We’re so excited to bring you this excerpt from Spectrum by Samantha Martin!
Aaron Reed betrayed his family. Now, imprisoned in a laboratory and completely cut off from the world, Aaron doesn’t see much reason to live. But when he learns that Lydia Melrose, his one hope, is alive, Aaron becomes convinced he’s the only one who can save her.
Lydia managed to escape the carnage on Yucca Mountain. When she learns that her father is alive, she’ll do everything she can to rescue him. With Aaron’s help, she just might pull it off. Together, they must risk everything to get back to the people they love and learn the truth about who they really are.
An exciting follow-up to Samantha Martin’s Latium, Spectrum is about the line between friends, lovers, and family, and about learning what it takes to forgive.
The world was stable. I was sitting, propped in the medical chair like nothing had happened. And I was alone.
“Alyxa?” I called. My voice echoed, bouncing off the glass panels. “Theo?” I pushed myself to my feet. All of the weakness in my body was gone. I scanned the room for the door we’d come through to get here, but it was gone.
“Hello? Where is everyone?” I pounded against the glass. The lights overhead flickered. “Let me out!”
I grabbed a lethal-looking hammer from the table of medical tools and smashed it against the glass. It didn’t even make a crack. I swung the hammer again and again and again. Tiny blood blisters appeared on the palm of my hand. A strangled yell escaped my throat, and I hurled the hammer across the room. It hit the medical chair with a clang that reverberated through the space.
And suddenly, mixed in with the sharp sound of metal on metal, there was a voice.
I know that voice.
“Lydia?” I whirled around. There she was. Lydia Melrose. The only girl I’d ever loved. And she was on the other side of the glass. I rushed across the room and pressed my hands against it.
“You’re alive. You’re here. How are you here? Are you okay?” I asked in a rush.
She looked just the same. Dark, wavy hair. Mischievous smile. Red dress buttoned up to her collar like she was shielding herself from the world. Like she had something to hide. “Lydia,” I breathed.
“Hi, Aaron.” She brushed her hair back over her shoulder. That’s when I saw the blood trailing down her arm, coming from a massive gash in her inner elbow. She saw me looking. She dragged her fingers through the blood and watched as it dripped, staining her skin red.
“I’m so sorry.” I curled my hands against the glass. “I tried to save you.”
“You did?” Lydia raised an eyebrow. “Was that before or after you pretended to be my friend so that you could keep an eye on me? Before or after you slit Kat’s throat?”
“That’s not how it happened. I was trying to help her. She was going to die anyway.”
“She wouldn’t have if you hadn’t lured her down there in the first place. Like you lured me.”
“He made me,” I choked. “You don’t understand.”
“Maybe not.” Lydia shrugged. She started to pace. “Maybe I should have listened to Lacey.”
“No.” I slammed my fist into the glass. For the first time, pain exploded through my hand. “She was not your friend, Lydia. She would have done the same thing as me. She just wanted to take the credit.”
Lydia clicked her tongue. “You don’t really believe that,” she chided. “She was trying to help me. To warn me. If she’d wanted to take the credit, she would’ve just done what you did and told Reed that we were in love. That you’d gotten too close to me for me to be useful anymore. That we were planning to escape.”
“How do you know all of this?” I whispered.
“I’m dead, Aaron,” she said simply. “I know everything now. I know that you told him about Lacey and Danny. I know what you did to all of those kids down in the basement. All you wanted was for your dad to love you,” she said softly. “But unfortunately, he’s not capable of love.”
I pushed away from the wall and dragged my hands back through my hair. “Why are you doing this?”
“It’s what you need to hear, Aaron,” Lydia said softly. “You need to accept what you did to them. To me.”
“I didn’t mean to.” Hot tears raced down my face. “You know I didn’t mean to. I tried to help you.”
“It was too late,” she said softly. “Now, I’m dead, and you’re getting exactly what you deserve.”
“No, I didn’t. I tried to help you. I’m the reason you got out.”
“Haven’t you been listening?” Lydia laughed. She pressed a hand against the glass. Her blood trickled down her arm, a river of red against her pale-as-snow skin. “I’m dead. I died in that explosion that you helped set. But I’m still here, in your head.” She smiled, white teeth against blood-red lips. “We’ll be together forever. Just like you wanted.”
“No. That’s not what I want. I want you to be okay, I want you to be alive!” Everything was shaking. My voice. My hands. My mind.
“It’s too late for that.” Lydia smiled and took her hand from the glass. A bloody handprint remained there, suspended. “Soon, you’ll be dead, too. Just like me.”
Something splashed onto my forehead, and I swiped it away impatiently. The smell of copper filled the air. My hand was covered in blood. Then blood fell from the sky like rain, trailing down the glass in tributaries. It trailed down my face, into my mouth. I dry heaved, trying to vomit up the nothing in my stomach.
Scanning the room frantically, I looked for any source of shelter. There was just the medical chair, which I dove underneath, flat on my stomach under the metal structure. I spat blood onto the floor. It splashed in the puddles already forming. The sound of rushing water filled my ears. I pressed my hands over them, but they slipped away. Blood was raining harder now. Its level was rising. Soon, I would drown in the thick, slippery liquid.
I pushed myself to my feet and staggered towards the glass. My heart pounded in my chest, even louder than the roar of blood around me. “Lydia!” I shouted, swiping at the glass, trying desperately to see through it. “Lydia!”
But she was nowhere. I was nowhere. The blood dripped into my eyes, painting the world red. I fell to the ground. My head bashed against the floor, and everything went from red to black.
About the Author:
Samantha Martin is the author of YA novels Latium and Spectrum. She writes for chat fiction apps Hooked and Litty, through which her short stories have amassed several million reads. Samantha lives in Los Angeles, where she works in the film industry, plays intramural sports, and watches too much Netflix.