Wade Coltrane and his group have survived the apocalypse, the worst of humanity, and overcame Mother Nature's ice age by relocating the colony. Now she's annoyed and the Grim Reaper is riding to Florida.
The worldwide nuclear war that decimated mankind had laid waste to large portions of the Earth. Few sections of the globe went unscathed. Radioactive rain still fell on vast swaths of land and sea that lay within the ever-shifting ribbons of wind. Nothing was alive in those areas, and nothing would live there for centuries.
The Millennial Bug followed the bombs and inflicted further devastation on those who had managed to survive. Anarchy, starvation, disease, natural attrition, even madness, eliminated most of those who escaped the bug.
In America, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and other large cities were demolished. China’s great cities, including Beijing and Shanghai, were obliterated. Within nine months, China’s massive population was slashed from 1.4 billion people to less than two million. At the end of the first year, less than 100,000 remained. The rest of Asia fared worse than The People’s Republic of China. Three years after hostilities began, not a single human being was alive in Japan, Indonesia, Korea, or the Philippines. The Middle East was a radioactive wasteland. In India, people packed like sardines in a small can died en masse. Ultimately, the sub-continent and The Land Down Under followed the other nations into oblivion.
As she has done since time began, Mother Nature stepped in and prepared to clean up the mess. Great storms ravaged the land and blew across the seas. At a pace that would have rendered geologists speechless, magnificent glaciers moved south, cooling the planet and squeezing the remnants of humanity into tropical and sub-tropical areas that were favorable breeding grounds for pathogens. Like mushrooms, inactive volcano’s sprang to life, and earthquakes, large and small, persisted with increased frequency.
The third rock from the sun had become an inhospitable home for the genus Homo Sapiens.
Noah woke drenched in sweat and gasping for breath, eyes wide. Momentarily unable to remember where he was, he lay unmoving while his mind replayed segments from the hideous nightmare.
Nina, Lutrova wearing blood-soaked black leather, hovered above a sacrificial altar. Bolts of blue-white lightning radiated from the sword she pointed toward the heavens. Ear shattering thunder boomed. Vampire-teethed ghouls swirled around her as she exulted over a field of human corpses stretching to infinity, her snow-white face a stark co
The dream had been intense. Graphic. As the last fragment drifted into the darkness, he shuddered and exhaled mightily. Refilling his lungs with the cold morning air, he wiped the sweat from his forehead with the bedsheet. The warmth of Anna’s body pressing against his chest finalized his journey to reality, and he rose on one elbow and peered down on her. She was sleeping peacefully, the baby snuggled at her breast. He laid back, momentarily remembering that Fort Hope had been abandoned three days ago, the occupants on their way to Florida. He looked at his watch. O530.
The bedroom was glacial, and he dressed quickly and quietly, then briefly turned on his flashlight for a better look at his wife and child. Satisfied, he hustled to the kitchen stove, added a log to the smoldering embers, and set a kettle of water to boil.
Within minutes, the heat began eating the cold. He moved closer and allowed the warmth from the burning wood to cauterize the remnants of the nightmare. When the teakettle whistled it was ready, he pulled a chair closer to the stove, poured water over the mug of coffee crystals, stirred, and sat.
Should I let Anna sleep?
He decided she needed an extra hour and took a sip of the brew, savored it, then took another. He breathed deeply, exhaled slowly.
Out of the blue, memories of his last hours at Fort Hope battered his brain in a tsunami of jumbled images. The blizzard. Anna’s face after she gave birth. Kissing her and the baby. Going to the command center. Discovering the nuclear reactor was shut down and the colony ready to evacuate to Florida. The fearful look on Maggie’s face when she came to get him. Hustling back to medical. Sara telling him that Anna transformed into Nina and went through a window with his newborn daughter.
He shook his head, remembering that he’d refused to believe—couldn’t believe—that Anna and Nina were the same woman. But the footprints in the snow and the stolen horse were proof that his wife was alone in a monster snowstorm with their child. And the only logical place she could go was here—to their old house in the mountains east of Delano, Tennessee.
BOOKS IN THE WORKS
Two days before the start of the July 4th Holiday, six consecutive events shredded the fabric of the United States and changed the world forever.
The record-setting hot weather that invaded the East Coast of the United States oozed into Philadelphia and brought most outdoor activity to a screeching halt.
