Fiction: Afterlife (Chapter 17)

by Mike Monroe on June 3, 2014

in FICTION

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

Photo by Jay Hood

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 16

Where:

Michelle tries to put the moves on Abby but is rebuffed.

Nat tells Bobby how he and Warrick were both injured while fighting one another.

Bobby and Pastor Earl find Abby and Horseman hooking up in Horseman’s car.

Find the Table of Contents page here.

 

Afterlife, Volume 1, Chapter 17

Herman Rennock’s bedroom was two floors down from the top floor of Rennock Tower. It was a large room with a king bed which faced a wall-sized window looking out across the city of New Atlantis. It was nighttime and the city lights filled the view with yellow dots which complimented the stars above. Far beyond were the shadowy dunes of the desert. The furniture in the bedroom was modern. The dressers looked like smooth cubes without any discernible cracks where drawers were and there were shelves and wardrobes which were currently hidden by sliding wall panels. The furniture looked like art rather than furniture. Everything in the room was sleek in shape and dark blue in color, and it all blended together so well there were no harsh lines or angles. The surfaces were reflective, covered with tiny pinpoints of light from the lighted windows outside and the stars. It was as if Herman Rennock were sitting in the night sky as he sat at the edge of his bed in his light blue pajamas, watching the three dimensional nanogram of the news reporter which was being projected at the foot of his bed. “Come back to bed,” a female voice said.

Rennock grinned at the woman lying behind him, nestled in the covers which were made from ultrasilk, a synthetic material which had been meticulously engineered to be the softest possible substance which could be experienced by human touch. The woman was thin and pale, wearing a white nightgown. She was in her late thirties, with straight, shoulder-length blonde hair and pointed features which included a long, thin nose. She was Deanna Tralley, the owner of Tralley Aviation, who had inherited the company from her father. “Why do you want me to come back to bed?” Rennock asked with a grin. “Haven’t ya had enough?”

“It’s lonely.”

Rennock laughed. “For such an independent woman, you’re awfully needy.”

She stuck her tongue out playfully and pulled the covers up over her head. Rennock never remembered having such a connection with his wife. Still, it was just sex. Deanna went on and on about how their sex was the ultimate fulfillment of the respect they had for one another and their capabilities and accomplishments. Rennock went along with it and she believed he held the same views, but he really just needed to have a good lay every once in a while. Deanna wore her hair up in a bun when she was in public and she wore her black-rimmed glasses and business suits, but it didn’t hide the reality. Not to Rennock, at least. Men had the real power in the world. Sure, they threw women a bone every once in a while, made them feel important, but Rennock knew in his heart that women were ultimately there to serve men. He turned back to the news reporter.

“…the graffiti is being found throughout the city. No one knows what it means, but our top people have come up with some theories.” A picture of the graffiti Rennock had seen several times before, a skull and crossbones with “IAO” written across it, spray-painted in yellow, red, and blue, appeared behind the reporter. “It could be vandals or kids, but we aren’t ruling out the possibility of something more sinister, such as rebels or Mexican spies. There is also speculation that the bombing at the fifteenth street MAC-car station might have been linked in some way. The graffiti appeared close to the scene not long after the bombing. The same also occurred after the Greenspan Library bombing.” Rennock frowned. Nothing like this had ever happened in New Atlantis before. He’d definitely have to get to the bottom of it. He’d even be willing to bring more enforcers into New Atlantis from the outside if necessary. People wouldn’t be happy about that, but there wasn’t much else that could be done. Safety was paramount. What would his father do if he were still alive?

“What’s she talking about?” Deanna asked.

“Oh, nothin’ babe. You can go back to sleep. It’s just some vandals. Probably stupid kids.” Rennock knew this probably wasn’t true at this point. There was definitely a connection between the bombings happening throughout the city and the graffiti. He’d told the higher-ups at his news station, New Atlantis News, not to talk about other bombings in more remote parts of town in order to keep panic to a minimum. The reporters were only talking about the bombings in the most heavy-traffic areas, which would have been impossible to conceal.

