July 10, 2013
Immortality ends with a few drops of blood…
Seventeen-year-old Justin’s anemic blood is a blessing. Or a curse. It all depends on who you ask.
In the Post-Collapse world where the immortal Vie lord over the rapidly diminishing humans, Anemies like Justin and his sister are rabidly sought after. Their blood is a drug—and a scourge. Justin's blood causes the Vie to age—a priceless hope for the Earth’s downtrodden humans.
When Justin’s sister is kidnapped by the Vie, he strikes a deal with the human resistance, but they’re nothing more than a cult with delusions that a messianic Anemie will free them all. They believe that person is Justin. Justin thinks they’ll need someone a lot stronger than an anemic kid who can’t run twenty feet without getting dizzy. Between saving what’s left of humanity and saving his sister, Justin can’t decide which will get him killed first.
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* * * * * * * * *
The camera is rolling. All across the city, miniature holographic images of me hover above slick black consoles. I’m the center of everyone’s world.
I press the ear bud deeper into my ear canal and focus my gaze off camera. It’s a calculated habit. A need to let people know I’m engaged in an important conversation with my directors. It keeps my journalistic persona intact. I nod and furrow my brow. Glance at the camera. Flash an epic smile. “Vincent Marks here. Tonight’s show is a bit unorthodox, but I assure you, you won’t want to leave your hologram or miss one second of this historical event.”
The camera crew follows me to a trio of chairs highlighted by three separate spotlights. I unbutton my suit jacket and sit in the only empty seat. To my left, is an Elite Vie, one of Nathan Abarron’s most brilliant scientists. To my right is a lowly, subhuman Anemie. I try not to scrunch my nose at his musky, dank scent. His anemic blood smells dull, almost burnt, and does not entice me at all.
I address the Vie. “Good evening. Thank you for coming tonight, doctor…”
“Call me Alex.” The Vie cuffs the end of his chair’s arms with his slender fingers and gives me a cocky half-smile. His pinky finger is missing on his right hand. A rare imperfection for our kind. His suit is impeccable, like mine, but his hair is much too disheveled for my taste. As if he doesn’t care about his appearance. So odd. I wonder how Abarron can tolerate him. It’s hard to be certain—the Anemie’s scent is so strong—but I sense the boy’s odor on Alex. Strange.
“Alex. I understand you have led some of the most successful raids, clearing the streets of Anemie filth and keeping our New City safe. Tell me, what’s it like to sit here, next to an Anemie, the very thing you strive to eliminate?” I go for the jugular. Vie attention spans are short and they’ll bore quickly. Plus, I have no intention of tripping off a blood bath. No sense in staining this suit with Anemie blood.
The boy visibly pales. His hands clench into fists and he tugs on the restraints binding his wrists and ankles. A layer of sweat borders his greasy hair.
Alex glances at him and his smile fades. “Even the lowest of creatures has a purpose.”
An unexpected response. Hopefully, enough to be riveting for my bloodthirsty audience. I prod him on. “Are you saying Anemies have value?”
Alex cuts his gaze to me. “Why don’t you ask the boy what his value is?”
I laugh. It sounds too nervous for my liking. I need to recover. “Ever the scientist, I see.” I gesture to the boy. “Very well. Let’s ask our subject. What value do you have?”
The boy’s nostrils flare. His heart jitters even faster. I can hear it thrumming along, ricocheting in his chest like a ping-pong ball. “I’m a human being. I’m alive.”
“Alive? Just barely.” I snort. “I’d argue you’re being alive is a detriment.”
“To who?” he counters.
“To the Vie,” I clarify.
“I’ve done nothing to you. No Anemie has. Why don’t you just leave us alone?” His voice, previously tremulous and weak, gains traction. So bold for someone so insignificant.
I’m done speaking with him. I turn to Alex. “Would you like to address this Anemie’s assertions?”
Alex leans forward and grins. “The boy has a point. And he has a name. Justin.”
“So you know one another?” I casually prop my left foot on my right knee. The Vie watching from their holograms at home depend on me to stay neutral.
Alex tips his head to the side. “I would expect someone like yourself to do their research before interviewing their guests. It only takes a moment to learn someone’s name.”
How dare he insult me, the face of Vie media? “I have no need to learn about an Anemie. Knowing his name is inconsequential. To suggest otherwise borders on the obscene.”
“What’s obscene is how much gel you put in your hair.” The boy, Justin, volleys a solid dose of snark.
I’m on my feet and leaning over him in a flash. My fingers curl around his spindly neck and squeeze. “I should tear out your vocal cords.”
His face reddens and his mouth gapes from the lack of air. Oils from his skin slick my palm.
Someone in the background yells, “Cut!”
I freeze. All “live” shows are on a ten second delay, but I’m sure everyone watching just witnessed me, level-headed, impartial, Vincent Marks, losing my cool. To a loose-tongued Anemie.
Alex hooks an arm around my chest and gives a gentle tug backward. “I think our interview is over.”
I tear myself away from the Anemie, holding out my contaminated hand.
Alex positions himself between Justin and me. “Easy now. Wouldn’t want to ruin your suit by tearing him to pieces.”
I shrug out of his grip. “I suppose you’d like the honor of killing him.”
The smirk returns. “More than you know.”
* * * * * * *
Meet the characters of Endure:
Justin has to fight every day to keep his sister and him alive. During a midnight raid, he loses her, but gains knowledge that can change the world. Problem is, he’ll need the help of the very person who stole his world from him to succeed.
Alex lives multiple lives. As an Elite Vie, he enjoys the best of the best. He also pushes the limits of science…and himself. A drug addict and Anemie exterminator, he meets Justin on an abandoned building’s rooftop and discovers something that can change the world. Problem is, he’ll have to convince the one person he’s supposed to kill that they need to work together to succeed.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Laura Diamond is a board certified psychiatrist and author of all things young adult paranormal, dystopian, and horror. Her Young Adult Paranormal Romance novelette NEW PRIDE and novel SHIFTING PRIDE debuted in 2012 from Etopia Press. A spin off short story based on the lions of Tsavo, TSAVO PRIDE, is now available on Amazon. ENDURE is a YA paranormal dystopian with sci-fi elements. Its sequel, EVOKE, is coming late 2013/early 2014 by Etopia Press. ZODIAC COLLECTOR, a YA paranormal romance, is coming 2014 by Spencer Hill Press. When she's not writing, she is working at the hospital, blogging at Author Laura Diamond--Lucid Dreamer (http://lbdiamond.wordpress.com/), and renovating her 225+ year old fixer-upper mansion.
WHERE TO FIND LAURA: