The Community is safe.
Unless you have superpowers.
Sixty years ago, a hallucinogenic plague annihilated half the world’s population, leading to the formation of the Community—an international government that promises its citizens safety, security, and efficiency. Every day, Community citizens swallow a mandatory pill to ensure their immunity to the plague. A year after graduating high school, they take the Health Scan.
Most pass, and continue with their lives. Others disappear.
Eighteen-year-old Jenna Nickleson hasn’t taken the pill since her senior year in high school. She feels more alive without it, and she hasn’t shown any signs of infection—at least, not until two days after a surprise Health Scan is announced and Special Forces arrive at her university campus.
Spurred by the recent string of hallucinations, Jenna searches for any inkling of what happens to those who fail the scan. Rumor has it that they’re sent away for treatment and, once cured, receive a menial job. But when she uncovers the cruel truth behind the plague, her ideal world is shattered.
Underneath the illusion of safety, Special Forces agents harbor a dark secret.
The plague is a lie.
You can find Distant Horizon on Goodreads
There was a fifteen minute break between classes. Since the two buildings were right next to each other, that was plenty of time for me to browse EYEnet. My primary question regarded the old man’s warning that I’d fail the scan. I focused on the blog from my friend in high school—the one whose sister failed.
According to Galina’s posts, she’d been afraid of failure early on, and on the day of the Health Scan, she’d made another post reiterating the same fear. She’d been having hallucinations that liquids would shape themselves from images in her thoughts, and she was sure she had theophrenia.
It’d been almost a year since Galina left, but I wasn’t sure how long the recovery effort lasted. I checked the last active day she was on her account. There was nothing since the day of her scan.
I checked other blogs, searching for any references to fear of failure. One girl thought she could fly. Another guy swore he could read his professor’s mind. All signs of advanced delusions, and in each case, they didn’t return.
Three years passed. Five. Nothing.
A chill ran through me. The old man said to try controlling vines and grass. That was crazy. Impossible. And yet… I’d felt that stem move. I’d seen it move.
My phone chimed a one-minute warning before class. Students stirred and finished their conversations, and I stared at the small screen of my phone. Only one person, out of the entirety of blogs I’d found, had ever come back.
About the Author:
Stephanie and Isaac Flint met at the University of Central Missouri, where they discovered a common interest in world-building and tabletop role-play games. Distant Horizon is their first joint world, the result of a role-play game Isaac ran in the summer of 2010. After graduating with Bachelors of Science (Photography for Stephanie, Psychology for Isaac), they were married in 2012. Together, they plot stories, torment each other’s characters, and enjoy the occasional cosplay.