- Author: Ramona Finn
Book online «The Lofties (The Echelon Book 2) Ramona Finn (fiction novels to read .txt) 📖». Author Ramona Finn
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents either are the product of imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events or locales, is entirely coincidental.
RELAY PUBLISHING EDITION, March 2021
Copyright © 2021 Relay Publishing Ltd.
All rights reserved. Published in the United Kingdom by Relay Publishing. This book or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the publisher except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.
Ramona Finn is a pen name created by Relay Publishing for co-authored Young Adult Science Fiction projects. Relay Publishing works with incredible teams of writers and editors to collaboratively create the very best stories for our readers.
Paradise was a lie. But the truth may be even more dangerous…
Myla always believed that Echelon was paradise. A safe haven from the toxic, mutant-infested wasteland outside. But when she flees the domed city to rescue her sister, Ona, Myla discovers it was all a lie. There are humans living outside. Rebels like Ben, a boy who shows her a freedom she never thought possible…
But Echelon is still in danger, and they each must continue their fight—Ben from the Outside, and Myla from within. She returns home with her friend Lock, where they are both lauded as heroes for rescuing Ona. Thrust from their hovel in the Dirt to the wealthy heights of the Sky, Myla struggles to fit in, as a deadly plot threatens the lives of those closest to her.
When Decemites start disappearing, Myla is driven to figure out why, before every Decemite in the Sky suffers the same fate—including her sister. Delving into the secrets of Echelon and its leader, Lady Lazrad, Myla and her friends uncover yet another lie, one that could shatter their faith all over again.
A lie that powerful leaders like Lazrad will kill to protect.…
End of The Lofties
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We jogged home through the desert, sweltering in the sun—me and Lock, elbow to elbow, kicking up dust. The heat parched us speechless, fried our thoughts in our heads. My mask reeked of garlic, some gate guard’s last meal. I had sand in my socks and an itch down my back. The sole of one of Lock’s boots had come loose and I couldn’t tune out its slapping. Clump-smack—I’d be home soon. Clump-smack—back with Ona. Back with Mom and Dad.
Clump-smack. Would they welcome me? I’d been gone a while. Maybe they’d got used to it, not living under the weight of my lie.
Maybe they’d paid for my disobedience, paid in blood or in sweat, and maybe they hated me for that.
I breathed with Lock’s rhythm, matched my steps to his. Maybe he’d betray me, after all. Maybe he’d squeal, and who’d pay the price?
Clump-smack. I wanted to kick him. Rip off his stupid sole.
The rain started around noon and just kept on coming, a fine, oily mist that lay on us like sweat. It brought out the blackflies, enough to blot out the sun, but Lock didn’t seem to notice. He loped on, head down, hair plastered to his face. We ran with flies on our necks and crawling up our sleeves, flies settling in our armpits and sucking our blood. We ran till the sun went down, and Lock stumbled to a halt.
“Hold on a sec.” He yanked off his boot and shook a pebble into the dirt. “I know you wanna get back, but that’s been driving me nuts.”
I shook myself like a dog, scattering droplets of sweat and rain. “Why didn’t you say something?”
“I don’t know.” He found a boulder and sat down, then pulled his sock up. “I wouldn’t stop on a mission. We’re trained to ignore that stuff, put it out of our heads.”
“A mission, huh?” I turned my back on him. Echelon was close, its towers looming over us. It had a drowned look about it, undersea blues and purples, sodden smears of light. I slapped a fly off my neck and scratched where it had bitten. “What’s your mission today?”
“I’m not going to rat on you, if that’s what you’re thinking.” Lock came up behind me, close enough to make my skin prickle. “You’ve got our story straight, right?”
“I went after Ona. You found me instead. You tried to bring me back, but we got caught by Outsiders. We’ve been prisoners this whole time, under lock and key.”
“Yeah.” Lock shifted behind me, boots squelching in the mud. “Listen, uh... could you say that again, how you’re going to say it in there?”
I stiffened. “What do you mean?”
“Pretend I’m interrogating you. Tell me what happened.”
I pushed up my mask and let the rain fall on my face. It felt like being pissed on, body-warm and acrid. “I just want this over with,” I said. “As long as we stick to our story—”
“No.” Lock began to pace. “You’ll need to sell it, okay? We’re tired, shaken up—we just clawed our way through hell. They beat us and starved us, threw us in with the trash. We need to sound—”
“I’m not saying any of that.” I yanked my mask back down, scowling. “You can if you want, but they were good to me. If anyone asks, that’s what I’ll tell them.”
“Then, hey. Congratulations. You just got us both killed.” Lock stood, breathing heavily, palms pressed to his forehead. His tension filled the air, like electricity before a storm. I bunched my hands into fists.
“So you want me to lie.”
“You don’t have a choice.” Lock made a winded sound. “Look, I get it. I do. You don’t want to sell out your friends. But