The Dystopian Thriller that Will Pull You Into a Breathtaking World of Yoruba Mythology and Magic!
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It's the year 93 O.O., and Dara Adeleye is a student with a bright future and her life figured out. That is, until a chance encounter with a mysterious child changes everything.
Dara lives in a world shaped by the Miracle of Elegua, an intervention by the gods in the fate of an Earth on the brink of collapse decades before she was born. Exceptionally gifted as an artist, her day-to-day attentions are on excelling in school in order to rise above her lower-class upbringing and raise her friends and family out of the dreaded red vanes. But Earth is headed towards the brink again and it may just be the gift she doesn't know she has that can save it . . .
"The genre of science fiction has been in need of new outlooks and influences for decades and I am hoping that Mr. Edun, along with others, will provide that input. This is a very fun read and I recommend it." - Gwynne M., avid scif-fi reader
The first book in the Trazer series, Kids of Stolen Tomorrow brings you into a world you'll be thrilled you joined.
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About the Author
The cultural influences and experiences of his homeland and the city of his early youth have been a strong source of creative inspiration for the author. Trazer: Kids of Stolen Tomorrow is his debut novel, and the first entry in the Trazer Series. When not writing, Joe enjoys working on other projects with his creative partners LenStorm, 7Woundz and Soundz, and exploring the breathtaking wilderness of the Chesapeake.
Read an Excerpt
FIRST, YOU'RE BORN.
YOU DON'T ASK FOR IT. NO ONE ASKS FOR IT, BUT THE MOMENT YOU BREAK THROUGH THAT THRESHOLD YOU CLING TO LIFE. HUNGER FOR IT. FIGHT FOR IT. GRAB HOLD OF IT WITH ALL THE INTENSITY YOUR CHUBBY LITTLE BABY FINGERS CAN MUSTER.
And then you learn what you've been fighting for.
* * *
Kris yells. But it is a prayer, I promise. We humble ourselves before you.
Where there was nothing, something. Before us, opens the phrinway — the shifting tunnel of colors and consciousness. May it carry us safely. Olorun, protect us as we use your highway to navigate the place between places.
"Cartagena, too? What in the name of eshu ..."
Ogun, walk with us.
Shango, protect us, O. Let us escape those who seek to do us harm, even as they shadow our every step.
Please, please show us the Miracle was real....
Colors. Accra City. Ruins.
Footsteps, the steady sound of those who would end us
They can't keep this up ... we can't ...
Colors. Linton City. Ruins.
"Kris! You okay?"
Why's he so slow? I wonder ...
"I'm fine, Dara — PHRIN!"
Colors. Southern Icelands. Ruins.
How are they finding us? Olorun, how are they still latching?
Too close. Was that funny to you, Eshu?
"Fleer beam coulda killed you, bisa! Coño!"
"But it missed — Kris, just PHRIN!"
"Dara! Spikes in the rubbl —"
"I know — I see, PHRIN!"
Footsteps closer ... no —
Could've wiped us. Turned us to ash and memories. Ogun, do you smile in moments like this?
I only wanted to wound them. I hate feeling sympathy for their fallen.
"You slowed 'em, Dara. Had to. We don't got too much time."
"We're here; this wall this is it — one more phrinway and we're free, I can feel it."
"They look so alive on this mural ... feels like they right here. Whatchu think? Probably think they're watching over us somewhere?"
"I don't know. But I know that on this wall they're immortal, all of them." They did well for nobody kids from Todirb. Orunmila, did you foresee?
More footsteps? How —
Colors. Blood. Rubble ... trash, ruins.
"This was ...?"
"Necesitas un minuto?"
"We don't have one, PHRIN."
Ruins. That's what they left us; this is what they did after the gods spoke to them.
I'll never understand, Olorun. How could you let them?
Miracle or Mirage?
No more footsteps. Is that your answer?
