shards-and-ashes

Excerpt from "Hearken" (from the Shards and Ashes anthology)

Today is the release day of Shards and Ashes, an anthology of dystopian/post-apocalyptic stories that I was fortunate enough to participate in. It was edited by the fabulous Melissa Marr and Kelley Armstrong, and the contributing authors are amazing. It’s like a YA author explosion of awesome.

To celebrate the fact that the anthology is finally here, I’m putting up this excerpt from my short story, which is called “Hearken.” My story is about a girl, Darya, who gets a brain implant to hear the music of the dying in the midst of an apocalypse. In this scene, she’s riding a bus with her father.

“You know, when I was young, people didn’t like Hearkeners much,” her father said.

Darya watched the man across from her. His eyes remained steady on the floor. She could hear his breaths through the slats in the mask–not loud, but louder than unfiltered breaths.

“Why not?” she asked.

“Because they were seen as an unnecessary expenditure,” he said, “Not worth the cost, I mean. But the people over at the Bureau for the Promotion of Arts were very insistent that music would help a troubled world. And then when people started dying…” He shrugged. “Everyone started to understand why Hearkeners were so important.”

“Why are they so important?”

“Because what they hear…it’s like hearing something beyond us. Something bigger than us.” He smiled down at her. “It reminds us that there’s so much more going on in this world than we can see with our eyes and touch with our hands.”

Darya didn’t quite understand what her father meant, but she knew there was something beautiful in it all the same.

Then she heard something–quickening breaths from the man across from them. She saw a bead of sweat roll down the side of his forehead. He looked so harmless–he was short, with salt-and-pepper hair and a white, collared shirt. His slacks were pressed, creased. He was not a killer. But the peculiar blend of fear and determination in his eyes was enough to make Darya’s breaths stop completely.

As the man in the mask moved to get off the bus, he took a canister from his bag and dropped it on the ground. It was an object she had only seen in pictures–dull metal, about six inches long, as thick as her wrist, with an opening at one end to let out the gas.

Someone screamed.

(“Hearken,” from Shards and Ashes, 19 February 2013)

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Out today! The Shards & Ashes anthology. Gripping and powerful original stories of dystopian worlds from New York Times bestselling authors

  • Kelley Armstrong
  • Rachel Caine
  • Kami Garcia
  • Nancy Holder
  • Melissa Marr
  • Beth Revis
  • Veronica Roth
  • Carrie Ryan
  • Margaret Stohl

My story’s called “Love is a Choice,” and it’s about Orion and his decision to become the man you see in Across the Universe. Here’s what Midnight Book Girl had to say about it: 

I liked Across the Universe, but to be honest, I found Orion’s story even more compelling!  I loved learning his history and how he evolved from Elder to Orion.

I hope you check this anthology out! And head on over to my blog for a chance to WIN it!