Excerpt: Determination

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Angela breathed a sigh as the tall, brick walls of the weather beaten dorms fell out of sight in her mirror, but didn’t let her guard down as she drove passed reeking slaughter houses and burnt out frames of homes and businesses. There were still other people around here and they were all a threat to a woman alone.

     She rolled up her windows and locked all the doors, steering carefully around a jackknifed semi, always sorry to see that the water truck’s precious cargo had already been stripped. It also made her hurt to see all the cell phones and once expensive jewelry that littered the streets and yards. Somebody had worn those things, used them daily, and now, they were dead and their possessions were garbage on the sidewalk.   

    Stomach churning, her eyes flicked over body after body as she drove. Gunshot to the head, knife wound, the sickness, gunshot. Death came in many ways to this place and it wasn’t only to the humans. Deer and cats were the most common corpses to represent the losses the animal population were taking but there was also squirrels, dogs, even birds mixed in, and Angela forced her mind away from it all. Maybe it wasn’t as bad where ever her boy was right now.

    Very little in the city where pigs fly had survive the riots and as she drove, Angela heard no sparrows calling, no engines revving, no lawn mowers rumbling, no pets yapping, no voices shouting, and no horns blaring. There was only the occasional scream or gunshot to break the silence, and destruction that grew worse the closer she got to downtown. 

   Debris crunched under her tires as she rolled by dark, reeking restaurants full of rotting food and she winced at the glasslike sounds as she neared the library, where shadows moved inside, trying to learn to fend for themselves. If she had a flat, she would have to abandon it for another car. There was no way her weak body could stand breaking the lug nuts loose. What she needed was a set of those new tires that would go an extra 50 miles even on a flat. Self sealing or something. Armor plated if she could find it. 

     Her broken Mother’s heart clenched at that thought, and she felt a tear slide down her cheek. Screw the tires. She needed to find the 14-year-old son she’d been apart from for the last month. 

It was killing her not to be with him, not to be able to hold him, and she wished with all her heart,(along with almost everyone else on the planet) that war hadn’t come, that Milton hadn’t betrayed them.

“Hold on, boy.” She whispered roughly. “I will come for you!” He wasn’t dead, she could feel him carefully calling out to her at night, and though she was still too weak to answer except in their dreams, it comforted her a bit to know he’d survived when so many of America’s sons hadn’t. He was alive and she would find him. Nothing would keep them apart!

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