Sneak-Peak! Destiny 2: Darkness Descending

Destiny Williams

It felt like an eternity since I was last moving around on my own, even though it had only been a few days. My muscles were still shaky, and I couldn’t go far, but every rocky step and potential fall was worth it knowing I wouldn’t have to come in physical contact with Tom anymore. I noticed it had been quiet in the house for a few hours, and my stomach kept growling, so I decided to head downstairs to eat something.  

As I made my slow way to the kitchen I couldn’t help thinking about him. Tom. I still couldn’t believe he was alive, but even harder to believe was what he’d become. So different now, so far from the husband I remember. The Tom I knew would never have done this to the world, would have fought against anyone who did, but the Tom here now relished in what he did. I shuddered as I thought about the proud look on his face when he told me what he’d done and his future plans.  

He was sick now, so far from the Tom of old. Part of me wondered if I could help him, help fix the broken parts of him, but another part of me realized I’d be an idiot if I tried. Just looking at him disgusted me, and I had to work every waking moment to hide that from him. Just one look of horror and shock from me had sent him into a rage, and shortly after I could hear someone screaming in pain outside for far longer than any person should be able to handle.  

I suspected it was some unfortunate he suckered into his plan, like the man who injected me with whatever concoction before I woke here. I ached for them but knew there was nothing I could do to help them. I knew now that if I hide how I truly feel, if I pretended to want what he wants, Tom wouldn’t go into a rage.  

Reaching the kitchen, I realized how eerily quiet it was in the house. No sounds of movement, just silence.  


Silence. I moved to the base of the stairs before calling out again and I felt a trickle of excitement. If I’m alone… 

Tom? You there? 

Silence again. 

A surge of adrenaline rushed through me when I realized what the silence meant, I’m alone in the house. No Tom, no guards, nothing. I may be able to escape, but the adrenaline and excitement are quickly followed by a wave of trepidation. What if this is just a trick? What if Tom suspects I’ve been playing him, and he’s set this up to see if I can be trusted? Crap 

If it’s not a trick and I can escape, I won’t be nearby to kill him and end this. But I can’t kill him in my current state, and if I stay I don’t know what he’ll do to me. Crap, crap, crap! 

My desire to escape battled with my fear. I knew I had to decide soon, this could be my only opportunity, but it still takes a few moments before I finally make my decision. I will run. Well, hobble run, and as far as I can. Even if it’s a trap, I can’t pass it up. I have to go, I have to get away and get back to Chris…and Alex.  

I stepped towards the door but quickly pausedFood. As if my stomach had ears and heard my thoughts, it grumbled loudly in reply. I know I won’t get far as is, and I certainly can’t do it without food or water. I don’t know what’s out there, is it still going crazy? It’s been quiet here, calm even. Maybe it’s only pockets of crazy? No, I can’t be sure. I have to assume Tom arranged something here to keep it calm and quiet. Especially since I learned he has some freakish ability to control the infected. What was going on was already crazy and terrifying, but when I saw him tell a zombie to be quiet and it stopped instantly I felt a new level of terror spring up.  

Tom was insane, and right now I was seemingly safe from his wrath, but it was only a mater of time before I said or did something that shot him over the edge and led to my death. Probably a horrible one too at the hands of an infected. I shuddered at the thought and pushed it aside, quickly grabbing a canvas grocery bag from under the sink to throw some canned food and bottled water in.  

After a few minutes of searching I had two 1-liter bottles of water, 15 random cans of food, a can opener, a towel, a small pot, a box of matches, and a spoon shoved into the canvas grocery bag. I considered searching longer for a knife or some other weapon but decide against it. I had no idea how long my chance would last and I hadn’t found even a butter knife so far, so I decided to worry about a weapon later and trudged to the door.  

Cautiously I peered out through the window to the right of the door and see nothing outside, not even the silver car that had been in the driveway every time I had looked out the window before. It could be in the garage, but I’m counting on my luck here and hoping it’s nowhere nearby, along with Tom 

Sucking in a steadying breath I pulled the door open and dashed as fast as I could outside and down the street. After half a block I glanced behind me, no one thereHope zings through me and brings with it a surge of adrenaline, which keeps me going at a quick walk away from the house. It’s several blocks before I noticed the silence. The street is almost as eerily quiet as the house was, but the occasional bird chirp can still be heard and helps calm my jittery nerves. 

