Title: The Recruited
Genre: YA fiction
Word Count: 84,000 words
Chapter One: The Offer
Naomi Williams was running, tearing over the grass towards the concrete wall sixty yards away. She had maybe half a minute left to reach it, thirty seconds to push her legs as hard as they could go until she was out of time. Off to her right, clumps of uniformed girls paid her little attention, glancing up only after she’d blown by them.
Ten seconds. Five. Naomi slapped a hand against the wall just as the loud, metallic buzz of an industrial bell called them back inside. Breathless and panting, she braced both hands against the rough surface and leaned forward, dark hair hanging in her face as she stretched out the backs of her calves. There was never enough time for everything that running entailed. If she chose to stretch properly beforehand that took five minutes off her running time. If she didn’t, the cramps hit sooner. It was a battle she couldn’t win.
Raising her head, she craned her neck to see past the top of the concrete. From where she stood, the barbed wire curling along the top of the wall blotted out part of the sky.
“Williams,” a woman’s voice barked from near the entrance to the yard. “Get over here.”
Naomi drew a hand across her forehead, trying to wipe away some of the sweat. It wasn’t like she could go inside and put on a clean outfit. In juvenile prison, there were no changes of clothes at midday.
The guard opened her mouth to yell again, so Naomi picked up her feet and jogged back across the yard to get in line with the other girls. Not daring to push each other in front of the guards, they filed back into the prison’s air-conditioned interior, welcome after another eighty-five degree day. Gossip was for outside or the cafeteria, not inside when everyone was trying to get back to their cells.
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