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WINDS OF ARES
An Apocalypse Thriller
Copyright © 2021 Jacqueline Druga
All rights reserved
The characters and events portrayed in this book are fictitious. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is coincidental and not intended by the author.
No part of this book may be reproduced, or stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without express written permission of the publisher.
Winds of ARES
ONE – RUNNING
The sky will be pink at an odd time of day…
Bright pink like a little girl’s hair ribbon.
Just above the horizon with spirals of smoke like trails.
All shades of pink.
The sign that it is time
The beginning of the end.
Written eloquently, it sounded like a poem rather than a final warning. It was eerie to me, ringing in words I knew would be the truth. My husband called it overly dramatic and just plain ridiculous.
I understood. It was easier to believe none of it was true. None of the warnings or information. But I was stuck in the mindset of wondering if disbelief was worth the risk.
There was so much information to process. Granted, I had been listening and reading it for a long time. It was still a lot to take in and write down. I had to copy it all by hand or print it, because eventually there would be no internet and no way to access the social media group where all the information was stored.
The group started out small, I was one of nine in the beginning, and it grew to three hundred and twelve. Not a ton of people, and not nearly enough to spread the word.
My husband, Lane, didn’t really think much about it at first, then as time passed and the date grew nearer, he would joke with me. He would send me links to stories about people who sold everything on the predicted apocalypse word of a preacher.
I wasn’t getting my information from a preacher; I was getting it from a scientist.
I was ready, more than ready. At least I believed I was, and sadly, the impending end of the world coincided with the end of my marriage. There really wasn’t time to file for a divorce. It would be useless anyhow.
So, I left. I finished getting everything ready and left for the safe haven nicknamed Olympus. A placed deemed the only survivable location on the North American continent.
Yeah, I knew it sounded nuts. I even questioned my sanity when I thought about saying it out loud, “Hey all. I’ve packed all this stuff because the world is going to end.”
I stayed quiet. Even though there still was plenty of time to get there, I wasn’t waiting around in my broken home.
There was somewhere we needed to stop anyhow. Without Lane, we had an extra spot at Olympus, and I knew exactly who I wanted to bring along.
It would take some convincing, but I was sure he would come.
Under the guise of a long overdue vacation, we packed up, left at sunrise and drove the three hundred miles from Albuquerque to Amarillo.
By ‘we’, I meant me and the kids.
They weren’t mine biologically, but they were mine in every other sense of the word.
My niece and nephew, Carlie and Reese were twelve and ten years old.
When Reese was just about two, my brother-in-law was driving back with him on a simple trip to the store. He had taken pain medication for his back and had a freak bad reaction. He passed out behind the wheel and crashed. It killed him instantly and broke both of Reese’s legs. His bones were still soft and forming, that helped, but his left leg was never the same and he walked with a limp.
Reese was a great kid, so smart, yet naïve.
Carlie was such a protector, snarky at times, but I guessed it was her age.
My sister, Elise, was a young widow and did so well with them or so I thought. She was what I would call a modern day hippy. She smoked a lot of weed, worked as a horticulturist, but always took care of her kids.
They were happy, well adjusted, clean and fed.
Never did I question her. Perhaps I should have.
When Carly was six and Reese was four, my sister dropped them off at my house so she could go work on a special project.
She never returned.
Two years after her husband’s death, I thought her life was together.
No calls were answered, no texts went through. All attempts to reach her were futile.
We filed a missing person’s report with the police and nothing was found.
It took for Martin, the kids’ paternal grandfather, to hire a private investigator.
Elise was alive and well. She didn’t want to have contact and was living in Wyoming in some sort of cult with a guy she had met.
The police said I was lucky. Too often mothers who find a new man, and no longer want their old lives, get rid of their children in a permanent way.
Instead, she left them with me, to raise as my own.
I never told the kids what their mother had done. I loved my sister and the kids too much. I didn’t want them hurt or have any scars, so I bent the truth a little. I gave them a story and reason they accepted.
My explanation was good enough for them and me.
When my sister returned, not if, she could tell them the truth.
Of course, that was my thinking before things started to get intense. Now, I wondered if I would ever see my sister again.
With as much love as I had in my heart for her, I loved the kids and I needed to get them to safety.
The RV was old. It was built like a tank. Carlie commented how she thought we were taking a ride back in time rather than Texas.
The camper was paneled inside with