After only a few more blocks, I realized I had to rest, but I was on a residential street with nothing but houses all around me. Houses and silence. And I couldn’t just sit in the open, not when I had no idea where Tom was, or even where I was for that matter. The idea of being seen and caught again drove a spike of fear through my heart, so I decided to leave the sidewalk and check the houses nearbyI hoped that maybe there would be some lawn furniture in a backyard, because going into a strangers house felt both wrong and completely unsafe 

lucked out on the fourth backyard I checked, which had a pool and several cushioned lawn chairs, one of which was positioned so I could see the house and gate I came in through. Perfect.  

I couldn’t help feeling awkward and anxious as I leaned back into the cushions of the lounger. This was someone else’s house, their yard, their furniture. To top it off, I still hadn’t heard any noise other than a few birds chirping. No dogs barking, kids playing, vehicle noise, or the general chatter you usually hear in residential neighborhoods. It was definitely freaky. 

A low, guttural growl broke the silence a few minutes after I settled myself on the lounger. Crap, crap, crap! Panic surged through me and I quickly glanced around, looking for the source. At first, I saw nothing out of the ordinary, so I switched to looking for something to defend myself withNaturally, I venture out without protection. I’m brilliant like that.  

My eyes came to rest to the left of the house where I saw a long wooden handle resting against the fence. The grass was too long to see it all, but even if it turns out to be a flimsy rake it would be better than nothing. Which I’m currently equipped with. 

When I tried to stand I realized how much shit I was really in. I couldn’t get up! Even using my arms to push myself up, my muscles rebelled and refused to lift me more than a few inches before giving up on me. I realized quickly I was too weak and too close to the ground to get to a standing position, so my only option would be to crawl. 

Fuck it! 

I looked around quickly and, still not seeing the origin of the growl, I rolled awkwardly off the lounger and crawled as fast as I could towards the wooden handle. I was sure an infant could crawl faster than I was right then, but I pushed on. Thankfully it wasn’t a huge yard and I’ve almost crossed it when the growl comes again, fiercer this time, and closer. 

Shit! I scrambled faster and finally reach my target. A long-handled garden hoe! 

I grinned as I used it and the fence to haul myself up off the ground. It takes a few minutes, and my body is not at all cooperating, but eventually I’m finally standing with my new weapon in my shaking hands.  

 I felt steadier and more secure as I turned back towards the yard. The feeling quickly faded though when my eyes came to rest on the source of the growls.  

A zombie. A real-life fucking zombie standing before me. It’s technically not the first one I’ve seen, but my mind still freezes for a moment at the absurdity of it and the fear. Zombie’s don’t exist, the logical part of my brain knows this, but the greying torn skin and bloody stump of an arm can only translate to ‘Zombie’ in my head. This was the first aggressive one I had seen up close, the first one not standing docile on the porch. And I was truly terrified. 

I jerked back when it started to move towards me. No growl this time, only a gross sounding gurgle coming from it’s bloody and torn lips. Somehow that sound was much worse than the growl. It sent both fear and disgust through me, and my limbs began to tremble as panic caused my thoughts to become sluggish. 

realized I’m probably going to die without much of a fight, at least on my end, and unconsciously my eyes closed and my head turned away, as if blocking it from my vision would somehow lessen the fear or danger.  

Run! I need to run! My mind was screaming commands, but my body seemed incapable of following them. I realized the only thing my tired and weak muscles could do was hold me up against the fence. I prayed it would end quickly. 


‘Destiny’ Part 2


Peyton Industries Site 1; Ortega Mountains

41 minutes later

Destiny Williams


I was still patting myself on the back at my record breaking packing skills as I pulled up to the gate. Everything bagged and in the car, kids buckled up, and speeding down the road within 15 minutes of my call with Andrea. I was 99% sure I had everything we’d need, and I’d even grabbed all the kids medicine and vitamins in the house, several bags full of canned goods and a cooler full of perishables from the kitchen. Yeah, I rock.

