Fiction: Afterlife (Chapter 15)

by Mike Monroe on May 5, 2014


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Photo by Jay Hood

If you’ve never read Afterlife before, click here to go to the first chapter.

Afterlife is a sci fi/western action serial published every other week. Join us in a post-apocalyptic journey through a future where life has become little more than a struggle for survival. However, where there’s life, there’s always hope.

Read the previous chapter here:

Afterlife, Volume 1, Chapter 14


Abby and her companions jump their vehicles across the river.
The heroes enter the Dead Lands.
They find a vast green oasis in the middle of the Dead Lands.

Find the Table of Contents page here.


Afterlife, Volume 1, Chapter 15

Devin opened the door and ushered the disheveled man into the office. Noah Flyman and three other enforcers were standing against the wall while Warrick Baines sat behind the oak desk. The only decorations were bland prints picturing faded desert scenes. A large window took up most of the wall opposite the door, though the scenery was less than ideal. Fort Samson’s oil refinery was the most prominent landmark, and beyond it, desert dunes stretched out to the horizon. Warrick had borrowed the tenth floor office from a prominent banker for his use while he and the enforcers were in town. The banker was a close friend of Herman Rennock’s, so he was happy to give up his office for a day. Devin and the other enforcers had questioned every person who ran a motel or hotel in Fort Samson until they found this man who was now standing before Warrick. He’d claimed that he’d had a group of guests stay a couple of nights ago whose vehicles included a black sand bike with orange and yellow flames painted on it. Warrick motioned to the chair across the desk from him. “Have a seat.” Warrick had flipped down the banker’s name plate, but he left a picture of the banker’s baby granddaughter showing. The only other thing on the desk was a well-used yellow stress ball with a smiley face on it.

The middle aged motel owner was taken aback at first by Warrick’s skull-like visage and his shining red eyes. “Thank ya kindly,” he managed to say as he sat in the chair. “Don’t mind if I do.” Devin walked into the office and stood behind the man.

“And what might your name be?” Warrick asked.

“Vernon,” the man said. “Vernon Willis.”

“I’m Warrick Baines. It’s a pleasure to meet you.”

“The pleasure’s all mine,” Vernon said with a pleasant grin. Devin doubted the sincerity of his words.

“So I hear you’ve had some guests at your motel who fit the descriptions of some criminals we’ve been searching for,” Warrick said.

Vernon nodded. “There were six or seven of ‘em.”

“Do you know where they’re heading?” Warrick asked.

Vernon nodded again. “I overheard ’em talkin’.  A few of them are headin’ to Silver City, and others are goin’ to South Edge. I think that’s what they said.”

Warrick’s red eyes bored into the man as he picked up the smiley stress ball in his gloved hand. “You think, Mr. Willis? This situation is far too critical for uncertainty.”

“I reckon that’s what they said,” Vernon said, slightly nervous. “I don’t know everything every guest ever said. My memory ain’t that great.”

Warrick nodded as he squeezed the stress ball. “There’s no reason to be nervous, Mr. Willis. I don’t think you have anything to hide. You seem like an honest man. Let me just point out, however, that ‘ain’t’ isn’t good English. You should say ‘isn’t’ from now on if you want people to take you seriously.”

Vernon, apparently having found some courage, glared at Warrick. “What’re ya, my English teacher?”

Warrick stared back at him with his shining red eyes as he passed the stress ball from hand to hand. “No, I’m not. I don’t teach children how to read. I question people and I track down criminals. And when I find said criminals, I often torture them in immensely painful ways and I usually kill them. I’m not a nice guy, Mr. Willis. You’d be smart not to make me angry.”

Vernon swallowed and sunk into his chair. “I… I’m sorry, sir. I mean, I’m sure that’s what they said. Silver City and South Edge. I ain’t… I mean I isn’t sure who’s goin’ to which place, but I know those are the two places.”

Warrick nodded. “Thanks for trying with the grammar, Mr. Willis. You’ll get it right one of these days. Anyway, so you don’t remember who’s going to which city? Was there an Asian girl with them?”

“I don’t remember,” Vernon said. “There were two girls, though. One of ‘em seemed like someone important. She was beautiful. I think I remember her sayin’ she wanted to stay in the motel, keep a low profile and all that. There was some guy who stayed with her. Maybe a boyfriend or bodyguard or somethin’. He was tall, I remember that.”

“Was he a black man?”

“Nah, he was white, and good-lookin’. He drove a red sports hover car. Looked expensive.”

