Chandra Press
Great Science Fiction Starts Here
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The Moon Hunters

 


For fans of The Hunger Games, Divergent, and The Gender Game comes a captivating new story like no other.

The Pestilence sweeps the globe with terrifying speed. A group of survivors finds an island sanctuary.

Three generations later, no one has heard from the outside world in years. The old radio only crackles with static. The Pestilence either finished its job or the world tore itself apart.

In the Village of Lehom, Leilani has been called to court as a Virtue by the King. Going to court means losing her independence and self-respect. Unfortunately, she doesn’t have a choice.

Leilani decides to take a stand; the King be damned. She plans a daring escape and sets in motion a series of events that will shake the foundation of her village and the island to its core.

What reviewers are saying about The Moon Hunters

"This is an engaging story with complex but believable characters and an interesting presentation of story- a journal, a retelling of the past, and an exploration of the present. Anya moves seamlessly among those sources to develop themes of resilience, courage and integrity within three unique cultures. A great read....one of the few books that demands both a prequel and a sequel! Thank you, Anya, for sharing this with us all!" -StoryCollector

"If you’re a fan of Divergent, The Maze Runner, and The Hunger Games, this is the perfect book for you. I love a good dystopian thriller and Moon Hunters did not disappoint. While borrowing themes from the classics, the plot is unique. The characters are very well developed and you can’t help but rally behind them. The story pulled me in within the first few pages and I had a hard time putting it down. I highly recommend it." -Eric S.

"I highly recommend “The Moon Hunters” by Anya Pavelle. It’s a great story of standing up for what you believe in. It also features a strong female lead character. The book is a thrilling example of excellent post-apocalyptic dystopian sci-fi at its best. The author crafts a tale that is both an epic worldbuilder and riveting adventure. Do yourself a favor and grab a copy. You’ll be glad you did." -DTM



Chapter One

It is better that one die than violate the natural order of things. Both flames and ruin flashed in our father, Gerald Ani’s, eyes when he met our mother, Lillian. Violating a true woman’s nature, Lillian abandoned her husband and three children. Father thus left Holy Wood of the Angels, with its rocky mountains and omnipresent smell of combusting fuels and smog, for a lush island he purchased from a failing government. Even though Gerald did not know of Lehom, this purchase was preordained. While the rest of the world submits to the Pestilence, this blessed island provides us with safety from the Old World and its infectious monsters.

In order to best preserve our souls, Lehom has established natural roles for the sexes. Unlike Lillian Ani, women of virtue are not selfish, wanton, or independent of spirit. They should instead model themselves after the Ethereal Queen of Lehom, who is quiet, diminutive, graceful, and competent in a way that does not detract from the natural superiority of men.

