Slip (Slip #1) by David Estes
Age Group: Young Adult
Genre: Science Fiction
Release Date: December 1, 2014
In a tumultuous world of population control, one illegal child has slipped through the cracks. Now, as a teenager, Benson Kelly has escaped certain deaths at the hands of the Department of Population Control, only to find himself the symbol of a rebellion, something he never intended.
While trying to survive one day at a time, Benson seeks to unravel the tangled knot of secrets left behind when his father died, the key to which has something to do with his mother, Janice Kelly, recently escaped from the insane asylum.
As the rebel group known as the Lifers continue to use brute force to send a message to the government, Benson's twin, Harrison Kelly, seeks to exploit a loophole that could be the key to freedom for his brother. All that's required is a simple act of murder.
Meanwhile, Population Control's attack dog, a sadistic cyborg known as The Destroyer, closes in on Benson and his family. His directive: Kill them all.
Faith, family and love will be pushed to the limits in the GRIPping sequel to Slip.
Luce grabs him roughly and shoves him against the wall. “They’ll kill you. They won’t hesitate. I won’t leave a friend.” There are tears in her eyes and his vision blurs as tears flood his own vision. Luce’s grip on him slackens as she seems to realize how close together they are. When Benson blinks the moisture away, he almost gasps. A dark-clothed Hunter strides past directly behind Luce. Crap. “Luce, they’re here,” he whispers.
Her eyes widen and he sees the fear that penetrates her expression. But just as quickly her eyes narrow and he can almost see the wheels turning in her head. Then, before he can so much as take another breath, she flexes her muscles, takes a deep breath, and leans forward and kisses him hard on the lips.
His entire body stiffens, shocked by the strange action taken by Luce when they’re in mortal danger, but then relaxes when he realizes what she’s doing: acting. She’s pretending to kiss him, just an act to fool the Hunters—two lovers in the shadows. Not the most wanted fugitives in the city. And yet, even her fake kissing sends Benson’s heart racing. Automatically, his lips melt into hers, rolling over them like gentle waves. His hand curls around the back of her head.
“Anything?” the Hunter shouts to someone Benson can’t see.
Luce jolts and her eyes pop open, but Benson stops her from turning, kissing her again. They watch each other as they kiss, which should be weird and sort of interesting, but Benson’s too scared to think about all of that.
“Nothing,” says someone else, presumably another Hunter. They must’ve been closing in from either side, rounding the curve, invisible until the last moment.
The train rumbles closer.
“Did you check everyone?” the second Hunter asks the first. The tone sounds so familiar. Benson tries to place it. “Not everyone, but there was no one suspicious,” the first Hunter says.
“Go back and check everyone, you moron. The little buggers certainly didn’t get past me.”
“I’m the moron? You were one of the first ones inside the last time we had them trapped. How’d that work out for you?”
“Check them,” the second Hunter growls, a command this time. The cyborg, Benson realizes with a start.
Benson can feel Luce’s heart pounding against his chest. Or is that his heart? No. His, as usual, has switched with his brain and is trying to break through his skull. They’re screwed.
With a screech of brakes, the train pulls to a stop, a burst of wind following it a moment later. “Wait until the doors are about to close,” Benson whispers, his lips brushing hers.
She nods against him.
“Hey you!” one of the Hunters shouts. Benson holds his breath. Is he talking to them? Adrenaline pours through his veins, his body preparing to run. “Yeah you. Did you see a couple of teenagers come down these stairs?”
The law of the Tunnels is that no one talks to Crows or Hunters.
Benson risks a glance past Luce. The train waits for a few stragglers to board, its doors open. The Hunter’s back is to them. He’s facing an old guy with a thick gray beard.
“I’ve got to catch this train,” the man says, trying to pull away.
The Hunter grabs him. “Did. You. See. Them?” the Hunter says.
A loud tone sounds. Last chance to board the train.
“I’ve really got to go,” the man says. Don’t look at us, don’t look at us, Benson thinks.
The Hunter whips out a large black gun and points it at the old guy’s face.
“Okay, okay,” the guy says. His eyes flick over the Hunter’s shoulder. They lock on Benson.
Why are the doors not closing yet? Then Benson sees her. How he missed her before, he doesn’t know, except she’s standing so still it’s like she’s an inanimate object. A young girl, no more than eight or nine, is holding the door open with a hand. She’s staring at them. Are you coming? her expression seems to say.
The old guy raises a hand and points at them.
The Hunter turns.
Benson shoves Luce and pushes off from the wall. In his peripheral vision he sees the Hunter whirling, his gun catching up to his body, taking aim, firing…
The blast is like an echoing explosion within the confines of the Tunnels, and for a moment Benson can’t hear anything. Luce is still beside him and they dive inside the door, which is finally closing, the girl having moved her hand away, her face shocked as she clings to her mother, who’s similarly clinging to a metal pole. And their mouths are open and they’re…screaming?
The sound rushes into Benson’s ears, the screams of the train passengers like alarm sirens.
The doors close and Benson looks at Luce, who seems okay, if a little stunned. Using each other as crutches, they stand, peering out the window as the train lurches forward. A black metal gun barrel faces them, just ahead of the cyborg’s gleaming white smile.
Author of popular YA dystopian series, the Dwellers Saga and the Country Saga. Voted books to read if you enjoyed the Hunger Games on Buzzfeed and Listopia.
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David Estes was born in El Paso, Texas but moved to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania when he was very young. David grew up in Pittsburgh and then went to Penn State for college. Eventually he moved to Sydney, Australia where he met his wife. They now live together in their dream location, Hawaii. A reader all his life, he began writing novels for the children's and YA markets in 2010, and started writing full time in June 2012. Now he travels the world writing with his wife, Adele. David's a writer with OCD, a love of dancing and singing (but only when no one is looking or listening), a mad-skilled ping-pong player, and prefers writing at the swimming pool to writing at a table.