In this episode of book clips we hear a reading from the lesbian fiction novel Disobedience Means Death by Sarah Ettritch
On the planet Rymel, falling in love can be deadly.
Lesley and Mo live in a society that selects mates for its citizens and kills those who don’t accept its choices. Deeply in love, the two women can’t imagine being with anyone else, but their time together is running out. If they don’t let each other go, they’ll be executed.
Meet Lesley and Mo when they’re young adults in love, and follow their joys and struggles until it’s time for them to say good-bye. Will they do what their society expects of them, or will they sacrifice their lives for their love?
The Rymellan Series is a social science fiction series about two lesbians who live in a totalitarian state.
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Sarah Ettrich Online
please note this transcript has not been edited and is automatically generated meaning certain words will be incorrect
you are listening to book clips a mini podcast in which authors and erasers do readings from novels check out the show notes for the synopsis and by links for this book
hi I’m Sarah Ettrich and today I will be doing a reading from disobedience means death the first book in The Rime Ellen series in this excerpt mo one of the main characters is thinking back to when she first realized she’s a lesbian and attracted to her best friend Leslie who she calls lez she and les had always been best friends growing up next door to each other in only five months apart in age they were always together at family functions at the Learning Academy and at the indoctrination Academy Moe knew less almost as well as she knew herself she could talk to less about anything when they entered the indoctrination Academy at 13 for their level 4 less had been a fixture in her life for his far back as she could remember she was like a part of the family around les Moe didn’t have to be polite or pretend to be someone she wasn’t she could be herself but then something changed suddenly Moe felt self-conscious around less did she sound stupid was she laughing in the right places did her hair look alright did she have a piece of lettuce from lunch stuck between her teeth half the time she couldn’t focus on what les was saying distracted by leza’s blue eyes with their long delicate eyelashes worse she wanted to reach out and touch her her hand her cheeks her hair forget the talking she just wanted to gaze until as his eyes she even imagined herself sitting on leza’s lap at first she didn’t understand what had happened but one day during class it all became frightening ly clear level-4 expanded on the basics of the Chosun tradition covered during level three and that meant sex education sure she knew about sex but up to that point she hadn’t thought about it much nor about whether she was a diff or same oriented she certainly hadn’t thought about it in relation to Laz they were friends they knew everything about each other her feelings for les weren’t those types of feelings she was sure of it she didn’t plan on having any of those until she met her chose if she had one but on that excruciating day the indoctrinate er talked about sexual attraction and how sexual orientation was a discovery something one learned about oneself not something one chose she sat in horror as he described exactly what she was feeling and watched the large monitor at the front of the classroom in disbelief as several adult solitary wry melons both diff and same oriented we called their quote adolescent crushes unquote she could hardly breathe she wanted to crawl under her desk and hide most of all she did not want less sitting up front to turn around she was convinced that how she felt was plain on her face she wouldn’t be surprised if a bright light suddenly shone down on her and the indoctrinate er said now class I want you all to look at mom it’ll ttan she’s another example of a wry melon with a crush and on Leslie Thompson no less Moe left the class in a daze her mind turning over the same question again and again what was less is orientation it had never come up they never discussed boys or girls in that way did let us know was she experiencing the same sorts of feelings as Moe but for a boy would it affect their friendship if she was could they be as close understand each other as much as they did now or at least as much as mossad they did well that was enough for her she didn’t want anymore of the sexual attraction nonsense she wanted to feel comfortable with less again if she accidentally spat on her while talking she didn’t want to feel as if she just done the most embarrassing thing ever if she stumbled and les caught her arm she wanted to laugh and spank her not blush and wish it hadn’t happened she wanted back that familiar ease between them along with the certainty that les would always be her friend no matter how dumb she sounded or how her hair looked who would want those other feelings not her they were annoying and inconvenient from now on she’d pretend those other feelings for Low’s weren’t there les came out of the classroom and walked toward her that was an interesting class she said shifting her notebook from her left to her right hand yeah Moll mumbled her heart pound les stared at her and shifted her notebook back to her left hand do you the notebook moved again do you know if your same or different it she asked mo gulped and tried not to hyperventilate no she managed to say faintly let us have the bluest eyes on the planet I mean I’m not sure I don’t know I’ve never experienced anything that would help me tell they needed to open the windows it must be 100 degrees in the corridor Oh les said what about you what about you but the words wouldn’t come out she couldn’t ask a question when hearing the answer terrified her the moment passed I thought I’d take a walk during break get some fresh air when it calmly asked sure mo said a walk with les would be great as long as she didn’t spit on her didn’t trip and didn’t forget herself and grabbed les his hand well as must never know that she had those sorts of feelings for her ever over the next few weeks mo noticed that she wasn’t the only one who discovered her orientation actually the signs had been there before but she hadn’t put two and two together now she understood why Simon and Judith spent most of their time grinning at each other like morons and why Sheldon had stood and glared at Timothy at lunch one day until Timothy had surrendered his seat next to Raymond she’d even seen classmates kissing kissing feeling like she’d explode if she didn’t tell someone about her own discovery she decided to tell Mama and Papa on the next family visitation day they nodded knowingly and smiled at each other you already know mo asked we’ve known for quite some time ever since your last appointment with the chosen counsel Papa said they know then you see and tell the parents but it’s best that you find out yourself when you’re ready but she wasn’t ready not if it meant she couldn’t have back her old friendship with les the comfortable one not the one they had now over Papa’s shoulder she could see less chatting with her parents they knew they flaming new leza’s orientation did les is that what she was talking about with them did she have a crush on anyone she know how many of her classmates had a crush on her Moe knew how many a lot she