TITLE: BENEATH OUR SKIN
GENRE: YA Science Fiction with 1850s-like setting
My rope arced through the moonlit night and slid down the wooden fence to land at my feet. Again. Damn.
Panting echoed from the empty yard beyond the eight-foot fence—the blacksmith's dog must have heard me. I coiled the rope and tossed it a third time. Yes. It caught the top of the post. I yanked it, testing the strength, then braced my feet against the slats and scrambled up.
At the top, the points of the boards dug into my torso as I twisted the rope around so it would fall into the yard and provide me an escape route. The big black mutt gazed up at me, sniffing for the treat I'd brought him. Or smelling me. By now, we were old friends. He hadn't barked at me in weeks.
When I dropped down, the dog whined softly, and I pulled my ration of meat for this week out of my pocket. My mouth watered, but I tossed it to the dog. A small price for a glimpse of freedom. The two chicken pieces disappeared in seconds.
Despite the fence, the shop was always locked at night, but there was a workstation set up outside. Sometimes, nails fell down, and the blacksmith was too lazy to go after them right away. I fell to my knees, inching past the sawhorses toward the lean-to, sifting through the sand with my fingers as I crawled. Under the water-filled trough, my fingers grasped cool metal, and I snatched it up.