Sky Prisoner


Hessa Issa


YA Fantasy

Word Count:

95,000 words


Serving a ten-year sentence for stealing a dragon, seventeen-year-old Valina Vallomir breaks out of the city’s most inescapable sky prison after only two years. However, keeping her freedom proves harder than expected. Impulsive and stubborn, Valina refuses to leave her parents and the city she loves behind. She gets caught and is given an ultimatum. Valina must help Captain Erikin Glaucon infiltrate the criminal underworld through a deadly competition where the next King and Queen of organized crime are crowned. Or return to prison.

If competing against the city’s most wanted criminals—people she could only call friends – wasn’t horrible enough, then working with Captain Erikin Glaucon, who arrested her twice, would be. Valina is determined to become Queen and punish Captain Erikin for her time spent unjustly in prison. As the competition forces them to break slavers out of labor camps, fight war-bred monsters in the forest and commit the perfect murder, Valina’s respect for Captain Erikin grows. With her chances of becoming Queen increasing with every trial, Valina begins to set aside her vengeance for something greater — a new and better life as Queen of the Underworld.

But when her competitors start dying gruesomely outside of the competition, all the evidence points towards Valina. Criminality does not excuse rule-breaking within the villainous world and if Valina can’t find the real culprit and prove her innocence, then she will be sent back to prison indefinitely – a fate she would die to avoid.

I am a member of SCBWI and the Online Writing Workshop for Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror. I’m an Arab writer and I live in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

First 300 words:

Valina hated her prison cell set a thousand feet in the air, but she didn’t want to fall out of it either. Writhing from side to side in fake pain, she squinted through the honeyed haze of the setting sun at the two approaching guards.

Valina kept perfect track of her time, and she was certain that tonight marked the end of her second year in prison. Only eight more years left… if she wasn’t breaking out of the dreaded Sky Prisons tonight.

The guard closest to her muttered an incantation that stopped the swaying of her cell. Valina forced her body to still completely. Even with her eyes now closed, she knew every corner of her little cell. From the crown of her head to the tips of her feet. That was the size of it. Due to her less than average height, Valina stood in her cell without difficulty. Though the other criminals, the ones bigger in size, had it worse.

“What’s wrong with her?” one of the guards asked the other.

“This is Zeaki Vallomir’s daughter,” the other replied. “Who knows what goes on inside the bodies of half-breeds?”

Valina opened her eyes just a fracture. The guards hovered outside the little locked door, their leathery city-issued wings flapping behind them. Nut-browned and wrinkled, the wings were woven out of some poor animal’s hide and enchanted to their spines.

“Help me,” she sputtered, the words tasting like bile out of her parched throat. She dug her jagged nails into her palms, sending a fresh batch of tears flowing. It was a struggle to keep her eyes open, but she still needed to look out for the signal. Whether the signal came or not, she would rather die than spend another hour in prison.


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