Authors: John O'Brien
A Novel by John O’Brien
Copyright © 2013 John O’Brien
Edited by TW Brown
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form, except for the inclusion of brief quotations in review, without permission in writing from the author. You may contact the author at [email protected]
Cover art by:
This book is dedicated to all veterans of our military forces, past and present, law enforcement, and Fire/EMS services. Thank you all for your dedication and service.
The New World series is a fictional work. While some of the locations in the series describe actual locations, this is intended only to lend an authentic theme. Any resemblance to actual events or persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
Also by John O’Brien
A New World Series
A NEW WORLD: CHAOS
A NEW WORLD: RETURN
A NEW WORLD: SANCTUARY
A NEW WORLD: TAKEN
A NEW WORLD: AWAKENING
A NEW WORLD: DISSENSION
A NEW WORLD: TAKEDOWN
As usual my mother, June O’Brien, takes first crack at the draft and spends many hours reading through and correcting my literary failings, of which I have a few. Thank you for correcting all of my attempts to throw “aspects” or “just” in every sentence. I highly encourage you to read the first book of her series,
The Blue Child Series
. You won’t be disappointed.
Thank you to the beta readers who take their valuable time to read through and correct my many errors. Alex
, Dan Shaw, Frank
, Jessica Woodman, Joe Mahoney, Laurel
Martin, Rick Higgins, Tiffany Clark, Vanessa McCutcheon, and Wayne Tripp. Thank you!
I also owe a belated thanks, not that he is belated, just that the thanks is long overdue, to
. He has put forth, as have many others, good ideas for the group with regards to survival strategies and places. Thank you,
Once again, I am indebted to Matthew
for the cover art design. You have put up with me again and delivered yet another magical work. I thank you for your time and effort.
To Todd Brown for your immaculate editing. You have once again converted my chicken scratch into a legible work. For anyone needing a fantastic editor, he comes highly recommended.
To all of my readers, thank you!!! You are truly the best and I am constantly humbled by your kind words and messages. It is from these chats, messages, and reviews that I keep pounding away at the keyboard. This story is as much yours as it is mine. You make the story what it is and I appreciate all of the support you have given.
If you do happen to enjoy the story, feel free to leave a review. Reviews are important for two reasons. One is that’s how the books get up in the listing which of course means more sales. But more importantly, it lets me look at what everyone thinks of the story. Only through looking at the reviews and messages can I become a better writer.
Here is the seventh book of what started out as a trilogy at best. Some may applaud and others may shake their heads wondering when the story is going to end. The honest answer is that I really don’t know when the story will come to its conclusion. I have little control over it once the first words display across the screen. It literally takes on a life of its own. Now, I do have a general sense of where things are heading and major events but how the story gets there is up to the group of survivors. I merely tell their story as they want it told.
I have received several messages regarding Jack and Lynn’s relationship. Some feel that is seems more like a brother/sister relationship than an intimate one. There is much more that goes on between Jack and Lynn that isn’t written. I have chosen the path of this book to be more about the survival aspects rather than venturing down the
Fifty Shades of Gray
avenue. I just think that some facets aren’t necessary in telling the story. Perhaps handcuffs have been used but I just don’t feel that it’s necessary to put that in writing. There are evenings of Jack and Lynn lying together and talking intimately but I just don’t include those moments. Perhaps I should but those are their private moments shared between them.
I also portray some towns and cities in a certain light. This is in no way is a bias from me personally but are just meant as part of the story line. I ask that anyone actually living in or from these places to not take offense as none is intended.
Some have mentioned the black hole of people in
. Things do happen and people talk. Jack does talk with him mom and occasionally the exes. The problem is that I can’t put every interaction in the books and if I did, it would turn more into a soap opera than post-apocalypse survival.
There have also been numerous comments regarding the night runners getting into
- they can’t believe that the gate was left unguarded. I take a little blame for that and perhaps didn’t describe that the main gate is part of the outer wall surrounding the compound and hence, outside. This is only a first line of defense. The lapse in security was with allowing Alan to open the locked doors. A lot of security breaches happen from inside and this was just another one of those. Every security has holes in it, especially when you are looking for the attacks to come from outside. Couple that with being tired and under constant stress, lapses are inevitable.
You will probably note that this book takes a slightly different tact. I won’t give out spoilers at this point but there are parts that convey a small picture of what the rest of the country looks like after a few months into the fall of civilization.
So, enough. Let’s get on with the story.
