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"I loved reading about all of my favorite characters again." ★★★★★Amazon Reviewer
"A must read for any "Broken World" fan!" ★★★★★Amazon Reviewer
With Jackson Star's threatening presence looming over them, Meg and her family are forced to flee the walls of New Atlanta, leaving both Axl and Donaghy, the man Meg has come to care so much about, in the CDC's clutches. Knowing that rescuing them will be no easy task, the group turns to a very unlikely source, and Meg soon discovers that her long-lost uncle has more than a few shocking secrets to share. After two decades of living behind walls, it looks like the end of the zombies could be in sight, assuming they can break into the most fortified building left in the world. Luckily, Angus James knows exactly what to do to make it happen.
But Angus isn't the only one with a few tricks up his sleeves. When Jackson Star suddenly decides to release Donaghy, it isn't out of the kindness of his heart. With the clock ticking more than ever, Meg finds herself in a race against time. Success means not only saving her family, but the whole world as well, while failure could very well mean a life of living as Jackson Star's slave.
Release date: October 10, 2017
Publisher: Twisted Press, LLC
Print pages: 301
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Behind the book
The Twisted series is a continuation of the Broken World series, picking up twenty years later and following the survivors as they face a new set of troubles in a post-apocalyptic world.
Twisted Fate: A Broken World Novel
Kate L. Mary
The room was deathly still as my family stood in stunned silence, staring at Angus like he was an apparition. Standing in this long forgotten building, surrounded by dusty chairs and cobwebs, I found myself wondering if it could be true, because this most definitely didn’t feel real. It couldn’t be. Two decades had passed since Mom and Dad and everyone else had arrived in New Atlanta, and my uncle, Angus James, had been alive the entire time. He’d been a prisoner in the CDC, used like his life meant nothing, like he was nothing. I just couldn’t believe it.
And now the same people who’d held him captive for all those years had my dad.
There was a part of me that wanted to cover my ears so I could protect myself from hearing everything Angus had been through. I knew my Dad was probably going through some of the same things at this very moment, and thinking about it hurt too much. But I also knew that I had to listen. We were on the run, had fled Jackson and his father through a secret tunnel in Dragon’s Lair, and before we could do anything else, make any other plans or even think about trying to free my dad, we had to find out what we were up against. We needed to hear what was going on in the CDC for real. I wasn’t dumb enough to think it was going to be easy to listen to, but it was necessary, and it would help us plan our next move.
Wherever we were, we were outside the city wall, and even though this place was attached to Dragon’s Lair, it didn’t look like it had been used in years. The windows had been boarded up, allowing only slivers of moonlight in through the cracks, and along one wall sat a cot similar to the ones that had been in the back room of the bar, as well as a table and a handful of rickety chairs. The few candles scattered around cast a soft glow across the dark room, highlighting the emotions flickering across the faces of my family. More chairs and tables that looked like they hadn’t been used in decades were lined up along the wall, just waiting for us to claim them. My uncle Al stood closest, and when he grabbed a couple and moved them toward the table it seemed to snap the rest of us out of it. Slowly, as if waking up from a dream, everyone began to move.
Dragon and Helen stayed a good distance away as we settled into chairs, probably because they already knew what was going on—my Uncle Angus had been staying with them for a while it seemed—while the rest of us gathered around the dusty old table. Charlie took the chair her father had set down, and I slid into the one next to her while Al and Lila took places across from us. Parvarti sat just far enough away that she was on the outskirts of our little group. Her expression was calm, too calm considering what we were going through.
We hadn’t really been there for her, I suddenly realized. Joshua had died, leaving Parv alone, and we hadn’t been there to help her through it. I’d been too swept up in what was going on with Mom and Dad to really think about how much my aunt was hurting, leaving her to deal with it all on her own. Even though it wasn’t my fault and my reasons for being distracted were glaringly legitimate, I couldn’t help feeling bad. I needed to make it up to my aunt.
Mom slipped into the chair next to Angus, sitting so close that it looked like she was holding onto him for dear life. When he set his hand on the table, she reached out to take it. It seemed like she needed to hold onto him just so she could make sure he was real, and it made sense. I mean, after twenty years you kind of gave up hope of ever seeing somebody again, and having Angus sitting at the table right now had to feel like a dream.
