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Authors: CM Doporto

The Arrival

BOOK: The Arrival
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The Eslites

The Arrival

Book One from

The Eslite Chronicles

 

By

CM Doporto

 

 

PUBLISHED BY:

CM Doporto

 

The Eslites

The Arrival

Book 1 of The Eslite Chronicles

 

Copyright © 2013 by CM Doporto

Revised
Version 4

All Rights Reserved

Thank
you for purchasing this book. This book remains the copyrighted property of the
author and may not be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or
electronic form for any commercial or non-commercial use without permission
from the author. If you enjoyed this eBook, then please encourage your friends
to purchase their own copy.

 

Published
by: CM Doporto

Cover
art by: Cora Graphics

Edited
by: BC Noyes

 

This
is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the
product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any
resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events,
or locales is entirely coincidental. The publisher does not have any control
over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party websites
or their content. Any trademarks mentioned herein are not authorized by the
trademark owners and do not in any way mean the work is sponsored by or
associated with the trademark owners. Any trademarks used are specifically in a
descriptive capacity.

 

Thank you for your support.

 

 

Dedication

 

 

For my Dad:

Thank you for sharing
your love of Sci-Fi with me.

I miss you.

Acknowledgements

 

I’d like to recognize my husband for his
continued support with helping me achieve my writing goals. Without you I
couldn’t have done this. To my son, for allowing mommy to write just one more
minute instead of giving you the attention you definitely deserve.

Many thanks to my beta readers for your
critiques and input. You helped make this story better. I appreciate your
dedication and time. Thanks to Cora Graphics for creating another awesome
cover! Your work is impeccable.  A very, very special thank you to BC Noyes for
coaching me on how to make this story the best it can be. You are truly Godsent
and by far the best editor I have ever worked with hands down.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention
the bloggers and reviewers who take the time to read and post reviews. Your
support of indie authors helps get the attention of readers we work hard to
obtain. To my street team, CM Doporto’s Heroes and Heroines, a big shout out
for your support in spreading the word about my books. You make marketing
easier for me.

A huge thank you to you, the reader.
Without you there would be no one to read my story. I appreciate you buying
this book and taking the time to read it. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did
writing it.

Most of all I want to thank our Heavenly
Father for providing me with the opportunity to do what I love, write.

Prologue

May, Present Day

 

As I walked
out of Saturday evening church service with my parents, the sky sparkled like it
was the Fourth of July. It seemed odd, because it was Memorial Day weekend, and
I never recalled seeing fireworks that time of year. Why would they start the
celebration before the sun set?

“Are there
fireworks at the Market Common?” I asked my dad, the city mayor.  The Market
Common had become the town square for the city of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina,
where we lived.

“No,
Miranda.”  Dad hooded his eyes with his hand, surveying the display. “We didn’t
have anything scheduled.”

A deep boom
sounded in the distance, shaking the ground like an earth tremor.  But I knew
the east coast wasn’t home to the ground splitting rages of Mother Nature.  The
air stilled, and the salty smell that lingered through the hot summer sun
vaporized almost instantly. As I turned toward my parents, another thunderous
roar vibrated the pavement, and I jumped when a flock of blackbirds rustled
through the trees and took flight.

“What the
heck was that?” I clenched my chest, trying to slow the pounding of my heart.
Several car alarms went off, blaring from an unknown cause.

“What in
the world?” Mom placed a hand on our SUV, steadying herself.

“Get in the
truck, now!” Dad ordered.  

I hopped in
the back and strapped myself to the seat. My little brother, Matt, struggled to
click his belt. I leaned over to help him, but my fingers shook, making it
difficult to slip the metal latch into the buckle. I inhaled a few silent
breaths, trying to calm the fear that consumed every part of me. Matt was
easily influenced by emotions, so I had to keep it together for his sake.

“Richard,
what’s going on?” Mom quickly turned and leaned between the two front seats.
“Are your seatbelts on?”

Matt and I nodded.

Churchgoers
scattered in all directions, running to their vehicles and slamming their car
doors shut.

 “I don’t
know, Victoria. But I’m going to find out.” Dad pulled his cell from his pants
pocket and pressed a few buttons. “Shit. No signal. See if you can get a hold
of Larry.” He shoved his phone at Mom, peeled the truck out of the parking lot,
and veered onto the main road.

I fished my
phone from my purse and switched it on. Several dots showed, which meant I had
service.

“Here, try
mine.” I handed it to Mom.

“Oh, thank
God.”   She yanked it from my grasp, and I reminded myself not to panic. Internally,
I repeated the phase Dad taught me:
Mays are strong leaders. We never show
weakness.

“Will you
stop it, Matt!” Dad yelled, slamming his palms on the steering wheel. “I don’t
need this right now.”

