Flower of Memory (Novella 0.5)
Flower of Memory (Novella 0.5)
An underwater ark that shelters the last remaining survivors. A young doctor tormented by his past. A mysterious power that could drive them into madness.
The surface is but only a timeworn dream. A forgotten memory.
But Skyler Goldberg is not ready to give up. Even if it means losing everything.
Can a young doctor-in-becoming show them the path to redemption in a world abandoned by its creator?
Flower of Memory is the prequel of the dystopian science-fiction series Amaranth. Perfect for fans of the TV series The 100 and the Snowpiercer.
|Publication Date||May 24, 2022|
|Size||5.5 x 8.5|
|Author||David M. Snow|
|Publication Date||January 9, 2023|
|Size||6 x 9|
|Author||David M. Snow|
First Chapter Look Inside
First Chapter Look Inside
It’s snowing in the Gardens of Humankind tonight.
Crystal shards frozen in delicate arabesque patterns are blown around by the faulty ventilation system. At another time, snow really existed.
What did their ancestors who actually set foot on solid ground think when they saw these snowflakes hail down onto their fields, their roads, the roofs of their houses, and their faces as they made their way to work? A bother to most, but a wonder to those who gaped at the winter landscape and captured it through brushstrokes and snapshots that now tell the story of the past.
Like these flowers.
Kneeling, Skyler gingerly brushes away some snowflakes settled on the red petals of a survivor among her dying sisters, who spread their bushy globes of pollen now wandering the outer reaches of the park in search of a new patch of unconquered land. All of this sounds familiar, doesn’t it?
But there is far more than meets the eye to these flowers. They are the reflections of the Ark’s passengers: beautiful, yet intricate, their intentions camouflaged in wafts of intoxicating scents. Their resilience is truly admirable despite the harsh weather! Under the right conditions, they spread where the wind carries them, but without proper care, they are forsaken, their beauty but a fleeting memory.
Skyler gets up. The passengers of this vessel count on him to provide comfort, heal, and save them from death’s clutches. At the bottom of the Great Ocean, death can strike at any moment to silence them into mere memories, doomed to fade into oblivion. Just like the fog of his breath vanishing into thin air.
That is the weight of his responsibility, since he will be able to work at Med Bay after tomorrow’s graduation which will make it all official. His classmates are celebrating tonight, but he is not in the mood. Instead, he’s preparing for his new role as a commander waging battle against invisible microorganisms: sometimes he will win, others he will have no choice but to surrender. This is what doctors do behind the white curtain.
He startles at the shouts.
Skyler lies in wait, concealed perfectly in the artificial woodland. It could be some classmates from the Academy drinking ahead of tomorrow’s ceremony. All it takes is a well-positioned family with the right connections to get their hands on some alcohol from the Ark’s restaurant. Better yet, it could be one of the famous liquors that divers sometimes retrieve from the underwater cities’ rubble. They are so rare that reports of their discovery spread very quickly. But, ever since a diver was poisoned with the contents of a three-hundred-year-old bottle, the Delta Department and Med Bay have been analyzing their contents to make sure they are harmless. The process can be slow, like everything else that has to do with the Deltas. Meanwhile, the rumor mill goes into overdrive. Who could keep secrets older than the Ark to themselves?
No doubt. There must be students drinking up their excitement at finally being able to become driving forces on this vessel and take part in the joint effort to survive. Skyler is almost envious, but tonight he just isn’t feeling the thrill he should. Too much hangs in the balance for him to mindlessly indulge in unbridled fantasies. The problems will not disappear overnight, swallowed by the intoxicating effects of alcohol.
Skyler wanders off to the thicker canopy of the wooded area, now home to the first blanket of snow born of the ventilation system’s failure. The hard-to-preserve vegetation will suffer, but the century-old trees give him the comfort he needs to face the future that awaits him after the graduation ceremony. Expectations are rather high for him.
Like Tamara Goldberg, the daughter of Augustus and Silvia, who were the first generation of Goldbergs to board the Ark, he wants to become a trusted surgeon in Med Bay. As the Flood shook the world, she patched together an army of Paragon guards who sacrificed themselves so that as many survivors as possible could find refuge on the Ark. To this day, Tamara Goldberg’s expertise is taught at the Academy to medical students like Skyler, and his ancestor’s notoriety is a difficult torch to bear.
