Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Exclusive Excerpt: Imperium Academy by Rebecca Bosevski #superherofiction #YaFantasy #exclusiveexcerpt

Chapter One

Her classroom had seating for thirty-four students but a third of them sat empty now. It was an inevitable outcome. Of course they would leave—she would have. Had she had that option. Had she been born a magis instead of a regular plain old sapien.
Ellen propped her head on her hand, staring at the orange and red leaf flicking at the window pane as she tried to recall their names. The names of the ones now living the life she dreamed of.
When she started middle school, she made a point not to befriend the magis children. They would all be gone soon enough, once they received their green and gold technote inviting them to be tested.
And though she knew her invitation would never come, it did nothing to stay the dreams—each night she saw herself presenting to a Safe Haven Clinic to have her gene blocker reversed, freeing her enhancements from their suppression.
And each night a different gift emerged. Flight, strength, speed. Each gift, each power, as incredible as the last. Ellen dreamed of using her awakened enhancements to defeat the rebels in the streets of New State, New York, until her aunt would break through her illusions with a call for breakfast, sending the scent of bacon to awaken her mind.
For three years she watched the magis children while they prepared for what was to come, a future in the spotlight of the world. A future protecting the ones like her, the normals. The weak. The homo-sapiens. Even the class fives, the ones who would become sidekicks, didn’t come back.
Now, on her fourteenth birthday, Ellen found herself in her first week of high school, staring mindlessly at the empty chairs they would have occupied while her teacher regaled what was left of her students with a tale of heroes lost.
A rumble vibrated through the classroom floor, pulling Ellen from her daze. Her teacher’s monotonous voice was interrupted by the shrill siren of the city’s emergency system. Ellen’s heart raced as she pushed aside the notebook covering her desk’s inbuilt screen, just as the first image appeared.
Red bolded font scrolled beneath the alternating pictures and videos of the aftermath of another attack. The rebels had leveled a Safe Haven Clinic, the feed showed a dust cloud billowing through the streets filled with people stumbling from the darkness, hugging their bloodied arms against their chests as if that would keep them safe.
Ellen stopped reading and clicked the screen to freeze the video. One swipe and the image was replaced by a photograph of the crumbled clinic fa├žade, the internal rooms laid bare for the world to see. A second swipe and there he was, Silverlight. A child’s body limply hung over his arms, he wasn’t smiling, he almost never was, and his stern expression deepened the scar that cut through the top right of his mouth.
Ellen pinched the screen bringing the background nearer. Behind Silverlight a woman stooped, her arm outstretched towards a figure cradling his legs on the curb. The woman’s face was turned sideways, but Ellen knew it was her aunt.
She clicked off her screen and started packing her things before the teacher registered what she was doing.
“Miss Barton, I do not recall dismissing you.”
“I have to go … the attack …” She trailed off as her hands fumbled to shove her personal screen into her backpack.
“The events have been disturbing, yes, but we are safe here, I assure you.”
Ellen looked up. Her teacher’s hands shook as her fingers fidgeted in front of the same plain paisley dress she wore every Thursday. “I don’t think—”
Ellen was cut off, the siren on their desk screens blared again, this time the crumbling clinic’s image replaced with that of the school’s principal.
“Attention! All classes are suspended for the reminder of the day. Alerts have been sent to your guardians, please await collection from the main assembly area.”
They were all leaving, but Ellen knew if waited for collection as her principal directed, she would be waiting a while.
Her aunt was helping the wounded, and would likely be at the hospital long after the air thick with dust was clear again. There was no point asking her teacher to upload her personal tablet with the required clearance, because she knew she would be denied, held on school grounds until her aunt presented to collect her.
No, Ellen would have to speak to the school’s nurse. she worked a few days a week with Ellen’s aunt at the downtown Safe Haven Clinic. It was a good mile from the one hit today, but still, it was too close for Ellen’s liking. She only hoped she wasn’t too late; Nurse Beesley would be leaving too soon.
Ellen made her way through the halls, weaving between students as she headed for the front office. The school grounds of New State Public held both middle and high school classes, and with the amount of middle graders on site, the majority of teachers would be stationed at the assembly area.
The last time the school was released due to a rebel attack was just before the end of school last July. Ellen was stuck waiting until her aunt could leave work, Mrs. Glass refusing to give her clearance to make her way home. This attack was closer. Ellen had felt the vibration through the floor when the bomb or whatever it was hit.
Could it have been a magis enhancement, Ellen thought as she ducked through the doors and scanned the room. The main counter was vacant, as too was the foyer. Ellen was about to dash to the carpark to try to catch Nurse Beesley when she heard the scratching of paper.
Ellen ducked her head around the pillar to find nurse Beesley fumbling to collect a scattering of files from the green tiled floor.
“Nurse Beesley, here let me help,” she said, stepping around her to collect a few that had swept just out of reach.
“Thank you, Ellen. If only the other students had such manners. You would think the attack was within the grounds the way they ran through here.”
Nurse Beesley stood clutching her manila folders against her chest and Ellen handed her the rest. “They are just scared, I guess.”
“Pfft, what do they have to be scared about? The attacks are all targeted at Safe Haven Clinics. The clinics test and unblock homo-magis children, you would think Novaside would want them open. They are all for the freedom of the homo-magis after all.”
Ellen had never heard a teacher speak so freely about the rebels. Most focused on the aftermath, not the reasoning behind it, whatever that could be. Ellen often found herself wondering why they went after the clinics. Sure, if the tests showed the homo-magis to be a class one they boosted the blocker and the child went on to live like her, a regular homo-sapien. It wasn’t common. None of the students who left this year to have their tests returned, not even to gloat with their technote like the few from the year before.
“You will be needing clearance, I guess,” Nurse Beesley said, shaking Ellen from her own thoughts as she held out her hand awaiting Ellen’s tablet. “Will you be going home or to the hospital to check on Lou?”
“Home,” Ellen said a little too quickly. It wasn’t that she didn’t want to see her aunt—she desperately wanted to—to see her, to know she was okay. But the thought of walking into the hospital brought a lump of bile up from the depths of her stomach. She swore she would never go back through those doors, and even though she was only five when she made her vow, she intended on keeping it.
“Pass me your tablet.” Nurse Beesley continued eyeing Ellen cautiously. “Are you sure you don’t want to go to the hospital to see her? I was headed that way myself, it would be no trouble to take you?”
Ellen shook her head as she pulled her tablet from her pack and handed it over. “She will probably be home soon anyway. The heroes will be there, they won’t need her.”
“The heroes hold nothing to your aunt, my dear. Remember, the world did well enough before the leap,” Nurse Beesley said, waving her bracelet across the screen of Ellen’s tablet and punching in her staff code. “I have cleared you to leave unescorted. As you are aware, an auto clearance path will be set for you. Be sure to follow it. I don’t need to tell you what happens if you deviate?”
Nurse Beesley peered up through her yellow framed spectacles at Ellen, her long black lashes peeking over the ridge.
Ellen didn’t need to be told. She knew too well what happened if she didn’t follow the path as directed by her clearance. She had made the mistake once, and it meant a police escort all the way into her aunt’s hands. Unfortunately her aunt was meeting with the head of the Safe Haven Clinic where she thankfully still held her job. Because despite her aunt’s skill as a nurse, Ellen’s conduct could have easily cost her the placement.
“I remember,” said Ellen as she ran her fingers through her hair, wincing as they caught in knots at the ends. “I’ll follow the path set out.”
Nurse Beesley handed her back the tablet, still clutching her folders with one arm. “Off with you then, and happy birthday?”
Ellen was already halfway towards the exit. “Thanks,” she called as she pushed open the heavy doors and burst into the sunshine.
Ellen flinched and squeezed her eyes closed against the bright rays of the sun. She fumbled through her pack for her glasses as fast as she could. Her mess of brown hair catching in the wind and whipping wildly across her face. Finally, fishing them from the bottom, she pushed back the strands still covering her eyes and slid them on, sighing with the instant relief they offered. She clicked the button on the side of the tablet, then walked towards the gathered students and staff. Some parents had arrived quickly, swiping their bracelets and taking their children out to waiting cars and transporters.
Ellen brought up the clearance on the front of her screen and turned it to face Mrs. Glass, careful not to let it slip within arm’s reach. If she had really wanted, Mrs. Glass could have re-swiped Ellen’s tablet and adjusted her clearance forcing her to remain on school grounds. But instead, she rolled her eyes and waved her through.
Ellen took off through the gates towards Burke Street. Her usual way home took her through Main Street but after the attack, her clearance path directed her via an alternate route, sending her weaving through back streets and under two train bridges, but also taking her fourteen minutes longer.
Ellen didn’t remember a time before the need for clearance paths and city-wide emergency systems, but her aunt did. Aunt Lou brought her up on stories of life before the rebel attacks. Stories of walks through the park with her parents. Camping beachside in the summer, and visiting her grandparents’ house in the mountains, in the snow.
She sighed as she meandered along the deserted path up Burke. Her tablet buzzed at her side when she nearly missed her first turn down an alleyway that would bring her out on Fifth Street. She made the turn and continued on. The alley was shadowed either side by high apartment buildings and smelled of stale beer and what she hoped was dog urine. A painted blue door about half way down swung open and two men stumbled out, bitching at someone named Frank as they steadied themselves against the opposite wall.
The clearance paths calculated safest routs. Nothing in the alley should have been open this early in the day. Bars were prohibited from operating before nine, and were under strict regulation to close before two am. There was no way it would have sent her down the alley otherwise.
Ellen stopped walking. They hadn’t seen her yet. She thought about turning and going back the way she came, but the path was set. If she deviated, the authorities would collect her and deliver her to her aunt, who by all rights, was probably still at the hospital. Ellen was not going back to that hospital. She took a tentative step forwards. The men pushed off the wall as the blue door closed and turned to walk off, their backs to Ellen.
She released the breath she had been holding since they clamored from the blue door and followed at a safe distance. When they reached the bright light of Fifth Street, Ellen’s tablet blared with another alert. Gasping, she pressed herself flat against the wall, sliding down to a crouch as she fumbled to silence it. She finally swiped her finger down the left side of the screen slowly, reducing the alert to a low ringing.
“What is this we have here, Clyde?” the harsh voice asked as the toes of his shoes appeared in front of Ellen. His beer breath wafted down over her with every word, but she dared not look up. “Looks like a little mouse is hiding down here in the dark, should we flush it out, see if it wants to play?”
Heavy steps smacked against the slightly damp cement ground towards them. Ellen’s gaze rose from the tablet in her trembling hands, up to the stained shoes in front of her.
“It’s been a while since this cat had itself a mouse, Rory mate. Don’t know if I would wanna share this one.”
Ellen’s heart thumped against her chest, the tips of her fingers turning white as she gripped the tablet tighter. This is it. she thought, my chance to prove to be brave just like a magis.
But she didn’t move. She couldn’t. Her body betrayed her, sinking lower to the ground as it shook and grew colder. Huge hot hands gripped her shoulders and pulled her up, the tablet falling from her grip.
“This mouse looks broken, are you sure you want it?”
Ellen begged her body to respond, to thrash, to kick, to scream. To do something. Anything. The Emergency button on her tablet. She should have pressed it. Stupid homo-sapien, she chastised herself as the arms lifted her higher. She could taste his breath now, but her eyes still didn’t dare look up.
“Look out,” the other guy called.
With a grunt, the man holding Ellen released her and she fell to the ground, scurrying back against the wall.
A swoosh of silver flew past, bringing with it another grunt. A thump, then a sound like a dying cat crying out for relief, echoed up the alley, then silence.
Ellen waited, her hand pressed tightly against her mouth as she heaved each breath through her fingers. Finally after another minute of silence she peeked into the alley. A silver cape flared out across the ground as the Hero leaned over one of the men.
Was it Violet-eyes? Everclear, or could it be the great Silverlight? Ellen thought as her gaze moved away from the hero who saved her and landed on her tablet and its cracked screen. Reaching for it, she pressed the button on the side and was relieved to see the screen illuminate. The emergency button was a combination of all her fingers of her right hand pressed down at once. She laid them against the screen and waited. Hoped. Prayed.
“It is okay, child, you do not need to call anyone else. Are you injured? Do you need me to take you to the hospital?” The voice was low and familiar. Ellen kept her fingers pressed against the screen. A small red circle appeared around two fingers, and she forced the other three harder against the screen’s surface.
“Child, do you need a doctor?” the voice asked again as the soft step of his shoes neared. The wind swept through the tunnel of the ally and rustled his cape in the breeze. Her head turned towards him, her eyes trained on the scar on his lip.
“Silverlight.” Her voice came out softer than intended but his smile told her he had heard.
“The one and only, now please child you can remove your hand, I do not believe your tablet to be functional at present. Come, I can see you to the hospital.”
“No,” Ellen said as she took her fingers off the glass. “I mean, no, I don’t need a doctor. They didn’t hurt me. I … I just want to go home.”
“Home it is then,” he said holding out a hand for her. She eyed his silver gloves, their sheen picking up on the little light that filtered into the alleyway and reflected it back to her. She shielded her face as a glint caught her eye.
“Your glasses, I am sorry, they look to be damaged. Here, take this.” Then he pulled from his back somewhere, an identical mask to the one he wore, only this one had a sheer black mesh across the eye sections. Ellen took it and held it up against her face. The mesh acted like a shield against the light. But not her vision. She could see him perfectly clear.
The metal silver sheen of his suit covered his body like a second skin. The gleaming chest plate with the silver spiral etched into it. His insignia. His symbol. She had often wondered what it stood for. It wasn’t in any of the reports, and though reporters had asked about it, no one had ascertained the answer. They had played it off as purely decorative, but Ellen always believed it was something more.
