(One Bright Future #2)
by Melinda Friesen
Publication Date: August 31, 2016
Publisher: Rebelight Publishing
“I surrender my days, my efforts, myself to the OneEarth Bank . . .”
After fleeing slavery, Rielle James burns with the desire to topple OneEarth Bank and end its enslavement of young people as Contracts. When she learns that her friend Nathan has been sold to a logging company where Contracts die or vanish without a trace, she assumes a false identity and becomes a slave again to help him escape.
Her act of subversion uncovers the horrific truth behind the OneEarth Bank’s role in Contract disappearances and its link to a global pandemic.
Can Rielle and Nathan escape and expose the truth before it’s too late?
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We walk through the front door and descend the steps to join a large group of young men in brown work shirts and pants. They are milling around the black column at the center of the compound. Some are still jogging in from the long dormitory on the other side of the clearing.
Men and women in navy blue outfits meander up the path to join us. I recognize Susan from the office. Dek puffs on a cigarette at the back of the crowd. A woman about his age joins him. His wife? Terrence stands away from the rest of the group, watching the Contracts. I scan the crowd for Nathan, standing on tip-toe to get a better view. I can’t find him among the clumps of guys in brown. Spying a guy with sandy-blond hair, I’m momentarily hopeful, but he’s too short to be Nathan.
A silvery-blue glow explodes from the black column. The OneEarth Bank icon, a symbol with stark branches stretching upward and jagged roots pushing downward, rotates inside two spinning silver rings. The lights flash on tree boughs that encroach on the clearing, washing them to dead white. The milling group stills. Conversations hush, and everyone turns toward the hologram.
The female voice blares through the speakers so loudly that it echoes off the surrounding buildings. I clench my hands into fists, resisting the urge to cover my ears. “One Earth Bank greets you and welcomes you to a new day of prosperity.”
Towering images flash frame by frame over the pillar. New homes under construction. Workers smiling for the camera. “The economy has never been stronger, thanks to OneEarth Bank. Our bright future has arrived,” the voiceover shouts. The imagery shifts to a factory production line. “Business is booming and everyone has an important part to play. Young people from Resistor families who could have become a blemish on society have found hope, acceptance and belonging through our Community Service Contract Program.”
A young man smiles and waves. “If it weren’t for OneEarth Bank, I’d probably be on the streets, but now I’m learning some great skills and making new friends!”
My mouth drops open. The lies! I glance around at the Contracts who stare at the image with blank expressions. Are they buying this?
Above the pillar, the presentation zooms into a map of central Africa with bulbous red dots popping up all over it. “The Corpium virus is devastating Africa, but OneEarth Bank is investing resources into vaccine development. We cannot prosper while our citizens suffer. OneEarth Bank cares about you.”
The OneEarth Bank symbol returns and the voice says, “Raise your hands for the Surrender of Days.” Simultaneously, everyone lifts their hands to shoulder height, palms out.
The voice continues and other voices beside me chant with her, “I surrender my days, my efforts, myself.”
My mouth falls farther open and my hands dangle at my sides. Pam elbows me and throws me a scolding glance.
I slowly lift my hands like the others as the voices chant, “To the OneEarth Bank who unites us, strengthens us and provides all we need. We are not many, but one.”
I feel wrong for raising my hands, wrong for even processing the words in my head. I stand in stunned silence with a shiver that has nothing to do with the morning breeze. They want us to pledge ourselves to a bank?
The chanting continues. “We surrender all we have and all we are to the OneEarth Bank. One world. One currency. One bright future.”
The Bank symbol spins before us for a moment longer, then cuts out leaving a dense, heavy silence.
The Bank is forcing their slaves to pledge all they have left: their days.
Other Books In Series:
That's the promise made by OneEarth Bank after a global economic collapse--but only for those who accept the insertion of a commerce chip.
When Rielle's parents refuse to comply, government officials tear her family apart. As punishment for her parent's crimes, Rielle is forced into a Community Service Contract--a legalized form of slavery--and sold to a wealthy, abusive banker.
The Banker's secrets hold the key to Rielle's freedom, but will she risk prison or even death to escape and search for her family?
Melinda Friesen was born in Portland, Oregon. She attended school in Texas and met a vastly interesting Canadian man, who she allowed to drag her to his home in the wilds of Manitoba, Canada. Living in an igloo wasn't easy. Wait. She didn't actually live in an igloo, but that would make this story much more interesting.
Among her accomplishments are surviving -40 degree weather, gestating four human being inside her body, and staying happily married to that Canadian man for over 20 years despite the weather conditions he's exposed her to. And she writes too!
Melinda Friesen writes short stories and novels for teens. Enslavement, a YA sci-fi/dystopian read, is her first published novel and the first book in the One Bright Future series. Her work has appeared in Freefall Magazine, the Metro News and the upcoming Forging Freedom II anthology. She was shortlisted in the Writers' Village International novel contest, spring 2014. Her short stories have placed in several contests including earning grand prize in the 2013 Central Canada Lit Fest short story contest.
Two (2) winners will received a physical copy of Subversion by Melinda Friesen (US/Canada)
Five (5) winners will receive a digital copy of Subversion by Melinda Friesen (INT)
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