TITLE: Bright City, Grey City
GENRE: YA Dystopian
16-year-old Nonni lives in future LA, in a sector of the city policed by the FEC Corporation. On her way home, she witnesses an altercation between corporate security and a young man named Santos, who fires gunshots from the window of his three-story apartment building, resisting arrest.
The sleek, dark belly of the helo glides over my head. Engines silent, I hear only the wop-wop-wop of its blades. It stops above Santos’s building, hovering like a giant black bumble bee. The lurid colors of the FEC Corp logo gleam on its side. Three more people run out and are taken into custody by the trappers. Not Santos. Please come out, I think to myself.
A column of bright light flashes down on the building from the helo, encircling it in a nimbus of white. Gawkers closest to the scene rush backwards, panicking. Though I’m a good distance away, I involuntarily step back. I want to scream for Santos to run. But Santos knows what’s coming. If he surrenders, he’ll go to corp prison. I guess he’d rather die.
A concussion rents the air and I feel the suction in my eardrums. I duck down and cover my ears. The building erupts in a burst of light, so bright it dazzles me through my eyelids. A deep-throated boom vibrates in my chest and an expulsion of air, carrying specs of dust and debris, rams me hard. I hear breaking glass, cracking concrete, splintering wood. When I dare to look, the building where Santos and his family lived is now a tall column of livid red flame. Black smoke billows into the air. No other structure is damaged, because the nimbus of light contained the explosion, but Santos and anyone else inside his building are nothing but charred bones.