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Doomsday By Design - Novel In Progress

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posted on Jan, 14 2016 @ 04:54 AM
That’s it, Sandra thought. We’ve passed Alamo by now, I’m sure. So, the closest place to us would be Ash Springs. That’s our next stop.
“If we were closer to Eureka, I’d know everything like the back of my hand.” Caitlin said. “But we took the backroad here. We didn’t go through any of the bigger towns, so I’m not sure…”
“Ash Springs.” Sandra said. “The closest town to us is Ash Springs. I remember my uncle telling me…”
“Right.” Maxi nodded. “It’s right on the highway 93. That highway’s just barely east of us, if I remember right. Took that road down here a while back. Not sure what’s become of the town now, but we can have a look.”
“Hey!” Owen shot up suddenly. “Dad’s got an atlas under the passenger seat!”
“Yeah, go get it.” Caitlin told her brother, and he obeyed.
Sandra felt more at ease now, seeing everyone on the same page and planning together without arguing. Perhaps there was hope for this group after all.
“Here.” Owen sprinted up to her sister and handed her their father’s rolled up atlas.
Caitlin unraveled the map and laid it on the ground for everyone to see.
“Las Nueva Era’s south…” Arya uttered, tracing the route north of Las Nueva Era on the paper with his finger. “St. Luke’s was right here, just west, and….”
“That’s the road I took to the hospital.” Declan pointed out the sideways road that intersected with highway 93. “Look, Alamo was just north of me when I was on that road, and we drove for a little while north. So… yeah, we’d be closer to Ash Springs than anywhere else. If we follow the compass east, we’ll find highway 95 in no time. We’re right next to Ash Springs. Only about two miles away, if I’m estimating right.”
“Good, we’ve got a close destination.” Arya said. “Once we find a town, we might actually figure out what happened to start this whole mess.”
“Alright, so the hunting lesson is on hold, then.” Declan concluded. “Now, we just have to figure out when we’re going, today or tomorrow? We could camp out here and get some rest, or we could leave for the town right now. We’ve still got a lot of sunlight.”
“I say we stay here for tonight.” Sandra said. “None of us have had a chance to talk much, and we need to get to know each other a little more before we start traveling together, don’t we? Plus, it can’t hurt to talk over the basics of hunting and medical treatment for illnesses and injuries, and whatnot. That way, we’ve at least got some knowledge to fall back on if this town turns out to be uninhabitable, or hostile.”
“Sandra, if this town hasn’t been hit by a bomb, then it’s the ideal place for us to go.” Alan replied. “The law enforcement might actually have some answers for us, and they’d know what to do. They’d be able to tell us the best course of action to take.”
“Yeah, well, ever since I heard about people getting pulled out of their houses by men in black, I’m not gonna rely on what the law enforcement says.” Sandra stated. “Our best course of action is getting to Sanctum. If you don’t agree with that, that’s fine, but I’m not changing the plan unless we have a good reason to.”
“Pulled out of their houses?” Owen asked in astonishment.
“Yeah, on the radio.” Sandra told the boy. “The guy on the radio, the one who talks about Sanctum, he said something about not giving in to the men who come knocking on your doors, or something along those lines. I don’t know what that means, exactly, but I’m not taking any chances with cops, or feds, or anyone posing as law enforcement.”
“Nor me.” Maxi said seriously. “I dunno how spot on my intuition is here, but I think it’s safe to assume that the fellas we saw drivin’ in circles in the parking lot of Crenshaw Mall are the ones we need to avoid. Them black trucks were definitely big enough for storing herds of unwilling citizens in the back.”
“That’s ridiculous.” Alan said.
“It’s happening.” Sandra replied to Alan. “People are being pulled out of their houses, Alan, and we saw the trucks for ourselves. You can’t say it’s ridiculous when you saw it with your own eyes.”
“We saw two black trucks, yes, but so what? We didn’t see anyone get pulled out of their homes.” Alan countered. “What makes you jump to conclusions like that? You always make everything sound like some dastardly conspiracy theory.”
“Well, I’m here to tell you, it’s not a theory.” Declan cut in. “I’ve seen this happen before. If it can happen overseas, it can happen here at home, too. America’s not as invincible as everyone likes to think. Look at what’s happened. Any possibility is on the table now.”
Church, who wasn’t partaking in the conversation, tore the wrapper off of one of his pocketed candy bars and began to snack on it. He’d made off with a lot of food from the vending machine that he’d broken into back at the mall.
Alan watched him hungrily.
Church, taking notice, pulled another bar of chocolate from his inner pocket and handed it to Alan.
“Thank you.” Alan said before feasting on the junk food.
“If all this is true—and by that I mean, if we really do need to be extra wary of law enforcement—then we need to stay vigilant whenever we visit Ash Springs tomorrow.” Ryujin concluded. “If there’s any order left in that town, then it would draw the attention of the strangers in the trucks, if they’re rounding up survivors. I don’t think the men in the black trucks are connected to local law enforcement at all. I think the local police will be just as blind sighted as the rest of us. We still need to be extra careful around them, though.”
“And they’d be taking precautions against potential carriers of the Red Flu, too.” Arya said. “Since nobody is sure how it spreads, they might not let us in the town if they think we’re infected. I’m not sure on that front, really, because the Red Flu isn’t a major problem in some areas of the country. There’s no telling how severe of a threat that disease is, or if anyone’s even paying the threat of illness any mind. Most people will be too occupied with trying to deal with the bombings. The flu may have been forgotten about.”
“I have an idea.” Sandra tried to get everyone’s attention.
Once their eyes were on her, she went on.

