GENRE: Young adult science fiction
Seth and Adair, two high school delegates at a biomedia conference, are sitting at the head table at the closing banquet. Adair, apparently ill, has her head pressed into her hands; Seth has been trying to rouse her.
Diantha Knead, Nellis’s other female delegate, was now eyeing them strangely from across Chance’s seat. Mr. Hermes’s knife and fork clanked against his plate, and Seth decided he must have noticed, too. The server behind Adair had clearly noticed: She was still standing there with her dish, her too-wide eyes darting from Adair’s hunched form to Mr. Hermes and back again, looking like she was about to hurl all over Adair’s first course.
Seth started to reach for her, not knowing what to do, not even knowing what he was going to do once he touched her, but his fingers never found their mark. And the server never got her chance to vomit, at least that he could see. Because sometime before his hand reached her shoulder, the blazing light in the ballroom flickered, flashed—and promptly died. And darkness black as space encased them.
The people gasped, the server squealed, and one loose dinner plate clattered to the floor. He realized, one second later, the sound had come from behind him. And then a light—a single one, directly overhead, like a spotlight—turned back on.
In the murky glow that streamed from who knew how many stories above them, Seth saw immediately that Adair was no longer in her seat. She was standing behind him, where the poor serving girl had just been, long hair cascading in rough jumbles past her face. And in her upraised fist she held something that looked remarkably like a knife.