Unbelief Book 1
by C.B. Stone
YA Dystopian

171 pages

Darkness has a name...

From the ashes of destruction, the Elite rose up as the ruling power of
the New World, enforcing new laws. 

Those laws are broken at great peril.

When she witnesses her best friend taken by force in the night, she knows
he is destined for a fate worse than death. 

She’s heard the rumors, the whispers of what happens in Rehabilitation. 

She’s seen the dead looks in the eyes of those who return.

If they return.

But she can’t ignore what she's witnessed...

No matter the danger.

How can she abandon her best friend to such a fate?
She must try to save him...

No matter the cost.

This is a dystopian series set in a post-apocalyptic world with hints of
romance. Books should be read in order. May be cliff hangers.

Outside is freezing. The snow has piled up so high it’s up to my thighs and I wade through
it more like water than anything. It makes my progress slow going. That coupled with the biting
wind doesn’t help me stay warm. It would be better if I were just walking through town. It’d still
be freezing of course, but the buildings would help block some of the harsh wind.
Unfortunately, I’m not in town.
I’ve hopped over the little rock wall—I couldn’t even see it beneath the snow—and now
I’m heading out in the icy cold toward the tall ruins of the Old World.
Normally, I wouldn’t be out here. It’s stupid being out here during winter, especially alone.
It’s why me and Jacob always hunted and worked together. If something goes wrong, if I fall
through a rotted floorboard or get caught by a hungry animal, or if I just get lost in the neverending
white, there is no one out here to help me or save me. What’s worse, it’s incredibly
That wouldn’t worry me too much most of the time, but lately it’s been a bad idea to do
anything illegal. Selectors and other Elite have been unusually active in the Gate lately, taking
people in the middle of the night for Trials and Rehabilitation, then throwing what’s left of their
family to foster care… It’s never been this bad before. What I’m doing is just dumb. The worst
kind of dumb. The kind of dumb just asking for punishment.
Which is exactly why I’m doing it.
It’s maybe another mile until I hit the edge of the Old World. From there, I’ve decided I’ll
head west. Jacob and I haven’t seen all of the ruins, but we’ve seen a lot over the years and I’ve
got a good feel where things are now. Most days, I’m only out here looking for things to take
back to town. Stuff I can either use myself or things I can sell to the denizens of the Gate.
Today’s different. Today, I’m looking for something specific. So I’m headed to the west end of
the Old World town, in hopes of finding it.
I pull my coat tighter around me, tucking my chin so I can cover my face, ducking low into
my scarf. Only my eyes are visible, looking out across the wide expanse of white snow. Each
step I take I struggle with. It drains my energy and I wonder fleetingly if I’ll even make it back
when things are all said and done. I tighten my jaw, determination washing through me.
“I’ll make it,” I mutter to myself, my voice whipped away immediately by the fierce wind.
The cold air feels like needles against my skin, but I push forward anyway. Sometimes my
stubbornness pays off.
After nearly forty-five minutes, I reach the edge of the ruined city. It doesn’t normally take
me so long, but then I usually don’t go out in the midst of a blizzard to trudge through thigh deep
snow. All things considered, I’ve made good time.
Entering the city makes an instant difference. It’s still cold outside and there’s still lots of
snow, banks of it piled up against decaying buildings, and roads completely covered by it. But
the wind is less, thankfully. The buildings break at least some of it and what raw skin I have
exposed is grateful for any reprieve.
I’m careful while I move through the city ruins. Although it’s winter and no other sane
person is going to be out in all of this, I know animals aren’t quite the same. Most of them, much
like people, will be hiding wherever they can find warmth. But not all of them. Some will be out
scrounging around for food, searching for whatever protein and fat they can find. A frail little
human girl would make an awesome meal for the big cats that like to roam the area. I’m quiet as
I move, making for slow going. Every so often I’ll pause to make sure there isn’t anything
moving out there, or worse, stalking me. I’ll listen and watch and wait, then when I decide it’s
safe, I continue moving.
Most of the ruins look the same. The tall buildings boast dirty or broken windows, gates
bent or torn down altogether, and doors leaning open on their hinges. Inside, they’re filled with
filth. A mixture of collected dirt, rubble, and remains of whatever poor animal took shelter inside
to die. That’s how I know I’m getting close to the west end of the city. Things start changing,
fast. The buildings surrounding me get shorter. Some of them I’m sure were always short, but
others look like they were once skyscrapers like the rest of the city and have just crumbled since
being built. As they get shorter and shorter, other things start to change too. Black tar and
charcoal covers the structures.
There are square patches with metal skeletal remains, the only thing left of whatever
structure was once there. Nothing ever grows here, not even in spring or summer months. There
are scorch marks that cover the ground and even snow doesn’t seem to linger in these places. I
shiver, unable to control it. My eyes roam the ruins, glinting grimly, eager to get what I need and
get out of here.
Once, we came across a map of a small portion of the old city. I remember not being able
to read it, not because I couldn’t read, but because the symbols and everything on it didn’t make
any sense. There aren’t any official maps left of the old cities, at least not complete one, only
fragments here and there like what we found. It’s difficult to say what exactly this place used to
be, but Jacob had a theory. He always had a theory. My lips quirk at that. I miss his theories.
