Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Garbage Winner!

Congratulations to DEB!
(This must be her lucky summer!) Her name was drawn randomly to win the package of Glad(r) Garbage bags! She also answered the question correctly: Eve made homemade jam from strawberries.
Stay tuned for more Garbage Give-Aways!!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Chapter 16 - Eve

Chapter 16
    Stir. Stir. Stir.
    The beep of the cheap waffle iron in front of me broke my singular concentration on the batter. I lifted the lid. I had to be careful as I pried the waffle out so it wouldn’t break apart. Even the smell comforted me. If I closed my eyes, or if I took a plate to Darion, I could pretend I wasn’t cooking in a tiny kitchen, in a tiny apartment filled with rebels, and more arriving every minute.
    But I didn’t even mind the addition because it meant making more waffles. More batter. More mindless stirring. More forgetting that my life had spun out of control.

Monday, June 20, 2011

The First Ever Garbage Give-Away

Don't worry, we're not giving away garbage--well not exactly. :)

DJ's wife Ashleigh inspired us to get some more followers. (You can check out her blog here. She's giving away hair stuff, and who doesn't need hair stuff? 30 different hairstyles in 30 days! Check it out.)

So we're going to follow her example and give away stuff too. And what's more appropriate than...

That's right, garbage bags. These ones happen to be my favorite. :)
How to Enter:
1. Answer this question: What fruit does Eve make jam out of in the beginning of the story? (HINT: Check out Chapter 2)
2. Post the answer along with your name and email address in a comment on this post.
3. Get an extra entry by sharing the blog and/or contest on your own blog or on facebook. (Let us know you've shared in a separate comment, along with a link to your blog so we can check it out.) You have until Friday!

*And don't worry. We have some even awesomer prizes in mind for later. :)

