After a traumatic betrayal, two lifelong friends are torn apart.
Drew and Calvin grew up together in the Futuristic city of Chreos. A debt-fueled dystopia where the rich own the poor. As orphans they relied on each other to survive, but as Drew falls deeper into drug addiction things change between them.
When Drew’s shady corporate employer asks him to blow up the factory that Calvin works in, he has no choice but to go through with it. Unknowingly setting off a chain of events that will force Calvin and him to work together to change the lives of every citizen in Chreos.
Lapse is the perfect book for any science fiction fan and makes a great gift for the young adult reader. Follow Drew and Calvin as they navigate their way through a post-apocalyptic world in this fast-paced action thriller.
Targeted Age Group:: 17+
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
I lost my job during the pandemic and suddenly had a lot of free time. The book is related to my life in a lot of ways, and most of the characters are based on people that are close to me. It helped me to relieve a lot of stress in my personal life and I really enjoyed writing it.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
The two main characters are based on myself and my brother, a third character is based on my girlfriend. I didn't realize this until after I created them and after that they just sorta stuck.
Chapter 1 – Calvin
"Welcome aboard train two-thirty-six," says a monotone female voice through the speaker above us. The doors slide shut with a faint whir. "We will arrive at station thirty-two in fifteen minutes."
I let out a long sigh and try to get comfortable in the hard plastic mold that the transit authority deems a chair. Following Drew here was a big mistake. He promised me this would be a quick pickup, but once we left, it turned out to be much more than that. Should I just go back? No, it's too late. We're already half-way across the city, and I can feel the anticipation of a long awaited release tingling in my gut. Drew looks over at me and sneers,
"Look man, I’m having fun tonight whether you’re in or out."
"Alright I’m in but I’ve only got enough for about half the night," I say.
"Fuck sakes Calvin, I’ll spot you this time but you’re paying me back." He’s pissed, but he’ll do it. Much better than getting messed up alone, I guess.
A stale silence fills the air.
A few moments pass and I begin to analyse small details around me. Something I often do when I’m nervous. The train is spotless as usual. The people, however, are filthy. Mostly vagrants and drug addicts trying to kill time until either the next hit, or the last one. Outside the window, tunnel lights flash by at a steady pace. Everyone on the train is motionless. The only movement is the commercial playing on the row of televisions along the back wall.
The bright colors of the ads catch my eye against the white backdrop. It’s for some big food production company. The people in these things are always so bubbly and happy. It’s hard to believe that they eat the same food as us. I rest my head against the window and watch the tunnel lights go by.
Just as I’m nodding off, the train bursts out of the tunnel. The fluorescent lights of the station flood through the window, hitting me like a brick wall. I wait for my eyes to adjust while the same female voice from before comes through the speaker.
"We have arrived at station thirty-six. Thank you for choosing Metro Trains for your transportation needs." The doors whir open and Drew and I get off. As we walk away, I hear a faint "Welcome aboard train two-thirty-six," and the doors slide shut.
The station looks very similar to the inside of the train. White glimmering walls dimmed slightly by age. There are televisions placed at eye level on each side of the polished supporting pillars. I keep my head down to avoid the screens. Several small half spherical shaped cleaning bots scutter around my feet. They buff the floor behind us as we continue towards the exit. I guess they don’t have anything better to do. The stations can be pretty busy during the day. At night, however, they mostly occupy down on their luck citizens looking for shelter from the elements. When it gets late, it becomes the perfect way to get around for people like Drew and I.
I decide to break the silence, as we walk up the stairs.
"Did you get a hold of anyone?" I ask.
"Yeah, but he’s still pretty far; we’ll have to get a ride," he says.
"I’ve never used him before so keep your guard up."
"What do you mean you’ve never used him before? You said this was supposed to be an easy pick up?" I confront him.
"If you really wanna be a baby about it, then you can sit in the car and wait for me," he snaps, while pulling out his phone.
Great. I just wanted to enjoy myself, but now who knows what could happen. We exit the station and step out onto boardwalk street, right next to the harbour. As Drew orders an E-Cab, I look out at all the lights across the ocean bay and wonder if The Capitol looks as beautiful up close as it does from here. Not that I will ever see it in person. The city of Chreos likes to be selective in who it allows in The Capitol. The inspection fees and permits alone would make it quite an expensive vacation, and far out of anyone in the Western District’s reach.
"Cabs here," says Drew and I turn around to see a small black mag-lev car smoothly come to a halt on the sidewalk. We climb in and Drew types the address into the brightly lit screen on the dash. The car hums gently and starts heading to a part of the city I’ve done my best to avoid.
