By Jaye Sarasin
Jake’s father, Harry, has disappeared and his flat has been ransacked. Is his disappearance linked to his work in the Green Enclaves, government sponsored forests in a world deprived of oxygen. Or has he become embroiled in shady dealings of some kind? Is it anything to do with the League of the Dead? Aided by his beloved Allie and Stick, the school’s hacker, Jake tries to get into the Enclave to find out. But the Enclave is a lethal place…..
Chapter 1 He heard the patter of hurrying feet and then the distant shouting behind him. The houses were racing past, ancient buildings leaning drunkenly in above him, the jutting upper floors supported on wooden beams almost touching over his head. And the stench was gut-wrenching. He was running, running away from the voices, hearing the far off howling. 'Death to the aristos! Death to the aristos!' He had come into a narrow alleyway, the dusk of evening revealing behind him, as he glanced over his shoulder, the gleam of distant torches. He appeared to stumble and, looking down, he saw his ragged clothes and then, at the end of the torn sleeve, the tell tale, all-betraying hint of lace at his wrist. He fumbled at it while he ran but the glove hampered his efforts and he gave up, fleeing into the darkness of the alleyway, hearing in panic the fast-closing baying, 'Death to the aristos! A la Bastille!' The buildings had an odd grainy look to them; his terror, he suddenly thought, deforming his vision. And then, in an instant, turning a corner, he was at the end of his alleyway and catapulted into a larger street where a thousand rushing bodies jostled him back against the wall and then swept him, puppet-like, along in their midst, shouting and screaming as they headed for the walls of the Old City. Carried on the surge of the throng he was unable to escape, trapped in the thick of the mob, the faces of the people beside him caught in the flare of the torches. He heard the names of Marat, Danton and Robespierre tossed from one to another exultantly. 'A new society! Freedom and brotherhood! A la Bastille!' They were not, after all, after him, or perhaps this was a new band. There was a young man next to him with blackened face and grimy, ragged clothes, one torn sleeve of his jerkin flapping in the wind as he ran, white teeth blazing in the dark face. 'We will free them,' the boy shouted. He smiled back, suddenly exhilarated, and forgetting his fear shook his fist and yelled with the others, 'A la Bastille!' They burst into the concourse and through the gates and then the great grey building was towering over them, bringing them to a juddering halt. He thought of all the poor souls who had disappeared within its walls thirty, forty, fifty years ago, never to be seen again. Now some, at least, would be free. The bodies crowding round him, the rough unshaven faces, the tattered tricolore streaming in the wind above them, all had an unreal air, and he felt dizzy. The stench had become even more overpowering. The crowd was rushing the gates, using a battering ram. Two men at the front, incredibly brave, were carrying it forward as guards came pouring out and the first man staggered back under the thrust of a pike, red spreading across his chest. He watched horrified as the crowd surged forward again, the weight of their numbers overwhelming the guards. He had been thrust forward, right to the very front, next to the dying man and looking down saw the splash of red on the lace at his wrist. Another man next to him looked down also. 'Eh, les enfants, it's a dirty aristo here. Who else wears fine lace shirts?' The voice was thick with anger and disbelief. He looked around alarmed, saying, 'No, no, I stole it,' but saw that they did not believe him, the boy's face also shading with anger. He ducked, moving quickly back into the crowd, pressing his hand into his glove. The furious murmurs began to swell, the hatred feeding on hatred..'A dirty aristo! Where? Where?' He thrust his way through to the mob's edge, the man still close on his heels, his shadow thrown before him by the torches, showing the knife lifting in his hand. He pressed his hand into the glove more desperately, heart pounding, throat dry with wracking terror. He made the pistol shape and pointed desperately skyward, pressing, pressing the button in the glove. It was not responding. And the man's face, huge, grainy looking, like fine woven linen, was on top of him, the bad teeth above him, the hatred filling his whole field of vision as the man screamed, 'Filthy aristo, kill him, kill him,' the gleaming blade with red upon it scything towards his throat.
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By Jaye Sarasin
In a future world starved of oxygen grotesque genetic experiments are taking place in the High Andes.
When Allie rescues a young Indian thief from the police she little realises the danger she is in as she begins investigating the clinic treating the boy's pregnant sister. He is working for a rebel group, the sister disappears and while trying to track her down Allie discovers the rebel stronghold and runs into even greater danger..
A fight in the atrium? Was that what all the noise was about?
Allie didn’t want to get mixed up in a fight. Not when she’d just bought all this fabulous gear.
