Havoc Peaks: A Havoc in Wyoming Story | America's New Apocalypse
Kindle UnlimitedFree with a subscription to Kindle Unlimited
Great Job! Best Character Development I've seen in a long time!!Gysgt Rick Roy USMC Ret.
Millie Copper - you did it again! You will turn pages faster than you've ever turned before. And when the last page is in front of you, you'll feel bereft, wanting the storyline to continue.The Red-Headed Swede
Gripping story, I couldn't put it down!Tonya Crawford
Very refreshing to read a series that keeps you wanting to read faster but hate for the book to end.Wlh76
When it's not safe to stay in your home, sometimes there is no choice but to leave.
When their small community in Oregon is overrun with refugees from the nearby cities, Clarice and her family assume they will band together with their neighbors. As the other families mysteriously disappear, it soon becomes evident the only option is to leave.
But the only safe place they know is over 1000 miles away. Will the journey prove too dangerous?
Havoc Peaks is a standalone story set in the world of the Havoc in Wyoming Christian Futuristic series. If you like mysterious apocalyptic events, fast-paced adventure, and plausible situations, you’ll love this page-turning series.
Download today and discover why readers love this twist on the Post-Apocalyptic genre!
The Havoc in Wyoming series has been described as “Cozy” Apocalypse and contains no profanity, gratuitous sex scenes, or overly detailed gruesome death scenes. However, it does contain conservative family values and references to God, prayer, scripture, and Christianity.
*This is a standalone book but is best enjoyed when read with the Havoc in Wyoming series.
Books in the series and suggested reading order:
- Wyoming Refuge: A Havoc in Wyoming Prequel
- Caldwell's Homestead: Havoc in Wyoming, Part 1
- Katie's Journey: Havoc in Wyoming, Part 2
- Mollie's Quest: Havoc in Wyoming, Part 3
- Havoc Begins: A Havoc in Wyoming Story
- Shields and Ramparts: Havoc in Wyoming, Part 4
- Fowler's Snare: Havoc in Wyoming, Part 5
- Havoc Rises: A Havoc in Wyoming Story
- Pestilence in the Darkness: Havoc in Wyoming, Part 6
- Christmas on the Mountain: A Havoc in Wyoming Novella
- Havoc Peaks: A Havoc in Wyoming Story
- My Refuge and Fortress: Havoc in Wyoming, Part 7
Release date: January 28, 2021
Publisher: CU Publishing LLC
Print pages: 331
* BingeBooks earns revenue from qualifying purchases as an Amazon Associate as well as from other retail partners.
Havoc Peaks: A Havoc in Wyoming Story | America's New Apocalypse
Mollie tosses an oversized suitcase into the trunk of her rental car, taking her sweet time to mess with the mass amount of stuff she has. I do my best to keep an even look on my face. Part of me wants to tell her what I think of her plans and how ridiculous she’s being. The other part of me just wants her gone. We’re in the middle of a crisis, and she’s the last person I want to have around.
As my husband’s employee, she visits the business several times a year. Because our small community doesn’t have a hotel, Mollie stays with us. I dread her visits. The first few days aren’t terrible, but it’s the old adage of fish and houseguests both starting to stink after three days. She’s been here since Sunday and is now way past her prime. And tonight, I saw a part of her that really makes me wonder if she might not be mentally ill. That would explain many of the strange things I’ve noticed about her over the years.
After she finally finishes fiddling, she turns to us and hurriedly—almost frantically—says, “I worry it’s not safe here. Maybe it’s too close to Portland. Do you think you guys should come with me? We can get your dad, of course.”
I meet Ben’s eyes, assuming he knows what I’m thinking. Finally, he says, “We worry it’s not safe here either.”
Nope, that wasn’t it.
He continues with, “I think, if things go bad in Portland, people will start heading this way.”
What? He’s sounding almost as loony as Mollie! I give him a hard look, but he keeps talking.
“Some will probably think they can survive in the forest, and when they can’t, well, we’re the next populated area. But I’d like to think that isn’t going to happen. Remember the comradery after 9/11? Most likely, it will be the same now. There’s no reason to think otherwise . . . as long as nothing else happens. If it does, we could combine forces with the neighbors here, then we can increase our chances of safety.”
