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Anyone?
 


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Anyone?


  Copyright

  www.EvolvedPub.com

  ANYONE?

  Copyright © 2014 Angela Scott

  Cover Art Copyright © 2014 Mallory Rock

  ~~~~~

  ISBN (EPUB Version): 1622538625

  ISBN-13 (EPUB Version): 978-1-62253-862-1

  ~~~~~

  Editor: Stevie Mikayne

  ~~~~~

  eBook License Notes:

  You may not use, reproduce or transmit in any manner, any part of this book without written permission, except in the case of brief quotations used in critical articles and reviews, or in accordance with federal Fair Use laws. All rights are reserved.

  This eBook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only; it may not be resold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, please return to your eBook retailer and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

  Disclaimer:

  This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are products of the author’s imagination, or the author has used them fictitiously.

  Other Books by Angela Scott

  ~~~

  The Desert Series

  Book 1 – Desert Rice

  Book 2 – Desert Flower

  ~~~

  The Zombie West Series

  Book 1 – Wanted: Dead or Undead

  Book 2 – Survivor Roundup

  Book 3 – Dead Plains

  Special Omnibus Edition – The Zombie West Trilogy

  ~~~

  www.AngelaScottAuthor.com

  What Others Are Saying about Angela Scott’s Books:

  WANTED: DEAD OR UNDEAD

  “It was well written, well plotted and VERY entertaining (even the lovey dovey aspects of it!). If you like a good shoot out, and zombies trying to eat your brains for brunch, pick it up... you won’t be sorry.” – KindleObsessed Reviews

  “I gave this book five stars, because it was a total surprise. I thought - Zombies - Wild West - where can she go with this. And she took me on a ride through towns, prairies, hot and cold and everything you can think the Wild West would include. Except for the Zombies. A unique read and I am always happy to come across a book that surprises me and takes me off on a new and different adventure. This was a quick read. Gripping from the first pages. Once I started it, I couldn’t put it down.” – Sherri Fundin, Amazon Reviewer

  DESERT RICE

  “I seriously still have chills on my arms!! Angela Scott has some of the best first chapters and mid book twists that I have ever read.” – Booklover Blogger

  “To see the love of a big brother, Jacob, for his little sister, Sam, unfold as they try to survive after a horrible ordeal was mesmerizing. This is a mystery, a thriller, but above all, for me, a story of love and how far someone will go to protect that love. Scott’s characterization and pacing is sensational” – Michaelreviews, Amazon Reviewer

  “I’m a VERY difficult reader to please and this isn’t a book I would typically read, but I read it and boy was I blown away. This novel captivated me, not from the first page but from the very first sentence, where we are brought smack in the middle of the action.”—Moslimah

  Dedication

  For my husband and three children.

  I dedicate this book to you, despite knowing you will most likely never see this dedication.

  Especially, since not one of you has read ANY of my previous books.

