Defective (Outcast, #1)
by B. Austin
Publication Date: August 13th 2016
Genres: Dystopian, Young Adult
In a society where rebels are unwanted, the Outcasts have their own underground world.
What type of society applies the word Defective to healthy young humans?
IT IS ALMOST A PERFECT WORLD. One government rules earth—the Commonwealth and one people—the Commoners. The pure society of the Commonwealth has but one contamination, the 1%, the Outcasts—rebellious kids and young adults who for some puzzling reason cannot or will not conform.
When Dante’s girlfriend vanishes like thousands of other Outcasts before her, he enlists the aid of friends to find her. They discover the shocking secret of what extreme the Commonwealth of Earth will go to ensure that Outcasts reform and obey the rules!
My dream is of the day I met Kiara Loveblood 14 months ago. She was new to Brooklyn High, having moved from Queens.
I was sitting at an outside cafeteria table, eating with Adrian and Dice. Hugo, poster boy for the Brooklyn Perfections, had just reported Adrian for cheating on a test. Adrian wanted to beat the crap out of Hugo but 20 Perfections surrounded Hugo’s perfect golden head, all of them dressed identically in silver jumpsuits. Even with a fighter like Dice, we could never take them all. Moreover, Behavior Drones would show up and blame Outcasts because drones are programmed to go after Outcasts only. Drones track us using the Outcast ids bubbling around our bloodstream. Doc, a genius Outcast from Brooklyn, took a sample of Dice’s blood and looked at it under a telescope. The ids in our blood are actually micro drops made in the design of the Outcast No Symbol but with a unique number for every Outcast stamped across the diagonal. Doc discovered this by taking a sample of my blood and comparing. Both our id numbers began with 666-and then unique numbers after that. Who knew FRE have a devilish sense of humor since rule enforcers never crack smiles because with rule-enforcer fanaticism, they permanently sew their lips shut in the spirit of secretiveness.
If we had let Adrian stick Hugo’s neck with a fork, as he wanted, FRE would have turned us into toast, well not precisely toast but the FRE would burn our asses, and I mean that literally. They might take a torch and well you get the idea. Let us just say we would not be able to sit down for a week or two.
“I didn’t cheat,” Adrian had insisted. “Hugo just can’t believe someone like me could best him on a test.”
Dice laughed. “What do you care anyway? Who gives a crap about what any of them think?”
“I now have 24 demerits because of that dipshit filing a cheating complaint which means…”
“One more demerit and the FRE place you in Lockup.” Dice turned pale when he said this.
None of us was ever in Lockup but heard stories of the ancient insane asylum located at Queens. Building 25 once held hundreds of thousands of lunatics between 1912 and 1970 something and stopped being an insane asylum a Century ago. The nut house was condemned but never torn down. The decrepit building was now a place where the FRE incarcerated Outcasts, 25 demerits, Building 25.
While Dice and Adrian discussed how to get a transparent revenge on Hugo, a girl sitting by herself drew my attention. An electric-blue hoodie covered her head and dark-blonde strands hung out from the hood. Her sweatshirt had the red Outcast No symbol on it. Her eyes were half-closed and her lips pursed as she sketched on a huge artist pad. She wore clean denim jeans and was barefoot. Her legs were crossed Yoga style. The bottom of her feet was clean, however, due to the scrubbing of the concrete by Scrubbers.
Every now and then, she would stare defiantly and then duck her head, scribbling furiously.
She is drawing me.
I walked towards her and she seemed to melt into the wall. She flipped her pad on her lap, clenching the sides. “What do you want,” she said and lifted her chin.
“Let me see what you’re drawing.”
I wrestled the pad from her and she jumped to her feet.
Before she could run away, I grabbed her shoulder, pushing her to the bench. I then sat beside her, twisting my ankles around her feet, trapping her. “I won’t let you go until you show me.”
“Asshole,” she said. Her face was red.
I gaped at the charcoal drawing. She was a fantastic portrait artist but had written the label pretty boy under the drawing.
“I hate it when anyone calls me pretty.”
“Well you are,” she said with a red face.
I flipped the paper to another drawing. This one had the red No symbol with my eyes inside the symbol. Well, they say the eyes reflect the soul and Kiara saw right into the depths of my very soul when she painted my eyes ocean-blue. I stared breathlessly at the pupils in which reflected back at me was a man in a white lab coat.
In another drawing, I was floating on my back. My eyes appeared as liquid pools. There was a hole in my chest shaped like a heart. To the right was a beach and on the sand was a jar of liquid with a heart immersed. I was trying to scream in the drawing but had a fish stuffed in my mouth.
Only my closest friends were aware of my phobia and repressed memory. It was as if this new girl drilled right into my soul and knew me. No one ever got me before, but she did. “How were you aware…”
“Why are you even talking to me? I’ve been at this school a month and everyone still shuns me,” she said in a small, hurt voice.
Her eyes appeared as if she was drowning and I could see myself in her eyes, trying to save her. This protective feeling came over me, unlike any feeling I had experienced. I shrugged my shoulders and said coolly, “It’s a boring day.”
“Well, nosey, I may as well tell you my name to save you an investigation. I’m Kiara Loveblood.” She held out a palm to me. “If you shake my hand, you will regret it. Let me tell you right now that I am a River Rat.”
I flinched at the reference to the name of Long Island Outcasts. Her voice rattled when she revealed her identity. Outcasts from the different New York City boroughs did not get along. The Commonwealth compartmentalized the boroughs by wealth, and Brooklyn Outcasts were one-step below the ladder of Long Island Outcasts. The River Rats were economically better off than the Bones. Brooklyn was silver and Long Island white gold. Outcasts may be rebellious in our own way, but money prejudice was a fact of every Commoner’s life, Outcast and Perfection alike. A class system labeling everyone a Commoner was a blatant lie.
“What are you doing in a Brooklyn school then if you’re a River Rat?” I inquired. “Slumming?”
She shrugged her shoulders. “The Commonwealth downgraded my family after the FRE released me from Lockup.”
Her eyes appeared bleak. Ah, I had not noticed the reddish mark on her chin or the fading bruise on her right eye.
“Did your parents do that?” I said and touched her chin.
She flinched. “No, the FRE did. I swear I am never going back to Lockup. I shall kill myself first.”
“And what horrendous crimes did you commit to be placed in Lockup and downgraded to Brooklyn?” Funny, she did not appear to be tough but then her eyes flashed defiantly. Well, anyone just out of Lockup would act docile.
She flung her pad on the ground. “The Commonwealth does not like me painting the truth nor do they care for graffiti. I had to rob a paint store since the stores banned me from buying paint. She removed her hood and showed me the back of her head, which had a bald spot. No one shaved her head. FRE ripped her hair out with their bare hands. Well, actually they tore the hair from her scalp with black gloves since FRE cover every part of their body with a black slick garment.
The Commonwealth, of course, kept the bank robbery a secret. One of the many defects of Outcasts, according to the Commonwealth, is lying.
“Well, I am Dante Spider, Kiara Loveblood.” I did not lie to her about my last name.
I sat beside Kiara and took her hand in mine. “You’re not Jazz anymore, Kiara. You are Bones now, one of us, and you must paint our underground. The Bones is in need of some color to cheer us up.”
She let out a deep breath.
We both sat there quietly, holding hands. I still had my ankles twisted around her feet.
You can also pre-order book 2: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01JNU3R9I
About the Author
Author B. Austin writes Dystopian and Science Fiction Books. She is the author of the Young Adult Dystopian series Defective.