And as an additional little 'thanks', I thought I'd introduce you all to someone you may not have heard of...yet. Her name is Anne Michaud, and she's the brains behind a really cool site, Livy Parker's Journal. Anne has created a website from the point of view of her main character, Livy. There are several entries that you guys should go check out, but here's a sample of Anne's writing...enjoy!
The Raid Bell
There was the salty smell of the sea, cold waves hitting my calves, algae swirling around me. The sun was so bright, I’d never seen the sky so blue… and then Dad woke me up. It was the middle of the night, around three, when I heard it. Loud, crazy, all around the Macro: the Raid Bell. There was fear in his voice as he told me to get dressed and bring my identification papers, so I didn’t argue.
The first time it happened, I was ten and Dad was out on an assignment. Uncle Roger was teaching me the rules of chess in his penthouse. I remember how he turned white as a ghost when the first ring reached us – he FREAKED OUT, lost his mind in worry for Dad, and made me go underground without him. His driver came with us to the bunker under the building, everyone so scared, and I thought Dad was dead. I never cried so much in my life, stopped only when he came back the next day. He’d been stuck in another bunker under the Macro, unable to reach us until the Army had given the green light for everything to go back to normal.
Last night, well, last night was quite different. When we made it to the panic room, after many dark flights of stairs – both elevators had stopped working, one with people still inside - we were told our bunker was full. No kidding, I saw it; everyone was standing close together, in their pajamas, looking tired and frightened. They all recognized Dad, of course, but no one said anything. Famous journalist or not, everyone was the same here - trying to hide and avoid the enemy’s incoming planes. And like everyone else, we were both scared. A lot.
‘Where are we supposed to go? What are we supposed to do?’ My dad’s voice became loud, louder than the bell still ringing, getting louder with each minute. There was no need to panic, though; the Army had it all under control.
In a bullet-proof Humvee, we were transferred to another location further into the Macro, away from the coast, deep into the next district, near the factories. The ride was actually cool: no one in the streets, only military personnel running with weapons – plus, the lieutenant was SPEEDING. And I mean, motion-sickness speeding, especially when he turned corners and stopped suddenly to let Army trucks and Jeeps pass. Kinda fun, though, if you forgot about why we were driving so fast.
‘She’d hate it,’ Dad said, waiting for my answer.
‘She would,’ I agreed. As always, our little inside joke about Mother, the-one-who-shall-never-be-mentioned-out-in-the-open.
When we arrived there – I didn’t know where we were, it was so dark and the huge searchlights dancing in the sky were quite distracting - the soldiers made us run into what seemed like an abandoned building: a decoy. They opened the back door onto a curved tunnel, voices coming from beyond, the smell of dust mixed with fear.
Then the door opened on a group of refugees, like Dad and me, people who were caught outside where they shouldn’t have been, far from home or their designated bunkers. This one wasn’t full, and there was even hot tea and those instant coffee crystals Dad loves so much. Someone tapped my shoulder and I thanked whatever god that I’d had time to change out of my cartoon-sushi pajamas. When I turned around, I was facing ERIC.
Of all people, of all places. He’d been out with his friends when the alarm started ringing and the soldiers brought him here, like Dad and me. So I was the only one to get grounded after our little trip to the Civil Security station? Yep. Only Dad. Only me. Great.
‘You recover all right from Saturday?’ he asked me before I could stop him, before I could gesture to him to lower his voice and just Don’t Talk About Saturday. But oh too late.
Dad eyed him up and down then gave me his look: the one where his eyes go red and bulge like mad, as if I suddenly turned into some ghost with a chainsaw. He took one deep breath, chose to ignore Eric (everyone else, too, for that matter) and screamed, at the top of his lungs: ‘You got arrested with a boy?!’ My dad, you had to give it to him, he knew how to make a scene.
What happened next? I blushed (it was actually painful to feel my cheeks in FLAMES) and Eric just went to sit with his friends. I prayed and wished for the raid to be over soon. Twelve hours later, my genie finally heard me and we were able to leave. Dad? He didn’t even look at me for the rest of our stay. Instead, he did what he does best: he talked to his fans and ignored me.
My birthday is in a week. Hope he’ll forget about all this by then…