The old chair wobbled under my weight and every breath I took in filled my lungs with dust, but the minor discomfort was overshadowed by the heaviness in my gut. I had so many questions about what was going on, but I didn’t savor the thought of having them answered the way I should. Dad’s life hung in the balance, and we’d already lost him once. Now, after finding out for sure that he was alive, I was terrified that something would go wrong and he’d slip away again.
Plus, I had someone else to worry about now. Donaghy. The CDC had him, had dragged him out of Dragon’s Lair only a few hours ago. They could do whatever they wanted to him. Jackson could do anything, and his hatred for Donaghy went further and deeper than even I understood. I couldn’t help feeling responsible for how things had turned out. My family had always hated Jackson, but I refused to listen to them. If I’d heeded their warnings, if I hadn’t dragged Donaghy into this, things might have been different. If something happened to him now, it would be my fault.
How this man, a convict and a fighter, had come to mean so much to me in so little time didn’t make sense. We’d only met a week ago, had barely gotten the chance to know each other, but I felt like I’d known him much longer, and the ache in my stomach told me that I cared about his safety almost as much as I cared about Dad’s.
Silence covered the room and grew heavy, stretching out until I could barely stand it, but I couldn’t bring myself to be the first one to talk. Angus’s hand looked stiff under mom’s, but I could detect a slight tremor in it too, and I could tell that he was having a difficult time working up to what he had to tell us. The memories of the last twenty years must have been awful for him to carry around.
“Have you been in the CDC this entire time?” Mom finally asked, watching him closely as if she was keeping an eye out for cracks. She kept her hand on his like she was hoping it would give him strength. Or maybe the other way around.
“Yeah.” The word came out sounding like it hurt him, and when he winced it seemed to confirm that it did. “Sometimes, it feels like it all went by in the blink of an eye, but other times it feels like three lifetimes. Twenty years is a long time, and they weren’t easy years. They was hard years. So hard that there was moments when I was pretty sure death woulda been better then livin’ even one more day in there.”
Glitter, the pink haired waitress that had only recently come into my life, was sitting on the other side of him, and she scooted her chair closer when his voice shook. He looked her way and his expression softened. He was the one who reached out and took her hand with his free one, but she seemed to welcome it. Almost as if she needed to make sure he was there just as much as he needed to be close to her.
Glitter was Angus’s daughter. I still couldn’t believe it. It made no sense. He’d been locked in the CDC for the last twenty years. How had this happened? I could only think of one way, but the idea was so sick it made me shudder. The scars that ran up the inside of her arms, the ones that I had attributed to drug use when we’d first met, seemed to confirm my suspicions, especially when Angus moved and I saw the same scars in the crooks of his arms. The two of them looked like walking pincushions, and I had a sick feeling that was exactly what they were. Exactly what my uncle had been for the past twenty years.
“What did they do to you?” Lila asked, drawing my attention away from the scars dotting my uncle’s arms.
“Lots of things.” He cleared his throat and glanced over his shoulder at Dragon and Helen. “You got a drink or a cigarette?” He shook his head and looked down, and when he spoke next it seemed like he was talking to himself. Like he hadn’t yet gotten used to the fact that there were other people around to talk to. “Need somethin’ else to focus on. Twenty years. That’s a hell of a lot of memories.”
“Angus,” Mom said, squeezing his hand. “It’s okay. We’re with you now.”
“Here.” Helen held a cigarette out to him.
Angus returned Mom’s gesture before pulling his hand out from under hers. When he took the cigarette from Helen, he was blinking, almost like he was fighting back tears. His hand shook as he slipped it between his lips, and he closed his eyes when Helen lit it, inhaling slowly as if he needed to focus on the act so he didn’t lose his mind.
“It all hurts,” he said, the smoke coming out with the words and his eyes still closed. “Every single memory.”
When he opened his eyes, his gaze narrowed in on Mom’s hand, still resting on the table. How must it look to him? Not the same as he remembered, that was for sure. At the moment her hand looked bony and frail, and the Vivian he’d known hadn’t been a weak person. I’d heard the stories about how they’d come to be here, and I knew my mother had been strong once. She was the one who’d kept on going even after she should have given up. The one who had pushed everyone in those early days. That person had slipped away over the last three weeks though, ever since they took Dad, and it had seemed like that old Vivian was on the verge of disappearing altogether. It was the drugs they’d given her, logically I knew that, but even now that she was off them she didn’t seem like her old self. It was like a part of her had gotten lost when Dad disappeared.
