Thursday, March 30, 2017

Throwback Thursday: Forced Autonomy Phase 2

Today's Throwback is Forced Autonomy Phase 2. You can grab your copy HERE.

Chapter 1


                I’d been away for a week, concreting myself in Colorado, the furthest I’d allow myself to travel from camp. The heart of the city of Pueblo was silent and unbeating. For seven days straight, I’d perched atop the Wells Fargo Bank building, shielding myself from the blaring sun with the ugliest fishing hat I’d ever seen—but I’d found it near a creek once and it fit the bill. It even smelled like fish.

                Scanning the crowd, I saw none of the anomalies I was looking for, and decided, by the glare of the two o’clock showing sun, that I wanted to go back home. I wanted to go back to Petra. And if Odin even quivered a sinister muscle in her direction, I’d take him out. I swore it to myself. He was a leader only in name and he’d royally pissed me off.

 I’d convinced myself she was just another girl, just another grainer I’d picked up on the way. She was nothing special. She was nothing to put my head through the guillotine over. And then thirty seconds later, all of those thoughts were retracted. I’d told her goodbye in my own way. While she soundly slept, I kissed her forehead and spoke to her so many things I wanted her to know.

What kind of asshole threatens a girl he supposedly values?

Because that’s how he spoke of her—like she was a prized 4-H heifer, not someone he cared about.

                Odin had pulled me aside after I’d returned from hunting. He’d told me I was no good for her and that the only reason he’d taken me into the group was to pick up those who fit in with us, not to find a girlfriend or compromise his plans. He’d alluded to telling her about my criminal past which I didn’t even know he knew about. At first I’d fronted him, butted him, chest to chest, and demanded to know what business of his it was. I’d demanded to know what the hell his problem was. He never did answer my inquiry. Instead, he’d gotten in my face and with spittle stringing out in webs from his mouth, and threatened to hurt her if I didn’t begin to spend more time travelling than I did hanging around.

                What would happen if I’d just beaten him to the punch and told her myself.

                I could’ve done that. I should’ve done that.

                We all had a past, right?



                Letting out a tempered sigh, I stood up from my haunches and lifted my bag, preparing to leave the city and return to camp and to Petra. I hadn’t spotted any anomalies in the crowds—only zombies. Even before Petra, the numbers of real people had dwindled. I’d only picked up maybe three in the past six months. I really didn’t think there were any more out there.

                I looked out one more time into the ants just to make sure I hadn’t missed anyone. It was feeding time. The almost brain dead citizens lined up for their bowls of gruel. I couldn’t help but mentally compare it to those old starving children commercials. They used to line those children up in droves and feed them milky grains and call it proper nutrition for our monthly contribution of only thirty dollars. Now Africans and Haitians ate like the once rich and famous.

                “Hands in the air, subject.”

                Double Shit.

                I raised my hands in the air slowly, closing my eyes and counting to ten. If I was going to get out of this, I had to think slowly, move fast and then run like hell.

                “Follow me, or I will shoot,” his almost computer generated voice commanded.

                I was off my game. I usually could predict where and when the Pinocchios would show up. I needed rest. I needed more than stale bread and smoked venison.

                I took three side steps in his direction and it threw him off. Most people simply froze in the presence of a firearm. But I wasn’t going down like this.

                Hell no—not me.

                “Halt, subject.”


                Crouching on the hot roof, my palms flattened on the ground, I swiped one foot into his legs at the point where his calves met his ankles and he toppled over; no instinct to defensively respond. The only thing they had were their guns. I heard the crack of his helmet as it hit the hardened asphalt. That was my cue to run. Strapping my pack on to my back tighter, I ran for the nearest exit, grabbed the sides of the long ladder hanging from the edge of the building once used as a fire escape, and slid down, no time or patience for the rungs. Ignoring the sting of burning rash left by the heated railings, I dashed towards the mountainous area outside of the city. I needed to get home. I’d considered it the day before, but the tanks entering the city had piqued my interest and I’d had to investigate the source of their invitation. However, they’d vanished into an underground parking garage which was secured after they passed through.

                Finally reaching the truck on the other side of the hill, I tossed my bag in the back and gunned it headed south.

                Screw Odin, I needed to get home.

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