Eve of Man (The Harvest Book 2)

BOOK: Eve of Man (The Harvest Book 2)
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Eve of Man

Part II of The Harvest Series

Anne
Ferretti

 

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

 

A
special thanks to Kay for her help and never ending support.

A
very special thanks to my husband for supporting my dreams and for never
growing tired of seeing me bent over my computer.

 

Copyright
2014 © By Anne Ferretti

 

All
rights reserved

 

No
part of this book may be reproduced, or stored in retrieval form, or
transmitted in any form by any means electronic, mechanical, photocopying,
recording or otherwise without express permission from the author.

 

In nature,
competition to survive guarantees only the strongest species will prevail, thus
eliminating the unfit. It is the evolutionary theory known as survival of the
fittest.

अग्र

The Harvest

In the aftermath of a brutal alien invasion and a
winter storm that left several feet of snow blanketing the landscape, Earth’s temperatures
plummeted to the single digits. Veiled in the falling snow, corpses of the
missing were dropped from the sky. Within forty-eight hours, other than a few desperate
survivors, all signs of life had vanished from the face of the Earth. For one
such desperate soul, Captain Austin Reynolds, a slow nightmare had begun as he set
out on a quest across the frozen tundra of the United States.

He traveled under the guide and protection of a
mysterious being called Eve, hoping she would lead him to his pregnant wife. Eve
had protected him since childhood, saving his life many times throughout his
twenty-seven years and he had placed all of his trust in her.

Austin journeyed to Section Seven, a top secret
facility hidden under Cheyenne Mountain. The Section was where he expected to
find General Roth and answers about his missing wife. As Austin navigated towards
Colorado, he crossed paths with other survivors; Luke, a college football star;
Madison, a Tampa Bay police officer; Edward, the last tax attorney standing; and
Zack, a genius who made millions selling marijuana. They were drawn to Austin
and he’d willingly accepted the responsibility for their safety. This was as
much for his sense of duty as for his redemption. 

Upon reaching Cheyenne, Austin discovered General Roth
had taken a one-way trip down the rabbit hole and believed himself to be chosen
by God to carry out divine orders. Roth tried to lure Austin into his web of
deceit with promises of finding his wife and son. For Austin the general’s
promises presented a conflict between duty and personal pursuits, which forced
him to choose his own agenda over that he’d sworn to protect at all costs. The
consequences of this decision led him to the planet Bliss, a newly discovered
planet only a few knew existed. On Bliss, a place of untold truths and unending
lies, he met Eve’s people and discovered what they’d been hiding from him since
Eve first came into his life.

 

Eve of Man
picks up where
The
Harvest
left off. I hope you enjoy.

1 The Spread

COLOGNE,
GERMANY

12:00
am

Military
Counterintelligence Service (MCS)

In a room buzzing with computers and high tech gear, a
young plump faced soldier sat at one of the many terminals, a bored look holding
his face captive. He glanced up at the large screen on the wall with indifference.
The live streaming video gave a bird’s eye view of the United States or at
least where the country should be located. He’d been assigned this duty two
months ago. A shit detail as far as he was concerned. Every day the same old
thing, watching the screen, watching nothing happen. He set his chin into his
hand, the pressure scrunched his lips together and pushed his fleshy cheeks up
into his eyes. His eyelids drooped, threatening to close down at any second. He
fought the sleepiness by tapping his fingers.

Tap-tap-tap... Tap-tap.... Tap.

His eyelids fell, darkness fell, the battle over sleep
lost...

He jerked awake, sitting up with a start and taking a quick
check over his shoulder, hoping his superiors hadn’t noticed his lapse. With a
relieved sigh, he turned back to the screen, rubbing his eyes in the process. His
vision refocused on the same white mass that had covered the United States and
Canada for over a year. As he watched, his eyes widened, he leaned forward and
then stood up, waving his arm behind his head to catch someone’s attention. An
officer noticed the soldier waving and walked over to him. About to say
something about his conduct, the officer stopped in his tracks, his eyes
riveted to the screen. The white mass was moving, spreading down towards South
America.

