“This is what the truth is. Second Salvations murdered my parents, and I’m running away.” A single post over unregulated Internet channels. A sleeping society awakens to a chase, broadcast live on television screens all across the New United States of America... Rebecca and Daniel have never met. A fifteen-year-old preacher’s kid and a sixteen-year-old atheist outcast, they appear to have little in common. And yet they have both attracted the attention of a recruiter for Angel Island, where bad kids go to be remade—or destroyed. Agents of the all-powerful New America Unity Church will stop at nothing to get them. They’re building an army, a modern children’s crusade, in which Rebecca and Daniel may be just the kind of future leaders they need. If not, they might be just the kind of sacrifice necessary to keep the rest of the faithless in line.
Name: Rebecca Riggs
Profession: Problem child.
I mean, I was a preacher’s kid. My parents sent me to Damascus Teenage Retreat—for … re-education, you know, after I was caught skipping school. Then they were murdered. Second Salvations did it. I don’t know why. Now Second Salvations wants me. So I ran away. I’m a fugitive.
Do you have any special skills or training?
I can sing pretty well. I’m a black belt in Tae Kwon Do and a pretty good kickboxer. Also, church trained me to shoot with rifles and with Gideon handguns.
How would you describe yourself?
Scared and confused. The whole world has gone completely crazy. What the hell does Second Salvations want with me anyway? Why would they kill my mom and dad? I’m not special. I barely even made honor roll last semester. All I want is answers—and for this nightmare to end. I’m on the run and I have no idea where to go. I’m not even sure where I am anymore.
Who is your significant other(s)?
I had an almost-crush on a boy named Brian from Prodigal Sons, but that never really got a chance to go anywhere. I don’t have a boyfriend, and my best friend back at home betrayed me. I guess the only person I trust is my roommate at Damascus, Caroline, but we only met this week. I trusted my mom, too. But she’s dead—so, she doesn’t count, right? Sorry to disappoint you.
How would they describe you?
Everyone “describes” me the same way: wayward, rebellious, a “handful.” I used to be good, though. I don’t know what happened. I pray about it all the time. I don’t know what’s wrong with me.
Tell us about your family.
Dad was Pastor Mike, youth mission pastor at Emmanuel in Annapolis. He was really frustrated with me—almost shipped me off straight to Second Salvations before Mom talked him out of it. Damascus was the compromise, I guess. They did their best with me. They loved me, each in their own way. I really miss them.
What do you think was left unsettled in your story?
This story is still going on. I can’t believe I’ve spent this much time talking to you. For all I know, they could be tracking me right now, tracing the signal back. You could be one of them. Just who the hell are you, anyway?
If you could change anything about your story what would it be?
I wish I had been born in another time. I could have been normal. I’d like to have grown up when my grandma was still alive. You know, like, 2010 or 2020, sometime like that. Before the Scourge, before the Revival. I bet people were happy back then. I don’t want to be on the run anymore.
Marcus Damanda lives in Woodbridge, Virginia with his cat, Shazam. At various times throughout his life, he played bass guitar for the garage heavy metal band Mother’s Day, wrote for The Dale City Messenger, and published editorials in The Potomac News and The Freelance Star. Currently, while not plotting his next foray into fictitious suburban mayhem, he spoils his nieces and nephews and teaches middle school English.
Nics Book Nook http://nicsbooknook.blogspot.com
Seeing Stars http://seeingstarsteenya.blogspot.com/
Darkest Cravings http://darkestcravings.blogspot.com
Get Cozy http://get-cozy.blogspot.com
The Book Pub http://thebookpub.blogspot.com
All Book Finds http://shannaclemens.blogspot.com
Nikki Noffsinger http://nikkitrueblue.blogspot.com/
Fantasy Pages http://www.fantasypages.ca