Taken from “The Evaporation of Sofi Snow” by Mary Weber Copyright © 2017 by Mary Christine Weber. Used by permission of http://www.thomasnelson.com/.
The ice-planet arrived in the dusky heat of summer twilight during Earth’s Fourth World War. Just when the moon’s jeweled fingers were slipping through that one broken slat in the barn roof that Papa always said he’d fix but never did. The same slat through which he’d pointed out Ella’s favorite star to Sofi and her brother, Shilo.
As if everything within Papa’s wrecked heart was trying to keep their focus off Earth’s brutality by reminding them of their half sister’s spot in the heavenly skies. As if their forsaken little hearts needed any reminding of where her spot—or their mother’s—should be.
“Shh.” Papa put a finger to his lips and beckoned Sofi over to watch the planet settle in place. “I won’t let anyone harm you. See how it’s moving across the moon?”
Six-year-old Sofi mimicked him to her brother, putting her own finger to her lips. “Shh. They’re coming, Shi, but we won’t let them harm you.” To which baby Shilo spit and giggled before swatting at a firefly.
Sofi pulled his tiny hand into hers as the sinister globe stopped a good distance beyond the moon—and
Uncomfortably too close to Earth. To them. To their little broken-slatted barn that sat planted like a patch of sumac right on the decimated border of Old North Carolina and the rest of the starving, war-ravaged world.
“Planet Delon” the broadcasters had called it.
“The Delonese Death” was what her expatriate neighbor, Mr. Watte, was calling it.
“The blasted planet from the pit of you know where” was what Sofi had decided to call it . . .
That had been years ago.
Eleven to be exact.
But now here she was . . .
Standing in the same place, same barn—just missing a few walls—with Shilo.
Still calling it that.
A sudden rustling emerged from the overgrown bushes, causing Sofi to glance around.
“You think it’s the tech buyer?” Shilo’s twelve-year-old voice cracked mid whisper.
She peered into the dark. “I don’t know, but if I tell you to run for the hover, you run.”
He looked insulted. “And ditch? More like I’ll kick whoever’s sorry bu—”
A boy emerged. Two boys in fact, each barely older than she was. Clearly drugged up. Skin and bones. Like many in the populations being “overseen” by the United World Corporations. The bigger kid held out a broken-tipped knife and Shilo slid in front of Sofi—never mind she was half-a-head taller than her brother.
Sofi scowled. She shouldn’t have let him coerce her into bringing him. Especially for the thrill of earning a few extra bucks off her old tech devices.