“They came four years ago. Invaded our planet, rounded us up, decimated the human race. We fought back, and some even say we won, but they’re wrong. The invaders took everything from us. Our family. Our hope. Our humanity. We won the war, but there are no humans left. Only monsters who will do anything to survive. Some look human and some don’t, but they are all the same.”
Eighteen-year-old Eva has spent the last year punishing herself for her sister’s death and hiding from everyone she comes into contact with, human or otherwise. With the population destroyed and the Earth left in ruins, she sees little hope left for the future. But when she crosses paths with Walker and Tara something inside her awakens. Something she thought had died along with her entire family. In these new friends Eva sees a promise of what the future could be, as well as evidence that humanity might not be extinct after all. When a ghost from Eva’s past makes an unexpected appearance, the group sets out on a cross-country trek that will teach Eva how to love and hope again, and will remind her what it truly means to be human.
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When the camp comes into view I have a difficult time not throwing up. Water and carrots slosh back and forth in my stomach. The sweat on my palms has nothing to do with the humidity, and my legs are so weak they feel like pipe cleaners trying to support a rubber ball.
The fence surrounding the camp is down in most places, and the majority of the hastily set-up tents have blown away. The few left are ripped. The canvas blows in the warm breeze, flapping back and forth like the wings of an ominous bird.
The storage building is still standing, though. If it isn’t empty this trip might be worth our time, but if it’s been cleaned out all this emotional turmoil and pain I’m going through right now will be for nothing. And I don’t have a lot of optimism that things will turn out in our favor.
Atlanta is just visible in the distance. Or what’s left of it, anyway. A ruined building juts up here and there, but for the most part the city is flat. It looks as if like the earth had just opened up and sucked the city down. It’s what the creepers did in the first wave. Wiped out the all the major cities until there was nothing left but a landscape of rubble and dust. Killing millions in the blink of an eye.
Walker heads into the camp, and I follow silently, trying not to think about those terrifying days. My throat tightens when we step across the toppled chain link fence. The rusty metal clinks under our feet and my heart pounds harder with each step.
When I finally enter the prison camp where my sister lived out her final days, it feels like I’m walking into a cemetery. In many ways I am. Bones of the former inhabitants are scattered across the ground as far as the eye can see. The bodies have been picked clean by animals and bugs, and the clothes have long since blown away, but the skeletons remain as a heart-breaking reminder of everything we lost.
Which one is my sister?
“This way,” Walker says, tilting his head toward the storage building.
The three of us pick our way across the camp, stepping over debris and remains. Tara won’t stop looking at me, and every glance causes my insides to harden even more. I wish I’d never told them I lost my sister here. I hate thinking that they associate me with this place. Even worse, I hate that I associate myself with this hell.
I catch sight of a charred, mangled tree and the urge to hurl hits me so hard that I almost have to stop. The stump juts up from the ground, and to the left of it sits a small crater. It’s like a missile took out the top of the tree, then hit the ground next to it. The black circle from the fire extends for about ten feet around the hole. The fire burnt the tree to a crisp, leaving almost nothing behind.
Our tree. Mine and Lilly’s.
I force myself to turn away from the remains before I burst into tears. I shouldn’t have come here.
We get closer to the storage building but something looks off. The brightness of the sun makes it hard to see and forces me to squint. Then it hits me. The walls are covered in writing and discarded cans of spray paint by the dozens lay on the ground. At first I’m not sure what I’m looking at, but it only takes a few seconds of scanning the words to figure out what it all means. They’re notes left by survivors. People hoping to find loved ones they’ve lost.
Stupid people clinging to hope that doesn’t exist.
“What is this?” I ask, coming to a stop about ten feet from the wall.
“Survivor’s wall.” Walker glances toward Tara, then turns at the entrance of the building. “People leave messages behind just in case a family member comes through. We’ll check it out before we leave, but we should look for food first.”
Tara nods and follows him, but her eyes are glued to the wall. They never stop moving, never stop reading the names.
I keep my eyes on the back of Walker’s head as I follow him inside. Away from the wall and the words of desperation painted on them. There’s nothing on that wall for me.
