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Authors: S.M. McEachern

New World Order

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New World Order

Sunset Rising, Book Three

 

 

By

S.M. McEachern

 

 

Copyright 2015 by S. M. McEachern

Published by Clownfish Publishing

 

All rights reserved.

No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the express prior permission
of the copyright owner.

 

Summary:

The conclusion of Sunny O’Donnell and Jack Kenner

as they find their place in the New World Order.

 

Young Adult (16+) Science Fiction/Dystopian

 

Cover Art and Design: Nathália Suellen

Edited by: Laura Koons, Red Adept Editing Services

Proofreader: Christina Galvez

 

Author’s blog site:
http://smmceachern.com

Goodreads Reviews: https://www.goodreads.
com/book/show/23463467-new-world-order

 

ISBN: 978-0-9917330-5-7

(eBook ASIN)

eBook Edition January 2015

 

For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains,

but to live in a way that respects and enhances

the freedom of others.

 

- Nelson Mandela

July 18, 1918 to December 5, 2013

 

New World Order
is the third book of the
Sunset Rising
trilogy. This story picks up
exactly where book two,
Worlds Collide
, ended. There are also satellite stories to the series, which can be read on the author’s blog: smmceachern.com

 

 

Chapter One

 

Jack

 

 

 

Voices echoed inside my head, reminding me of something. Something important… something I needed to do.

Sunny.

The memory of her screaming my name resounded through my head. Was I dreaming? I
couldn’t be. The image of an arrow striking her side was too real to be a dream.

I needed to get her.

I struggled to stand, my heart pounding with the effort, but my body remained completely immobile.

I couldn’t move!

Then it came back to me… an incredible burning sensation in my leg had made me collapse onto the ground. Is that why my legs wouldn’t move? No, because I also remembered
a hand, with coarse black hair springing from the knuckles, wrapping around an arrow sticking out of my leg and ripping it out. I think I screamed. At least, I remembered the men closest to me ran, yelling something about me being awake. I hadn’t stopped to wonder why they were afraid of me; I just used the opportunity to get back on my feet.

Sunny and Ted were nowhere to be seen. Naoki, Talon,
and Ryan lay on the ground, each with an arrow jutting from his leg.

Three men—
recruiters
Talon had called them—stood about twelve feet way, staring at me wide-eyed and openmouthed. I remembered ordering my feet to move, but the world had tilted at an odd angle and my eyes couldn’t focus on a straight path to follow.

Then the three men had raised their bows at the same time and three arrows
slammed into my chest. The pain had been excruciating, the sky the last thing I saw.

Three arrows to my chest…

This couldn’t be a dream because I had to be dead.

So why was I going to vomit?

As the first heave gripped me, my eyes flew open and I pulled myself up with the contraction. My hands were bound together behind my back and secured to something that restrained my movements. I
turned my head to avoid puking on myself and smacked into a wooden rail. Aiming between the slats, I retched up something extraordinarily vile. It was thick and white with red streaks running through it. Just looking at it made me heave again.

“That is
disgusting
,” said an unfamiliar voice.

Someone else gagged.

I didn’t recognize the voices and my body was too focused on wringing out my
stomach to pay much attention to their jeers of revulsion. I heaved until there was nothing left to retch and then, exhausted, I rested my forehead on one of the planks and cast a glance at them. One was a tall, lanky, middle-aged man with beige skin and an Adam’s apple that bobbed up and down as he swallowed. The other was a younger man, about my age, his eyes almost hidden behind a mop of dark curly
hair. Each had a cross-shaped scar disfiguring his cheek. I recognized them as two of the men who shot me.

I closed my eyes as the realization that I was a prisoner sank in.

God, I was thirsty. And my head was pounding.

I sucked cool spring air deep into my lungs, and as I did the acrid stench of urine and animal dung hit me. A stain on my pants suggested where the smell of urine was coming
from.

I looked around. Crammed in the wagon with me were Naoki, Ryan and Talon. Like me, their hands were bound and secured to the side rails. Unlike me, their lifeless bodies were slumped forward, lolling in rhythm with the moving cart—an open-topped wooden structure with four rows of planks making side rails.

I didn’t see Sunny or Ted.

Where were they? Was Sunny safe?

A third man, walking
on the opposite side of the wagon from the Adam’s Apple and the younger guy, quietly studied me with narrowed eyes. He was a burly individual, slightly shorter than average with black wavy hair peppered gray and slicked away from his face. A big, bushy mustache almost concealed the cross-shaped scar on his cheek. I recognized him as the third man who shot me.

Two enormous bears, their thick
fur coats mottled brown and white, lumbered a short distance behind us, hauling a wagon. Four men walked alongside the cart, two on either side.