In front of Independence Hall, the unrelenting rays of the sun scorched the makeshift stage where Jonathan Cole, a tenured professor at Temple University, was about to announce his candidacy for President of the United States.
Sweating profusely, Cole waited for his campaign manager, Bryce Davis to introduce him to the over-heated crowd on Chestnut Street.
Jesus, it’s hot. Maybe we should have rescheduled?
Without warning, Cole's stomach rumbled like distant thunder, and the sour taste of Beluga caviar and gin and tonic flooded his mouth. He belched loudly partially drowning out the voice of Davis—" ado I give you the next President of the United States of America... Professor—Jonathan—Cole."
On cue, the herd, as Cole called them, broke into spontaneous applause.
With his fifty thousand dollar smile working overtime, Cole bounded up the three steps and strode purposefully toward center stage. Also on cue, the ovation from the faithful rose in intensity as the crowd began chanting his name. "Cole...Cole...Cole...Cole."
Playing to the network news cams, he paused momentarily at center stage, basking in the adoration of his sweat-drenched admirers. After the requisite time, he went to work and began manipulating the herd like the seasoned political activist he was.
As he milked and touched outstretched hands, bile again filled his mouth, and a cold sweat broke his brow. He gasped as a chill slithered down his spine. Turning from the multitude, he revisited his lunch and swallowed, took three deep breaths, shuddered lightly, and wiped the cold sweat from nausea off his brow with the back of his hand.
A moment later, with a herculean effort for quiet, he turned and faced the herd and raised his hands waist high, palms out.
The herd responded with wild applause.
Cole’s face morphed into his practiced portrayal of a God and he spread his arms wide in an all-encompassing gesture.
Please don’t let me throw up in front of the cameras.
Shaking his head slowly, he took a deep breath, tapped the microphone three times, then opened his mouth to speak.
A thousand yards distant, a hand-loaded bullet left the barrel of a custom-built .50 BMG sniper rifle and began its journey into the history books.
Two-point four seconds later, at 1:21 pm Eastern Daylight Time, the professors head exploded in a pale pink mist.
At New York’s Millennium Hilton Hotel, Reggie McFadden, who anchored the TV-6, News at Six, had just finished his traditional lunch of three very dry and dirty martinis’ with a side of young nookie and waited impatiently for the valet to retrieve his candy apple red Porsche 920.
Hurry up, you moron. It’s fucking hot out here.
When his pride and joy appeared, he handed the young valet a single dollar bill and took the proffered keys. At 1:33 pm, Eastern Daylight Time, one step from his chariot, his head disintegrated.
In Washington, DC, Martha, Wildgoose, a Democratic Senator from California, finished her routine early lunch at the Monocle on D Street, NE, and against the advice of her security team leader, she determined to walk alone to the Hart Senate Office Building, one block away.
“I think I can walk from here to there without being assassinated or raped, Tom.”
Well, you’re half right, Senator. You don’t have to worry about being raped.
As she crossed the public parking lot, at 1:44 pm Eastern Daylight Time, a Chevy Suburban, dressed in black with black tinted windows, eased from a parking space and casually turned left onto First Street NE.
In its departure, the Senator lay dead.
The specially licensed LGBT parade in San Francisco started on time at the Embarcadero. Charles Vanessa, aka Charlie V, a chart-topping male singer, who was not gay, but was an activist for anything anti-establishment, led the parade slowly down Market Street.
As the multihued procession approached the intersection of Market and Beale, at 3:26 pm Eastern Daylight Time, there was a loud thump, and Charlie’s face vanished.
Under tight security in the Windy City, MacArthur, “Mac” Wiggins, the mayor of Chicago, arrived in his armored Lexus limo at the North Shore Center for the premiere of the acclaimed musical, Mystical Chicago.
After his security team set a perimeter, he exited the vehicle wearing his practiced political smile.
Two seconds later, at 7:01 pm, Eastern Daylight Time, Mac’s smile disappeared forever as his Kevlar body armor ruptured and a hand-loaded projectile from a .50 BMG blew out his heart.
At the Greek Theater in Los Angles’ Griffith Park, Jocelyn Russell, a Hollywood A-lister was leading a rally to ban firearms.
Standing at the front edge of the stage, she raised both arms above her head and screeched, “City of Angels—LA...Welco....”
At 8:03 pm, Eastern Daylight Time, the thunderous applause went mute when a hollow-point bullet from a .338 Lapua Magnum entered her mouth and blew out the back of her head.