Terminally ill Lynette Lamb is forced to reunite her wayward son and grandson. Her options are as limited as her strength and mobility. Through a fateful series of events, the rejoined pair will leave Earth to become part of a colony orbiting a new planet. Sam Austin and his wife mourn the loss of their only child and decide to make a fresh start at the space station. The same ship holds the one who will fulfill the dark planet’s prophecy, but a demonic force boards to stop the vessel. The demon’s obedient but unwilling servant is sent on a suicide mission to keep the ship from reaching its destination.
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“Freak,” a boy in green yelled, drawing Lynette Lamb’s attention from her second story window. Three boys caught up with her eleven-year-old grandson, Jeremy, and blocked his path. “Why you look so weird?”
“Do–” Jeremy clenched a pharmacy bag. “Why do I look so weird?”
The green one laughed. “That’s what I asked. See, he doesn’t even know.” Snickering, two of the boys punched each other in the shoulders.
Lynette could smell their bloodlust on the breeze. Like rough burlap, her tired lungs scratched against her rib cage, but she ignored the pain and watched the three boys who harassed her grandson. One wore red, one blue, and one green. Otherwise only a modicum of disparity existed among them. That was the problem with normalization. In an effort to make everyone look the same, society succeeded in taking away individuality. She could hardly tell the kids apart anymore. She coughed, and splatters of blood stained the washcloth she gripped in her weak fingers.
“Is your doctor blind or sumthin’? ’Cuz I can almost see through you, white boy.” Green smacked Jeremy in the chest to punctuate his words. “And what’s with those teeth? Was yo’ momma a horse?”
“No.” Jeremy attempted to cross the street.
The boy in red pushed him and knocked the pharmacy bag to the sidewalk. “You ain’t goin’ nowhere.”
The one in blue giggled like a hyena. “Yeah. Unless it’s to a doctor. It’s called normalizing. Ain’t you never heard of it?”
“Shut it.” The one in red smacked Blue in the back of the head. Blue cowered, nearly falling backwards as he stepped off the curb.
Jeremy focused on the bag at his feet and stood still. His tall, lanky frame and pale skin made him an anomaly to the normalized, olive-skinned children his age. Because of his recent growth spurt, he seemed to be more knees and elbows than his limbs accounted for. Next to the other children, he stood like an awkward, leafless cedar.
Lynette clenched her teeth, hoping none of the young brutes held a weapon. If only she had the strength and wind in her lungs to yell at them! Tears filled her eyes. It crushed her that she could no longer take care of her grandson like he needed.
Green poked Jeremy in the chest to emphasize each word. “Why. You. Look. So. Weird.”
“I look the way God made me.”
Lynette’s heart swelled. But the primary colors doubled over and slapped each other on the backs. Green barked laughter, but stopped, spit on the ground, and said, “You one of those religion freaks, ain’t you? I knew it.”
Blue giggled, hand over his mouth, and pointed at Jeremy. “My dad said you was extinct!”
Red gripped the front of Jeremy’s shirt and growled, “Well, I says we make you extinct.”
He rammed his fist into Jeremy’s stomach. The other two boys jumped into the fray, arms thumping in a wild rhythm.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
In simple language, Pauline Creeden creates worlds that are both familiar and strange, often pulling the veil between dimensions. She becomes the main character in each of her stories, and because she has ADD, she will get bored if she pretends to be one person for too long. Pauline is a horse trainer from Virginia, but writing is her therapy.
Armored Hearts, her joint effort with author Melissa Turner Lee, has been a #1 Bestseller in Christian Fantasy and been awarded the Crowned Heart for Excellence by InDtale Magazine.
Her debut novel, Sanctuary, won 1st Place Christian YA Title 2013 Dante Rosetti Award and is now available as an audiobook. #1 Bestseller on Amazon in Christian Sci/Fi and Fantasy (October 2013)
One of Pauline's short stories has won the CCW Short Story contest. Other short stories have been published in Fear & Trembling Magazine, Obsidian River and Avenir Eclectia. An urban fantasy short will appear in The Book of Sylvari: An Anthology of Elves from Port Yonder Press, and a vampire short will appear in Monsters! from Diminished Media Group.