There were two cars ahead of me as I came to a stop, so I looked around and tried to relax while I waited. The sign to the right of the gate was dull in the early morning light. Peyton Industries wasn’t ‘popping’ yet, but the metal would probably be blinding when the sun was fully up and glinting off its surface. The landscape was pretty barren outside the wall, but that was typical for Southern Cali. Brown’s the norm! I was surprised at the height of the wall. It had to be at least two stories high, which seemed excessive to me for a research lab.

There was still no movement in front of me, so I glanced around at the kids in the back of my sisters Honda mini-van and smiled fondly. All three were out again and had been for the last 15 minutes of the drive, which was a blessing since Chris had been angry from the moment I woke him up. My little man definitely enjoyed his sleep.

I heard the faint sound of engines revving and looked back at the gate. The car in front was pulling through. Just one more and it was our turn. I was already growing impatient and I had only been waiting a few minutes but I knew once I got through those gates I’d finally find out what was going on. Andrea had been texting me for updates every couple of minutes, but was still tight lipped on why we needed to come in.

It only took a few minutes for me to reach the gates, but by then I was having a hard time keeping my patience and temper in check, which means I was probably over the top a bit when shoved my license out the window at the guard as I was coming to a stop. He looked at me in shock for a moment and I tried my best apologetic smile, which seemed to appease him.

“Thanks, ma’am. I’ll just check the list and be right back with you.” He said before turning and walking into the small building that sat just inside the wall.

Now that I was at the front I saw that the wall had a reinforced gate that was retracted into it and the wall was significantly thicker than one would expect. Definitely not looking like the wall for a research facility. My curiousity was piqued as I took it all in. The gate was definitely powered, and I could see the glint of steel reinforcement on the thick concrete. They had to have several motors worth of horsepower to pull that sucker open and closed. I couldn’t help but wonder how fast it moved.

I was still analyzing the gate when the guard came back and handed me my license.

“All set, Miss Williams. I’ll open the arm and then you’ll need to head straight in and take a left at the first intersection. You’ll see some cones and more guards will direct you on where to park. They’ll let you know where to go from there. Do you have any questions?” He asked as he pushed a button to toggle the gate arm open.

“Nope, I’m good. Thanks!” I smiled in relief. I’d have answers soon!

I had only shifted the mini-van out of park when suddenly an alarm started blaring. I gripped the steering wheel and looked around. I didn’t see anything amiss.

“Shit, ma’am move your vehicle NOW!” The guards panicked filled voice brought my gaze to him and my eyes widened in horror.

The large door was sliding shut, heading right towards us. My first thought was that it was moving a lot faster than I had expected it to with how large it was, but that thought was swallowed up and forgotten by a growing panic. Instinct took over and I slammed down on the gas, causing the mini-van’s wheels to squeal loudly as we jerked forward. As soon as I knew we were clear I hit the breaks, put it in park, and jumped out to look behind us.

The gate closed with a clang that echoed with finality as the guard slid to a stop in front of me.

“It’s good you moved when you did, ma’am. That door has enough weight and power behind it to pancake a solid steel beam and it just missed your bumper by inches! Are you guys okay?”

I glanced in the back of the mini-van and was amazed to find the kids were still sleeping, even with the high-pitched alarm and the jerky accelaration and stop we just had none of them had stirred.

“Yeah, looks like it. What’s going on?”

“Can’t really say, ma’am. I know as much as you do about the alarm.”

“Was anyone still outside when it closed?” I asked as I peered around him at the gate.

“Yes, there were two vehicles pulling up when you came in.”

“Oh…will you open the gate for them?”

“Maybe. I don’t know why the alarms going off, though. I’ll radio in. Only Mr. Peyton can authorize the gate to open now. Why don’t you head in and follow the cones? They probably have more info inside then I do here right now.”

I nodded slowly and with one last glance at the gate I climbed back in the mini-van and started off down the drive. So far, this was definitely turning into a shitty morning, but I did find some relief in the fact that we’d made it in before the gate closed.