“Can you tell us what’s going on in there?” Parvarti asked when the silence had once again stretched out for too long. “There are a lot of holes that need to be filled.”
“I’m sure for you too,” Mom said, reaching out to him but stopping with her hand halfway to his. “So much has happened.”
“Yeah.” Angus’s hand shook again, and he clenched it into a fist like he didn’t want us to see it. “The beginnin’ is blurry, but I remember comin’ through Atlanta and seein’ the wall. Tryin’ to get here. I remember bein’ bit over and over, and pieces of them takin’ us to the CDC. It was bright and there was people everywhere, but none of it’s clear. There’s a big hole after that.”
“It’s okay,” Lila said, her voice soft and soothing in a way that reminded me of how she’d spoken to me when I was a small child. “Just take your time. Tell us what you can.”
“I will.” Angus stuck the cigarette between his lips and inhaled again, slowly this time, closing his eyes and savoring it.
I held my breath and waited, but before he could say a thing a bang echoed through the room. We all jumped, but Angus barely moved. When he opened his eyes though, his gaze went to the front door. At one time it had had a window in the center of it, but it had long ago been covered with a board that now seemed less secure than it should be considering what lurked just on the other side. Around me, everyone reacted, whether it was pulling their guns like Al and Parv or getting to their feet like Mom. I stood too, my hand already moving to my bag where the gun I’d gotten on the black market was stuffed. I hadn’t told anyone about it, although I wasn’t sure why, and its existence suddenly made me feel more secure about my current situation.
“It’s okay.” Dragon’s deep voice boomed through the room as he headed to the door.
I watched from where I was standing, not sure what was happening but certain that we could trust Dragon. He stopped in front of the door, which led to the outside, to the world beyond the wall that was infested with zombies and yet was—ironically—a lot safer than the one I’d grown up in. Still, I tensed when he pulled it open.
A gust of muggy air blew in, bringing with it two men. I recognized them right away. Al and Lila’s son, Luke, and Jim, the man I’d met for the first time only a few days earlier in Dragon’s bar. Back when I’d still thought my Uncle Angus had died twenty years ago and when I was certain my dad had joined him. Before I learned who Jackson really was and before I’d realized what Donaghy could mean to me. So much had changed since that day.
“Jim?” At my side, Mom’s body relaxed when she realized that she recognized the man who’d just stepped into the room.
Less than a second later, Aunt Lila was on her feet and moving toward her son. “Luke!”
That was when everyone began talking at once. Luke’s mom hugged him while his dad asked him questions, Mom talked to Jim, the zombie slayer I had just met but who she apparently had some sort of history with, Angus and Parv exchanged words that got lost in the chatter. The sounds bounced off the walls, mixing together until I couldn’t make out even a single syllable. There was a frantic air to it all, but relief was mixed in as well. Relief that there seemed to be a plan, relief that some of the people we’d thought we’d lost weren’t really gone at all, relief that we were outside the city walls. That at least some of us were safe.
After a couple minutes, Dragon lifted his hands and called out, “Let’s calm down. We have some things that need to be done.” Then he turned to face Jim. “Is everything ready?”
“Yeah,” the man said, looking past Dragon to the door he and Luke had just come through. The one that led to the outside world. “The coast is clear and the city’s pretty quiet. If we’re going to head out, we should do it now.”
“Where are we going?” Charlie asked.
She was staring at the door like the idea of going out into a zombie-infested city scared the shit out of her. I understood. I wasn’t exactly thrilled by the idea of taking a second trip out there when my first one had been so dangerous, but I also knew we couldn’t go back into New Atlanta. At least not right now. We weren’t prepared. Al and Parv had guns since they were enforcers, as did Luke and Jim because they lived outside the walls, but other than those four, I was the only one armed with anything other than a knife. Regular citizens weren’t permitted to carry guns inside the walls of New Atlanta, a law passed by Star years ago that now made perfect sense to me.
“There’s an unsanctioned settlement not too far from here.” Luke crossed the room and put his arm around his sister’s shoulders as if he could see the fear in her eyes as plainly as I could. “It’s going to be okay. We have a plan.”
“You’ve known about this?” Al asked his son, his gaze going from Luke to Angus.
Luke nodded slowly. He gave Charlie’s shoulder a squeeze before turning to face his dad. “Some of it, not all. I learned a lot more about what’s been happening over the last week.”