He used to say this area was destroyed so much worse than the others that it had to have
been important. People only destroy things, try to erase them completely, when they rabidly hate
it—or when they know it’s truly important to someone else. He said when the God Wars
happened years ago, the Elite targeted places that were most significant to the citizens of the Old
I don’t know if his theory is true or not, but I wouldn’t put it past the Elite to destroy the
thing that was most important to someone. I wouldn’t put anything past the Elite. My lips tighten
as I keep trudging, eyes constantly scanning the area around me, trying to quicken my pace.
Walking through the charred landscape makes me uneasy now. The snow and the wind and
the cold were bad enough, but here, in this particular section of the ruins, things are… eerie. It is
weird there isn’t any snow on the ground, even though snow still falls from the sky. It is weird
the ground feels warmer and the air here feels thicker and harder to breathe.
I never liked being in this part of the city, but Jacob used to always want to come here.
“This is where we’ll find it,” he always declared, tone adamant, eyes lit with hope and
determination. “If there’s anything they’d want gone, completely eradicated, it would have been
that. And they tried to get rid of everything around here.”
Whether he was right or wrong, we never found what he was looking for and after a while
he finally agreed the place was creepy and promised he’d stop making me come back here.
“Guess you broke your promise,” I mutter into the creepy too still air.
Because he is making me come out here, whether he meant to or not this time. My boots
clop over the blackened cement as I keep a sharp eye out. I’ve come here for something specific,
something that will guarantee attention.
Last night, I didn’t sleep. Not even a wink. Every time my eyes tried to slide shut, I had
this image of Rehabilitation flash in front of them. Like it was burned into my eyelids. I pictured
Jacob there, horrible things happening to him… and then Miriam would be standing beside him,
limp and just sort of staring with those wide gray eyes. She would watch, horrified as he was
hurt, hurt badly even, but she wouldn’t do anything. And then there was the body.
I always tried not to look at the body lying on the ground near Miriam’s feet, but I didn’t
have to to know instinctively who it was. My dad. Dresden Reardon, his light brown hair matted
down to his face and his hazel eyes just staring out at nothing… I shove the picture hastily from
my mind, refusing to give it a foothold. That’s what kept me from sleeping last night. The idea
people I care about are trapped there in Rehabilitation, being tortured just because they believe in
something the Elite doesn’t like.
At this point, I can’t help Miriam or my father. Miriam has come and gone from
Rehabilitation and whatever damage they did is already done. I can’t stop it or change it, and my
Dad is dead. Jacob is there in that camp now. And I can still do something to help him. I’m
determined to do something.
The problem is, I don’t quite know what that something is. I don’t know how to help him.
Miriam told me last night as we sat in front of the fire if I wanted Jacob back—and I do, I
desperately do—then I’m going to have to bring him back myself.
But she didn’t tell me just how I’m supposed to do that. So I stayed up, trying not to think
or dream, and came up with an idea during the night. It’s a stupid plan. It’s a plan that’s going to
get me into more trouble than I know how to get out of, I’m certain. But what do I have to lose?
Jacob is gone. My best friend, the only person in this world I still care about is stuck in some
glorified concentration camp. He’s basically a prisoner.
No one will let me see his sister, so I can’t take care of her. I can’t keep her safe or be of
any comfort to her, and that would be the only thing that would stop me from trying the
unthinkable. So… I came up with a plan.
I’m going to break into Rehabilitation.
“Yeah, brilliant plan,” I say to the cold, trying not to focus too hard on the other part of my
big plan.
I try not to touch anything in the blackened area, still worried there’s something not quite
right about the region and it’s going to make me sick if I touch any of it. Instead, I use the toes of
my boots to kick at things, moving them around as I search the barren ruins.
I have to find something provocative. Something forbidden. That’s the other part of my big
plan. Once I realized I would have to get into Rehabilitation, I also realized there was only one
way I could do that: fail at Trial. Except that’s the kicker. I’ve had only one Trial the last few
years, compared to most people who have anywhere between two and ten Trials in a single year.
I never get Selected for Trial. Why? Because everyone knows I’m not a Believer. There’s no
point in testing me, it’s always been a wasted effort. After my mother’s death, I’m surprised they
test me at all anymore.
Most of the time, I would consider that a good thing. I always knew I didn’t want to go to
the Hall of Science and sit in a white room for hours while they tried to decide if there is
something in my head they didn’t like. Except now I know I need to get there, so things are
much more complicated.
First, there’s the problem that Selections are random. Random time, random place, random
person. Selection might be at the Gate this month, or up at one of the other sectors instead. They
might take only one person or they might take twenty. It’s impossible to predict, which is
deliberate. They don’t want to give us any time to prepare for our Trials. They like to catch us
off guard so they can discover the truth about what we think.
That’s not a huge problem though. Random Selections don’t affect me in this case seeing
as how I want to go to Trial. I just have to be patient and wait. Not my strongest virtue, but what
choice do I have?
The second problem is a tiny bit trickier though. When Selection does occur, how will I
