Read Eden Online

Authors: Keary Taylor

Tags: #robots, #dystopian, #cybernetic, #keary taylor, #postapocalpyse

Eden

BOOK: Eden
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EDEN

 

BY

 

KEARY TAYLOR

  

Copyright © 2011 Keary
Taylor

 

All rights reserved. 
Except as permitted under the U.S. Copyright act of 1976, no part
of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted
in any form or by any means, or stored in a database or retrieval
system, without prior written permission of the author.

 

Published by Keary Taylor at
Smashwords

First Edition Digital Copy:
June 2011

 

Smashwords Edition, License
Notes

This ebook is licensed for
your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or
given away to other people. If you would like to share this book
with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each
recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or
it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to
Smashwords.com and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting
the hard work of this author
.

 

The characters and events
portrayed in this book are fictitious.  Any similarity to real
persons, living or dead, is coincidental and not intended by the
author.

 

Taylor, Keary,
1987-

Eden : a novel / by Keary
Taylor. – 1
st
ed.

 

Summary: After 98 percent of
the world falls to a cybernetic infection, Eve learns to survive in
a world losing its humanity, and discovers what love really
is.

 

ISBN
978-1463525965

 

 

 

For my dad,

with whom I watched many,
many science fiction movies and TV shows, making me always wonder
“what if”.

 

 

 

ONE

 


Good-bye, my friend,”
Avian whispered, closing his eyes with silent words of regret that
echoed through the rest of us. 

We all shut our eyes as
Avian pressed the device to Tye’s arm, unable to watch the death of
the man who had been our family member and protector since the
formation of Eden.  The sounds reverberated in my brain, the
hum of thousands of volts of electricity racing through Tye’s
infected system.  The back of my throat tightened as I heard
the sharp hiss of the nanites under his skin short out and
die.  Agonizing seconds later, he took his last gasping
breath.

Avian set down the one
piece of electronic technology that existed in Eden on the wooden
table.  I finally opened my eyes again when I heard his
suppressed sob.  Bill and Graye bowed out of the medical tent
silently, unable to deal with Avian’s grief in the moment of their
own.  I could only stand there and hug my sides, trying to
keep myself from falling apart.  It felt like everything
inside of me had cracked.  

My eyes couldn’t keep away
from Tye’s body.

His lifeless form lay limp
on the table, one of his legs about to slip off.  His left arm
rested at his side, the skin shredded and torn where he had tried
to rip it off.  The dirtied, bloodied wires shone from under
the torn skin.  His head had lolled to one side, staring
emptily at me with one still human eye and one metallic cybernetic
one.

I wished Avian would stop
sobbing.  I knew I should try to comfort him, but what do you
say to the man who had just had to kill his own cousin?  His
tears seemed like too much of an invitation to let my own
fall.  But that wasn’t me; Eve didn’t cry. 
Ever.

Avian looked up at me from
where he stood, braced with his hands on the table next to the
body.  “Thank you for bringing him back, Eve.”

I bit my lower lip and
could only manage one small nod.  He held my eyes with his own
for a long moment, each of us knowing what the other was
thinking.  We both knew we would never hear Tye’s hesitant
laughter again, never urge him to take a break from his watchful
post to eat a few bites.  He would never hunt through the
woods or go on a raid again.  Our beloved protector and
brother had been taken away from us forever.


Let me help you,” I
offered as Avian started picking up the body.  He graciously
accepted, his entire frame trembling as we carried what was left of
Tye to the furnace.  We couldn’t even bury our fellow men and
women in the ground after they were infected, couldn’t visit their
graves.  Even the destroyed cybernetics were too dangerous to
keep around.  They were melted down and transported
away.

Avian collapsed to the
ground as we slid the heavy door closed.  Another round of
tears consumed him as I lit the fire beneath it.  I sank to
the ground next to him, hugging my knees as I watched the flames
grow in intensity and consume our friend.

I knew I was going to have
to speak to Graye again.  With how few of us there were left,
you couldn’t ignore anyone.  Maybe in a few days I would be
able to look him in the eye but for now he was nothing but the man
who had gotten Tye infected. 

All it had taken was one
brief touch from the Hunter.  Tye had tried ripping his own
arm off before the infection could spread any further.  The
attempt had been useless.  Less than an hour later, Tye’s eye
started changing.    He’d turned on us within three
hours and tried to return to the city.  It had taken the
entire unit to drag him back to Avian.  Bill had had to knock
him unconscious so he wouldn’t try to kill us all. 

If it had taken us any
longer, we would have had to shoot him in the forest and leave his
infected, untouchable body for the wolves.


Why don’t you go to bed?”
I said quietly as I stared at the flames.  “I will take care
of things.”


No,” he said as he shook
his head, wiping a few tears away with the back of his hand. 
“I can handle it.”


You don’t have to,” I
tried to argue, but only half-heartedly.  Saying good-bye to
our friend was as hard on me as it was everyone else.


Go home, Eve. 
You’ve done your job.”

Without another word, I
stood and walked out of the tent, never looking back.

Small fires glowed in the
darkness, scattered about in the village of tents. No one looked up
at me as I walked by on my way to my own.  They knew I wasn’t
the reason Tye had been killed but they all expected more out of
me.  I was the one who always got everyone out, no matter how
close it had come.  Tonight I had finally failed.