Matt hummed
loudly and rocked, back and forth, in his seat.

“It’s going
to be all right,” I said, smoothing his hair from his face. He looked at me
with wide eyes, and I gave him a comforting hug. “Let’s put on a movie and your
headphones.”

“O-k-kay,”
he stuttered.

“It’s going
to be fine.”  Mom gave us a reassuring smile, but fear dominated her gaze, and
her lips trembled. “Watch your cartoons.”

Matt didn’t
speak. He nodded his head and held onto my arm, digging his fingers deep into
my skin.

Dad raced
down the road, the opposite way from our house, and sped to the freeway. I
figured he was headed to city hall, located about six miles from our church. From
inside our SUV, the thunderous booms sounded like bombs going off in every
direction, and flashes of lights flickered beyond the Oceanside. What the hell
was happening?

Dad weaved
in and out of traffic, passing cars stuffed with food, clothes, and people’s personal
belongings. I did a double take when my neighbor’s truck, loaded with what appeared
to be half the contents of their home, flew past us. Why did everyone have
their vehicles packed as if they were moving? What were they fleeing? Horns
blared as cars fought to merge onto the lanes that led out of the city. But not
us. Dad took the lanes that headed straight to town.

“Have you
gotten through yet?” Dad questioned, clenching the steering wheel until the
whites of his knuckles pressed through his skin.

“No, not
yet. I keep getting a busy signal.”  Mom continued to re-dial the number to
Larry Stringer, the city manager.

“Call the
chief. His number’s listed under my favorites.” Dad took his eyes off the road
for a split second and picked up his cell phone from the console.

“Look out!”
I yelled when a truck, a few cars in front of us, flipped over. It tumbled
across our lane and the next one, barely avoiding all the cars. It rolled onto
the median and across the fence, until it collided with an SUV on the opposite
side of the freeway.

Our truck swerved
right, then left, avoiding several other cars. The vehicle before ours slammed
on its brakes. Dad quickly switched lanes and laid on the horn. “Idiot!” He held
his hand up in the air as he passed the guy.

I turned as
the car pulled to the shoulder. The driver held his chest, and a woman leaned
over him. “Dad, I think that man is having a heart attack. Shouldn’t we stop
and see—”

“No time,
Miranda. I have to get to city hall.” Dad glared at me through the rearview
mirror. His breaths were short and fast, and his nostrils flared with each
inhalation. I hated that side of Dad. I’d think with all his military training
he would know how to keep his cool. How he landed the job of city mayor, I’d
never know. “Victoria, did you get ahold of him?”

“I’m
trying. I’m trying, damn it.” Mom snapped. Tears streamed down her cheeks, but
I knew she was more scared than mad. Throughout my entire life, I had never
seen Mom lose it. She always kept her cool, no matter the situation, Mom always
stayed calm.

I sank into
my seat. It had to be a dream. As I shut my eyes, a high-pitched screech
tunneled through the air. With my nose pressed to the window, I gasped as a military
jet spiraled across the sky, seemingly out of control. Smoke spewed from its
tail, leaving behind a thick, black streak. It was no dream.

“Holy crap.”
I followed the plane’s ominous path, until it erupted in a fireball and dropped
into the sea.

“Oh shit!
We’re under attack.” Dad pulled to the side of the road. The truck jerked until
it came to a complete stop. “Give me the phones.”  He grabbed them from Mom.

“Oh, my God.
I hope the pilot ejected safely. ” Mom covered her mouth with both hands.

I stared at
a black cloud of smoke billowing in the distance. “I think I saw a parachute. I’m
pretty sure he got out in time.” 

Mom nodded.
“Oh, I hope so. I pray no one was hurt.”

I turned my
attention to a mob of people running across a parking lot. “What the heck is
going on at the mall?”

People ran to
their vehicles, carrying armfuls of clothes and other items. Two girls fought
over a pair of boots, tugging until one fell to the ground. A few guys lugged a
large screen TV, with the cable cords dangling. Another lady left a trail of
clothes, as a security guard chased her. No one had shopping bags, and the
scene was a chaotic free-for-all.

“Dad, they’re
stealing stuff!”

I shook my head, not believing what I had seen. In the fifteen years of
my life, I had never imagined something like that happening in my hometown, especially
the small town of Myrtle Beach. Why would anyone attack our home and not the
big cities of New York or Chicago? It didn’t make sense.

“I see a
cop.” Dad dropped the phones and flung the SUV into drive.

“What are
you doing, Richard?” Mom braced herself, holding onto the door with one hand
and the dash handlebar with the other.

