Chapter 1 Sneak Peek

 

            “You’re doing this, now?”  Linda was struck with the impossibility of this situation.  She’d barely had the strength to stand and open her door when Agents Kelly and Nash showed up on her doorstep.  The pounded on her front door as if they expected a wanted criminal to be waiting inside and they needed get in before their suspect escaped.

              Linda broke into a fit of coughing that doubled her over and the two agents pushed passed her showing themselves into her home.  “You, you can’t just come in,” she said between coughs.

            Agent Kelly,  the blonde one with a very recent crew cut, grabbed her by the arm and yanked her toward the couch showing absolutely no sympathy for her condition.  Agent Nash stalked to the back of the house where the bedrooms were located.  He called her daughters name and Linda shouted a protest. She rallied all her strength to get up and through sheer force of will managed to get to her feet before Agent Kelly forced her to sit once again. She began to cry out in frustration and helplessness.  If only Stewart was here, they wouldn’t be doing this.  But Stewart was thousands of miles away in some rural African country.  It had taken weeks for her to even get word to him of what was happening with the LVN1, and by that time all flights in and out of the U.S. were grounded until further notice.  She was completely on her own.

            “Ms. Arkwright, this is going to be a lot easier if you don’t fight us.  Your daughter will be coming with us and there is nothing you can do about it.  The sooner you accept that, the easier it will for everyone. He gave her a meaningful look and retrieved a piece of folded paper from inside his jacket pocket.  He flashed the paper at her and she reached a trembling hand toward it. She was disgusted at her own frailty, she felt like an 80-year-old grandmother. Before she could make an attempt to read the paper, Agent Kelly snatched it back and put it away. “This is signed by the governor.  We can do this, we are doing it, you’re going to have to live with it.”

            She could hear shouting from the back of the house.  Agent Nash was attempting to get Haley to unlock her bedroom door.  Her daughter was nothing if not stubborn.  She got that trait from her father.  “You can either open this door little girl, or I’m going to break it down and drag you out of here anyway.”

            “Do it then!” Haley’s petulant voice screamed at him from the other side of the door.

            Even in her state of failing health Linda felt a swell of pride in her daughter.  “Please, Agent Kelly let me go talk with her.  It’s just going to be more traumatic for her this way..”

            The booming crash from the back of the house cut her sentence short.  And the sounds of a struggle could be heard.  Haley screamed at the top of her lungs and was clearly putting up a fight with Agent Nash.  He came back into the living room with her daughter thrown over his shoulder fireman style. 

            Her normally pale face was beat red with her efforts.  She was yelling and beating her small fists on his broad back. 

            “If you don’t stop squirming I’m going to dump you on your ass, and Agent Kelly is going to shoot you with a tranquilizer dark just like they do at the zoo with unruly animals.”

            Linda looked to Agent Kelly with fear in her eyes.  Haley was turned the other way and couldn’t see the two of them so he gave Linda a nod.  “We don’t have anything like that.  It’s just something we say so they’ll cooperate.”

            Agent Nash walked toward the door with Haley over his back.  He stopped before crossing the threshold.  “If you think about it, we’re doing her a favor.  She might become one of the lucky survivors if we keep her in a secluded environment.  Staying here with you, would only be a death sentence.

            Haley looked up at her mother with a face as red as a newborn babies.  “Mom!  Don’t let them take me, mommy.”  She tried to reach out toward her mother, whom she counted on to protect her from all bad things.

            “I’m coming, baby,” she said.  But by the time she was able to get up from the couch the two agents were already halfway down the walkway.  She was unable to follow them, and so Linda Arkwright dropped to her knees sobbing.  The scene outsider her made her skin crawl.  It looked like some revival of the holocaust, but instead of a race of people, they were targeting teenage girls to ship off to their camps. The bus parked in front of her house was jam packed with skinny girls all in various stages of grief or acting out.  Two houses down another bus waited.  Everywhere she looked agents were smarming rounding up every girl they saw and herding them onto the vehicles marked with some weird Egyptian symbol. 

            Not all women were sick and alone with the agents came to take their daughters.  Some women had their husbands at home and fathers did not take the  government approved kidnapping lightly. Linda had her head hung sobbing quietly into the sleeve of her dirty bathrobe when she heard gunfire down the street.  She expected to see one of the suited Agents nursing a wound but instead her neighbor, Mr. DeRune lay at an awkward angle on his fresh cut lawn.  Ms. DeRune was screaming at the top of her lungs and cradling her dead husband with one hand while reaching for her missing daughter with the other.

            Someone made a low moaning sound nearby.  It was one long sorrowful note with all the pain and horror of the day epitomized in it’s sound.  Linda rocked herself back and forth as she watched the bus pull away from the curb. After a few moments she realized the sound was coming from her throat.  She erupted into another fit of coughs that lasted until her sides ached.  She slumped against her door frame, drew one ragged sorrowful breath, and died.