Seeker 5 by Tayma Tameem
Released: April 10, 2020
50% off until July 20 – Price: 9.99 – Sale Price: 5.99
The future world has been ravaged and torn apart by war, with the remaining survivors splitting up into Blocks, ruled over by the Republic, and General Garber Hilstone; the world has changed. With machines taking over most jobs, and the government seeing no need for medicine, or education, only a select few can make a better life for themselves. Deep in the Republic, in F block, Skylar Caellum is preparing herself for the trials, a series of tests meant to find the best of the best, knowing only those who can survive the physical and mental challenges of the trials, can make it to the next level and be a part of the Seeker 5, engineers who have to be both fit and intelligent. If she survives, she knows she’ll end up living the high life in Block A, along with her family, who have already suffered much, with the loss of her father and brother to the tyrannical rule of the Republic. But Skylar needs to be careful.
She knows the only way to win the game is to play by the rules, and survive until the next morning, even if it goes against what she believes. Along with her best friend, Brent Lockmore, they have no choice but to navigate the trials and hope they live long enough to make it past the first level. Together.
CHARACTER GUEST POST
Five percent of the population meant that the government knew it was the right number to guarantee the efficient usage of resources. This way, they exercised complete control over the number of people who were employed and managed to maintain their lifestyle.
Privately, Skylar didn’t like the numbers, and she didn’t think it was fair that one governing body was left with the power to decide the fate of so many others, practically most of the population, but she had known this for a while, having kept her ear pressed to the ground, and hungry for any kind of information regarding the trial.
Run! She repeated the word over and over in her head as if somehow it would will her small legs to move faster, the very notion allowing her to hurl through the air at lightning speed, unstoppable, a blur of movement. But Skylar Caellum knew it wasn’t possible. No matter how fast she forced herself to go, her legs aching with fatigue, and her muscles screaming at her to slow down, her lungs burning with effort, each breath feeling like a chore, she was never going to be fast enough. She already knew this like she knew the sun would continue its march through the sky, but she still had to try. Her bare feet pounded against the floor, leaves crunching underneath her feet, and the thick smell of mulch and stagnant water filling her nostrils. Large trees were on either side of her, blocking out the sun, and making it difficult to figure out which direction she was headed. But not for her. She knew this forest like the back of her hand, had practically been raised in the thick of it, in the midst of the shrubbery with the hard works, and the wildflowers that sprouted out of the ground. Even the trees felt like familiar landmarks, having witnessed her grow from a baby into a ten-year-old child. A loud crunch made her heart thud against her chest, and her head snapped backward, scanning the area around her for the source of the noise, her eyes dancing wildly around the terrain before she squeezed her eyes shut, sucked in a deep breath and forced herself to keep moving. Keep going. You can’t stop. The hair rose on the back of her neck, and sweat poured down her back, making her shirt cling to her wiry frame. She clenched her hands into fists at her side, her chestnut brown hair whipping behind her, stray dark strands matted to her face, and her hazel eyes narrowed in concentration. Just a little longer. The familiar smell of the forest around her, of the mountain bells and firewood, scents she could identify in her sleep did little to soothe her or to slow down her racing heart. Skylar’s foot caught on an overgrown branch, and she curled in on herself, her head tucked inward as she landed on the other side with a loud oomph, banging her knee against the floor. Tears sprung to her eyes, but she blinked hard and forced them back, scrambling up to her feet as she did. For a few seconds, she limped, sharp jabs of pain racing up her leg, but eventually, the adrenaline kicked in, and she was sprinting again, holding on for dear life. Overheard, a loud siren boomed, startling a flock of birds in the trees nearby, and she tilted her head back, watching as they soared, their bright-colored wings flapping until they disappeared, swallowed by the foliage. Her hands flew to her ears, and she shook her head back and forth, slowly at first, then faster until she abruptly stopped. In one quick movement, she burst through the trees, and onto the asphalt pavement, weaving in and out of the throngs of people and the cluster of buildings on either side of her. Half of them were completely destroyed, nothing but bits and pieces of rubble and ash, while others were barely upright, the top half having already been demolished in the last bomb shelling. People jostled past her in a state of panic and disarray, tattered clothes hanging off of their bony forms and with identical gaunt expressions on their faces. Skylar kept her eyes fixed ahead, trying to avoid looking at them with everything in her. Up ahead, she spotted a familiar head of golden hair, crouched on the floor, with her head ducked. She pushed past the crowd that was forming a semi-circle in the middle of the street with tears staining their cheeks. Suddenly, a loud wail pierced through the air, and Skylar gave a startled gasp of surprise, the scream tearing right through her, full of agony and misery. She dropped to her knees and crawled through the crowd, swallowing past the lump in her throat and the knots of dread forming in her stomach. Finally, she reached her mother who was bent over her little brother, Kyle, rocking him back and forth, muffled sobs escaping through pressed lips. “Mom,” Skylar whispered. “What’s wrong?” Joanne Caellum looked up, her dark eyes bloodshot and filled with disbelief. She stared at Skylar, dazed and unfocused before she snapped to attention and reached for Skylar, pressing both of her children to her chest. Skylar squirmed and looked over her mother’s shoulder, at the trail of corpses littering the street, covered in the ceremonial black sheets. All around her, the sound of wailing filled her ears, the underlying stench of decay making her stomach recoil. These were the people who hadn’t survived the trails. “Where’s Liam?” Skylar asked, fear coloring her tone. A quick burst of energy tore through her as she forced herself out of her mother’s grasp and searched the faces of the corpses, her heart hammering against her chest as she did. All at once, she skidded to a halt, the sight of his dark head of hair and eyes closed peacefully forcing her to her knees, a sob caught in her throat. “You were supposed to survive.” With as much tenderness as she could muster, she pushed her older brother’s hair out of his face and bent her head, her mouth moving in a wordless chant. Moments later, she staggered to her feet and threw herself at her mother, the three of them clutching each other for everything they were worth. Out of the corner of her eye, she spotted her father, tall and grim, his inky black hair whipping wildly around his face, and his bright eyes heavy with sadness. He crouched over one of the bodies and grunted, helping the man opposite him. One by one, the bodies were carried out using gurneys. They would be laid to rest in the small plot on the edge of the city, a makeshift cemetery with far too many bodies to hold. “Look away, Skylar,” Joanna urged, her voice thick with emotion. “Look away, my love.”
About the Author: Tayma Tameem is an author that writes the kind of stories she wants to read. She’s not looking to be the next mainstream author with predictable titles. She wants to wow you, surprise you, and make you think while you read her books. Despite living a happy—though ordinary—life, she’s always coming up with new ideas and intriguing stories. She hopes you’ll find her books to be an escape from the mundane bits of everyday life.