I hear you. For now,
"I-978 PANEL LOG ENTRY. All previous statements and IDs fully confirmed, current and applicable. Today's date is Tuesday, April 16, 64 O.O. The time is 1215 hours, Central Union Base Time. Updating progress on Program Irunmole: attempt to synthesize igioyin cure from antibodies of individuals possessing extranormal ability. There's been a setback. Extranormals' perceived immunity to igioyin appears to be limited by a range of variables; most notably, use of their abilities. Usage results in a rapid acceleration of the virus' maturity. Resultant mortality rate is far greater than baseline for highly vulnerable Normals. We believe the selection of antibodies from higher usage Extranormals may be the root cause for the failure of the current iteration of the formula S1-91-978. After the initial success of trials with patient set 11.1 without the adverse effects seen in prior Normal groups, it appeared we had a viable treatment for the igioyin virus. Today the last member of set 11.1 died. Symptoms observed were identical to all members in the patient set. Autopsy and blood samples indicate a rejection of the formula by the body's immune system after initially accepting it without incident. This is a grave development — worse than anticipated. However, I have arranged for testing of extracted antibodies from low usage Extranormals prior to returning to the nascent phase to re-diagram. The time is now 1217 hours Central Union Base Time, on Tuesday, April 16, 64 O.O.; this log is complete."
"I'M GUESSING YOU DON'T AGREE, Miss Adeleye."
Dara stared out a window into a sea of lifeless permafrost. It was early May in the year 93 O.O. (La ti Odun Oluwa or Years Since the Miracle). In generations past, the warm weather this time of year would've likely inspired countless students to disappear from within the confining walls of Ron Ed Instructional for the remainder of the day. Grateful to be indoors, she turned up the heat setting on her thermer and played with the small blue crystals on her lanyard, thinking of the next moment she'd be able to paint.
Instructor Bivins was droning on about the "Wonder" of verus, and how it saved the population from the igioyin virus. He held its creation and distribution up as a fine example of the Ministry's efficiency, implying it was successful because the union's constituents allowed it to be. "Some want to get in the way of the process," he pivoted, turning the lecture in her direction. "Too busy complaining instead of trusting in what's kept us safe."
Dara didn't mind finding new ways to challenge the indoctrination which took place daily in Bivins' classroom. Often it meant being able to — at least briefly — avoid thinking of the frigid gray mess outside that served as an appropriate backdrop to her life. His persistence with this particular topic did however, anger and annoy her as she thought of all the ways her closest friend Nicole's condition refuted his statements. He's nothing more than an instrument of propaganda. Just like the others. Don't let him get to you. She caught herself squeezing her lanyard a bit too tight and relaxed her grip.
"You know me so well," she said, without moving her gaze from the winter wasteland burying the once carefully maintained artificial grass that marked the campus' borders, and wondered why they bothered. Surely whoever mapped out the curriculum had to know it was being squandered on the already defeated, the apathetic. Ron Ed, like all instructionals, functioned as low budget daycare for the dispirited.
A few of her classmates groaned, some snickered. The remainder continued sleeping, uninterrupted.
"Dah-Rah, you 'bout to get another detention today," said a short but menacing kid who sat next to her. He probably had a name, other than "Shut-the-hell-up." Today a frosty glare would suffice. She turned away from the kid to look at Bivins, making eye contact for the first time since class began.
The instructor's eyes lit up, his trademark disdain for her reappearing in his smile. "Oh? And what argument could you have against the Ministry saving millions of lives? Tell me, child. I've grown quite fond of your comedic genius."
Dara thought it insulting of him to claim efficiency on the part of the Ministry, but maybe it was easy for Bivins to see it that way; he lived in the cloud of a blue vane. "I may be a child but I'm old enough to remember the Ministry's wastefulness causing countless Todirb deaths long after relief should've arrived. Maybe efficiency means something else to you. Instructor Bivins, are you aware most of us who live outside the clouds can't afford the weekly inoculation? We still walk around in fear every day not knowing if...." She hesitated and looked around. "Yeah, you call it a 'Wonder' and hail it as some miracle but you love omitting key facts whenever you lecture us. Pretty hard to push the lies when the truth is always hovering in the background, isn't it?" Dara said this, barely making it through before sarcasm could give way to palpable irritation.
