A Vault of Sins by Sarah Harian
(Chaos Theory #2)
Publication date: September 16th 2014
Genres: Dystopia, New Adult
In her stunning New Adult debut, The Wicked We Have Done, Sarah Harian introduced readers to the Compass Room: a twisted experimental jail where the guilty and the innocent suffer alike. But breaking out was only the beginning…
Even though she’s escaped, twenty-two-year-old Evalyn Ibarra is anything but free. She’s desperate to return to a life that no longer exists, but prying reporters continually draw her back into nightmarish memories, using the tabloids to vilify her. Bad press is the last thing she needs during the trial of the year: the case that she and her fellow survivors staked against the Compass Room engineers. A case that could terminate the use of the inhumane system forever…
But in her dreams, she is still locked in that terrifying jail.
When she wakes, someone is trying to communicate with her in secret, through strange and intricate clues. As Evalyn follows their signs, she uncovers a conspiracy that goes so much deeper than her own ordeal. A dangerous intrigue that only she can bring to light. One that will force her to work with the one person she doesn’t want to see.
The person who owns her heart…
In my dream, I’m alone.
The forest swells up all around me, warm and dark and moist. It’s a cocoon of comfort, if I didn’t know better. This is always the worst part of the dream—the feeling of entrapment, of loneliness. I’m lying on the ground, the underbrush of the woods spidering over my body, and I smell the Compass Room again. The wood fire, the soil, the sweat—and the blood, permeating above all the other odors.
It’s always night in the dream-Compass Room. Fog rolls through the air, thick enough to taste.
I hear the other candidates. Tanner and Jace scream the loudest. Shrieks of anguish, like their flesh is slowly being ripped from their bones. I shut my eyes to wait it out because I know that I can’t save them.
But then I hear Casey.
The underbrush ropes me to the ground, growing tighter as I twist and writhe, trying to free myself to get to him. His voice rips the night in half, and I scream to match his, back arching off the earth, the entire forest shattering into a thousand sharp pieces.
I jerk awake, lying on my back with my hand pressed to my chest, waiting for my heart to stop pounding. I inhale the cold air of my living room and hold it in my lungs as the terror dissipates. It’s like waiting for a brain freeze to end. I get up, flipping on all the light switches in the silent house, checking the shadowy corners for dream monsters.
Not dream monsters. Illusions. Nick or Meghan, a Compass Room test crawling from the darkness. There’s nothing in the house, but of course there wouldn’t be.
I peel back the curtain in the living room. Fingers of the dark trees sway back and forth with the wind and I want to throw up my heart. I let the curtain fall back into place, rush to the kitchen, and take a long pull from the tequila bottle. The good tequila bottle.
Returning to the living room, I flop back onto the bed.
The woods in my dreams are thick, always lurking with Compass Room devils. The woods around my home are nothing more than a scattering of sad little trees, but my mind doesn’t care.
Gemma and the division thought they erased Compass Room C from existence, but they can’t. It’s everywhere.
Sarah Harian grew up in the foothills of Yosemite and received her B.A. and M.F.A. from Fresno State University. When not writing, she is usually hiking some mountain or another in the Sierras, playing video games with her husband, or rough-housing with her dog.