Peyton Industries Site 1; Ortega Mountains

Alex Peyton


My left hand still rested on the alarm as I glanced back at the corpse in the chair behind me. We could definitely rule out Blackburn as a suspect. I wouldn’t know for sure until a medic confirmed, but I was pretty confident he’d been dead since well before the breach in 7B happened.

I turned back to the room to study it while gripping my gun in my right hand. Luckily there was a sanitation station located right outside Blackburn’s office, so it was easy to acquire some gloves. I may not be trained in crime scene investigations, but I had enough sense to not dirty up the area with my own prints and had slipped on a pair before setting off the alarm. The guard detail was out in the hall, so I got to work checking the room for anything out of the ordinary while they radioed in the incident.

I studied Blackburn’s body. He was tied tightly to the chair, and it looked like the bindings on his wrists had been cutting off circulation to his hands before he died. His face was a mass of dark bruises and welts, several of his fingers had been broken, and blood covered his body and pooled on the ground around him. He’d been tortured, possibly for several hours, before he died. I couldn’t really get more than that from the corpse, but it was enough to fill me with dread.

Nothing seemed to be disturbed except for the area around Blackburn, and that was mostly the ‘mess’ from his own body. That means they wanted something he knew, not something he possessed. After everything that had happened I could easily guess it was his codes. I had suspected as much when we first discovered his body. I could only conclude that whoever did this had gotten the codes and used them to shut down the grid, letting 7B out.

Crazy fucker.

I heard a noise behind me near the door and turned, only barely stopping myself from pointing my gun at the person entering. Or rather people, as several people in scrubs pushing a stretcher and carrying bags that appeared to contain medical equipment came traipsing in.

“Mr. Peyton, sir. I hope you’ll understand, but we need you to leave the room so we can examine it and retrieve the body.” An older man that I vaguely remember hiring spoke as he stepped into the room.

His weathered face had an apologetic expression, but his tone did not allow for argument. My guess was he only feigned ‘sorry’ since he was talking to ‘the boss’. I decided not to argue and nodded as I walked back into the hall. I had to check the rest of containment and check on the crew that was diagnosing 7B’s ‘room’. We needed to make sure it was secure again before the helicopter arrived with him, which would be any minute.

I sighed as I headed towards 7B’s room with the guard detail trailing behind me. Might as well start there.

One of the crew was kneeling by the door with a device in their lap and wires running up to the panel to the right of the door. They were all wearing hazard suits, so it was hard to tell if I was looking at a man or a woman, but I guessed by size that it was probably a man. Five more were sweeping the room.

I stopped behind the ‘man’ and cleared my throat to gain their attention. When they looked up at me I was surprised to see feminine features and curly bangs covering their forehead. Ooops, woman it is then.

“Mr. Peyton!” She said as she stood quickly and tried to smooth down her hazard suit. Her awkward fidgeting would have been amusing any other time, but today I found it tiresome. I notice an ID badge clipped to her suit while she stares at me like a deer in headlights.

“What’s the status, Anna?” I ask after a few moments of her staring.

“Oh, yes…sorry. The room’s been cleared, they are just doing a final sterilization sweep. Diagnostics on the door locks and system security are complete. The thing is…sir…I found something on the interior feeds, but all surveillance outside the room was down until about 15 minutes ago when I brought it all back online.”

“Great…Okay, show me the interior feed.” I say, my voice strained from resisting the urge to start cussing like a sailor. It’s hard, but I manage it somehow.

“It would probably be best to review it on a computer. The screen I have is rather small, like old Nokia brick phone kind of small.” She replies with an embarrassed half-smile.

“Fine, when the diagnostic run is complete meet me in my office. I’m going to check the floor again before I head back up.”

Anna nods enthusiastically and I turn away to do a final check before clearing the floor. Sometimes I really hated owning a billion dollar company, and I was reminded of it every time someone acted like Anna around me.


© 2018    Alice Lunsford

All rights reserved.

