I am so excited to share with you the FINAL portion of the first chapter of Altered by Gennifer Albin, the highly anticipated sequel to Crewel! I ADORED Crewel, so much. Just from this first chapter alone, I know that Altered will be just as amazing!
READ THE FIRST PARTS
Part 1 (Bewitched Bookworms) • Part 2 (Cuddlebuggery) • Part 3 (Xpresso Reads) • Part 4 (The Book Cellar)
Now, onto part five!
“We saw the ship go down. We came out to see what happened,” I lie, hoping against everything I’ve been led to believe about Earth that the metro ahead of us is populated.
“And you had nothing to do with bringing the ship down from the Interface?” She gestures up to the raw weave that covers the sky.
The girl’s eyes sweep over us. Jost might pass her inspection. His clothes are as utilitarian as hers, but there’s no denying that I look out of place in comparison, in my lavender suit, stockings, and pumps. Nothing about me, down to the emeralds clipped to my ears, correlates to what I’ve seen of Earth.
“Let me see your necks,” she says.
“Why?” I ask.
I hesitate for a moment but then acquiesce. I don’t know what she’s looking for, but I know she’s not going to find it. I pull my hair up, Jost does the same, and when we turn back around to face her, a rifle is leveled at us.
She utters one word: “Fail.”
Time seems to slow as her finger presses against the trigger, and I scream, “Wait!” It surprises even me, and the girl takes a step back. She’s checking for a mark, and I have one—a techprint burned into my wrist by my father, who was hoping I would escape the retrieval squad.
Shoving my sleeve up, I thrust my arm out to her and point to the pale hourglass imprinted on my skin like a scar.
The rifle slips in her hand, the barrel now pointing at the ground.
“Your left hand?” she whispers. “Yes.”
She’s shocked, but as quickly as the rifle appeared, it disappears across her back. She pushes my sleeve down to cover the techprint.
“Go to the Icebox,” she says, “and lay low. We’ll find you. You aren’t safe here.”
“What’s the Icebox?” Jost demands.
“The Icebox is the city ahead of you,” she says. “It’s Sunrunner territory and outside Guild control.”
“Where are we?” I ask.
“The remains of the state of California,” she says. “The Icebox is the only inhabited city in this territory. You’ll be safe from the Guild there—for now. Stay put and stay hidden. Don’t go out after hours and don’t let anyone see that techprint.”
“Sure,” I mutter, and the girl’s hand seizes my arm.
“Your life depends on it,” she says.
I nod to show that I understand, even though none of this makes sense. What does my father’s techprint have to do with Earth? What’s a Sunrunner? But I know she’s right about one thing: the Guild is coming for me, and we aren’t safe here.
She strides away without giving us her name. Her warning hangs in the air. I don’t watch her, even though she’s not headed to the metro but back toward the ocean.
“Why would she care about your techprint?” Jost asks, but I ignore him as we start to jog back to where we left Erik. We need to get out of here, and if there are people in this Icebox, we can blend in and hide until I figure out how my techprint is linked to this girl.
Nothing tied to the night of my retrieval can be ignored, especially when that thing is a mark left before my father showed me that he and my mother were more than dissenters. They were traitors—like me.
Altered is going to be amazing! You have no idea how excited I am, and that was a stunning conclusion to the first chapter! Now I (I think we all do) need chapter two!
Thanks to Macmillan, I have one galley of Altered to give away to one person - US/CAN ONLY!
This contest runs from today (May 24) to June 8, 2013.
There are many ways to enter - one easy one is to follow via GFC (located at the top left hand corner), and another is to be subscribed to my YouTube channel (click here to go to it). But there are even more ways! Go enter!