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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic

Fourteen-year-old Alina never liked the red armband that marks her as a Criminal. Glares from strangers, isolation from classmates, the constant eye of guards– the armband has never brought
anything but problems. But her family can’t afford trouble, so she endures. She keeps her head down. She follows the rules.

Until the day she learns she can heal.

Criminals are forbidden from using magic, and failing to report magical abilities is a sure way to get arrested– or even executed. But Alina’s gift has the power to save lives and bring much-needed
income to her impoverished family. Rather than hide her magic, she decides to fight for the right to use it– by overturning her Criminal conviction.

It’s a daunting task, one no one’s ever accomplished. What’s more, Citizens don’t take kindly to a Criminal– and a magical one, at that– trying to become one of them. As Alina struggles against the
courts, threats mount against her family. Changing the law is hard enough, but changing people’s hearts may prove impossible…

Table of Contents


Submitted: October 09, 2017

The nightmares came more frequently now, to both of them. It was her tonight. The war this time– it usually was. Even in the safety... Read Chapter

Chapter One

Submitted: October 09, 2017

To be fair, Alina should have insisted on holding Isa’s hand. The two-year-old had a bad habit of wandering off and an even worse habit... Read Chapter

Chapter Two

Submitted: October 12, 2017

Nine out of ten. That was the statistic for Alina’s year. Nine out of ten Criminals who’d made it to ninth grade would drop out b... Read Chapter

Chapter Three

Submitted: October 17, 2017

Alina was exhausted even before she knocked on Michael’s door. Isabel left in the middle of the night, in a hurry to get home befor... Read Chapter

Chapter Four

Submitted: October 18, 2017

“Alina!” Quinn knelt beside her, his hand on her shoulder. His eyes were full of concern. “Alina! Alina, wake up!” “Ngh... Read Chapter

Chapter Five

Submitted: October 23, 2017

Alina had been twelve the last time Isabel came. Weeks before her arrival, Isabel sent a letter suggesting the visit. She and Nathaniel p... Read Chapter

Chapter Six

Submitted: October 25, 2017

“Aunt Isabel?” Alina was on her feet in a second and peering out the window with him. “Aunt Isabel! Hi!” “Hello, there.” ... Read Chapter

Chapter Seven

Submitted: October 29, 2017

“I am very disappointed in you, young lady.” Alina’s cheeks burned under Ms. Ben’s withering glare. She wanted to open her mo... Read Chapter

Chapter Eight

Submitted: November 28, 2017

Hi, all! I'm back! When last we left Alina, she was healing Ahmed with her newfound powers...
Read Chapter

Chapter Nine

Submitted: December 01, 2017

“Innocent?” Alina gaped at her. “But if they’re innocent, then how—” “They were betrayed,” Annalisa snapped, glaring.... Read Chapter

Chapter Ten

Submitted: December 07, 2017

“Where are you going?” the little boy asked. He hugged the ratty stuffed bear close to his chest and tugged on his mother’s skirt. ... Read Chapter

Chapter Eleven

Submitted: December 11, 2017

The attack was all anyone could talk about at school the next morning. Alina had to shove her way into the school building to get thr... Read Chapter

Chapter Twelve

Submitted: December 17, 2017

“She said yes!” Nathaniel, Jonna, and Quinn had all been walking home from work together since the attack, so Alina hadn’t had ... Read Chapter

Chapter Thirteen

Submitted: December 22, 2017

Alina woke early the day of the hearing. She lay in bed for about an hour, until the sun began peeking through the windows. Then she scra... Read Chapter

Chapter Fourteen

Submitted: January 02, 2018

“What was it like, ‘Lina?” Ash and Isa stared up at Alina excitedly, their faces glowing. “Was she a real judge?” Isa d... Read Chapter

Chapter Fifteen

Submitted: January 04, 2018

Jonna’s fingers were numb as she swirled the yarn around the bin of frigid water. Her teeth chattered, and her breath swirled through... Read Chapter

Chapter Sixteen

Submitted: January 08, 2018

“Aunt Annalisa?” Alina couldn’t keep the shock out of her voice as her aunt pushed inside. She stared, openmouthed, as Annalisa... Read Chapter

Chapter Seventeen

Submitted: January 11, 2018

“Careful, Alina. Don’t twist the stitches or the edge won’t be even.” Nathaniel reached out to steady her hands. “There you go.... Read Chapter

Chapter Eighteen

Submitted: January 16, 2018

“So not only did the judge approve your appeal to the county judge, you’re getting a new house?” Ahmed laughed. “Dang, ... Read Chapter

Chapter Nineteen

Submitted: January 18, 2018

There was not much time for moping or self-pity, because Annalisa wanted the Fletchers to move into the house as soon as possible. She ... Read Chapter

Chapter Twenty

Submitted: January 22, 2018

The night was still and silent as a dream. Frigid air nipped at Nathaniel’s cheeks as he stared up at the sky. The moon showed only a... Read Chapter

Chapter Twenty-One

Submitted: January 24, 2018

The best thing so far about the new house was the quiet. It wasn’t silent, of course. Even with the door closed, Alina could hear t... Read Chapter

Chapter Twenty-Two

Submitted: January 30, 2018

Alina’s feet bounced up and down as she sat on the hard courtroom bench. She’d brought along her knitting to pass the time, but her... Read Chapter

Chapter Twenty-Three

Submitted: January 31, 2018

Rael whimpered and stirred in his sleep. He had been restless lately, and his dreams were haunted by nightmares. Clare ran her hand sooth... Read Chapter

Chapter Twenty-Four

Submitted: February 06, 2018

“This is stupid,” Quinn complained, crossing his arms. “It’s a total waste of money. Why do I have to come with you?”... Read Chapter

