the month of July Complex 48 will be available from Smashwords, iBooks, Kobo Books, and Barnes & Noble for $0.99 US (Regular price for the e-book is $1.99). No coupon codes necessary.
And in the fall book 2, Separation, will be released. Here’s a sneak preview from the first draft:
Shawna paced the limited length of her bedroom, since her mother had gotten tired of her pacing in the living room and essentially banished her, pausing every few circuits to check the time on her phone. Why hasn’t he called? Every day he calls at the same time. Well, almost the same time. He’s late! The phone in his apartment had better be broken.
The home phone rang. Finally. Shawna grabbed her phone and went to the living room where her mom had already picked up the phone and said “Hello.”
“Yes,” Ina said. “I’m his mother.”
Shawna’s heart began to pound. So, not Ethan, but about Ethan.
“No, not unless he called his sister while I was at work. No wait, she’s shaking her head. We haven’t heard from him today. Why?”
Another pause. Shawna didn’t understand how her mother could stay so calm.
“What do you mean missing?” Ina’s calm evaporated. “Where? How?” As she listened to the reply she began crying. Shawna didn’t need any special abilities to know that the news was bad.
“Please, if you hear anything … thank-you. Yes. Yes, the number is on the display. I will. Good-bye.” Mother and daughter stared at each other. Finally Ina said, “Ethan ran away. Did he say anything to you?”
“They think he’s trying to get back here but he was last seen getting on a transport that will take him right through an active war zone. I guess I should call your father at the factory.”
Shawna nodded, her mind and body numb. Why did I yell at him yesterday? Why did I hang up on him like that?