A man raced past, jostling her back against the wall, nearly wrenching the bags from her grasp. She winced and dragged her hand back but the guard – it was a guard - wasn’t interested in her or her bags as he pounded towards the crowd in the centre.
People were shouting, swivelling round, craning their necks in the direction of the atrium where all the Ministries were located. She couldn’t see what was happening, blinking against the rays of the sun filtering through the great stained-glass roof of the Avila Mall. The leaves of a giant palm and the waving tendrils of a rampant liana vying with it for the light above, blocked her view.
She’d been looking for the Embassy shuttle and wondering if Helena, her best friend in this strange new country, was back already. She certainly didn’t want to get involved in some sort of scuffle.
‘I see they're cleansing the area,’ a voice from in front of her said.
‘I hope they give them a good hammering before they chuck them out!’ said another.
She needed to cross the atrium to get to the entranceway and hesitated on the edge of the Paseo Nuevo. The central plaza was thronged with shoppers loaded with their purchases from the elegant boutiques and she couldn’t see if Helena had drawn up to the main entrance or not. The lush tropical vegetation bursting from every corner and concealing even the great steel doors of the Ministry of the Interior made it even harder to work out what was happening.
Hampered by her own bags and the bunch of flowers for her mum, she tried to keep to the edge of the Paseo but another guard, rushing towards the fountain in the middle of the atrium, pushed her towards the centre.
‘Someone’s stolen something from the Ministry,’ a large woman with unnaturally blond hair reported over her shoulder to the man behind her, her voice filled with excitement.
More guards sprinted past. Voices babbled and then a small figure clutching a thin brown attaché case sprinted across the atrium to the central reservation and disappeared into the huge clump of trees and shrubbery.
A man standing next to Allie grunted. With a jolt to the heart she realised he was one of the four-eyed and couldn’t prevent the horrified start it always gave her to see one. The eye on her side was watching her, but she knew the others were busy gazing at the surrounding world. The man was nervous, skittish, like a frightened horse when it senses something unknown.
He jerked his head upwards and Allie saw the movement in the branches above. It must be the fugitive climbing up to the canopy, only visible now and then as a flash of ragged cloth or a brown outstretched hand. Each time he disappeared almost immediately into the foliage, just a swaying of the gigantic hibiscus blooms and gourd flowers showing where he’d been. The man grunted again.
The child - it could only be a child - was almost at the third level. Without doubt one of the street urchins, rogues and pickpockets mostly, who managed to get into the Mall. In theory they were barred from entry but some always found a way in, no one ever knew how. More guards were running across the atrium floor, shoving people aside in their haste.
Allie watched the child coming out of the canopy, scrambling perilously along an extended branch. The guards were crashing into the shrubbery below, shouting and waving their guns, unable to see what was going on above. Her eyes went back to the little figure swinging wildly towards the third level railing. If he could get there he’d be over and away. A security guard had appeared from the lifts on the third level but he was on the other side of the gallery.
The boy was extended to his full length, ignoring the dizzying height, the terrifying drop to the atrium floor. His hand brushed the railing and then fastened tightly on it. Allie was willing him on. He was going to make it. The guard on the far side stopped, realised what was going to happen, and then pointed his weapon.
The four-eyed man wheezed in, the gun barked, there was a moment of what seemed like suspended time and then the child was plunging down, arms extended, branches whipping under the pressure and then springing back as he fell. Perhaps they’d break his fall enough. There was an ugly thud as the body hit the mosaic floor. The man flinched and Allie’s stomach contracted. It was like a punch to the solar plexus, the sight of the small body and the slowly spreading pool of red.
‘They didn’t need to shoot him.’
She’d spoken aloud but no one was listening to her. The four-eyed man had slipped away into the crowd.
‘There were two,’ someone said. ‘Where’s the other one?’
The crowd babbled in excitement, pressing forward, elbowing her out of the way, clustering round the little form. Police and guards were ordering everyone back.
The large woman said, ‘It’s not just the thieving, it’s the damage they cause.’
There were murmurs of agreement.
‘They’re a threat. Why they don’t do a better job of protecting the Mall, I don’t know.’
‘What more can they do?’
A thin, scrawny youth answered, his voice thick with excitement. ‘I heard tell they shoot ‘em at night when they find ‘em in here.’
All Allie’s pleasure at the shopping expedition was swept away. It was true, of course, that the thieving was a worry. Some people maintained that the older children carried knives. They were called The Undesirables, inhabitants of the barrios de chabolas, the campamentos, the shanty towns outside the wealthy enclaves of the Malls and the residential condos.
‘They live in the sewers and come out at night to look for food in the waste bins,’ Santiago in her tutorial group had said. And she was buying all this expensive gear when these children were probably starving.
