Book: Hadrian’s Rage
Author: Patricia Marie Budd (@PMBudd)
Once an oasis in a world of destruction, the nation of Hadrian risks falling into disarray over its government’s persecution of heterosexual relationships, in this standalone dystopian sequel by gifted Canadian writer.
The nation of Hadrian is close to breaking point. After fifty years as a relative oasis at the heart of a world polluted by disease and despair, the death of Todd Middleton — a 16-year-old who dared to disregard the laws prohibiting straight relationships and natural reproduction — has moved many of Hadrian’s citizens to question the country’s rules governing sexual equality.
This excerpt is from the chapter A Social Experiment. The social experiment conducted two Russian men who illustrated just how homophobic the streets of Russia really are inspired it.
The following morning, Kendra and Sid bravely wrap arms around each other. The physical contact denoting affection for someone of the opposite sex is foreign to both, but their intellectual understanding of the experiment allows both to overcome the oddity of the moment. Directing her attention to the back of Prasert’s turban where he has adeptly hidden a small video recording device, Kendra giggles. “I can’t believe we’re actually using one of those archaic video devices.”
“Hey,” Sid reminds her, “some students need them. We can’t all afford expensive vocs.”
“No,” Kendra agrees, “but a good voc cam records ten times better than that old thing.”
“And how obvious would that be with Prasert walking backwards just to film us?” Kendra concedes the point and Sid shouts for Prasert to begin.
The couple walks casually through the Uni Park, taking a moment to enjoy the flowers, cross the small bridge over the babbling creek, as well as do a little bird watching, every movement calculated to reflect a young couple in love. It doesn’t take long for the experiment to unveil some of the more guarded prejudices people hold. The people they pass begin to stop and stare. Someone even calls out to his friends, “Hey, look—it’s a couple of strais!”
Laughter follows and someone else shouts, “You sick fucks don’t belong here.” “Yeah,” another voice adds. “Leave Hadrian, why don’t cha?”
And then someone purposely bumps into Sid. This happens a few more times, with men slamming into Sid’s shoulder and women slamming into Kendra’s. Suddenly, someone grabs Kendra and shoves her aside. The next thing Sid knows, a man twice his size in both height and weight has shoved his face up against his nose and started yelling, “What the fuck are you doing here, strai?” Much of the abuse blurs in Sid’s ears, but Prasert catches it all on cam. Prasert’s first instinct is to turn around and help his lover, but Kendra manages to extract Sid from a potentially volatile situation, so Prasert turns away again to continue capturing the event for posterity.
“We aren’t strai,” Kendra now pleads to the crowd. “We just lost a bet. We lost a bet. That’s all. To pay up, we had to walk around Uni Park, pretending we were strais.”
The big man looks Kendra’s way before turning his scowls back at Sid. “That true?”
Sid picks up where Kendra left off. “Yeah, man; it’s just a prank. We lost a bet. Our buddies made us do this.”
“Fuckin’ stupid bet. Your friends must hate you.”
“Yeah,” Kendra agrees, trying desperately to convince the man. “I would have been a lot happier having to down a dozen shooters or guzzle a mickey of rye.”
This confession convinces the man and he laughs. Suddenly, he and Sid are best buds. He wraps an arm around Sid’s shoulder and gives him a shake. “You two were really good. I really thought you were a knife and a stab walking that way.”
“Yeah, well,” Sid says as he breathes a sigh of relief, “that was part of the bet. We had to make it look real.”
When Kendra is finally able to extricate Sid from his “new best friend,” the three of them head back to Sid’s place to debrief.
“Man, I’m telling you,” Sid readily admits, “that man scared the shit out of me. I thought I was dead.”
“I know,” Kendra concurs. “The way he grabbed me and shoved me…Look.” She points to the bruise on her left bicep. “That fucker really hurt me.” Now looking her brother’s way, she adds, “I had no idea what it feels like to be so hated. It’s horrible.” Shaking her head, looking directly into the vid cam Prasert is holding, she declares, “Everyone in Hadrian needs to know what this feels like.” Now talking directly to their future audience, she says, “If you could feel what Sid and I went through today, just for walking arm-in-arm, you would never want—you could never want—no decent human being could ever justify treating another person that way ever again!”
Thanks to Patricia for providing the extract and if you liked what you’ve read her books Hadrian’s Lover and Hadrian’s Rage (the second int the series) can both be purchased from online retailers including amazon.co.uk or you can follow Patricia @pmbudd .