“It’s moving,” Plump Face stated the obvious for lack
of knowing what else to say.

The others in the room gathered behind the soldier.
After a year of waiting and watching, and no activity, their initial reaction
was to stare, mouths agape. The mass rolled over the top of Mexico, moving slow
at first and then picking up momentum. Within a matter of seconds South America
disappeared. Only then did the ranking officer, Major Gaynor, consider sending
a warning. But the point of taking action had come and gone, if it ever was a
point at all.  

“Get Agent Bosch on the phone,” Gaynor instructed the
soldier standing next to him, the uptick in his voice giving away his
uneasiness. The soldier nodded, his eyes still glued to the screen, expecting,
or wanting, something more to take place. Gaynor cleared his throat motivating
the young man to pick up the phone.

A buzz of nervous excitement flowed through the room. Although
no closer to having answers than from when the cloud formation initially dropped
from the sky, they welcomed and feared any sign of change. Any sign at this
point held meaning over the nothingness they’d been dealing with, and also worth
a rise in heart beats per minute. Every mission or attempt to gain access into
the cloud failed to provide insight or a clue to what happened. One drone after
another flew into the mass, never to return. The computer systems tracking the
drones proved useless, returning blank screens as soon as the drones disappeared
into the white nothing. Mighty war ships and submarines simply vanished from
radar screens never to be heard from again. Pilots stopped volunteering after
the list of missing grew to over one hundred. The nations remaining, those left
to make the big decisions, gave up trying to enter the United States or Canada.
Watch and wait became the standard approach. Watch and wait, hoping for the
best while assuming the worst.

Six months after the last drone disappeared, hope
waned to a whisper and the mood darkened. In a last ditch effort to gain
access, the Russians offered their only remaining drone to fly one more mission.
The drone flew in low, and they’d all held their breath, hoping data would be
sent back. As with all flights before, this one failed and hopes crumbled, coming
closer to falling into the dark pit of despair. With all communications from
the West dead, they’d no way of knowing that their concept of the worst didn’t
scratch the surface of the situation overseas. They’d no way of knowing how
well off they’d been while the mass was stationary. Major Gaynor realized many
unknowns existed still, but wasn’t ready to give up. He thought maybe the time
to take another shot was upon them. The prospect of going in excited and
unnerved him. Traditional methods proved useless, leaving only one alternative
to consider. He didn’t have to wonder who would be suicidal enough to
volunteer.

“Agent Bosch sir.” The soldier handed Gaynor the
phone.

“Bosch. You guys seeing this?” Gaynor asked the
obvious first.

“You know we are.”

“What do you think?”

“I think maybe it’s time you cleared me to go in.”

“I still think you’re crazy. No maybe about it.”

“Maybe I am. Maybe I’m not,” Bosch said, “but your
opinion of my mental capacity doesn’t change anything.”

Gaynor grunted in response. Despite the agent being
thirty years his junior, they’d become good friends. Over the past year he and
his wife Ada had welcomed the American into their home and treated him like
family, an understatement in his wife’s regard. She thought of Kyle as her own
son.

“Ada will never speak to me again,” Gaynor added,
hoping guilt would hold sway in his decision.

“I have to try,” Bosch replied, desperation clung to
the edge of his voice. “Or I’ll never have peace.”

“I know,” Gaynor answered. “Can you at least wait for
us to send in another drone?”

“How long?” Bosch asked.

Gaynor heard the underlying frustration in the young
man’s tone. “We’ll have to contact the Italians. I think they’re the only
country with a drone. A week, maybe two.” The call would take minutes to make,
but Gaynor wanted to delay the agent’s departure for as long as possible. The
delay was as much to avoid Ada’s wrath, as to allow more time to pass, to allow
for, by some miracle, contact with someone, anyone, overseas.

“I’ll give you one week. Then I’m going in,” Bosch said.
“Even if it’s without permission.” 

“That won’t be necessary,” Gaynor replied. “I should
know more in a couple of days.”

