Title: The Sixth Domicile
Author: Courtney Ruggle
Genre: New Adult Dystopian
In a future ravaged by greed and war, The Domicile has emerged. A new civilization governed by clandestine Elders where citizens are united by white masks and uniform identities. To remove one’s mask, to go outside the Domicile, to show defiance, means being sent to the Meurtre, a horrifying death sentence.
Q437B doesn’t follow the rules. She craves sunlight, dares to love her childhood friend B116A, and – the most forbidden of all – has seen the true face of her beloved beneath the mask.
But when Q becomes an Adulte, The Domicile threatens to take away everything that makes her happy. She is forced to marry an abusive soldier who demands she conform. Whispers spread about the unconventional lessons she teaches her new students.
And when Q openly disobeys the Elders, the people become restless, questioning the truth of the world in the wake of such defiance.
Rumblings of discontent stir as others begin to follow the path toward their freedom. The Revolution has begun, and Q is the spark that ignited the flames.
The stars twinkled with their utmost brightness tonight, as if attempting to show us their beauty tenfold. I smiled at them, thanking them for their show. B’s arms wrapped around my shoulders, our hips touching as we sat in the grass. B was more silent and reserved.
“Do you feel it, Q?” he asked after some time in silence. I turned away from admiring the glimmering stars.
“Feel what?” I asked. I laid my head on his shoulder, attempting to put as much of my body on his.
“It’s different. Something is different.” I did feel it, an alien something, a nagging in the air. But I couldn’t figure out what it meant. Everyone in the Domicile was behaving the same way as always. Nothing appeared to be different on the surface; more like boiling underneath it. Like the small, almost invisible heat waves I could see on the heated days B and I snuck from the Domicile. So small and subtle, but if you looked from the right angle, you could see them boiling and rolling under the air currents.
I lifted my head off his shoulder, watching his mask contort with the expression he wore underneath it.
My fingertips glided down the side of his mask, trailing from his brow down over his unpainted cheek to his chin. The stark black of the fabric covering my finger contrasted with the pallid color of his mask. I hated the way his mask was only a reminder of what I couldn’t have—the real him that lay underneath. And of the society that was designed to keep us apart. I needed him. And it terrified me.
B reached up, his hand catching mine, and I could feel the desperation in his grip. He took in a deep inhale, his chest rising with the extra breath, and I felt my own chest tighten.
“Q, you’re the spark.”
Courtney’s love for writing started pretty much when she learned to read, which her mother would tell you was a feat in itself back when she was in the first grade. Once she aced those flashcards with vocabulary words, Courtney’s writing took off. And her love with it. In school, she was always writing short stories on a word processor (What?? Word processor with floppy disks?). Oh yes, she literally had a card filing case full of floppy disks.
Now getting her Doctorate in social work, she’s used this education to help her writing some of the gritty issues entwined in her stories. When Courtney isn’t writing her next book while drinking coffee, you can find her doing homework (drag) with chocolate chip flavored coffee, reading series of books (because school books are only so interesting) while drinking pumpkin flavored coffee, playing with her little boy, or daydreaming of future beach houses while drinking some other scrumptious flavor of coffee.
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