Schism, the first book in a new dystopian trilogy series, is a story in which a virus kills everybody in the world over the age of 13. We watch a group of friends struggle to survive in this new world. The author of Schism, Britt Holewinski, is a former CIA agent.
I recommend Schism for both teens and parents. I could not put it down and am eagerly waiting for the second book of the series. Schism is selling on Amazon for only $2.99.
An excerpt from Schism – Chapter 15
After passing through the end of the dark and dingy tunnel, Andy emerged onto the field and was greeted by the jeering crowd. In the distance, the latest victim of “One Shot” was being draggedoff by two of the referees. As she crossed the field, she passed her opponent who was waiting for her to get into position. Tall and broad-shouldered, he gave her a cold look of indifference before reloading his weapon.
Her heart was pounding so fast that she could feel the blood pulse through her head, her neck, and even the arteries in her wrists. The noise of the crowd behind her was thunderous. Her eardrums were not accustomed to the onslaught, and a sudden flash of her discussion with Morgan months earlier in New Mexico resurfaced.
Where could everyone be?
Everyone was in Los Angeles, where more than fifty thousand people had flocked to the Coliseum and were now cheering in anticipation of her death.
Daylight was long gone, but the lights of the stadium kept the field well lit. As she approached midfield, Andy swore she heard someone calling out her name. Her eyes darted all around, but there were too many people. Or her nerves had tricked her hearing. In her right hand still handcuffed to her left, she held the pistol. A referee approached her and snatched it out of her hands. As he placed one round in the chamber, her eyes narrowed on him with a mixture of contempt and disbelief.
“You like watching people die? Haven’t you seen enough death?”
The referee smirked as he handed her back her pistol and quickly returned to the sidelines.
Alone amongst thousands, Andy looked up at the scoreboard. It still read “00:58” from the end of the previous round. She moved slowly past midfield, her heart pumping two hundred beats a minute.
This is how I die…
Her palms were sweating profusely, and she switched the pistol from her right hand to her left to dry her trigger hand on the jeans she’d been wearing for four days.
I will die in these clothes…these dirty jeans, this filthy shirt…my hands bound together like an animal…
As her palm pressed firmly against the right front pocket, she felt something small and hard by the outer seam. As she continued her death march to the ten-yard line, she reached inside and retrieved a small object. When she looked to see what it was, she stopped. It was a single bullet. She had shoved it into her pocket during her last hunting trip in Colorado, where it had remained hidden.
The tiny object created such an intense spark of hope as an idea formed in her mind. Careful not to be seen by one of the referees, she stuck the bullet inside her mouth underneath her tongue. Then she marched, more quickly now, to her position on the ten-yard line.
Before turning to face her opponent and the surrounding crowd, she closed her eyes and took a deep breath. When she opened her eyes and saw the scoreboard, it read “02:00.”
As Andy crossed the fifty-yard line, the noise of the crowd swelled. Ben cried out her name three times before giving up. His view of the field was blocked as people’s arms started flailing about. Frantic, he shoved his way between the spectators to get closer to the field, but the first four rows were packed so tightly that it was impossible to go any further.
With time running out, Ben made a split-second decision and scrambled toward the aisle and up the staircase to a less crowded row. He shot a quick look at the press box above him and saw that there were people inside. Probably the unseen controllers of the game. While crossing from Section 9 to 8, he saw Andy approach the ten-yard line. There wasn’t enough time. He weaved through the crowd to Section 7, cursing at people who refused to move.
The scoreboard flickered “02:00.”
He escaped to the outer edge of the crowd at midfield. As he turned and bounded down the stairs dividing Section 7 in half, he heard the first shot of gunfire, then many more in rapid succession. A riotous roar exploded from the crowd. Panicking, he looked up and saw Andy lying on the ground, unmoving.
Collapsing to the ground as his rifle fell beside him, Ben’s shoulders slumped and began to quiver.
When the first shot went off, Andy bolted to the right, immediately aimed at the opponent, and released her single round. She continued to sprint as a burst of fire flew at her. A bullet grazed her back, but adrenaline masked any pain. She fell to the ground, rolled over once in the overgrown grass, and came to a stop on her right side.
As the crowd roared, she maneuvered the bullet inside her mouth and spat it out. With the pistol still in her right hand, she retrieved the bullet with her left. She discreetly exposed the gun’s chamber and inserted the bullet.
She sensed someone approaching but forced her eyes to stare straight ahead into a dead-man’s gaze. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw feet approaching. It had to be the opponent, the large, husky young man. He was within yards of her now.
Two more steps…
Then like a jack-in-the-box, she sprung upright and faced her opponent squarely and so quickly that he didn’t react. Her arms were already outstretched with the front sight of the pistol aimed directly at his forehead. She pulled the trigger.
The sound of the bullet shattered the drone of the crowd.
The opponent flew violently backward and fell to the ground with an audible thud. The shot had struck right between the eyes.
A strange silence fell over the stadium. Even she sat frozen for a long moment, her arms still holding the pistol in the same position she’d fired it. A voice inside her head urged her to move. She scrambled to her feet, awkwardly tucked the pistol into the side of her jeans, and grabbed the rifle lying next to the dead man.
Suddenly, gunfire erupted off to her left, disrupting her tunnel vision. Her head spun wildly around.
The sound of her name was jarring until she realized it was Ben heading toward her after he mortally wounded two referees to reach her. He grabbed her left arm and pulled her toward the end zone behind her, but the sight of him paralyzed her.
“Ben! What…?” she stammered.
But there was no time. He yanked at her arm again more forcefully. “Run, Andy! Run!”
Regaining her senses, her feet began to move, and she followed closely behind him as he ran under the goal post and up the steps leading to the center arch beneath the Olympic Rings.
The remaining referees ran after them as the unruly crowd began spilling over the sides of the barrier and onto the field. They scrambled up the steps as the referees began firing after them with their own weapons, each widely missing his mark. At the top of the steps, Ben continued to sprint beyond the outer gate with Andy only mere strides behind. He looked back once to check that she was keeping up with him.
At the top of the steps was a locked gate with a single padlock. Ben took aim and fired at it twice, but it remained intact. “Dammit!” he growled before firing once more. The lock broke and he shoved the gate open.
Andy looked back and saw the shadows of people reaching the top of the steps. “Go!” she yelled. More shots were fired as they ran through a cluster of trees off to their left, concealing them briefly in the darkness.
They sprinted nearly a mile, weaving through the streets of the campus until they reached Ben’s truck. Minutes later, they were heading north on I-110 and exiting onto the San Bernardino Freeway. Finally safe, the city passed by them in the dark. Neither spoke for many miles. They turned north onto I-15 and left the City of Angels behind.
You can find Schism on Amazon for $2.99.