The High Life by Terry Sanville
Paranormal Science Fiction/Romance, 5,665 Words
Flame Rating: 1 Flame
Cover Art © 2009 by Amanda Kelsey
Edited by Foery K. MacDonell
Copyedited by Gerald L. “Moss” Bliss, D.D.
Layout and Book Production by Ally Robertson
eBook ISBN: 978-1-926704-23-4
Print ISBN: 978-1-926704-32-6
Low level violence
By 2098, the rise in sea level has flooded low-lying areas along the Southern California coast. The flooding has created a patchwork of marsh islands where the displaced “dung people” live – subsistence fishermen and farmers…the future’s untouchables.
The affluent live high above the marshland, in condominiums bolted to the underside of old freeway flyovers. Jacque lives in a posh end unit and is the CEO of an international trading company. She discovers Desmond, a handsome dark-skinned “dungee,” trying to steal crops grown on her balcony. She helps him escape from the murderous Security Forces. When they meet again on a moonlit night, their attraction leads to passionate lovemaking. But can love and lust overcome their differences? Create a lasting bond? Don’t assume anything about this story, because the ending may surprise you.
Moving along the walkway that surrounded her unit, she froze. A metal hook with rope attached hung from the railing. The rope was taut. Jacque leaned outward. A man clung to the line ten meters below, almost hidden in the vines. With a yelp, she retreated.
“HELP, PLEASE. I won’t hurt—” followed her inside.
Slamming the door, she reached for the vidcom to call Security, but stopped. Stay calm…stay calm. You can take care of this…you’re in control here.
From the kitchen, she retrieved a serrated knife. A shiver ran through her body. You can do this…you’re top management now…. She pushed through the balcony door and moved to the rope. It was made of some kind of hand-braided material, probably from the marsh reeds that concealed the dung people’s villages. She sawed on the line with the knife. It began to tremble.
“PLEASE DON’T,” the dungee shouted. “The fall will kill me.”
She stopped sawing and yelled, “Then climb down and get the hell out of here.”
“I can’t. Look.”
The coffee-with-soy colored man pointed to the lagoon. A massive school of finned fish cut the water’s surface. She watched a particularly large example roll onto its side, showing jagged teeth. Maybe I should feed him to those critters and save Security the trouble.
“PLEASE, I’m begging you.” He used proper English, which surprised her. She’d expected the dungees to communicate in grunts and growls. But it was the fear and pleading in his voice that made it tough for her to treat him like the animal he was.