The Justice Trilogy includes:
Justice and Her Brothers: For Justice and her identical twin brothers Levi and Thomas, the summer begins like any other. But as the slow days pass, Justice begins to notice a strange energy between her brothers, beyond their normal twin connection. Thomas becomes increasingly bossy and irritable, while Levi seems weak and absentminded. And there are changes happening within Justice, as well. Soon she discovers that she possesses a mysterious, extraordinary ability—and she and her brothers must uncover the secrets behind their newfound powers.
Dustland: Using their psychic abilities, four children have formed a unit: Justice, the Watcher; Dorian, the healer; Thomas, the magician; and Levi, the sufferer. Together, they mind-travel to a strange future world called Dustland. And together they can survive anything. But when tensions run high between Thomas and Justice, will Thomas leave them stranded in this desolate land? With the future of their unit uncertain, the children are threatened by an even greater danger: Mal, the evil entity that controls Dustland.
The Gathering: Justice, Dorian, Thomas, and Levi have unfinished business in the future. Joining together once again and time-traveling to Dustland, they hope to guide the inhabitants out of the dangerous, barren place in the hopes of finding a safer home. But neither they nor the residents of Dustland are truly safe as long as the sinister Mal remains in power.
This volume includes all three of these stories filled with fantasy and adventure, by an author who has won many awards, including the Boston Globe–Horn Book Award, the Hans Christian Andersen Award, and the Coretta Scott King Award, as well as the National Book Award for her novel M.C. Higgins, the Great.
About the Author
Virginia Hamilton (1934–2002) was the author of over forty books for children, young adults, and their older allies. Throughout a career that spanned four decades, Hamilton earned numerous accolades for her work, including nearly every major award available to writers of youth literature. In 1974, M.C. Higgins, the Great earned Hamilton the National Book Award, the Newbery Medal (which she was the first African-American author to receive), and the Boston Globe–Horn Book Award, three of the field’s most prestigious awards. She received the Hans Christian Andersen Award, the highest international recognition bestowed on a writer of books for young readers, in 1992, and in 1995 became the first children’s book author to receive a MacArthur Fellowship, or “Genius Award.” She was also the recipient of the Coretta Scott King Award.
Date of Birth:March 12, 1936
Date of Death:February 19, 2002
Place of Birth:Yellow Springs, Ohio
Place of Death:Yellow Springs, Ohio
Education:Attended Antioch College, Ohio State University, and the New School for Social Research
Read an Excerpt
The Justice Trilogy
Dustland Justice and Her Brothers The Gathering
By Virginia Hamilton
OPEN ROAD INTEGRATED MEDIACopyright © 1981 Virginia Hamilton
All rights reserved.
The unit hummed. It had the power of four. It was Thomas, the magician. It was Dorian, the healer. It was Justice, who was the Watcher and the balance for the unit's strength. And it was Levi, brother of Justice and identical brother of Thomas. Levi suffered for them all.
This was the second day that the unit had been out of its own time and into the future. Its first day had been uneventful; yet it had been a frightful day. Because, in its first attempt at mind-jumping, the unit appeared to have traveled into a place of endless, gritty dust. It could distinguish no landmarks. It saw no growth, no animals, no humans. But it divined instantly what must be the scarcest commodity if such a land were inhabited. It named the place Dustland.
The unit directed. It sensed a wellfield seventy feet below Dustland's surface. Using its mind as a vector, it willed and jetted the underground water in a stream to the top of the dust. The water collected into an impure half-acre pool. The Watcher and the healer drained off some of the impurities while Thomas and Levi focused its energy, keeping it steady. Watcher and healer drew pollutants into themselves and cast them out again. As the process continued, the two, Justice and Dorian, appeared to creep and ooze.
Presently the unit's work was finished. Justice and Dorian took on semblances of themselves as the single rhythm, of the unit shut down. They and Thomas and Levi breathed individually and saw individually as the Watcher faded from their eyes.
"Let me test the water," said Thomas. At once a goblet was in his hand.
It was quite pretty, Justice thought, made as it was of glass trimmed in gold. It was Thomas' joke. Being a magician, he could cause anything to appear out of thin air. But of course the goblet would never hold water, since it was only air shaped and formed by magic.
Playfully, Thomas dipped the goblet in the pool. He had clouded their minds completely so that they saw exactly what he wanted them to see, at least for a few seconds. Justice was amazed when the goblet filled with water; it had to be part of the illusion Thomas had created. Yet she sensed that it wasn't, although it came to her that Thomas would think that it was.
