Book Excerpt Poisoned Iris

Book Excerpt

Difference Is Not a Crime

Five words above a painting. Nothing more, nothing less. It shouldn’t have that much impact on my life, yet this sentence had been in the back of my head since the first time I’d seen it in my fourteenth year. That was the day I finally had been brave enough to go on our building’s roof, which my brother had made me discover on my birthday several weeks earlier.

“Welcome to our little corner of freedom, lil’ sister,” Memphis had told me before laughing, as he rarely did, when he’d seen my more than enthusiastic reaction.

I’d believed with all my heart that it was true while we were lying down and enjoying the sun before the sky had gotten cloudy and it’d begun to rain.

Even though this place was always synonymous with freedom, something inside me had changed after discovering these words on a Penia 37 building, written in red capitals by one person, then barred in black by another.

“Difference is not a crime.”

A statement. A cry in the world. A truth.

A lie to me. Because I’d realized at this very moment that, in reality, although our apartment and this roof had no bars, if I were in theory free to leave whenever I wanted, I was indeed in a prison and sentenced to stay in it until the end of my life.

Because I was different from those who lived outdoors, and this difference would get me executed if anyone saw me outside.

It was as if I’d committed the most abominable acts when I’d never asked to be born as I was. When I’d never asked to be born on this side of the Styx Sea, far from the city of Elysion where the Non-Infecteds like me were living. When I’d never asked for skin that wasn’t like the Infecteds of Tartaros.

I might not know who the person hidden behind those words was, if they’d lived before or after mankind had entered in this new era, if that sentence had been inspired by their color, their religion, their origin, their sexual orientation, or even because they were born without the Red Plague, like me, but I knew they were wrong.

About the Book

Athens was once the cradle of civilization. Now it’s slowly but surely becoming the tomb of humanity.

The Red Plague, a violent virus which had run rampant decades ago, left its imprint on the planet and the flesh of men. All that remains of the modern world is an endless wasteland of ruins—Erebos—and two cities—Elysion, the obscure island of the Non-Infecteds about which no one knows a thing, and, Tartaros, the crumbling town of the Infecteds where despair, hatred, violence and poverty are the operative words.

And at the heart of this universe lives Irisya, a sixteen-year-old Non-Infected girl, staying recluse in her home to be safe and relying on her brother, Memphis, for everything.

But then, one day, he disappears without a trace.

Irisya has no choice. To save him, to survive, she will have to brave all the dangers of the outside world.



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