Name: Stephanie S.
Title: The End World.
Eighteen-year-old Lana will do anything to honor her father, killed the day he discovered The End World, a devastated parallel planet. So, when Earth calls for prodigies to study and rebuild The End World, Lana packs up her kick-ass attitude and F-bomb slippery tongue to become a Spinner, traveling between the two worlds and escorting researchers throughout the devastated landscape.
Appointed as the youngest Headsquad, she agrees to set up a truce with the survivors' leader, but when she learns he’s the one who killed her father, she’s faced with a gut-ripping choice: follow orders and develop peace, or avenge her father’s death and risk war.
“They’ll get through in 30 seconds or less,” Sal yelled from the door.
My dad perked up, almost falling in the process as his muscles gave out, still not thawed all the way.
“Done!” He turned away, a radiant smile on his face when an intermittent beep came over the speakers. A pop-up message appeared on the screen. “Oh no! No no no,” my father cursed, his brow
wrinkled. “Don’t you do this to me!” Still he typed frantically. His shoulder slouched and I knew it wasn’t a good sign.
“What is it?” I asked pushing him out of the way. I read the message.
Override command accepted. Manual sequence required.
“Dad, what does it mean?” He didn’t respond. I shook his shoulder. “What does it mean?”
He looked at me, his face grave. “Someone needs to stay. By using the backdoor and overriding Hawson’s codes, I made it impossible for the automatic sequencer to kick-in. Someone needs to be left behind. I’m sorry.”
Alex stepped forward. “I’ll stay. Just tell me what to do,” he nodded. I loved him for it.
“No you’re not! They’ll kill you!” I stepped in front of him, my hand on his chest. He grabbed my hand lightly and kissed it.
”Someone needs to stay. You both need to go. Your dad is the only proof that what you say is true. I’m not even sure I’ll get through. For all we know, my double is alive on the other side.”
“But it’s worth a try.” I exclaimed. I wasn’t about to lose him again. “And we need you to prove that a truce is possible. You will be the first survivor to ever see Earth.”
Sal appeared, no longer guarding the door. “She is Headsquad, Sam is needed, Alex you are mandatory. I’m not. I stay behind.”
The voices on the other side of the wall were getting louder. The hissing had stopped and the pounding had restarted. This meant one thing, they were a few metal threads away from breaking in.
My dad and Alex ran to the center of the room. My eyes anchored on Sal’s, tears already blurring his image. I hugged him for a second that was way too short.
“I love you Lana,” he whispered in my ear.
But before I could say anything, Alex grabbed my hand. “Come on, time for me to discover your world,” he said.
I intertwined my fingers in his and closed my eyes, focusing on his skin against mine before letting go. The lightheadedness started, a twist in the stomach and my ears popped. I stopped breathing for a second. I didn’t want to open my eyes. If I opened them, I might not find Alex standing next to me. Fingers intertwined in mine and I smiled. I could have picked Alex's hands among a thousand. He was facing me, a twinkle at the corner of his eyes. Thoughts of what was going on around me finally reach me, invading the silence of my previous fear.
I was too aware of the odds Alex just beat by being able to spin to Earth. Somewhere, somehow, his Earth double had died and I was shamelessly glad.
I knew that I didn’t care what would come next. Alex was with me and we could take on the world, literally.