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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!

posted on Nov, 1 2016 @ 04:15 PM
Sooo... I'm up to chapter 18 now.

I now have room to post updates again.

Is anyone interested?

... Ima post anyway. Hope someone is looking forward to it. ^^
edit on Xx21940430PM114 by XxNightAngelusxX because: (no reason given)

posted on Nov, 1 2016 @ 04:23 PM

Chapter 8

Ash Springs

It wasn’t long before they left for their next destination.
Church, Owen, Ryujin, and Caitlin all had their pant legs rolled upwards as they stood in the creek water and tried to catch fish with their bare hands. The water was warmer than they expected it to be. Alan suggested that it may have been because the creek was connected to the hot springs from the town. After a little while of this, Declan joined them in the creek, and his agility put everyone else’s to shame. He snatched a foot-long fish out of the water and held it up for everyone to see. Caitlin quickly tried to replicate what he did, and she succeeded, though her hands were smaller than Declan’s, so she needed both of them to wrap around the slimy creature in her grasp and prevent it from escaping. Once Caitlin’s fish began to flail madly in her hands, she yelped and tightened her grip, though the scaly thing was slipping out of her clutches. Church laughed at her, which resulted in Caitlin pelting him in the face with the fish. It smacked him in the cheek before slashing back into the water and swimming out of sight in a flash.
Arya sat cross legged beside the water’s edge with Alan. The doctor was giving Alan the rundown on basic medical treatment, and Alan gave him his undivided attention. And Sandra, after bull#ting with Maxi for a little while, had climbed into the front seats of the truck in order to take a nap. She and Maxi would be sound asleep in the truck until it was time to leave.
“And splinting.” Arya said. “You know what splinting means, right?”
“Yes. My mother was a nurse. She taught me some of this stuff.” Alan replied. “To splint a wound means to set a broken bone alongside something straight, something that will keep the broken limb in the right position while it heals.”
“Pretty much. Since you know a few things already, I think you’d make a good physician in training.” Arya told him. “Everyone would listen to you if we got into a pinch, or if something were to happen to me. We should have at least two people in the group who can administer medical care.”
“They wouldn’t listen to me.” Alan grumbled. “Sandra shoots down everything I say.”
“Really? I think the two of you balance each other out.” Arya responded. “Logic and compassion.”
“Hmph.” Alan looked away.
Arya swiped one of his black curls away from his eyes.
“Working with people takes time to get used to.” The doctor said. “I didn’t have long after finishing medical school before all this happened, but I learned enough in those few months. When you have the medical know-how, everything else falls into place naturally. Bedside manner is something you just learn along the way. All social skills are. You and Sandra have a needed chemistry. You balance every option, and all the pros and cons attached to them. It’s not a bad thing, although it is pretty tiring.”
Alan let out a laugh. “You have no idea.”
“Oh, yes I do.” Arya corrected. “Des and I, when we were roommates? We fought constantly. We fought over the same kinds of things that you and Sandra fight about. It’s tiring, and it seems pointless, but it gives everyone a good perspective on all the options we have regarding whatever situation we’re in. It’s a balance that we’ll be relying on for a while.”