"Ahhh, Dara ... are you the truth that's hovering in the background?" Instructor Bivins laughed exaggeratedly and shook his head, locks flying as if ridding himself of an infestation. "For one so potentially intelligent, it's surprising you insist on lazy conspiracy theories over easily accessible facts. It's common knowledge the Ministry has made available alternative options for those in the predicament you've mentioned. It's been well documented verus need not be administered weekly to be effective. Sure, potency varies due to a multitude of factors, but socioeconomic status is not one of them. If you paid any attention during your science courses, you'd be aware of this, no doubt!" He sighed. "Perhaps your thoughts will one day escape the fantasy land in which they reside and you can return to focusing on appropriate things, like the latest Miren dress or float-shoe. You're not unattractive. Properly groomed, you could make a decent wife to a blue marlsonne willing to step down a few rungs — perhaps even one from New Stuyvesant! Feel free to dream."
His grin was especially wide on the last suggestion. Dara smiled in kind, her irritation now gone. Despite his unbothered act, he'd added a deeply personal insult. She'd managed to rile him up a bit and his grin was a poor cover for taking the bait. Dara wasn't naïve. She knew the Ministry wasn't entirely to blame; a lot of things could be traced to the terror the Nth had inflicted on all of them. Igioyin wouldn't even exist if it weren't for the Nth. Still, it was worth it to see Bivins like this.
She felt the urge to turn her gaze back towards the window and regain her aura of disinterest but realized such a move could be mistaken to suggest the opposite. With Bivins, these little battles were often won and lost on body language alone. She maintained her gaze and chose instead to see if she could bait him further.
"Insult me all you want Instructor Bivins, but I promise you I will be Minister one day. And I won't turn my back on my roots and leave the poor suffering, as Minister Corlmond has done. And, sir, on that day if you're lucky, I may choose to help you ... because, it almost seemed like there was a note of reverence in your tone when you said 'marlsonne.' Or maybe it was embarrassment." She'd heard the rumors of his failed career as one of the nobility's fabled singers.
"Unlikely." The detachment which Instructor Bivins had nearly abandoned moments earlier returned in full force.
Dara backed off. There would be no detention for her today.
She returned her attention to the window, the instructor's words fading further into the background as her gaze caught and focused on a group of animated kids — laughing, chasing each other, throwing things — in the distance. They were from Ron Ed Preparatory which had let out twenty minutes earlier. A smile crossed her face as she thought back to a few years ago. That was me and Nic. Playing around, saying we'd become things everyone told us we were silly to imagine. She allowed her smile to linger as she watched, knowing that with her successes each passing day she was becoming greater proof that everyone knew squat. Suddenly, one of the boys began convulsing. The other kids ran to hold him and one ran off, presumably to get help. Within seconds his convulsions had stopped, and he lay still. Two adults in medic suits arrived at the scene and picked up the body.
Some of the kids tried to follow, but Dara saw them being waved off. With their heads down, they plodded across the landscape until they were out of sight. She touched her forehead as if massaging a headache and quickly moved her hand down her face, removing a few droplets of water from her eyes. Wimp. Whenever she saw another fall, she questioned if her tears were from genuine sadness or the reminder her moment could be as random. She'd recently tested negative for igioyin, but it seemed like it would be only a matter of time before it chose her too.
This was life in the world after the gods descended to earth in a vision: "The Miracle of Elegua (sometimes derisively referred to as "The Mirage of Elegua")," disabled weapons of mass destruction and promised to save mankind from itself. In the ninety-three years since, there had been The Nightfall War — a twenty-six-year worldwide attritional nightmare ending with the tattered remains of civilization crawling multilaterally towards peace and agreeing to a global alliance in order to survive as a species; the rise of the Nth, self-proclaimed freedom fighters who brought destruction and chaos in the name of the gods; and igioyin: the tachy-degenerative disease that was a ticking time bomb for anyone born of low stock. "Miracle of Elegua," "Wonder of Verus," it didn't matter; adults put names to things and then chose whatever meanings justified their atrocities.
The lights in the classroom changed from white to red to signify the end of the school day.
"And now back to the gray," Dara whispered to herself.