╣About the Author╠
Kate L. Mary is a stay-at-home mother of four and an Air Force wife. She grew up in a small town just north of Dayton, Ohio where she and her husband met at the age of twelve. Since their marriage in 2002, they have lived in Georgia, Mississippi, South Carolina, and California. Kate enjoys any post-apocalyptic story - especially if zombies are involved - as long as there is a romantic twist to give the story hope. Kate prefers nerdy, non-traditional heroes who can make you laugh to hunky pieces of man-meat, and her love of wine and chocolate is legendary among her friends and family. She currently resides in Oklahoma with her husband and children. Be sure to check out her best-selling BROKEN WORLD series, a top 100 book in dystopian and post-apocalyptic fiction on Amazon.
The Broken World series
Available now on Kindle, Kindle Unlimited, Paperback and Audiobook!
When a deadly virus sweeps the country, Vivian Thomas sets out for California in hopes of seeing the daughter she gave up for adoption. Then her car breaks down and she’s faced with a choice. Give up, or accept a ride from redneck brothers, Angus and Axl. Vivian knows the offer has more to do with her double D’s than kindness, but she’s prepared to do whatever it takes to reach her daughter. The virus is spreading, and by the time the group makes it to California, most of the population has been wiped out. When the dead start coming back, Vivian and the others realize that no electricity or running water are the least of their concerns. Now Vivian has to figure out how to be a mother under the most frightening circumstances, cope with Angus’s aggressive mood swings, and sort out her growing attraction to his brooding younger brother, Axl. While searching for a safe place to go, they pick up a pompous billionaire who may be the answer to all their problems. Trusting him means going into the middle of the Mojave Desert and possibly risking their lives, but with the streets overrun and nowhere else to turn, it seems he might be their only chance for survival.
New Adult Romantic Mystery Available now on Kindle and Kindle Unlimited
Some secrets are better left untold…
The List (College of Charleston, #1)
New Adult Contemporary Romance
Available from Lyrical Press
The List. Twenty things every girl must do before she turns twenty. . . Body piercing Get drunk First kiss But thanks to her crazy, over-protective father, Annie Roth is way behind schedule. Good thing it’s her first semester of college, because Annie is more than ready to start checking off items. . . Fake ID Skinny dipping Road trip!!! Where it gets complicated? Ryan and Chris. Best friends. Both sweet, funny, totally hot, and totally into Annie. But there are some things on The List that Annie only wants to do with Ryan. . . Lose it Get Heart Broken Fall in love
No Regrets (College of Charleston, #2)
New Adult Contemporary Romance
Coming September 2015 from Lyrical Press
College is supposed to be fun…
Go to parties
Pick up guys
Maybe get in a little trouble
On the surface Cami is your average, wild teenager out to have a good time, but inside she’s struggling. Almost a year ago her best friend was in a car accident, an accident Cami feels responsible for. Since then, she’s made it her personal mission to experience everything life has to offer, both for herself and for Julie, who will never have fun again.
Then she meets Liam, her cousin’s sexy roommate. Hooking up with a hot British dude seems like the perfect way to start off the school year, but the more time she spends with him, the more she finds herself actually liking the guy. Which totally screws up her plans to live life with no regrets…
Don’t Look Back,
Chapter 18 Band of Dystopian Anthology
Young Adult Apocalyptic
From the imaginations of twenty authors of dystopian and post-apocalyptic fiction comes PREP FOR DOOM – an integrated collection of short stories that tell the tale of a single catastrophe as experienced by many characters, few of whom will ever meet. What begins with a seemingly innocuous traffic accident soon spirals into a global pandemic. The release of Airborne Viral Hemorrhagic Fever upon New York City’s unsuspecting populace brings bloody suffering within hours, death within a day, and spreads worldwide within a month. An online community called Prep For Doom has risen to the top of a recent doomsday preparation movement. Some have written them off as crazy while others couldn’t be more serious about the safety the preppers could provide in a global disaster. But when AVHF strikes, their preparation may not be enough to save them.