resistance // muse
Name: Rhine Ellery
Novel: Wither by Lauren DeStefano
Bio: Thanks to genetic engineering, scientists have created a world where human defects and terminal illness have become a thing of the past. But something has gone horribly wrong. A virus now plagues the human race, killing off females at age 20 and males at age 25. Young girls are kidnapped and sold to labs for research or thrown into prostitution. While the “lucky” ones, like sixteen year old Rhine Ellery, are traded into polygamous marriages to help the continuation of the human race. Despite the genuine affection from her husband Linden and the loving company of her sister wives, Rhine continues to plot her escape from Ashby manor, along with the help of Gabriel, a servant she has grown dangerously attracted to. But with the scrutinizing eyes of Linden’s father watching Rhine’s every move, escape will be a lot harder than she thinks.
Model: Karlie Kloss
1. Why did you choose the book you did?
I read this book for the first time a couple months ago and I absolutely loved it. The whole plot was just so interesting and original. The fact that all the people born after a certain year die before the age of 25 is a bit scary but it really makes you think—what would you do if you knew exactly when you would die? I think that’s one of the points the author was trying to make while writing this story.
2. Why did you choose the model you did?
I’m not really sure why I picked Karlie. I probably could have picked any model, but while I was making the set and thinking over the bio and plot, Karlie just felt /right/.
The elevator opened up to complete darkness, not a single light in sight. Fear crippled me and I contemplated whether I should continue on with this or not. I knew Gabriel was around somewhere—but where?—I wasn’t too sure.
The basement corridor resembled a hospital with its linoleum floors and fluorescent lighting, which at the moment, were turned off. The cold crept into my skin, freezing my bones. It was the type of cold you would definitely find at a hospital… or a morgue. I bit my lip to keep my teeth from chattering. My feet padded against the floor as I passed metal door upon metal door. There were small windows in some of the doors and at one point I jumped up to look inside. Maybe Gabriel would be in one of the rooms; but instead, there was nothing within except for jars of strange liquids and scary looking medical instruments. It sent a strange chill down my spine just imagining all the horrid experiments Linden’s father, Housemaster Vaughn, could be doing.
And then I heard it. The footsteps, not too far from where I stood at that moment. I twisted around frantically, searching for the source of the footsteps or a hiding place. However, each door nearby was locked and the footsteps were coming up behind me. I turned around, prepared to face whatever scolding from Linden—or worse, Housemaster Vaughn.
But instead, there stood Gabriel. For a moment, I saw a flicker of happiness and relief in his eyes but that was quickly replaced with worry.
Gabriel grabbed my arm and led me down the hallway. When we stopped at a door towards the end of the corridor, Gabriel pulled out a key card from his pocket, swiped it along the sensor, and yanked open the door.
The room was dark, even darker than the hallway. I could see nothing but black in front of me.
“You’re not supposed to be here,” he finally spoke once the door was firmly closed behind us. Gabriel comes to stand before me. I can hear the sounds of his breathing and I feel the heat of his body.
“I know, I know. But I had to make sure you were okay. After I hadn’t seen you for three weeks, I knew something was wrong. One of the workers in the kitchen said you were down here and—”
“He knows,” Gabriel blurted out.
“Housemaster Vaughn knows everything. He knows about the kiss and he knows you tried to run away. If he sees you down here with me, I’m dead.”
I wanted to ask how, but I knew it was unnecessary. I thought back to a few weeks ago. It was the last time I had seen Gabriel and it was the first time we’d kissed. At the time, I thought I’d imagined the shuffling outside my door; I’d pushed it out of my mind as an overreaction of my guilty conscience. Yet, a part of me still believed that /someone/ really had been there. It explained why Housemaster Vaughn watched me even closer than before.
It also explained why Gabriel had been nowhere in sight. Housemaster Vaughn stashed him in the basement, away from the rest of the house servants, and away from me. It was all my fault. I was the one who pulled Gabriel into this mess. Why him, dear heart? Why did I have to fall for him? If I was good wife like I was supposed to be, none of this would have happened. Maybe, just maybe, I could have lived the remaining four years of my life peacefully at Ashby Manor.
There was only one way I could think of to make it right. I needed to leave for good. Without getting caught.
“Runaway with me,” I quickly blurted out, before I could take it back.
“Rhine, we can’t. It’s too dangerous. We could both end up dead.”
“But isn’t it worth a try. I cannot stay here anymore and pretend that I’m enjoying myself. All we have to do is find a way out of this /prison/, look for a break in the trees, and then we’re free.”
“Yeah, I’m sure it sounds a lot easier than it is.”
The room is silent again, except for our breathing. I hear Gabriel open his mouth as if he wants to say something and know he’s going to try and talk me out of escaping. But I stop him from saying anything. I reach for Gabriel in the dark and I kiss him, silencing any further argument. It doesn’t take long for Gabriel to respond. His hands are in my hair, on my waist, all along my body. And for that moment, I can pretend that we’re not in Ashby manor at all. It’s just us against the world.
When we finally pull away from each other, Gabriel rests his forehead against mine and sighs heavily. “I don’t know,” he mumbles.
“We have to at least try,” I whisper, taking Gabriel’s hand and intertwining my fingers in his.
“And what happens if it doesn’t work?”
“Then we both die.” I hated to say it, but it was truth. If Housemaster Vaughn catches us then he’ll kill us both, covering it up as some terrible accident. I’m sure he’s willing do anything to keep Linden in the dark.
Gabriel is quiet for a long time and I’m afraid of what he’ll say next. He places his hands on my cheek and kisses me, soft and sweet.