Friday 11 March 2016

Blog Tour Excerpt - Wake by Sherry Rossman

Sherry Rossman
Genre: Young Adult Christian - Science Fiction - Fantasy
Date Published: February 1, 2016

Book Description:
Serve the community. Obey the laws. Exist on anxiety pills. This is all Monet, a ward of her city, can hope for until she and her friend, Luke, find an old book that shows the history of mankind—a past that’s been hidden from them and all the citizens of Titus. As their curiosity takes them down a dangerous path, extraordinary events begin to occur, showing them God may exist and is reaching out to them through illegal art and a realm of paranormal activity. Monet and Luke find themselves at a crossroads: live within the safe, logical confines of Titus, or embrace the wild truth and risk death.

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I NEVER THOUGHT a pile of scraps could be formed into indescribable beauty. The angel’s hair lifts in a single wave like my friend Luke’s, and his face is a perfect sculpt like his creator’s as well, but the resemblance stops there. Instead of haunted eyes and scarred forearms, he’s polished smooth with pieces of scavenged metal. Gears unfurl his wings, skeleton keys make up his sword. But the clock over his heart is my favorite—it’s hand hewn, pointing to twelve. Something about the angel digs deep inside me; it has life. But if anyone finds out Luke made it, he would be taken from me like my mother was.

I watch the moonlight cast Luke in silver like his angel. He opens the dusty book he found on this hill six months ago and places it on my lap. “Here. Angels were symbols of the cult your mom belonged to.” He aims the headlamp strapped to his forehead at the book and points to the faded photograph. I place my hand on the page, run it over the angel, but snatch it back when the paper tears. It’s beautiful, but it doesn’t move me like Luke’s angel. Finding myself drawn back to his sculpture standing guard over the city where we placed it ten minutes ago, my eyes sting.

“Aren’t things fine how they are?” For the billionth time, my mother’s face flashes before me. She had gathered me in her arms when the guards came for her. She nearly squeezed the breath out of me as her tears spilled over my head, her breath tender-warm on my ear when she said, “See you soon.”
That was ten years ago.

Luke kneels in front of me and places his headlamp on the ground. It slants the shadows across his face in an odd array of angles. “Do you still take the pills?”

I try to swallow the hot lump filling my throat, but it just burns through my effort to look calm.

“Your mom wasn’t crazy, Monet. She knew something.”

“The something that destroyed the people? We were only seven when They took her—how do we know she wasn’t?”

“I don’t think that’s what did it. They haven’t told us everything.” He settles next to me, and I follow his gaze toward the center of town—a splatter of light surrounds the rubble where the Mayor’s house used to be when there was a Mayor, and a governor, and individual states. The rubble is a reminder to the people of why religion and expressive art have been banned.

They haven’t told us everything.


They, who ripped my heart out. I hate Them, but I need Them. They keep us fed and housed, even those who would be homeless without Their efforts. We are as efficient as ants, marching like clockwork—every tick is service to others, every tock is honor for our good deeds; how much we cling to the work of our hands as if the world spins because of it. Does it?

Luke’s angel governs his clock in a way The Community has not taught me. What is that?

I lift the pages of the book, careful not to damage any more. There are sculptures of ancient gods and historical figures, leaders, musicians, artists. The expressive art, which in this book is categorized with the fine art, is the most fascinating. There are swirls of color, dabs of light at random, except many of the compositions seem more like a flash at the corner of my eye, something not quite defined unlike today’s exact likenesses. The steampunk style is Luke’s favorite and the inspiration for his sculpture, and despite the random key and gear, the tone of it reminds me of how we dress, streamlined though it is.

“Who do you think left the book here? Someone who knows you?”

Luke takes the book and stuffs it into his vest, right over his heart. “I don’t know. There are rumors of people—rebels—living in these woods. Someone could’ve seen me sketching here.”

“I’ve walked these woods nearly every day. I’ve never seen a sign of anyone like that.”

He stands and offers me his hand. “We better get the other sculpture before anyone finds you missing.”

I live in a house designated for cast-offs. It’s The Triad’s solution to homelessness. Children who have lost parents and those that have managed to age past their working years are rounded up like cattle and sorted into deserted homes. The older children take turns caring for the elderly in return for room and board in homes that once belonged to cultists. I still sleep in my childhood room while my warden sleeps in my mom’s. I know nothing about my father—he is neither a memory nor a raw spot in my heart.

We make our way back to Luke’s house and pull his truck into his workshop all without using lights. I adjust the night goggles I use in my wilderness class and peek around the embossed cement wall. Although I see nothing but a corner of my house, there is neither glow of light or hint of sound.

Luke presses his mouth against my red hair and whispers, “I need your help getting this one on.”

I reach to his shoulders where he carries both my burdens and hundred-pound sculptures, and mouth to him, “I think you could move ten of them on your own if you wanted.”

He half-smiles and points to his newest angel. As I walk around to face it, I nearly inhale all the air the workshop can hold. It is massive. No, not it; he. In the same style as the other sculpture, his posture is captured right in the middle of a story. What is this? He commands the room. His brows are bunched up fierce; his hair blown back by an unseen wind, melding together with his bird-wings. His right arm points straight forward. Through my night goggles, he could be real. He moves me like no other piece of art has. Art is not supposed to do that.

“Luke—what have you done? They’ll take you away.” I hiss it out; I want to slap him for the risk he’s taking.

He lowers the lift on the truck and whispers a little too loud. “I didn’t plan it. It just happened. When I sculpted him, I didn’t have to use a mold of someone I know. It kind of made itself.” He ran a hand through his dark blond hair. “We’ll talk about it later…we need to get this out before morning.”

I help him move the angel onto the lift. Although the sculpture is hollow, my back aches from the effort, even with Luke taking most of the weight. I push the switch that closes the dome window over the bed of the truck and we climb in.

It’s easy to navigate along the dirt road, I know it so well, and Luke has been out here with me enough times where I don’t have to direct him through the forest. A shiver slides through my ribs as I think of what we’re doing. We are criminals made by our own curiosity.

The pines tower above us, arms ushering us in with our secret. I look over at Luke; he winks at me. “It’ll be fine.”

After working in silence for most of the night, his voice jolts me. My hair falls forward when we hit a rut—I leave it to cover my face and wonder what The Triad will think when They gaze upon his sculptures. Will any of Them appreciate the angels’ beauty before They hunt down their maker?

As we arrive at the location and unload the angel, the city lights wink out in anticipation of the meteor shower. One by one, meteors cascade above Ponderosa Hill, where we placed the first sculpture. Luke tries to cheer me up by turning the angel so his arm points at the shooting stars. When the city begins to light up again, he quickly turns solemn. “We need to get you back. Now.”

There’s just enough time to take a single step toward the truck when a moan slides through the sculpture; my spine tingles. Luke grasps my hand, “It’s the breeze.”

Although it’s perfectly logical considering the structure of it, I can’t shake the sound clinging to me. I see it in Luke’s face too, and feel it in the way his hand crushes mine.

When a light bursts from overhead, I jump away from the angel. A meteor travels close, too close. As it courses through the sky, I see what’s about to happen and realize that Luke is right about one thing.

They haven’t told us everything.

About the Author
Sherry wrote children’s books before digging into genres for older audiences. Her short stories have been published in The Relevant Christian Magazine and Wordsmith Journal Magazine. Recently, she became the author of the bestselling YA novel Faith Seekers, and is also the project leader for Roots Writers and Social Media Critique Group. She is bold when she feels there has been too much silence, and quiet when there is too much noise. She lives in Northern Arizona with her husband and children.

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