Tessa’s Story Tease

Since I announced the changes to the SUMMER FAE series, I’ve made some additions to the first book. I am combining all three separate novellas into one long novel, adding a lot of detail.

CONTAGION is about Tessa, a small pale woman raised in the Appalachian mountains. She survived an apocalyptic plague that killed millions, including her family. This snippet is about her trying to survive post-apocalypse alone in her Atlanta apartment.

Three days after I identified my family, I managed to turn on the news. Having stocked up the apartment with food from a huge box store two weeks ago, checking and rechecking the CDC website for the list of contaminated foods. Paranoia had removed reason.

My stash from the box stores allowed me to forgo the grocery chain stores. They were raided as survivors took all of the non-perishables. The firelight dancing across the sky signaled when they moved on.

My front door looked like a lock company’s test subject. I got everything I could attach with a power drill. The danger came a couple of weeks later. A group of thugs found my apartment complex on January 14th. Terrified screams echoed through the walls as my neighbors fought to live. My heart pounded in my ears as I crawled into my closet. Under blankets that smelled of family camping trips, I waited for them to get me.

Tears of fear and lost memories covering my face, I fought the scream of terror trying to expand my lungs.
Rattling of locks followed by cursing forced me deeper into the closet. I waited. No one came to get me. I couldn’t believe it. Either my locks held or my food supply was gone. Swallowing my fear as I wiped my face dry, I opened the door. I wasn’t going out there uncovered. I’d been raised by a southern mountain man. Loading the handgun took moments. Training took over, slithering out of the closet, still sure they could hear my heart beat. Every hunting lesson I’d been given helped. My father’s voice comforting as he guided me. An apartment ambush wasn’t all that different from chasing deer. I hoped.

Peering around the corner, I could see the front door. My living room looked intact. Even my sisters things were where she left them weeks ago. All of the locks held. Not one broke. I felt as trapped in as I was, but safer.

Pulling myself to my feet I saw movement in the kitchen. Something dark flashed, panicking I shot ahead of it, as I’d been taught. Six shots traced up the wall as I followed the movement. Without any more ammunition on me, I dropped behind the couch to wait. Taking a moment to catch my breath, I waited again. Angry that someone could get into my apartment, steal my food, and then wait for me to come out, I stayed still. I’m small and quick, not big enough to fight. My slight form and ultra pale skin got me teased in school but no matter how hard I tried to bulk up, gain muscles, it didn’t work.

This time I’d jump up and frighten them. Deep breathing to keep from screaming, I jumped up and saw my victim pinned to the wall. Dead. I’d killed a roach.