Three Remain

Three Remain

Three Remain Coming in the Near Future


Three Remain

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A World Gone Quiet

Glen awakes to a loss of all communication and power the morning after a spectacular meteor display.

No internet, cell reception, radio, television, or electricity.

No people, except a rude woman without a memory and an irritating early-teen named Traci.

And…thick fog surrounding his area.


The Adventure Begins

The following are the opening pages from Three Remain :

Chapter 1

 

Traci sat on the small bench provided inside the changing room, deciding to watch funny cat videos on YouTube to pass time. She could text her friends later about her parents being so late to pick her up. Her friends would get a laugh out of that because it happened so often, but a girl needed priorities, and funny cats ruled at that moment. Becoming groggy, she balled up a sweater she brought in to try on, then stretched out on the narrow slab of wood watching a cat fall into a toilet on her phone. She giggled. The desire for sleep overwhelmed her. Traci closed her eyes.

 

#

 

Pulling himself up from the leather chair, Glen felt weariness in his arms and legs and tried to remember the last time he ate. He was not hungry, but maybe just the act of eating would distract him out of his restlessness, or so he hoped.

Moving to the kitchen and opening the refrigerator, he laughed. Staring back at him from a lightless cave was a heavily bruised apple, wrapped slices of plastic cheese with a shelf life of twenty years or more sporting green patches of mold, and a carton of milk with an expiration date twelve days earlier. Quite a transformation from the cornucopia of supplies typical only a few months ago. Ignoring the gourmet delights, his eyes finally set on a single bottle of Corona.

Sitting at the table, he faced his reflection in the sliding glass door. “Cheers!” he said, raising his arm in a toast to himself. He sat and watched condensation trickle down the Corona and form a puddle at the bottle’s base on the twelve-year-old mahogany table, which had never suffered as much as a minor scratch. He sighed.

Glen checked his watch; only fifteen minutes had passed. Not exactly the time-killer he anticipated. Too early for bed, he decided escaping to the back yard might settle him. Grabbing a light jacket to ward off the chill of an early August, Michigan night, he slid the door open, pulled his shoulders back and inhaled the damp air before stepping into the darkness. He had no mission in mind other than circling the yard, the grass still wet from an afternoon shower. Eventually confronted with a lounge chair set on the patio brick pavers, he elected to settle onto the webbed fabric, shivering once as the cold dampness seeped through his jeans. Soggy Nikes dampened his socks and the flesh beneath thereby continuing the grand evening experience.

Lying back, he stared up at the billions of icy points of light, ranging from brilliant gems to dusty smears. A meteor flashed overhead. The fact that no one was there to share the event tempered his excitement. Again, he slipped into thoughts of his solitary life. He vowed never to permit himself to love another person because of the inevitable pain and misery.

Resting back, he hoped to glimpse another meteor, and as if fulfilling his wish, one appeared. It was big. Astounding. Not just a streak of light, but large enough to discern the solid sphere of the meteor enveloped in a seething, burning gas. That image imprinted in his brain. A blue-green fireball racing to Earth. Not only towards Earth, but also towards him. Glen jumped to his feet, raising an arm across his forehead as if to protect his face from an impact equivalent to a nuclear detonation.

A second later, it exploded high in the night sky directly above his head, fragments hurtling outward from where the parent object had been. No shockwave. No kaboom. No sound at all. Glen swiveled around and around, his head cocked back as far as his neck would allow, trying to view the canopy of falling lights, getting dizzy in the process. Hundreds of miniature fireballs, looking like a Fourth of July firework display, silently fell to the Earth in an umbrella of streaking lights and smoky tails miles around him.

The placid night sky returned. Releasing a breath, Glen explored the heavens. Not a trace of the spectacular, celestial event remained. Dropping his sight to the horizon, he searched for telltale signs of fires, or unusual lights, but saw only ordinary nighttime silhouettes of tree lines and fields.

Lunging towards the patio door, he stumbled over the lounge chair, caught his balance, and then latched onto the handle. In haste, his hand slipped off the damp wood. Calming himself, he took a short breath. Grabbing the handle firmly, he succeeded in sliding the door. Hoping for bulletins on the unusual meteor strike, he retrieved his cell phone from the kitchen counter. Glen checked the national and local news websites but came up empty. Nothing concerning a meteor event. He concluded reports of the incident would take time to trickle into the news unless, of course, a piece hit something notable like a building, car, or circus clown.

Glen readied for bed by first setting the clock radio and phone alarms for 6:00 AM, the usual workday wake time. He made one last effort to survey the seeable area from a back window for signs of meteor strikes. Finally drifting into sleep, awaking occasionally with flashes of recollection about the extraordinary heavenly event. Unable to pinpoint the reasons, the experience was not only exciting, but unsettling.

 

#

 

Glancing at map on her phone, the young woman read the estimated travel time to her destination at under five minutes. Dispatch had given no sensible reason as to why she was assigned to tail this guy. His record squeaky clean, it made no sense. “Just stay close and report anything unusual,” the dispatcher had said last night. And starting so early in the morning for a seemingly pointless assignment irritated her. At least traffic had been great, she had not seen another car on the road since she said goodbye to her cat at the apartment.

A curve in the road ahead showed in the headlights and brightening sky. Worried about finding her next turn, her eyes darted to the map again. In an instant, she felt the car swerve. Her eyes jumping back to the road, she saw a tree, rather than the road, rushing toward her. Starting to wrench the steering wheel to the left, her world changed with a deafening bang and a punch into her chest. Gasping to inhale a breath, her ears ringing, the woman pushed the airbag out of the way, opened the door, tumbling onto the ground. Her cheek felt gravel beneath it. The mixed aromas of Queen Anne’s Lace and earth dominated her senses as consciousness slipped away.