Monday, September 9, 2013


Actually, this isn't an accident.

The 1st Five Pages Workshop on the Adventures in YA Publishing blog is so awesome, that I had to sign up again!

Here's my entry:

There aren't any comments yet, but there will be.  I've signed up to have several complete (non-biased) strangers critique my work.  This is a new story I just started this month.  I'm overly excited and can't wait to finish each chapter as it goes along. 

I also can't wait until I don't have to sweat just to take in the laundry hanging on the line.

this makes me laugh
I hope it does the same for you

If for some reason the link above doesn't work, here it my entry below (but you won't get to read how everyone rips on it...such fun!):

Name:  Ann M. Noser

Genre:  Young Adult Dystopian

Title:  WIP with a TIP (work in progress with a title in progress)




Dad died five years ago today. 

It was the worst day of my life. 

It was also my tenth birthday.




My birthday is the worst day of the year.  So far fifteen doesn’t feel any better than fourteen.  Most kids request a vacation pass on their birthday, but not me.  I’d rather forget the whole thing and help Old Gus prepare the chilled bodies in the hospital mortuary.  I jump out of bed and pull on teal blue scrubs.


I scramble for socks and shoes, and a ray of early sunlight glints off my Dad’s picture hanging on the wall.  Once again, his eyes capture mine, as if he needs to tell me something important.  On the floor beneath the photo sits a memory trunk full of how things used to be.  But I won’t open it today.  I just can’t. 


Dishes clink in the kitchen.


“Hurry up, Silvia.  I’ve got a surprise for you.”


Mom sounds happy, but I can’t tell if it’s real or fake.  Since Dad’s death, both of us have done a lot of pretending.  So far this year we’ve been able to avoid Psychotherapy Services and Mandated Medication, but sometimes I think I was sent down to Mortuary Services to push me over the edge.  Instead it was exactly what I needed.  Since I never got to see Dad’s body after the accident, caring for other people’s dead loved ones soothes the empty ache inside.


So does Old Gus.  He always knows what to say to me and what not to say.


Too bad Mom doesn’t have a clue.


I enter the kitchen as she brews green tea. 


“Sit down.”  She turns away.  “Happy birthday.”


I sigh.  “You know I don’t like my birthday.”


“I’m determined to change your mind.”  She forces a smile.  “I planned a big surprise today.”


I tense, expecting her to bust into tears at any moment.  “What is it?”


She raises her eyebrows.  “Well, first of all.  You’ll need to change.”


I glance down at my standard issue medical scrubs.  Things are definitely getting interesting.


Mom pours both of us some tea.  “I got us Park and Art passes today.”


“What if Gus needs me?”  I take a sip of tea.


“Don’t worry.  He knows all about it.  I told him weeks ago.”


“Really?  Gus must be good at keeping secrets.  He never even wished me ‘happy birthday’ yesterday.”  Probably because he knows me better than you do.


“Eat quickly.  We shouldn’t waste the day.”  Mom slides over a bowl of oatmeal and berries and I dig in.


After breakfast, I rush into my room to exchange the work clothes for jeans and a long-sleeved green T-shirt.  All my clothes are soft and plain, without decoration, made by hands like my father’s.  Only Dad proved himself to be Gifted, so he didn’t make Basic Worker Level clothes for long.  Instead, he got promoted.


“Hurry up!” Mom calls from the front door hallway.


We clamber down six flights of stairs in the airless stairwell.  Once we reach the main floor, we push out the airlock into the swarms of people flooding the streets.  Dashing across the busy bike path and an empty car lane, we finally reach the closest walk way.  Traffic is orderly today.  No bikers stray from their lanes into ours.  Men, women, and children wearing blue scrubs of various shades hurry towards the hospitals and medical facilities.  Those in green coveralls rush towards the monorail station to speed off to one of the numerous Plant and Protein Production Facilities. 


A splash of envy hits me as I glance back at a beautiful dark-skinned woman wearing a green turban.  Normally, I don’t mind my job.  In fact, I feel more at home in the mortuary than anywhere else.  But part of me still longs for the lucky woman’s green uniform.  I’d love to spend all day surrounded by plants.  Nothing can be done about it now.  The Occupation Exam is over, and I’ve been placed where I’m most effective.


The street is crowded this time of day.  Men, women, and children whoosh past us on bikes, as those on foot press constantly forward.  Only the car lane remains empty. 


We march past building after building, offices on the first two floors and apartments up above.  We make good time until we hit the Citizen Family Planning and Redistribution Building.  Traffic stalls.  A crowd of walkers fidget in place ahead of us.


“What’s going on?”  Mom cranes her neck and raises up on her toes.  “Can you see?”


After a long pause, the people ahead of us begin to shuffle past the building one at a time.  A few cast furtive glances over their shoulders.  Everyone’s in a hurry to get somewhere.  Now I see who is causing the fuss.  A red-haired girl who looks to be about my age shoves an orderly away.  The crowd behind us pushes us closer.  Tears stream down the girl’s pale face.  She backs away from the building and turns as if to run.  Then she cries out in pain, and clutches her swollen belly, breathing hard.


In her moment of weakness, the orderlies surround and restrain her.   


“I won’t do it!  I won’t do it!” the pregnant girl screams as they drag her away.

---Hello!  It's me again!  Yes, I realize that the pregnant girl is quite young.  That's the point.  You'll need to read on to learn more.---Thanks for reading and have a great day.  Ann. 

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