“Yes, I understand. And you… when we first met, I…” Alan spoke in a flat tone, his words breaking up in pauses. He was attempting to say something that was difficult for him to get out. “Listen. When we first met, out in the desert… I didn’t mean to be so… abrasive. I didn’t mean to be so untrusting. I’m… I’m sorry.”
“No, no. Don’t be sorry.” Arya responded. “You and Sandra have the same kind of friendship Des and I have, and you’re the logical one. You’re the one in charge of stating the hard truths in every situation. It’s a thankless job. Believe me, I know.”
The sunlight had weakened, which meant that night would fall soon.
“It’s cold for this time of year.” Arya said. “I know it’s almost December, but usually it doesn’t get this cold until January…”
“It’s nearly time to go.” Alan realized. “Alright, everyone. Get out of the water. We need to start towards Ash Springs.”
“Make me, half pint!” Caitlin cackled.
Alan frowned at her. Church laughed again.
“So… we’re not keeping any of these fish?” Owen asked, holding a small, shiny grayish fish close to his chest. “I thought we were catching these to eat.”
“Nah. It was just for practice, kid.” Declan said. “If we have to, we know where to find fish if we can’t find food anywhere else. Plus, it’s nice to know we can catch ‘em without using fishing poles. Pretty fun, too.”
Owen gently released the fish back into the water before stepping onto the grass. Everyone else did the same.
Sandra sat up in the passenger seat of the truck, her hip throbbing from where she laid on the cup holders.
The others were approaching the truck, which meant it was time to leave. Sandra climbed into the back with Maxi, effectively waking him from his nap, and the others joined her. Caitlin, Owen, and Declan claimed the front seats as usual, and once everyone was settled, the truck began to roll out of the woods in reverse.
Twilight set in once the truck was back on the road. Sandra stood in the back as the vehicle reached 55 miles an hour, keeping herself in the center so not to wobble too close to the edges, her arms leaning on the roof of the truck, her eyes set straight forward and watching the road ahead, the wind slicing at her face and making her red bangs fly amok. Maxi, Ryujin, and Arya sat against the truck’s rear window serving as human anchors for her, Sandra’s legs pressing against their bodies and keeping her secure in her standing position.
“Sandra! You’re going to fall if you stand up while we’re moving!” Alan tried to yell over the kicking wind, but Sandra didn’t hear him.
Sandra had let Caitlin borrow her compass so that she’d have some general idea of where they were going. If they had all guessed right, traveling east would lead them to Ash Springs.
After night fell completely, the town came into sight.
Very few of the town’s lights were visible from the truck’s location. Ash Springs appeared to be a small town, surrounded by acres of land that presumably played host to a variety of animals owned by ranchers. There were no vehicles parked defensively at the entrance of the town like some of them had expected. It looked like any ordinary town.
Caitlin eased the truck to a stop while she, her brother, and Declan inspected the town from behind the windshield. The truck sat in the middle of the empty road as they stared at Ash Springs, Sandra still standing up in the back and squinting in an attempt to get a better view. It was difficult to scope out the place from a distance, and in the darkness.
Maxi arose beside her and planted his hand on the truck’s roof. “See anythin’ interesting?”
Arya popped up on her other side. “Seems like a normal town. The lights are on in the buildings, so I think it’s safe to assume there are still people there, but… well, maybe they just left their lights on when they evacuated… wouldn’t have thought to turn their lights off if they were running out their doors to drive away from a mushroom cloud…”