He gives me a look, and I nod. Not because I agree. I’m not sure exactly why I nodded. Maybe just so this conversation can finish and Mollie will leave.
“I think that’s a good plan,” Mollie says with a slow nod. “I have to admit, I wasn’t even thinking long term, but I’m concerned, if there’s another attack, Portland could be affected and whatever happens there would directly affect you.”
“Also possible,” Ben says. “We’re going into town first thing in the morning. We’ll be there when the store opens and buy a few things.”
We are? First I’ve heard of this.
He gives me a nod and says, “I think getting what we need just in case is a good idea.”
“Good plan, Ben. Maybe get your camping gear in order too. You know, just in case you have to leave your place in a hurry,” Mollie says, looking like a bobble head.
I’m sure I make a face, but Mollie chooses to ignore it. There’s no way we’re leaving our home. That would be nothing short of ridiculous. I barely listen as she drones on about wanting to have paychecks handed out early. I’m sure Ben will put his foot down and remind her payday is Monday and there’s no reason to provide checks sooner. Then she tells him she wants to suggest the employees get cash and buy extra food. What a nut she is!
I want to smack Ben when he says, “Sure, Mollie. Checks tomorrow are no problem. I suspect a few of the guys are already planning their purchases for tomorrow.”
Mollie gives a solemn nod and then turns back to the rental, fiddling with things a bit more. I’m just about to tell them I’m going inside when she turns and wraps Ben in a hug. “Be safe, Ben. I’ll check in with you soon.”
“Yeah, Mollie,” he says. “Call tomorrow and tell us where you are. Use your company card for fuel. You’re still on the clock until you get home.”
“Okay, thanks, Ben.”
She turns to embrace me, stretching up slightly on her toes.
She’s so short, I have to hunch over to keep it from being awkward. “Take care of yourself,” I say woodenly.
“Oh, hey, did you happen to look and see if your rental car includes an emergency kit?” Ben asks. “Pop the trunk and let me look. I doubt it does.”
I roll my eyes. Is she ever going to leave?
Mollie pops open the trunk. Ben reports there isn’t one and tells Mollie to hold on a minute. I stand awkwardly while he goes inside the house, then returns with a premade roadside kit.
“I get these things as gifts but never need them,” he says, bouncing down the front steps. “You take this one, just in case.”
“Thanks, Ben. I appreciate it.” Mollie finally climbs in her car and heads down our driveway, giving a wave as she goes.
“Well . . . ” I say. “That was weird.”
“In what way?”
“All the garbage she had stored here. The mass amount of junk food she bought at the mini-mart. Her paranoia. All of it. I’ve always thought she was strange, especially these last few years after she found Jesus again.” I pause long enough to make sure he knows what I think of that. “But this . . . this seriously takes the cake.”
He narrows his brilliant blue eyes at me. “You don’t think she might be right about this? That things might be worse tomorrow and getting home is smart?”
“I think she’s a nut. And I think you should’ve put your foot down about her taking the rental car. Do you know how much it’s going to cost for her to not drop it off where she rented it? And what is with telling her to use the company fuel card?”
“Seriously? Five planes were just shot out of the sky, and from the sounds of it, there’s no way to prevent it from happening again. Air travel will be nonexistent for who knows how long. And with what happened at the airports after the first responders arrived, with things being blown to kingdom come, I think she may be right. This could be the beginning of World War III.”
“Oh, puh-leeze. You’re sounding as loony as she is.”
“You even agreed!” Ben throws his hands in the air. “When we were still in the house and talking about whether or not we’d be safe here, you asked if we’d be safe anywhere.”
“I didn’t really mean it! I just—I was caught up in the moment. Maybe reason left me for a minute or two, but seriously. This is awful and terrible, even more than awful and terrible, but it’s not going to be the end of the world.”
Ben gives me a look, a cross between anger and pity. He pushes a tuft of thinning blond hair out of his eyes before giving me a curt nod. “I hope you’re right, because I’m leaning toward Mollie’s thoughts.”