She still felt sick, shaky, at the memory of the small body on the atrium floor. Catching sight of Helena’s large but elegant frame on the far side of the atrium she was relieved to be leaving..
Her friend signalled that she was going to fetch the embassy shuttle and Allie made her way to the front causeway where diplomatic traffic was allowed to come right to the door to collect their passengers. She’d been lucky that neither she nor Helena had had classes that day so they’d been able to come to the Mall together. Pushing past excited groups who were chattering amongst themselves about what had happened, she eventually got to the high archway and put her bags down at the edge of the entrance, away from the hurly burly of people going in and out.
‘You’re just a shopping junkie,’ he’d say, laughing at her.
True, she thought, looking down at all the bags containing the wonderful clothes and a dinky little moby hidden in a large belt buckle. But none of these things could fill the space in her life where Stick should have been. Her mother had only decided to bring her to Runa Five to get her away from Stick. She still felt the internal flame of anger at her mother’s attitude, her total inability to see Stick’s good points, her rigid insistence on the minimal communication during their separation. Her heart twisted at the thought of him, all alone, back in Kington, in that terrible tower block. He’d have been on the child’s side.
Somebody barged past and she stepped back, stopped only by the root of an enormous weeping fig. Even the entrance to the Mall was tastefully smothered in greenery. Trying to calm her jittery nerves she admired the sprays of white orchids and caught the pungent smell of gardenias, their waxen flowers and leaves shining against the bark of the tree. It was like being in a tropical jungle in here, with all this vegetation, striving for a sun which would now kill it. Since the loss of the ozone layer and most of the oxygen in the air all plants had to be grown under specially tinted glass. It was strange the way that humans, having destroyed the greenery of the Old World of the Blind Ages, now tried so desperately to recreate it in the New.
With a start she caught a hint of movement from within the shrubbery. The dark eyes of a cornered animal peered out at her, blinking in terror. She looked quickly away and pretended to inspect more closely one of the flowers which tumbled from the tree. When the guard on the entranceway looked in her direction she moved her bags in front of the area where the urchin was hiding. More guards were crashing about, working their way through the undergrowth. He’d never be able to get away. There was only this exit. She felt her anger rise. What was wrong with these people?
The guards voices were louder now. She ought to do something - but what? An image flashed before her mind’s eye of the handout they’d been given on leaving Runa Four, warning of the consequences of any infringement of the laws in Runa Five, the vicious punishments handed out to foreigners and locals alike. She couldn’t afford to get on the wrong side of the authorities here – it was just so important that she finish her course. Her future and Stick’s depended on it. But she couldn’t bear to see another child killed.
Helena pulled the shuttle into the collection bay and tooted.
How would she ever forgive herself if she did nothing?
She waved Helena closer, pointing to all the bags, and, as the low-slung shuttle drew alongside her, flung wide the rear passenger door. She placed the largest bag on the seat between herself and the guard, looked back into the dark, haunted eyes, and gestured.
The child was clamped to the spot.
Oh come on, come on.
She was beginning to sweat. Checking that the guard was not looking in their direction, she leaned nonchalantly across the side of the shuttle, hiding even more of what was going on, and gestured again.
The boy suddenly shot from the shrubbery, scrambling forward on hands and knees like a small animal, clutching something to his chest. He hurled himself into the well of the shuttle and curled into a tight ball, while Allie threw the rest of her bags onto the back seat. Tossing her sun cloak as casually as she could over the bags and child, she threw the flowers she’d bought her mum on top of them, covering the back seat and well.
Helena was gazing ahead, apparently bored. As she climbed in next to her friend the guard waved them forward to the great gate where entrances and exits were checked. If she were caught, Allie thought, her mother, let alone Helena’s, would never forgive her. Helena pressed the button and they pulled away, hiccupping gently up to the gate house.
‘Guess they’ll eventually get the eco-drive right!’ said Helena in exasperation, pressing buttons and managing a neat shimmy to bring the shuttle in line with the guard’s booth.
The man stepped down, pushing his face against the window, and Allie’s stomach contracted again. The oxygen shunt on her upper arm seemed to be clicking manically, but perhaps that was just her terror.
‘Could you step out of the vehicle, please,’ the man said.
Using Literature in Language Teaching
By Jennifer Hill
Demonstrating ways in which literary texts can be integrated simply and effectively into language study, using basic methods to make them acessible, lively and memorable.
Also shows ways in which analysis of literary texts can strengthen students' command of the language and help them appreciate the wider cultural heritage behind them