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ISBN-10: 1-77115-391-1
Genre: Science Fiction/Dark Fantasy
eBook Length: 223 Pages
Published: November 2017

From inside the flap

The invasion didn't come from the skies, it came from beneath our feet; an alien ecosystem threatening to devour the earth and all its occupants. Jeri and her little sister Cake leave their mountain stronghold in search of a safe haven called 'the island'. Their journey takes them across thousands of miles of murderous creatures and madmen; a hellish landscape where everything wants to kill you. But, for Jeri the real enemy might be right at her side because her sister was born after the invasion began, and could very well be an alien herself. Their quest pits sisterhood against the will to survive at all costs.

Cakewalk (Excerpt)

The cryptos had murdered her beautiful world and all she felt was rage. Jeri Cooper’s bedroom window once held a spectacular overlook down a mountainside covered in a carpet of wild flowers where now only monsters dwelled. She couldn’t remember the last time she had seen a flower, or even a tree. The invaders had snuffed out Mother Earth.

She slipped into her boots and clomped down the hallway. Sixteen and built solid like her dad, Jeri kept her blond hair cropped short out of necessity, not desire. James Cooper said she got her blue eyes from her mother and the ability to kick any boy’s ass from him. He was a cop and raised her with all sharp edges. She unlocked the gun cabinet and removed her Walther PPK. Jeri checked for a bullet in the chamber and slid the gun into her shoulder holster. She knew the drill. Get up, get out of bed, arm yourself in a minute flat.

“Cake,” she called out. “Are you awake?” Jeri continued down the hallway to her little sister’s room. Last year Jeri had decorated her sister’s door with baby pictures and a few yellowed snapshots that still hung by crinkled tape, a rare emotional moment she didn’t have time for anymore. She knocked and said, “Cake?”

Jeri opened the door and met bitter cold as the winter wind huffed through the open window. Cake sat cross-legged on the floor cradling a crypto in her tiny hands. The thing looked like a blue morning glory stuck on the end of a thick vine that slithered and coiled like a corpulent snake. The blue spiker. Just one of a million species of beasts waiting outside to eat them.

“My name is Cake,” she said to the thing. “What’s yours?” The beast folded back its petals to reveal not pistils or stamens but an open maw filled with poisoned barbs. Jeri grabbed up her sister and slammed the window shut, chopping off the vine. The thing writhed on the floor spitting yellow thorns that hammered into the hard wood like steel darts. She tossed Cake onto the bed and stomped the crypto into a smoldering blue stain.

Jeri turned on Cake with eyes narrow and angry. “What were you thinking?”

“It’s only a flower,” Cake answered in a voice too loud to come from a bone-thin little girl.

“That’s not a flower,” Jeri shouted.

“They don’t hurt nobody”,” Cake sassed. Veins pulsed beneath her almost translucent pale skin when she got angry.

“Doors and windows always closed! That’s the rule!”

“Stupid rules.” Cake pouted, her green eyes narrow and hot.

“Rules are rules,” Jeri growled. Her father had set down so many rules she couldn’t keep track. Never go outside. Stay away from the windows. Eyes on shadows. On and on, with every one ending in certain death if disobeyed.

“Drama queen,” Cake said.

Jeri closed her hand into a fist, coiled and ready to strike, and shouted in her sister’s face, “I’ll show you drama!” Cake flinched back with eyes closed waiting for the blow.

Jeri cursed to herself for losing her temper. Her father had said that Jeri was a cross between a Texas king snake and a Tasmanian devil, and when she got mad her eyes glowed red. Apologies were hard. Being wrong was being weak. She let her fist drop to her side. “I didn’t mean to yell. Just keep the damn window closed.”

Cake didn’t understand the world beyond their cabin. How could she? Since birth she had rarely been let outside. The bedrooms, family room, and kitchen were Cake’s world. They’d play hide and seek under the tables and build forts out of the couch, but that did not take the place of feeling the sun on your face and the earth between your toes. It wasn’t easy to be the big sister at the end of the world.