“Remember 9/11? You thought that was going to be more too. It wasn’t. The country came together for a few days and then we got on with our lives.”
“9/11 changed things, Clarice. It changed how we fly, and it started a war. You and I may not have been affected by it, but others were. It’s naive to think things won’t change after these attacks.”
“I’m not an idiot, Ben,” I say with disgust. “I know things will change. I just don’t think Mollie needs to be so dramatic with her survival supplies and rushing out in the middle of the night. And I think you should make her pay for the car rental. It’s not a business expense when she just wants to go home and be with her family.”
Ben shakes his head and sighs. “If it was you, if you were the one away on work for your company, wouldn’t you want to get home to us as quickly as possible?”
“Totally different. I’m co-owner of my company. Mollie is nothing but an employee—an employee who’s paid way too much and still takes advantage of you.”
“Enough,” Ben practically bellows. I shrink back slightly at his anger. “She’s paid an appropriate amount for the work she does. Not that it’s any of your concern.”
“Not true. Every pay increase and bonus you give her is taking away from our retirement.”
“And how does she get bonuses? By bringing in business. If she weren’t bringing in the business, we wouldn’t be building our retirement. I’m not making her pay for the rental car, and I don’t want to hear another word about it. What I am doing is going back inside and going to bed. I’ll be leaving early to fill up all of our gas tanks and buy extra food.”
“Fine. But plan on using your own money for those things because I’m not on board and will not contribute to such lunacy.”
“Give it a rest, Clarice,” he says between gritted teeth. “You don’t need to be so uptight.”
“Uptight? You think this is about me being uptight?”
“No, I think it’s about your ridiculous and unsubstantiated hatred of Mollie Caldwell.”
“My dislike of her is neither ridiculous nor unsubstantiated. She’s annoying and . . . and this is it, Ben. Next time she’s here for work, she stays in Alto.”
“Fine,” he hisses.
“And another thing, tonight is terrible and tragic. I’m not denying that. Most likely this will change things for us, for the United States, but I refuse to believe it’s anything more than what it is.”
“And exactly what is it?” Ben crosses his arms and glares at me. “What is it you think you know?”
“A terrorist attack! What else? Not some major conspiracy requiring packing up and driving home in the middle of the night—though, I’m glad she’s gone! You can look like a fool if you want. It won’t be the first time.” He narrows his eyes at me and opens his mouth, but I hold up my hand and rush on. “But I refuse. I refuse to get swept up in some ridiculous conspiracy theory.” I stomp away, beating him to the front door and slamming it hard behind me.
Every time Mollie visits, which is two or three times a year so she can catch up on things she thinks she can’t do from Wyoming, we end up in an argument after she leaves. While she’s here, I keep my mouth shut and try to make her stay as comfortable for both of us as possible. But it never fails. Ben and I always end up in some sort of argument after she leaves. Usually, his complaint is that I’m too snotty to her. That may be true, but she doesn’t notice. She actually thinks we’re friends. Ha!
Even though I’m not a part of Ben and his dad Bart’s machine shop business, I still contribute to the plans and ideas. I know more about marketing than Mollie will ever hope to know, so it’s important I give my input.
Tonight, after a delicious dinner out, as expected, Mollie made me crazy when she went on and on and on about how delicious the nasty oysters she ordered were. Seriously. Every single time she visits, we go out to eat, and she always orders those things. She knows I hate them and find them disgusting, but it doesn’t matter to her. She’ll order the slimy, raw shooters or oysters on a half shell or—like tonight—baked oysters. I’m positive she does it just to irritate me.
Of course, I smile and pretend like it’s no big deal, gushing over how wonderful it is she can always have oysters when she visits. It’s not like she can get fresh oysters very often in Wyoming.
Anyway, after dinner, we were working on plans for a marketing event at the Portland Convention Center to be held in October. As usual, she had some crazy ideas, so it was up to me to keep things under control.
I was counting the minutes until her flight tomorrow and when she’d be out of my hair for a few more months, when the television announced the attacks: five planes at five different airports were purposely crashed as they were landing. As first responders showed up, multiple bombs were detonated, causing mass casualties. I hate to admit, one of my first thoughts was fear. Fear Mollie could be stuck here for days, or even weeks, while waiting for air travel to restart. I guess I should just be happy she’s gone and out of my hair.