Warrick nodded, squeezing the stress ball. “And do you remember where this important-seeming woman was going?”

“I do remember that,” Vernon said. “That girl and at least one other of ‘em were the ones goin’ to Silver City.”

“Very well,” Warrick said. “That’s sufficient. So Vernon, are you familiar with the term defenestration?”

Vernon looked confused. “Defecation?”

Warrick chuckled. “No, Mr. Willis. Defenestration. It’s the act of throwing someone out of a window.” He tossed the stress ball to Devin, who fumbled it but eventually caught it.

Vernon frowned. “I ain’t… I isn’t familiar with that term, no.”

“Well you’re about to become very familiar with it,” Warrick said as he nodded to Noah, who was still standing against the wall. The bald, muscular enforcer stepped forward towards the seated man.

“Now, look,” Vernon said. “Ain’t no need for violence or nothin’ like that. I’ll leave peaceably.”

“Yes, you will,” Warrick said. “You can take the fast way out.”

Noah pulled the struggling man out of the chair and pushed him quickly towards the window. The man made some confused protests and Noah pushed him as hard as he could through the window, shattering the glass. The man screamed as he fell the ten stories and there was a loud thud when he hit the concrete stairway leading up to the office building. Warrick stood from the desk, walked over to the window, and looked down. Devin knew they’d had to kill the man. They’d received orders from Rennock to kill everyone Abigail Song made contact with. The method seemed a little harsh, though, especially since the man hadn’t even realized who she was when he’d helped her. “I thought Rennock wanted us to be discreet,” Devin said.

Warrick turned to face him. “Sure. It was a suicide, right?”

Devin nodded. “Sure.” He thought Warrick was a great leader, but it seemed to him that the cyborg had been acting a little erratically recently. Perhaps the prospect of catching Nat Bigum was clouding Warrick’s judgment a little. Still, Devin knew he needed to be careful questioning Warrick’s methods.

“Very well,” Warrick said, looking around at the enforcers in the room. “It sounds like Abigail Song is with the group heading to Silver City if Mr. Willis’ information was accurate, assuming she’s the important-seeming woman he spoke of. I’ll head there with the bulk of our group to meet her. Devin, you take Ed, Henry, Hobbes, and Len and go to South Edge. I’ll take everyone else with me to Silver City, where we’ll hopefully find Miss Song. We’ll have to go around the Dead Lands. I don’t want any of us getting lost or stranded in there. Be very careful not to wander in unintentionally, Devin.” Devin nodded. “Now, I’m assuming Nat Bigum will be with Miss Song, but if he’s in South Edge, notify me immediately.” Devin nodded again.

“What if they went through the Dead Lands?” Noah asked.

Warrick faced him with his permanent grin. “If they were stupid enough to attempt to travel through the Dead Lands, we probably won’t have to worry about ever seeing them again.”


Once Abby had gotten over her initial awe and surprise upon finding the vast green oasis, she and the others started unpacking. They realized they’d never again find such a perfect place to camp, so they decided they’d stay for a few days. It would give Pete time to fix Einstein and Nat time to begin Bobby’s training. Horseman said he and Michelle weren’t expected in Silver City for a few more days, anyway, so they were fine with staying for a while. It was late afternoon by the time everyone had unpacked and set up their tents, so Pete went off somewhere to do his salaat. Abby walked to the top of a small nearby hill and really took in the setting.

She looked at the grass, trying to imagine how many blades there were. She doubted anyone had seen so much green since the apocalypse that had ended the old world. There were flowers, too. The colors amazed her. Most were yellow and purple, but there were some red and orange ones mixed in, too. And the trees. The trees at the edges of the meadow where they’d parked their vehicles were so high. They were like small skyscrapers. She had no idea nature could be so beautiful. She realized Michelle was standing next to her. “I’ve been all over the world and I’ve never seen a place like this,” the actress said. “It’s beautiful, isn’t it?”

Abby nodded. “I’m not sure I ever want to leave.”

Michelle smiled. “I know what you mean. After living so long in the desert, this is so welcome. It’s like this is what the world’s supposed to look like.”

“I’m glad no one knows about this place.”

“What do you mean?”

Abby frowned. “If Rennock found this place, the first thing he’d do would be to cut down all the trees and start selling the water. It would be destroyed in a matter of years. He has no respect for anything like this.”

Michelle nodded. “Yeah. I remember the river.”

Abby smiled at her. “So you and Horseman have really been all over the world?”

