The Change: Excerpt

So, in the summer of 2014, just before I got my job at the museum, I wrote a novel.

It was the second novel I finished that summer, but since no novel is ever finished in a first draft, I set both of the novels aside for a while. Until a year later when I finally had the time and motivation to write and rewrite the novel a few more times, send it to an editor, and publish it. 

So here it is:

Ren               Ren is waiting for me when I return hours later.

I nearly collide with his chest when I walk out of the closet. He's standing stiff and strong, and I can tell by his expression that his Change is still in charge of his thoughts right now.

"You shouldn't have left," he says. "It dangerous, and against the rules."

"And? So is harboring a Criminal, and keeping secrets from the City. Oh, and I'm guessing our deal isn't approved by the City either, right? It's dangerous for a Citizen to have full access to your restricted information. Dangerous and against the rules."

Ren swallows, and I step away from him, retreating to the kitchen to eat my evening meal. He follows.

"A deal is a deal," he says. “The City recognizes the importance of keeping one’s word.”

I sit down to eat, and he sits in the seat across from me.

“Not when that word interferes with a Citizen’s safety,” I say.

“Zen is misguided, but he’s harmless.”

“I know,” I say, "but what I don't know is why you're so against the Rebellion if you were once a part of it."

"I told you. The Rebellion is dangerous, and not worth the fight. The Rebels are wrong. You'll realize that soon if you haven't already."

I want to argue with him, but I don’t. Last night, after I calmed myself down, Zen gave me my first lesson in the Rebellion.

“Pick your battles wisely,” he told me. “That’s the most important lesson to learn in the Rebellion. We’re not the reckless monsters the City makes us out to be. We don’t strike before we’ve thought of every possible outcome.”

In this situation, fighting with Ren about his opinion on the Rebellion would only lead to trouble. So I don’t. I finish my meal in silence, and retreat to my room without another word to Ren. I have to fight against my desire and curiosity to understand why Ren has given up on the Rebellion. Knowing won’t make him change his mind.

I change out of my scrubs and lab coat, and sit on the edge of my bed, thinking about the other short lessons Zen was able to teach me about the Rebellion. I haven’t learned much, but I’ve learned enough to realize how much the City has been lying to us about the Rebels, and it bothers me. Why would the City lie? 

Ren walks in with a softened expression on his face. Normally, I’d be curious of the hidden stories behind his expression, but right now I’m not in the mood.

"Can I help you?" I ask, agitated.

He sits down on the edge of my bed, and looks out the window at the field. 

"You don't know what you’re doing, Elloh," he says. "I want you to understand what you're sacrificing. I don't think you do."

"How can it be any worse than what I'm sacrificing for the City, what the City is forcing me—forcing all of us—to sacrifice? I think I'd rather have my own free will, my own life," I say.

He shakes his head, but doesn't look at me. "You don't understand.”

“What don’t I understand?”

He looks at me, a sudden sadness in his eyes. “Freedom is not choice, Elloh. Choices have consequences, and those consequences…” His Change clicks into functioning at that moment. He takes a deep breath, and the pain in his expression is suddenly erased, replaced with an eerie blankness.

I stare out the window and watch as the sun sets over the view outside. I watch the colors —blue, pink, orange and yellow—blend together, and turn into a shadow of a color, encasing the world in darkness, and I think this is just like the City. The Change makes everything the same, cloaking the vibrant colors in darkness. 

"Be careful, Elloh," Ren says, startling me as he stands up.

He does his usual safety check around my room before leaving. I hear the front door click shut, and know I'm alone for the night. I climb under the covers of my bed, but I have trouble sleeping. I know if I sleep, my alarm will wake me for work in the morning, and my day will be taken up by the rules of the City. But if I stay awake, I can choose how to spend my time. I can dream, or think, or read. 

While the City is sleeping, I can find my freedom.

                 If you like it, please buy the full version at a discounted price here or (ebook version) here. I’m so excited this book is finally out there! Please enjoy!


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