Today we have a fun new Indie Spotlight* for you! Check out the excerpt below, but first, here are 7 Places Where You Definitely Shouldn't Read The Shadowsurfers . . .
#1 – Don't Read And Ride
Please don't read The Shadowsurfers while riding your skateboard. That seems obvious? Of course it is a safety issue. But The Shadowsurfers will also make you feel wimpy on a skateboard with ridiculous wheels underneath.
#2 – Don't Read In An Apple Store
I can't recommend reading The Shadowsurfers in an Apple Store. The Shadowsurfers' CeeBand and TwaddleBand make the AppleWatch look like a Kindergarten toy.
#3 – Don't Read On A Roller Coaster
It is no good idea to bring The Shadowsurfers to an amusement park. Even the Quadruple Looping Roller Coaster, the 100 Metre Drop Tower and the Vertical Devil's Slide will feel a bit boring
#4 – Don't Read While Updating Facebook, Snapchat Or Instagram Profile
You will question yourself: Are there any secrets left in my life? Is my consciousness leaking every little detail?
#5 – Don't Read On The Beach
You think it is too cold for reading on the beach? That's not what I mean. You shouldn't read The Shadwosurfers on a crowed beach on hot summer days. You will discreetly look at all these casual surfer guys and ask yourself: Could this be Marc Bodin?
#6 – Don't Read When Your Mum Wears Her Favorite T-Shirt
Don't read The Shadowsurfers, when your mum wears her favorite T-Shirt. You will fear your mum is about to vanish forever.
#7 – Don't Read When You Eat Pickled Gherkins
If you love eating pickled gherkins, you should probably set them aside while reading The Shadowsurfers; otherwise you will hate the smell of them afterwards.
But Where Should You Read The Shadowsurfers?
There are a million places to read The Shadowsurfers: on the lounge, in your bed, on the bus, in your favorite chair and at school. Wait! You shouldn't read The Shadowsurfers at school, if your new teacher wears a perfectly tailored black suit and his blond hair is cut as if it had been measured out with a compass and ruler…
CHAPTER 1 | THE MATTER OF THE BORROWED MONEY“Secrecy is one of the greatest accomplishments of humanity.” –Georg Simmel, 1907
Luan pressed himself very closely to the steel column that held the domed porch roof. Loitering here by night, as Mother Eva would probably have called it, was forbidden. The wet concrete road gleamed red then blue. The blinking neon words on the porch roof were reflected on the ground: Happy Kidz. All his life, every day, Luan had to see these ridiculous words. Happy? He was rarely happy. How could he be truly happy? He had grown up in this children's home. He didn't even know his own parents.
Finally the lights in the kitchen went out. He had been waiting for this long enough. In a moment the cook would come out of the side exit and glide home on her scooter. She did that every evening at this time. Luan knew it. This wasn't the first time he'd waited for this moment.
The door hissed. The cook stepped out. Luan heard her close the door behind her and lock it with the code. A beep confirmed the activation. Luan grinned at the outdated system that Mother Eva evidently thought secure. He had been able to crack it for the last eight years. He was fifteen now
Luan pushed away from the steel column. Like a rabbit he zigzagged across the concrete path. Luan knew exactly where the cameras couldn't catch him. Very old cameras. Luckily Mother Eva didn't think much of modern technology.
His breath raced when he stood before the door, and not just because of the sprint. He swept his right hand across the flexible screen he was wearing like a wide band around his wrist. You could have mistaken it for a ceeBand, but Luan had made it himself. He would never have been able to afford a real one. No one got pocket money at Happy Kidz. Mother Eva was of the opinion that the kids didn't need money. After all, they got food and drink, clothes, and whatever else they needed. Mother Eva was really not from this world. It was because of this, her fault, that Luan had to borrow money from time to time.
Next to the door there was an old-fashioned glass plate set into the wall. A numerical keyboard lit up. He held his ceeBand next to it. As if cloned, the exact same bright blue numbers from 0 to 9 appeared on his band. For a moment nothing happened. Luan held his breath. Then the numbers 8-7-3-4-7 started blinking on his ceeBand. Luan pressed them in the same order on the glass monitor. And with the final 7 the steel door opened with a hiss.
Luan grinned. With his ceeBand he could get in anywhere. It was way better than the original.
After all, no one comes to any harm, Luan tried to reassure himself. With an agitated movement he shoved a stubborn strand of hair out of his eyes. He crept through the airlock and made his way forward along the smooth wall. With his elbow he finally felt the opening to the kitchen. He carefully pushed down the handle and opened the door. He snuck inside. In the huge glittering pots he could see the reflection of the red and blue fluorescent letters outside. Luan's nose was assaulted by the pungent scent of the kitchen cleaners blended with the smell of pickled gherkins. Luan hated pickled gherkins. Every Friday they served pickled gherkins. Once again he had only eaten potatoes for lunch.
Luan thought he heard a quiet hissing sound. He stood still, not daring to breathe. His heart thumped.
He must have been mistaken. Nothing was there, definitely nothing at all.
