Lake of Sins
by L. S. O’Dea
YA, paranormal, dystopian, sci-fi/fantasy
In a world where class distinction means the difference between imprisonment and freedom and even life and death, being chosen to stay in the encampment and breed is the only way to guarantee survival for a teenage Producer.
Every year after harvest, the finest examples of teenage Producers are assigned mates; the rest are loaded onto carts and hauled away, never to be seen or heard from again. Trinity, a sixteen-year-old Producer, knows that she has no chance of being chosen to stay. She isn’t even full-blooded Producer. Her father is a House Servant and she’s spent her entire life hiding her differences, especially her claws and fangs.
She has one week to sneak into the forest and discover what happens to those who are taken. Her plan is simple, but she doesn’t count on being hunted and captured by predators long believed to be extinct. Can she elude her captors to uncover the fate of her kind and return to camp before her escape is discovered?
“Something’s following us,” he whispered as he unsheathed his knife.
The quiet rustle of vegetation behind them signaled that night was not the only thing approaching. He pointed to a large tree. She scurried up it and stopped on a limb high off the ground. He signaled for her to wait and then walked several yards farther before climbing another tree. He crouched on a low branch, knife in hand.
The woods were gray, the shadows growing wider as time passed. She waited, scanning the forest below, her heart pounding in her ears. What was hunting them, besides Guards? She pulled her knife out of the sheath and adjusted her position. Gaar always said that predators had to have patience, so the smart prey would too. She was still working on that. She shifted around again for a different angle. So far, she hadn’t seen anything dangerous in the forest, but she had traveled mostly with Mirra. She tried to relax her breathing, but it was coming in short pants. She had to calm down. Fear could be smelled. Fear attracted predators.
There was a soft whisper in the vegetation and a pair of glowing red eyes appeared in the brush. A few feet away were two more eyes and then another set. There were at least ten pairs, shining in the darkness.
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Benedictine is a complex character. He is a drunk and is cruel but he loves his family and is never hurtful to them. I’m not sure why he drinks as much as he does. He didn’t tell me that. Like most drunks he probably doesn’t even know. I think it’s because he does not like his life, his work. Once, he let me in to explain that at first he had a hard time with what happened to the Producers, what he was going to have to do when he inherited the family business. He is a product of his culture, his world. He’s learned to accept his place in life, but I think the drinking shows that it eats at him on the inside.
From him, I’ve learned that we should not accept things forced on us by our culture and society if we know that it is wrong. It will eat us up on the inside and destroy us. Doing what society expects when you know that it is wrong will eventually turn you into someone that you don’t like. Benedictine had been lonely as a child and had wanted the Guards and House Servants to play with him. They could not. They were not allowed. He changed that for his children. He lifted that rule. He should have fought a little harder to change the rest of his world for his children. If he did, he’d probably not drink as much (of course, he may have been destitute). There is always a price for standing up for what you believe, what you know is right. The brave and perhaps foolish do it anyway. The rest of us, trod along the path set for us by society and merge into someone our younger selves would hate.
L. S. O'Dea grew up the youngest of seven. She always wanted to do what her older siblings were doing, especially reading stories.
Ill at a young age, she immersed herself in books. Her life changed when she read a short story written by her older brother and realized that normal (somewhat anyway, since her brother was a bit weird in her opinion) people created these amazing stories. From that day forward, she wanted to write.
However, as with all good stories, obstacles rose in her path (mostly self-created obstacles) and it took her many years to put finger to keyboard and type her first book.
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