posted on Nov, 1 2016 @ 04:29 PM
“These people didn’t see any of the mushroom clouds.” Alan determined, leaning over the left side and taking a gander of the town for himself. “Las Nueva Era was too close to one of the blast zones, and that’s why everyone evacuated. Not these people. Whoever lives in this town is staying put because it’s their best option. They’re far enough from all the disasters that they don’t have to leave. For the time being, anyway. Hopefully trouble won’t come knocking on their doors. Literally.”
“Issat right…” Maxi said. “Well, nobody’s guarding the place, so I think we’re in the clear. Eyes peeled, everyone. Just in case.”
Moments later, Caitlin inched the truck closer to the town, and they coasted past the large wooden sign to their right, which read; Welcome To Ash Springs
Something slid up Sandra’s side.
Maxi took her pistol from its holster, and when she opened her mouth to ask why, he made a lowering hand motion and put his finger to his lips.
“Head down.” He said quietly.
Sandra gulped. What is he thinking? It’s not like people are gonna start shooting at us, is it?
When they reached the center of town, two other vehicles entered their view. It was a pair of police cars sitting outside of a motel. Two cops were leaning on their cars and talking with one another, both wearing large hats, reflective badges, and gun belts. They both stopped talking immediately and locked their eyes on Caitlin’s truck.
Caitlin brought the truck to a slow stop in front of the two police cars.
“Hey, officers.” Maxi waved from his upright position in the back, keeping his armed hand low and out of sight. “We don’t mean any harm, just passing through. How’re the springs this time of year?”
“Where’d you come from?” The farther cop, a sheriff, asked.
“Las Nueva Era.” Sandra told them. “We’re traveling to some of my family’s property up north. Is everything okay here? Did everyone evacuate, or…?”
“Nah.” The sheriff replied. “Everything here is fine so far. Motel’s still running, stores are still open, so on and so forth. You’re welcome to stay here if you need to, just don’t cause any trouble.”
“Wouldn’t dream of it.” Maxi assured.
The cops exchanged glimpses. With Sandra and Maxi—the two out of the group who resembled a couple of alternative punk rock stars from the 90’s—doing all of the talking, the cops might have thought that the group had come to the town with nefarious intent. Judging by appearances, neither Maxi nor Sandra fit the bill of a model citizen by anyone’s standards.
“Thanks.” Sandra said.
Caitlin was listening with her window rolled down. Once the conversation was over, she drove a little further and parked in front of the motel.
“Sorry.” Maxi inconspicuously slipped Sandra’s gun back into the holster on her hip. “Just wanted to be ready, in case we came across something unfavorable in this town.”
“Everything’s still running…” Sandra said. “I thought the electricity would be out all over the country by now. How is everything still running in this place?”
“Isolated places like this tend to have their own generators and water purification systems.” Alan replied.
“Then maybe we can stay here.” Church said. “If this town is pretty much independent, then maybe we can just stay here instead of going to Sanctum.”
“No, the stability here won’t last forever.” Maxi told him. “They’ve got power and water, but they won’t be getting anything they relied on importation for. No clothes, no household tools, no entertainment. They won’t be getting anything that they can’t make for themselves. Plus, with all the television programs going quiet and with our precious government falling off the face of the world, these people are eventually gonna succumb to the same thing that everyone else in the country has. They’re gonna become desperate to hear some kind of guidance from the powers that be, and they ain’t gonna get that wish. What usually follows an impossible situation like that is nothing but chaos and madness.”
“What makes you think that everyone would just go crazy?” Church asked.
“Because… I’m a people person.” Maxi replied, jumping out of the truck. “And when the luxuries go away, the people go cray-cray.”
He snickered at his rhyme. Sandra swallowed a giggle.
“Oh my God, I can’t wait to take a bath…” Caitlin moaned on her way towards the motel’s office building. Everyone else felt the same way. It would be nice to have a comfy bed and a bathtub at their disposal again.
Alan and Sandra were the last ones to exit the bed of the truck. Before Sandra could follow after everyone else, Alan placed a hand on her collar, stopping her.
“Did you see what he did?” He asked in a flabbergasted whisper. “He took your gun without asking.”
“Who, Maxi?” Sandra said. “So? He gave it right back.”
“You can’t just let people take that gun from you, Sandra. Especially not him. He’s shady enough as it is, and we know for a fact that he’s not above violence or kidnapping. Don’t let him get his hands on your only means of protection.” Alan told her. “From now on, that gun doesn’t leave your side unless you’re the one holding it, are we clear?”
“Who do you think you are?” Sandra replied. “Don’t start ordering me around. I wouldn’t have let him touch my gun if I thought he would’ve done something bad with it.”
“Sandra, the only things you can do with guns are bad things, and he’s a bad person.”
“No he’s not.”
“How can you possibly say that? He kidnapped Dr. Ashraani, then the soldier, then that girl, Caitlin. How can you say that he’s not a bad person?”
“Because he’s just like me.” Sandra told him firmly, not knowing why she said this, but not doubting it one bit. “He’s an outcast who just happens to hate everything I hate, including judgmental little assholes like you, little know-it-alls who think they’ve got all the #ing answers to all of life’s questions. That’s why.”
“Sandra, I just—”
“Shut up. I’m done listening to your bullsh!t.”
Sandra shoved his hand away and leaped over the side of the truck’s rear. Alan didn’t bother trying to stop her, fearing that she might smack him again if he did.
This wasn’t the sort of thing that would usually fester in their minds. Sandra and Alan had a history of bickering. It was normal for them, and they didn’t typically hold any grudges. Nevertheless, something about this altercation in particular would keep Alan awake late this evening, as it put an unnerving sensation in the pit of his stomach. The value of trust wasn’t something to be taken for granted in a time like this, and it certainly wasn’t something that they could afford to damage or dismiss. Maybe he needed to tone it down. Maybe he was being insufferably judgmental and unforgiving. But he was the logical one, and it was his job to bombard everyone with the hard truths…
Well, the hard truth of it was this; nobody has the right answer.
As Dorian had said in the past and as Sandra had repeated on his behalf, doing the right thing would often bring with it a daunting risk that nobody could prepare for. Perhaps placing trust in a new face was the right thing to do, but by no means did that make it the safe, logical option.

edit on Xx23540430PM114 by XxNightAngelusxX because: (no reason given)

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