“In other news,” the reporter continued, “Mavery Thomas has begun her trial for attempting to cover up and alter information regarding recent murders in Dune Post. It appears that she was responsible for reporting false information in the newspaper she works for, the Mountaintop Herald, regarding murders carried out by Pastor Earl Steadman in the town. It’s speculated that she may have been working with Mr. Steadman and the rebels in order to make it seem like Warrick Baines was responsible for these crimes. Attempting to frame enforcers working for Rennock Enterprises is an offense for which she could be expelled from New Atlantis. As far as we can tell, Ms. Thomas was working alone, but authorities aren’t ruling out the possibility that her boss, Liana Pinkney, the owner of the Mountaintop Herald, may also have been involved. We’ll keep you posted on any updated information as it arises.”

Rennock smiled. “That stupid bitch is finally gonna be leavin’.”

“Who’s that?” Deanna asked. “Mavery Thomas?”

Rennock smiled at his mistress and nodded. “I’ve been tryin’ to get ‘er expelled for years now. She finally overstepped her bounds a little too far.”

Deanna smiled back. “Well anyone who’s an enemy to freedom like she is has no place here. She’s been working against my business also, publishing slanderous articles and such. Nobody will be sorry to see her go. Nobody who matters, anyway.”

“And finally,” the reporter said, “we have updates on Abigail Song and her accomplices.” An Asian woman’s face appeared behind the reporter. She wasn’t particularly pretty or ugly, just an average-looking Asian woman with long, black hair. Rennock remembered meeting her a long time ago at a business dinner he’d had with her father, Henry Song, the traitor. She was just a cute little kid, but he remembered her piercing eyes then, and he could see them now in the nanogram. “Reports say they are heading southwest towards the towns of South Edge and Silver City. Please keep an eye out for her and if you see her, immediately notify authorities. The murderer Earl Steadman is with her, as is the traitor Nat Bigum, who was once a renowned lawman before turning against Rennock Enterprises and murdering several enforcers. There is also a man of African descent with the group. These criminals are extremely dangerous, so please notify authorities if you see or hear of any of them.”

Rennock frowned. “Kay, you can shut off the nanogram, now.”

“Very well, Master Rennock,” Rennock’s home computer’s soothing voice said as the nanobots flew back up into their perches in the ceiling.

Where was Warrick Baines? He’d been off the grid for over a day now. Rennock had ordered Baines to keep in touch at least twice daily, but he’d heard nothing from the cyborg. He’d even tried to call Baines a few times, but his calls weren’t being answered. Rennock thought for a minute. “Kay, put me through to General Tom Schmidt.” General Schmidt was in charge of Rennock’s army in the Mexican Territory. Rennock turned to Deanna. “Babe, if you could leave the room for a while, I’d really appreciate it.”

Deanna frowned seductively. “Can we cuddle when you’re done? I have a very important meeting early tomorrow. I’d like to get in as much time with you as I can.”

Rennock grinned. “Of course we can.” Deanna nodded, stood, and left the room through the sliding door which led to Rennock’s rumpus room. Rennock’s bedroom buzzed as the nanobots came down from the ceiling once again and arranged themselves into a stern, stubbly face with a square jaw. The features belonged to a middle aged man with one fiercely intense green eye. Where the other eye would have been, there was a cybernetic implant which looked like a camera. This disturbed Rennock, mainly because he knew there’d been nothing wrong with the general’s left eye. He’d simply had it removed and replaced with the implant because it vastly improved his vision. General Schmidt was all about winning wars, and he’d given up his left eye for that purpose. He’d also given up both of his arms and legs, which, like the eye, had been perfectly healthy, and had them replaced with improved robotic versions. He wore the blue garrison cap of the officers in the Rennock Enterprises Militia. “General Schmidt,” Rennock said in greeting.

“Good evening, sir,” General Schmidt said in a gruff voice with a hint of anger. The sound of a girl giggling in the background informed Rennock of the reason for the anger. “Is there a reason why this can’t wait until the morning?”

