Read The Survivor Chronicles: The Risen Online

Authors: Erica Stevens

Tags: #horror, #scifi, #suspense, #adventure, #mystery, #action, #death, #chaos, #apocalyptic, #apocalyptic fiction end of the world

The Survivor Chronicles: The Risen

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The Risen

The Survivor Chronicles: Book 4

 

Erica Stevens

Copyright © 2014 Erica Stevens

All rights reserved.

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Also from the
author
The Captive Series

Captured (Book 1)

Renegade (Book2)

Refugee (Book 3)

Salvation (Book 4)

Redemption (Book 5)

Broken (The Captive Series Prequel)

The Fire & Ice Series

Frost Burn (Book 1, Coming June 2015)

The Kindred Series

Kindred (Book 1)

Ashes (Book 2)

Kindled (Book 3)

Inferno (Book 4)

Phoenix Rising (Book 5)

The Ravening Series

Ravenous (Book 1)

Taken Over (Book 2)

Reclamation (Book 3)

The Survivor Chronicles

Book 1: The Upheaval

Book 2: The Divide

Book 3: The Forsaken

Book 4: The Risen

 

Dedication

This book is dedicated to my dad, my hero.

 

Special
Thanks

Special thanks to my husband for putting up with me,
to my parents for keeping me alive even though I'm sure there were
times they wondered why, to my siblings, nieces and nephews who can
always make me smile.

To my friends for helping to keep me sane.

To Leslie Mitchell for being such a good friend and
amazing help,

to Christina for always being such a good friend and
help,

to all the fans who followed along every week for
over two years and grew to love these characters as much as I
do!

Table of Contents

Other
Works

Dedication

Special Thanks

Prologue

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

Chapter 27

Chapter 28

Chapter 29

Chapter 30

Epilogue

Author's note

Where to Find The Author

About The Author

PROLOGUE

It has been years since I picked up a pen
and put it to paper, years since I've sought to escape into the
world of writing, and the fantasies that my mind creates for me.
Fantasies and worlds that helped me get through times that still
cause me to awake in a cold sweat, silently screaming, almost
twenty years later. A time that shaped my entire life, and no
matter how far or where I run from it, it is always a part of
me.

Retreating into my writing, and creating a
place of my own, was what I did from the age of eight, on. I would
take my notebook and pen into the closet with a flashlight, close
the door, and lose myself in there for hours. No one looked for me
in the closet, certainly not my mother and none of her boyfriends.
Most of the time, if I were discreet enough, they would forget I
was even there. Physical hunger never drove me from the dark
recesses of my imagination, there was never much food to be found
within the broken cabinets and rusted fridge in our house. No, it
was always my need to use the bathroom that would finally pull me
from my hiding place. I would try to scurry unseen to a bathroom
that most people avoided due to its brown sink, broken tiles, and
yellow stained toilet. Some nights I even slept
in
the closet. I would awaken with a stiff neck
but a relative sense of peace amongst the darkness and words within
my notebooks.

I got my food at school, but not by buying
what the cafeteria offered, I never had the money to buy my lunch.
I stole it from the other kid's lockers and sometimes even picked
the scraps from the trash. I'd smuggle some of the food home with
me for dinner so that I wouldn't have to go to sleep starving. I
was the only kid in school that hated vacations because of the
incessant rumbling of my stomach that the days, weeks, and months
away from school brought with it. If I was lucky, I was thrown
something to eat when my mother sobered up enough to remember to
feed me, but for the most part, I took care of myself. By the age
of nine I started shoplifting food from the supermarkets and stores
with relative ease and was proud of the fact that I never got
caught. It was a talent that would help me later in life too.

The people at school never noticed the
bruises and marks that constantly covered my skin. In the
beginning, I thought it was because they didn't see them, but as I
got older I realized it was because they didn't
want
to see them. I didn't blame them; I didn't
particularly want to see the handprints, fist marks, and cigarette
burns covering me either, so I hid them under long sleeve shirts
and jeans. Even in the middle of summer, I remained fully covered.
I still knew the bruises and burns were there though, mainly
because the cloth against my skin was a painful reminder every time
the fabric came in contact with a sore or open wound.

As I grew older, my writing turned into
short horror and science fiction stories, and by the time I turned
twelve I'd written two horror books. I loved those books. One was
about aliens and the other about a homicidal murderer. Both had
given me hours of escape that I'd relished in. They were the only
things in my life that were one hundred percent
mine
. I had created them, I had breathed life into
them, and no one could take that away from me.