‘Destiny’ Part 1

Chapter One

Temecula, CA

Alex Peyton


I wake in a cold sweat; muscles tense and a feeling of terror slowly ebbing. I scrub my face as the nightmare slowly fades away, leaving me exhausted yet unable to sleep. I glance at the clock: 3:00 AM. Great, less than four hours sleep. Again.

With a frustrated sigh I climb out of bed. I know I won’t be getting any more sleep tonight, just like every other night, so I don’t even bother trying. Might as well find some distraction until my alarm goes off in a few hours. I quickly pull some shorts on over my boxers and leave the room, avoiding looking at the other side of the bed where Jessica used to sleep.

I quickly pull my thoughts back, tonight wasn’t going to be one of those nights. After grabbing a cold beer I settle on the couch and turn on the TV to find something to watch. After an hour of mindless shows my phone goes off, blaring and vibrating beside me. Who the fuck?

Snatching it up I see its Mitch, and its 4:00 AM. I swipe to answer and before I can speak Mitch is already going.

“Alex, thank God you’re up. We have a major problem. You need to get here, NOW.” Mitch’s tension filled voice lodges a ball of dread in my stomach. Fuck.

“Calm down man and tell me what the issue is.”

“Capsule 7B has been breached.”

A chill ripples through me. Not good, so not good.

“Did you run the protocols? Is lockdown in place?”

“You know I ran them! It doesn’t matter, 7B made it out of the compound.”

Shit. Shit. Shit!

“How the fuck?” I pause and shake my head, I can’t worry about the how right now. “Never mind, what is Retrievals status?”

“They are sweeping the Ortega’s now, no signs yet.”

“We have an hour, MAYBE two, before traffic hits the Ortega Highway. I want you to put more men out there, I don’t care about their training. 7B CANNOT come in contact with civis, you understand me?”

“Yes, but Retrieval is the only one equipped to handle this scenario.”

“Fuck equipped! Get everyone who can use a gun on this. If they find 7B they are authorized to kill on sight.”


“Don’t argue, Mitch. We both know what will happen if this isn’t contained. Take 7B down if you have to, just clean this shit up. I’m on my way, and when I get there someone better tell me what the fuck happened.”

“On it.”

I hang up and stare for a moment unmoving. My nightmares are nothing compared to what may be about to occur.



Peyton Industries Site 1; Ortega Mountains

45 minutes later

Alex Peyton


I arrived in record time, and somehow managed to do so without getting pulled over. Small miracles do happen. Mitch is waiting by the building’s main entrance as I park my car. I could tell the news wasn’t much better by the way he wasn’t meeting my eyes.

“What’s the status?” I demand as I slam the car door behind me and approach the building entrance where Mitch is standing. Mitch clears his throat awkwardly and fidgets with his hands for a moment before replying.

“We’ve found 7B, he’s contained.”

His answer gives me pause. His body language screams bad news is coming, yet that should be good news. Fuck.


“On Central Avenue, north east of the 15, in Lake Elsinore.”

Double fuck.

“Did you initiate Alpha Protocol?”

“Yes, they are locking the town down now, but we don’t know if anyone came in contact with 7B that may be outside the quarantine zone. It’s crossed a major freeway and highway.”

Fucking FUCK!

“Get a team on reviewing camera feeds and any satellite shots of the area.”

“I already have one on it.”

“Good, now tell me how in the hell did this fucking happen?”

Mitch’s eyes dart around, landing everywhere but on me. I can tell he’s on the verge of panic. Shit can’t get much worse, so I’m at a loss on this reaction from him. I cross my arms and frown. I have zero caffeine and next to no sleep in me. I definitely have no patience for this shit.

“Well?” I demand, barely stopping my foot from tapping impatiently.

“It was Adams.” Mitch blurts out the words, but he’s still not making eye contact. Right.

“Try again, Mitch.” My foot starts tapping and I drop my hands to my sides. I may have to punch something, or someone, real soon.

“Fuck, fine. Okay. It was my fault.”

This is like prying out teeth, and already getting old.

“Details are good, Mitch.”

“It was an accident, okay? I was with Andrea. She was supposed to be working on the power grid but I stopped by to check on her, and she was looking so hot I couldn’t resist.”

