As I stand, I try to ignore the spinning in my head. Pru eyes me gripping the side of my chair for support. Marcus is rising, his arms boasting grooves and bulges as he pushes himself up. He sees me staring, and for just a moment longer, I wait to look away.
All sixteen of us are standing now. Dr. Yamaguchi says in her hypnotic voice, “To whom much is given—”
As one, we say, “—much is expected.”
“Mind of Mine is an interesting YA science fiction read but also a cautionary tale. Life on the other side of the fence comes with its own difficulties.”
Only when I am with Marcus does the opaque white door before me not freeze my insides. Only with him am I not afraid of what happens behind this door. Streaming with Marcus is the one thing that feels like it belongs to me, even more than my research, which could be deleted at the touch of a button. Marcus cannot be deleted from my mind, nor I from his. And that makes me feel like, at least to him, I exist as an individual.
That is why we do this, after all. To remind us—most often just me—who we really are. Especially after a punishing day of deluge in the box—a day spent hooked up to fifteen other minds crashing simultaneously into my own—I need a grounder. I need this.
Someone shuts the chamber doors and the lights above us dim. A man in a charcoal suit emerges from beneath us into a shaft of light on the stage. The Director. Daddy, as I like to call him. My teeth grind against each other.
“Thank you, Order members, for coming to this impromptu meeting.”
Like we had a choice.
“Wow! This one definitely sucked me in. I love it when speculative fiction explores a premise that seems to promise so many benefits—for example, overcoming our perceived shortcomings and limitations—but ends up demonstrating that the sacrifices made in the process actually de-humanize us rather than elevating us to a higher way of living. . . . this story really did have me hooked from cover to cover. I look forward to seeing more from this author!”
The rooftop. Oh, the air! The stars, hidden behind the city’s haze, pale in comparison to the blinking lights of Atlanta—each light a testament to human ingenuity and the desire to push harder, further, against the night. Marcus sits on the concrete, back facing me. He looks over at the sound of the door announcing my arrival. His smile flips into a frown in less than a second.
A week and a half have passed since they cut off our paired streaming. In almost eight months, a week hasn’t gone by without an exhilarating dose of Marcus’ emotions and the grounding feeling that I mean something to him. Until now.
“The question at the heart of the story is a complex one with no right answer. The story is compelling, sharp and thought provoking. Although it is speculation, the premise is plausible. I liked V because of her daring. She questions the system that she has always accepted. I enjoyed the story because it really gives you something to think about after the last page. The ideas will stay with you. I’ve become a fan lately of speculative fiction, and Mind of Mine is a great example of excellent story telling in this genre. Definitely try it out!”
“Let him alone.” Pru’s stony voice edges in from the doorway. Her arms are crossed and her mouth flat.
Flavius whips an angry glare at her. “He’s been boxed. Can’t remember who he is. It’ll come. Just give him a minute.”
“Leave him,” Pru demands. “Each time one of us gets the box, it affects us all. Let him suffer. Maybe then he won’t do whatever it was again.” She spears me with her gaze then spins on her heel and disappears.
“I love that this is a debut because there is so much right about this book. The plot is captivating and keeps you drawn in. I really enjoy C.F.E. Black’s writing. She really knows her audience and pays close attention to what she’s writing. Fantastic. I recommend checking this one out!”
“A wonderful debut by C.F.E Black and a new to me author!!
This is more of a YA and if you love sci-fi then this is for you. A great mixture of both!!”
If you’re a teen, I work for you.