Prequel To The Last One (Excerpt)

So I was working on this one for a while, but I got a really nasty writer’s block and never picked it up again. That being said, though, I’ll pick it up again after I finish The Blood Of the Drakes. The whole gimmick of this book was that it was about the people that made the super-advanced machines in my first book, The Last One. It’s in a biography format, so the narrator is telling her story to a writer who is publishing a book about her life. This seems random for people who read my book, but with my plan for the sequel, I promise it all ties together. I’m not going to share a lot of it right now because I’m rewriting the entire thing, but this is the beginning.

Chapter One

I grew up in Kalispell, Montana, and if you’ve never heard of it, I don’t blame you. Not only is it in the middle of nowhere, but it’s not even in a city in the least popular state. It’s in the middle of the woods. Beautiful scenery, though, and great hiking trails if you’re into that stuff. My parents were big hippies, so that’s why they never left. They were hikers, the kind of parents that would wake you up at 3 am and pack kombucha and organic carrots for an 8-hour hike. They believed in crystals, like rose quartz and tigers’ eye. I was decked out in pretty rocks since I was an infant- I was pretty stylish, I must say. They would take my brother and I on hikes two days a week for hours at a time. Most kids’ parents would take them to a water park or a carnival on the weekend-my parents were letting my brother and I catch fish with our bare hands in the middle of a lake like bears.

The funny thing was, hippies themselves didn’t raise them. My mother was supposed to be a generational lawyer. My grandparents were big-shot prosecutors who liked to put people in jail. That’s how she described it, of course, I never actually met them. My dad was a capitalist extremist until he was a sophomore in college. He was a businessman, he wanted to be the youngest billionaire of all time. Both of them had epiphanies after landing in philosophy courses, where they learned how fucked up the world actually was and how disconnected we are from society because of people like billionaires.

Even though both of my parents went to college, academia was not a part of my life. They thought knowledge was important, but almost survivalist knowledge. What berries are safe to eat? What trees make the best fuel for the fire? They didn’t care if I wanted a job because, like I said, money wasn’t important to them. They didn’t care if they had to work a minimum wage job the rest of their lives if it meant they could spend most of their time traveling. My dad worked in environmental construction, and my mom was a part-time waitress, which allowed them to take my brother and me around the country. By the time I was 12, I had been to 47 of the 50 states, not including Florida, Hawaii, and Alaska, because even though our car was pumping Co2 into the atmosphere, planes were 10 times worse, according to them. If we wanted to fly, we would have to wait until we were adults. I don’t remember a lot of the States because I was so young, but I was always really grateful for the opportunity to travel that much.

My parents were young, healthy, and entirely carefree while always prioritizing their health. They were vegans who would have rather killed themselves than touch fast food, they hiked weekly, and they even built their own home gym. It wasn’t entirely intentional, though. They just hated how it felt to be lazy and eat junk. I got that gene from them; I’ve been a vegan for my entire life. Malcolm and I would always get into arguments over the ethics of veganism- he always went with the “Well humans are natural hunters” argument. He had no other basis for it, so technically, I would win that argument.

The negative side of having organic parents was that they didn’t care for science. They were such big believers that nature could heal anything that they hadn’t been to the doctors in years. I always wondered if they would regret that if they knew their futures. They abused drugs, not like coke and meth, but pot, shrooms, and acid. They pumped themselves with stuff that they thought was good for them, but it ultimately made my mother’s unknown heart condition worse.

After a lengthy trip to Maine for my brother’s 16th birthday, something happened to my mother. She was deathly ill practically the entire trip making it less of a vacation and more of a concern for her safety. She spent all her time in the van while my dad took us to Maine. It was horrifying to watch as a little kid. I mean, my mom was dying in front of me. Yet she still refused to see a doctor even after we returned from Maine and then died shortly after. I guess she had some heart disease, and her heart gave out. She was 36.

My dad didn’t last much longer after that. I try to avoid talking about his death because I know how triggering of a topic it is for people. To put it simply, his kids weren’t enough for him to keep living. He got extremely depressed after her death and stopped trying to take care of us. He quit his job, and we had to rely on my brother’s part-time job to eat at night. He spent all his day just in the woods, and I would stay up until he came home. Some days it was 8 at night. Some days he didn’t come home until 6 in the morning. And then, one day, he didn’t come home at all.

I’ll always love my brother Adrian, or Adrie, as I call him. We spent every day together until my dad’s death, and I don’t think (off the top of my head) that we’ve ever fought. He was my built-in best friend, one of the people in your life that just agrees with you on everything. I didn’t like the taste of oat milk, and I preferred almond milk. So did he. He preferred the mountains over the beach. So did I. When I was upset over something, I didn’t have friends I met in school to go to. I had my brother.

He fought hard to get custody of me when we were alone. Freshly 18, he worked two jobs and got his GED. He had already taken care of me my entire life, but that wasn’t enough for the court. They said maybe he could try again in a year or two but I would be an adult myself by then. The last time I saw my brother was in a courtroom on a Thursday afternoon, and I didn’t see him again until my first national conference a few years later.

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