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Rune and Flash: Inside the Dream Prison
Publication Date: May 14th, 2022
Genre: YA Sci-Fi/ Action/ Adventure (In the vein of Hunger Games and Divergent)
When 16-year-old Markla Flash is convicted of murder and sentenced to 1,000 nightmares inside the Dream Prison, her friend Rune vows to help—but he quickly finds himself pitted against his parents, and the police, and a gang of murdering “subversives,” as well as the keepers of a society where artificially created dreams are used for both punishment and pleasure.
“Rune and Flash” is an action-filled science fiction adventure about the power of truth, technology, and love.
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Markla didn’t care for the dark. Why did they need to be creeping around in the woods at night? The trees all looked like gnarled monsters, and the moon stared down like an evil eye, and couldn’t they attack this place in the daytime?
The Serenity Six Dream Station would still be around when the sun came up. It would still be around on a weekend, too—in case someone didn’t want to save the world on a school night. But she was the only one still in school, and being just sixteen years old no one seemed to care what she thought, anyway.
Dru was two years older and he was up ahead. He was stomping through the forest, snapping twigs and swishing his feet through every pile of dry leaves. If the darkness gave them a certain element of surprise, it was totally lost by all the noise they were making. They were supposed to be warriors in a primitive and ancient tradition, schooled in the art of silent attack—but now the idea made Markla roll her eyes. We’re as clueless as the enemy, she thought. Any second now someone was bound to walk into a tree and knock himself unconscious.
The thought almost made her laugh, but she bit her lip instead and stepped lightly over a thick root. She was tiny, and slender like a branch, and she wouldn’t be walking into anything. Then Dru held up his hand and whispered in a fierce tone.
“Stop!” he said.
Markla didn’t stop right away. Instead, she tossed back her hair and crept to his side. Markla’s hair was a shade or two darker than midnight, and it was always tangled and messy, and most of the time she liked it to hang down because it covered a small scar near her left ear and another star-shaped one on the right side of her forehead. But tonight it seemed appropriate to let her scars show.
They were standing at the edge of the dense forest. Somewhere nearby, an owl hooted and her heart leaped. She brushed a mosquito from her bare arm and peered across a grassy clearing. Did she really want to do this? Well, she did have a steel club slung across her back, and so did Dru, and so did the other three people who’d come trudging through the woods on this humid autumn evening. They were staring across the field at a knob-like building that resembled an observatory. There was no kind of visible fence around the place, but it was supposedly equipped with sensors that would detect anyone who crossed a certain perimeter—unless the system was disabled by someone inside.
Dru wiped some sweat from his forehead. He motioned for everyone to crouch down, and in the darkness three silent figures followed his instructions. But Markla remained standing, and so did he, and he turned to face her like she knew he would. Even in the moonlight, she could see his blue eyes, thick dark hair, and chiseled facial features—and yeah, he looked good. But just because Dru was sexy didn’t mean he couldn’t be infuriating, especially when he said, “Maybe you should wait here.”
“What?” She felt her stomach tighten. “What are you talking about? You want to leave me behind?”
Dru smiled. “Markla, no—that’s not how it is. I know you’re tough, but you’re also small, and we could use a lookout.”
“That’s stupid,” she sputtered. “That was never the plan. I’m part of the group, and now you want to leave me here all alone?”
“No one wants to do that. It’s not like that at all.”
“If you leave me here by myself, I’ll be alone, right? I can count to one.”
Dru sighed in dramatic fashion. Behind Markla, the three others remained silent, like they were waiting for the argument to end. And it did end, the way it always ended. Dru reached out with his big hands and squeezed Markla’s shoulders as he looked into her eyes and said, “I would never leave you behind, Markla. You know that.”
She was quiet. “Okay,” she finally said. Then she shrugged. “So what are we talking about? Let’s go.”
He laughed. “We can’t go yet, honey. We have to wait for the signal.”
Right. She knew that, and she hadn’t meant it literally. Then there was a chirping sound, and Dru was staring at a wafer-sized device in his hand.
“Okay, this is it!” he said. “Are we ready to do some damage?”
Everyone murmured that they were—and then they put on their masks.
About the Author
Joe Canzano is a writer and musician from NJ, U.S.A. His stories have appeared in a variety of printed literary journals, as well as in the Akashic Books online series, “Mondays are Murder.” He has also published five novels. His website is happyjoe.net.
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