Genre: YA Cyberpunk
Word Count: 91,000
After a military-grade artillery shell decimates his home, family, and most of his internal organs, fourteen-year-old Maxwell makes a deal with the devil.
To survive, he’ll share his body with Death himself. Bored and lonely, Death accepts. Maxwell gains the power to avenge his family, and Death gets five years to stir things up on the earthly plane. For three years, Maxwell and the rest of the Alliance battle the superpowered squads of the Federation. In the futuristic city of Canaan, being born a Talent—an individual with psychokinetic abilities—means you belong to the Fed, and you’re tagged to become one of two things: an enforcer or an experiment. Death's presence doesn't exactly make Maxwell a Talent, but he's definitely a target, all the more reason to shut the Fed down.
If the Alliance can weaken Fed influence, it'll leave them vulnerable to attack. All of Maxwell’s planning will finally pay off. Enter the snag: Isaac Nizal is intelligent, attractive, and the Alliance’s new secret weapon. Providing inside info on Federation workings, he helps even the playing field. Color Maxwell impressed. As the boys’ mutual admiration grows into more, Maxwell hears talk of taking out Fed HQ. The strategy calls for sacrificing the latest recruit. Isaac has no idea and warning him will upend everything, destroying any shot Maxwell has at revenge. Death reminds him there's no time for do-overs. He’s gotta decide if he’s willing to live his last few years in a Federation controlled word with Isaac, or give him up to take the shot and take them out.
ABT (After Bio-Tech) 195
“I’ll make you a bet,” the boy wheezed.
He gazed at me without really seeing me. Most mortals couldn't, but the gaping hole in his side weakened his life force enough to reveal my presence. He held on, desperate, stubborn even with a punctured lung.
“Well?” he rasped. “It’s not like I have all day.”
Annoying. I resisted the urge to hurry things along and shake him loose from the mortal coil.
“Speak,” I urged.
“Spare me. Share my body.” He gazed at his ruined lower extremities then turned his glazed eyes heavenward. Rain pounded his face, washing away the blood oozing from various wounds. “What’s left of it.”
“It could have been worse.”
Others lay scattered around him, soggy and bloated, reduced to chunks of flesh by the blast.
He chuckled, more a choppy cough than laughter. “Bet you say that to all the bleeding saps.”
Cracking jokes instead of begging for mercy; so young and already cynical. I liked him. “Go on.”
“Right.” He swallowed thickly. “We shack up. You give me ten years, and—”
“Five,” I countered. I liked him, but not that much.
“What? That’s—” His words dissolved into choking, his breaths labored, wet, and weak. He was fading.
“Fine, five.” He shut his eyes. “You help me get even with them for this.” His jaw tensed and his fingers twisted the tattered hem of his shirt. “Help me make them pay…and my soul’s yours.”