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“Gathering In” Excerpt #2   Leave a comment

The night of the pulse, Geo Tully and Wes Marcus were in the basement of Wes’ aunt’s home that had become their safehouse.

Wes, a wiry com tech barely old enough to shave regularly, held up a photo album that showed a man standing in front of the post-World War 2 bungalow with a shovel. The front door stood behind him, but not the view of the house that Geo recognized. The articulated arm of a backhoe could be seen on the edge of the frame.

“The porch is an addition,” Geo acknowledged.

A Navy Seal from Kansas, Geo towered over his Seattle-raised compatriot. They’d thrown in together when Bunnell & Wilson’s Knights Industry division seized control of the city by murdering military personnel. Wes’ uncle Fred had been an urban survivalist before he died a few years ago and his aunt Connie had died in Portland’s bomb attack. Their house had been a safe haven for two fugitives, so far.

“And look at how deep the hole is behind him.”

Geo turned to the front wall of the basement. The shelves had kept him from investigating here. They appeared to be attached to the wall, but when he ran his hand along the back edge of the shelving unit, he found a throw-bolt. He pulled it down and tugged on the shelves, swinging them out away from the wall. Hinged on the far side, they glided on hidden casters. Behind the shelves an open space stretched the length of the porch. Geo tried the light on the ceiling, but it didn’t turn on. He used the flashlight on his phone to illuminate the small room. A ham radio sat at one end, covered with plastic, while storage boxes filled the other end.

“I knew that tower had to still have a use.” Wes squatted down to look under the table the radio sat on. As an Army communication tech, he knew radios. “He left it disconnected. It’ll take me a moment.”

The light bulb in the main basement flared and popped off. Wes smacked his head on the underside of the table. Geo’s phone light went out.

“What’s that smell?” Wes stood, sniffing.

“My phone just fried, I think.”

They fumbled around in the dark to find the stairs and make their way to the kitchen. Duke, the Labrador retriever, stood in the living room, staring at the window and whining.

Geo peeked out the curtains as the neighbors came out on their porch, staring around.

“You smell that?” Wes asked. “I’m going to go check for fire.”

“Do you hear that?”

Duke whined louder. Raucous voices filtered in through the glass. Geo watched as the neighbors ran off their porch. Wes swept the front door open.

“What the hell?” Geo growled.

“They need help.” Wes ran into the street.

“Stay, Duke,” Geo ordered and followed his stupid partner into the street, where the neighbors could get a full view of their high-and-tights. They’d agreed they wouldn’t do that, but Wes had forced them all in. A municipal bus sat at the corner, smoke pouring out of its windows as the people inside tried to get out, screaming, kicking, punching at the glass, but when one window shattered, it just fed the fire that doomed them.

Wes ran to the rear passenger door and tried to pull it open, convulsing and chewing his tongue, smoke rising from his body.

Can You Imagine?   1 comment

Image result for image anchorage quake 2018

Today is the launch of Gathering In (Book 5 of Transformation Project series).

I’ve put my characters through a lot (terrorist attacks, radioactive rain, an air-handling system failure, a corn-field fire, confiscation of crops by the USDA) and they’re going to lose big in this latest book. Such is life for characters in an apocalyptic novel series.

Have you ever thought about how food gets to your local grocery store? How would it get there if the major transportation hubs were destroyed and rendered no-go zones?

Have you ever thought about where antibiotics come from and whether those avenues would be available in an apocalyptic situation? What about heart medications? Antidepressants? You name it. It’s unlikely it was made within a few miles of your home. So what do you do if the apocalypse happens? What can you do?

I live in Alaska, where everything comes through the Port of Anchorage. In fact, Anchorage International Airport is the second-busiest cargo airport in the United States. Last year Anchorage was hit by a 7.1 quake (which is NOTHING compared to the Anchorage Quake of 1964 – 9.2 or the Denali Quake of 2002 – 7.9) and roadways collapsed all over town. The airport was closed for a few hours. The railroad was offline for about 24 hours. The main road between Anchorage and Fairbanks was fine, but there are three “structurally deficient” bridges between here and there, so maybe it might not have been. So imagine what happens here if the Port or the airport are rendered unusable? Starvation, people without meds, no heating fuel which is a disaster if it’s winter.

I have to imagine that because I live at the end of a tenuous supply chain in a place where certain kinds of natural disasters are expected. We build for those disasters, but even then … roads collapsed all over Anchorage.

You should imagine it for wherever you live because the time for these thoughts is not after the damage has been done. It’s too late to do anything about it then.

Posted October 22, 2019 by aurorawatcherak in book promotion

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“Gathering In” Excerpt #3   1 comment

They’d been told to expect a friendly village, an increasingly elusive concept in the Mirage these days, so they’d all opted to carry for their own safety. A young boy of about ten met them at the town entrance and jabbered away in a patois mixture of the local dialect, the Miragan central tongue and English. Although it seemed impossible for foreigners to master Miragan, Shane’s grasp of Arabic and the months spent with Sera meant he understood enough of the boy’s chatter that they could at least communicate rudimentarily.

“What’s he saying?” Commander Roth asked Shane.

“The levees came through about a week ago, but they haven’t been back. They took his older brother despite being younger than draft age. They took his father last year. He’s hoping for some food aid as he’s feeding three younger siblings by himself.”

“Do you believe that?” Logan demanded.

I do. Take a look. You see any adult males around here?”

“Not on the ground, but I’ll bet there’s plenty squirreled away in the attics.”

“Where’s the headman’s hut?” Roth asked.

The boy seemed eager to cooperate and they moved deeper into the village’s narrow lanes, leaving squads behind as they went, until only Mike, Killgore, Roth and Shane continued. One moment it seemed friendly, and the next an icy finger ran down Shane’s back. He turned his head toward the left to see the barely perceived danger. A woman in a dark cotton hijab materialized in a doorway. Shane opened his mouth to call a warning and several shots to his chest slammed him back into a stone wall.

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