What's going on here? she wondered.
The magic goblet faded and water dribbled through Thomas' fingers.
He drank from his cupped hands. "Whew! That's still rank," he said, making a face. "But it's good and cold. Sweet, for making it cold, Dorian."
Thomas said sweet for the things he thought were cool or tough. But he hadn't thanked Justice, even though she and the healer had cleansed and freshened the pool together. Part of his disregard for her she knew was because she was only eleven while he, Levi and Dorian were thirteen. And she was the only girl.
Thomas and Levi, being identical and inseparable, had known of each other's extrasensory ability since childhood. Justice had known of her superior powers only this year and with the help of Dorian and his mother, the Sensitive. But from the beginning Thomas had suspected she had the power. And he had shown often enough through the years that he never liked her. Now the array of extrasensory she had could offset the combined force of the others—Thomas, Dorian, Levi and even that of the Sensitive. It was she who had formed them into a unit so that they could mind-jump to the future.
"A person over there has to be joined," Justice had once told Thomas. "There's no other way to survive."
Thomas had sworn he would never become part of a unit. A monster-machine, he called it, controlled by her.
But they had become the first unit under her direction. And Thomas had built up enough grudging malice against her to do her harm if somehow he found a way to overcome her.
Their first trip to the future ended after the second day. They created the pool and cleansed it. They had heard no unusual sounds, had seen nothing beyond the dust. With a feeling of letdown, they joined into the unit and mind-jumped back to their own time.
A few days later the four of them made a second trip to Dustland and they came upon a marvelous creature.
They were again the unit. The unit had passed through the Crossover between past and future. It had concentrated its energy on the one certainty it had—Dustland. The Watcher had protected it through, surrounding it with its immense force. The unit materialized in the putrid place, where all was the same murkiness of dust. The Watcher faded from them and they were again their separate selves.
"It's Dustland, all right," Dorian said. He was a thin boy, but wiry and strong.
"Isn't it fantastic?" Justice said. "We can jump whenever we want to."
"So what if we can?" Thomas said. "Who wants to come to this stinking hole?"
"Come on, Tom-Tom," said Levi. "This is the same place, but it might be a different part of it."
"Well, who cares?" Thomas said. "If this is the future, you can have it, buddy. There's not a bloody thing here but dust."
He was wrong. They had not been long in Dustland when they became aware of a creature galloping across the wasteland.
Justice homed in her telepathy on the four-legged creature. She did not enter the creature's mind, but trailed along a stream of thoughts and fragments as the creature ran. It was female, and totally at one with Dustland.
This land, in which graygrowth is eaten cleanly below the dust, was a fragment with which Justice's mind collided. She telepathed to the others to scan her mind as she observed the creature. The others scanned her and knew what she knew.
Hordes passing over the same ground.
Hordes of what? Thomas wondered.
Hordes, human groups, passing over the same ground as the creature.
The she-one did not know where the hordes were going or if ever the same returned. She did not care. Galloping, she scented a Dawip and raced ahead of it to intercept it.
A Dawip? Dorian wondered.
Justice gave them an image of a small animal, quite fleshy. It was prime food for the sheone and a delicacy. The fleshy little beast had the misfortune to have hopped into the creature's range.
The she-one leaped in a spectacular flight through the air for a distance of twenty feet. She landed on the little beast, trapping it between her paws, and broke its neck in the process.
Let's get closer, Justice traced in the minds of Thomas, Levi and Dorian.
They came nearer, close enough to hear the sounds the she-one made as she ate the Dawip's delicate ears. Next she stripped away thin skin and striped back fur with her tongue and front teeth. As the Dawip's blood seeped through tissues, she lapped it up. It was the first clean moisture she had had in weeks. Finally the creature ate, holding herself back from gulping the tiny beast in two bites.
Justice revealed to the others that the creature was aware of them. Thomas had opened the strange corridor between his and his brother's minds so that Levi could see as Thomas did. For Levi could not mind-read on his own. Then all four of them homed in on the creature's thinking.
She was aware only that she was being watched. She made no movement that might warn them she knew they were there. She sat in the dust, carefully licking the Dawip's bones. She thought of hiding the small skeleton in the earth, to have tasty bones within her reach. But a sense of all things being even came to her. She would leave the bones lying about. Let starving hordes find them and use them to season their mudsip. If the bones were added to the graygrowth of flat, stringy threads that sprouted just below the dust, the hordes would survive.
