The Exemeus by Folami and Abeni Morris
Ebook (and paperback), 337 pages
Published: Jan. 3rd, 2013 by Royal Colours Ink
Genre: YA Fantasy
Hyalee Smith is dead, she just doesn’t know it yet.
Her short life was devoted to love and to hate. Love of the man who stole her heart, hate for the man who stole the world. Murdered by the government she swore to destroy, she has been given another chance to make it right. But to save the planet, she needs the help of the most powerful mystic the world has ever seen—unfortunately he hasn’t been born yet.In a world where fear is the only currency, Dephon has committed the ultimate crime:inspiring hope.His only goal is to make it safely through ninth grade, but on a post-apocalyptic Earth run by the Treptonian government, it isn’t that simple. Heir to a legendary power, Dephon Johnson is the only threat to the government’s rule. And on Trepton, all threats must be eliminated. When hundreds of assassins are dispatched to neutralize him, Dephon is forced to fight back. His only chance of survival is to enlist the aid of the greatest warrior the world has ever known. The only problem is, she's been dead for 13 years.
I was trying to think of a surefire way to kill David Morrow, but Virginia’s constant chatter kept disrupting my thoughts.
“I don’t think you should worry about David. He was a total loser,” Virginia said. “You could do so much better.”
“You’re just saying that,” I told her. “Face it, I’m going to be alone for the rest of my life. Guys want girls who are attractive and popular. They don’t want someone who looks like me.”
“Oh, please, what’s bringing this on? David was nobody, and if a guy only cares about looks, who needs him? Trust me, there are lots of great guys out there who’ll fall for a girl who’s intelligent and funny like you. You don’t need bland David. You need someone who’s so passionate that he lights you on fire.”
“Why don’t I just get some kerosene and a match, and then I can do it myself?”
“Don’t be bitter,” Virginia said as we reached the front door of my house. “Today’s your birthday. We should go out and do something wild.”
Instantly, I became nervous. Whenever Virginia said the word wild in that Spanish accent of hers, I either ended up in a lot of trouble or in a lot of pain. When we were really wild, I ended up in both.
“I don’t think we should do anything of the sort,” I said as I fumbled in my purse for the key.
“No, I definitely think we should go to the salon in the mall and dye our hair pink. Ooohh, oooh,” she said, jumping up and down like she needed to find a ladies’ room fast, “or blue! I could totally see you with blue hair. We don’t have to get it professionally done. We can do it ourselves.”
I looked at her in amazement. She was completely serious. “Do you remember the perm you gave me? My hair is only now growing back.” I found my key and pushed it into the lock. “In fact, it shrinks a little every time you come near it.”
Virginia waved her hand airily, as though what I said was trivial. “You can’t let little things set you back or you’ll end up like...” she leaned over to whisper the last two words as we entered my house, “your father.”
I shook my head. There he was on the couch.
“I’m surprised to find you here, Mr. Smith,” Virginia said cheerfully. She had an amazing talent for keeping the sarcasm out of her voice.
“Hello, Ms. Castellanos,” my dad said. He didn’t bother to take his eyes off the television.
“Anything interesting on?” She derived perverse pleasure from needling my dad. In the beginning he used to get annoyed, but he’s learned to tune her out. Most of the time, anyway.
“You’re not watching this tired old show, are you?” she continued, pointing to the television. “I’ll save you the trouble--he dies in the end.” The vein in my father’s neck bulged, and his jaw clenched. Score, Virginia.
As my father grumpily changed the channel, she said, “Oh, I love this show, I’ve seen every episode a million times. Maybe I’ll come back down in a bit and watch some of it with you.” The muscle in Dad’s neck twitched again. Virginia grinned her sadist’s grin, heading up the stairs with a spring in her step.
“Bye, Dad,” I said, trying to keep from laughing.
“Bye, Hyalee,” he sighed, changing the channel to the local news.
By the time I got upstairs, the door to my room was already open and Virginia was rummaging through my closet.
“What’re you doing?” I threw myself down on the bed. Kicking off my shoes, I picked up the latest issue of People from my nightstand and flipped through it.
“I’m looking for something you can wear with our new blue hair, but you have less selection than a nun. Just like your mom. Soon you’ll be wearing turtle necks on burning hot days.”
My parents had a turtleneck for every occasion--turtleneck evening wear to turtleneck pajamas. Mom never went swimming, but if she did, I was sure she could find a turtleneck bathing suit.
“I’m not dyeing my hair. My mom would flip.” Why would I want blue hair anyway?
“On the bright side, your dad would only notice if you stood in front of the TV,” she said, holding up a green and blue hoodie to her body before chucking it on the closet floor.
I rolled my eyes. “Yes, but my mom would see it. She notices everything.”
“Come on, it’s your birthday! Your mom should remember how much birthdays meant to her when she was our age. Hers is in what, two days? I’m sure even she’s going to let loose a little. Besides, you only turn seventeen once, and it is senior year. The whole occasion practically screams blue hair.”
“That might make sense in your convoluted little mind, but if I cross my mom, the only screaming will come from me.”
Virginia pouted. I hated that look, but I wasn’t going to get dumped and get grounded on my birthday. “Okay, maybe I’ll go to the store and watch you and maybe... I’ll try on a blue wig,” I said, biting my fingernail.
“Fair enough. If we’re lucky, they’ll have a sale and you can get an outfit to match your wig.”
I snorted. “You know that’s not going to happen. I have the worst luck.” I pulled on my shoes and grabbed my Dallas Cowboys hat from the floor, placing it on my head.
“We all make our own luck,” Virginia said confidently, shimmying in front of the mirror. She glanced at me out of the corner of her eye. “But if I did believe in luck, I definitely wouldn’t want yours.”
“Thanks,” I said as we headed out the door. “Thanks a lot.”
Folami and Abeni Morris are a sister-sister writing team. Together they wrote (and rewrote) The Exemeus, somehow managing to accomplish it without murdering one another. Despite their facial similarities, tendency to finish each other’s thoughts and stick up for each other constantly, no, they’re not twins and thus deserve their own individual bio.
Folami grew up in the tiny city of San Mateo Ca, where nothing ever happens and no one ever leaves. She went to Xavier University for undergraduate, getting her B.A in physics and her B.S in Biology. After graduation she returned to California, to live in an even smaller city, where even less happens, Antioch Ca. During this time she escaped the monotony by hanging out with her imaginary friends Hyalee and Dephon, and by writing the Exemeus. She finally escaped to Queens NY and now realizes that quiet and tiny aren’t so bad.
As luck (and logic) would have it, Abeni grew up in the same tiny little town as her sister, then she too escaped to the tinier town of Antioch. She has yet to leave. She received her bachelor’s degree in early childhood development from Cal State East Bay. She is the mom of two amazing kids, who swear that they deserve a percentage of the book proceeds and a ton of the credit. At least she raised dreamers.
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