This is a first look at my newest book, Hope's Rebellion. Enjoy!
Coming November 2013
“Do it again!” Maura screamed. “One, two, three.”
All at once, twenty little bodies hit the stones beneath them. The sun was starting to sink, and they’d been doing drills for hours.
“If an Argot passes you or enters into the same room as you, it’s your duty to react appropriately. To do otherwise could cost you your life. Keep your eyes on the ground!” She shouted. “Remember to touch your forehead to the floor in front of you, and then you’ll never forget.”
“Do you think she listens to herself when she speaks?” whispered Preeka.
“Shhh,” Yala warned, behind her.
“She never listens to anybody when they speak,” Drexi replied. “She only likes the sound of her own voice. The words don’t matter.”
“Maybe you think you know more than me about proper behavior, Drexi?” Maura was suddenly standing in front of her. Drexi saw her own black hair reflected in the shiny tips of Maura’s boots. “Up!”
Drexi bent at the waist, pointing her eyes downward.
“All the way!” Maura screamed. “We’ve been doing this drill all day.”
“But you’re not an Argot,” Drexi answered innocently, keeping her eyes trained on Maura’s boots. “I thought the drill was proper positioning. This is the proper position for you.”
Snickers rippled through the girls, and when Drexi chanced a glance upward she saw that Maura’s face had turned a deep, terrifying shade of red.
“Go stand on the peg!” She screeched. “Up, the rest of you. I want you to see what happens when you let your smart mouths run away with you. If I were Drexi’s mistress, I could have her beaten or even put her out of my home. She’s lucky to only stand on the peg.”
Drexi almost snapped that Maura wouldn’t really know if it was better or not, since she never stood her big body on the peg, but there wasn’t any point in making her punishment worse. So she bit her tongue as she walked to the center of the quad, toward a narrow post that rose six feet above the ground. She climbed the ladder and established her balance before kicking it away, the way she was supposed to.
The peg measured about two inches in circumference, too narrow for both feet. Drexi would have to balance herself, and try not to fall down to the hard stones below. If she did, she would only have to climb back up again.
And she would know. Drexi had been on the peg more than anyone else in Camp Five…ever.
After the other girls all filed passed her into the cafeteria for dinner, Preeka got her wish. It started to rain for the first time that winter. The deluge lasted well into the night. Maura finally let Drexi step down from her spot ten minutes before lights out.
When she couldn’t be roused the next day, she was taken to the infirmary. It took four days before Drexi became conscious again, she was so ill from standing in the cold rain. When she was able to return to the dorm six days later, Maura gave her kitchen duty for two straight weeks.