Name: Corrie Haluga
Title: HUM OF THE HILLS
Genre: YA Thriller
Seventeen-year-old Maya Diaz doesn’t care why she’s being paid to paint graffiti around a Los Angeles suburb. She doesn’t even care if her work is meant to provoke the US to sever their allegiance with Trans-European Union. All Maya cares about is making enough money to escape her smothering foster home. That is, until she and Roth, a trainee for Union law enforcement, discover a woman’s mutilated body. With only Roth to trust, Maya must decide whether to run with what little money she has, or help Roth discover the truth behind the murder...and why the Union is lying about it.
It’s always harder hiding in a crowd. If the bodies don’t smother you, the paranoia will. Swarms of people litter the downtown streets, struggling past one another to the line of food trucks before they close at midnight. I push my bike between them, walking slowly with my head low and my hood tight around my face. I’ve been careful these last six months. I’m too close to finishing for something to go wrong now. My spray cans are wrapped in the satchel tucked in my bike basket. After nights of dodging sirens and sneaking home at dawn, tomorrow it’ll all be over.
A group of Union agents prowl between the outdoor booths, holding up weapons scanners at random over the consumers. Their orange and green armbands reflect out of the darkness of their mortar-colored uniforms. My stare latches onto the backs of the people in front of me. If the Union caught me, they’d view my paintings as anti-national graffiti. I’d be locked up somewhere, interrogated for information I don’t have. That should stop me or at least scare me. But it doesn’t.
The fall breeze whips off my hood, unveiling my short hair and bleached mohawk. Even as the slim red lights of the scanners beat slowly over my bike, I am focused. I don’t care what my paintings mean to anyone else. To me they are food and rest and water. To me, they are freedom. In this world, freedom is something worth hiding for.