Including my three captors, that made seven men
, I thought.

“You should be dead!” said Adam’s Apple.

I looked down at the bloodstained holes in my shirt. So taking three arrows in the chest hadn’t been a dream, yet there were no visible wounds,
only new skin. I figured it was either a miracle or Doc’s nanosurgeons.

“What is
that
?” asked the younger guy beside him.

Adam’s Apple looked at it, crinkling his nose in revulsion. “It looks like…” He paused, his face transforming into horrified surprise. “Devil’s blood.”

My mouth felt like every drop of saliva had been sopped up. I smacked my tongue against the roof of my mouth. Water.
I needed water.

“I told you!” blurted the young man. “The stories are true. We should never have gone into that area of the mountains. Father Ryder’s going to be furious if we bring back a demon.”

The mustached man walking alone on the other side of the cart chuckled without a trace of humor. “Demon,” he admonished. “More likely he’s a mutant from the scorchedlands. Maybe we even caught Yugo
himself.”

Scorchedlands? Yugo? That was familiar, but… I shook my head, hoping to clear the thick fog that had settled there, and my eyes fell on Naoki. I couldn’t tell if he, Ryan or Talon were breathing.

“Are they—” My voice rasped in my throat. Sucking in my cheeks, I probed the recesses of my mouth with a swollen tongue in search of even a drop of saliva, but only found the thick, sour
paste of whatever I had just heaved up. “Are they dead?”

“See how thirsty he is?” Mustache said. “Devil’s blood would have no effect on a demon, so he must be made of flesh and bone.”

I nodded my agreement. I was literally dying of thirst. “Water?”

Mustache shrugged. “Stop the cart,” he said. Adam’s Apple and the younger guy sped up and grabbed the ropes secured at the front of the cart
as they chanted,
whoa, whoa
. Our wagon came to a slow halt.

“Give him a ration, Sanjay,” Mustache said to the younger guy.

Sanjay shook his head. “I’m not going near him. You do it, Phillip.”

Adam’s Apple shook his head and took a step back.

“Cowards,” Mustache muttered. “I’m not sharing payment if you’re not earning it.” He pulled a bottle from its holder on the side of the cart and
approached me, eyeballing the puke still dripping from the slats. “Well, I’ll be. It does look like devil’s blood.”

I focused on the bottle, sitting up straighter in anticipation of a drink.

The cart behind us rolled past. Two men were in the back, secured to the rails like us and barely conscious.

“You got a recruit awake already?” asked one of the passersby.

Sanjay nodded furiously.
“We think he’s a demon.”

“Scorchedlander,” Mustache corrected him. He pulled the top off the bottle and came within arm’s reach of me.

“I told you to stay away from that city. It’s the giant’s territory. You’re lucky to be alive,” the man said.

Now I remembered Yugo the Scorchedlander. He was a fabrication to explain the strange goings-on around our hidden biodome, like the mine tailings
we dumped and, worse, our dead.

“Be careful, Hollywood,” Phillip said to Mustache. “Just in case…you know…he has evil powers.”

“I’m more afraid of him hurling again. I don’t want that stuff on me.” He gave me a curious look as he kept the water bottle close to his chest. “How’d you manage to throw it up?”

I dragged my eyes away from the bottle. “It?”

“Devil’s blood. We coat our arrows
with it. Puts a man to sleep for close to two days.” He motioned at the others in the cart with me. It was a relief to know they weren’t dead. “Except you. And I never saw anybody puke it up before.”

Silently I wondered if it was because of Doc’s nanobots or if I was just lucky. “I don’t know,” I croaked. “I’ve never heard of devil’s blood.”

Hollywood grunted something incoherent, and without
coming any closer, he stretched his arm toward me and tipped the bottle. Water came dribbling out. I opened my mouth and scrambled to catch the thin stream, relishing the river of moisture that went rolling down my parched throat, washing away the paste. I fought the urge to close my mouth and swallow, too afraid he’d take the flask away. I choked it down and gulped for more.

Then he snatched
it away. “That’s enough for now.”

I yanked against my bonds in a futile attempt to grab it back. “I need more.”

“Well,” he said, capping the bottle, “that all depends on you. If you behave yourself and do as you’re told, you’ll get more.” He sauntered toward the back of the cart. I watched the bottle go.

“You’re not really thinking of letting him join us, are you?” Phillip asked, his sunken
eyes big with fear.

Hollywood frowned. “No, he stays tied up.” He regarded me, his eyes meeting mine for a moment before he gave me an once-over. “But whether you live or die is up to you. And you can start by telling me where you got those fine clothes and”— he paused, pulling something from behind his back—“
this
.” My rifle. A semiautomatic made from reclaimed steel.

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