Stormworld

Free Stormworld by Brian Herbert, Bruce Taylor

Book: Stormworld by Brian Herbert, Bruce Taylor Read Free Book Online
Authors: Brian Herbert, Bruce Taylor
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    On the morning of the fourth day after her birth, little Rosie slept fitfully beneath a towel, inside a wooden box that Abe had painted white. She was not doing well, and Peggy felt increasing agitation and frustration at her inability to do much for her.
    The young mother’s breasts were still sore from a feeding an hour before, and she hadn’t gotten used to having to wake up constantly in the middle of the night to keep the sick, irritable baby from crying. Now, despite her fatigue, Peggy couldn’t sleep because of worry. She had produced milk from her own body, but wondered if it was enough, and if it had all the nutrients her helpless child needed.
    Peggy didn’t know how she found the energy to continue, since it was all so exhausting, but she knew she had to, for the sake of her beautiful, innocent daughter. So sweet and frail she was, and Peggy loved her dearly, though she hated the world into which Rosie had been born. So many times in the few hours of Rosie’s life, Peggy had held her close and cried. Now, she felt an overwhelming wave of sadness come over her.
    Wiping tears from her eyes, Peggy reached behind the bed and brought out her journal, then sat cross-legged on the blankets to write in it. She wanted to get down her feelings for Abe, and especially for the baby. What a miracle the little person was, clinging to life each day, showing her grit and determination.
    Moments after the delivery, Belinda had said Rosie looked premature, and Peggy had done the math herself. Never having seen a doctor during the pregnancy, she couldn’t be certain, but Rosie might have been two or three weeks premature. Now, she might be a few ounces heavier than her birth weight; Peggy hoped so, and prayed it was not just her imagination.
    Following a moment’s hesitation, she began to write in red ink, but opened with another subject, before getting to Abe and Rosie: November 28th. This may be the last Thanksgiving any of us celebrate, without any turkey, cranberry sauce, or pumpkin pie. The ones who want to break in have been back every day, pounding on the bunker and testing the perimeter, looking for weak spots and dodging bullets fired at them by Director Jackson and other men he’s allowed to have guns. After the first bloody event, our defenders haven’t hit any of them, as the outsiders are being more careful.  
    They have been taunting Jackson by name, making him even more of a madman than he already was, even more paranoid. The Director stays in his room with his guns all day, brooding, and emerging whenever the bunker is under attack, as he storms out and opens fire. It’s become predictable, and I’m afraid I’m not the only one who’s noticed. The outsiders must be charting him, working up a new plan to penetrate the minimal security we have. So far, they haven’t shown any weapons, but that doesn’t mean they can’t get them.  
    Looking over at her sleeping baby, Peggy worried more than ever that her precious child was not safe in the seed depository. Sooner or later … She tried not to imagine the horrible possibilities, didn’t want to commit the worst of them to the pages of her journal.
    While Peggy was giving birth to Rosie, the outsiders had made one of their attempts to break in, creating a lot of noise, but not getting through.
    She knew that Benitar was beside himself trying to imagine the ways his enemies might get in, and he was increasingly desperate in his attempt to accomplish what he thought was his holy mission in life, protecting the seeds at all costs. The upper chamber where he kept what he called the “emergency seed evacuation capsule” was yet another weak point against intrusion, because the chamber had an escape hatch in the thick concrete roof—so he must be checking on it constantly.
    But the existence of such a capsule—which the Director supposedly paid for himself—made no sense to the rest of the staff in the repository, because the whole facility was in a

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