Rennock glared at him. “This is really important, Schmidt. Remember who pays that exorbitant salary of yours.” The general nodded. “So you just finished fightin’ a battle at San Lugo Bluffs?” Rennock asked.

General Schmidt nodded. “We beat the Mexicans overwhelmingly. A well-paid for capitalist army will defeat a gaggle of communist looters every time.”

“Yeah, right,” Rennock muttered, immediately recognizing the phraseology he’d fed to his military, not very different from the phraseology he suggested to his news enterprises. “So here’s what I want ya to do now. Head for Primrose.”

General Schmidt glared at him. “What? Primrose? Are you nuts? We’ve got the Mexicans on their heels. We can push on to the People’s City of Mexico and this war’ll be done in a matter of months. Why in the hell would we head for Primrose?”

“Primrose is a major stronghold for the rebels,” Rennock explained. “It’s been outside of our reach for far too long and the Mexicans have been too preoccupied with us to do anything about the rebel forces there. The rebels openly hold that city, and now I have reason to believe that Abigail Song is headin’ there.” Rennock frowned, glaring at the general. “If she starts the uprisin’ there, it could destroy everything we hold dear. Conquerin’ the Mexican Territory would mean nothin’.” He smiled. “Besides, we can maybe kill two birds with one stone, if you can get the People’s Army of Mexico to follow you there, of course.”

“I’ll have to leave some forces here to keep from losing the ground we’ve gained,” General Schmidt said. “I don’t like the idea of splitting my army in two. It could spread us too thin, especially with all the soldiers and robots we already have guarding the border.”

“First of all,” Rennock said, “it ain’t your army. It’s my army. Now, if you hit Primrose, you’ll destroy the rebels there and probably weaken the Mexicans even more at the same time. Then, you can strike the People’s City of Mexico when it’s even weaker than it is now.”

General Schmidt nodded. “But it could take us weeks to get to Primrose. If the Mexicans intercept our forces, it might take even longer. Months possibly. What if Abigail Song is gone before we get there? What if she’s not going there at all? There are other places she could be going. How can you be so sure she’s going to Primrose?”

“The last we heard of her she was in Fort Samson headin’ southwest. Where else would she be goin’? She’ll probably stop in some other towns on the way, but I’m certain that’s where she’s goin’.”

General Schmidt shook his head. “I’m not so sure it’s a good idea. It’s not worth giving up ground to the Mexicans. We’d basically be fighting two wars, one against the Mexicans and one against the rebels.”

Rennock smiled. “Good idea or not, it’s my idea, so you need to follow it. Besides, we’re already fightin’ two wars. Believe me, the rebels will become a real threat if Abigail Song’s allowed to take her place as their leader. And what if she decides to ally herself with the Mexicans? What would we do then?”

“The Mexicans hate the rebels as much as we do,” General Schmidt said. “They wouldn’t ally themselves with Abigail Song.”

“Stranger things have happened,” Rennock said. “Wars make strange bedfellas.” He glared at General Schmidt. “Now, do you value your job? You’d better get my army on the move.”

“All right,” General Schmidt muttered. “I’ll get the army moving first thing tomorrow.”

“You’d better,” Rennock said as the nanobots buzzed back to their perches in the ceiling. “Honeycakes!” Rennock shouted to Deanna. “You can come back in now!”

<>

Abby noticed Pastor Earl walking towards her as she sat by the river, thinking about Horseman and thinking about the monumental task that loomed before her. If only she could stay in the oasis forever. She felt the hazy euphoria of her pain killers coming over her body. She closed her eyes and leaned back, spreading her hands behind her on the rock. She could hear the water moving and the birds singing. “Hello, Abby,” Pastor Earl said as he sat nearby. Abby noticed concern in his voice. Had he noticed that she was high?

“Hello.” She slowly opened her eyes and smiled a half-smile. “I’m really tired.”

“Long night?”

She frowned. “No, I mean… I had trouble sleeping.”

“I could imagine,” Pastor Earl said with a knowing grin.

“I’ve got a lot on my mind.”