make sure they Select me? I’m the least likely person to get Selected. No one’s going to be
suspicious of my beliefs. Absolutely no one. I sigh, incredulous that unbelief is a bigger problem
for me right now than Believing. That’s why I’m out here, kicking around the charcoal of the
Old World. I kind of hope me being out here at all is enough for them to look my way, but I
don’t think it is. They never noticed my frequent trips into the Old World before, so why would
they start now? No, I’ve got to give them a bigger reason. A reason they can’t ignore and I’ve
decided what that reason will be. I’m going to find something banned and get caught with it.
Unfortunately, it’s not enough to just get caught with a book or clothing or something they
know is from the ruins. Instead, I’ve got to come back with something bad… something from a
church for instance. The ghost of a grin crosses my face, and I can’t help feeling quite pleased
with myself in spite of the direness of the situation. So that’s what I’m looking for, a church. I
hope Jacob was right and this charcoal landscape is where the old churches used to stand. Even
more so, I hope amidst all the rubble I can find something truly incriminating.
I haven’t had a lot of luck as of yet and it’s starting to worry me. What if I can’t find
anything? What if there’s nothing to find? There’s every possibility Jacob’s searching all these
years has all been for nothing. Maybe—probably—the churches of the Old World are nothing
more than rubble, destroyed completely by the people we now call the Elite. I bite off a sigh of
frustration, but still refusing to abandon my big plan.
To my right I notice a building half caved in. It’s smaller than the others. It’s hard to tell,
but I’m willing to bet it likely wasn’t one of those buildings that disappeared into the skies. Its
bricks are blackened and what may have once been a door is little more than a pile of sticks on
the ground near an opening. But there is an opening. I go to it and step carefully over the cracked
wooden remains of the door. Inside, it’s stuffy and the air is stale. There obviously hasn’t been
anyone in here since it was burned down.
Once inside, I’m not sure what kind of building it is. The inside of it is different from most
of the Old World buildings I’ve seen or been inside of. Definitely wasn’t one of those sky
scraper buildings, that’s for sure. Moving deeper inside, I continue to study my surroundings.
There’s a long middle aisle that covers the entire length of the large, single room. Wooden
beams from the ceiling have collapsed on top of it, making it difficult for me to reach the other
side. Gray light filters in through the non-existent roof, making the room appear ghostly. The
quiet certainly doesn’t help. It’s not even the same quiet from outside. The quiet that fills the
west side of the ruins is all about instant destruction. It’s about the feeling people didn’t even get
a chance to take a breath before the end was upon them. This silence is different. I don’t know
why though, all I know is it feels… more peaceful somehow? Weird. I shrug to myself and
continue exploring.
Along either side of the middle aisle are rows and rows of benches. Many of them are
charred completely black and are chipped so bad they’ve collapsed in the middle. Some have just
been moved out of alignment, skewed so that they’re running into each other, and some even on
top of others.
At the other end of the room it looks like there’s some sort of platform or dais, but the roof
has caved down on it, covering it completely so I can’t see for sure what used to be there.
There’s little more than piles of dust and debris from the roof all along the floor. I jump
over it and sidestep as best I can. It’s so quiet here I can hear my feet echo where they touch
solid floor and creak where they hit wood. When I come to the wooden beams that block the
aisle, I gingerly try to climb over them. Bracing myself with my hands, wrinkling my nose and
hoping I’m not touching anything toxic, I dig my foot in and heave myself over the huge beam. I
think I’ve made it and crawl over other pieces of wood to the other side, when I hear an ominous
snapping sound.
I let out a cry just as the beams crack beneath me and I fall, landing hard on the ground
with a grunt pain. My breath whooshes from my lungs on impact. A cloud of dust drifts up into
the air, with light coming in through the roof making the individual specs of dust visible as they
float on the air. I lay on my back, gasping for air and coughing, taking a moment to make sure I
don’t have any serious injuries. I grimace, knowing I’m going to be sore later regardless.
I think I’m mostly okay, so I roll onto my side, ready to get to my hands and knees before
pushing up to stand. Before I do though, I pause, my eyes caught on something I’d never have
noticed had I not taken a spill of the beams. There on the floor, hidden under one of the long
wooden rows, is a small book. It’s old and barely larger than my two hands put together. My
eyes widen with surprise. I can’t believe I’ve found a book in this place. The only time I’ve ever
come across books with Jacob was when we scouted schools and libraries, and most of those
books hadn’t survived the brutality of time very well.
I worry this one hasn’t either.
With trembling hands, still shaken from my fall, I reach out for it, half afraid it might
disintegrate the moment I touch it. But it doesn’t. I breathe a minute sigh of relief and gently
slide it across the floor toward me. It’s covered in dust. I run a finger along the top of it and
wrinkle my nose, coming away with a thick layer of the stuff. I wipe my finger on my pants, and
taking a deep breath, I blow hard, blowing the dust off it, and making myself cough in the
process amidst the cloud that rises in my face. I wave a hand and wipe my nose, struggling not to
sneeze and pile on insult to injury.
When the dust clears, I can finally see the cover. I squint, but I’m only able to make out
one word on it.
My lips tilt in a small smile. Jacob, here I come.