Ben’s dad thinks Mollie walks on water and can do no wrong. At least Ben is slightly more realistic. Usually, a few days after she leaves, Ben and I laugh over how her visit went and the crazy things she said while she was here. We’d probably talk about how ridiculous this whole thing was—not the crashes, those are terrible, but Mollie’s overreaction to them. That’s likely what we’d do. Let things calm down, then we’d have a couple of drinks and poke fun at her.
Of course, that’s not going to happen. I have no intention of being here in a couple of days. I’ve made other plans and have just been waiting to execute them until after Mollie’s visit. I’m finally going to do what I want to do with my life.
I stifle a sigh. I know I’m too hard on her. Mollie means well and most certainly wants Ben and Bart’s business to succeed. And I should thank her for that. We’ve built up a tidy nest egg over the last couple of years from their business alone. But she’s so annoying, even more so in the past year or two since she’s started—as she calls it—becoming reacquainted with God and Jesus. At least before then she had a sense of humor and wasn’t such a stick in the mud.
Before going to bed, I check in on Liam. Our thirteen-year-old son was terribly upset about the attacks. I poke my head into his second-floor bedroom; his lamp is still on, but he’s sound asleep. I can’t help but smile at the innocent little boy face. Tonight’s tragic events hit him hard. And he’s not going to like the changes coming up. But he’ll be fine. We’ll all be sad in the beginning—change is always hard—but then things will be fine. Great, even. I’m confident of it.
“You were supposed to call me an hour ago,” I say, not even bothering with hello, thanks to caller ID, as I quickly move from the living room to my office. Instead of an answer, I hear a strange noise. “Mark? Are you okay?”
“N-no. Not really,” Mark says with a sniff.” I don’t . . . things aren’t good here.” He sucks in a loud breath. “I know we made plans yesterday, but you shouldn’t come here.”
“Mark,” I say in a near hiss. “I thought . . . you said— ”
“I know, Clarice. It’s not that. I do want us to be together.”
A smile crosses my face, and my heart does a flip. “I want us to be together too.”
Mark is my business partner. I brought him on a few years ago when I wanted to expand but needed not only more capital but someone who had more business knowledge than me. We’ve made a great professional team for four years.
The last couple of months, things have changed. Completely out of the blue, his wife left him last fall. He had a terrible time of it, and I’ve tried to be there for him. I didn’t expect our work relationship to change into something different, something more, but it has. We’ve grown closer than just business partners. Closer than friends, even. And with my own marriage on the rocks . . .
“We can be together,” I say.
“I don’t think it’s smart. The cyberattacks the news has been talking about, it’s hit Alto.”
“Oh. That’s not good. We still have power here. Maybe it won’t affect us.” I bite my lip and think about the last couple of days. The plane crashes were only the beginning. Yesterday, there were bridges destroyed across the United States. Today, the news has been all about a cyberattack taking out electricity and closing all banking. Even social media went down. It’s so bad, they’re talking about taking the internet offline completely.
“Well, the power went out about half an hour ago,” Mark says. “I was packing things up at the office, like we talked about.”
I bite my lip. He thought it was a good idea to grab the important stuff out of our riverfront office. I thought it unnecessary, but I figured, if he wanted to waste his time, I’d let him.
“That’s why I’m late,” Mark says. “The packing went fine. But you won’t believe the things happening around here.”
I wait for him to continue. When he doesn’t, I prod, “Like what?”
“I’ll, uh . . . gosh. It’s hard to talk about. Let me—I need to back up.”
I roll my eyes. Mark is great, but he has a flair for the dramatic. His wife, Patty, always said he loved to build up to things. He can’t just give the facts; he has to paint a picture. Usually, I like that about him since his attention to detail is helpful in business and in the new relationship we’re developing. He notices everything. Ben never pays attention to me, but if I even try a new shade of lipstick, Mark will notice and comment.
“Take your time,” I say, knowing he will anyway.