“Thanks Will.”

“For sending you to your death? You’re not welcome.
And you will come by the house tomorrow for dinner.”

“Need back up?” Bosch asked.

“Damn right.”

“See you then.”

Gaynor handed the phone back to the soldier and sat
down in a nearby chair. In his thirty years working for MCS he’d never
experienced anything like this. WWII had been written into the history books by
the time he was born. His grandmother had taken great pains in providing him
with a full understanding of what took place during that war. As a special
bedtime treat, she would tell the story of how the Royal Air Force dropped
fifteen hundred tons of explosives on top of their heads. She’d go into great
detail of how his grandfather dug them out of the rubble with his bare hands,
only to find their home no longer standing. He wondered what his grandfather might
have thought of the world’s current state of affairs, of this war with an
invisible enemy. 

Many discussions occurred amongst Will and friends, as
well as with his colleagues over the sad state of affairs. Surviving the
disappearance of North America was always the common thread of these talks. The
words
minor miracle
were thought and mentioned often, and with good
reason. In the first few months the chaos ensued like nothing Major Gaynor or
anyone had ever experienced. He imagined the dark ages to have been similar.
His grandmother would have blamed God; everything bad fell into God’s lap as
far as she was concerned. Gaynor would have argued she was wrong. God didn’t own
this one and though Will didn’t believe in the devil as a physical entity, he
believed in evil.

Throughout the turmoil people somehow managed to
persevere, to muster up a resilience they hadn’t known they possessed. The
surviving countries settled down into a relative calm. Markets stabilized,
panic was squashed, and people moved on in the best way they knew how. A minor
miracle? In Gaynor’s opinion, their survival constituted a major miracle and
represented only the tip of the iceberg. Sustaining in the aftermath had been
the real test of their true grit. Society and its many rules persisted. New rules
were instated, replacing or changing the old in order to suit the current state
of affairs.

One such order, issued within hours after the event by
the collective governmental powers, brought all air traffic to a grinding halt.
This order was enforced for several months after the event, stranding millions
of travelers, business and vacationing alike. Some resigned themselves to becoming
temporary and sometimes permanent residents of wherever they happened to be
stuck. For the most part the transients were treated with kindness and
hospitality. For the most part meant not for all of the part, as unscrupulous
predators who thrived on such situations came alive. End of days scams, money
scams, you name it scams, attacked from all directions. Looters slithered out
from under their rocks to take advantage of this situation that was favorable
to their particular lifestyle. They broke windows, stole TVs, set cars on fire,
all because the conditions were ripe. Eventually the law dealt with the dregs of
society and they crawled back into their slimy holes of existence waiting for
the next opportunity, comforted in knowing there would be another. Although
considered the scum of society, these parasites understood human nature better
than many of those considered educated in such matters.

A few months after the event, people stopped asking
questions. They stopped asking about the happenings overseas or the cloud mass.
Not because they no longer cared, but quite simply because no one had the answers,
so they stopped asking. At least to any government official, who many believed
were either hiding the truth or didn’t know what the hell happened. When an opinion
formed on the latter belief, which happened often, the officials were viewed as
incompetent, idiots and worse. Although the general populous gave up asking the
government for an explanation, plenty of speculation went on behind closed
doors and in dark corners of local pubs. All of this chatter a wasted effort.
The answers weren’t theirs to know.   

Life continued under a constant state of unease. The
weather became a topic of conversation for what might be considered obvious
reasons. However, the only obvious reason was the white mass of clouds might
move in their direction at any given moment. In the early days sirens blasted
the airwaves whenever a cloud mass appeared on the radar. People hid in storm
shelters, and cities and towns went into lockdown. After several months of
repeating this activity, resulting in nothing more than normal weather
occurrences, the government ceased sounding the sirens. But unease had embedded
itself into people’s lives as a habit and, despite the sirens being silent,
whenever the clouds rolled in people went inside not to emerge until the sun rose
high in a clear blue sky.

BOOK: Eve of Man (The Harvest Book 2)
5.58Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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