posted on Jan, 14 2016 @ 04:55 AM
“We need food tomorrow, no questions asked. Tomorrow, we do whatever it takes to get some food and water from the town, even if we have to sneak into a store and get out before the town’s people even knew we were there. The worst thing that could happen is, breaching the town becomes impossible, and then, we’d have to hunt something tomorrow. Then we’d get our hunting lesson. My uncle used to talk about all the wildlife there is out here. We shouldn’t have too much of a problem finding something to eat, so long as we set it as a top priority. Which means, we’d be justified in eating some of our food today, right?” Sandra explained. “We have snacks put away, and a little bit of water. In fact, we have most of the day ahead of us. We could have a snack, take a nap, and leave after it gets dark. We’d draw less attention that way, and it’d be easier for us to get into Ash Springs, too… assuming it’s being guarded. We could scope the place out under the cover of darkness before going inside. This way, we have time to talk over the basics of survival, eat, and take a nap before doing our work at night time. We’d have to be ahead on sleep if we wanted to be at our best when it’s dark. We wouldn’t be approaching the town in broad daylight, either. If we think the place is unsafe, we can just pass it by without being noticed.”
“Good plan.” Arya said.
Caitlin rerolled her map, and Owen set off towards the truck again. He’d left a plastic box of diner leftovers under the seat that he was ready to eat now.
Ryujin politely asked Church for one of his candy bars. Church gave him a very thick granola bar that he’d grabbed from the vending machine by accident.
The group seemed to be done with serious conversation for the moment. This suited Sandra just fine.
Sandra dug into her bugout bag, discovering three survival food bars that remained. She turned to Arya and handed one of them to him.
“How many of those do you have?” Arya asked. “Do you have them to spare?”
“Church, Alan, and Ryujin are eating candy. I think Owen has food…” Sandra glimpsed around until she saw Owen a ways away, crouched outside of the truck and feasting on his old gravy covered breakfast biscuit. “And Declan, does he have something to eat?” She eyed the soldier, who had revealed a crinkled bag of popcorn from inside his vest, where he’d kept it stowed away since their departure of the mall. “Yeah, looks like he’s taken care of too. I have three food bars in here. Enough for three people. You, Maxi, and Caitlin.”
“And you?”
“I’ll be fine.”
“But you need to eat too.”
“I ate plenty before we left the mall.” Sandra lied, forcibly placing the bar of food in Arya’s hand.
Closer to the creek, Maxi overlooked the water with his hands hidden away from the cold air. He gave everyone a brief glance, and from the looks of it, Caitlin was the only one who hadn’t found a snack.
“Better eat something, or you’ll waste away, ya’ brash little anorexic hothead.” Maxi said to her.
“Tch. Like you’re one to talk, you scrawny twat. You’re shaking like a leaf. What’s wrong? Jack Frost got his finger up your ass?” Caitlin wisecracked.
They both laughed.
Maxi headed towards the truck, while Sandra pulled another bar out of her bag for Caitlin.
Caitlin gave the food bar a suspicious examining.
“It’s protein and a bunch of other nutrients combined.” Sandra said. “Here, it’s supposed to keep you going for an entire day. Take one.”
Caitlin very obviously didn’t trust the food bar. Sandra waited for her to take it anyway. It didn’t matter that the two of them weren’t seeing eye to eye. Sandra was determined to make amends however she could. This was a start.
So, Caitlin took the food bar, ripped open the wrapping, and very cautiously sunk her teeth into the concentrated brick of food. Her face twisted as the substance met her taste buds. She managed to swallow two bites before handing the bar back to Sandra and shaking her head in disgust.
Sandra giggled.
“This was a smart move.” Ryujin complimented Church. “Stuffing your jacket with food, I mean. That was a smart thing to do.”
“Thanks.” Church replied with a bashful smile. “I was just hungry…”
“As we all are.” Alan snapped another chunk off of his chocolate bar and munched on it. “You did good, lummox. Never thought I’d be having chocolate as a meal, but desperate times…”
Sandra watched them for a moment before pulling out her last food bar and searching around for Maxi. Then, she spotted his head sticking up from the back of the truck. She walked through the trees and leaned over the truck’s bed, only to see Maxi huddled into himself again, slumped against the back window, his jacket engulfing him and his eyes closed. He couldn’t have fallen asleep already, no, he was simply trying to keep himself warm, and perhaps trying to get some rest under his belt in the process.
Sandra slipped her uncle’s coat off and tossed it over Maxi. Under the trench coat, she had on a tight leather jacket, which had been toasting her body and baking her alive between the tank top and the jacket’s inner layer. Maxi probably needed the extra layer more than she did.
Maxi blinked and looked up fixedly at her.
Sandra’s heart skipped.
“Sorry, just figured you were cold.” She said. “Got you something to eat. My uncle packed these.”
Maxi took the food bar and gave it a onceover.
“Thanks.” He replied. “This’ll last me. I don’t need much.”
As Maxi started on his bar, Sandra took a chunk out of the one that Caitlin hadn’t finished. The bland taste was more enjoyable than she’d expected.

