A city atop a rocky island plateau

of a remote archipelago is humanity's

last hope in this dystopian thriller.


Haven, human beings' last hope, had been built up instead of out on a group of steep, ocean-locked outcrops in order to encompass the multitude of people and structures the planners had foreseen would have to reside on its craggy surfaces. For somehow amidst all the pollution and genetic tampering of the previous century, humankind’s cellular code had been altered, culminating in less and less births until it had become horrifyingly apparent that every male left on the planet was sterile. As soon as the city had been completed, the first inhabitants, the last of the young ones, already in their forties, had taken up residence and begun the time-consuming, painstaking process of saving humanity. Seventy-five years after the last survivors and their reverently gathered caches of uncorrupted sperm and egg had been deposited inside the city walls—the outside world was empty.

Along with everyone else, eighteen-year-old Mika acknowledged and accepted the necessity of the mandatory Rebirth ceremony at the age of fifty-five. They’d all done the calculations in class. By now if not for the releases, there would be upwards of eleven million people crammed into their city, straining the resources, causing famine and unrest, some of the very things that had led to the end of civilization and very nearly the end of humankind. Better to ensure the continuity of the species by being reborn for another life cycle, hopefully there in Haven, than to face more of what their ancestors had gone through in the last century: inequality, poverty, war, famine, and then the final nail, sterility. Anyone with a rational brain, they'd all been taught, knew that they didn’t really go to a heaven or a hell when they “died” and instead simply moved out of their current life and into another one hopefully right there in those glittering towers above the roaring sea. Not that any of these antediluvian beliefs were ever discussed. It simply wasn't permitted.

Or you might find yourself facing a Watcher.

And if that happened, there would be no glorious two weeks at the legendary utopian Lodge when it was your time—where you were kept in luxury and waited on hand and foot while you ate delicious, decadent food, drank wine, swam in a clear pool by a waterfall, or lounged in the sun beside the cascading water.

For those there would be only immediate dispatch, with or without a ceremony, no matter what their age.

cover image by RebelsFantasyWorlds