Chapter Twenty-Five

Submitted: February 07, 2018

Alina could feel Quinn’s heart slamming against his chest, feel his lungs burning from the shallow, panicked gasps he was breathing in.... Read Chapter

Chapter Twenty-Six

Submitted: February 10, 2018

“Jonna!” Nathaniel bolted to the door, knocking over his chair. He dropped to his knees and knelt beside his wife. “What’s wrong?... Read Chapter

Chapter Twenty-Seven

Submitted: February 14, 2018

Alina awoke to the soft popping and crackling of fire. It took a few seconds for her to recognize the sound and remember where she wa... Read Chapter

Chapter Twenty-Eight

Submitted: February 16, 2018

 “Alina!” Alina’s head pounded, and she felt groggy. Something sharp was poking into her back, and her foot throbbed painf... Read Chapter

Chapter Twenty-Nine

Submitted: February 16, 2018

The scrape of fifty pens on paper filled the room with a wonderful fluttering sound, and Annalisa sighed with contentment. This ... Read Chapter

Chapter Thirty

Submitted: March 01, 2018

Special thanks to my northern-dwelling cousins for not laughing too hard when I asked them was snow was like. If my descriptions are inaccurate, blame them.
Read Chapter

Chapter Thirty-One

Submitted: March 06, 2018

Snow was falling lightly as Annalisa made her way home, but she hardly noticed. As she scrambled up the steps of the house, Daisy came ru... Read Chapter

Chapter Thirty-Two

Submitted: March 19, 2018

“Running from what?” Alina wiped her nose on her sleeve and glared. Tony looked down at the hearth and traced the bricks with ... Read Chapter

Chapter Thirty-Three

Submitted: March 21, 2018

"We never went back home.” Dee had re-kindled the fire as the night grew colder, and now she, Tony, and Alina sat around it, eating... Read Chapter

Chapter Thirty-Four

Submitted: April 06, 2018

Morning broke cold and clear, save a few snowflakes fluttering in the wind. The storm had let up about halfway through the night, and a g... Read Chapter

Chapter Thirty-Five

Submitted: April 08, 2018

Lie? Alina didn’t understand. Dee’s words clattered together, a string random syllables and phrases that held no meaning. She sta... Read Chapter

Chapter Thirty-Six

Submitted: April 12, 2018

Dee and Tony were still waiting on the stoop. To Alina’s surprise, they were not murmuring angrily but staring up at the house, ey... Read Chapter

Chapter Thirty-Seven

Submitted: April 19, 2018

Her cutting words spoken, Annalisa pried Ash’s fingers from the bodice of her dress and plopped him in Alina’s arms. Then s... Read Chapter

Chapter Thirty-Eight

Submitted: May 31, 2018

It's been a long time... whoops... In my defense, this was probably the most difficult / intense thing I've ever written. Also, I had tests. (That ended two weeks ago. But regardless- I had tests.)
This is really, really long, but I couldn't think of a way to split it up and I'm really bad at the kill-your-darlings form of editing, so a long chapter it is.
Read Chapter

Chapter Thirty-Nine

Submitted: July 03, 2018

Wow, I am out of practice writing. This was version... six (I think) of this chapter. All six versions have the exact same events, told with varying levels of terrible-ness (bland descriptions,
wooden dialogue, clunky transitions, etc). I know this version is probably full of contrivances and other glaring errors, so please critique mercilessly.

On the plus side, Chapter 40 has been written and just needs a good edit, so unless procrastination hits me even worse than it has been doing, I should be able to manage a bit less than a month
between chapters this time. Hopefully. One never knows.
Read Chapter

Chapter 40

Submitted: July 23, 2018

Apparently, the universe thought the world would be better off without this chapter... It's been completely finished for over a week, but a myriad of technical difficulties has prevented its
publication. If the formatting is weird in places, I just spent an hour trying to fix it and I've decided to just give up and post the darn thing already. Many apologies.
Read Chapter

Chapter 41

Submitted: August 21, 2018

“An operation?” Ahmed was the first to speak, and when he did, his voice was laced with scorn. “What are you even... Read Chapter

Chapter 42

Submitted: August 29, 2018

“I thought Jonna’s parents were dead.” It was a somber group that huddled around the kitchen table– Annalisa next t... Read Chapter

Chapter 43

Submitted: September 03, 2018

Another fictional event in a fictional chapter of a fictional book, because these things could never happen in real life. Obviously.
Read Chapter

Chapter 44

Submitted: September 06, 2018

Nathaniel gagged and drew in a deep, ragged breath. His throat was still tight and swollen, but he could breathe, and that was ... Read Chapter

Chapter 45

Submitted: September 10, 2018

Kill her. The words echoed in Nathaniel’s mind like a nightmare he couldn’t awaken from. Kill her. Kill her. Every time... Read Chapter

Chapter 46

Submitted: September 17, 2018

Chapter 46 Rael’s face burned with fever as Clare brushed her fingers softly across his forehead. He coughed and shuddere... Read Chapter

Chapter 47

Submitted: October 06, 2018

“We’re see if you’re this impertinent after a few days in a cell lined with mijan.” Captain Parker nodded at ... Read Chapter

Chapter 48

Submitted: October 15, 2018

It all happened so quickly Alina almost missed it. One moment, Edward was stepping out the door, head hung low– defeated. Ali... Read Chapter

Chapter 49

Submitted: October 23, 2018

“Protection?” To Alina’s surprise, it was Michael who spoke first, his voice low and trembling. “Protection?” he repeated, ... Read Chapter

Chapter 50

Submitted: October 31, 2018

“Up.” Nathaniel’s eyelids flickered open as footsteps approached his cell. Someone pounded on the bars. “I said... Read Chapter

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