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Chapter 15 - Micah

I woke up still feeling groggy. The sun already reached through the red and black curtains that hung over the only window in the bedroom. I buried my face in the soft pillow before shoving myself into an upright position on the edge of the bed. I got up and wandered into the kitchen, thinking of Eve and Olivia. I wondered if they were safe. Jarvis mentioned Isoli closed the city right after I got out. Had Eve made it out in time? Did Olivia still have her cover? I peered into the refrigerator looking for something to eat.
A soft knock on the front door stole my attention. I closed the fridge and moved like a zombie to the front door. Last night was the best night of sleep I’d had my whole life. My body still longed to be back under the covers so I opened door in only the shorts I’d put on last night.
Zoe stood facing me. My eyes made there way up her nicely shaped legs. She had on heels again and a blue skirt that stopped a few inches above the knee. She wore another white collared shirt, but this one had subtle blue stripes.
“Umm...” She teased her blond hair and shifted her weight to the other foot. Her voice pulled my eyes up to her face. She was biting her pouty, lower lip. Her vibrant eyes flirted with my still foggy brain. “I made breakfast if you want to come over.”
“Oh, yeah,” I stumbled. “That’d be great.” I started to walk out the door before her giggle stopped me.
“I’m completely okay with it, but you might want to put some clothes on first.”
“Oh... yeah... I’ll be over in a minute then.” I blushed more than I wanted to. Being caught without my shirt on didn’t bother me. Hard labor had kept me in excellent shape. But the fact that she had me so mesmerized I forgot to get dressed--that was embarrassing.
“Okay. I’ll leave the door open.”
I closed the door and walked to the bedroom to look for a t-shirt. I pulled a plain white one from the second drawer of the dresser in the corner of the room. I grabbed some slippers from the closet and was at Zoe’s door, probably too soon.
“That was fast,” Zoe called from the kitchen.
“I was hungry.”
“Come sit down. It’s ready.”
Before I entered the kitchen, breakfast smells accosted me. Bacon, eggs, hash-browns, and pancakes. Eve. I’d forgotten about her when Zoe knocked on my door, but the smell of the pancakes brought her back to the front of my mind.
She probably didn’t make it out of Phoenix last night. If she had someone would’ve told me.
I started inhaling my breakfast. I wanted to hurry and get to Jarvis or Senator Castle to see if they had any news.
“Are you okay?” Zoe asked. She was still pouring milk and hadn’t even started on her plate yet.
“Yeah,” I lied. “I guess it’s just been a while since I had a decent meal.”
Zoe smiled. I relaxed. I finished the rest of my breakfast and picked up my dishes.
“Leave those there. I’ll take care of them.”
“At least let me put them in the sink.” I continued to the sink and put the dishes down. Zoe followed me in with her half finished breakfast. I turned around too fast and bumped into her. The top of her head just reached my mouth. My teeth sunk into my lower lip as dishes clattered to the ground and milk ran down my shirt and shorts. Zoe stumbled, and I grabbed her waist to keep her from falling.
“I’m so sorry!” Zoe grabbed a towel and began wiping down my shirt and legs.
“It’s okay. I have to go change anyway.”
“I’m such a clutz. Oh, and now your lip is bleeding. Let me get some ice.”
“Really, I’ll be okay. It’s barely bleeding.”
Zoe had already grabbed a piece of ice from the freezer and put it on my lower lip. Her free hand rested on my chest as she held the ice cube to my lip. I stared at her grey-blue eyes. She smiled again and looked away.
“I wanted to thank you.”
“What for?”
“For being brave. For not giving up. Before you started fighting, everyone just accepted how things were. Even those of us that didn’t like it wanted to make a difference, couldn’t change things. We had the will, but not the man power.”
“I’m just a kid. I was only looking out for myself and my sister.”
“That’s not true. You helped thousands of people in the slums find hope. In a way you’re their hero.” She leaned in closer and removed the ice cube from my lips. “You’re kind of my hero too.” She smiled shyly without showing her teeth and inched her lips closer to mine. I closed my eyes and moved to kiss her.
A knocking on the door startled us both, and Zoe jumped back and walked towards the living room. “Wait here, I’ll hurry back.” Her grin betrayed her intentions. I smiled back.
I heard her walk across the carpet and open the door.
“Hi, Zoe. The Senator sent me too look for Micah. I knocked on his door but no one answered. Do you know where he is?”
My heart jumped as I heard the voice on the other side of the wall. The voice was like a good song at the end of a long day. Olivia! I immediately forgot about my encounter with Zoe. I walked out of the kitchen, trying not to hurry. I didn’t want Olivia to know how excited I was to hear her voice.
“Yes, he’s--”
“Micah?” I entered the room just as Zoe presumably started to tell Olivia I was in her apartment.
Olivia stepped into the house and stood next to Zoe. Olivia smiled. Her bright green eyes and white teeth contrasted her dark olive skin. She had on a black skirt that went just past her knees, drawing my attention to her calves and then up her perfectly shaped body. Suddenly I realized how uncomfortable the situation was. I stopped in the middle of the room.
“Hi.” I awkwardly help up my hand in a sort of wave.
“Hi.” Olivia grinned and rose her eyebrows into an arch. She had realized how uncomfortable I felt but she seemed to enjoy it. “Am I interrupting something?”
“No,” I shot, almost too fast.
“I just made Micah some breakfast. There's still some left. Are you hungry?”
“No thanks, I already ate. Micah, there’s a meeting in two hours in the bunker below the Senator’s office. The Senator wants to meet with you before that.”
“Okay sure, just let me go back to my room and change. Bye, Zoe, I’m sure I’ll see you around.” I smiled and started to walk past Zoe and Olivia to get out the door. Zoe grabbed my wrist and tugged.  I turned around and before I could say a thing, she kissed me on the cheek.
“Goodbye, Micah. Have fun.” She smiled teasingly and glanced at Olivia before leaving to the kitchen.
I started down the stairs and back to my apartment.
“You can come in and wait. I’ll only be a second.”
“I’ll just wait out here. It’s a nice day.” She didn’t even look at me. She stared out toward the sun that was just a couple hours from being at its highest point. I left the door open and walked back to my room. I already felt guilty. No doubt Olivia liked me. I knew it when she first spoke to me in the prison. She was so soft and caring. Once I realized her intentions, I liked her too. Zoe was pretty. She had everything when it came to looks but Olivia was beautiful. Everything about her was perfect. Light seemed to radiate from her.
I looked through the closet for a few minutes but came up empty. Just a suit, slacks, a button up white shirt a few ties, and a pair of nice wing-tipped black dress shoes. I closed the closet, sure I wouldn’t have to use any of them. I moved over to the dresser and pulled out a pair of jeans and a white t-shirt. I finished dressing, walked outside and closed my front door. Olivia turned abruptly and forced a smile. A small tear snuck out the corner of her eye. My heart sank, and I felt worse than before.
“That wasn’t what you think.”
“You don’t have to explain anything to me.”
“Really, she---”
“I’m supposed to do a check up on you before the meeting. I have some ointment for your back.”
“Listen, Olivia, I’m sorry. Zoe is very aggressive. We’re not dating or anything. I only met her last night.”
“Looks like things moved pretty quickly then.”
“No, they--”
“The hospital is just around the corner. I’ll treat your wounds, then you have a meeting with Senator Castle.”
We walked the next block or so to the hospital in silence. I couldn’t read Olivia. It seemed as though she had liked me before but I had probably ruined it in one day. I started to feel angry. Who was Olivia to judge me for eating breakfast that I was invited to? I didn’t do anything wrong. Why was she being so emotional about it?
We finally reached the inside of the hospital where Olivia directed me to an open room.
“You can take off your shirt and lie down on the padded table. I’ll be back in just a second.”
She left the room. I followed her instructions and waited face down on the table. After a moment she returned and closed the door.
“This will sting at first, but it will speed up the healing process.”
I felt her fingers massage my back as she rubbed the cream into my tattered skin. I winced as the cream seeped into my wounds.
“Sorry.” She continued moving her hands over my back.
I decided to skip anymore chit-chat, “After Darien broke me out he said he had to go back to rescue Eve. Do you know if they made it out okay?”
“Isoli ordered the wall up around Phoenix, shut down the gates and all air travel right after you got out. Darien and Eve were stuck in the city. We have word that Tanner picked them up. As far as we know they’re hiding in the city until they can find a way out.”
That was good news. At least she was still alive.
“How did you get out then?”
“I have every other weekend off. I left the city a few hours before you escaped.”
I relaxed as the stinging in my back subsided and the cream brought relief instead of pain.
“Micah, I found out something else that you should know.”
I heard urgency in her voice and turned on my side and looked at her eyes. Her look was serious.
“Isoli isn’t just after you because you’re a rebel. He’s after your genes.”
“Your dad was a famous scientist. Your mom was a world class sprinter. Your genetic makeup is as close to perfect as I’ve seen. He wants to use your genes to create a super-race. With you in his possession He could fake your execution and use your genes without the public knowing.”
I remained silent, unsure of what to say. Olivia finally broke the silence.
“You’re all done now. Let the ointment dry for a few minutes and then go over to the Senator’s office.”
“Thanks.” I paused, still unsure of what to say. I buried my face back into the pillow on the padded table. I felt bad about what happened before but it didn’t feel like the right time to apologize, “I’m sorry about earlier.” She was already out of the room. Why was she being so stubborn? I tried to explain things, but she just wouldn’t listen. I decided to let it rest. I didn’t need Olivia in order to be happy. Zoe could fill my time until we went to war, and who knew if I’d be around after that anyway.
I slipped my shirt on and walked to the Senator’s office. Zoe greeted me inside. Her flirtatious smile was still on her face as she directed me into Senator Castle’s office. I closed the door and sat down across from his large desk.
“Good morning Micah, I want to offer you a deal.”

