Authors: Dianna Hunter
Tags: #Action, #Adventure, #Apocalyptic, #Dragon, #Fantasy, #Futuristic, #Magic, #Romance, #Science Fiction, #Urban Fantasy
Two men and two worlds—both court Halie’s love. But which man sees the woman he professes to love and which sees a means to an end? The fate of two worlds hangs on Halie’s choice.
Time is running out for the survivors of the Great War. If Halie does not find a way to sort truth from lie—Earth and Tereus, the second world that has been trapped in earth’s gravitational pull, will collide and leave mankind at the not-so-tender mercies of the ghouls and phantoms—the invasion has already begun.
The order has been given—to locate and acquire the psychics or
as they are commonly known—willing or not. Black ops agents of both factions are scouring the streets and labyrinth of the abandoned buildings of the inner cities, kidnapping any of the competent psis they can reach.
Desperate to preserve their freedom, Halie and her talented friends are barely a step ahead of the acquisition teams, but they cannot escape the hordes of ghouls and phantoms already haunting their world.
Fearing for their safety and freedom, Halie and her friends have been very secretive about their abilities. As the most powerful and talented of the group, Halie now finds herself the focus of the attentions of two handsome agents, one of the alternate dimension, Tereus, the other of her own Over-world, each begging for the help only she can give to avert the impending disaster, each believing his own need is greater. Both court Halie’s love—but which sees the woman he professes to love, and which sees a means to an end?
The fate of two worlds hangs on Halie’s choice.
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Cry For Tomorrow
Copyright © 2014 Dianna Hunter
Cover art by Latrisha Waters
All rights reserved. Except for use in any review, the reproduction or utilization of this work in whole or in part in any form by any electronic, mechanical or other means, now known or hereafter invented, is forbidden without the written permission of the publisher.
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Cry For Tomorrow
This story is dedicated to the memory of my best friend, Dusty who passed from this world shortly before its release.
I was gasping for breath and nearly blind from the dust when I finally broke the grip of the swirling winds of a passing wind-devil. I stumbled into the dubious shelter of an alcove at the doorway of an abandoned building. Huddled against the wall, it took me several minutes to catch my breath and blink away the gritty tears that were blinding me.
When I could finally see well enough again, I leaned out to check the progress of the mini-tornado dancing down the center of the street. With the street clear for as far as I could see, I resumed my hurried walk along the sidewalk. Shivering, I was trying to tug the collar of the light jacket I was wearing up around my neck to keep the cold off when the rattle of stones from somewhere across the street sent me diving into the deep shadows.
My mind instantly went to the man that had bumped into me when I was leaving the last bus stop.
I’d been aware of his steps behind me when I started walking. I’d taken some side trips down a couple of alleys going the wrong way before circling back. I had been pretty sure I’d lost him—now I wasn’t so sure.
Pressing my back against the cold concrete, I slowly slid down the wall until I was as small a presence as possible and waited, listening. I was beginning to think this was just another case of my paranoia working over-time when a sudden shift of shadows at the skyline of the building across the street caught my eye—and another sharp gust of wind brought the musky scent of a big cat to my nostrils.
Afraid of giving away my position, I waited motionlessly for the cat to make its move. My patience was rewarded when a tawny body slid from the dense shadows and stood silhouetted against the golden light of the setting sun.
I couldn’t help a small shiver of fear as I watched the lion. It was both rare and dangerous to encounter one so deep within the city, but I couldn’t help admiring the beauty of the animal’s sleek form. I’d heard the rumors claiming that more of the electronic barriers erected around the cities to keep the assortment of pre-disaster beasts out of the streets and away from the residents were failing. With the increase in sightings and even attacks on humans, it was looking like the rumors were true.
Both the lion and I jumped when a half-rotted rubber tire that had been leaning against the side of an abandoned auto about fifty feet from me rolled into the street. I was more alarmed by the appearance of the man darting from cover behind the auto than by the presence of the cat. I was totally relieved when the man raced down the street in the direction I’d just come from.
The lion landed on silent feet only a few yards from where I was crouched, and leapt in pursuit.
“Better you than me,” I whispered with a shiver. It was difficult to feel pity for a man that had obviously been tracking me. I shook off another shiver and resumed my journey.
I tried to pick up my pace, but it was difficult to make really good time. The streets through this part of the city were no longer considered worth the cost of the repairs needed to maintain them.
I was two blocks deeper into the city when I encountered one of the chasms that were constantly appearing in the streets. This one was wider and deeper than most, which was why someone, probably one of the local residents, had erected a narrow bridge of rope and planks over it. I didn’t remember this one, but then it had been weeks since I’d been in this part of the city, and small earthquakes and tremors were an everyday fact of life.