One would think that being a descendant of Tamara would earn him favor—or at least respect—from his teachers, but it didn’t. He was forced to work harder than the others, but he never complained. At least, during the time he spent studying how to repair a faulty heart valve or unraveling the possible applications of gene therapy, he wasn’t stuck in the family cabin, the very antithesis of freedom in such a vast ocean.
At the bough of the massive oak tree used as a landmark in this oversized wooded area, a sudden commotion disrupts the almost wintry calm that had settled in. Paragon uniforms. Are they here to catch the revelers? Perhaps they had the nerve to snatch a legendary bottle of liquor, after all. Otherwise, the Paragon would leave them alone at this hour, especially in these parts, which are not the most popular among the passengers—much to Skyler’s relief, who comes here to escape from the mind-numbing reality. But not tonight.
Skyler puts as much distance as possible between himself and the unforgiving Paragon. Since the Ark’s inception, the Paragon has had plenty of opportunities to flaunt its power in the name of justice. The last thing Skyler wants is to antagonize those who will rebuild on the Surface when the time comes.
Someone with a dazed look staggers out of the brush in a flurry of leaves and twigs.
“Emily! What on earth are you doing here?” shouts Skyler, stunned. She wipes the sweat off her forehead, and she gives him a worried look.
“I’ll explain later. Just run!”
Shouts are coming their way. Too late to back out now. No matter what his best friend did, the Paragon agents will give them a hard time. The only time a family’s reputation is worthless is during an interrogation.
The Gardens of Humankind become a winding, slippery maze topped with a thin layer of snow. Their breathing matches as they run, and Skyler curses at his unsteady footing that may send him stumbling at any moment. He doesn’t have Emily’s flexibility, who secretly trained with her father her entire childhood. Except for their occasional visits to the diver-hunters’ pool, no one bothers with giving teenagers a proper training regimen. It’s a privilege reserved for Paragon recruits.
Emily gets a head start on Skyler, despite slowing down so he can catch up. The agents are still concealed in the woods, and Skyler keeps running, not knowing if they are drawing near. He ducks under a dangling branch at the last moment and deftly slips toward his best friend until he can go back to running.
“Not bad for a doctor who has his nose stuck in a book all day!”
“Tell me about it. We won’t outrun them so easily.”
“I’ve got an idea.”
Emily yanks his arm with startling strength as shots echo off a tree trunk, and they dash at full speed.
What the hell did she do to draw the Paragon into a fight? Emily may be reckless, but she’s not stupid.
They pop out near an air vent blasting a howling blizzard. Their startled shouts blend into the din of the ventilation blades. Visibility is almost nil in this snowed-in area of the park, and Skyler feels like he’s swimming in frigid water. Why is nobody turning off those vents? The park is supposed to preserve the Earth’s native flora, not bury them under heaps of snow! Something’s not right.
“Where’s the west exit again?” asks Emily, placing a hand on his shoulder once they’ve retreated behind an oak tree that blocks the brunt of the storm.
Skyler crouches down to clear the blanket of snow smothering a bed of chrysanthemums. The exit shouldn’t be far.
“This way,” he replies, as he recalls the many times he’s been in this area, wondering if one day he should grow his own garden.
Chrysanthemums would have been perfect but after all this snow, will they survive?
Near the doorway, an emergency button glows with a red halo that cuts through the snow fog. Emily has a mischievous glance, but Skyler pushes the button first.
They rush into the decontamination airlock with the blaring emergency alarm that seals off the gardens automatically: if the agents don’t reach an exit in the next thirty seconds, they’ll spend the night smoldering with anger.
In the warm passageway, Emily giggles under the adrenaline and squeals in victory.
“The Ark’s never been so exciting,” she says, her hands resting on her hips. “And I didn’t think you were capable of such disregard for danger, Skyler Goldberg.”
“There has to be a first time for everything,” he grumbles, dusting off the snow from his dripping hair. “Damn it! What on earth did you do to turn those Paragon agents into trigger-happy soldiers?”
“I told you, the Ark’s never been so exciting. You won’t believe it!”