QSFer Mary Newman has a new MM post-apocalyptic sci fi book out in her After the Coming series:
Mick lived through hell until he escaped two years ago. He was too young to understand when the aliens came, or the devastation they caused, but he sure knew what growing up in the aftermath was like. Surviving under the thumb of a crazy, self-proclaimed preacher and his equally psychotic soldiers, he lived each day wondering if it would be his last.
Arnie has decided to settle down and put the life of a nomad behind him. He has his hands full taking care of three orphaned, teenage boys and helping his chosen family provide for themselves.
When Mick decides he’s waited long enough for Arnie to see him as a man, Arnie finds himself running scared for the first time in his life.
Arnie dealt with aliens invading their world and taking everyone and everything they could get their hands on. Defeating encroaching gangs and scavenging for food is just part of surviving. A determined young man changing the way he sees himself is something else.
New beginnings. Friendships end. Life goes on.
We rode through the night for maybe half an hour or a little more. I wasn’t sure since I spent a lot of the trip with my eyes closed, praying as hard as I’d ever prayed I would be able to keep my promise to Joseph, Micah, and Garrett. Not that I believed in God. I mean, where the hell was God when my mom and dad were being murdered? Where was he when Preacher Jonah made all of his crazy decrees? And, where the hell was he when I’d tried to escape one hell and ran straight into another one? Yeah, God and I weren’t on speaking terms, at the moment.
The bike stopped and I opened my eyes. They opened even wider when the hill we were sitting in front of split and became a huge entry into the side of it. We rode into this giant maw and I knew I was descending into an even worse part of hell. I’d never been so petrified, and I could barely breathe for the panic choking me. The moon had been nearly full outside, but inside the tunnel it was pitch black. Brock switched on the headlamp at the front of his dirt bike and it didn’t seem to do much other than illuminate the walls and a path going downward. We eventually came to a stop and the lights came on to reveal a bunch of trikes, dirt bikes, a pickup, a red sports car, and the missing Jeep. Brock pulled me off the bike, and directed me to a door with a big wheel on it.
Evan, the other guy with us, input a code or something on a little square pad with push buttons, turned the wheel, and the door opened with a whoosh. I was pushed inside a foyer of some kind, and right into a whole bunch of people who were staring at me with expressions ranging from amused to distrustful.
“Who’s this, Brock?” a guy at the front asked.
“Not sure, Olly,” Brock responded. “Evan and I caught him running away from the town we were watching. Thought Flint and Lily should know.”
“Go get Lily,” Olly ordered one of the men.
We just stood there waiting, my knees knocking in fear, until a slender woman who was almost as tall as I was came into the room.
“I’m here,” she said. “What’s this?”
“Kid we found running away from the town, Boss Lady,” Brock said. “Actually, he found us. Ran right into me.”
“How old are you, Kid?”
“I… I… Not sure,” I stammered. “Sixteen?”
“You got a name?”
“M… M… Matt… Uh, M… Mickey.”
The woman laughed, kind of rueful-like. “Well Matt/Mickey, you look like you’ve been through hell and back. Brock, take him to Zeke’s office. Evan, head over to Rhett’s and tell Zeke we’ve got a visitor he needs to see. You hungry Matt/Mickey?”
I was, but I didn’t think I could eat anything without throwing it all back up, so I shook my head.
“Suit yourself,” the woman said. “My name’s Lily, by the way, and you can consider yourself our prisoner until we tell you different.”
I nodded because what else could I do? I’d run to save my life and try to save my friends, and I’d messed it up so bad, I didn’t even have an idea of how I was going to get out of this place. Brock pushed me in front of him down a hallway and into a big room with a huge desk and black leather furniture. He told me to sit in one of the chairs and I just kind of sunk into it. At least hell had comfortable seating.
A bottle of cold water was put in my hand and I simply stared at it. Brock huffed a laugh, took it back, opened it and shoved it back towards me.
“Drink, kid. You look like you need it.”
I followed orders and drank the entire bottle before carefully sitting it on the glass and metal table in front of me. We waited for some time, and I was so tired I could barely keep my eyes open. I was too scared to relax, though, and if I had fallen asleep, it would have been due to sheer exhaustion. I heard footsteps, murmuring voices and then the door opened. I looked up to see the same tall, red-haired man I knew I’d seen lying dead in a field only a week or so ago.
Oh, God! I was in hell! “You’re dead!” I croaked and everything went dark.
I’m a self-published writer of stories set on worlds that live only in my mind. If you think it can’t happen, well, I do my best to prove you wrong. I mainly write romance because I like to take the most unlikely of couples (or trios) and give them a happily ever after. My characters quite often pick up the personalities of my family and friends – which can lead to the most interesting of conversations, believe me.
I live in the wilds of Northeast Oklahoma with Mija, a rescued hound of unknown mixed heritage, and a rose point Siamese named Kiko who delights in tormenting both Mija and me when we’d rather be relaxing or sleeping.