“When the power went out, it was so strange. Not like just a flicker and it was off. It kept flickering, like a dozen times, then I swear there was a loud pop and that was it. I was at the office then, and the phones there stopped working too. Of course they would, since they’re a VoIP and it’s all hooked through not only the electric company but also the internet. What else would I expect, right?”
“Right. Every time the power goes out, the phones go down. We still have power here,” I say again.
“And at least our cells are still working. Clarice, I want you here with me. I really do. And you aren’t going to like hearing this— ”
“Just tell me.”
In barely a whisper, Mark says, “Ben’s right. We’re not safe here.”
“You think Alto is unsafe?”
“I know it is. There are too many refugees. You know how I told you yesterday all the hotels are full?”
“Yes, you told me. Plus, it’s all over the news how hotels are filled everywhere.”
“Yeah. Within a few hours of the bridges in Portland exploding, we were slammed. It’s like super tourist season, with people everywhere, but it was still controlled, you know? Sort of, anyway. But now, that’s fading fast. There were three separate house fires last night and a business. The guy renting the office next to ours, he said each fire is arson.”
“And he knows this how?”
“His brother-in-law is with the sheriff’s department. Or maybe it’s his sister. I can’t remember. One of his relatives.”
That’s another thing about Mark. While he likes to tell a good story, he often gets the details wrong. “Arson? That doesn’t make any sense.”
“None of this makes any sense! Why are all these people even here? It’s like everyone has lost their ever-loving minds. There was even some sort of protest last night right outside the city police station.”
“The lack of hotel rooms and fuel. With everything full, people are sleeping outside. Their demands are to get either lodging or fuel so they can move on to the next town.”
“How do they think the police can provide those?”
“Beats me. Last night was nothing compared to today. The protests are still happening and look to be turning violent.”
“I’m sure the police will get it under control.”
“That’s just it, though. They’re not even trying. Rumor is, some of the police aren’t even showing up.”
“Really? Do you think that’s why no one came out here? You know the car wreck I told you about? Ben said the cars are still blocking the highway. He said it’s completely unpassable.”
“I think so, especially since I’ve witnessed their slow response with my own eyes.”
“Did something happen to you?”
“Yes. Well, not to me directly, but . . . oh, Clarice. It’s terrible.”
“You’re not hurt, right?”
“I’m . . . I’m traumatized,” he says with a whine.
I roll my eyes and shake my head.
“You see—oh, Clarice, it’s so terrible.”
I let out a slow, patient breath. “Just tell me.”
“Okay, I will. The parking lot of our office has people sleeping in their cars. One guy asked me if I had any fuel. He was nice enough but seemed almost desperate. His wife’s family lives in Seaside, and they just want to get there.”
Mark and his dramatics. “Did you ask him why he was in Alto? Why he left his house and ignored the shelter-in-place orders being given?”
“They live close enough to the Sellwood Bridge they could feel the explosion. With the airports being targeted after the planes crashed, they were afraid something similar would happen, like maybe the neighborhood would be blown to bits when first responders showed up. Thought a few days at the beach was a good idea. They didn’t realize half of Portland had the same idea.”
“Oh. I guess that makes sense.”
“Yeah.” Mark lets out a large breath. There’s a long pause. I’m just about to ask if he’s still there, when he says, “But he won’t be going to the beach.”
“Because . . . I can’t even believe this happened. After I finished up in the office and went back outside, there he was. Dead! Someone stabbed him. The wife was holding him in her lap as she sat on the ground rocking back and forth.”
“Dead?” I gasp, putting my hand to my mouth.
“Very dead and blood everywhere. That’s why—you can see why I’m so upset, right?”
“I can’t even imagine how awful it must have been,” I agree with a nod he can’t see.
“It really was. There was quite a crowd gathered. I never could quite figure out what happened, and the police still hadn’t shown up when I left. I’m back home now, but . . . see what I mean? Alto isn’t safe.”
“Why was he stabbed?”
“Who knows! That’s what I’m saying. It’s all gone crazy.”
“It’s okay, Mark.”
“It’s not okay, at all. Nothing is okay.”
“Calm down. You’re ranting.”
“Of course I am! You didn’t see him. You’d be ranting, too, if you saw a dead man, if you were here and saw the craziness.”