“Mostly Numurka,” Michelle answered, “but we’ve travelled to other places occasionally. Nowhere else is really that different. Mostly deserts and rocky badlands. Some mountains here and there. The oceans are disgusting. They’re radioactive cesspools and they stink. Whenever we fly over them, I try not to look down. The prospect of crashing and then getting my skin burnt off scares the crap out of me.”

Abby chuckled. “But it must be fun traveling and seeing new places.”

“I suppose so. There was a rich man in New Persia who let us stay in his palace while we were there. He owned elephants and tigers, and the palace grounds were spectacular. Marble statues and fountains and gardens. Nothing like this, though.” She waved her hand across the landscape.

Abby’s stomach was bothering her a little. She needed more pain killers. “Well I need to have a little snack.” Michelle nodded, still looking out at the scenery as Abby headed back to Pete’s van to get her bag. Sherry was running through the meadow, barking. She was apparently enjoying the beautiful place as much as everyone else. Abby made her way to the van, opened the passenger side door, and started digging through her bag. She took four pills and drank them down with some water. The label said to take two pills at a time, but Abby was starting to find that four got rid of her nausea faster. Plus, the pills made her feel calm and happy. She knew it was bad, but she didn’t care. She deserved a little something after everything she’d been through. She closed the door and walked towards the trees. Apparently everyone else had gone exploring. She figured she’d do the same.

As she walked through the trees, strange sounds seemed to come from all directions. There were birds singing, but there were also weird clucking or barking sounds, and every once in a while there was a far-off howl of some sort. She had to watch her footing, as there were shrubs and vines growing everywhere. There wasn’t a clear footpath since the land was untouched. Abby was starting to think wandering into the woods wasn’t such a good idea. The pain killers were starting to kick in, though. She felt the calm haze come over her as she noticed the sound of running water. She started heading in that direction, making sure to remember where she’d come from so she could find her way back to the camp.

She found a grassy clearing and a slow, meandering river which snaked its way through the trees. She figured it was the perfect place for a nap, her body numb with euphoria. There was a large gray rock next to the river, and Pastor Earl was seated on it. Abby smiled, happy she was no longer alone. She stepped into the clearing, but she realized Pastor Earl was crying. She realized he probably didn’t want to be disturbed, but before she could walk away, he turned and noticed her. He wiped his eyes with the sleeve of his shirt. “No, it’s all right. Come over here, Abby. You shouldn’t be wandering around here alone and unarmed.”

Abby slowly walked towards him. “Are you okay?”

“An old man like me has a lot to think about. That’s all.”

Abby sat on the rock next to him. “What’s the matter?”

Pastor Earl smiled. “Abby, you shouldn’t worry yourself about an old man’s problems.” The sound of the river filled the area, along with the occasional tweet of a bird.

“You work for me now,” Abby said, “and you’re my friend. Your problems are my problems now, whether you like it or not.”

He nodded. “Well, you know Abby, a man can’t do some of the things I’ve done in life and not have regrets. I decided to find a quiet spot to pray, and I realize I have so much that needs to be forgiven.”

“You’re a good man. I’m sure God understands.”

Pastor Earl frowned. “I’ve killed a lot of men, Abby. It weighs me down sometimes, when I stop to think about it. Their lives are over because of me.”

“But you’ve never killed women or children, right?” Abby immediately wished she wouldn’t have asked that. It was way too forward.

“I used to be a soldier, Abby. In war, things get messy sometimes. I personally never killed any women or children. Not on purpose, anyway. Not that I know of.” He looked down at the river. “I don’t know. You tell yourself you’re doing it for the good of the world. You even say you’re doing it for your family.” He shook his head. “I’ve said too much.”

“You shouldn’t be so hard on yourself, Pastor Earl.” Abby put her hand over his. “It’s a rough world. You’re one of the best people in it. Sometimes you have to do things in order to survive.”

“I left my congregation,” he muttered. Tears appeared in his blue eyes again. “I left them. I should have stayed to defend them. Who knows what Warrick Baines might have done to them? They could all be dead now for all I know.”

Abby frowned. “Do you realize how many people are dead now because of me? You can’t blame yourself for that.”

Pastor Earl nodded and looked into her eyes. “Abby, are you a Christian?”

“My family was Catholic, so yeah, I am.”

“Well you understand our need for God’s forgiveness, then. Well, how can God forgive me if I’m not repentant? I mean, I keep on sinning. Doing the same things I’ve done in the past.” He shook his head.