Drescoll stands at the edge of the balcony firing into the unrelenting horde of night runners invading their sanctuary. The attack was sudden and unexpected. As he pours burst after burst into the multitude on the first floor below, he still has a hard time believing the fact that so many are inside. Hundreds of night runners lie on the hard floor, but they are a pittance compared to how many are on the ground in the wings under the balconies. Their shrieks permeate the interior to the point that it interferes with his thinking.
He looks across the open area where Lynn is directing Black Team as they hold the wide stairs that is only one of two ways to the second floor. They were fortunate to get into position before the onslaught began – they have the cameras, a vigilant crew in the operations room, and Sergeant Watkins to thank for that. Drescoll sees the other team’s staggered positions around the overhanging balcony directing fire into the masses below. Tracers and the smell of gunpowder fill the intervening space between the soldiers fighting for their very existence and the night runners attempting to take that away.
Drescoll wonders, and not for the first time, if they have enough ammo to hold out against the seemingly endless number of night runners still pouring through the warehouse door. A quick thought enters,
How did they manage to get into the building?
But he puts that aside.
There’s time to figure that out later
, he thinks, reloading and sending additional projectiles speeding into the teeming mass.
If we survive
Another thought enters. He is thankful that Allie isn’t here and is instead off with Jack.
At least she’ll live to see another day
. They’ve been kind of an item lately but have kept it secret. He isn’t usually fond of her always running around with Jack as that sometimes isn’t the safest place to be. Sure, Jack is resourceful and manages to get out of whatever situation he finds himself, but he always seems to be in the thick of it – whether intentional or that’s just his lot in life – and that worries Drescoll.
He worries first, because Allie is always there with him; and second, because of the group of survivors. Jack has done a good job of bringing them together and helping them coalesce into a team. There are plenty of people here who could lead, but everyone looks up to him – for right or wrong – and they can’t afford to lose him at this juncture. Even with him running off seemingly every few days, he’s a figurehead for many here.
Drescoll feels the heat from his barrel and readjusts his hold on the fore-grip. Smoke puffs rapidly from his suppressor as he adds to the steel curtain raining down on the night runners. He’s still not used to the silence of firefights using suppressors. To him, there should be the sharp, staccato sounds of rounds being fired. However, the shrieks emanating from below more than make up for the decreased volume of gunfire. Shouts from the other team leaders as they direct their soldiers rise above the din from time to time. Time is now measured in the number of night runners falling to the floor. The dead and injured begin to stack up in piles under the overhangs, forming small walls in places.
Drescoll watches as a ripple runs through the horde below. They suddenly turn and pour toward the stairs where Lynn and Black Team are holding their own. The speed of the sudden shift startles him as he continues – like the others around him – to fire burst after burst. The number of night runner bodies lying motionless shows that progress is being made, but the vast amount behind seems endless. The stream of night runners trying to gain the stairs is staggering, and they eventually make headway despite the determined efforts of Black Team and the others attempting to hold the second floor.
Another ripple runs through the mass and Drescoll watches in horror as they pour upward and over the top, swarming around Lynn and the rest of Black Team. All of those defending the stairs vanish under the multitude of bodies.
“All teams, form a line across near the escalator. Nothing gets by,” Drescoll shouts into the radio.
As heavy as his heart feels for Lynn and the others down, he knows the remaining teams must maintain if any of them are to survive the night. Grieving will come with the morning…if they make it. There are others to protect, and the fact that the night runners are now firmly entrenched on the second floor makes surviving a much more difficult matter.
The sound of boots pounding on the hard linoleum floor as soldiers rush to their new positions mixes with the clatter of night runners on the stairs, the ear-piercing shrieks, shouts of commands, and the moans of the dying and wounded. A thin haze from spent gunpowder hangs over the interior. The smell of it combines with the stench of blood and spilt entrails.
Drescoll pulls into position with the other teams forming a line across the second floor. This is to be their last line of defense, the only thing standing in the way of the wholesale slaughter of the rest of the survivors. A wall is formed as the rest of the teams spread across amidst a rattle of weapons being readied. Tension prevails, yet Drescoll can see determination and anger etched on the faces of the others – they too saw Black Team go down. With some on their knees and others standing, they wait for the night runners to enter their lanes of fire.
The night runners pause and then begin swarming back down the stairs much to the amazement of Drescoll and the teams. Many forms of, “What the fuck?” drift from the teams. He’s confused by the actions of the night runners. Adding to his incredulousness is that he sees Lynn’s blond hair in the midst of the packs as they make their way quickly down the stairs. They are carrying her out! He’s not sure if she’s alive or dead, but the fact that the night runners are one, taking her, and two, retreating, leaves him stunned. He doubts the teams would have been able to hold off the vast multitude of night runners, so the fact that they are hurriedly retreating is surprising to say the least.