I pulled the flap of my
tent aside and stepped into the darkness. My worn out cot felt more
uncomfortable than ever as I collapsed onto it.  I stared up
at the blackness above me, my arms resting above my head.  The
sound of Sarah’s breathing a few feet away let me know she was
still awake.

We lay in silence for
endless minutes, an unspoken conversation flowing.  Tye’s
death would be as hard on Sarah as it was on Avian, brother and
sister in painful loss.


How’s Avian?” she finally
spoke.


I helped him with the
furnace but he sent me back,” I forced the words out of my
mouth.  All I wanted to do now was sleep.  I just wanted
this day to be over.

Sarah was silent again and
I knew there would be tears rolling down her flawless, pale
cheeks.  I understood why she had not come to the
farewell.  It killed a little piece of us all whenever we
attended one.  Sarah was too tender, she couldn’t handle
watching that happen to anyone, much less her own
cousin.

I faintly heard her roll
away from me before I fell off the cliff of consciousness into the
dark.

 

 

 

TWO

 

My eyes slid open to meet
the darkness above, fear and relief seeping through my system at
the same time.  We all occasionally screamed in our sleep,
every one of us still haunted by the nightmares.  Each of us
was tormented by images of cybernetic infested friends, feelings of
having your cells harden and turn you against everything that made
you who you were.

I pulled myself up,
listening for sounds of movement outside.  It was early, the
sun still struggling to make its way above the mountain tops. 
Everything was silent.

Wearing the same clothes I
had worn yesterday on the raid, Tye’s blood still dried on them, I
grabbed my pack from off the floor, slid my pistol into my belt,
and stepped outside, leaving Sarah sleeping.  The fires had
been reduced to smoldering embers, the camp left with the feeling
of being empty and abandoned.  I headed for the tree
line.

My boots darkened,
dampened by the heavy morning dew.  I let my fingers trail on
the tall grass as I walked down an unseen path.  My ears
strained for any sounds that didn’t belong, searching for any
warning hums of an ATV or the faint chop of a helicopter.  The
morning was quiet, but that did not mean I dropped my guard against
constant danger.  Dropping your guard meant getting killed, or
worse.

Waking so early gave me a
chance to have the quiet to myself.  Though I doubted anyone
would ask about what had happened the previous day, everyone would
be thinking the unspoken, wondering how and why I had finally
failed to bring someone home.  I may have only been seventeen
but they certainly didn’t treat me like a child.

The trees dropped away in
an abrupt line, giving way to the ten foot tall wire fence. 
Five acres of garden lay before me.  The piece of earth that
kept Eden from starving.  Everyone had a duty to perform in
the gardens.  We were each required to work a minimum of two,
five-hour shifts per week.  We were all responsible for
keeping Eden alive in a way.

I quickly went to the
storage shed that was camouflaged at the tree line and geared up
with a pair of worn gloves and a religiously cared for hoe.  I
pushed back my dirtied sleeves and fastened my pack tighter to my
back.  It never left my back, other than to sleep.  To be
separated from it could mean the difference between life and
death.  In it I had everything I needed to survive in the
wilderness for nearly a month.

As I worked my way to the
southeast corner of the garden, I realized I was not alone.  A
figure in dirty rags was kneeling on the ground, working steadily
on a row of slowly growing potatoes.  It was Terrif, the
oldest member of Eden.  He was mute and growing frail. 
He knew the most about gardening though.  Without him, our
harvest would be half of what it was.

Terrif looked up at me
briefly as I went to work on a new area that would be planted later
that afternoon.  His eyes met mine for just a moment; oddly
grey orbs that were starting to slowly lose their sight, and went
back to his work.

The garden was in its
fifth year and was gaining maturity.  The fruit trees had
produced well the previous year and we were hoping the late start
of spring was not going to hurt production this year.  It was
agonizing, having so little control over something so vital to our
survival.

Within a year of the Fall,
people started realizing they weren’t the only ones on the run and
began to band together.  As our colony of thirty-three came
together, we knew we were going to have to provide food for all
these people or everyone was going to starve.  And so the
garden had been planted.  Eden itself might be constantly
moving for safety reasons, but the garden was the center, the
anchor of which we revolved around.

It was pure and simple
luck that the Fallen had not realized how vital this piece of land
was.  There was no way to camouflage such a large piece of
land.  It would be all too easy for the Fallen to bomb it and
ruin our way of living.  It wouldn’t take long for us to
starve.

As the sun started graying
the sky, other’s started trickling in, those assigned to work the
morning shift while the others guarded camp.  Not many words
were spoken, each man or woman working in their silent grief. 
I saw the eyes flicker to my face, the questions forming in their
heads.  I wanted to tell them it was Graye they should be
questioning, but I would never betray him like that.  If he
wanted them to know what he had done to Tye he could tell them
himself.  It wasn’t my place.

Each of us had reached
Eden in our own way.  Those who had survived the Fall had
figured out that it wasn’t safe to be in the cities anymore. 
With so much electricity and other mechanical resources available,
the Fallen flocked to them.  If you were smart you ran as fast
as you could toward the mountains or to the open
country. 

BOOK: Eden
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