  I expect this will be the same.

  ~~~

  This is book number seven after all.

  I will say this, though: whether they read this dedication or not,

  I still appreciate their unwavering support and oodles of love.

  I know they think having an author for a wife and mother is pretty darn cool—except for the times they go without being fed so I can reach a deadline.

  Table of Contents

  Title Page

  Copyright

  Other Books by Angela Scott

  Dedication

  Chapter 1

  Chapter 2

  Chapter 3

  Chapter 4

  Chapter 5

  Chapter 6

  Chapter 7

  Chapter 8

  Chapter 9

  Chapter 10

  Chapter 11

  Chapter 12

  Chapter 13

  Chapter 14

  Chapter 15

  Chapter 16

  Chapter 17

  Chapter 18

  Chapter 19

  Chapter 20

  Chapter 21

  Chapter 22

  Chapter 23

  Chapter 24

  Chapter 25

  Chapter 26

  Chapter 27

  Chapter 28

  Chapter 29

  Chapter 30

  Chapter 31

  Chapter 32

  Chapter 33

  Chapter 34

  Chapter 35

  Chapter 36

  Chapter 37

  Chapter 38

  Chapter 39

  Chapter 40

  Chapter 41

  Chapter 42

  Chapter 43

  Acknowledgements

  About the Author

  What’s Next?

  More from Angela Scott

  More from Evolved Publishing

  The blast rocked the house on its foundation, imploding the windows. I covered my face with my arms and dove onto my mattress as tiny shards of glass pricked my skin and sprinkled through my hair. A loud rumble washed over me, almost deafening. I didn’t dare raise my head, but when the shaking subsided a minute later, I peeked between my arms. What in the world is that?

  Pictures had fallen and now lay broken on my carpet. The wall shelf dangled by one hook and swung side to side like a pendulum, with all my trophies and souvenirs lying scattered below. My desk chair had tumbled over and large snowflakes flittered in through the broken windows to melt to death on my warm floor. My curtains danced with the winter breeze.

  Dad came to a skidding halt at my open door, his hands gripping the frame. “You okay?”

  Unsure, I took a moment to examine the cuts on my arms and legs—mostly scratches, nothing serious—before nodding.

  “Then grab your bag, Tess! Grab it now!”

  “What’s going on? What was that?”

  “Just do it!” He disappeared down the hall.

  Maybe I didn’t need to know what was happening or maybe he didn’t know either, but either way, being told to grab my seventy-two hour kit was enough.

  I wasted no time sliding to my knees next to my bed and reaching underneath to pull out the emergency duffle bag—clothes, toiletries, blanket, MREs, my own compact Smith & Wesson I’d been given almost seven years ago for my tenth birthday—a gift I remembered being quite pissed about. I’d wanted an American Girl Doll and was given a gun instead. Every little girl’s dream.

  I tugged my winter boots over my bare feet and threw a jacket over my nightgown just as Dad stopped in front of my door again. Instead of looking at me, he stared off down the hallway, looking both ways, then waved me toward him. “Let’s go!”

  I hitched my bag onto my shoulders, but a tiny meow stopped me before I took Dad’s outstretched hand. The orange and white ball of fluff trembled in the corner of my closet amid the large pile of dirty laundry I kept swearing I’d wash but never seemed to get around to.

  “Come here, Callie. Come here girl!”

  “Leave her, we’ve got to go!” Dad still wouldn’t look at me.

  I took a step toward the closet, ignoring him. “Come on, Callie. It’s okay. Come on
now.”

  “Leave the damn cat! We don’t have time for this.”

  “She’s scared. I can’t leave her!” How could I leave her to fend for herself when she could hardly remember to use the litter box on her own?

  Dad released his breath and pushed me aside, then reached for the four-month-old kitten and grabbed her by the scruff of her neck. He shoved her into my arms as she fought against his rough hands, squirming to get away. “Can we go now?”

  I nodded, and he slipped his own bag onto his shoulder and darted down the hall.

  I wrapped my coat around my terrified cat, doing my best to ignore her frantic clawing as she wriggled around, seeming to find safety in the pit of my arm—a very sensitive place to keep a cat.

  Dad had already taken off for the front of the house, but when I stepped into the hallway, my breath caught in my throat and my feet rooted me in place. Down the far end of the hall, the outside wall lay in a crumbled mess, covering Dad’s bed in sheetrock and aluminum siding. Snow blew in through the giant hole and dusted his overturned dresser. The ceiling lamp dangled from an electrical cord.

  “Tess!”

  I found my feet, turned in the opposite direction, away from the destruction, and followed after his voice. Most of the windows in the living room and kitchen were shattered, and my boots crunched the glass into the wooden floor as I passed. The microwave had fallen from the counter and crashed onto the dishes and food that had been dumped from the cupboards. Family pictures had slipped from their nails.

  Mom’s treasured curio cabinet, with all the knickknacks she’d collected before her death, lay face down—bits of broken ceramics and blown glass figures mixed together. I fought the urge to right the curio and save what I could—save her memories—but Dad called me to follow him.

  He climbed out the sliding door toward the backyard. “Watch yourself!”

  I angled my body sideways and avoided the jagged edges. I’d barely stepped onto the patio when he grabbed my hand and yanked me across the snow-covered grass.

  Callie dug her claws into my side and hung on to my ribs.

  A yelp escaped my lips, but Dad didn’t stop dragging me away from the house, and Callie adjusted herself again, her sharp nails tearing even further into my cold flesh.

  Maybe trying to save her had been a huge mistake.

  Another boom caused the ground to tremble, and I nearly lost my footing, but Dad held me upright and dragged me after him. Dark clouds mushroomed a few blocks away and rose into the sky. The crackling of fire and the smell of smoke rattled my senses as wisps of snow twirled around me, licking my lashes and stinging my eyes. Gray ash mixed with the falling snow.

  He didn’t have to tell me where we were headed. When he knelt over the square metal door, partially hidden by shrubs and wild trees, a great sense of gratitude flooded over me for my doomsday father and his insane need to prepare for every possible end-of-the-world disaster. Only now, he didn’t seem so insane.

  He brushed the snow aside, popped the hatch, and lifted the door that led down into the darkened shelter. He tossed his bag inside and it landed with a resounding thump against the metal floor. “Go on!” He urged me forward. “The generator switches are on the left.” He grabbed my bag and tossed it into the hole too.