Mom turned to face Jim. She didn’t say anything, but the silent questions in her eyes were blatant enough that she didn’t have to. She was begging for answers. Begging to be let in on all the secrets that had been kept from her for all these years. At this point, she had no idea how many there were, but I had a feeling she’d learn it all soon enough.
“After I left the city, I started to learn more and more about what was going on,” Jim said, his voice soothing, as if he was trying to warn her that the truth might sting. “There were things we couldn’t talk about inside the walls. Things I couldn’t tell anyone.”
“Still can’t.” Dragon moved to the door, waving for everyone to follow him. “Not until you get further away from Star and the CDC. It’s not going to take long for them to come looking for you. When Jackson’s men find Meg missing, they will no doubt come to the bar. We’re on the outside right now and no one knows about the tunnel in the basement, but it would still be better if you weren’t anywhere near the city when they show up.”
“I’m not leaving.” Mom didn’t move from her spot. “Not when Axl is alive and trapped in the CDC. No.”
“We have to.” Luke abandoned his sister’s side and crossed to my mom. “It’s too dangerous. If Jackson gets his hands on you, it will be the end of everything.”
“They ain’t gonna kill Axl.” Even though my uncle’s words were meant to soothe, Mom still jerked away from him as if he’d slapped her. The next words came out softer, and laced with nostalgia and compassion. “Trust me, Blondie. You gotta trust me.”
Mom swallowed as she slowly nodded, but I could tell it was hard for her. She and Dad had a love that had withstood death and grief and even the end of the world, and I couldn’t imagine what it was doing to her to even think about walking away from him right now. It hurt me, so it had to be killing her.
The knowledge that Dad wasn’t alone in there only added to my pain. Jackson had Donaghy, too. He wasn’t immune the way my father was, so there was no guarantee that he would be safe for even one more hour, let alone the days it would take to plan a way to get him out.
Everyone started moving toward the door, Mom included, but I suddenly found that I was the one who couldn’t make my legs work.
“What about Donaghy?” I whispered, afraid to voice my concerns when I wasn’t sure if I wanted to know the answer. “What will they do to him?”
Helen and Angus exchanged a look I didn’t like, and then the woman crossed the distance between us and took my hand.
“Honey,” she said in a gravelly whisper. “He’s going to be okay. We have a plan, and the sooner we get out of here, the sooner we can put it into motion. Every second counts right now. We can’t hesitate.”
I didn’t believe her, but I nodded anyway because I knew there was nothing I could do on my own. My first instinct was to push Helen away and run back to the CDC, maybe even try to reason with Jackson. There was still a part of me that was clinging to the Jackson Star I’d thought I’d known for all these years, the one who was reasonable and caring. But the logical part of me knew that man didn’t really exist. He had been all for show, a caricature of a person. The real Jackson wouldn’t negotiate with me. The real Jackson wanted to trap and control me, to bend me to his will.
“Okay.” I nodded twice, which was more for me than for Helen this time. I looked at the weathered woman in front of me and then at Dragon, and it suddenly occurred to me that they hadn’t headed for the door. “What about you? Are you staying?”
“We have to keep up appearances,” Dragon said.
Helen gave my hand a squeeze. “If I don’t show up at work, Star will know I’m involved. As it is, I’ll be questioned the second I set foot in the CDC.”
“You’ll be okay?” Fear gripped me at the idea of Helen getting taken by Star, but I was ashamed to admit even to myself that more of it had to do with the idea of losing our inside person than concern for her.
“There’s nothing concrete to tie us to anything right now other than Helen’s position at the CDC. She’s been there a long time and has gained Star’s trust, but if we leave now it will be a huge red flag,” Dragon said. “And you need someone on the inside if our plan is going to work.”
“We’ll be okay,” Helen assured me.
I turned to look at Glitter, who was currently clinging to her father. “What about Glitter?”
“I’m going,” she said, holding onto my uncle tighter.
“We ain’t gonna risk her gettin’ sent back,” Angus growled.
This time when the group headed for the door, both Mom and I moved. I gave my boss and Helen one last look before stepping forward so I was standing next to Mom. She slipped her hand into mine and gave it a squeeze, and I suddenly felt like the woman I’d grown up with was back. The woman who had survived an abusive childhood and the virus that had wiped out most of the population, who had weathered the early days of the apocalypse with a strength that had made her stand out. Vivian Thomas—Vivian James now—was back.