“I’m sure God has forgiven you,” Abby said. “I think you need to forgive yourself.” She laughed. “You’re the pastor. You should be giving me spiritual guidance, if anything.”

Pastor Earl dried his eyes and shook his head. “Anyone who thinks they don’t need guidance is lying to himself. We all need to be pointed in the right direction sometimes.” He paused and looked a little confused. “So you’re Catholic? Is there even a Pope anymore?”

Abby nodded. “He’s in New Europa somewhere. He’s hiding out somewhere to avoid persecution as far as I know.” The pain killers made it harder for her to concentrate on the conversation, but she was managing.

“Well, I’ll be… I guess you guys try to keep it secret these days. Things were definitely tough for a pastor in Dune Post. I had to speak out against the sin I saw there, but I knew if I got into trouble, my congregation would suffer. Ultimately, I had to speak out, though.”

“That’s part of what makes you such a good person,” Abby said. “If you see something that’s wrong, you stand up for what you believe is right.”

Pastor Earl smiled. “Thank you, Abby. That means a lot to me. And it’s definitely good to find someone who believes similar things to what I do. Maybe we can talk every once in a while, you know?” Abby nodded. “We can’t be islands,” Pastor Earl continued. “I feel like it’s been a long time since I’ve had anyone to talk to. Really talk to, I mean.”

“Yeah,” Abby said. She considered mentioning her pain killers, but she wasn’t ready to talk about that with him. Not yet. Two birds chased one another up into a nearby tree, tweeting the whole time.

“That world out there,” Pastor Earl said, looking at the river. “I think that’s what happened when people turned away from God. I strongly believe that. I see this place, and I see God’s goodness. His creation.”

“What about evolution?” Abby asked. “What about science?”

“Science and God aren’t mutually exclusive,” Pastor Earl said. “Scientists talk about evolution and natural selection. I understand these things. I went to college. My question is, why can’t God be the one who’s ultimately behind it all?”

Abby shrugged, listening to the river and the rustling leaves. “I guess people feel they have all of the answers and there’s no longer a reason or a place for God.”

Pastor Earl nodded. “There are some questions which science hasn’t answered, though. What caused the origin of the universe? If there was a big bang, what caused it to happen?” He looked at the trees across the river as their leaves rustled. “How did life originate from non-life? What was the origin of consciousness? There’s no known explanation for these things. Maybe one day science will find the answers to these questions. These are questions for someone far smarter than me. I do know one thing, though. God exists in my life. Jesus has done things in my life. No one can take that away from me.”

Abby, who’d been listening intently, nodded. “But why does he let bad things happen to good people, though?” She thought about her brothers and sisters being killed before her eyes. She thought about her parents being murdered. She realized that on some level, she’d been blaming God for these things.

Pastor Earl grinned. “That’s the billion dollar question. Tragedies happen to all of us, good and bad alike. Why does God let these things happen? I’ll say what any honest man would say as an answer to that question, Abby. I don’t know.” He took a deep breath. “I do know that many of the actions we attribute to God are actually the actions of people, and all of us are sinners.” Abby thought about Warrick Baines and frowned with anger. “God allows us free will,” Pastor Earl continued. “I’m not sure why God has given us our own free will, but I’m grateful for it. Freedom can be the greatest thing in the world, but it can also be abused.” He gazed at Abby. “No matter what people tell you, Abby, never forget that there is good in this world, and there is evil. It’s hard to tell them apart sometimes, but they’re there, underneath it all.”

Abby was looking at the river and the trees. “I know what you mean, about seeing God here. There is a sort of spirituality about this place.”

Pastor Earl nodded, deep in thought. “People out there have replaced God with greed. Greed has become the foundation they’ve built their entire society on.” He looked gravely into Abby’s eyes. “Abby, I implore you to fight greed with every part of your being, for I strongly believe that God will bring about the destruction of any society based on sin.”

“I agree,” Abby said, “but when I’ve founded my nation, there will be people from all different walks of life, all different religions and cultures. I can’t push the ideas of any one religion on them.”

“This is true,” Pastor Earl agreed. “I think the important thing is to make sure your laws make it possible for all different types of people to live together in peace. And don’t forget love, whatever you do.” He closed his eyes. “If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.”

Abby nodded. “I’m familiar with those verses. I think every Christian is.”

