TITLE: CROWNED AND CRATERED
GENRE: YA Science Fiction
Kali knew that one day the furry curiosity would be the death of her. Still, the world’s last living cat was the closest thing she had to a friend. And you didn’t leave your friends with wolves.
Closing the steel-plated door of her closet-sized room, Kali turned on the tips of her toes. The reinforced flooring didn’t squeak, yet within a single step, her heart slammed against her chest. She bit down to stifle the scream in her throat. Then she braced, recognizing the intruder half-hidden in the dim hall.
The night nurse, Shawna, leaned in a doorframe three away with her arms crossed. The wicked grin she wore whenever the children weren’t around turned her lips more down than up, and the tight leather crew-neck jacket told from where she came.
The leather wasn’t synthetic, spun from the fabricated composites that the echelon wore. Instead it was real, from a tanned cow’s hide. With cows being more myth than reality, only the tierless scavenged such ancient rags.
“Why are you hiding it?” Shawna asked.
“It’s the Night of Crusades.”
“That doesn’t answer my question.”
“I’m keeping Sparrows away from the reception.” Kali glanced over her shoulder.
“Mr. Roake will want it there.”
“I’m not so sure.” Looking at Shawna was like looking in the mirror, only instead of seeing her reflection, Kali saw an evil twin. Shawna had the exact same raven hair and bright eyes, identical to Mr. Roake’s late wife and why they were hand-picked to nurse the morning and the night.