“I know I’ve missed a lot,” she whispered to me, “and I don’t know what’s going on with you and this guy, but I’m here for you. I’ll always be here for you.”
I returned the gesture when she squeezed my hand again, hating how bony her fingers felt in my grip but loving the strength her support gave me.
Jim paused when we reached the door so he could glance back over his shoulder. The expression in his eyes as he looked everyone over seemed to shine in the shadows of the room. It was a mixture of anguish and pain; as if being with this group reminded him of something he’d lost. Under the lines from sun exposure and age, and the scars that seemed to tell a story of how wrong his life had gone, lingered the remnants of another man, and I couldn’t help wondering who he’d once been and how he’d come to be this person, this zombie slayer who lived on the outskirts of civilization. Who was battered and scarred, yet carried so much pain right beneath the surface.
“Is everyone armed?” Jim asked.
Around me, heads bobbed and weapons were pulled from sheaths and hidden pockets. I pulled out my own knife, leaving my gun tucked safely in the bottom of my bag. It was a good thing to have, but it would have to be a serious situation for me to use it. Guns would only draw more zombies, and possibly give us away if someone was searching for us right now. Which I was certain they were.
Charlie alone was unarmed, and when Luke rolled his eyes and pulled a knife out for her, I found it difficult not to smile.
“You should know better,” he said, holding the weapon out to his sister.
Charlie ripped it out of his hand and her face scrunched up so much that it reminded me of when we were kids, and I was suddenly certain that she was going to stick her tongue out at him. Instead, she looked away. The room was so dark that I couldn’t be positive, but it looked like her cheeks were red.
“I didn’t know what was happening when I was ripped out of my bed at the ass crack of dawn,” she said, trying to cling to her sassy attitude but failing miserably when her voice shook. “The last thing I ever thought I’d be doing is going outside the wall.”
“In the apocalypse, you always have to assume you’re going outside the wall,” Luke replied, which only made his sister swallow.
Lila put her hand on her daughter’s arm and whispered something while Luke turned back to face Jim. The older man’s hand was resting on the doorknob. Luke nodded and Jim turned the knob, and then the door was pulled open and we followed the two zombie slayers into the outside world.
The city was black and felt as endless as a nightmare you couldn’t escape, while the silence surrounding us seemed to defy reason. The trees that had long ago taken over the city swayed noiselessly above our heads, as if they didn’t dare make a sound, and our footsteps were just as defiant to the laws of nature. There was no crunch of gravel when I took a step, no shuffling of feet from the people surrounding me. No creak or thump or thud. There was nothing but noiseless progress as we moved away from the building we’d just left, packed together in a tight clump of bodies.
The humidity in the air was less responsible for gluing my shirt to my back than the close proximity of my friends and family was. I found myself somewhere in the middle of the group, making the moist Georgia air feel even more oppressive than usual. Glitter walked on one side of me and Charlie was pressed up against the other while the people in our group who had more experience with the dead surrounded us like a protective cocoon. Mom, Angus, Parv, Al, and Lila had all traveled the country together during the early days of the outbreak. They’d struggled and fought and made their way here to safety—or at least that’s what they’d thought. Jim and Luke were zombie slayers, so they were prepared. The most I’d done was go to the shooting range with Mom and Dad so I could learn to fire a gun, which now felt horribly insignificant. That was how I felt too, insignificant and useless. Why wasn’t I more prepared for the world I’d grown up in? Why had my life up until the last few weeks been so cushy and sheltered?
The darkness made it nearly impossible to read the expressions of those around me, but I could tell by the stiff movements of my family and friends that they were on edge. Just as Jim had promised though, the city was clear. The road in front of us, while littered with debris and overrun with weeds and plants that had sprung up during the years of neglect, was empty. I inhaled slowly, pulling as much of the muggy Georgia air into my lungs as I could, but it was clear and fresh. Wherever the zombies that ruled this city took cover at night, it wasn’t anywhere close to where we found ourselves now.
“How far?” I heard Mom whisper.
She glanced back and the dim light from the moon made her eyes shine in the darkness. I knew the tremor in her voice had nothing to do with her own safety. No, her thoughts were of me. She’d lost two daughters already, one way back at the beginning of the apocalypse, and another not that long ago. Right now I was in danger. Out in the open in a city that was crawling with the dead, unable to defend myself the way I should have been. I had no doubt that my mom was cursing herself for how she’d failed me. She and Dad had embraced the idea that I would never have to face something like this, that the wall surrounding our city would be enough to keep me from experiencing the horrors they had once gone through.