At thirteen, I had started another book;
this one was actually going to be a murder mystery but before it
really got going, my friend Chuck gave me my first sip of whiskey
and my first joint. I found a whole new way to escape after that. I
continued to write until I was fifteen but I couldn't find the same
pleasure in it that I had before. By then I was already spiraling
into something that I didn't quite understand; I'm not sure I
understand it even now. I was delving into something that had dug
its hooks into me and wasn't going to let go. During that time, the
last thing I desired was to be free of my newfound means of escape
and I relished in its hooks digging into me deeper and deeper.

I attempted to pick up a pen again after I
dropped out of high school at seventeen, but I was already too
far-gone and rapidly lost interest in it. Cocaine, sex and alcohol
were where I found my release. When I was twenty-five, I discovered
a whole new way to escape. A whole new drug that made everything
that had ever happened, everything I'd ever done, and every other
drug I'd ever taken, just fade away into oblivion. At the time
heroin was the best thing that had ever happened to me. I loved it
more than anything else I'd encountered in life thus far and there
wasn't anything I wouldn't do to get my hands on it but there was
never enough, and the more I took the more I craved.

Time passed in a blur and as I progressed
from snorting heroin to shooting it, I slipped further and further
into a world that revolved around a drug induced haze that I never
wanted to end. Not even when I went to jail did I consider giving
it up. Not just once did I find myself on the wrong side of the
bars, but more times than I can remember, and all because of
something I had done to get my next fix. Most of the time I was
able to get my hands on some heroin in jail but the last time, I'd
been unsuccessful. The withdrawals had been so bad that I was
begging to die, and not because of how awful my body felt, but
because I was forced to become aware of the man that I had now
become.

I'd been a lost and frightened little boy,
but I'd had hopes and dreams. At one point in time I'd had a life
that didn't revolve around manipulation, stealing, and my next hit.
I'd been dealt a bad hand in life, I knew that, but when I was
young it was a hand I'd planned to rise up against. A hand I was
determined to overcome. I didn't care what people said about the
house always winning, I was going to beat the house no matter what
it took.

All of those dreams had become dust. I had
become a broken and unrecognizable man. Every one of my ribs could
be counted, my hips dug into the thin mattress I slept on at night.
I lived in what most would consider more of a shack than a house
with fifteen other people. Of those fifteen, probably only three
knew my real name. Track marks and scabs covered my arms from my
wrist to my elbow. I had just turned twenty-nine but no one would
have guessed that was my age by looking at me.

It was funny, I still wore my ever-present
long sleeves and jeans but now it was to hide what I had done to
myself and not what someone else had done to me. In between my toes
was a mess and the second and third toe on my left foot had been
amputated due to an infection that had festered. Two lost toes were
nothing compared to the loss of every shred of my dignity,
self-respect and pride that I'd lost over the years. I wasn't even
sure what those things were anymore or how to go about finding them
again.

No one else knew about the missing toes as I
never took my socks off in front of others, but then there weren't
any
others
in my life anyway. I'd
never met my father, had no idea what had happened to my mother,
nor did I care. I'd never been in love, never even had a girlfriend
for more than a year. My "friends" were all part of a life that was
killing us all, and truth be told they'd most likely stab me in the
back if they thought it would get them more drugs. What good
friends I'd had in the past had drifted away as my drug habit grew
increasingly out of control and their belongings began to vanish. I
understood why they distanced themselves from me. In the beginning
they'd tried to help me, they loved and cared for me, but few
people chose to stand by and watch someone who no longer felt they
had anything to live for, slowly kill themselves.

After that last incarceration I set out to
get my life back together, but it was only a couple of months
before I returned to my old ways, visiting old friends and falling
into bad habits once more. I was never quite sure how the downward
slide started again or why it had all started to begin with. It had
all been so innocent in those early days, just a small little bit
to help me escape from the things I didn't want to remember. Just
to help me sleep through a night. Over the years it became a
treacherous slope that repeatedly swallowed me like quicksand
within its dark depths.

Until the day I died.

I don't remember what happened, one minute I
was slipping into the blissful haze of oblivion heroin gave to me,
and the next I was waking up in the emergency room. I hadn't
realized I'd been dead until the doctors told me so, but even then
I didn't believe them. How could a person die and not even know it?
Then again, I'd been living my life and not really knowing it. So
maybe that was the better question, how could a person be dead
inside and yet still be considered alive?

I'd actually been dead for years and just
hadn't realized it until I was sitting in that bed, hooked up to
all those machines, and wondering about the blank spot in my memory
that had caused me to travel from that living room to this
place.

The doctors gave me the names of drug
meetings, clinics, and counselors to talk to in order to get some
help. I'd already been through all of these things, but then my
heart had never actually stopped beating before. I sat in that
hospital bed with those cards and brochures in my hands and
wondered if they could do for me now what they hadn't been able to
do before. I read through the methadone brochure but I had no
interest in taking the medication. If I was going to get through
this, if I was going to beat this thing that was killing me, I was
going to do it on my own. I simply had to.

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