A Thursday teaser from the latest dystopian science-fiction novel, and this month’s reward to new subscribers
By Elyse Salpeter
Bexley, Saige and Hayden sat on the floor of Hayden’s room that evening after dinner.
Saige patted her friend’s arm. “Why are you so upset tonight, Hayden? You still worried about the guy you think you saw on the roof?” Saige had a way of making you feel like all the worries of the world sat between the frown lines of her brows. “I promise you, you’re not crazy. You’re one of the most sane and smartest people I know here. I bet it was just a figment of your imagination. You do like to daydream.”
“It’s not that. It’s just that sometimes I wish I remembered my own parents. Like Bexley thinks she does.”
“You don’t remember anything about them at all?” Bexley asked. “Not even some images, like from a dream?”
“The Handlers said I came here when I was just eight months old. Who remembers anything when you’re that young?” Hayden pursed her lips and then shook her head. “Did they have blond hair like me? Dimples? It would just be nice to know. “ Hayden shook her head and then laughed a little. “I must be listening to you too much, Bex, because sometimes I swear I see monsters and hear horses or something crazy like that when I think about my parents.”
Saige laughed. “Yep, you’re listening to her too much. You were a baby, Hayden. People can’t remember that far back.”
Bexley raised her brows in question. “Or maybe she does remember.”
“Bexley, how many times did our Handlers tell you that nothing like what you imagined actually happened?” Saige sighed. “You have to let it go or you’re going to go crazy.”
Bexley blew out a sharp breath. “Yeah, but what about Maverick?”
Both the other girls made unpleasant noises in the back of their throats.
Bexley persisted. “Come on. What if he’s like this because he was taken from his family? Wouldn’t you be angry, too, if you’d had this done to you? And just how convenient is the Handlers’ story? How my parents had simply gotten sick and died when I was just a few months old. That I’d been sent to live with a grandmother, who supposedly kept me inside all the time as well, and that then she died and the powers that be tested me and realized I had no immunity. I should have been dead long before that.”
Saige smiled gently. “You were just lucky. What if they’d never gotten to you? What if someone didn’t realize you had no immunity and took you out into the world and then you just died? That’s why they brought you to Harlin House. It was in your grandmother’s will and she was rich. It’s why all of us are here.”
Bexley exchanged a look with Hayden. “I’m never going to convince her ever, am I? Look, Saige, I’ve told you this before. I wasn’t one year old. I remember being with my parents and celebrating my third birthday with them. And I have zero memory of this grandmother they keep telling me about.”
Saige wasn’t convinced. “That’s, again, really young to remember something so vividly. I don’t remember anything from when I was three.”
Bexley persisted. “Well, I do. I had a little robot doll, and figurines I’d play with and drag around all the time. And I remember there were lots of candles because my mom used to light them around our house and knit.” Bexley’s eyes misted as she remembered. “She’d sit me on her lap and sing to me, too. Come on, you just don’t make stuff like that up if it’s not true. And an even harder memory for a little kid to conjure up, don’t you think?”
In a world devastated by a ruthless virus, thirteen orphaned teens cling to survival in Harlin House, a safe haven created for them by a mysterious group called the Handlers. With no immunity to the virus and time running out, they discover that all is not as it seems, and their lives—and the world beyond theirs—are trapped in a terrifying nightmare far more hellish than they could ever imagine.
Buy it on Amazon, or subscribe to BestSelling Writers Connect to get it free until June 30.
Elyse Salpeter is an author who loves mixing the real with the fantastic in her books. She likes nothing better than taking different scenarios and creating worlds where things just aren’t what they appear to be.
Her six-book supernatural thriller series, The Hunt for Xanadu, the Quest of the Empty Tomb, The Call of Mount Sumeru, The Haunting of Cragg Hill House, The Search For Starlight and The Journey Back are about a brilliant and fearless young woman named Kelsey Porter, whose life is steeped in Buddhist spiritual mysteries and she is constantly discovering the world around her is not what she believed it to be.
Her paranormal suspense series, Flying to the Light and Flying to the Fire, are about a young deaf boy who knows what happens to you when you die and now people are after him for the answers.
Her horror novel, The Mannequins, is about a film crew that enters an abandoned mansion and disappears, while her horror collection, Ricket Row, is filled with little creepy tales, guaranteed to keep you up at night.
Her sci-fi collection called Titanium Flow is rife with alien worlds, genetic testing, trans-galaxy romance, and robots!
And lastly, her dark fantasy series, The World of Karov and The Ruby Amulet are about twins, power and magic all interweaved with the theme of good vs. evil.
When she’s not writing, she’s training for triathlons and eating shock food in her Gastronaut Club. Please come on over and learn more about her at: