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The Reaping Room: Botanicaust
The Reaping Room: Botanicaust
The Reaping Room: Botanicaust
Ebook79 pages45 minutes

The Reaping Room: Botanicaust

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Humanity is on the brink of extinction in more ways than one.

Michael is the smartest of the Fosselite children, trusted to help in his father's lab. The unconscious green people in there are not human; they are cannibals and must never be allowed to wake up. Although Michael doesn't like clearing the bodies when Father is done, he's determined to be a good boy.

Then Tula arrives.

She has green skin like the other cannibals, but she doesn't try to bite Michael. In fact, she's the kindest person Michael's ever met. Even Father seems to like her and doesn't strap her down with the others. Michael is delighted to make a new friend.

But when Father changes his mind, Michael realizes his obedience has been based on lies.

With Tula about to be reaped, Michael is forced to choose between a lifetime of obedience to family and his own new moral compass. The end result will impact a lot more than just his life inside the Fosselite mountain.

It will change the future of humanity.

This novella is part of the Botanicaust series--tales of humanity grappling for survival in a world decimated by genetic manipulation and coming to terms with what it really means to be human. Although it can stand alone, this novella is best read after reading book one in the series BOTANICAUST.

LanguageEnglish
Release dateJan 21, 2019
ISBN9780985901370
The Reaping Room: Botanicaust
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Author

Tam Linsey

Once upon a time I thought I wanted to be a biomedical engineer, but experimenting on lab rats doesn't always lead to happy endings. Now I blend my nerdy infatuation of science with character-driven stories. When I'm not writing, I'll be in the garden or the kitchen, exploring Alaska with my husband, or preparing for the zombie apocalypse. I also love wine and hard apple cider, am mediocre at crochet, and have the cutest 12-pound bunny named Abigail. Interested in more about me? Join the Botanicaust Tribe and get free books, notices, and other cool stuff! http://www.tamlinsey.com

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    Book preview

    The Reaping Room - Tam Linsey

    Chapter One

    Hulking vehicles crouched in neat rows, guarding each side of the path Mother took as she jogged across the dim cavern. Michael clung to her shoulders, his legs around her waist, face buried against the heat of her neck. The cave swallowed the sound of her footsteps the same way it swallowed the light from the ceiling fixtures. Her arms nearly squeezed the breath out of him, and in spite of the chill air, sweat coated her skin and dampened her tunic.

    I’ll show you the sun, Michael. We’ll be free, she whispered in his ear.

    She stopped and tried to lower him from her hip, but he hooked his fingers into the fabric at her neckline and clung to her with both legs. He wanted to go back to bed. Why were they here in the middle of the night, still in pajamas?

    With trembling hands, she gently loosened his hold. I know. I’m scared, too.

    He grabbed the hem of her long tunic as she straightened, standing close to her warmth. Cold radiated from the floor into his bare feet. He’d never been in this room before. The distant walls seemed to disappear in the dim light, and yellow and white lines striped the smooth, gray floor. Before him stood a metal door embedded in the stone wall, bigger than any door he could have imagined. From the wall nearby jutted a silver wheel as big as a boy, with spokes that reminded Michael of the steering wheel on his toy tractor.

    Mother let him keep his grip on her hem and grasped the wheel, tunic sleeves slipping down to expose her muscled, brown skin. She leaned, moving the wheel a quarter turn. A grinding squeak tore through the cavern, vibrating inside Michael’s bones. He threw his hands over his ears.

    She twisted to look toward the staircase at the far end of the cavern. The whites of her eyes shone bright and wide in the watery light.

    Michael didn’t like this place. He lifted his hands, pleading to be picked up again. Maaa.

    Hush. He mustn’t know we’ve gone. Mother forced the wheel another turn. The shriek echoed through the cavern again. Her brown arms trembled.

    He wanted to see the sun and swim in the river and do all the things out on the Tox that Mother talked about. But Mother seemed scared, and that made him scared, too. He stuck his thumb in his mouth, trying to be quiet.

    The wheel turned faster, the whine shrill but no longer as loud. With a clunk, it stopped. Mother let out a shaky breath. Help me push, Michael.

    Setting her palms on the metal door, she leaned against it. Michael put his free hand on the brushed metal, keeping his thumb in his mouth. The door didn’t budge.

    Keep pushing, Mother said, breathing hard as her soft shoes scrabbled against the floor.

    Michael pressed his forehead against the cold surface, using his whole body to push, but it felt like he was leaning on a wall, not a door. A man’s shout boomed through the hangar. Michael spotted two men in red vests running down the stairs from the double doors. Father stood at the top of the steps behind them, hands on his hips. Michael pulled his thumb from his mouth and used both hands to push. When Father was angry, he was mean. And Mother said Father would be very angry if he caught them here.

    Seeing Father, Mother threw her whole body against the hard metal. Let us go!

    The red-vest men reached them and grappled her to the floor. She screamed and struggled. Michael stepped back to avoid getting kicked. Hard hands clamped down onto his shoulders. He tilted his face upward to look into Father’s face. Black-rimmed glasses magnified the veins webbing the part of Father’s eyes that should have been white. Michael whimpered.

    Father’s lips curled. He thrust Michael out of the way, fingers leaving bruises on Michael’s collarbones. Shut up and stand over there.

    Mother thrashed against the men. No! You can’t have my son.

    I knew it was a mistake to give you another chance. Father pulled two black zip ties from his lab coat pocket. Tie her up and throw her out.

    Tie her? one of the red-vests asked. She’ll die out there.

    If you can get her out without tying her, be my guest. I never want to see her face again. Father spun on his heel and wrapped a fist around Michael’s arm, dragging him toward the stairs.

    Michael’s whimpering erupted into a wail. He dug his heels in, writhing to keep his mother in sight. Maaa!

    Father shook him until Michael’s head rattled. You want to say something? Then speak. Convince me to keep her.

    Michael’s lips trembled. He was six years old and had never strung together more than one syllable. He couldn’t. Whenever he tried, his tongue stuck. He wanted to say, don’t hurt her. He wanted to say, let us go. He opened his mouth, gaze riveted to Father’s. Goh. Mother’s screams cut into his bones, through his ribs, stabbed his heart. He tried not to cry. Ma… goh. Two words. He’d done it. He was a good boy. Father would finally understand.

    Father’s nostrils flared. This is what I get for all my effort. An idiot mute. His grip around Michael’s arm tightened. But you’re my DNA and my responsibility. Come on.

    Without a backward glance, he dragged

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