"You sure you trust this guy?" I say.
"It doesn't matter!" He yells, obviously frustrated.
"We don't have a choice! I need something now, and he’s the only one that responded to my IM." He looks down at his shaky hands.
"Maybe we should just head back, I could try getting a hold of that guy we met last time," I say. Now would be my last chance to back out of this whole situation.
"Jesus, Calvin. I don’t have time for your pussy footing. You’re in or you're out. I’m going either way." He gets in the E-cab.
I stare at the open door for a moment. Drew’s been developing a problem with anything he can get his hands on lately, and I’m starting to think I can’t trust his judgement anymore. I really should leave, but the call of escape and the discount he offers are all together too appealing to pass up. I climb in and shut the door.
Our Car zips effortlessly through the sky, crossing the east mag-lev bridge and taking us into an area a little less bright than the one we came from.
Drew gets noticeably nervous as the car touches ground. Chewing his fingernails and tapping his knee. I can tell that he needs it. He climbs out of the car and turns back to me.
"Wait here," he says and shuts the door, continuing up the driveway. After a light knock, the front door of the house screeches open and a tall man wearing a bandana over the lower portion of his face invites him inside. Another screech, and the door slams shut.
Although we spoke very little on the ride, the car somehow seems quieter now that I am alone. The silence draws out the faint hum of the engine and the subtle buzz of energy being drawn from the battery. I find it relaxing and analyze the house that Drew just entered. It's in rough shape and most likely abandoned. The porch roof sags slightly in the center and a few of the windows have been boarded up. In the tattered yard sits an old rusty swing set, and just behind it a roughly built stone garden. It's empty, except for a few dead weeds. You can tell someone once loved this place.
The front door creaks open and Drew stumbles out. He's in a hurry. My anxiety levels spike as he runs back to the e-cab and gets in.
"Put in an address," he snaps.
"Where do you wanna go?" I reply, unsure of what is happening.
"I don’t care, just do it." He barks, practically tearing open his backpack. I type in the train station's address while he flicks his knife open and works on something under the cover of his bag. I finish typing and the car comes to life. Address confirmed appears on the screen and I look up to see Drew wide eyed and smiling, as if the devil himself possessed him. The front door of the house creaks open again. Before I get the chance to turn around, I hear a loud bang come from somewhere behind us. The car begins moving. Another bang, this one much louder. I feel a hand grab the back of my neck and push me down.
"Keep your head under the seat" screams Drew. I look over to see him ducking down as well, his head shoved into his backpack. Another bang. This one, however, much fainter. As the car continues moving, I hear a man screaming something indistinguishable in the distance. Terrified, I wait a few minutes before I peek over the edge of the window. Street lights flicker by.
The car becomes as silent as when I was alone. The constant pulse of the other mag-lev cars working in perfect unison hums in the background. Piecing together some larger puzzle of perfect traffic efficiency. The steady rhythm relaxes me and I feel my heart rate slow. As I huddle between the seat and the dashboard, I realize what just happened and look over at Drew. He has never looked so happy. His eyes are wide and glossy, betraying his intoxication.
"We did it, Calvin," he exclaims.
"What did WE do, Drew?" My nerves tense up as I anxiously reach for his backpack. He grips it harder and bites his lower lip. I give him a nasty glare, but he won’t look at me. I reach for the bag again.This time I get a firm grip and violently rip it from his hands. Inside it is a small clear plastic bag with jagged cuts along the side. It contains a large white brick of what we came here for. Lapse. Enough of it to get us killed. I look at Drew in shock. He grins and takes back the bag.
"More for me, I guess," he shrugs, and reaches into it for another hit. The car grows silent, and my heart starts to race again. I stare out the window and try to think of my best possible way out of this situation.
We're a few blocks away from the train station when the E-cab shudders harshly. The hum of the engine dies down slowly and the car goes into emergency mode. Flashing red lights and a blinking sign warn us to exit. Once we are outside, I notice a large patch of holes near the back of the car. There are small oily drops beading off of them and falling to the pavement below.
"So, you want a hit?" asks Drew slyly, I glare back.
"What were you thinking?" I blurt out "They'll come looking for us!" I’m shouting now. I feel the anger surging through me as I realise he risked my life just to dope himself up for the next few weeks. He says nothing just smiles, zips up his bag, and saunters off down the road. Lapse has a powerful effect, and I know there will be no reasoning with him. I watch him go. Drew was the last of my friends from childhood, the only thing reminding me of who I used to be. Now it’s just me.
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