wasn’t the only girl walking around in misery with less the object of her affection last week at supper she’d noticed Carolyn staring at less from a nearby table and her stomach had clenched when she’d recognized the look in Carolyn’s eyes she’d also lost count of the number of boys offering to carry leza’s books squeezing themselves in at the same table at mealtimes and Olding her during class once les had dropped her pencil and Moe had almost been trampled in the Stampede to reach at first pick it up and present it to her Moe wondered how les felt about the attention whether it bolstered are bothered they never talked about it in fact they never talked about anything related to sex crushes orientation or the like it was almost as if they had an unspoken agreement to not discuss what 90% of their classes were about or the obvious displays of affection right in front of them every time they went outside on a break Moe lived in fear that one day she’d round the corner of the sports equipment shed and find les pressed against its side kissing some pimple-faced idiot the chances of that happening were slim though since she unless were pretty much always together if les planned to go outside on break she always asked Moe to go with her she always wanted to sit together at meals and she spent more time quietly doing homework in Moe’s room and she spent in her own mo understood why les was using her as a shield against all the attention she didn’t mind if les wanted to stick to her like glue that was fine with her despite the constant longing when les was there to spite the ache to touch her to feel her skin to press her body against leza’s the almost physical pain when les wasn’t with her was worse she tried not to think about the day when les decided she no longer needed a shield les would have her pick of the boys or same oriented girls Moe knew it wouldn’t be her even if she hadn’t been less his friend all those years and his familiar is an old pair of shoes she was playing and she didn’t seem to be growing much anywhere les look taller and curvier every time ou saw her so did most of the other girls but not her sometimes she wondered if she had a defective mirror Moe told herself that being less his friend was enough but deep inside she knew that wasn’t true one day sitting directly behind less and admiring the nape of her neck as less peered down at her notes she considered telling lies how she felt if she knew less his orientation if she heard from leza’s mouth that she didn’t stand a chance with her maybe she could let her feelings go stop Italy hoping stop lying in bed at night doing with less in her mind what she wished she could do with her in reality maybe they get their old friendship back yeah and maybe she’d wake up tomorrow and the sky would be pink with red polka dots the months wore on nothing changed before she knew it they were due to leave the Academy in less than a month they’d go back to living next door to each other not down the hall from each other ‘mo dreaded it a week later she stood next to less and stared out the lounge window trying to decide if the grass was dry enough to go out and kick a ball around it had rained most of the day but the Sun had come out a couple of hours ago and had been shining ever since we can go out and feel the grass less said yeah let’s we’ve been cooped up all day outside less crouched and ran her hand along the grass it’s a bit slippery we’ll be careful mo said wanting to remain outside in the Sun I’ll get the ball she ran through the equipment shed plucked the ball from the pile near the back and stepped back into the sunlight les had moved away from the Academy she motioned for mo to kick the ball to her mo dropped the ball step back then ran forward and kicked it good shot les hardly had to move she kicked the ball off to Moe’s right forcing mo to race toward it and snag it with her foot it rolled slowly to les who promptly kicked it to Moe’s left then bent over laughing oh so that was how she was going to play was it mole ran as fast as she could determine not to let the ball get past her though she’d have to kick it while still in motion almost there she swung back her leg and roof she was on her back staring at fluffy white clouds seconds later les peered down in her argument mo are you alright she wiggled her fingers and toes everything still worked she’d had the wind knocked out of her that was all yeah I’m okay she pushed herself up right I’m sorry les said offering lower hand I forgot about the grass mole grasped les his hand and les pulled her to her feet I’m sorry les said again I was being stupid forget it Moe said acutely aware of the warmth of les his hand I’m fine maybe we should go in no she reluctantly pulled her hand from leza’s not wanting to give her the wrong idea well the wrong idea from Liz’s point of view I want to keep playing you sure les asked yeah positive now get back over there Moe fetch the ball and dropped it onto the grass I’m changing the game she shot it – les she wanted to show les that she could bounce back from one little fall and it would be boring if les always kick the ball directly to her if you want the ball you’ll have to take it off me she darted behind the ball and kicked it away from les not too far just enough so she could continue to kick it as she ran almost immediately she realized what a dumb idea this was no matter how fast she ran she wouldn’t outrun les sure enough Liza’s footsteps soon studded behind her then les was next to her she almost tripped when les stretched out her right foot and tried to get control of the ball but she regained her footing and punted the ball away les started after the ball motor on every shred of energy she had and charged after her they reached the ball at the same time most swung back her leg and kicked but suddenly leza’s like was there not the ball their legs locked Moe tumbled forward and broke her fall with her hands les crashed down next to her silence then les said we really should go in much to Moe’s relief les was okay and so was she she rolls on to her side to agree enough was enough Leslie on her back grinning we’re asking for it otherwise she said rolling toward Moe I should have insisted that their faces were so close their noses were almost touching les a smile faded their eyes met before Moe could stop herself she moved in and touched her lips to lezzies alessa’s lips her softer than she’d ever imagined she pressed harder slipped her arm around les slid closer to her she wanted to feel as his entire body she wanted to hold her and squeeze her and it felt as if someone had thrown a bucket of ice-cold water over her head was she out of her flamin mind this was less not only the prettiest girl at the academy and probably different it but her best friend the one who’d never shown any interest in her and would probably run into the Academy to throw out the soon as mo let her go she’d ruined everything now her secret was out and les wouldn’t want anything to do with her most snapped her arm to her side and drew back les I’m sorry she said trying to move away from her but unable to do so for some reason I don’t know what came over me I wasn’t thinking it won’t happen again I promise
you have been listening to me Sarah Ettrich reading from disobedience means death my lesbian sci-fi novel thanks for listening
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