Date Published: April 15, 2015
Twenty years after The Great Global Riots and the collapse of humanity, Alex Locke struggles to save his family, and his home colony of Pena, from starvation. When a letter from the corrupt Govern arrives dictating a game of survival penning local colonies against each other, Alex must trust a childhood friend, and seven others, on a certain death march to win the bounty or lose the only hope left in a war-ravaged world.
Beads of sweat rolled into Alex Locke’s eyes as he stared at the man before him crouched in the chair, weeping, gasping for breath. The left side of his face was swollen where a cheekbone had been fractured. A urine stain dampened the front of his pants.
Alex swallowed the lump in his throat, sickened by the stench. “I want to be reasonable here, Ernie,” he said. “I really do. But I know what you are.” He lowered his mouth to the man’s ear. Heat radiated off Ernie. “And I know you have information for me.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” the nomad stuttered back, squinting up at Alex with his one good eye. His wrists and ankles were torn and bleeding from the rope binding him to the chair. He jolted once, twice, before giving up.
“I think you do. I’m a patient man, Ernie. I can stay here all day.”
Thump. Alex turned to find York Holt, his best friend brandishing a machete. Sun rays filtered through a broken window, giving York an aura.
“York, come ‘ere,” Alex ordered. “You need to persuade this man.”
As soon as Ernie saw the dirt-encrusted blade, he jerked up in his chair, so high that two legs left the ground. “Don’t hurt me! I’ll tell you. What do you need to know?”
Alex smiled gleefully. After two hours of integration, he was finally getting somewhere. He crouched to one knee and hooked an arm over Ernie’s armrest, his face inches from his own. “Ernie, you’re a Treme, right?”
The man’s head bobbed up and down.
“I know what your kind is like. You travel the wastelands of this state, wandering in and out of colonies, taking what you please.” His gaze crossed to Ernie’s armor lying in a pile in the corner of the room, fashioned from scrap metal, car parts and animal hide. It glistened under the sun’s rays.
“Th-That’s true,” Ernie stammered. “But we only take trash. We never steal purposely.”
“What’s that?” Alex slammed his fist onto the wall beside him and pointed to the armor. “These parts weren’t trash. They belonged to people, Ernie. You can’t steal, no matter if the world ended or not!”
“I’m sorry. It won’t happen again.”
Angered by this blatant lie, Alex withdrew a knife from his back pocket and thrust it into Ernie’s right thigh. The man howled in agony and squirmed violently in his chair.
Alex didn’t budge to release him or the knife protruding from Ernie’s flesh. They were ten miles outside of town, free of interruption. There was nothing out here but barren farmland and abandoned homes.
The Bookish Ailurophile
Shin is a 27-year-old mom of a fury baby, named Mofa, who had crossed the rainbow bridge, 2 years ago. She is a bookworm who loves books that give her adrenaline rush and makes her feel the characters' emotions. When she's not reading, she spends her time listening to oldies music while making some crafty stuffs made out of old book pages, or spends her time reading books with children at an orphanage. Also, she loves to scare herself with gory movies in the middle of the night.