The Star Dwellers Synopsis:
After rescuing her father and younger sister, Adele is forced to leave her family and Tristan behind to find her mother in the cruel and dangerous realm of the star dwellers.
Amidst blossoming feelings for Adele, Tristan must cast his feelings aside and let her find her own way amongst the star dwellers, while he accompanies Adele's father to meet with the leaders of the moon dwellers and decide the fate of the Tri-Realms.
Will Adele be able to rescue her mother and make it back to the Moon Realm before the President and the sun dweller soldiers destroy her family?
Can Tristan convince the moon dweller puppets of the error of their ways?
Was Adele's lost kiss with Tristan her one and only chance at love?
In her world there's only one rule: Someone must die
“C’mon,” I hiss. “Don’t just stand there.”
We hear a shout from the city. I whirl around to see a half-dozen troops wearing sky-blue uniforms with bright yellow star insignias patched on the shoulders running toward us. Star dwellers. They have guns and we are sitting ducks.
Roc cries out and starts running. I wait for him to pass me before I chase after him, preferring to defend the rear. Maybe I’m not a born leader like Ben, but I can fight.
We get around the building without being shot at, probably because the troops know they can pick us off one by one on the open slab between the city and reservoir. Pushing Roc and Elsey behind him, Ben barks, “Tristan—I’ll take the first three, you get the last three.” I jerk my head down in a quick nod. He knows what I can do, and I know what he is capable of. But we still need a miracle.
Although we haven’t run far, I can already feel the heat of the adrenaline pumping through my veins. My muscles are tense and slightly shaky, but not in a bad way. I am ready. I was born for this. I’ve trained for this all my life. This is our world. I slide my sword out of its sheath.
It’s not always good to be fast. The fastest star dweller trooper rounds the bend first, wrongly assuming that we are still running out in front of him. Before the guy has any idea what’s happening, Ben’s knee is thrust in his midsection and he’s sprawled out on the rock, wheezing. The next one should be more prepared, but she’s not, and evidently Ben has no qualms about hitting a girl, particularly when she’s carrying a gun and trying to kill us. He takes her head off with an uppercut that will leave her senseless for hours. I am starting to think he might take out all six on his own.
But he runs into trouble on the third trooper, who realizes something isn’t right. Rather than barreling around the corner like his friends, this guy leads with the black nozzle of his gun, which is blindly pointed right into Ben’s chest. With a grunt, Ben grabs the nozzle and thrusts it downwards at his feet. The guy pulls the trigger.
As close as I am to the gun, its roar echoes in my ears, momentarily deafening me. However, I don’t need to see Ben’s face to know he’s hit. His mouth is agape and his eyes are closed as he continues to grapple with the guy with the gun. Even in the dim lighting I can make out the glossy sheen of blood spilling from his leg.
I have to help him.
I don’t have time.
The final three troops—my responsibility—charge around the corner after hearing the gunshot. Two girls, one guy. Despite the favorable gender ratio, I don’t relax. I’ve seen what Adele can do. Perhaps there are other moon and star dweller women who are similarly capable. Perhaps they are all that capable. Probably not—Adele is amazing—but still, I don’t underestimate these women.
They are all in a cluster—one in front, two on either side and behind—which is good for me. It makes them a single target rather than three. The one in front wants to shoot me. She takes aim at my head while running at me. I anticipate the explosion and dive for the stone slab.
The gunshot sounds dull and thin to my deafened ears, but I know I avoided the shot because I don’t feel anything. Not even a pinch. Just a twinge of pain as my forearms and then hips and then back skid across the stone. I come out of the intentional roll at full speed, ducking under my attacker’s gun, which she tries to jab me with. I am too close to use my sword, so I crash straight into her, rocking her back and into her two friends.
We go down in a heap on the ground, me on top, then the shooter, then her two friends. If we were a sandwich, the shooter would be the meat in the middle, or the cheese perhaps. I’m the top layer of bread and her friends are the bottom crust. Apart from a few bruises and scrapes, everyone in the sandwich is unhurt, so I push to my feet and kick the metaphorical cheese in the head. Her eyes roll back and her tongue lolls out as she tumbles off the pile.
The other two were so surprised by my attack that they’ve dropped their guns. I pick up one of the weapons and aim it in their general direction. They raise their hands above their heads while still lying prostrate on the rock. Their eyes widen as they see me—really see me for the first time. They know who I am; at the end of the day, whether I like it or not, I’m still a celebrity.
We don’t have time for prisoners, so I move in close and give each a moderate-strength tap on the head with the butt of the gun.
My job finished, I spin around and survey the scene before me. It’s not good. Ben is on the ground, clutching his wounded leg and bleeding from the side of his head—his ear I think. A gun lies discarded a few feet away, but out of his reach. The last remaining soldier has his sword out and is waving it wildly at Roc, who stands in front of Elsey with his own sword, protecting her from the onslaught. Roc’s a maniac, growling between bared teeth and blocking each attack with a fervor I’ve been trying to get out of him for weeks. He’s a man possessed.
As I consider my options, I watch as Roc blocks another sword stroke and then flicks his wrist, rapidly slipping his own blade around his opponent’s weapon, slashing him on the hand. The guy cries out and drops his sword as blood spills from his mangled thumb. Dashing forward, Roc lands a hard kick to the guy’s gut, knocking him onto his back. I’ve got to hand it to him—Roc looks amazing, a mere shadow of his former timid self.
But he’s not done yet. He strides forward, his face awash with fury, his sword raised high above his head.
With no time to think, I rush ahead, closing the distance in three long strides. Roc thrusts his blade to the ground and I dive.
My hearing returns just in time to appreciate the full extent of the impact of metal on metal, as I slap Roc’s blade away from the downed soldier.
From the ground, I look up at my best friend. Roc stares back at me with horror and anguish, his teeth no longer bared, his eyebrows no longer fierce. All strength sapped from him, he’s just a scared teenager again. “I’m…I’m sorry,” he says weakly.
“Roc, it’s okay. You were just doing what you needed to.”
“But I…I didn’t need to kill him.” His brown-skinned face is ashen, appearing paler than I have ever seen it.
“Only because you…” He trails off.
“It doesn’t matter how,” I say. “It’s over.”
From beside me on the ground, the soldier sucks the air sharply through his teeth, grimacing in pain and clutching at his severed thumb. “What are you going to do with me?” he asks.
In one swift motion, I snap my elbow across his skull, delivering another knockout blow. He slumps over and becomes still.
About the Author: David Estes was born in El Paso, Texas but moved to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania when he was very young. He grew up in Pittsburgh and then went to Penn State for college. Eventually moved to Sydney, Australia where he met his wife. A reader all his life, he began writing novels for the children's and YA markets in 2010. He´s a writer with OCD, a love of dancing and singing (but only when no one is looking or listening), a mad-skilled ping-pong player, and prefers writing at the swimming pool to writing at a table.