TITLE: The Flame Dancers
GENRE: MG dystopian future
The 12 year old school-leavers are waiting to take part in the Trials, hoping to be accepted to train as one of the privileged Flame-Dancers. Among the trialists are members of the subclass Toilers.
Extract: Imogen squeezed Josie’s arm. “Remember … Zip it,” she warned.
“Don’t worry. I won’t utter a single word,” said Josie.
“You just have,” pointed out Emmalina.
“You know what I mean,” Josie said. “I’m only going to say nice, positive things that nobody could object to.”
“Like don’t the Toilers look nice and tidy?” said Deeba. “But oh look - their plaits are tied with string, poor things.”
“There’s one with a sash!” said Emmalina, goggling. “How would he get hold of that? Oh wow! He’s got a brown armband! Guys - brown armband - you know what that means don’t you?”
“Shuddup, don’t look, they’ll see you,” hissed Josie.
But the tall, pale-faced Toiler wearing a yellow sash had spotted them. He flushed scarlet and covered the armband with his hand. Josie turned away quickly. She’d have like to look a bit longer, to see if the girl from the Burning was there but then the boy would think she was staring, like Emmalina.
“I’d love to know why he’s a Toiler,” Emmalina said, still staring. “He must have done something terrible.”
“It might not have been him, it could be someone in his family,” said Josie. “Anyway, we’ll never know.”
“I bet that Brother by the door knows,” said Emmalina.
“Emmalina! You can’t just ask,” said Deeba.
“Why not? We should ask. He could be a murderer for all we know.”
“Of course he couldn’t,” said Josie. “Emmalina no…!”
“Yes,” said Emmalina, setting off towards the door.