20 Chapters
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3. The Hand of Fatima

Elsa Marston Indiana University Press ePub

A STORY FROM LEBANON

 

Aneesi paused outside the dining room. She had spent the long, hot summer morning helping Sitt Zeina prepare a lavish lunch, had waited on the guests without a single slip, and had just finished clearing the dessert dishes. She was tired and hungry, and her plastic sandals chafed from so much running back and forth. All she wanted right now was to sit down in the kitchen and enjoy the leftovers.

But something had caught her attention. Holding the silver serving plates still half full of pastries, she lingered in the hallway to listen.

Sitt Zeina was telling her husband, in no uncertain terms, “We must have that garden wall repaired, Yusuf. You know, where the old fig tree is pushing it over. You’ve put it off long enough, and costs are going up every day. Besides, there’s a lot more we should do with the garden.”

Before Dr. Jubeili could answer, one of the guests broke in with a laugh. “What are you thinking of, Zeina? Big ideas for the Jubeili estate?”

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Chapter 6

Timothy J. Bradley Argosy Press PDF

CHAPTER 6

With the sun up, it was time to start exploring their first live hive. A small electric vehicle towed a portable miniaturizer from the flying lab out to the hive. Dr. Sharp and Verge, one of his assistants, went first. The students followed. Sid watched as the beam projector was fired and a cloud of mist enfolded Hari and Penny. He could just make out the shrinking forms of his two friends for a moment before they seemed to disappear. The mist cleared, and then he was next on the platform.

Sid barely had time to worry if he was ready when the technician fired up the miniaturizer. When the mist cleared, he was looking at the tech’s shoes, which were now the size of houses.

“Come along! Quickly! The miniaturizer platform must be cleared before the next students can be reduced.”

Dr. Sharp was waving them toward the microshelter. Once all the students were inside, the professor made sure everyone was strapped to the padded floor. He then signaled they were ready to be moved by flashing a series of lights. At their tiny

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Chapter 1

Timothy J. Bradley Argosy Press PDF

his mom without getting killed—or worse, grounded with no intermaze access.

A brisk knock at the door startled him. The door opened, and his mom stuck her head in. “Sidney, why are you still in your pajamas? We have to get moving, or—”

She saw the half‑assembled device on his desk. “Is that my new voxpod?!?!”

The doorbell rang and Sidney jumped up, relieved for the escape. “I’ll get it!” He squeezed past his mom and ran for the front door.

“I don’t understand why you can’t just take apart your own things….” his mom sputtered as she collected the voxpod pieces and strode into the bathroom to get ready for work. As he ran for the door, Sid could hear Housemate giving his mom the daily data download as the house’s digital brain set the shower temperature to her liking.

Sidney knew the punishment about to be dropped square on his head was only being postponed for lack of time.

He had a long history of dismantling household appliances, from his nanobot to the autopilot on the hoverboard that was his ninth birthday present. His track record of successfully reassembling these objects was less impressive. But when he saw his mom’s brand‑new voxpod, the idea of cracking open the deep red shell to see how it worked was irresistible.

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Hive Mind Reader's Guide

Timothy J. Bradley Argosy Press PDF

You’re both the author and illustrator of Hive Mind. How does this affect the way you work?

I’m an artist first, and I tend to think in images and “movie clips” when I think about a story—almost like puzzle pieces. Writing the story is a matter of arranging the puzzle pieces in the right order and typing it into my computer. Once I have a first draft of a book done,

I go back and see what is still missing or might need to be described in more detail. I do lots of little sketches as I write, and those usually end up being the start of any illustrations in the book.

What character in Hive Mind is most like you?

I’d have to say that I have a bit of Sidney in me. When I was younger, I was always frustrated in school because we weren’t learning anything interesting, especially in science! It drove me crazy. I never complained the way Sidney does at the beginning of the book, but I thought about doing it lots of times. That made that particular scene really fun to write.

If you were a student at Sci Hi, what would you study?

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5. In Line

Elsa Marston Indiana University Press ePub

A STORY FROM EGYPT

 

Halfway home from school, on a lovely clear day in December, I did something really daring. I decided to change my route. Not much, of course, because my mother knew exactly how long it took me to get home and she would be waiting. I just thought it would be nice to walk along the canal a bit and pretend it was the Nile. That’s how it happened I ran into Fayza.

I’d noticed her in class. You could hardly not notice her, even in a classroom as packed with people as ours. She always raised her hand to answer the teacher’s questions—she even asked good questions of her own! What’s more, she was a lot smarter than most of the boys and wasn’t afraid to let them know it. So I’d begun to think I’d like to get to know her. But how? Most people still acted as if I were from Mars, or someplace even farther away, and they couldn’t figure me out. I was afraid Fayza might feel that way, too.

Well, I would try, at least.

Fayza was standing at the edge of the canal, holding a big bunch of flowers—roses so bedraggled they looked as though the flower seller had given them to her for free. But what made me curious was the way she was staring down at the canal. I stopped near her to see what she was looking at. It was a donkey, dead, lying there in the water.

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