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Worth of Souls: an apocalyptic thriller Kindle Edition
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From the Author
I couldn't and that simple fact scared the crap out of me. The main reason I'd run far and fast from the gates of the compound was to seek out Simon Phahn... but the further I got from the fence, the more scared I became that I wouldn't make the distance or I wouldn't be around in case John and Bodey tried to get out and find me.
Leaning forward on a peeling white-ish wicker chair standing guard on an old wraparound porch, I folded my hands. With my head down, I stared at the worn and faded deck. The peeling paint reminded me of simpler times when Dad would notice the disrepair and run to the store to get items to fix the chipping exterior.
The house wasn't mine, but I could pretend. I hadn't had my own home since the one I'd shared with Mom in Post Falls. Where was I now? Did the small section of homes have a name? Or would the small neighborhood be lumped in with a once-famous resort town?
The baby kicked me in my ribs, forcing me to lean back in the chair. The tight wicker weaving creaked with my movement. My back ached. My legs hurt. My breasts pushed against the bonds of my bra. I had a headache that didn't want to stop - probably from not getting enough water.
A few days ago, I had doubled-backed to the compound. I couldn't go very far. Rowan wouldn't stop hunting me, but as long as I didn't go far, he wouldn't find me. Every other day the Jeep roared off down the road and I watched the towers for Bodey to return to his shifts. But when early evening approached, I would make the hour long hike back to the small community of empty homes I'd found and wait for the next day.
Leaving and then not running for help seemed pointless and every night as I lay down by myself, I considered running into the community, begging to be taken back.
But I would wait. I held my growing stomach tight. I could do it. I'd give it one more day and then I would try to find my way to Bayview. One more day.
But one more day turned into two and I found myself climbing trees around the perimeter of the compound. Climbing Tamarack trees wasn't easy, especially with being six months pregnant, but as the only trees in the forest with easily reachable branches not completely covered in needles yet, they were my only options. The needles were newly coming in with spring in full swing and the woods coming to life around me.
When I returned to the neighborhood where the gardens had been left unattended and the greenhouses grew things year-round, or tried to, despair at my situation consumed me. The only real vegetable or fruit I'd found worth eating was rhubarb, bright red-stalked rhubarb. Tart with minimal sweetness, its only redeeming quality was that it was edible.
If something happened to Bodey or John, I could always use the poisonous leaves to finish the baby and me off. Not that I would. I had an uncanny ability to survive.
I chuckled, the sound disarming in the quiet of the afternoon.
Survival was only an accident. How I hadn't died escaped me.
Between Charlie, Rowan, the re-emergence of Shane at the community, and escaping the confines of Freedom Pass into the wilds by myself - at six months pregnant, I should've died sooner rather than later. As things stood, I still might not survive.
Sleeping inside a home had drawbacks. I couldn't hear anything unless I slept by the window. If I wasn't careful, someone would be on me before I could do anything. I'd reached my third trimester and moving quickly was a dream on the wind and not a possibility, unless I was falling. I did that faster than ever.
An ant crawled along the grains in the faded wood, jerking its body left and right as if searching for a way down. The uncertainty resembled my own path when I'd left the community.
Now that I was out, I had to save Bodey, my husband, and his dad, John. But how far could I go without clear directions? What did I expect from myself exactly? I was pregnant and had no food, no way to stay warm. No real logical sense to be honest.
If I really wanted to get logical, I'd just ran, scared of the trade Rowan had suggested, scared that one of us would die for the baby, for pissing off Rowan, for just... being. Just surviving seemed to be wrong.
The muggy late-spring heat seemed out of season. Where were the fresh rains? The cloud cover? I shifted, uncomfortable in skin I shared with another person. I couldn't wait to meet my baby, but if I was completely honest, I was terrified.
What kind of a world was I bringing him or her into? Was it cruel of me to allow it? Would terminating the pregnancy be in everyone's best interest? Or was thinking like that just being selfish again? I didn't know what to do.
I had no one to ask, no one to check my emotions with.
Not for the first time, I bowed my head and murmured to anyone who would listen. "I need help. I need help. Please." What if someone heard my desperation? I didn't even know who exactly I prayed to, but I had nothing else. All of my options were gone.
I could just run. Just get out of there. I had approximately three months left before I would need to get help delivering the baby. Certainly, I could find someone somewhere and be safe by then.
If I ran, though, I'd be leaving Bodey and John. I couldn't do that. I'd already abandoned them to the repercussions of me leaving the compound. They couldn't have known I was leaving, running away, but Rowan wouldn't care.
He'd make them pay.
And then I would suffer. A shudder set my teeth to chattering.
The house I'd chosen had a manual pump out back, just to the side of the greenhouse. One thing Mom had always reminded her pregnant friends to do was stay hydrated. I'm not sure how to tell well I was doing, but I tried. Even the headache wasn't a for sure sign I was dehydrated. Pushing myself carefully from the chair, I leaned backwards, stabilizing myself with a hand to the side of the small of my back. I wasn't even as big as I'd once seen, but the ball under my ribs threw off my balance.
Crickets called to me as I made my way down the stairs. A fresh sweet-scented breeze brought a growl from my stomach.
Once I reached the bottom of the steps, I kicked aside the noxious Canada thistle clutching at my jeans. Everywhere I went something clawed at me, people, plants, everything.
Missing my daily showers I'd gotten in the compound, I brushed past overgrown plants encroaching on the handset stone path. Whoever had lived there had taken pride in their home with carefully matching paint on the greenhouse, main building, and three outbuildings, and sheets on all the furniture inside the house.
The homeowners had left, probably expecting to return but not for a long time. I couldn't tell when they'd gone exactly, but with how rundown things had gotten, it must have been more than a winter season ago.
I snuck my hand under my belly, a habit I'd formed and couldn't seem to stop.
A crackling of branches breaking and needles rustling startled me. Where had the sound of the crickets gone?
Past the greenhouse, just on the edge of the clearing of the property, more noises like large animals broke through the undergrowth at a whirling speed.
I waddled to the side, tucking myself into the dark, spider-web decorated corner between the shop and house. Unruly raspberry branches covered me, waving with my sudden appearance among them. They hadn't bore fruit yet, but the slight blossoms and nubs covered the long bushes and I huddled behind them.
Getting eaten by a bear or a mountain lion wasn't on my survival check list. However, I would prefer death-by-animal to the alternative of being tortured and killed by Rowan and/or Shane.
A man's voice, stern and commanding, cut through the peaceful ambience of the home I'd all but claimed as my own. "Check the house. He's gotta be around here."
- File size : 711 KB
- Print length : 147 pages
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Publication date : July 10, 2015
- ASIN : B00WEJE5TW
- Publisher : Captiva Publishing, LLC (July 10, 2015)
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Simultaneous device usage : Unlimited
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Language: : English
- Lending : Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #87,274 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Worth of Souls starts where Exchange Rate left off. This book wraps up Kelly and Bodey's story. How she wraps this up?? I can't tell you - that would spoil the fun of reading the story!!!
Looking forward to reading more by B R Paulson!!
The editing is better than in book two, with only about a dozen grammatical errors.
I definitely recommend this series!