Her classmates got up and showed their first collective signs of life all day. Dara remained in her seat for a second longer, allowing the crowd to clear. She gathered her things and trudged along behind the rest of her class, barely acknowledging Instructor Bivins' self-satisfied "Till Monday, Miss Adeleye!"
"Actually, Miss Adeleye, I need to see you for a moment. Miss Adeleye!"
Startled, she jumped slightly and turned to Bivins. "Yes?"
"Don't think I've forgotten about that work of yours for Monday. I can't wait for us all to be underwhelmed and disappointed. I will personally put the finishing touch on your file. Then we can lay your foolish ambitions to rest and you can aim appropriately for your true lot in life." He snickered. "Minister eh? And I'd love to teach the bright children of the nobility in the wondrous Lyteche-sponsored academies of the clouds instead of wasting my talents here in instructionals with you lot, but we all must be realistic."
"Oh, Bivins, you always say the sweetest things to me," she replied dismissively, walking away.
Dara had a lot riding on Monday. Yearly, three exceptional students, juniors, from each red vane were picked to be recipients of the Carbo Scholarship, allowing them to attend one blue vane university of their choosing. It was a lottery ticket of sorts, sponsored by popular TV faith healer Darcen Carbo, and in most cases, the only way to a better life for its recipients. Any other path likely condemned them to a life of low wages and no chance of upward mobility. The difference between the Carbo and the actual lotteries was, with this, the contestants had some semblance of control over their destiny, and there were people who won. Dara had done everything in her power thus far to be a frontrunner for a selection, with the exception of her provocations with Bivins — which had threatened to unravel her entire candidacy on more than one occasion. Her work Monday would make her a lock as a rep for the class of 94 O.O. and Instructor (and unfortunately, also Vice Chancellor) Bivins practically powerless in her march to a better future, and eventual rise to Minister of the North Emerian Union. The only problem was she hadn't finished her submission yet.
As she shuffled past the weapons detectors and through the school's switched-off doors, Dara inhaled deeply, reacquainting herself with a world she'd have little respite from for the next three days. Burning icicles formed in her nose. The gelid air in Todirb Wall was no different than in any other red vane: sooty and reeked of sulfur — quite different than the green or blue vanes. She envied those who lived their entire lives under the protected atmosphere of the clouds, and envisioned herself as a beaming student at Stuyvesant University, imbibing the celestial New Stuy mist.
Weekends were the worst in "The Wall" because they passed excruciatingly slowly. One could link up with friends for some outdoor mischief, but unless they had money and an approved pass for a trip to the blue vanes, reds were better off staying indoors, or within the immediate proximity of their residences. It didn't take much to start street fights, and the medics weren't exactly clamoring to make their way to the chaos of such events. With this, plus the number of students who died from igioyin, local instructionals were permanently short a few attendees each Monday.
Dara's living circumstances barely made staying indoors a better option. Although it meant she'd only briefly get to see Nicole, she decided right then as she stood outside it was best she grab her project from home and spend the majority of the weekend at school working on it.
She descended the steps. It hadn't snowed for weeks now, but the sidewalk and street were perpetually carpeted in a crunchy gray crust. It often seemed the ground was a reflection of the sky, or vice versa and the vagrant crowd milling about outside the school hoping for leftover lunches or unwanted snacks was a daily reminder of what the future held for many of her classmates. She sighed.
The place where we dwell.
Still, things could be worse, though thinking of those possibilities was of no real comfort. As she deftly avoided any contact with the crowd and headed up the block on Kane Street, Dara pushed such thoughts out of her mind. Instead, she played the game that always brought her comfort on the walk home. She would count how many already snow-imprinted footsteps she'd stepped in before she had to make her own. Once done, she'd start again. In this manner she often got home without incident, save for the cursed she'd occasionally pass as they were convulsing before death. Stragglers and goons could obstruct only if they were given an opening.
Excerpted from "Trazer"
Copyright © 2017 Joseph O. Adegboyega-Edun.
Excerpted by permission of Yoruba Boy Books.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
THE ILLUMINATED HALLWAY,