“Thank you,” she said taking his hand with her other and letting him help her stand. She tied the mask loosely around her head.
“Why were you in the alley? You are old enough to know better I’m sure, you must be thirteen at least,” Silverlight asked.
Ellen walked beside Silverlight as she adjusted the mask against her eyes with one hand. It was far too big for her face, but it was doing its job at keeping out the light. “Fourteen, actually, but I’m not here by choice, my clearance sent me this way. After the attack …”
“Ahh, the attack. I understand. I’ll be sure to mention this encounter to the technicians who plot the pathways. Clearance paths should not put you in such places. With your permission, I would like to fly you home.”
Ellen sucked in a breath. She had dreamed of flying. Sure, she had dreamed it was her flying some helpless sapien home after rescuing them from a villain’s grasp, but she’d take this alternative.
“Thank you.”
Silverlight looked to his outreached hand and Ellen took it readily this time. He scooped her up, cradling her as he rose from the alley. As soon as they were in the bright light of the sun, Ellen felt the mask begin to slip and she gripped it tighter against her face. Silverlight slowed, hovering in the air above the city.
“You might want to tie it tighter,” he said and Ellen reached back and knotted the ties of the mask, fitting it snugly against her face. Though she had dreamed of flying, she feared looking down as she rested in Silverlight’s arms, high above the city streets.
“Is that better?” he asked and Ellen nodded.
“This is amazing.”
“I’m glad you like it, perhaps one day you will have one of your own.”
Ellen’s smile fell, but Silverlight didn’t notice, he had already resumed their flight over the streets of New State, New York. Ellen knew it would never happen for her. She would never open the mail to find the green and gold technote waiting, inviting her to be tested to determine her homo-magis class. Inviting her into a future of hero work.
Ellen gave him her aunt’s building address and Silverlight wasted no time in zipping through the sky towards it.
In the distance, she could see the edges of the crater that changed the world. That wasn’t the official name for it, for the birthplace of Atom. But it was what the kids called it. Atom was the reason all pregnancies were now tested for homo-magis status and the expression blocked if the results were positive. His explosive birth actually changed the world.
Seventeen thousand and forty-one lives were lost that day, Ellen’s grandparents included, incinerated by the blast of his power.
She closed her eyes and imagined she was flying on her own through the air. That she had been the one to save a scared child from a few drunk brutes. But she could feel Silverlight’s arms against the fabric of her navy blue school pants and the metal of his chest plate cooled through her blouse. Her heart pounding, she opened her eyes and took in the view of the city beneath them. The city that once was a bubbling metropolis, but now held towers of apartment buildings. Housing for the workers of the Safe Haven Clinics, schools, police, rescue stations, and hospitals.
“Just there is fine,” Ellen insisted, pointing to the side of the building where her aunt lived. Where Ellen had lived since she was five. “I don’t want to worry my aunt.”
“She should be worried, you had a very close call just now. And your tablet, how will you explain it?”
“I’ll say I fell … it wouldn’t be the first time,” Ellen lied as Silverlight lowered her to her feet beside the building. She had never damaged anything her aunt had given her.
It was late afternoon and the street was practically empty, lucky for Ellen. If one of the neighbors saw her being delivered home by Silverlight, her aunt would find out what happened for sure.
“Well at least take this,” Silverlight said as Ellen slipped the mask from her eyes. The world became painfully bright and she turned her head as she squinted against the orange glow that accosted her.
Silverlight picked up Ellen’s hand and rested a small card in it. “Take the tablet to an Insura Tech store, with this card they will make the needed repairs for free.”
“Thank you,” Ellen said, holding out the mask for him to take.
“Keep it,” he said and before Ellen could protest, a whoosh of air sent her back a step, and Silverlight was gone.
Ellen quickly stashed the mask in her pack along with the broken tablet, and headed up the stairs of the apartment building. Usually the seven flights would have her groaning with exertion, but today, she flew up each one, landing at her aunt’s apartment door in a fraction of the time it usually took. Or at least that was how it felt to Ellen.
She pressed her thumb against the black pad on the handle. The door chimed as a green light flashed in a circle around her thumb, and the door clicked open. Ellen barreled inside, tossing her bag onto the lounge and turning to grab a snack from the kitchen. Her eyes went wide as relief washed over her—her aunt was sitting at the table.
“Aunt Lou, I’m so glad you are okay,” Ellen began as she made her way closer, but then her aunt lifted her gaze and Ellen stopped. Tears streaked both of her aunt’s cheeks.
“What’s wrong?”
Her aunt didn’t answer, instead, she moved her hands that were pressed against the plain white table top revealing a square green envelope.
The golden Safe Haven emblem over the seal shimmered in the waning light.
“Ellen, we need to talk.”

