Reading e-books before bed.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

A Prelude to The Moon Dwellers by David Estes

Third week in the David Estes Appreciation Month. Woot! Woot!
As promised, here's a character guest post/diary entry. Enjoy~

A Prelude to The Moon Dwellers
by David Estes

The following is a passage taken from the diary of a young girl, Anna, written in Year Zero, 215 years before the creation of the Tri-Realms, and 499 years before The Moon Dwellers was written.

They are calling it Year Zero. The start of a new life. But not for everyone. The Lottery was yesterday and I got picked. A one in a hundred chance, they said. The President of the United States himself congratulated me on being selected. Not in person, though, because all the government people are already underground. That’s where I will be soon. Safe and sound and away from the earth’s surface, where the meteor will crash.

I got a video from the American leader, and through the fuzzy picture Mr. President said I am one of the lucky ones, but I don’t feel very lucky. My mom didn’t get picked. Or my dad. Or my grandmother, Aunt Gina, Uncle Tony or Uncle Jerry. They even left behind my older sister, Tina. Only one of my friends got picked. I guess she was lucky, like me.

My mom was crying yesterday. I asked her if she was sad, but she said they were tears of joy, because I got picked. My dad didn’t cry, but he got really quiet. I’m only twelve but first thing tomorrow I’ll have no family.

In a day I’ll be in the Caves, far under the earth, where it’s safe. The government people say I’ll be given a new family, even though I don’t want one. They say life will be better; that it’ll be a fresh start for humans, for Americans. I try not to think about things, but when I do, my palms get sweaty and I get really cold, like I’m sick. I don’t cry, because I don’t want to upset my mom again.

They’re coming to take me away tomorrow.


Tomorrow has come faster than I thought possible. The streets are full of shouting people. Some of them have sticks, some shake their fists, all wear angry faces. The armored truck is here and the crowd presses around them until the soldiers start shooting their guns in the air. When the bullets start flying the people quiet down and back away. The serious men who get out of the truck are wearing heavy armor and carrying big, black guns. I don’t want them to take me away, but I put on a brave face and hold all the tears inside of me.

My mom’s hug is so tight I can’t breathe, but I don’t complain, I just hug back harder. “Everything will be okay, sweetheart,” she says, but I know she’s lying.

Finally my dad is crying, which scares me the most. He’s a man, big and strong and proud. I’ve never seen him cry, not even when grandpop and grandma died in the same year. I blink away the tears and stick my chin out. “I’ll be okay, dad,” I say. Now I’m the one lying. He nods and pulls me close and then pushes me toward the men.

I don’t struggle, because I’ve already seen the men use the Tasers strapped to their belts on other people on my street. They always get you in the end.

My eyes are wide as the men lead me through the crowd, but I stare straight ahead and pretend I’m all alone. Before the big soldiers help me into the truck, I look back at my house and notice things I’ve never noticed before. The bright yellow paint that always felt so cheerful after a long day at school looks brown and flakey. The white shutters on the windows are gray with smog. The bright red door is the mouth of a beast, and my stark-faced parents are its teeth, cold and uncaring. Why don’t they do something? Why don’t they save me?

When I linger outside the truck, a strong hand shoves me forward and into the tinted interior—and Year Zero begins.


Just like me, the elevator shakes and trembles as it descends deep into the earth. We are packed into the metal box like the yucky sardines my dad likes to eat are packaged into their smelly cans. My stomach feels funny as we drop, like when my dad took me and my friends to ride the rollercoasters at the amusement park. The elevator is bright, lit by yellow fluorescent light that hurts my eyes. I close my eyelids, because there’s nothing to see anyway. I imagine I’m still with my family, playing in the backyard with my sister while my dad mows the lawn and my mom does yoga. My imagination tells lies.

When we exit the elevator it is dark. We are in a cave, full of gray rock walls and pointy stones popping from the floor and ceiling that I know from school are called stalactites and stalagmites. The cave is the biggest cave I’ve ever seen, even bigger than the ones in Laurel Caverns, where my family went spelunking on one of our family vacations. This cave is so big that I can’t even see the other side of it, which seems to disappear into the gloom at the far end of my vision. The roof is so high that I have to squint to see it, and I can only make it out then because of the dim overhead lights strung up on the ceiling.

