Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Rock Bound by Rochelle Weber

The future is a dangerous place for dreamers and idealists.

When a dictator takes over the United States, Annie Peterson attends a protest in Washington, DC, with Paul, her husband and soul mate. US troops fire into the crowd killing Paul. Jake Johnsrud, a virtual stranger, risks his life to save Annie’s. They are among the survivors who are sentenced to slavery on the Moon for their “crimes.”

Jake is forced to mine, while Annie is sentenced as a doxy to "service" the men. Jake fights increasing feelings of anger and jealousy as Annie struggles to perform her job, while she resists her increasing attraction to him. Along with their fellow inmates, they fight to survive on the lunar "rock" that is their prison.

Will the hardships of life in exile bring the two together? Or will Annie’s undying devotion to Paul be the final, insurmountable obstacle for her and Jake?


July, 2051
Washington, DC

Annie, Paul and Crystal spread their blankets together near a band that was playing the same music they’d been singing at their campsite the night before. The Mall was so crowded they could barely breathe. Paul went in search of drinks and was gone over an hour. He got back to the blanket just as Annie returned from her attempt to reach the Lincoln Memorial. The first speaker mounted the podium.

“Can you believe they’re charging five credits a bottle for water and seven for pop?” he asked, as he handed the women their drinks.

“Now I wish we’d brought the cooler from the car,” Annie said.

“I know, and you’ll never let me live it down,” Paul lamented. His warm, brown eyes twinkled at her.

“Well, if water’s five credits, how much will a sandwich be?” Crystal asked.

“I already checked. Burgers’re fifteen credits and fries’re another five,” Paul replied, as he settled on the blanket between the two women.

“It’s a seller’s market. They’ll charge all the traffic will bear,” said a man sitting on the grass next to them. “I’m Jake Johnsrud.” He extended his hand and they each shook it.

“This is my husband, Paul, our friend Crystal Petrie, and I’m Annie Peterson. Why don’t you join us on our blanket?” Annie asked.

“Thanks,” he said. Jake was a tall, solidly built man with blond hair and blue eyes that twinkled when he laughed. His lantern jaw and slightly overlarge ears were somewhat comical and prevented him from being a blond Adonis, but along with his good humor, this inexplicably added to his charm.

“Nice to meet you. Jake,” Annie replied. “Scrunch over there, Honey.” She nudged Paul, patting the blanket next to her as she moved closer to Paul the middle. Of the blanket to make room for the other man.

“Well, the price of pop isn’t our only worry,” Paul said. “There are troops surrounding the Mall. I think we can pretty much count on being arrested”

Annie followed Crystal’s gaze to the soldiers. She didn’t believe what she saw, and was still trying to process the sight of them raising their weapons. Cyrstal dropped her sign and yelled, “The bastards are firing on us!” Paul’s head lolled forward, the charred hole still smoking, and Annie fell to the ground trying to cradle it. Annie sobbed, crying “No! No! No!” Crystal’s arms were around her, as she sat on the ground, clutching her dead husband. People were trying to run but there was nowhere to go. Annie felt Jake fall atop her and Crystal. Oh, my God! He’s dead, too!

“Lie still,” he said. “We’re liable to get trampled.”

Annie felt the weight lift all too soon, as Jake was roughly pulled to his feet by a soldier, who separated him from the women. They handcuffed Annie with a plastic tie-up, and dragged her away from Paul’s body toward an Army truck.

“Nooooooooooo!” she screamed. “Paul!”

They threw her in back of the truck, and Crystal landed next to her. She scooted closer to Annie.

“Cry it out, Sweetie,” Crystal said. Annie leaned her head on the other woman’s shoulder and sobbed.

About Rochelle Weber:

Rochelle Weber is a Navy veteran, member of Mensa, and holds a BA in Communications from Columbia College in Chicago with an emphasis on creative writing. She has over 20 years of editorial experience and has edited books in a variety of genre: fiction, fantasy, self-help and even poetry; as well as newsletters for various non-profit organizations. She states, “I have been mentally editing every piece of printed material I have read for most of my life. My mother was a stickler for grammar, as am I. One of my pet peeves is the dreaded comma splice, and I can name a few bestselling authors who use them frequently. Who edits their work?” Rochelle lives with two cats in Rantoul, Illinois and clucks over her two daughters while spoiling her five grandchildren.

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