Pastor Earl nodded. “Abby, I wanted to talk to you about Horseman and Michelle.”

Abby frowned. Did he know about her and Horseman? “What about them?”

“Well,” Pastor Earl began, “I think they’re good people in a lot of ways. They seem nice, and Horseman’s a fighter for the resistance, so we can trust them to some extent, but you need to be careful around them.”

“What do you mean?” Abby asked, watching a bird pick through the grass on the river’s shore with its tiny beak.

“Well, they aren’t like you, Abby.” Pastor Earl looked at her with concern. “I’ve noticed the pot, for one thing. Drugs can cloud your judgment and make you do things you wouldn’t normally do. Horseman and Michelle are… How can I put it? I don’t know, Abby. They seem a little free with their morals, and that isn’t good.”

Abby frowned and rolled her eyes. “I mean, they’re a little crazy. I think it’s their upbringing.”

“I understand that,” Pastor Earl said, “and I’m not saying we can’t trust them as allies, or that they’re bad people necessarily. I’m just saying, you may be getting a little too close. I think it’s important you keep a safe distance.”

Abby grinned. “But I shouldn’t keep a safe distance from you?”

“Abby,” Pastor Earl said, “you need to be careful with what you do with your body. I heard you and Horseman last night when I was walking to the trees. I know what happened.”

Abby frowned and nodded. “Yeah, I figured it was something like that.”

“You’re an adult and you can make your own decisions,” Pastor Earl said. “I’m not the kind of person who’d tell you what to do, but I’m concerned about you. I just want to make sure you don’t get hurt.”

Abby remembered her father telling her the same thing several times. “I understand.” Pastor Earl was probably just trying to be helpful.

“I’m seventy years old, Abby. I’ve only really known God for about twenty or so of those years. I’ve seen a lot in my time. I’ve been with a lot of women, too. I’ve been around long enough to know, as much as we’d like to think otherwise, there’s no such thing as casual sex. Somebody always ends up getting hurt. And don’t think it’s gonna be him.”

“Why do you say that?” Abby asked with a grin. “Maybe I’ll be the one to break his heart. I’m a strong woman, Pastor Earl. You obviously don’t know me as well as you think you do.”

He nodded. “Maybe that’s true. However, I know you well enough to know that you have a strong exterior, but there are feelings underneath. They might be buried deep, but they’re there. Same with Horseman. Same with all of us, even Nat. You aren’t immune to pain, Abby.”

She gazed blankly at the river. “That’s right. I’m numb to it.”

“There’s a big difference between being numb to something and being immune to it,” Pastor Earl said. He looked at her with his kind blue eyes. Abby at that moment felt almost as if Pastor Earl was her father speaking to her. She shook it off. “What’s wrong?” he asked. “Did I strike a nerve?”

“You’re right,” Abby muttered, nodding. “You’re right.”

“I know you’ve been through a lot in your life,” Pastor Earl said, “and it’s a harsh world, but hold onto at least some of your childhood innocence. You’ll need it in order to live. You can survive without it, but you can’t truly live.”

Abby looked up at the sky and listened to the birds and the water. “I wish I still had some childhood innocence left to hold onto.” She looked into Pastor Earl’s eyes. “Warrick Baines took my family from me. They were everything I had. I watched him kill my siblings. He smashed my little sister’s head with a safe. With a safe.” Some tears dripped down her cheeks. “I saw her brains, Pastor Earl. She was four years old and I saw her brains. I try to remember other things about her, like how she liked to dance and how she liked the color green, but that’s really all I can think of now when I think of her.” She wiped the tears off her face. “And then he killed my mother and my father. We were so close.” Her voice cracked as she tried to hold herself together. “Warrick Baines ended them. He took everything I had to live for. How do you expect me to…” She couldn’t talk anymore. She was sobbing uncontrollably.

Pastor Earl leaned towards Abby and put his arm around her shoulders. “It’s okay Abby. I know. It’s all right.”

