I’ve been lucky enough to snag an entry into The Writer’s Voice contest. Below is my entry for The Utopians. As always, let me know what you think.
When the world ends there are no zombies, buildings don’t crumble to the ground, there isn’t even an unseasonal snowstorm to speak of – turns out a real-life apocalypse is nothing like the movies.
Sixteen-year-old MILA SANDERS awakens in a body bag in a room filled with hundreds of decaying corpses to discover that anti-overpopulation cult, THE UTOPIANS, have released a virus on the city of Auckland. Almost everyone is dead, Mila’s parents among them. Struggling to make it on her own, Mila attaches herself to seventeen-year-old JETT WITANA and his band of survivors. Jett may very well be the sexiest creature she’s ever laid eyes on but Mila knows the middle of the apocalypse is the worst possible time for romance. Mila’s distress over the sight of Jett without his shirt and the survivors’ ever dwindling supply of baked beans are the least of her worries because the Utopians are stalking the streets and they don’t get paid their bonuses until each and every survivor is dead. Mila and Jett need to get out of Auckland and they need to do it now.
Complete at 84,000 words, THE UTOPIANS is John Marsden’s TOMORROW series meets THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO, a contemporary thriller for young adults told from the perspectives of three characters: wayward teen, MILA SANDERS; Maori heart-throb, JETT WITANA; and son of the Utopian’s leader, AUSTIN BARRERA.
FIRST 250 WORDS
Mila snapped awake, her entire body tense, gripped by the sort of panic usually reserved for meth addicts coming down after a high. She sucked in a breath; the air, stale and moist, left her body still screaming for oxygen. Her eyes flew open to complete darkness. Her terror kicked up a notch.
Mila threw out her hands; they came to a jarring halt mere inches from her body. Above her head, around her chest, down the sides of her body; everywhere she moved her hands they ran into the same smooth, rubbery material.
She was trapped.
Mila’s heart-rate bolted, her breath shallow. She needed to calm down, panicking would only burn through the limited oxygen supply even faster. In a different situation she might’ve laughed at the stupidity of that thought – there was no way she could possibly calm down, she was dying. Death drew closer with every strained breath.
With terror overriding her senses, Mila concentrated on her hands, pushing against the strange rubbery surface of the cocoon, looking for any opening, any weakness. There, directly above her nose, a change in texture, instead of smooth rubber this was rough, metallic, like hundreds of tiny fingers gripping onto one another. Oh my god – a zipper!
She fought down the flood of relief that started to spill through her veins – this wasn’t over yet – and ran her fingers along the thin row of teeth until they reached their end point, somewhere over her head.