@Archaeolibrary, @GoddessFish, @Lindslees42,
In less than a year, fifteen-year-old Gypsy Capone will be considered a woman in Ovoidia, a “utopian” city-state where every woman can be approached for immediate sex by any man, where curving architecture adds weird whimsy, sporks are the only cutlery, and true intimacy between the genders is a sign of suspect subversion. After all, if a woman just plays along, she’ll also do her job and have children, with the reward of a fine home in the “Communities,” where she and the other “Mamas” live together in harmony with everything they need. Right?
The irony: Diam and Isis, the two leaders of Ovoidia, are themselves females. Fun, yes! And just below the surface, perversely sinister. They personally execute these precise sacrifices by women to establish their “happy,” absurdly totalitarian utopia, and are backed up by their chosen army of male “crusaders,” enforcing a crime-free, fully controlled society.
Men are relegated to work in the “City” where they may “enjoy”—right there on the street if they wish—any woman they want and are welcome to satisfy their sexual and emotional needs at establishments called Gaje Clubs where only the most “gifted” among women are chosen to work.
Not surprisingly, in Ovoidia women have evolved until they feel nothing of sexual pleasure. But in Gypsy’s deepest heart, she realizes her own dark secret: she is the exception. Next she discovers to her horror that her secret, if known, could result in the ultimate punishment—genital mutilation.
To save her body and even her soul, Gypsy chooses a dangerous path—to single-handedly confront this scary and absurd world. She has the support of her allegiant sister Sadie and Miles Devine, a rogue, secretly gay crusader, and also “Doctor,” a morally questionable physician to help her. But none of them fathom the levels of paradox, incongruity, and twisted evil they will soon face, and the ride becomes something even Gypsy could have never imagined.
At eleven A.M. later that Friday morning, after Miles had timed a power nap for Diam and Isis, he led them to their important next meeting with the fore-Gajes. He’d overheard Diam practicing slogans for the meeting and Isis had been writing motivational songs to complement their recent initiative. A rebranding, of sorts, but judging by how stressed Diam and Isis always seemed, Miles could tell they needed to work extra-hard to convince the fore-Gajes to get on-board with their plan. Which meant Miles was expected to work extra-hard to keep the Heads happy, a job Miles never desired.
They entered the large meeting room where approximately twenty fore-Gajes sat in rows of long, white tables of three. Diam and Isis nodded, and Miles flipped off the light switch. Then he walked to the back of the room and turned the switch on a projector, as he’d been told to do. Diam and Isis were then cast into shadow by the glowing projection of a woman almost three feet across the wall. Her legs were wrapped in indigo fringe and intricately stitched white tights, head turned away from the audience, hands splayed on her waist, heart to the sky, hip cocked to the left for a full view of her large round behind. Written below her were these words:
The Gaje: The symbol of Ovoidia. An image the world envies. Capable of sacrifices no other woman on Earth could bear. Invested in the greater good while also looking good.
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Lindsay Lees is originally from Los Angeles and holds dual citizenship in the U.S. and the United Kingdom, and while growing up and later in college, she split her time between the two countries. Lindsay earned a B.A. in 2008 from Manchester Metropolitan University, and next an M.F.A.in Creative Writing from California College of the Arts. The Willing is Lindsay’s debut novel. She currently lives a quiet Southern life with her husband and a houseful of pets.