“Are you telling me that 7B is loose because you couldn’t keep your hands off your wife for a few short hours? Seriously, Mitch! Your shift is over in less than an hour. What the hell, man?” I can barely contain my rage at the absurdity of this. Mitch, ever steadfast and smart. How could he foul up so much in one move?

“I know, I messed up bad. I KNOW! Andrea already read me the riot act. It was only a few seconds, I don’t know how 7B got out so fast. I literally only had enough time to pull her away, hold her against me and kiss her neck. She just giggled and pushed me away, said we’d continue when we got home and suddenly the alarms were going off and 7B was out. Andrea checked, saw the grid was down in Containment. She says she doesn’t remember running that command, and it’s too complicated to do by accident. But how the hell else did it go down?”

“Wait, there’s literally no way you caused this. Containment has a secondary power system that runs in conjunction with the main grid, and only two people have access codes to shut it down; Me and Dr. Blackburn. Even if Andrea somehow reset the grid there, Containment would still have power and no breach should have occurred. Has anyone checked the camera feed or been down to Containment since the breach?”

“No, we’ve been focused on retrieving 7B.” Mitch said, shoulders easing slightly. Obviously the news that he didn’t cause this was a relief for him, even though we were all still potentially screwed.

“Right, first step is to get someone to review the camera feeds. I’ll take a guard detail and head down to containment. Did any other capsules breach?” I said as I walked past Mitch and entered the building.

“No, just 7B.”  Mitch said as he trailed behind me.

“Naturally…so, how did 7B breach the compound and walls? I didn’t see any damage to the gates.” We were moving deeper into the facility as we talked, scanning our wrist implants to open the doors at each checkpoint. We were about to enter the elevator that would take us down to B6 where the security center, and my office, was located, when Mitch finally answered.

“Honestly, we have no idea. I pinged the locators within minutes of the alarms going off, 7B was already outside the compound. His locator wasn’t moving, but when Retrieval got to the location it was obvious why. The bastard ripped it out!” The elevator dinged on our floor and we scanned through the final checkpoint between us and my office.

“What?! It was implanted in his brain, how the hell did he do that?”

“You got me, man. I wasn’t there when he did it.” Mitch said as we entered the security center.

People were rushing around and shouting back and forth. The din was nearly painful after the silence of the elevator and floors above. I could see several day shift staff had been called in. Protocol usually meant everyone was called in, but some might still be en-route. The tension in the room was thick, it was almost like you could smell it in the air. I didn’t enjoy the feeling that built in the pit of my stomach when the tension around me was high.

“Alex, Mitch! Thank God, you’re here.” Andrea rushed over. “Alex, I’m so sorry. Did Mitch explain what happened?”

“Yes, and I’m certain neither of you did anything to cause this.”

“Are you sure? I was running diagnostics on the power grid, stepped away for a few seconds, and Containment’s grid went down. I brought it back up quick, maybe five minutes, but 7B was already out.”

“Yes, but you are forgetting the secondary grid.”

I watched as Andrea’s eyes widened when my statement clicked in her mind. Then her eyes narrowed and she frowned at me.

“Blackburn.” The name came out sound more like a curse than the identifier of a person. Yes, she still hated the Director of Research.

“Maybe. Until someone gets me the camera feeds and I head down and investigate, we really have no clue. I want you to grab a couple of the day crew that are here and have them start running through the feeds. Start at least 60 minutes before the alarms went off and go until I arrived. I want to know everyone’s location and movement in that window. Mitch, get me any guard detail that isn’t offsite and tell them to meet me on B12 by the main elevator.”

“Understood.” Mitch replied then hesitantly glanced between Andrea and I. “Alex, what about the families and rest of the crew? Can we call them all in? Especially the families. You know people are going to start bailing if the worst has happened.”

Shit. I should have realized this coming in, but the thought never crossed my mind. Our facility was more than adequate to house all staff and their immediate families for years, if need be. Mitch and I had discussed this back when I started up this research facility. At the time we were thinking more along the lines of a massive earthquake, not a government science project gone wrong.

