With her wrench size properly adjusted, Rhia tightened the bolt, then shoved the barrels against the rail. “Well, it’s better.” She looked around and noticed the rise and fall of the bow as stronger waves rolled beneath her. “Wind’s picking up. Don’t worry, Betty. I’m not going anywhere.” She set her hand on the cool metal of the deck rail. “I feel sorry for people who don’t have a boat like you to talk to, girl. We have so many great conversations. Can you imagine if anyone overheard us? They’d realize I’m really an idiot, and I get all my great ideas from you.”
She smiled to herself in the last of the sunset, then sighed. “I don’t know, maybe you’re right. Sometimes I wonder if it might be nice to take someone on . . .” The end of the sentence slipped away into the stiffening wind, and she turned to rub a thin layer of waterproofing beeswax around the tightened bolt.
Satisfied that the exterior of the boat was secure, Rhia made her way into the cabin and put away the few pillows and books that lay on the small L-shaped couch behind the captain’s chair. After stowing anything that could fall or fly into the cupboards and cabinets designed to hold them, and double-checking that everything was in its proper place, she finally stepped to her small galley, pulled a bowl from the mini-fridge, and tugged one of her two forks off the magnetic strip mounted on the wall above the sink.
Rhia flopped down cross-legged on the firm cushion of the couch. She opened the blue rubber lid of the bowl and began to eat the cold salmon, carrot, and rice stew, barely noticing the increased sway of the boat below her.
With the boat secure and dinner over, Rhia brushed her teeth at the tiny kitchen sink and went below to her berth. Without turning on the single overhead light, she pulled off her clothes and stuffed them into a small mesh hammock hanging from the low ceiling. She tugged back the faded blue-jean quilt tucked around the narrow lower bunk built into the side of the small room, and lay down naked on the cool sheet. Heaving a final sigh, she let herself be rocked to sleep.
Title: RUN Ragged
Author: Kari Aguila
Genre: Suspense / Science-Fiction / Women’s Fiction
Would anything change if women ruled the world?
In a devastated country, those in charge rule by fear, inequality, and oppression. Rhia, a strong and independent sea captain, just wants to keep her head down and do her job, unitl she finds herself trapped in a re-education facility designed to help people fit into the rules of the New Way Forward. The warden claims to be guiding those in her care, but Rhia quickly sees the cracks in the system. As she is faced with torture and brainwashing, those cracks become gaping holes that threaten to pull her down into the depths of despair. Can Rhia resist the slow subversion of re-education and become the reluctant hero the new world needs?
RUN Ragged is the thrilling second story by the award-winning author of Women’s Work. This brilliantly imagined novel is both a scathing satire and a profoundly poignant look at the price we are willing to pay for peace and what we are willing to ignore to keep our conscience clear.
Kari Aguila was the recipient of an IndieReader Discovery Award for her first novel, Women’s Work. Her stories are gripping and thought-provoking looks at gender stereotypes and relationships set in a dystopic future. She is also an avid gardener, geologist, outdoor enthusiast and mother of three. Aguila lives in Seattle with her family. RUN Ragged is her second novel.
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