“It’s important that you let people believe what they chose to believe,” Pastor Earl said, “even when their beliefs aren’t the same as your own personal beliefs. Many of history’s atrocities happened because of a religion trying to force its beliefs on people. On the other hand, many of the most evil societies in history began when a leader tried to force people to stop worshiping God altogether.” He gazed at Abby. “Everyone has the right to believe whatever he or she wants. Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, Pagans, atheists, and every other religion. People can follow whichever they choose. Even if you and I believe Christianity is the truth, we must allow others to choose their own beliefs. You can’t force anyone to believe something they don’t, anyway.”

Abby nodded. “I believe strongly in religious freedom.”

“Remember what I said about freedom, though,” Pastor Earl reminded her. “There are those who take advantage of it. Always be on the lookout, Abby.” He smiled at her. “I don’t envy you.”

Abby smiled back. “Yeah. Well at least I’ll have people like you to help guide me along. I’ll need all the help I can get, so I definitely appreciate it.”

Pastor Earl chuckled. “Take everything I tell you with a grain of salt, though. I’m just an old man.”

“An old man with a lot more wisdom and life experience than I have,” Abby said.

Pastor Earl looked up at the clear sky. “Well, this has been a nice conversation, Abby. I think I need some rest, though. We definitely need to talk more often.”

“Definitely,” Abby said with a smile. She and Pastor Earl got down off the rock and walked back towards the trees.  Abby needed to rest, too.  The pain killers were starting to make her sleepy.  She still wasn’t sure exactly why Pastor Earl had been crying when she’d first stumbled upon him. She couldn’t help but think he was keeping something to himself. Perhaps one day she’d find out.


Nat grinned his ugly, scarred grin as he and Bobby stood facing one another. Trees surrounded the small clearing on three sides, and on the other there was a large rock formation which gave way to a steep hill. “With things as bleak as they are these days,” Nat began, “everyone’s lookin’ for a higher power.” He drew his revolver and showed it to Bobby. “This is mine.” Bobby chuckled, his hand on his laser pistol, which was still holstered. “Now, a gun is a weapon that can kill a man. Weapons can be powerful, but fear wins wars.” Nat stared at Bobby through his sunglasses. “I was a good lawman because the locals feared me. If people fear you, you won’t even need to draw your gun, kid. Now, I made a lot of threats, but I’ve always had my limits. I never killed children and the only women I killed were pointin’ guns at me. I never shot an unarmed man and I never shot anyone in the back. Let people think you’d be willin’ to do anything, but when it comes to action, draw the line somewhere. You’ve gotta have your morals. Don’t let your gun replace ‘em.”

Bobby nodded. “So show me how to shoot it.”

Nat frowned. “Hold your horses. We’ll get to that.” He cleared his throat. “Now, the first rule of guns is don’t ever point one at somebody unless you’re willin’ to kill ‘em. Always be aware of where your barrel is pointin’. Second, don’t ever put your finger on the trigger unless you mean to shoot. I don’t want you blowin’ your own leg off before you have a chance to draw your weapon. And third, be aware of your target and what’s near or behind it.”

“I know the rules,” Bobby said. “My uncle taught me a little.”

“Good. Then draw your weapon.” Bobby nervously pulled his gun out of his holster. Nat nodded. “Okay, I’ll have to teach you some of the basics of drawing, like stance, and…” Nat glared at Bobby angrily. “Stop pointin’ your god-damned gun at me.”

Bobby didn’t even realize he’d been doing it. “Oh, I’m sorry.” He put the gun back in its holster.

“Those rules ain’t there for fun, kid. This is life and death we’re talkin’ about here. Now draw again, and this time, be aware of where you’re pointin’ your weapon.” Bobby nodded and drew again. “Okay,” Nat continued, “now when you’re first startin’ off, you’ll want to have a straight line from your eye to the back of your gun to the front of the barrel, so you can aim it…” He spit on the ground. “Next time you point your gun at me, I’ll punch some sense into your face.”

“Aw, crap.” Bobby put the gun back in his holster again. “I didn’t even realize I was doing it.”

Nat shook his head and walked over to Bobby. “That’s the problem. You ain’t payin’ attention to what you’re doin’. That gun kills people, kid. This couldn’t be more serious. Always be focused and aware when it comes to firearms.” He folded his arms across his chest. “Now let’s try this again. So you want your feet shoulder width apart, your dominant foot about a step forward from the other. Looks like you’re right handed, so you’ll want your right foot forward.” Bobby did as Nat said as he spoke. “Bend your knees slightly. Now when you draw, you’re gonna bring the gun up so there’s a line from your eye to the rear sight to the front sight to the target. Then fire at the target.” He’d hung a paper target from a nearby tree. Bobby nodded and did exactly as Nat had instructed him. He fired the laser pistol and it blasted through some leaves nowhere near the target. Nat chuckled. “Well, you’ve got a lot of issues we need to work out, but I guess it’s a good start. Eventually, muscle memory’ll take care of most of it.”