I paused in the shadows and studied the open area around the bridge. Everything looked quiet but still I waited, listening until I was sure the way was clear before daring to put a foot to the bridge. I’d made it as far as the center of the gently swaying walkway when a sound from the depths of the fissure caught my attention. Freezing where I was, I listened until I located the source of the rattle and shuffle of movement. Leaning against the heavy rope guideline for support, I stared into the misty depths. Just enough light filtered down to show me a tangle of broken pipes, metal cables and tendrils of the persistent green vines that seemed determined to overwhelm the whole inner-city. I tightened my grip on the rope when a small earth tremor shook the ground, shaking the blackened bones of a skeleton into view. The surrounding buildings and piles of debris shivered and the cable-wrapped skeleton twitched, its arms rising and its bones twisting as if it danced within its raiment of metal.
Unimpressed by either the small quake or the skeleton, I patiently waited for everything to stop moving. Like most people living in the city, I hardly even noticed the tremors, but evidently something residing in the chasm was not as unconcerned. When a good-sized chunk of concrete broke off the ragged edge of the fissure and tumbled through the tangle, there was a shrill, excited squeal.
A pair of monkeys appeared from the depths of the tangled vines and climbed the wall towards the light. I held my breath when they leapt from the side of the fissure and skittered up the wall of the nearest building. Squealing frantically, the monkeys wrestled each other for the best handholds as they tried to stay ahead of a phantom that was slithering up the wall behind them. Long and eel-shaped, the phantom’s translucent neck-crest was flared and its fangs bared, as if it intended to do bodily harm to the small varmints.
Curious, I watched to see if it would truly harm them but, just as I expected, the phantom lost interest in the pursuit when they were about halfway between the first two floors and disappeared into the crack between the boards covering a window.
So much for that game.
Another small gust of wind reminded me to keep walking. Shivering, I hunched my shoulders against the chill and tugged at the collar of my denim jacket again in a futile effort to protect my neck and face.
At this rate I am most definitely not going to make it back to the apartment before dark.
With one eye on the setting sun, I resumed my trek, hurrying along the sidewalk until my attention was captured by a pattern of golden bars stretching across the cluttered sidewalk ahead of me. Slowing my steps, I peered through the lightly curtained window of the first floor apartment at the silhouettes of a small family gathered around the dinner table.
I should not have. The sight of that happy family sharing their lives like that left me feeling so alone, like I was the only person in the whole world who did not belong somewhere. Blinking back a wayward tear, I forced my attention back to the cold street. The streets in this part of the city weren’t really safe during the day, but at least then there were the buses that took you past the worst of it—but if you missed the last run, you were on your own.
Shifting my backpack to a more comfortable position, I hugged my arms across my chest for warmth and to ease the pain throbbing within. After a moment, I refocused my blurry eyes on the bus stop ahead. The lack of pedestrians confirmed that I had missed the bus.
Now here I was—alone and trudging through the empty streets, half-frozen by the cold gusts of wind that were sweeping between the surrounding buildings in increasing frequency and severity. I just wished that this was the only source of my misery, because the thing that truly hurt was the throbbing knife of grief lodged in my broken heart.
Sometimes I wished I was the kind of person that could just give up this constant battle to survive and find myself a dark corner where I could huddle up in a ball and cry ‘til there were no more tears to shed. If not for the goose-bumps of fear and apprehension prickling at the back of my neck, keeping me alert and on guard, I just might have been tempted.
How could I have been so stupid?
I moaned as I tried to swallow the knot of pain that had been choking me since I’d left Rosa’s.
I just had to come this one time more!
I had wanted so much to believe her, to believe that my mother had finally come to her senses. The logical part of my mind had nagged at me all the way across town because, deep down, I
know better. I knew that my mother had lost whatever strength or backbone she’d had a long time ago. When I’d walked through the door of that crappy apartment, whatever hopes I’d been stubbornly harboring deep in my heart were finally dashed to pieces.
The sight of my mother, stretched out on that sagging, worn couch, wearing only one of
over-sized shirts, half-buttoned and torn at the shoulder, her once-beautiful mane of auburn hair a tangled, dirty mat, made me sick to my stomach. If she had truly pulled herself together and gotten rid of the bastard like she’d said, then she wouldn’t have been living like this again.
It was truly such a waste. A younger Carolyn Weston had had the courage and perseverance to overcome her adolescent bouts of mind-warp and learned to keep her recurring bouts of mental unbalance under control, at least most of the time. With only minimal medication, she’d been able to remain focused enough to keep a job and provide a clean, safe place for her and her two children to live. In fact, she’d been one of the most talented com-techs in the city—until she’d met Him. When Eric came into our lives, everything changed. My mother stopped caring about anything except him and the booze and drugs he brought her, and the silence they brought to the voices in her head.
When I walked into that apartment and saw my mother’s condition, I’d just stopped where I was, trying to breathe around a heart that had gone as cold as the brass doorknob still clutched in my hand. I’d stood there, fully intending to turn around and leave again, until Kelly had appeared in the doorway at the back of the large, nearly empty room. One look at my eleven-year old sister’s glazed eyes and the torn T-shirt that was the only clothing she was wearing was enough to make me drop my pack and lunge across the room toward her.
“Kelly! What has he done to you?” I was crying when I pulled my little sister into my arms.