Unbelief Book 2

161 pages

What happens when your eyes are opened to truth?

I dream that night of walking through the ruins. Strangely, I’m
barefoot. Yet the snow beneath my feet doesn’t feel cold, I don’t
even feel cold. Somehow though, I’m going the right way, I know I
am. I’m not sure how I know… it’s just a knowing I feel deep
down in my bones.

Sinna has stumbled into a world unlike
any she’s ever known. Her eyes have been opened and there’s no
going back. She’s never considered herself a Believer, she always
left that to Jacob, but things are happening fast. 

Is there something to this faith stuff after all? 

And if there is, is it strong enough to see her through what’s coming next?

This is a dystopian series set in a post-apocalyptic world with hints of romance. 
Books should be read in order. May be cliff hangers.

Unbelief Book 3

165 pages

She can't walk away now...

This plan—this crazy, stupid, impossible plan—could work. At the very
least, it will serve to get the boys back into the folds of the
Elite, so they don’t come to any harm for helping me. 

And it’ll get me back inside so I can try to save my father—but then
what? How will I get him out? We have no guarantees this will even work…

Sinna is headed back to Rehabilitation. 

Like it or not, she doesn't see any other alternatives. She can't just
pretend everything is okay, and hide out in the Garden. 

But how will they get back there? 

And what will happen when they do?
Will they be able make it back out alive a second time? 

Sinna isn't at all sure about any of it, but her conscience won't let her back out now.

God Wars: The Beginnings
Unbelief Book 4

188 pages

In the Beginning...

Believing wasn’t always a crime. 

Faith in God wasn’t always illegal. 

In the glory days of the Old World, there were
many who lived out their faith in full view of all, and taught their
children, and their children’s children about God, their beloved Creator. 

In those days, prayer was still allowed in
schools, church was still held on Sundays with picnics and family get
togethers afterward, and the spare change that jangled in everyone’s
pockets still carried the words ‘In God We Trust’. 

Then the God Wars happened. Life was never the same again.
This is a prequel. It's highly recommended to read the Unbelief Trilogy first.

C.B. Stone is sometimes called author, writer, or purveyor of stories. One
might even dub her a yarn spinner if you will. It's very possible she
might be considered just a little left of normal by most, but she's
cool with that. Really, she's too busy avoiding normal to care. On
any given day, you might find Stone pounding away at a keyboard in
sunny Florida, contemplating waves, contemplating life and dreaming
up more exciting stories to share with readers. 

Except Sunday's of course. Sunday's are God's day, so you'll often find her
making her best "joyful noise" with her local church praise
team. When not pounding poor fingers to bloody nuggets and
reinventing the definition of eye strain, C.B. Stone enjoys living it
up, doing the family thing, the kid thing, and the friend thing. 
And in her downtime, reading the minds of fans.
Also being invisible. Being invisible is fun.

Follow the tour HERE for exclusive excerpts and a giveaway!