I take a breath before saying, as calmly as I can, “What do you think we should do?”
“I was thinking, maybe—I hate to even say this because you won’t like it. But you said Ben has a plan to combine forces with the neighbors, right?”
What’s he getting at? He isn’t thinking about . . . I take a deep breath. For the past several weeks, I’ve been planning to run away with Mark. I was just waiting to get past Mollie’s visit so we could take our relationship from an emotional affair to the next step. The plane crashes and bridge explosions are terrible, but they really shouldn’t affect my happiness. But now it sounds as if he’s suggesting he should come to my home—where my husband is. “You’re not saying you should come here, right?”
“What? Oh, no. That isn’t what I’m thinking. But I do think you should stay there. Nemont must be safer than Alto is now. You’re not overrun with refugees.”
“Uh, we are, remember? I told you yesterday how they’re everywhere.”
“But they’re just passing through, right? Walking on to Alto?”
“Some, yes. But there’s people camped, at least that’s what Ben and Bart say. I haven’t gone out much.”
“I still think you’re safer there. And I’m . . . you see, I talked with Patty. She’s scared.”
The anger courses through my body as I realize what this is really about. In a totally snippy voice, I ask, “What are you telling me?”
He responds in a whisper, “She needs me.”
“She needs you? She left you, Mark.”
“That was before. Everything is a mess now. I’m going down to Seaside. I’m going to help her through this. After all this craziness is over, you and me, we can— ”
“Are you seriously going to say we can get together later?”
“Don’t you think that would be smart? After all, you have Ben. He’ll take care of you. And you made a point of saying you’d be bringing Liam with you.”
“He’s my son.”
“Right. But I just don’t . . . I’m not sure I have it in me to take care of Liam, you, and myself. Patty—she’s all alone.”
Tears are stinging my eyes, partly from anger, partly from hurt. Mostly from feeling like an idiot. “Goodbye, Mark. When this is all over, we’ll be dissolving our business relationship.”
“Don’t be like that, Clarice. Surely, you can see how my wife— ”
“I care about you, I really do. B— ” The phone makes a weird screeching sound and is completely silent. I pull it away from my ear and stare at it. There’s no call-drop notice or anything, but he’s not there.
I sink into the chair at my desk and lay my head on my arms. The tears come hard and strong. Years of friendship followed by months of flirting, and now, when we make a decision to be together, he chooses to go crawling to his ex-wife instead. Where does that leave me? Stuck. Stuck in a loveless marriage. This was my chance. My chance to feel loved and desirable again, to be able to model an affectionate relationship for Liam instead of a cold and dispassionate marriage.
Sure, Liam would’ve been upset about it at first, but once he saw how happy I was—and I’m sure Ben would be happy, too, once he was also free—Liam would be happy for me. He’d thrive. Now, I’ve not only lost a chance at romantic happiness, but my business will suffer.
When there’s a knock at the door, I straighten and wipe my eyes. “Yes?” I call out.
Ben. Of course it is.
“What?” I snap as he cracks the door open.
“Dad called a few minutes ago. The phone went dead while we were talking, and I can’t get it to work. Does yours work?”
“I don’t know.”
“Let me try calling you.” After a minute, he says, “Doesn’t work. You try me.”
With a loud huff, I pull up his number and swipe to connect. It says it’s calling but never rings. After several seconds, I give up. “No.”
“That’s what I thought. I guess our phones are getting the cyberattack. At least we still have electricity—for now. Dad said I should fill up containers with water in case it does go out. We’ll lose our well. I’ve been working on that, but I was thinking lunch sounded good. Can I make you a grilled cheese sandwich?”
I shake my head. He knows I’m not eating bread, not because I need to lose weight—I’m too skinny as it is—but because bread and similar foods give me a gut ache. “No thank you,” I answer, clipping my words.
“Okay, let me know if you change your mind.”
I remain in my office, wallowing in my pity. The rich smell of butter, bread, and cheese wafts into the room. My stomach lets out a growl in response. Even though grilled cheese is a bad idea, I need to eat something. As I stand, the lights go out.
We hope you are enjoying the book so far. To continue reading...