Desolation

Free Desolation by Mark Campbell

Book: Desolation by Mark Campbell Read Free Book Online
Authors: Mark Campbell
sighted his weapon
in on the couple. Marauders hadn’t come around the camp for months.
Apparently, the smell of freshly cooked meat was attracting
unwanted attention.
    “ Attention, this is official United States government property. Do not come
any closer! You are trespassing!” a voice boomed from the watchtower’s
speaker system.
    The soldiers watched in horror as over two dozen shadowy
human shapes scurried from cover to cover in the distance behind the
man and woman. The soldiers aimed towards the group, unsure who to
focus their fire on if the group suddenly tried to advance. The gun’s lasersights danced across the desert, trying and failing to draw a bead on them.
“ By order of the United States of America, turn around and leave
immediately! All of you!”
    The group fully emerged from cover, and across the expanse of
the desert now numbered in at least fifty. They didn’t move and called the
government’s bluff; shooting a target in the dark at that distance would do
little more than waste ammunition. The group was intelligent enough to
stand far enough to avoid the threat of fire, but close enough for the men
on the wall to see them and make their presence known.
    Bret slowly lowered the rifle, hands shaking.
“They aren’t moving,” Bret said. “What do they want?”
Hemingway grunted.
    “Does it matter? We outnumber them and outgun them. They
know that if they tried to step towards us we’d mow them down,”
Hemingway said. “They can try to stand there and intimidate us all night
long but in the end we’re the ones with the superior firepower.”
The officers on the wall watched the group in the desert all night
long, weapons ready.
     
The marauders stared back, waiting.
13
    J erri woke up in the morning with a crick in her neck and
multiple knots in her back. Groaning, she stood and popped her back.
“Good morning,” Krystal said, smiling over at Jerri. “Jacob.” She
was holding the baby against her chest and he wiggled in her arms,
making gurgling noises. He kicked and grabbed his mother’s hair.
Jerri rubbed her temples and shook her head.
“What…?” Jerri murmured, trying to ease the tension in her neck
by turning her head side-to-side.
“The baby’s name is Jacob,” Krystal beamed. “I’m naming him
after his father.”
Jerri nodded and offered a polite half-smile.
“That’s nice…” was all she could manage.
“So what’s for breakfast? I was thinking about going out but I
can’t find my good clothes… This room is a mess!” Krystal looked
around the dorm and shook her head.
“Hun… do you even know where you are?” Jerri asked carefully.
“Well, yeah ,” Krystal said, rolling her eyes. She looked down at
Jacob and cooed softly at him, tickling his stomach with her finger. She
never specified where she was and, in fact, acted like she forgot that Jerri
was standing just a few feet away from her.
Jerri frowned.
“I’m going to go see if the mess hall opened, would you like me
to try to bring you back something?” Jerri asked.
Krystal kept her vacant eyes fixated on Jacob and cooed. She
didn’t answer.
Jerri was worried. She would have to tell Andrew about her odd
behavior when he stopped by later.
She paused and felt a chill run down her spine.
…when he stopped by later.
Did she actually just think that?!
Why did that notion resonate so strangely with her? Most of all,
why did she even think such a stupid thought!? He was one of them . He
was one of the Orwellian masters.
The sickening part was that he truly was a devil in sheep’s
clothing. He actually seemed like a really nice guy… Ha!
He tricked her into letting her guard down with his charm and
charisma. He was trying to chisel his way into her head.
She decided she wouldn’t allow it to happen again.
After breakfast, she intended to move Krystal to another dorm,
somewhere Andrew couldn’t find her. Teddy would know a good place to
lay low.
Andrew was trouble. He was the enemy. He wasn’t to be

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