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Authors: J. L. Mac,L. G. Pace III

Oculus (Oculus #1)

BOOK: Oculus (Oculus #1)
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OCULUS

(Oculus Series Book #1)

By J.L. Mac

L.G. Pace III

Copyright © 2015 by J.L. Mac, L.G. Pace III

All rights reserved. This book or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the expressed written permission of the publisher except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, events and incidents are either the products of the authors’ imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

Cover design by:

Wicked By Design

 

Edited by:

Indie Solutions by Murphy Rae

 

Formatted by:

Champagne Formats

Images used under license from
Shutterstock

ISBN: 978-1-942215-34-9

Table of Contents

TITLE PAGE

COPYRIGHT

DEDICATION

 

CHAPTER ONE

CHAPTER TWO

CHAPTER THREE

CHAPTER FOUR

CHAPTER FIVE

CHAPTER SIX

CHAPTER SEVEN

CHAPTER EIGHT

CHAPTER NINE

CHAPTER TEN

CHAPTER ELEVEN

CHAPTER TWELVE

CHAPTER THIRTEEN

CHAPTER FOURTEEN

CHAPTER FIFTEEN

CHAPTER SIXTEEN

CHAPTER SEVENTEEN

CHAPTER EIGHTEEN

CHAPTER NINTEEN

CHAPTER TWENTY

CHAPTER TWENTY-ONE

CHAPTER TWENTY-TWO

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

For our readers and their unending love of the written word.

"When today fails to offer the justification for hope, tomorrow becomes the only grail worth pursuing.”-
Death of a Salesman
, Arthur Miller

M
Y DREAMS ARE ALWAYS DIFFERENT,
but she’s present in every one of them. She’s the only constant.

I don’t know who she is as I’ve never met her in real life. She’s quite literally the girl of my dreams. What I do know is that when I see her lightly freckled face, I feel whole. She’s one of the few things in my life that makes me smile. I can close my eyes at any moment of the day and picture her. Long, straight hair that is as pale as a field of wheat. Eyes as green as the rolling hills that surround us and something more, dwelling within in them—an intensity that skewers me every time we meet in dreamland. Those eyes not only see me, but seem to see
into
me…to accept me. It’s such an odd sensation, this closeness that I feel with her, unlike anything that I’ve ever known while awake. Even though I know she isn’t real, I can’t wait to fall asleep so that I can see her again. Tonight, I reached out and could feel the heat of her skin. Just before I made contact, I woke up.

I stare up into the darkness and by the slight bite in the air I know dawn isn’t far away. I’m too energized by seeing her to lie back down. Rising, I quietly dress and set out into the darkness. Stretching as I walk, I slip quietly away into the woods. When my muscles are warmed enough, I take off running. Settling into a brisk pace, I start the easy ten-mile circuit that encompasses the perimeter of our home. Running always makes me feel better and helps to clear my mind.

My route takes me to the top of a rise that overlooks an abandoned interstate highway. Pushing myself to go a little further than normal, I jog down the hill to the roadway itself. Abandoned vehicles from a long time ago are spread on either side of the cracked, weed-infested concrete. Dark Landers have picked over just about everything, salvaging anything useful before Corp Security can come along with their flamethrowers and scorch everything.

Light from the moon reflects from the side of a faded truck and the face of an enormous, red-haired clown leers at me. It stands before a chubby family, stuffing food into their faces, like some macabre gluttony demon. Shaking my head at the unsettling sight, I turn away to resume my journey. In the dim light a heavy stone marker beside the road catches my eye. Twenty-five miles to Santa Barbara. The stone being intact is a testament to our isolation here. The Corporations have worked hard to erase all knowledge of the old world but they haven’t erased everything.

I hadn’t been born yet when the sky burned and the old world ended. From the stories I’ve heard, the world used to be a chaotic, beautiful place. Full of technological marvels that only an elite few possess today. Where freedom was more than a word, and a man could make his own way. A place where there were no slaves, where you could live in one place and feel safe. At least, those are the stories that are told.

In my experience, safety is only an illusion. People who buy into that delusion are living in a fantasy world. I prefer to embrace reality, and that’s what keeps me alive. Existence means change. When you’re forced to move at a moment’s notice to stay ahead of a kill squad, you learn to appreciate change. Especially when the alternative is to stay put and end up dead.

My name is Sicarius, which means ‘assassin’ in Latin, but everyone calls me Sic. Formed inside a glass tube, I was created in a cold, sterile place; a laboratory deep beneath the surface of what was once Los Angeles, California, now known by the Corporate designation of Sector 41, Talpa Corp. Unlike most people, I have never struggled with the meaning of my life. From the moment I came into being, my existence was filled with purpose.

I’m a weapon.

I live in the Dark Lands, the wild lands outside of any corporation’s control. The name Dark Lands started as a joke among corporate dickweeds because we’re off the power grid. They assume that means we all squat out here like a bunch of yokels. If they had any idea how much tech we’ve amassed, how organized we are, they would have tried to exterminate us years ago. Their entire plan of luring people into being enslaved is the prospect of technology. Electricity, running water, and a steady supply of food lure people into a web of lifelong servitude in exchange for things that should and could be readily available to everyone. Keeping the Dark Landers desperate is their way of ensuring a steady stream of cheap labor.

Winding down from my run, I stop at the stream near the house on my way back. I’m drenched in sweat and need to get cleaned up. One disadvantage of living off the grid is that we haven’t got indoor plumbing, or laundry facilities like you would find in one of the corporate compounds like Fenra or Talpa. I will gladly take freedom over machine washed clothes any day.

Stripping down, I scrub my clothes in the frigid water. Dunking myself into the icy depths is much worse, but I manage to rinse the worst of the stink off. Shivering, I lather up on the shore before leaping back in to finish rinsing off. When I emerge I quickly towel dry, struggling to get some feeling back into my body. Tossing my wet clothes on a line we have strung nearby, I collect some dry clothing I had hung the night before. I dress, feeling clean, if somewhat numb. It’s still a few hours until dawn, so I tiptoe into the living room to read.

BOOK: Oculus (Oculus #1)
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