-Rekin Ani inThe Book of Lehom 

~~~

Deanne

March 15th, 2065  13:52 HST, aboard Kentucky Maru 

As the H.M.S. Kentucky Maruglided quietly on the calm blue seas of the Pacific, the doctor held an old journal in her hand. She traced her fingers over the soft pages. Dr. Deanne Ambagu had been unable to get this book out of her mind since she pulled it from the bag that belonged to the two strange people they’d rescued from the sea. Thanks to a handwritten label on the inside cover, she at least knew it belonged to someone named Samsara Ani. The last name sounded like that of a long-dead actor whose movies she once watched on a classic movie streaming channel. Also inside the bag were two purple dresses made from a soft, shiny material, a wooden case with the word Leilanicarved on its top, an old diving mask, and a coconut. Deanne and the scientists also found an assemblage of tools on the boat, including a small machete.

“Doc?” her nurse, Tomas, interrupted. “You should go rest. It’s been a long week.”

That’s an understatement, Deanne mused. She yawned and tossed Tomas a grateful look. “I know, but aren’t you curious about our refugees? I’ve never met any before. What made them leave?” She had that faraway look in her eyes—the one that sparkled over the prospect of a puzzle.

“We’ll have to ask them when they wake up.” Tomas pointed to the journal. “Any clues in there?” 

Deanne yawned again. “I’ve only just started reading it. We’ve been so busy. Would you terribly mind fetching me some coffee?” 

“Roger that. I’ll be right back.” He closed the hatch behind him, leaving her to her mystery.

A week ago, a norovirus spread through the Kentucky Maruand struck down half the boat’s marine biologists with a vengeance. It spared only a few, the captain and Deanne included. Very lucky indeed, for as the only physician of the ship’s many doctors, Deanne was responsible for supervising the crew’s decontamination procedures. They were on their way westward to measure the effects of the recent Pacific earthquake on the local dolphin populations when the virus struck. While half of the crew quarantined themselves in their quarters, the doldrums of the past week’s holding pattern anchored Deanne’s spirits in with the filth of the sick. This was no mystery. She knew their fates and could only make them comfortable. Thankfully, the last sick crew member just nearly recovered. So the odd book and the Viking boat’s inhabitants provided a welcome respite from her week of sanitation efforts.

The world primarily focused efforts on monitoring human populations, balancing geopolitics in an ever-changing climate, and strengthening economies. However, something had changed. Deanne didn’t know why, just that it had, and that was enough for her. Thanks to the jointly-financed venture between Great Britain, the United States, and Japan, she had the luxury of paying attention to creatures other than humans, a sign that the world’s recovery was moving beyond its usual grinding pace. In all her years in medicine, Deanne believed one thing. That through time, all things right themselves just as these dolphins seemed to have weathered the earthquake and subsequent tsunami safely. 

Then, two hours ago, the Kentucky Marucame across a small bamboo Viking ship bobbing in the middle of the Pacific. With two unconscious and dehydrated people on board, no less. Although this had initially shocked Deanne, the captain explained that he came across refugees from Kiribati every few months. Unfortunately, a nasty dictator ruled those islands, and people left in whatever makeshift vessels they could construct. 

But why a Viking ship? That was Deanne’s best estimation of the boat. It wasn’t much larger than one of the Kentucky Maru’s lifeboats, but the polished wood gleamed in the bright sun. The little ship’s curved edges tapered sharply at the stern and gracefully terminated at a dragon figurehead someone had secured to the bow. The dragon’s lips curled into a mysterious smile instead of the snarl she’d seen on the illustrated dragons from her childhood fantasy books. Whoever built this boat had spent time lovingly crafting it. That she could tell. But why the Viking theme? Such a strange thing. 

Nevermind the boat, everything about these two young strangers was odd.

Deanne studied the young woman resting comfortably in the bed. Thankfully, she looked much more peaceful than when they’d found her and the young man. The crew members who’d hauled them aboard had had to carefully pry the young couple apart from their tight, seemingly desperate, embrace. 

The girl’s tan skin contrasted with her salt-crusted red hair that hung to her waist. Deanne figured she was no older than twenty, and when the crew hauled her aboard, she’d been wearing a shiny purple robe, a filigree gold bracelet, and a wooden moon-shaped necklace. When Deanne had removed the robe to assess the girl’s condition, though, she’d noticed the seven faint scars that traced across the girl’s upper back. 

Another mystery. Or was it? Did Kiribati’s dictator punish people by whipping them? Deanne’s heart pounded. What kind of horrible place could the girl possibly come from?The doctor gently rocked the bed with her foot, hoping to rouse the girl to satisfy her curiosity. She didn’t move.

The doctor sighed, slumped into the bedside chair, and occupied herself with the book. She carefully flipped through the pages and saw handwriting from three different people as well as signatures from authors named Samsara, Samilla, and Leilani. Thinking it best to start at the beginning, Deanne focused on an excerpt. The date listed on the top right corner read: Year of the Pestilence 1, Month of Yaxkin, Day 15.

Yaxkin? What?That didn’t sound like any calendrical system that Deanne knew. Year of the Pestilence? She shook her head.

It’s been nearly three years since my friends and I came back to Father’s island to set up our village, Gaiae. We wanted to live in peace. Well, that’s ended. Ever since the world went mad, I’ve been recording things beyond our crop yields and births in Gaiae. Then, Chanson and Rekin came on Rekin’s ship with his followers.

Chanson is sane, and he thankfully brought his factory workers, machinery parts, tools, building materials, seeds, food, a menagerie of livestock, rust-proof tools, and enough medical supplies to last us a few years. He’s building around Father’s mansion and making it the new administration building of “Central Village,” his settlement. However, Rekin’s completely insane. The only good thing he did was allow Chanson and his followers to ride along on the ship. 

At least I know they don’t carry the plague since they were at sea for five days. Radio reports indicate the bacterium sickens its victims within forty-eight hours of exposure. These reports are growing fainter, quieter, like the fading heartbeats of the ones left on the mainlands of the world. Rekin lives in direct opposition to me and Chanson. So far he’s abided by his decision to set up his “Village of Lehom” on the other side of the island from our settlements.  Three distinct villages: Village of Lehom, Central Village, and Gaiae. All on one isolated island. Can we actually manage to coexist without killing one another? Time will tell.

Deanne stopped reading. 

Sickness? Plague? Was this journal referring to the pandemic that had killed a fifth of the world’s population 52 years ago? Heart pumping, she jumped up and ran to her desk to examine the meager items she’d collected from the small boat. Their pile of clothes and the other items looked so... primitive. Yes, Kiribati was remote, but Kiribatians, if that’s what they were called, had technology and modern clothes. Why didn’t thesetwo people have a long-range mobile communicator or even a navigation system on board the ship?

Then, with growing horror, Deanne dropped the journal on the desk with a thump.

Shit.

These refugees weren’t from Kiribati. 

And what if they’d been isolated from the world since the plague? She hadn’t even thought to follow the World Health Organization’s standard quarantine procedures! Why would she? Those measures had been dispensed with thirty years ago because the world had, through those same procedures and a new bacteriophage, rid itself of the antibiotic-resistant bacterium that had killed so many. All survivors had seemed accounted for. Plus, the Kentucky Maru’s captain hadn’t been worried. 

But then she remembered the story of a Japanese soldier, who, after World War Two, became stranded alone on a Pacific island for almost thirty years. He didn’t even know the war had ended. What if these people had stayed hidden, too? They might not know the plague was long gone from the mainland.

Deanne looked down at the couple, horror striking into her bones. If these people carried a mutated strain, they could kill everyone on this ship. What had they brought aboard?

The sheets rustled from one of the beds, so she turned to see the young woman’s brow furrow in either pain or confusion.

Was she waking?

Wasting no time, the doctor grabbed the book and bolted from the room, hoping it wasn’t too late.