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Chapter 14 - Eve

I’m not a rebel!
I felt like screaming it. I didn’t want any of this. I didn’t want to shoot the guards. I didn’t want to lose my comfortable, successful life. A life I no longer had. A life that disappeared the night Micah showed up at the Capitol to rescue me.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Chapter 13 - Micah

I stared hard at the numbers on my bar-code. 9094. The plane hit some more turbulence. My thumb slid back and forth across the code as I studied, hoping with each pass the code would reveal something new. 9094.
    "You know you can't erase it with your thumb."
    I pushed my sleeve back down and turned towards the familiar voice behind me. "Hey Jarvis," I muttered, embarrassed.  I remembered the back pack and the instructions. If I'd done what he said in the first place, I could've avoided a lot of trouble. "Sorry."
    "Don't apologize." He sat down in the seat next to me. "You did a lot of good things in Phoenix. You helped people. The rebel movement is at least twice the size in Phoenix as it was before you started your little band. Every other city in the west has major rebel strong holds. Los Angeles, San Antonio, Denver, Salt Lake, Seattle, all of them are ready to attack but we had to wait to make a move until we had a good size base in Phoenix."

"Why not just take the other cities then? Why wait until you could take Phoenix?"

"Taking the other cities would have been useless without the capital, Phoenix. It would've been too easy for them to take back their cities if they could use Phoenix as an attack point.  We should be ready to take the city in a couple of weeks. Once we have Phoenix, the other cities will fall like dominoes. We'll essentially control everything from the Rockies to the west coast."