posted on Jan, 14 2016 @ 04:57 AM
“Good so far.” Maxi said between chews.
“Really? Everyone else hates it.” Sandra commented. “I don’t think they taste all that bad, honestly…”
“Nah, I mean, this group. We’re doing well so far.” Maxi clarified. “If we can keep everybody on track and keep everyone acting civil, we might actually get somewhere. These people ain’t hopeless. They’re just different.”
“Different how?” Sandra asked.
“Different from each other, I mean.” Maxi said. “They’ve gotta work through their differences if they’re gonna survive with each other. This is where it starts, right here. Misfits can work pretty damn well together if they try hard enough. Take it from me.”
He tucked the edges of Dorian’s coat around his shoulders, then eased his arm through one of the sleeves. His hand appeared at the sleeve’s end, holding the once bitten food bar, and he took another small chomp.
Sandra smirked at him. Maxi was a gang leader of sorts, someone all of them held an acute fear for up until recently. Caitlin didn’t seem to be mad at him anymore—from what Sandra could tell, anyway—and Declan hadn’t been paying him much mind at all. Seeing Maxi curled up in a jacket for warmth and nibbling on a survival food bar made him seem less antagonizing. He looked like less of a villain now, and like more of a regular human being.
And as Maxi had said—if they could maintain this level of civility and keep everyone on track, then this group might actually get somewhere.
I’ll do anything to make that happen, Sandra decided. I’m ready.


That's the end of Chapter 7, and this may be the last segment I post, because now I'm almost completely caught up. I'm still working on Chapter 8, and I hope this thread serves as a good enough preview, because there's much more story to come with this particular book. Thanks for your interest, and remember, I live for feedback on my stories. Peace!

posted on Jan, 15 2016 @ 08:10 PM
I loved every page of it!

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