The creature was posed regally, with the bones trapped between her paws. She stared at nothing. Occasionally she blinked her enormous eyes; pointed her wide, leafy ears. There were orange membrane pouches behind the ears that swelled and pulsated.
Aware she was that she was being watched; yet she saw no one. There were forms, shapes, hardly thicker than gritty air that had come very close to her. Lines came to her, around the shapes. The shapes filled and she sensed colors washing down over the shapes. Forms were similar to humans but taller than any she had ever come upon.
It senses us, Justice traced. With bodies and with clothes, just as we do, when we know we can't have our bodies with us!
Maybe it's a condition of Dustland that you have to have bodies, Levi traced. And if you come here with just your mind, it'll provide the body for you.
But how does Dustland know to make the body look like yours or mine? The question hung on the air.
The creature was hearing their mental tracings. She gathered impressions of their thoughts, which were like imprints. The imprints did not come quite clear to her understanding. Not at first; but then more so.
She's beautiful, isn't she? was the shape of one imprint pressed on her mind.
That had come from Justice.
But what is she? traced Dorian.
The she-one was beginning to comprehend the tracings.
I don't know what she is, Justice traced. She looks kind of like a bear, doesn't she? But smaller.
No, she's more like a dog, a mastiff of some kind, but bigger, traced Dorian. Much bigger. Have you ever seen a dog with those ... those ear-bag things?
They stared at her. They were thinking to one another about her. Still there were some imprints she didn't understand. Dog. Bear. Words about things she had no knowledge of.
Does it breathe through those bag things, you think? Levi traced. The imprint hit the creature like a soothing voice.
Well, they move in and out, sort of like breathing, Thomas traced, interested in spite of himself. Look, I think we should move back. We're too close and we don't know what she might do.
Calmly the she-one listened in on them, aware of many imprints. She was alert. Quite ready to attack.
Don't get so close to it! Thomas traced.
Not it, her, Justice traced. If she wanted to start something, she probably would have by now. She knows we're here. Besides, she can't hurt us.
Don't be so sure, Thomas traced. We don't know much of anything yet. I'm not even sure it's the same time period as the last time.
"It's the same. I know that, if nothing else," Justice said. She decided to talk softly, since nothing they did seemed to disturb the creature. "And we can't be hurt," Justice added. "Because, if we were, we wouldn't be the same in the past, would we?"
"I don't figure that at all," Thomas said. He was talking as softly as Justice had. "If hurt here, we're hurt at home."
"But that can't be," she said. "If hurt here, it hasn't happened, and it cannot happen in the past. It never will happen."
"Oh, I don't know!" Thomas muttered. "I don't know anything. But I can feel the grit on my skin. I get hungry and I get thirsty when all I have is my mind here. I'm getting myself scared, so, please, let's go back home!"
"I can't do that," she said.
He knew there was no arguing with her, and it made him more bitter, more angry than ever.
Justice was excited over their discovery. "Can you just imagine the odds of us finding anything out here so soon?" she said. "I mean, I would've guessed we might find something in a month, maybe. But you can never tell about chance."
"That animal right there could be the only thing here," Levi said.
The she-one sensed a hand lifting and pointing at her. In her mind there was an explosion of fear.
"What if she's some beast out of the past and not the future?" Dorian asked.
"There was never an animal like her in our past," Levi said.
"But there was something like it," Justice said.
"There was?" Dorian said.
"Yes, but it didn't have the pouches. I've seen pictures, I remember—what scientists think the first canine might've looked like. It ate meat, too, forty million years before our present."
"You know that for sure?" Thomas said.
"Well, would I lie to you? I read all about it," Justice said. "And the canine was called ... Miacis."
"Miacis!" Levi said.
"Hey, Miacis!" Dorian called. "Here, girl! Miacis, come!"
The human forms moved about. They were unlike any the she-one had sensed before. Their mouths moved, uttering sounds. They touched hands together, causing loud and sharp reports that hurt her hearing.
Her withers trembled above her shoulders. The third eyelid of her glowing eyes swept across the transparent corneas and cleansed them of dust. Her ears stood to their full width as her hearing tuned sharply higher.
She was aware. The first time ever being called. Miacis. Miacis! A wondrous sound, as though—she was aware—she had wanted the name and had waited each Nolight and Graylight to have it. Hearing Miacis over and over, she felt about to roll around at the feet of the human forms so different from any others.
