Author: Courtney Ruggles
Genre: New Adult Dystopian
In a future ravaged by greed and war, The Domicile has emerged. A new civilization governed by clandestine Elders where citizens are united by white masks and uniform identities. To remove one’s mask, to go outside the Domicile, to show defiance, means being sent to the Meurtre, a horrifying death sentence.
Q437B doesn’t follow the rules. She craves sunlight, dares to love her childhood friend B116A, and – the most forbidden of all – has seen the true face of her beloved beneath the mask.
But when Q becomes an Adulte, The Domicile threatens to take away everything that makes her happy. She is forced to marry an abusive soldier who demands she conform. Whispers spread about the unconventional lessons she teaches her new students. And when Q openly disobeys the Elders, the people become restless, questioning the truth of the world in the wake of such defiance.
Rumblings of discontent stir as others begin to follow the path toward their freedom. The Revolution has begun, and Q is the spark that ignited the flames.
My eyes welled with tears as I ran as fast as I could. I’d never heard him scream before, but I knew it was him. I’d recognize his voice anywhere.
I found him in in one of corridors. There – body bent over, back exposed to the whip that licked at his skin with each swing, hissing as it sliced through the air and carved his back. Blood seeped through the torn black cloth that once fully covered him.
His punisher stood over him, an expressionless enforcer methodically wielding the whip.
“Stop! I’ll take half his punishment! Please, stop!” Tears spilled from my eyes and I rushed forward, trying to beat the next stream of blood oozing from his back.
But a pair of strong arms ripped me away, grabbing me and lifting me off the floor.
“Get off me!” I demanded. “I’ll take half his punishment!” I punched my captor’s chest with my fists, feebly attempting to free myself, but his hold didn’t budge.
“You do not beg for mercy for a betrayer of the Elders and the Domicile!” the man growled at me as he carried me back the way I had come. My body shook at his lies. The bleeding boy was not a betrayer of the Domicile! He hated the Domicile as much as me, but he wasn’t a betrayer.
Or, maybe he was. And maybe I was too, I realized as I continued the fight to save my best friend. Our betrayal was in the hatred we harbored for the Domicile. The Common Law we broke repeatedly. The rules we defied, resulting in horrible beatings like this one. But I didn’t care. The Elders sought to trap us, brainwash us, make us live in blind obedience. And on the rest of them, it had worked. But I refused to submit.
I vehemently stared at the guard. We may be the betrayers of the Domicile, but the Elders were the oppressors of humanity.
I hated them, and I was going to stop them.
Now getting her Doctorate in social work, she’s used this education to help her writing some of the gritty issues entwined in her stories. When Courtney isn’t writing her next book while drinking coffee, you can find her doing homework (drag) with chocolate chip flavored coffee, reading series of books (because school books are only so interesting) while drinking pumpkin flavored coffee, playing with her little boy, or daydreaming of future beach houses while drinking some other scrumptious flavor of coffee.