TITLE: The Fourth Generation
GENRE: YA Dystopian
I raced up the stairwell pretty fast for someone infected with the god-awful plague all his life. My empty backpack bounced airily on my shoulders, my feet landing just in front of the steps’ worn, chipped edges. Sunlight poured through the windows at the top of each landing, enough to light my way to the decaying apartment building’s eighth floor.
The rest of the Valuable Objects had better still be there. Worth a ton of prestige points, they could be just enough to finally push my faction into the top spot of The Tournament of Prestige this year. But if somebody else found them while I was gone…
At last I made it to the eighth floor. My chest heaved as I sucked in breath.
Scat. The second door on the right—wide open! Not good. My heart rate doubled as I crept to the door so quietly a bug a millimeter from my feet wouldn’t have felt the vibration.
I peeked inside the room. My gut clenched, even though I’d seen it coming.
A boy about my size—taller than average with good-size muscles—stood in front of the old wooden cabinets on the left side of the room. He had blotchy, dark gray skin, so was about sixteen years old like me.
The inlaid glass cabinet doors let you see inside. Empty. Sure enough, the boy started to turn away from them. I jerked my head back into the hallway, then peered back in.