    "How can we take Phoenix? There aren't enough rebels there to take control. A couple hundred at the most."
    "We're stronger than you think. You're right that there are only a few hundred rebels still inside the city. But rebels have been migrating from Arizona and New Mexico to Zion's Canyon, where our rebel camp is located. We have over 5,000 rebel soldiers trained and ready to attack. We've been ready for about a month or so. We're just waiting."
    "Waiting? For what?"
    "Robin Hood. 5,000 soldiers isn't near enough to take the city. They have at least 10,000 troops on hand to protect the capital. Most of those are located around the inner city and more specifically the capitol building where the president resides. We need you because the lower class idolizes you. When they see you lead an army across the fence, they'll fight. Although they are untrained, we can take the city with sheer numbers. We estimate 30-40k people in the lower classes. Isoli will never see us coming until it's too late. By leading only 5,000 soldiers into the city, Isoli will believe he can easily defend the capitol. Once the people start fighting, it'll be too late to do anything. Isoli is a coward. I'm willing to bet that he'll flee pretty quickly and leave his soldiers do die or surrender."
    "But I'm not a general. I can't lead an army. Even if I could, those people would never fight for me. Most of them are too scared of the President." I scowled and looked out the window. We were flying fairly low. The sky had cleared and the bright moon revealed a deep canyon below, forged by a winding river.
    "That's right; you're just a garbage boy. It's too bad. I didn't think we brought you here to clean out our dumpsters." I felt Jarvis' gaze on the back of my head. The comment stung. I didn't turn. I just stared at the approaching canyon below. He got up and moved to the front of the plane.
    As we came closer to our destination, it became clear why the rebels chose the canyon for their camp. The high cliffs and narrow entrances made it easy to defend. The abundant growth made it easy to camouflage. Only someone who already knew the location would be able to find it. I searched for the camp as we crossed over the canyon but found nothing.
    Warm air swept across my face as I stepped out of the private jet. Jarvis led myself and Dr. Braga (the elder) towards a waiting helicopter about 100 yards away. The private jet had taken us past the canyon and landed in a dessert a few miles north and to the west. The helicopter would take us into the camp.
    The ride was rough, and we finally touched down inside the camp 15 minutes after takeoff. It had taken about 2 hours to get from the outskirts of Phoenix to the camp. Who knew how long it would take 5,000 soldiers to make the trip in reverse.
    Jarvis grabbed my elbow and lead me off the helicopter. I yanked it away. "I'm not a kid. I don't need you to pull me along."
    "Right." Jarvis let go and continued walking towards the center of the camp. I followed.  We parted ways with Dr. Braga who headed towards a white building that looked like a hospital.
    "Where are we going?"
    "Senator Castle wanted to see you as soon as you arrived."
    "Senator Castle, the one from Wyoming?"
    "One in the same. He's organizing the rebel troops."
    "Then why doesn't he just lead them into battle himself?"
    " He's not a fighter, and the people won't follow him into battle. Soldiers fight for other soldiers, not politicians. The senator is a good man. He's brave, and he'd risk his life for them, but they don't know that. He wants someone to lead the people that has already risked his life. You'll have to tell him you're just a garbage boy." Jarvis picked up his pace as we neared the Senator's bunker.
    We reached the front entrance and Jarvis flashed his security credentials to the two guards out front. We moved past them and down cement stairs. The lack of lighting made the stairwell look deserted. It was hard to believe that a senator was in there. Jarvis swung open the door, and we moved into a waiting room.  My eyes adjusted to the brightly lit space. Jarvis walked to the other side of the office where a young blond woman with greyish-blue eyes sat behind a modern glass desk.
    "Tell the Senator that we're here."
    The young woman looked up and flashed a smile at me. "Right away, Jarvis."

    I peered away sheepishly. She got up and walked towards a brown door near the corner of the small room. She wore a black pencil skirt and a white button up shirt with a collar. The top two buttons were undone revealing a small silver necklace with a diamond at the center. Her high heels made her body sway with each step. The tight dress followed the contours of her body. She cracked the door open and spoke inside.

    A sharp elbow dug into my side as she turned back towards her desk. A small grin revealed that the elbow came a split second too late. She knew I was staring. I looked down at the ground and felt my face grow hot.

