Name: Flor Salcedo
Genre: YA/Science Fiction
Title: Damaged Goods
Word Count: 100,000
Themes: Body Image, Disability
35 Word Pitch:
Stuttering girl with hi-tech prosthetic arm hardly talks, runs from child snatchers. Quirky boy that won’t shut up helps find her voice. They’re unaware they’re living a lie. CITY OF EMBER meets MAD MAX:FURY ROAD
First 500 words:
They came to reduce our numbers, again. Except this time, one of our soldiers rode up with a haunted face and two fingers in the air. It took my father a few seconds to figure out that it meant it was two children snatched away instead of the usual one. The entirety of our army froze when they turned to find me behind them, listening. Then there was chatter prattle from the group, the rumble of the horse’s hoof beats, my father in a frenzy, checking on me every few minutes. We’re back on the move as my father’s army desperately tries to warn the townspeople when an attack is coming or intercept it if we’re too late.
Our group rests in this building on the northern part of the continent. It’s big, forbidden-like, as if I’m walking the hallways of a netherworld in here. Rarely being around doors, they appear alive as if they’re rushing to close themselves behind me. They trap me.
But I’m one of the lucky ones. I’ve made it thirteen years, and in a couple more, I’ll no longer be a child the enemy wants.
I sit at the edge of a chair, uncertain when my father will come back. The cavernous room hums and each careful cracking of my knuckles bounces off the walls. It was an office, I’m sure of it. It has the smooth shiny tables I’ve read about and cushioned chairs. In one town, a lady with a rolling office chair would place her sick kid in it and push him around on the few remaining strips of sidewalk—the kid giving a barely distinguishable smile. Though the inside of this building is plain and stringent looking, it doesn’t compare to the rigid outside, with its serious gray walls and multiple jutting out ledges like chins. This building used to be a government building hundreds of years ago. It’s one of the few left standing. It was built extra strong, that’s why it remains. That’s what my father said when I asked him yesterday.
I pick up a book and continue where I left off. The door creaks open and I jump in my seat and hide the book behind my back.
Father pokes his head inside. “Please start gathering your items, Joe. We leave soon,” he says in as neutral tone as he can muster. He closes the door and leaves me again.
But I’m already ready. I hold my backpack tight in one arm and a book called Lover in Your Dreams in the other. Thankfully, this building still had useful items. The book is much more adult than my father would want me reading. I scan through a questionable scene before I snap it shut and hide it under another book. On top of the table lie other books I’ve set aside that have pictures and extra advanced words, manuals and such. Hopefully, my father can explain later.
When my people arrived here to Meridies Sur, two years before I was born, the continent was completely empty.