Imperium Academy
Book One
Rebecca Bosevski

Genre: YA Superhero Fiction

Publisher: Silver Crown Books

Date of Publication:  July 2nd 2019


Number of pages: 205
Word Count: 75170

Cover Artist: Story Styling Cover Designs

Tagline: Superheroes aren’t born, they’re molded by government academies.

Book Description:

A genetic leap gave her powers, but before she can take up the cape, Ellen will have to brave Imperium Academy.

Ellen doesn't remember much about her parents, they died when she was four. Raised by her aunt she's envied for years the homo-magis children called on to be tested and subsequently enrolled in one of the five academy’s for heroes.

Ellen isn't a homo-magis.

Or so she thought.

Her parents were two of the first Superheroes, their lives sacrificed to stop Novaside and save their only child.

Ecstatic, yet a little nervous to finally be a part of the world she'd dreamed of, Ellen is off to Imperium Academy.

But her classing doesn't go as expected.

Instead of joining the ranks of the illustrious Star Heroes, Ellen is regulated to the role of Sidekick, after all, night vision is barely a superpower.

Many have begun to question the need for Sidekicks, some teachers even suggesting they would be better suited to other employment.

But with Novaside getting bolder, and her latest attack hitting too close to home, Ellen is determined to stay at the academy and prove them wrong.

After all, where better to learn to be a hero than a school full of supers?

Amazon US      Amazon UK      Amazon AUS

About the Author:

REBECCA BOSEVSKI is a speculative fiction author living on the east coast of Australia. Now that the Enchanting the Fey series is complete, Rebecca has plans to rapid release her Imperium Academy six book series over the next 18 months - that is if she can stop binge watching every Neflix movie made staring Noah Centineo. 

Newsletter Signup:

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Melissa said...

i love superhero's! the cover looks awesome.

Bridgett Wilbur said...

Great cover.