    "He's ready to see you."  Her voice sounded smooth and practiced. Like the kind you'd hear on the answering machine of a modeling agency.
    "Wait here." Jarvis scowled and entered the other room. He closed the door behind him, leaving me alone with the blond secretary. I stared at her striking eyes as she moved next to me in front of the desk.
    "You must be Micah, or should I call you Robin Hood?"
    I blushed some more. I didn't have much experience talking to girls. And I never liked the nickname Robin Hood. It made me seem better than the other rebels who'd helped me. I tried to think of something to say. Her name, you should probably find out her name.
    "And you are?" I relaxed a bit. Maybe this wouldn't be so hard. I could talk to a beautiful girl after all.
    "I'm Zoe." She smiled to again, revealing her perfectly straight teeth. I smiled back.
    Zoe moved closer to examine me. "What happened to your eye?" She took a tissue from the box on the edge of the desk and dabbed at the scab below my eye that had just started bleeding.

    "Just fighting, and escaping high security prisons. Nothing serious," I bragged.

    Zoe smiled again and inched closer. My muscles tensed as she rested her free hand on my chest and leaned in closer to look at the wound.

    The brown door in the corner flew open and crashed against the adjacent wall. Jarvis stomped out and headed toward the entrance without looking at me. Zoe jumped back at the sound.

    "The Senator will see you tomorrow. You'll be staying in the apartment next door. I'm sure you can find it, or maybe the Senator's daughter can show you the way." The door at the entrance slid shut as Jarvis began climbing the stairs.

    "You're the Senator's daughter?"

    Zoe grinned. "Come on, I'll show you to your room. I'm sure you could use a nice hot shower and some rest." Her hand slid off my chest and grabbed my hand. She pulled me towards the door and led me to my barracks.

    We exited the office building and climbed the steps to the building next door. It looked more like a condo than a barracks. There were two adjoining houses. We approached the door on the right and Zoe handed me a key.

    "Here's the key to your apartment. I've already furnished it with food and new clothes. You won't need this jumpsuit anymore." She playfully tugged at the zipper at the top of the suit. I realized I hadn't changed from the janitorial suit I'd stolen. It probably smelled awful. I cringed.

    "I'll see you tomorrow." Zoe went on her tip-toes and kissed me on the cheek. Then headed down the stairs and up to the adjoining condo. I was still staring when she reached her door and turned the key. "Sleep tight." She smiled again and disappeared into her room.

    My apartment smelled fresh, as if it had just been cleaned. I found the shower first. It felt nice. The hot water ran down my skin. I relaxed as a week's worth of filth washed off my body. The water burned my back as it ran over the still fresh scars from the prison whips. I turned off the water and walked down the short hallway to the bedroom. I put on some shorts from the open drawer and lay down on the soft bed. I smiled as I thought of Zoe, then I was asleep.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Chapter 12 - Eve

"I don't know anything about the rebels." My tone sounded dry and uninterested, a product of over an hour of answering the same questions over and over.
"Eve, I have dealt with you with patience so far, but it is growing thin now. I expect your loyalty. I expect it in exchange for the kindness I have shown you. I brought you into my family. I trusted you."
Would I have given him the answers if I'd known them? Perhaps. I didn't feel any loyalty to him now.
"How will they attempt to free your brother?"
"I don't know."
"You are forcing me to use measures I hate to employ, Eve."

Friday, June 3, 2011

Chapter 11 - Micah

  “NO!” I tried to yell but nothing came out.
        I started to go after them, but my legs wouldn’t go. Each movement was painstakingly slow. With every second that passed they grew farther and farther away. They had Olivia. They were dragging her somewhere with a burlap sack thrown over her head and cinched down on her neck.  They were too far away. I could never catch them.
        “STOP! HELP! Someone HELP!” I sobbed, but no one heard me. Thousands of people surrounded us. All of them looked on as if nothing were happening. I desperately called for help again, but none of the faces reacted. I recognized them. Tanner, Eve and about a hundred other people from the slums. No one would do anything. I tried again to move my legs. I had to catch the men taking Olivia away. This time they worked. I sprinted ahead and gained ground on Olivia’s captors. They were now within range. I pulled out my pistol and carefully aimed at the man dragging her by the arms. My finger eased down on the trigger. A blast sounded from behind me.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Should we have mentioned we're on vacation?

We hoped that despite the fact that we were kicking it in California this week we'd still be able to post. Don't give up on us! We promise that the next chapters are coming soon! And that they're worth it! :)