Title: After Life
Author: T. E. Bell
Genre: YA Dystopian
THE RULES OF SURVIVAL ARE SIMPLE: DO AS YOU ARE TOLD OR RESIST AND SUFFER THE CONSEQUENCES.
WELCOME TO 2071 . . .
From the ashes of a devastated civilization, a new way of life has evolved. A single business entity, GET, governs a handful of mega-cities that offer protection from the wild and ravaged outside world of North America in exchange for one thing—servitude.
So when seventeen-year-olds Aiden Bishop and Evie Fox get chosen to take part in the government's coveted Half-Dead program, they think they've been given a chance to do more than survive. But when their paths collide and an unlikely alliance turns into an unbreakable bond, Aiden and Evie uncover the dark secret fueling GET's tyrannical rule. Now faced with a terrifying truth, they will need to choose between right or wrong, life or death, and this world or the next.
I’m running through a field of magnificent wildflowers. All my favorites are there. Brilliant yellow daffodils nestled securely amongst sprigs of delicate baby’s breath. Dandelion spores float and flutter in the air like warm weather snowflakes. The sun is full, its warmth like a blanket of light on my skin. I’m filled with joy. I’m laughing. Not to myself, but with someone. I can’t make out who they are, but I’m not alone.
I’m happy. I can feel the smile on my face. I can hear him now—the one who is with me. It’s a man. I can hear his laughter harmonize with mine. Our voices echo through the atmosphere. He’s chasing me, but playfully. I want him to chase me. I’m sure I instigated it. I like being desired. I like being wanted. I like being loved.
The chase must soon come to an end. I’m growing tired and I don’t know how much longer I can glide through these fields, these endless fields of beauty. My arms extend like a goose landing on the shimmering surface of a lake. My fingertips brush the tops of the flowers—their soft petals flirt under my gentle touch. I twirl and fall; the gentle embrace of nature breaking my fall. Orange butterflies take to the air. I’ve disturbed their momentary home, but they’re all too happy to let me stay awhile.
I feel safe beneath the bed of vegetation. Safe with him. His identity waits in silhouette, the sun beating down over his shoulders. I invite him beside me. He takes my hand and everything seems perfect; we just fit. I feel his lips on mine. They’re warm and gentle. We kiss. Nothing in this world could be more perfect at this very moment.
I open my eyes and see him for the first time. It’s Aiden. For some reason, I’m not surprised. I smile and stare into his beautiful blue eyes. I can see that he loves me. I feel like I love him. I must, for he would never look at me this way if I didn’t.
Then I feel it. A slow, fleeting darkness sneaks up on me. I can see the world starting to turn black. The sun has turned into a demon night. Aiden looks scared and confused. I can tell he doesn’t see everything that I do. He doesn’t see the immense suffering or impending death. I want to reassure him, but my body stiffens. I can barely see him now, as a dark curtain falls over my eyes. They are open and looking, but they cannot see. I cry because I know that these are my last moments in this world, with Aiden. I must give in to the darkness. There’s no use fighting it. It’s too powerful. This is the only way. I wish I could tell him not to worry, but the thought of losing him overtakes me.
“Save me,” I say with my last breath of air.
T. E. Bell received a B.A. in film with a concentration in writing and philosophy from Emerson College in Boston, MA. He has lived and worked in the entertainment industry in Los Angeles, CA for the past ten years. When he’s not working or writing, he’s busy playing with his Frenchie and Shiba Inu pups, binging the latest craze on Netflix with his wife, or whipping up a new recipe in the kitchen.
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