  I tried to shift Callie, but she wouldn’t retract her claws, so I ignored her the best I could and climbed down the ladder into the dark metal tube.

  “Can you find the switch?”

  I ran my hands over the cool interior of the bomb shelter, searching for the elusive switches that would bring the whole thing to life. The metal reminded me of a green bean can with all its rolling bumps—life in a giant vegetable can.

  My fingers ran over the switches and I flipped them both upright. The florescent lights flickered, and it took a moment for my eyes to adapt to the harsh light.

  “I got it!”

  The air system started to whirl, bringing fresh air from the outside into the underground bunker.

  Callie finally released her mad grip on me and ran down my side to disappear under the couch. I couldn’t have been more pleased.

  Dad knelt near the opening and looked down at me. “Don’t open this door for anyone, do you understand? Not anyone.”

  “Wait! What? You’re leaving me?” Panic gripped my chest and crushed my lungs. I reached for the ladder, determined to climb back out. I’d rather fight against whatever was happening outside than be left alone down here.

  “I’ve got to go for Toby, and once I find him, we’ll be back.”

  How could I have forgotten my brother? Maybe because he was a giant asshole to me and an even bigger one to Dad, but whatever, he was still my brother—even if the idea of spending any amount of time with him in an underground bunker sounded torturous.

  I let go of the ladder. Of course, Dad needed to find him, wherever he was. At his girlfriend Kenzie’s? Behind the MoviePlex smoking with his stoner friends? Or maybe hustling pool at Parker and James’s bar? It shouldn’t be that hard to find the loser.

  “We’ll be back, I promise. It won’t take long. Don’t open the door unless you hear this.” He gave the metal door a rap with his knuckles—my name in Morse Code. “Don’t you come out, Tess. You stay put and we’ll be back. Promise me you won’t open this door.”

  I nodded.

  “Promise me!”

  “I promise.”

  He paused, his hand on the square hatch. “Lock it from the inside. Every latch.”

  Panic began to rise in my chest again. “I will.”

  “I love you, Tess.”

  “I love you too.” Tears welled in my eyes. “Please hurry.”

  With that, he lowered the door into place.

  I stood there for the longest time staring up at the square door, the latches unattached. Part of me hoped Dad would change his mind and come back. Screw Toby. He didn’t seem to care much for Dad or me, not after Mom died, so why should Dad risk his life for him? He should stay with me, here, where it was safe.

  It was selfish, but I didn’t care. I needed my dad.

  But the door didn’t open. The realization Dad wasn’t coming back anytime soon finally settled in, so I shimmied up the ladder and snapped each latch into place like he’d told me to. It took a little muscle, but I got them closed. No one was getting inside—not by trying to pull it open, not by pounding on it, not even by gunfire. The bunker was built to withstand almost everything tossed at it.

  But when the earth trembled, I slid down the ladder and stood at the bottom with my heart thumping like crazy and my arms wrapped around my middle. I waited for the whole contraption to come squeezing in on me; for the dirt to fall in and crush the entire thing like stepping on an aluminum can. Yes, the Atlas Survival Shelter was supposed to protect against all sorts of horrible things, but would it really? Really?

  Callie meowed from her safe place under the couch, and I wished I could squeeze under there with her.

  “Hey, baby! Come here. It’s okay.” I knelt beside the couch and tried to reach her. She’d scratched the heck out of me, but for some reason the idea of holding onto her, holding onto something, was better than the alternative—alone and afraid twenty feet below the ground. “Come on, Callie!”

  She was outside my reach, so I lowered myself to my belly and tried again. The earth began to shake and I froze, as if freezing in place could stop everything bad from happening. Please, no, please no, please no.

  Nothing happened, so freezing must have worked. The shelter remained intact, but I couldn’t move. I didn’t dare.

  Dad always had these wild ideas of possible wars with other countries, or a giant earthquake which would destroy half the planet, or medical mishaps which would render a person brainless but alive. Zombies. Toby and I had teased him about that.

  “You can’t possibly be serious about the walking dead? That’s just plain jackassery.” Toby had smiled at me then and used his finger to make a swirling motion near his ear—cuckoo. Perha
ps it was the only time the two of us ever agreed on anything.

  Dad was losing it. We joked, but there was also something behind Toby’s eyes I recognized. I felt it too. Ever since Mom’s death, Dad had gone to the extreme—seventy two hour kits, guns, food storage, practice drills, the bunker—but neither of us knew what to do about it.

  I brushed it off as harmless. What did it matter if Dad installed a forty-five foot bomb shelter in our suburban backyard? Who did it hurt? Nobody. Plus, it seemed to make him happy. How could I fault him for that?

  But kids at school kidded around. Some even nicknamed my dad the Militia Man, and would ask me if I slept with an AK-47 under my bed. The idiots. I’d looked them dead in the eye, all serious, and leaned in close. I told them no; I slept with a Smith & Wesson instead. That usually shut them up.

  Who was laughing now? I bet they were all running around up above, wetting themselves. Dad had been right and he’d been prepared unlike their parents who spent money on fancy vacations or in-ground swimming pools and hot tubs. Nothing lasting. Not like this.

  I chuckled at the thought of Dad being right and their parents being wrong, and my maniacal laughter echoed off the metal. Fear and mirth—two emotions on the opposite ends of the emotional spectrum, but I felt them both, plus everything else in between. I shouldn’t be laughing at anyone else’s possible misfortunes. Here I was in the middle of a giant tin can below the earth and I was terrified too.

  I chuckled again.

  Get a hold of yourself, for Pete’s sake! It’s gonna be okay. It will.

  Callie inched toward my outstretched hand. My laughter must have eased her fears, even though it only exacerbated mine. It didn’t matter. I grabbed onto her and drew her into my arms, nearly squeezing the life out of her.

  The florescent lights flickered, and even though it made no sense, like running down the aisle of a plane falling from the sky, I climbed into one of the bottom bunks and pressed my back to the far corner. The bit of darkness felt more natural than the harsh light and having the upper bunk above me made me feel the same way Callie must have felt under the couch.

 
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