I am thrilled to bring you an excerpt from Leigh Statham’s upcoming novel Daughter 4254 today as part of the blog tour hosted by Rockstar Book Tours. They are also hosting a fantastic giveaway so be sure to stick around for the details and a chance to enter.
By Leigh Statham
Pub. Date: December 5, 2017
Publisher: Owl Hollow Press
Formats: Paperback, eBook
Daughter4254 used to think life in a community where art, music and names are outlawed would suffocate her creative spirit. Now that she’s rotting in a prison cell, she’s not sure her dying mother made the right choice when she entrusted her with the secrets of rebellion. Prison has given her plenty of time to relive every mistake and lose all hope.
Then she meets Thomas, a fellow inmate, who tells her stories of the mythical mountain colonies where people have names and the arts thrive. Together they plot an escape, knowing if they fail, they will die. Or worse, their consciousness will be taken by the MindWipe, leaving their bodies free for the government to use. When nothing goes as planned, Daughter4254 must choose between using her mother’s secret to better the world she hates, or following Thomas to the quiet life of freedom she has always craved.
The night is fitful, filled with dreams and noises. The first full day is even worse. It’s like being locked in a room full of animals, only I can’t see any of any of them, I can only hear their shuffling, muttering, and occasional outbursts. After so much silence, I’m not prepared to be immersed in this kind of chaos. I keep trying to think of ways to block it out, to dampen it. I even try joining in at one point late in the day, moaning to myself: “Please…uhhhhhnnnnn…just stop!!”
Then I hear the familiar lilt of the voice across the hall.“4254! Oy!” It’s a welcome shout above the din of the other inmates. “I say oy!”
I pull myself from the curled ball on the corner of my cot and peer between the bars to the left, searching for his face. He meets my gaze with a half-cocked grin.
“How did you know what to call me?” I pull my blanket tighter around me. It’s warmer in this block, but not by much.
“They getting to ya? You gonna go as bonkers as your neighbor there if you don’t plug your brain off.” He tips his head toward the woman probably still wearing my hair from the day before.
“What do you mean? And how did you know my number?”
“Oh, I hear a lot of stuff. They think we don’t listen in, that we’re already brain dead ‘cause we’re headed for the wipe, but I hear a lot.” He smiles his wicked grin again and walks away.
“Wait!! Don’t leave me today, please! I know we’re not supposed to be talking, but please!” I feel foolish for begging, but I can’t stand being in such a noisy place with no one speaking to me. It is so much better when I can focus on one voice.
He pops his head back over and holds up a corner of his bed covering. “Don’t worry yer head. I wasn’t going far.” He chuckles at his joke and holds up the sheet. “See this?”
“It’s a sheet,” I say, annoyed at him for making fun of my begging.
“Oh no. It’s not just a sheet. It’s your brain saver. Watch closely and repeat.” He takes the corner and holds it with his teeth while pulling down on one side with both hands. The cloth easily rips at the point he’s biting. He then holds it up and looks it over carefully. “You don’t want to get too much now. About like this.” He marks off a small square with his fingers and repeats the process to tear it free.
“Excellent. We can tear up our bedding to keep us distracted from the real crazy people.”
“No, ya silly girl! Watch!” He takes the square and rolls it up, holding it out for me to see. “You roll it up tight, like this here, and then stick it in your ear. Body boom boom! No more nutters bouncing around yer head. A good night’s sleep and some peace and quiet. Well, almost quiet. You can thank me later.”
“Ah!” I smile at him gratefully. It’s a brilliant idea. I don’t know why I didn’t think of it myself. Father used to wear a similar contraption when he went to the mills to work the saws. Only his was government issued and quite soft, easily formed to the inside of his ear. “That is a trick I will owe you for. What are you called then?”
“That’s all that matters now, eh? Won’t even matter after the wipe.”
Leigh Statham was raised in the wilds of rural Idaho but found her heart in New York City. She worked at many interesting jobs before settling in as a mother and writer.
She now resides in North Carolina with her husband, four children, eight chickens, a fluffy dog, and two suspected serial killer cats.
Leigh is currently working on an MFA, has written countless short stories, and is the author of lots of mediocre poetry. She is also the winner of the 2016 Southeast Review Narrative Nonfiction Prize for her short story “The Ditch Bank and the Fenceline.”
(This giveaway is offered through Rockstar Book Tours)
1 winner will receive a $25 Amazon Gift Card, US Only.
2 winners will receive a finished copy of DAUGHTER 4254, US only.
Full schedule with link available here.