About Gods of Blood and Bone:
I never wanted to become a Player in the Game, never intended for any of this to happen. I was content with my ordinary, invisible existence among the millions of civilians crowding my city. But the monstrous creators of the Game forced me to Play, and I'm the type to cling to life by the tips of my bloody fingernails.
At first, I was enamored by the ability to augment everything about myself−to become smarter, stronger, prettier...better. But after my teleportation to that first Trial−a death tournament held on a beautiful, vicious alien world−I would have done anything to escape the Game.
I needed power to protect myself and those I cared about from the Game and its creators, so I took it. But every deadly choice I made along the way eroded not only what once made me weak, but what also made me human.
— Eve Redding
The electrical immobilizers clamped on my wrists and ankles caused the areas around them to burn with a strangely tingling sensation. It felt like touching my tongue to the tip of a nine-volt battery.
I tried to arch my back and kick out, and the sensation spread violently, causing my muscles to go rigid-limp against my will. I whimpered against the rubber-tasting patch covering my mouth, and tried to imbue some rage into the glare I leveled at my captors. The masked woman chuckled at me. The other one, a man, placed a large metal case on the ground and unlocked it with the hissing sound of hydraulics.
“Please, you said I’d get a Seed. Can I have it now?” the boy said, desperation lacing his voice.
I turned my glare on their sniveling accomplice. How could I have been so stupid? I should have ignored his fake distress, like everyone else. I’d almost done so, but then he met my eyes, his own pitiful and full of fear. He’d mouthed, “help” at me. So I’d walked into the alley.
And here I was now, bound and gagged by two masked people. A large transport vehicle had pulled up to oh-so-conveniently hide the mouth of the alley, and thus my current predicament, from the people on the street. They probably wouldn’t have helped, anyway. Strangers would take one look at the girl being abducted by masked, vaguely military-looking people, and scurry on with their eyes firmly pointed to the gray pavement. Gotta get to work. Lucky to be among the steadily decreasing percentage with a job. No time to deal with other people’s problems.
The boy looked away from me and snatched eagerly at something in the silent man’s outstretched hand. “I’m sorry,” he mumbled to me. “I wish I was stronger.” Then he shuddered and unclenched his fist around a little glass ball, which dropped to the ground.
“What do you think you’re doing? Pick that up!” the woman hissed. “You can’t leave stuff like that just lying around. There can’t be any evidence we were here. None.”
The boy gulped and snatched it back up, then met my eyes again. “I had to. I didn’t have a choice. You don’t know what it’s like.” His voice dropped to a whisper, and his chin quivered a bit. “But you will.”
“Shut up,” the man spoke for the first time, drawing something from his metal case and stepping ominously over to me.
At that, I tried once more to move my useless body. My muscles locked themselves into a painful half-relaxation, and though the force of my scream burned my throat, it came out of my nose weak and muffled.
The man bent over me and jammed a pen-sized piece of metal into my leg. It pierced the skin, and a second later he withdrew it and handed it to the woman, who plugged the other end into the side of a clunky link pad.
My breath heaved out of my lungs, and my eyes opened painfully wide, but every attempt at movement only forced me to lie more and more still.
The screen of the pad popped up with my face, under my name, Eve Redding, and a slew of other data.
What the hell? It was me in a white hospital gown—the same picture I’d had taken a few months before, when people had come to do a surprise, school-wide medical examination. We’d been told it was to ensure none of the students had communicable diseases. Why did they have that picture?
I swallowed. In a situation like this, there could be no good reason.
About Azalea Ellis:
Azalea is also an artist, so perhaps she just likes taking things from her head and bringing them to life. Because of her artistic background, she's lucky enough to also be able to do all of her own book covers, and does freelance illustration when she feels like it.
She's fascinated by almost everything, and wishes she could live to be a thousand, so she would have time to learn and do everything she wants.