I thought for a minute as I looked between Mitch and Andrea. I knew they had kids down in Lake Elsinore, and if they didn’t get them on the road here soon they might not make it before 74 was shut down. I nodded, my decision made.

“Call them all in. Tell all staff to get here ASAP and try to get their families here too, but make sure they tell their families some story about how our advanced sensor equipment detected activity that could indicate an large earthquake, and so we are taking precautions and bringing them all in to keep them safe while we wait it out.”

Andrea noticeably relaxed and smiled in thanks before she darted off with her cell in her hands, already dialing. Mitch nodded to me and started off to fulfill my earlier request.

With that out of the way, I just needed to get my gear from my office. I felt naked without my guns, and I had no idea what I’d find in Containment. I was never a fan of Monday’s before, but this one sure as shit topped the list of worst Monday in my 31 years of life.




Chapter Two

Lake Elsinore, CA

Destiny Williams



The loud blaring song of my cell phone ringer wakes me from a pleasant dream. I stared blankly at it, my mind still fogged with sleep and barely conscious enough to wonder what was going on when the ringing stopped. I scrubbed at my eyes and looked around the room slowly. Not a hint of light peeked around the curtains. I considered going back to sleep and started to close my eyes when my phone started ringing again.

Annoyed, I angrily snatched it off the nightstand and sat up on the edge of the bed. I was ready to lay into them and give the caller a piece of my mind, but felt my blood chill when I saw the name on my screen. My sister Andrea was calling me, and I felt a jolt of panic run through me as I quickly answered the call.

“Drea, what’s wrong?”

“Des, thank God you woke up! You sleep like the dead and I was so worried you’d not answer.”

“Haha, I do not. Seriously though, the sun’s not up yet and you’re calling me. What’s wrong?”

“Yes, look, I need you to get the kids and bring them to my work. Grab a bunch of clothes for everyone, and in my closet there’s a suitcase I need you to bring. Umm…Don’t forget Ally’s bear and Sammy’s blanket, since getting them to sleep without them is impossible. Oh, and their tablets. Maybe some movies, I don’t know how long we’re going to be here…”

“Drea, wait. What’s going on? Pack stuff? Please, tell me what’s happening!” I felt panic coursing through me as my sister rattled off her list. I knew where she worked was like Fort Knox and I knew something awful was happening, or about to happen, if she was having me wake up two six-year-olds and a three-year-old and pack them into the car this time of night. I took a calming breath and waited for her to answer me.

“Look Des, it may be nothing and I could be way overreacting, but if it’s not…if it’s something…I…something terrible may be about to go down, like something out of a horror movie kind of terrible. I can’t go into specifics right now, but I promise when you guys get here I’ll tell you everything.”

“Okay, but Chris and I don’t have any clothes or stuff here. Just what we bring when we stay over.”

“Shit, okay. Sammy and Chris are the same size, right? Just grab some extra clothes from his dresser and some shoes. Some of my stuff will have to do for you. I know you’re taller than me, so maybe grab some of my capris, shorts, stuff like that? Just be fast, okay? Pack it up before you get the kids up.”

“I’m not an idiot, Drea. I know it’d be a bad idea to wake them up. Do you have suitcases or duffels somewhere I can grab easy?”

“Yes, in the hall closet there should be a couple duffels on the top shelf. Look, I have to go. Just…just hurry, and be safe, okay?”

I could hear the fear in her voice and it almost sent me over the edge, but I sucked in a deep breath and thought of the kids. I felt a fierce protective surge run through me and I knew I’d do whatever it took to keep them safe.

“I promise, I’ll be fast and safe. We’ll be there soon.” I heard the strength in my voice and Andrea’s sigh of relief made me feel more confident.

“Great, thank you. They know you’re coming at the gate. You’ll have to show your ID to get in or you’ll have to wait at the gate until I can get there and clear you.”

“Got it, sis. See you soon.”

“Yeah, see you soon, sis.”

I hung up and paused for only a moment before rushing into action. I had too much to do and almost no time to do it in, but I’d be damned if I wasn’t on the road in less than 20.




© 2018    Alice Lunsford

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