Genre: YA Alternate History
Word Count: 76,000
After losing every friend and relative in the unnatural Appalachian earthquake of 1888, Josiah Turn unknowingly becomes the last member of first- and second-generation Confederate War slave-mutants capable of changing everything.
My sister’s voice is better than any old rooster for waking me in the morn. I squeeze my eyes against the day as her words jumble in my sleepy head, but Dad’s tone cuts in like a skinning knife.
“Now, girl, if I want your brother to know, I’ll tell him.”
“He’ll not hear from me.”
My mind’s churning ways I can corner Sharon later. I still my body so they’ll not learn I’m awake.
“But he ought to hear it from you. Today, Daddy.” Oh my stars and stripes forever! She’s about to catch it.
“I’m not putting that on him.” He sounds weary. “Wish you didn’t know either. Your mama and I wanted you kids to have peace in your young days. We never wanted you lot to suffer our worries.”
“We’re both old enough to do some good,” Sharon says.
“You’ll help by keeping to yourself and your work. Watch the smaller ones and don’t let Josiah cross General Bryant. I’ll warn him about the cave, but he won’t hear me.”
The house goes still for a piece of time before Dad steps out. Maybe I ought to get up and see about all this, but I hear the scuttle of younger feet and know the day’s begun. So, I watch my own eyelids. I turn Dad’s words in my mind.
“Up, up! Y’all need a bite before you go out into the world,” Sharon says, cheerful as a lark. “You two go get more kindling, won’t you?”