She let it all out. She sobbed into his chest for several minutes. The sound of the river and the sound of the birdsong were the only other things breaking the quiet. Abby barely noticed them as she cried. Pastor Earl spoke some comforting words to her, but he was mostly silent. He just quietly sat still and let her cry. After a while, she stopped and pulled away from him, wiping her eyes. “Your shirt’s soaked now.”

Pastor Earl chuckled. “It’s okay, Abby. I’m a pastor, remember? That’s the whole reason I wear shirts.”

Abby smiled. “Well thanks for listening. I’ve had things so bottled up for so long. I didn’t even realize.”

“It’s all right Abby.” A kind smile stretched across his elderly face. “I hope you understand, when I was talking to you earlier, I wasn’t trying to guilt trip you. We’re all sinners. I’m one of the worst. I studied the Bible and learned more than most people about Christianity. That’s why I’m a pastor, because of my knowledge. It doesn’t mean I’m any better at dealing with sin than anyone else, though. None of us can turn away from our sins on our own. That’s why we need Jesus.”

Abby nodded, looking at the river. “I know.”

“I’m just trying to warn you,” Pastor Earl said. “For your own good. You’re a good person, Abby. You deserve to be treated right. You deserve happiness. You deserve love.” He smiled at her. “Abby, real love is when somebody’s found their way in here.” He thumped his chest. “They become a part of you. You feel their pain, share their time. They’re a part of your days. And if you have a kid one day, they become even more a part of you. That doesn’t happen in a week. It takes years. Real love takes years. It grows stronger every day. And it’s not cheap.”

Abby smiled at him. “Were you ever in love?”

Pastor Earl smiled back. “I was.”

“Do you have children?”

The smile quickly turned into a frown. Abby noticed the beginning of a tear in Pastor Earl’s eye. “I did.”

The past tense of the statement made Abby reluctant to talk about it anymore. “Well thanks, Pastor Earl. Thanks for the advice.”

“Don’t stay with someone who drives you crazy,” he said. “Find someone who keeps you sane. Pray about it, Abby. When you don’t know what else to do, it’s time to pray.” Abby nodded and Pastor Earl stood and walked towards the trees, leaving her in her thoughts.

<>

Pastor Earl walked back to the camp, where he found Nat placing a half-full bottle of water in a bag on his sand bike. Apparently he was taking a break from training Bobby. Bobby, Horseman, and Michelle were nowhere to be found. Pastor Earl assumed they were off enjoying nature, possibly swimming. Pete was most likely in his van working on Abby’s computer. Poor guy was in the most beautiful place in the world and he was spending most of his time working in the van. Nat turned to face Pastor Earl. “Done brainwashing our boss for the day?” he asked with a grin, glaring at Earl through his sunglasses.

Earl stopped walking and frowned. “I guess that was supposed to be some sort of a joke or something?”

“Nah,” Nat said. “It wasn’t a joke. I’m tired of you goin’ around spouting off your religious propaganda. Why don’t ya keep it to yourself?”

“It just so happens that Abby’s also a Christian,” Pastor Earl said. “I’m not telling her anything she doesn’t already know. Besides, it was a private conversation. I don’t ask you about what you’re saying to Bobby, do I?”

“Whatever,” Nat muttered, shaking his head.

“What do you have against me?” Pastor Earl asked.

“Well,” Nat said, “for one, you walk around like you’re so much better than everyone else. We’re all a bunch of soulless animals or somethin’ in your eyes, I guess. You’re the high and mighty one and I ain’t fit to drink your piss.”

Pastor Earl frowned. “I’m sorry if you’ve been given that impression. As far as I can tell, it’s not from anything I’ve done or said.”

“Oh, it’s not?” Nat asked. “You’re patronizing me right now, pastor. And you don’t even realize it. A perfect example of what I’m talkin’ about. Maybe you need to pay more attention to what you say.” He stepped towards Pastor Earl, glaring at him through his sunglasses. “You think I’m stupid because I don’t believe in God. You’re the one followin’ a dead religion that’s pretty much been proven wrong by science.”

“God and science aren’t mutually exclusive,” Pastor Earl said.