“Our rendezvous point is two streets over,” Jim replied.
“Exactly who are we meeting?” Parv asked with a slight edge in her voice.
It couldn’t have been suspicion. No, she knew Jim. It had to be something else. Nerves, dread, or maybe even a tinge of hopelessness seeping through.
“We—” A moan echoed through the air, cutting Jim off.
Mom’s steps faltered and I found myself slamming into her back, while to her right Al walked faster. All around me the others did the same, some people slowing down while others seemed to be grabbing for the person next to them as they moved faster. The tight clump we’d been traveling in broke up, creating craters between us that felt insurmountable when yet another moan cut through the air. Charlie whimpered and grabbed for my arm. I let her hold it even though her nails felt like they were cutting into me. I slipped my other hand into my bag and fingered the gun hidden there. My gaze was on Jim though, waiting for his cue. He was the zombie slayer. He knew what he was doing.
“Everyone just needs to stay calm,” he said.
He reached behind him and pulled a shotgun off his back even though he already had an eight-inch knife out and ready. Luke didn’t pull his own gun, but he looked as ready to pounce as Jim did.
A third moan rang out and Jim turned to the left. It was hard to see anything in the thick darkness that surrounded us, but he acted like he knew where the sound was coming from.
“Let’s move,” he said, his voice a low hiss. “Before they find us.”
This time when we started walking, our footsteps seemed louder than a crack of thunder. Every step felt like it was pounding through the city, echoing off the buildings and calling out to every zombie within a mile. There were nearly a dozen of us, and the pounding of our feet against the street was deafening in the silence of the city.
Our pace was brisk, not quite a run but faster than a walk. We slowed when we reached the end of the street, but only long enough for Jim to look around the corner. The coast was clear though, and then he was moving again and we were following, sticking so close to one another that it felt like we were a single person. Down the dark street, then cutting through an alley before emerging on yet another desolate stretch of old Atlanta roadway. This time we were met by the low rumble of an engine, and the sound of it in the midst of the starkly silent city was enough to make my heart beat harder. I could just make out the silhouette of a large truck in the darkness, and Jim was already heading that way when its headlights flashed once.
When we got closer, the driver’s side door was shoved open and someone jumped out. “You’re late,” a husky yet feminine voice growled.
“I’m right on time,” Jim replied with no malice in his voice.
The woman snorted but didn’t contradict him. “We have to go.”
Luke’s voice broke through the darkness. “Everyone get in the back.”
There was no argument from us. The moans of the dead had increased, and even though none of them sounded particularly close, I wasn’t willing to wait around and find out how long it would take them to locate us. Especially with the hum of the truck’s engine calling out like a Siren’s song.
I tried to get a good look at the driver when I passed her, but all I could make out was a surprisingly small shape that was nearly swallowed up by the black night. Luke followed the rest of us to the back of the truck while Jim stopped next to the driver. They spoke in low words that I couldn’t make out, but the throaty tone of her voice seemed to defy her desire to whisper.
The truck was an old military vehicle that had benches lining each side in the back and a canvas cover—now patched and ripped and filled with holes. I climbed in behind Charlie, who clung to me when we took a seat. Mom was on my other side, but beyond that I couldn’t tell who was who. It took less than a minute for all of us to climb aboard and take our seats, and what seemed like only a second later the truck lurched forward.
The drive was bumpy, the vehicle moving much faster than it should have considering the damaged streets in front of us. We bounced on our benches when the tires rolled over obstacles in the road, and Charlie’s hand tightened on mine, but no one spoke. Partly because it was too loud in the back of the truck to even attempt a conversation, but also because none of us knew what to say at this point. We only had a vague idea of what was going on, and speculating not only felt pointless, but terrifying as well. Every time I allowed my mind to wander to Jackson and the CDC, I imagined the horrors that could be happening right now. The experiments being performed on Dad—who I now knew was immune—the virus they could be injecting Donaghy with, turning him into the same kind of creature they’d transformed my Uncle Joshua into. It made me sick, so it was better not to think about it right now. Better to instead focus on the people around me who were safe, and the knowledge that we had people with us who were informed and prepared. Who had a plan. That’s what I told myself at least.
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