The following is an excerpt of an interview conducted by author Steven dos Santos involving subject Lucian Spark, citizen of The Parish. As of this posting, Mr. dos Santos’ whereabouts remain unknown…
Steven dos Santos: I’m really honored you took the time to speak with me Lucky—
Lucian Spark: It’s Lucian. Nobody calls me Lucky anymore except for my little brother, Cole, and…Hey! Are you recording this?
SDS: Absolutely not. Whatever we speak about is in the strictest of confidence.
LS: They musn’t find out I’m talking to anyone! I could get shelved just for bringing you here.
SDS: Speaking of here, where exactly are we? It’s pretty dank and dusty, if you don’t mind my saying.
LS: These are the library archives. But this section is strictly off limits. I only found out about it because my mentor, old Mr. Croakley, was kind enough to share. He knows I love to read. Especially the books on astronomy. Something about all those stars, so far away from this place…
SDS: So you work here as a librarian?
LS: I’ve been an apprentice here for the last few months. We all have to take apprenticeships when we turn Sixteen, it’s the law.
SDS: That doesn’t sound too bad.
LS: Tell that to the apprentices at the waste treatment facilities or the mines. I think they’d beg to differ…
SDS: I see. So you kind of lucked out, huh?
LS: I guess. Maybe he pulled some strings…I’m not sure.
LS: Nevermind. No one can know that he and I are still close. It’s too dangerous. I’m not even sure he still feels the same way about me. Look, is this going to take much longer? I have to get home before curfew.
SDS: Curfew? The sun’s barely gone down. Your parents are that strict?
LS: I don’t live with my parents. Just my Four year-old brother.
SDS: Really? A Sixteen year-old taking care of a Four year-old? Where are your—?
LS: They’re dead.
SDS: I’m sorry. How—?
LS: I’m not going to talk about that. I’ve got to go. I’ve spent way too much time with you already. The Imposer’s will be patrolling the streets soon. They may even have those bloodthirsty Canids with them. And if I get taken into custody, there’ll be no one left to take care of Cole.
SDS: But surely there are adults that can assume responsibility—
LS: Don’t you get it? They don’t care what happens to us! We’re nothing to them. Everyone here in The Parish just exists to serve them.
LS: The Establishment. They run the show. Control every aspect of our lives, from food rations, to work assignments, to our religion. They even control what we’re allowed to read. Even fairy-tales are banned. I took a real chance smuggling out those archived pages and drawings about The Great Crowned Lady that stares across the sea at the magic city. Cole loves that story. Just seeing a smile on his little face is worth the risk.
SDS: That sounds awful. You mentioned religion. Do you believe in God?
LS: The Deity? I don’t know. I think I want to. But how could such a force exist in a world filled with so much inhumanity and evil?
SDS: Aren’t there people standing up to this Establishment? Trying to make a change?
LS: Yes, there are some. But most opposition tends to disappear really quickly here, never to be seen or heard from again. People I’ve known, neighbors, fellow classmates…gone. Listen, as bad as it is, I can’t get involved in any of that. All I care about is my brother, making sure I can scrounge up enough food to feed him and doing whatever I must to keep him safe. If it wasn’t for him, I don’t think I could keep on…he’s all I have…you know? I have to go—
SDS: Wait. I didn’t mean to upset you, Lucian. You seem like a great guy. A bit intense, but I guess if I were living under the same conditions you were, I’d be too.
LS: Take my advice. Leave this place as soon as possible and go as far away as you can.
SDS: Hopefully, we can stay in touch, become friends—
SDS: Excuse me?
LS: Recruitment Day is coming real soon. It’s not safe to have friends here. Or to love anyone.
SDS: What happens on Recruitment Day?
LS: If you’re Sixteen like me and get chosen for The Trials, they make you…I mean…you have to…uh…you’re forced to…trust me! Get out of here now, Steven!
SDS: Lucian, wait! Don’t go!
At this point, the interview comes to an abrupt end, and I can’t help but shiver as the sound of marching boots and growling beasts reaches my ears from the streets outside. I can hear pounding on the door, or is that my heart? I’m going to try and sneak out of here, but if I don’t make it, I urge whoever reads this to spread the warning:
Recruitment Day is coming.
Steven dos Santos is represented by Ginger Knowlton of Curtis Brown, LTD. He loves movies, particularly ones about things that go bump in the night, as well as sci-fi and fantasy. Chocolate, Cheesecake, and Happy Endings are nice, too! When not glued to his computer coming up with innovative ways to torture his characters, Steven can be found skulking away on his website, amassing an army on facebook, and sending unanswered tweets to celebrities who, for some inexplicable reason, choose to ignore him on twitter. His debut novel, THE TORCH KEEPER, a Young Adult Post-Apocalyptic thriller, will be published by FLUX Books in early 2013--Hopefully, he'll be found by then.