They give us hardhats with lights on them. Mine is too big, but they say it’s better to be too big than too small. They tell us we have to hurry, that the scientists are predicting the meteor will hit earth very soon. I cry when they say that, because I don’t know anyone around me, so I don’t have to be ashamed.

We all line up with our helmets on and sit on the hard stone floor, which pinches my skin beneath my jeans. They tell me to put my head between my knees so I do. Silence. A child whimpers. Not me. Someone shushes him and he’s quiet again. Silence. A bead of sweat trickles from my helmet down my forehead and into my eyes. I blink it away, ignoring the stinging.

The impact is so powerful I think the earth will be torn in two. I’m flung to the side and I land in a tangle of arms and legs. There are bodies all around me. People screaming. Kids crying. I cry. The lights flicker and go out. The earth is shaking, shaking, shaking to pieces. The sky is falling and my head hurts when I feel the stones crack against my helmet. Sharp pebbles sting my skin, but I keep my head down like they showed me.

I am scared.


It’s the first time I haven’t cried in a week. My family is dead, they told me. Nothing could have survived it. I don’t understand it all but they say that it wasn’t the meteor that killed everyone. Mostly it was the oceans, which rose up and covered everything when the meteor hit. They say we are lucky to be alive. There they go with the lucky thing again. It bothers me but I just listen.

One kid asks when we can go back outside again. I can tell he’s scared of the dark. I’m glad I’m not, because it’s dark most of the time. They told him never. That it would be hundreds, or maybe thousands of years before anyone could go back up. They told us this is our home now—in the caves.

I feel so alone.

What do you think about that prelude? I remember reading this in David's blog and really liked it. It's a well-written background story to the world he created.

If you read and enjoyed this prelude, would you do us the favor of tweeting about it to help spread the word? You can copy the tweet below or customize your own message. David and I would really appreciate it. Thank you very much!
I read "A Prelude to The Moon Dwellers" by @DavidEstesBooks and enjoyed it! #YALit #books #giveaway via @NightOwlReads

And for the giveaway, it runs till November 6. ;)

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  1. The prelude does tease a lot on the book and makes you think what's gonna happen in the caves or are there anybody else who survived.

  2. This reminds me of the movie Armageddon, one of my favorites. Poor kid. I am wondering what happens next.Will they be able to go back?

  3. Now that's some scary prelude.. I mean, sure the kid was lucky to be picked.. I'm just imagining myself being in that same situation but not getting picked.. that would be a goner (literally!)..

  4. Your blog post is another solid reminder that I haven't been reading as much as I used to. Sigh. I wish I have more time.

  5. There's no more life if your loved ones are all gone and you are the only one survived like what happened in this story, But there's a reason for being picked out and that reason lies within the pages of this book.

  6. Would you do something you wouldn't normally do for love? Yes I would. If it is true love then how could I not?
    What would it be? I have a few things: Say the police were after him, I would lie and make up an alibi if he didn't have one. I would definitely do what I could to protect him.

  7. I've often read "You never know what strong is, until being strong is your only choice..." in this case, brave...great prelude, makes you wonder what would happen next...

  8. This prelude sounds so realistic and I'm convinced that how the world was really created. What a good and descriptive background of such prelude... on Moon Dwellers.

  9. 1. Are you a fan of grand gestures of love?
    Definitely! Can't beat a grand gesture, especially if there is special meaning to it :)
    2. Would you do something you wouldn't normally do for love? What would it be?

    I think most people do. usially its keeping your mouth shut about certain things for the sake of your other half. If we didn't our familys would never speak to each other!
    3. Have you been on a great adventure and what was it? Other than going to university, no!

  10. 1. I am if the gesture is something the person you are doing it for would appreciate. Not all people want an announcement at a public event or place, do what will make them the most happy, not what will seem the most grandiose.

    2. This one is easy, yes I would and already have.

    3. My greatest adventures have been within the books that I have read, so in that sense my mind has been on countless adventures!

  11. When I try to follow by email it says 'The feed does not have subscriptions by email enabled' :(

  12. Thanks for telling me. Fixed it! Try again. ^_^

  13. Thanks for telling me. Fixed it! Try again. ^_^

  14. When I try to follow by email it says 'The feed does not have subscriptions by email enabled' :(


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