Before Bobby knew what was happening, Nat punched him hard in the face and he fell to the ground, dropping his gun. Nat stood over him, glaring down at him through his sunglasses as Bobby’s cheek throbbed with pain. “What the hell was that?” Bobby asked.

“I told ya I was gonna do it. Now, point your gun at me again and I’ll take it away from ya and give ya a slingshot. Maybe that’ll suit you better.”

Nat was a tough teacher, but Bobby felt like he learned a lot over the next couple of hours. If nothing else, he wasn’t pointing his laser pistol at Nat anymore. He still hadn’t hit the target, but he was getting his stance down. It would take a lot of practice before he’d become a fast draw or a decent shot, but he’d get there eventually with Nat’s help. When they were done with their training, they made their way back to the camp through the trees. When Bobby returned, he noticed the stinky sweet smell of marijuana in the air. Bobby noticed Horseman sitting in the grass, meditating. Michelle and Abby were walking away from him towards Bobby. “We’re going to the river,” Abby said with a smile.

Michelle also smiled, making Bobby nervous. “Want to come along?” she asked. “It’ll be a while before dinner’s ready.”

“Where are Pete and Pastor Earl?” Bobby asked.

“Pete’s off somewhere collecting firewood and Pastor Earl’s sleeping in his tent,” Michelle said.

Bobby shrugged as Nat walked over to his sand bike. “Sure, why not?”

Michelle and Abby made their way to the trees and Bobby followed them, his eyes stuck on Michelle, as usual. She was wearing a flowing, off-white dress lined with wooden beads and she had brown sandals on her feet. Bobby watched her sandy blonde hair wave in the breeze as they made their way through the woods to a grassy clearing by the river. His eyes moved downwards to her curvy hips. Pete had cleared a path for them so the going was a little easier than it had been for Bobby and Nat when they’d first gone to the other clearing where they’d been practicing. Michelle smiled at Bobby once they reached the river and he felt his throat tighten up. She undid the straps on her shoulders and the dress dropped into the grass, revealing a beige string bikini which covered as little as possible. Bobby felt a little light-headed as he gazed at her olive skin and her perfect breasts. It was too much for him to handle, but he couldn’t look away. If he’d thought she was beautiful before, now it was cemented. Abby took off the white sundress she’d been wearing, revealing a sleek black one-piece, and she jumped into the water, cybernetic leg and all. “The water’s pretty deep here,” she said, “but it’s good for swimming.”

“Don’t you swim, Bobby?” Michelle asked, still standing on the shore.

Bobby shook his head, stunned by her body. “I don’t have a bathing suit.”

“It’s okay,” Michelle said. “You don’t need one. I can take mine off, too if it would make you feel better.” She chuckled and Bobby gasped. He wasn’t so sure she was joking. “Or you could wear your underwear,” Michelle suggested. “Or maybe Horseman has one that would fit you.”

Bobby gritted his teeth. “I don’t know how to swim.”

“It’s all right,” Michelle said. “I can teach you if you want to learn. Come on, Bobby. When’s the next time you’ll get the chance to swim in natural surroundings like this?”

“I’m sorry,” Bobby said. “I’m not feeling well. I think I’m going to head back to camp.” He turned to get one more glimpse of her perfect body and watched her dive into the water. He started walking back towards the trees, not sure how to take what had just happened. Why was he leaving? What was wrong with him? It was just too much for him to handle.

“Suit yourself!” Michelle shouted back after him. “It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity. You’re really missing out!”


Continue on to the next chapter:

Afterlife, Volume 1, Chapter 16


Bobby continues his training with Nat.
Abby and the others experience something they’ve never experienced before.
Horseman and Michelle treat everyone to an entertaining evening.

Find the Table of Contents page here.

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Mike Monroe

Michael Monroe was born in Baltimore, MD and has lived there most of his life. He’s a poet and fiction writer whose preferred genres are Science Fiction and Fantasy, and he’s always had a thing for Allen Ginsberg and the Beats. His poetry has been published in Gargoyle Magazine, nthposition, the Lyric, Scribble, the Loch Raven Review, Foliate Oak, Primalzine, and various other publications.

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