Title: Rift Runners
Word Count: 91,000
Genre: YA Fantasy
Sixteen-year-old Shasta has always heard about the Old World, connected to Gyra through the rift storms. The violent rifts provide both fear and opportunity – get caught in their path and they’ll suck you away to your death. But find the scars left over when the rift has run its course, and there might be scavenge from the tech-savvy Old World. Or survivors. That’s how Shasta’s parents made it to Gyra in the first place.
Shasta dreams of joining her father hunting rift scars. But when she’s finally invited on an expedition, it’s to fill her father’s place. Too ill to work, he lies dying of a disease that only those born in the Old World catch. An illness that’s cutting a crack through his chest, just like a rift.
The best chance for finding a cure has to be the place Dad was born, where the rifts started. When Shasta’s logic-driven older sister, Ali, agrees, the pair dash headlong towards the Old World. Armed with nothing but knives and arrows, they face a world seething with revolution. A world littered with old family secrets.
A world they call “Seattle.”
First 250 words:
The last time I asked about joining one of Judd Grawl’s rift expeditions, Mum banned me from mentioning it until I turned thirty. So the fact that, a month later, I was getting my way without asking seemed... what shall we call it? Suspect.
“Don’t you need me around the house?” I asked. “Or running the shop? I mean, with Dad sick...”
“Believe me, Shasta. I wish I could have you in two places at once.” Mum pushed a dark curl off her forehead. Her dusky skin shone like toffee, beads of sweat running down her face as she bent close to the fire. She tapped a ladle against the side of the pot, clumps of herbs slopping into the paste boiling for a poultice. “It’s not my idea. Judd wondered if you could fill the empty spot. We can’t keep inconveniencing him. Your father could lose his job.” She grimaced. “You’re pleased, aren’t you? Jayce is going too.”
“I am.” I chewed the inside of my cheek. “Dad’s okay, right? It’s just pneumonia?”
“It better be.” Mum turned her face so I couldn’t watch her expression.
“What did he think of Judd’s offer?” I asked.
“He’s been asleep all morning,” said Mum. “Don’t wake him. We’ll tell him later.”
And there it was. The first genuine lie. I’d heard him pacing inside their room when Mum sent me out to draw water. The pump yard lay beyond their back window and she always underestimated how often I crouched below it, listening.