Luan walked around the big stove that jutted out of the centre of the kitchen like an iceberg. Over the sink on a shelf it stood, the yellow cocoa tin. The label was completely worn away and the old-fashioned image of a boy decorating the tin had almost disappeared.
The cook always hid her pay card in that tin. Luan knew that, of course. He stood on tiptoe. Was there a noise?
No, nothing. Everything was silent. With his fingertips he could reach the side of the tin and tried to pull it towards him. By doing so he pulled a bag of pasta with it. The bag slipped over the edge of the shelf, hit the clean scrubbed floor and burst. Like marbles the macaroni shot over the floor.
Dammit! Luan tore open the lid of the cocoa tin. He reached inside. Yes, he could feel it, the small plastic card. With nervous fingers he grasped it. Hopefully there was enough money on it. This time he needed $100. He would give the money back. Just like he had always done.
That money could buy parts to build a computer for someone he knew, who'd promised him a lot of money. Luan could repay the debt and he would still have some money left.
Luan pushed the card into the slot on his ceeBand.
There was that noise again. It sounded like someone breathing. Or was it just the pressurized air from the airlock?
Luan's ceeBand lit up. Five one hundred dollar notes appeared on the display. Luan swept over one of them and pressed the button marked “charge”. The note fluttered onto his bank account. That money would allow him to buy the parts he needed. And he would most certainly return the money. He never forgot a debt.
With a bang the kitchen door was flung closed. Shocked, he let the cocoa tin slip out of his fingers. It fell to the floor with a clang.
The buzzing neon lights went on. Luan screwed up his eyes. The kitchen shone in glittering white. A dark shadow, wrapped in a greyish brown bathing robe, broke away from the door. The figure's hair was held together by a net. In its hand the shadow was holding a sword. No, it was an umbrella. Luan was clutching the kitchen counter. Mother Eva was standing there, Mother Eva of all people. If only it had been the cook!
“Luan, you thief,” Mother Eva barked at him icily.
A heavy lump as if from sour milk formed in Luan's stomach. He dared not look into Mother Eva's eyes. He looked instead at the pasta scattered across the floor. “I was still hungry. The only food on Fridays is pickled gherkins. That doesn't agree with me,” he murmured and bent down to collect the pasta. He hid the hand with the ceeBand behind his back.
“I wasn't talking about the noodles. Give me the pay card.”
There was no point in lying. Luan pulled the blue and red card out of his ceeBand and gave it to Mother Eva across the stove.
“Get over here,” Mother Eva growled and grabbed Luan's arm. She roughly pulled him to her. She checked the card with a reader. $400 lit up.
“Luan, you've stolen from the community,” “Ms Evanowa spat the words out like rotten meat.
“I can explain,” he stammered and stared at Mother Eva's slippers.
“There's nothing to explain. You've stolen from us. You've abused the community's trust.”
“But Mother Eva, it's not like you think. I ...”
“Silence. I don't want to listen to your lies. I'm no longer Mother Eva to you, remember that.”
“Please, just two minutes,” Luan begged.
“No, you should have thought of that sooner,” said Ms Evanowa. She swiped her umbrella through the air, as if to cut off any objection. “You deceiver, you are shut out from the Crystal Celebration. You are never going to become a useful member of society. You haven't earned the Crystal Celebration. And you never will.”
The Crystal Celebration shot through Luan's mind. For months he had been preparing for the Crystal Exam. Finally he could prove what he could really do. No one could beat him on the subject of computers. He was the best in his class, maybe even in the whole school. His teacher had once told him that he had it in him to become someone really remarkable.
Ms Evanowa's voice reached his ears as if through cotton. The whole kitchen was spinning around him. Then, as if after a flash of lightning, he descended into a deep darkness.
CHA belongs to all humans. All humans are CHA.
Fourteen year old Sanzibar is preparing for her final exam to become a part of society – a part of CHA. The only thing standing between her and her the Crystal Exam is a whisper of a memory almost forgotten… and a boy with blue-ink eyes named Luan.
Luan is a gifted programmer living as an orphan until a petty theft drives him from his only home. Without a place in society, Luan escapes to the forbidden city of shadows to live as a fugitive… with the help of a girl with purple hair named Sanzibar.
Together they find they’re not the only ones with secrets.
Let me know where you are going to read The Shadowsurfers. Send me pictures of your favorite reading place to hubert.wiest[at]lomoco[dot]net, but keep some secrets for yourself.
Hubert Wiest is an author of ten German children's books and YA novels. The Shadowsurfers is his first US release. In addition to giving classroom readings, Hubert also produces audiobooks and the podcast Radio Lomoco together with Nina von Stebut.
Hubert was born in Germany in 1964. He studied at the Bavarian Academy of Advertising and also took courses in business administration. In the 1990s he founded the internet company Freiraum Multimedia, leading it through the stormy new economy of the millennium. He has also worked as head of marketing and sales in international companies. Hubert lives in Sydney, Australia, with his wife, their three children and their dogs Pepsi and Cola.
*This Indie Spotlight is a sponsored post.