“I’m following
him. I need to know what’s going on.” Dad charged the Tahoe at full speed. He trailed
the cop car, staying close behind. The siren blared, and the lights flashed,
and I imagined that onlookers found it odd that we were chasing the police car.
The cruiser flew through a few stop signs and slowed at the intersection. Dad did
the same, without stopping. The Tahoe came to a screeching halt in the parking
lot of the Walmart Supercenter.

“Wow.” It was
like Black Friday. Shoppers ran outside with carts stacked high with food and other
emergency items. Horns blared as people fought over parking spaces. Some abandoned
their cars in the middle of the lanes, while others double-parked. The
congested lot resembled a swarm of fire ants that just had their mound kicked.

“Richard, watch
out for that car!” Mom tugged on Dad’s sleeve. Straight ahead of us, an old
Cadillac plowed through several parked cars. It swerved in our direction, and
as Dad turned the wheel and hit the gas, it reared right, barely missing us by
a few inches. It sped away with the bumper hanging to the side, sparks flaring
as the metal scratched the asphalt.

“I guess he
couldn’t wait,” I teased, trying to make light of the chaos unfolding around
us.

“Stay here,”
Dad instructed before bolting into the madness. He made his way to the cop car,
keeping a safe distance.

I rolled
down my window, hoping to hear their conversation, when another loud explosion rumbled
through the air. Streaks of gunfire cut the sky, giving us a near front row
seat to the action. My heart raced. I had never felt so scared in my life. If we
were at war, I really wanted to get out of town. I glanced at Matt and was
relieved to see that, through all the turmoil, the movie seemed to hold his
attention.

“Officer.
Officer, it’s me, Mayor Richard Mays,” Dad shouted.

The officer
whirled around with one hand on his gun. His eyes widened before relaxing.
“Mayor Mays, it’s good to see you.”

They gave
each other a quick handshake. “What the hell’s going on?” Dad motioned to the rat
maze around us.

“The chief
has been trying to get a hold of you. They even sent a squad car to your
house.” The officer turned his head and spoke into the radio mic strapped to
his shoulder. “I’ve located Mayor Mays. We’re at the Walmart on Seaboard
Street.” A few minutes later, more cops drove up, and the officer motioned for
them to go into the building.

“I tried
calling the chief, and even Larry Stringer, but couldn’t get through. I need to
get to city hall,” Dad said in a strained tone.

“Right
away, sir.”  The officer nodded once. “Follow me, and I’ll escort you.”

“What do
you know?”  Dad grabbed the cop by the arm before he got into his squad car.
“Are we under attack?”

With a grim
expression, the officer narrowed his stare and compressed his lips. Another
loud bang tore through the air, drowning the officer’s words, and I missed his
response. But when Dad’s eyes widened, I knew it couldn’t be good. Blinding
lights seared the sky as two jets zoomed overhead. I cringed and hugged my
knees to my chest. We had to get out of town.

“You’re not
serious.” Dad released the cop and blew out a breath.

The cop arched
a brow. “Yeah, I am.” He turned and slid into his cruiser. “Let’s go.”

Dad ran
back to the Tahoe.

“What did
he say? What’s going on, Richard? Who’s attacking us?” Mom spilled out question
after question.

Silence
filled the cabin of the SUV. A part of me wanted to know but another part kept
my mouth shut.

Mom reached
for the radio but Dad stopped her. “Don’t. Not now.” He motioned with his head
to the back seat. I didn’t know if he was referring to my brother, me, or both
of us.

With
confusion and fear, she gazed at Dad. “Oookaay.”

Ten minutes
later we pulled up to city hall. We sat frozen in our seats, afraid to move
without Dad’s permission.

“Let’s
go.”  He jumped out and slammed the door shut, and we followed him into the
building.

 The place swarmed
with cops and city officials. I eavesdropped on their conversations but
couldn’t make sense of them. Dad led us to his office, with several other
people. Larry, the city manager, along with others I didn’t know, sat in a
nearby conference room and motioned for Dad to join them.

“Take them
down to the basement,” he ordered a nearby police officer. “I’ll come and get
you when it’s safe.”

“Safe?
What’s going on, Richard? Don’t send us away,” Mom cried, pushing into the
conference room.  “We need to know what’s happening.”

Before Dad
could respond, another officer came running in and almost knocked me to the
floor. “Mayor Mays, Mr. Stringer, the chief needs you outside—now.”

“Outside?”
Dad repeated, and then shot Larry a quizzical glance.

“Yes, sir.
Right away.” The young cop gasped for air, and his expression cast a world of
emotions, none of which I could identify, but that isn’t what scared me. It was
the fear, the sheer terror, in his eyes that left me shaking. It was not good.

In a mad
rush the conference room cleared, as everyone shadowed Dad and Larry down the
hall.

BOOK: The Arrival
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