In a freezing world, where everyone knows the day they will die, three teens break all odds.
Franny Bluecastle, a tough city teen, dreams of dying in opulence, to see wealth she"s never known. Like the entire world, she believes it"s impossible to dodge a deathday.
Until the day she does.
Court Icecastle knows wealth. He also knows pain. Spending five years in Vorkter Prison, a fortress of ice and suffering, he dreams of life beyond the people that haunt him and the world that imprisoned him.
Mykal Kickfall fights for those he loves. The rugged Hinterlander shares a frustrating yet unbreakable connection with Court"which only grows more lawless and chaotic as their senses and emotions connect with Franny.
With the threat of people learning they"ve dodged their deathdays, they must flee their planet to survive. But to do so, all three will have to hide their shared bond as they vie for a highly sought after spot in the newest mission to space. Against thousands of people far smarter, who"ll live longer, and never fear death the way that they do.Books in Series:The Raging Ones Series by Krista RitchieBooks by Author:Krista Ritchie BooksBecca Ritchie Books
I hurry across Bartholo"s busiest and iciest city sidewalk. With assured, honest steps, I weave between young and old. My long wool overcoat flaps behind me, black scarf snug across my neck. I look forward. I look ahead.
Swiftly, I move.
I brush arms with an elderly woman in fur, and my fingers nimbly descend into her handbag. They return to my wool coat just as I pass. I lift my collar, shielding the raw, relentless breeze.
I hurry between two men in tuxedos, and I blend in. Air dignified, my black two-piece suit is ironed flat. My hands leave my sides. Gliding as fast and inconceivable as the wind. Leather wallets from their pockets to mine.
I squeeze through in haste.
From the littlest girl on the city street in braids and fur mittens, to the aging man bracing his weight on a cane"I dance around them. I dance with them.
The thief"s dance is an old trick, performed around an unsuspecting, oblivious audience.
If I told you in this moment that I"m the enemy"I will not save the day, I will not change the world for the better, that this is not what will happen"will you believe me"
Because I will lie and I"ll steal more than I"ll give, and this truth will hold until the very end. Remember this.
I am the enemy.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
On the cobblestone walk of a city sheathed in ice and snow, I slam my frostbitten fist against a Plexiglas cashier window. "Excuse me!" I call out for assistance that never arrives. Five minutes till closing, and the bank has already snapped the blinds shut.
"Excuse me!" I shout again. "I"m dying tomorrow!" I bang harder, my frustrated breath smoking the chilled air. My wool coat, missing four buttons and brandishing more than a few torn holes, warms me less than my irritation. Which grows with the incoming silence.
I"m truly dying tomorrow, but death is normative. I die. You die. We all die. The only difference between the bankers and me"I will die at seventeen.
I die young.
They die old.
And so it goes.
I spot a bulky camera positioned on the brick of the Bank Hall"s outdoor window. You see me, don"t you" They just refuse to answer. "I"m allowed my Final Deliverance check! Do you hear me"!" I yell up at the lens while simmering in place.
Behind me, men in sleek tailored suits and fur-lined wool coats amble along the alabaster-white sidewalk. Their hot, disparaging gazes heat my neck. They can act all miffed by me, but Fowler Street, Avenue Thirty-Four contains every shop for every type of person: hair salons, dentists, pubs, quaint overnight inns, and most importantly for me"the only bank.
And all the grand streets"all the ones with cigar parlors and high-end fabric shops that smell of rose petals and fig"hug the grimy ones. The streets with cheap apartments, crumbling brick, and foul, pungent odors with each step past. So in the end, the rich-clothed men have always seen as much of me as I"ve seen of them.
We just might not end up in the same place.
I watch some strut ahead, careful on slick cobblestone, scarves bundled up to their lips. They disappear past the warmth of a stone pub, nestled on the corner of Fowler. The opulent Catherina Hotel is only one block away, and by the men"s attire alone, I imagine that"s their true destination.
Really, they"re not a priority to me. Not today.
Most definitely not tomorrow.
With numb fingertips, I dig in my pocket for my identification. I raise the card toward the camera lens. "I"m Franny Bluecastle," I declare, possibly speaking to no one. "Can you see my deathday"" I point at the print beneath my name. "I"m dying tomorrow."
A shadow passes behind the window, someone stirring. Blinds rattle and I press my nose against the chilled glass, scraping my fingers down. "Please! I"m on time!" Backbiting insults and curses nip my tongue, and I swallow them, going down bitter like blood.
The blinds suddenly spring upward, and I"m met with russet curls, thin lips of boredom, and stern, auburn eyes.
I speak before the fortysomething woman can. "I need to collect my FD check. In bills." I keep a watchful eye on the old mechanical drawer beside the window. She has to dispense my cash, and once the drawer opens, it"ll finally be in my hand.
Most plan out their deathday to the finest detail.
At six years of age, I watched my mom die.
I traced her steps around her bed, a single-room apartment above a butcher shop. The scent of slaughtered pig clung more to our well-worn clothes than to the musty air.
She lit candle after candle and hummed to the gods, casting smiles back at me. Youth sparkled in her gaze.
And I"d known, like any stranger could see, that we did not match. It wasn"t only my cool, beige skin and silky black hair"but the differences of our eyes, the heart shape of my face to her squared, and as I grew, I didn"t develop curves or a chest like hers.