TITLE: Rift Runners
AGE CATEGORY: Young Adult
WORD COUNT: 98,000
With her father deathly ill, sixteen-year-old Shasta enters the rifts. The rifts can tear mountains apart, but they’re the only portals to the Old World, where a cure still exists. A world known as “Seattle.”
“This headache could split a man in two, Shasta.” Dad grunted as he climbed into bed, the wooden frame creaking beneath his weight.
Even little tasks were a chore for him. He hadn’t touched his soup and when I went to change the bed linens, they’d been damp with sweat. All normal symptoms for someone with pneumonia. But “normal” wasn’t much comfort when it was my own father lying sick in bed.
“Do you need some lavender oil?” I tried to keep my tone professional. Dad always refused my help when I sounded worried.
“I’m already sick. The last thing I need is to smell like a damn flowerbed.” He smirked, but his usual cockiness strained against his pale cheeks and bloodshot eyes.
“We’ve got basil oil, if you’d prefer it.” The house was already thick with the scent of herbs, but something had to help.
He ran a wrist across his fever-soaked forehead. “No, it would be like having a pizza baking on my face.”
My brow furrowed. “Pizza?”
He tried to laugh, but a coughing fit took over. I ran for his mug and pitcher. He held a hand out to stop me, but I smacked his arm away.
“People made pizza in the Old World.” His voice cracked from coughing. “It’s a flatbread with tomatoes and cheese on it. Better than sex.”
“Ew! What?” My cheeks flushed and a second too late, I realized he’d said that just to get a rise out of me.
“Seriously. We’ll get your Mum to make it sometime.”