“What the hell was that?”
On the street in Abernathy, Carthage had made his way to Siobhan’s side. They crouched beside the stairs to a brownstone walkup, and peered in either direction down the road. The mysterious sound hadn’t repeated in a few minutes, and the town was back to the eerie silence that had greeted them upon arrival.
“I have no idea,” replied Carthage, “but it sounds angry.”
“What do we do?”
“We need to get to higher ground, fast. That bell tower will have a good view.”
Siobhan nodded, and they headed for the church, mercifully only a block away. The beefy double doors in front were locked, so Carthage led them around the side to a flimsier door. He threw a swift front kick without hesitation, and the jamb splintered into dust. Rushing inside, they quickly located a heavy cabinet and dragged it in front of the door. The shuttered window for the room cast little light, so he pulled out a small flashlight and looked around. Siobhan pushed on the cabinet to make sure it was as secure as possible.
The old watch tower on the edge of Abernathy was a perfect place for Carthage and Siobhan to rest, eat some food, and observe the town. The sun was low in the western sky, opposite from the town’s position on the shore. Their first impressions were not positive; Abernathy seemed to be abandoned. It was difficult to tell from their vantage point on the tower, but it looked like no one had been there for at least several years.
Carthage had his feet propped up on the railing of the tower, and munched on a small packet of ancient crackers. Siobhan had unwrapped a portion of pork sausage from brown wax paper, and leaned against the railing while she ate. Radiation levels were even lower here than in Romanby, so they weren’t concerned about hanging out for awhile.
Chapter Four is up! You can catch up on the previous chapter here:
When Carthage returned with the rest of his gear, Siobhan was still in her bedroom, trying to decide what to bring with her on the trip. She bid him to come in, so he stood at the doorway. She did a double-take when she saw his rifle, then went back to staging items on her bed.
“No problems out there?” she asked.
Carthage shook his head. “If Ludain went for help, there’s no indication yet. You’re not planning on trying to take all that stuff, are you?”
“No, I can only reasonably carry twenty-five pounds, so I’m choosing which things to take. Your rifle is a SCAR, right?”
“Yup. FN SCAR-H, seven-six-two. My pistol is a Beretta PX4, in forty-five, and I grabbed a spare from the ship. Have you worked on them before?”
Chapter three is up! You can catch up on the story starting here:
Siobhan had directed Carthage to fill two tumblers with scotch, and the man sipped slowly from his glass as she began her story.
“I was five when the Wave hit, so most of what I’m going to tell you is second-hand. There are persistent rumors of the true reason for colonizing Skye, other than the pedestrian explanation of manifest destiny. The most popular one involves wormholes and the concept of a galactic Lagrange Point. Do you know what those are?”
Carthage nodded. “Of course. Lagrange Points are spots of gravitational stability in a solar system.”
I’m on a roll! You can find the first part of the story here:
As soon as the woman looked at the hillside, Carthage knew he had screwed up. He swore to himself as he flipped the lens cover down over his rifle scope. It was a rookie mistake, but he might be able to forgive himself. The last day and a half had been a bizarre challenge.
It had started with Carthage dozing off around 3 am. In his ten years of military service, he had never fallen asleep when he wasn’t authorized. He would have sworn he was only asleep for five minutes, but the sun was rising when he awoke. He wasn’t even remotely tired when it happened. Such a lapse in the past could have gotten himself or his squad killed. Shaking off this previously unforgiveable offense, he returned to the ship to collect a few more things.
The prologue was previously published here, written in the first person. I’ve always written in the third person, and in this case I found first person too limiting. So, I rewrote it in the third person. That’s why I’m posting it again, but I also have the first chapter completed.
When Carthage stumbled onto the bridge, his heart was racing, but not because he was scared. He had to pry open the doors to get there, as they had apparently malfunctioned, and this effort was great in comparison to his quick sprint to the command center. The doors might have been trying to spare him the horror of that day, the stark reality of which was all too plain as he entered.
Carthage’s crewmates lay dead, their blood almost luminescent in the bluish glow of the well-lit bridge. The compact space left no room for imagination, though there was no doubt as to the manner of their demise. Holland stood at the helm station, his back turned toward him, and his right hand grasping a bloody bayonet. The weapon belonged to Carthage, obviously stolen from his quarters at some point in the recent past. His four friends must not have suspected any ill intent from Holland. And though Carthage was surprised as they must have been, he was at least fortunate enough to see it coming.
When I stumbled onto the bridge, my heart was racing, but not because I was scared. I had to pry open the doors to get there, as they had apparently malfunctioned, and this effort was great in comparison to my quick sprint to the command center. The doors might have been trying to spare me the horror of that day, the stark reality of which was all too plain as I entered.
My crewmates lay dead, their blood almost luminescent in the bluish glow of the well-lit bridge. The compact space left no room for imagination, though there was no doubt as to the manner of their demise. Holland stood at the helm station, his back turned toward me, and his right hand grasping a bloody bayonet. The weapon was mine, obviously stolen from my quarters at some point in the recent past. My four friends must not have suspected any ill intent from Holland. And though I was surprised as they must have been, I was at least fortunate enough to see it coming.