I need your input, peoples.
- I want to know what you think of this excerpt. It’s a prequel of the American Rebirth Series. Email me, tweet me, DM me, whatever, let me know what you think!
- I need to know if you are interested in a prequel. It would cover the SHTF scenario, and go into the Clearwater era. Hood and Whiskey and Taylor in the early Clearwater days.
Your feedback is important! I have a desire to write this story, but I want to know from my readers if this is something they’d be interested in.
So here you have it. Enjoy!
Abandoned Home, South of Washington D.C., Rural Maryland.
Sunlight poured into the dusty living room. The hinges of the front door groaned as it slowed to a stop. The old wood floors flexed and creaked under each step. Rob Huntington could picture what life in this house once looked like. An old retired couple, maybe. A young family that moved out into the country. No, it was left behind too clean. No mess. No kids.
The pistol was warm in his grip. Slide locked back. Fired empty. He placed it on an antique sideboard, the weight of it clunking against the lacquered wood.
I am not a killer. Rob pulled the ornate white cloth off of the sideboard, his hands still shaking. He scrubbed at his skin. The blood smudged and smeared, it wouldn’t entirely come off.
He breathed in deep, the musty smell somehow having a calming effect on him. It was not familiar. He’d never been here before. Never even been in this part of the state. But it smelled like a home. There’s no going back to the way things were.
He closed his eyes, standing in the center of the hallway. The past was dead. That was always true. You can never go back. But it meant something different now. You came in here for a reason. You need to find something else to fight with. His feet carried him through the house without thought. There had to be something he could use. The very need for this search told him a truth he did not want to face. This won’t be the last time. You will have to kill again.
Mounted on a wall in the den sat an old bolt-action rifle. There. Below it, almost shrine-like, on a mantelpiece was a trifold American flag in a wooden case, a name engraved on it. Pierce Ploman. Rob moved towards it reverently. The only sound was the creak of his footsteps and the distant carefree cries of faraway birds from the open door. Gently he reached out to touch the rifle and lifted it off its mount, the old leather strap swaying free in the air.
The rifle was old. But it was oiled and well taken care of. His eyes went from the trigger to the firing mechanism, seeing faded words stamped into the metal. Model and make, surely. He didn’t know what they meant. He ran his thumb over them, feeling the imprint in the steel. How does this thing work? Rob pulled back on the bolt sticking out of the rifle, but it didn’t move. He pushed up, and it came free to move. He pulled it back and the action slid open. Do I put each round in one at a time? The metal plate underneath the open chamber seemed separate from the rest. He pushed down on it, and it gave way, a spring below pushing it up. The rounds must go in there. Feed into the chamber. He pushed the bolt forward and locked it down. He pulled it up again and back, repeating the cocking motion until it felt smooth. He hefted it to his shoulder, looking down the ironsights. You’re going to have to use this, he repeated to himself.
He clenched his teeth, his mouth a hard line. One hand found its way to his face, covering his eyes. He rubbed his eyebrows back and forth, rhythmically.
“Rob?” Taylor called inside.
“Yeah,” He called back, standing upright and taking a deep breath.
“Are you okay?”
He nodded to himself. “Yeah. I’m fine.”
“Did you find anything?”
“We need to look around for some ammo. See if there’s any food, too.”
Taylor appeared from around the corner into the den. The pistol he left in the living room was in her hand. She followed his eyes to it, holding it up in the air sheepishly.
“We’ll probably need this, if we can find more bullets for it,” she said calmly. She looked at the rifle in his hands. “Does that work?”
Rob nodded. “Yeah, I think so.”
“Hey, are you okay?” She repeated in an even, relaxed tone that calmed him. “You can talk to me.”
“I’m good, Sis…” He hesitated, before shaking his head in disbelief. “How the hell did this happen?”
She smiled at him, a warm, familial smile. “Hey. We’re still alive.”
He flashed a smile back at her in return.
“Thank you,” she said genuinely. “For doing what you had to.”
He met her gaze. “We’ll be alright.”
She nodded toward the door. “Come on. Let’s see what else we can find.”
Rob looked down at the rifle in his hand. I have to protect her. I can’t hesitate next time. It’s either that or we’ll be the ones lying there.
His feet carried him out of the room. What about all those people that are just like us, though? Trying to survive in this fucked up version of the world?
Rob pushed a toy truck lying on the floor out of his way with his feet.
God, how did we let things come to this?