She held herself back. Caution was the wisdom of the she-one, now called Miacis, and the reason she was healthy and remained uninjured.
But she was also aware. She listened to the name she accepted as hers. She followed the talking from one human to another. Did not move one muscle that this kind would notice. Through her senses, she knew their size. They were larger than she in some ways. They were bigger and straighter than any others of humankind. She scented a wonderful healthiness about them. Miacis watched them, calculating their combined strength.
"But you know, really," Levi said, "this could be the past."
"Because of that thing there?" Thomas said. "Not bloody likely. Not with pouches like that. And take a look at the stuff on the ground. Ashes, or something like that. It smells of chemicals. Probably it's poisonous."
"I don't smell anything," Dorian said.
"Well, I do! Maybe everything was leveled in some big disaster," Thomas said.
Chem-chem ... dis-aster?
The humans stood absolutely still, observed Miacis.
"Who ... who was that?" Thomas whispered.
"Well, it wasn't me," Justice said.
"Me neither," said Dorian.
"Levi, was it you?" asked Justice. "Did you catch it? It said disaster, and it was trying to say chemical, I think."
"Maybe it was random," Levi said. Random was feedback unconnected words.
Miacis was aware of this. She discovered she could imprint her own thought to them. She had questioned disaster. But the forms were not answering her. She did not like the feeling they gave her.
She extended the well-developed dewclaws of her forefeet. They were like slender thumbs with razor-sharp nails. Her great fangs were hidden beneath the heavy sag of her hips. The fangs throbbed with cold feeling. She desired blood, and gathered herself in.
But something happened. One of the humans came to a hair's-breadth away from her. She could feel its energy.
"Don't be afraid," gently it spoke. It touched Miacis' head in the center, above the eyes. It moved its hand up and down.
Never had Miacis known human touch. She had not ever dreamed of such a thing. No one had touched her.
"Huum?" the human said. "You like being petted like this? Miacis? You like that name?" It stroked her fur above the ears. "I am the Watcher," it said. "But you can call me Justice." It laughed, baring teeth.
Part of Miacis would bite off the touching hand in one swipe of her incisors. Taste blood and suck the bones! But another part of her felt a glow. She spread her forepaws and embraced the kneeling human. Heard it gasp as she caught it in and held it firmly by the arms.
"Stay back!" Justice warned the others, who had moved to protect her.
"But it has you trapped," Levi said. "It's got hold of you!"
"Levi, she can't hurt me. We're not really here, remember?"
"You don't know that yet," Thomas said. "So what's it got there, if it isn't you?"
Miacis had hold of the human called Justice. Justice quaked in her grasp and Miacis loosened her hold, but not enough for Justice to get away.
Justice stroked her fur and stared into her eyes. "You're some kind of great one, I'm sure of it," she said. "I think I'll make you my partner in this expedition."
Miacis suspected some trick. Yet she thoroughly enjoyed the stroking.
Justice closed her eyes and leaned her head against Miacis' jaw.
Such a one!
She rubbed her forehead against Miacis' cheek and wrapped her arms about Miacis' neck.
Miacis aware suddenly that the human was a she-child. Aware also of the warm human arm against her air membrane. She nuzzled the dark curls on the child's soft, tender neck.
Such a young one, so plump with flesh! Not scrawny and strong-smelling like all the others. Miacis need only turn her head slightly, bare her teeth and sink mighty incisors through human skin, flesh and bone. One bite to break the neck clean, and the head from the spine.
Miacis licked the young-one's neck, where she discovered hairs much like fuzzy fur.
Miacis waited. If the child attempted to escape, Miacis would stun it by inserting her poisonous dewclaws into the soft arms as she held them. But there was no need for any attack. The young-one had begun mind-tracing, with Miacis hardly aware that the tracing had started.
Justice closed her eyes, resting her hand on Miacis' head. The hand grew heavy. By using her hand, she was able to make Miacis see and feel. Miacis saw and scented an unheard-of loveliness. Places beyond imagining. Words whose meanings she now understood. How green and wild-scented was grass with clover! Barns—a backyard. The hedgerow! Words were like tender Dawip bones.
Excerpted from The Justice Trilogy by Virginia Hamilton. Copyright © 1981 Virginia Hamilton. Excerpted by permission of OPEN ROAD INTEGRATED MEDIA.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents
Justice and Her Brothers,
A Biography of Virginia Hamilton,