First post today is an excerpt from The Visitor.
Nusans don’t cause trouble. Peter is a good Nusan. Single, annoyed with his best friend’s constant blind dates, and comfortably provided for with his job as a genmod technician, he spends his days telling expectant parents what their unborn children will look like. For a fee, he can modify physical and mental traits.
To ensure Nusa’s perfect society, however, it is law that all babies must be born with white skin, an IQ 120 or above, and without any illnesses or disabilities. These modifications are free of charge. It’s the law. And good Nusans obey the law. The people of Susa, however, are known to be troublemakers.
Thank goodness the dark-skinned Susans all live south of the border, in Susa. The closest Peter ever has to come to a dangerous Susan is either on the silver screen being vanquished by a heroic Nusan hero or on the news as deporters — the force charged to keep Nusa safe — prepare to send them south to Susa.
That is, until a dark-skinned visitor is suddenly inside the four walls of Peter’s quiet existence. Snarky. Irreverent and without any regard for the rules, the stranger should be a Susan but is he? Why is he claiming to have fallen from the stars?
Everything Peter knows is suddenly in question and even his status as a good Nusan is under threat as deporters seek him out on suspicion of a capital crime. Has Peter caused trouble?
Life as Peter has known it is fragile. Can he survive long enough to learn the truth? And will he even want to believe it once he finds it?
Peter has driven his friend Sasha to the deporter station so that she may identify the Susan, a person from the country Susa, who broke into her home the previous night. Peter has been on edge. He has thoughts he dares not to voice. On top of that, Sasha shared a secret with him that could get them both in trouble if it ever came to light. (Warning: Potentially Sensitive Content)
“What’s on the paper?” he asks, hoping to steer the topic away from their shared secret.
“This?” she holds up the slip of paper. Her fingers obscure parts of it, but he can make out numbers that look like a date. “They’re going to execute the Susan. This is my ticket to watch if I want. I don’t think I want to though. Do you want it?”
This Susan must have been very troublesome if the deporters are going to execute it. Normally, they just capture and send Susans back to Susa. How much trouble has the Susan caused? Searching his brain, he can’t recall anything catastrophic happening the past few days. It’s been pretty mundane for a city terrorized by a Susan.
Perhaps he will hear about all the destruction later. No point causing a major panic while they haven’t captured it, right?
Either way, an execution doesn’t sound like an entertaining event. It’s one thing to not like Susans. It’s another to spectate an execution of one. He declines the ticket.
“Let’s go home,” Sasha says after a brief silence.
She stands up to check out. As she goes to the receptionist, he looks over a few seats. Alice returns his glance with one of her own. She waves at him to which he hesitantly waves back. Her smile widens. She begins to type on her phone. Once done, she looks back and winks. A few seconds later, his phone receives a message. “Don’t forget to call me,” it says.
“Peter,” Sasha’s voice calls out from near the door.
His head snaps up. Sasha is walking to the door. The two deporters from earlier step inside, still chatting to each other. Unsure of what to do, he waves one last time to Alice and stands up to meet Sasha.
Who’s setting off firecrackers?
Sirens blare. Metal gates crash from the ceiling. All outside doors and windows automatically bar themselves. The deporters in the room, along with the receptionist, draw their handguns. The flustered man panics. He sprints to the metal gate and desperately tries to lift it. A deporter chastises him. Alice looks around, worried.
“What’s happening?!” Sasha screams over the sirens.
“EVERYONE, REMAIN CALM!” a deporter commands.
The receptionist and a deporter leave the lobby through the heavy door. The sirens continue.
“Everyone, move to the left side of the room in a quiet and orderly manner!” the remaining deporter instructs, motioning to where Peter was sitting.
Peter takes a step. More pops ring out, followed by someone yelling, “STOP HIM!”
His heart immediately plummets. He freezes with fear. Those aren’t firecrackers. Those are gunshots. His legs quiver. He musters the strength to not drop to his knees.
This has to be a dream.
The heavy door swings open. A man in a protective vest and helmet bolts out. He appears to be deporter until Peter notices the exposed dark skin.
It’s a Susan.
A Susan is attacking them.
Louvie G. Tucker lives and works in the Pacific Northwest with his wife. Born in Buffalo, New York, he’s called various U.S. states, Japan, and China home at points in his life. When he’s not working in cyber security, he enjoys rock climbing, staying up to date on current events, keeping up with his Japanese language skills, and riding his bicycle. He is currently working on the second book in the Corrupted Genes series.