“You people always like to say crap like that,” Nat muttered. “They are mutually exclusive once you realize that all of this stuff…” He waved his hand, signifying the meadow and the surrounding area. “…could have easily happened without any god. They’re mutually exclusive when you sort through all the bullcrap and see that your religion is nothin’ but another means of control. People pick and choose what they want over the years, finding the best possible ways to get people to believe. You indoctrinate people from the day they’re born and they’re trapped in your web of lies. It’s inhumane. It’s evil, if ya ask me. And there’s no scientific basis for any of it. It’s a made-up religion that sprung out of some ancient fantasy book.”

Pastor Earl nodded. “What happened to you Nat? Why do you hate religion so much?”

“Because it only hurts people,” Nat said. “It’s never done any good for nobody. You like to think it has, but it hasn’t. People can be just as moral without a god as they can be with one. If you say differently, you’re patronizin’ me again.”

“Religion has done good, though,” Pastor Earl argued, “whether you’re willing to see it or not. If you want to see what would happen if the whole world turned away from God, look no further than Herman Rennock and his empire.” He glared at Nat, trying his best to keep himself from getting angry. “Human reason isn’t the end-all be-all you think it is. Do you want to know what the ultimate result of a world based solely on human reason is? It’s a world where the rich are deemed great and the poor are deemed expendable.” Nat folded his arms across his chest and shook his head, a smirk on his scarred face. “When there’s no morality outside of science,” Earl continued, “materialism prevails. The wealthy become the only people who matter. What you have is deemed more important than who you are, since if the material world is all that there is, those who have the most are the most. Whether you realize it or not, this is the legacy of atheism, which you’ve bought into, hook, line, and sinker.”

Nat grit his teeth in anger. “You son of a bitch. You’re always misrepresentin’ me and my beliefs. You don’t know crap.”

“Am I misrepresenting you?” Pastor Earl asked. “Are you really that different from Herman Rennock when it comes down to it?”

“I care about people and you know it. And I don’t need any god either. I don’t need a god to tell me there’s more to life than what you own and how much money you have.”

“Do you really care about people, though?” Pastor Earl asked. “Why should you? What reason, without God, would you have to care about anyone but yourself?”

Nat frowned. “One man wouldn’t be able to do much out there on ‘is own. We need one another in order to live. We’ve evolved to be social creatures.”

“Why do we need to live, though?” Pastor Earl asked. “Look what we’ve done to the world. We’ve destroyed it.”

“You don’t know that,” Nat said. “Nobody knows who or what destroyed the old world.”

“But it’s a distinct possibility that it was us,” Pastor Earl said. “Even if humans didn’t destroy the old world, we’re destroying what’s left of this one. Maybe it would be best for us to end all of this and just give the world back to nature. Moralists are always talking about suffering. Wouldn’t death end the suffering? Wouldn’t the death of all humans end the suffering of the world? What reason do we really have to keep living if there is no God? Mankind can’t solve the world’s problems. Mankind is the problem. Our only real hope lies in something beyond us.”

Nat shook his head. “You cynical son of a bitch. We all make our own reasons to keep livin’.”

Pastor Earl nodded. “Ultimately, it would have to be a selfish reason. It would have to be a reason that would place your own individual needs above all else. And we’re left with Herman Rennock’s world.”

Nat glared at him. “You really are crazy. Come with me, Pastor. I want to show you somethin’.” He turned and walked to his sand bike.

“Why should I come with you?” Pastor Earl asked. He was feeling a little uncomfortable.

“Just get on your sand bike and follow me.”

“Are we going out to the dunes?” Pastor Earl asked.

“Don’t worry,” Nat said. “We’re not going out far enough that we’ll hit any lightning storms.  And I won’t take us out far enough that we’ll need oxygen masks.” He got on his sand bike and started the engine.

Pastor Earl figured regardless of their views, he and Nat were allies. He could trust him not to kill him if nothing else. He put on his helmet, got on his own sand bike, and followed Nat, who rode out across the meadow and into the dunes. They rode above countless dunes, past unfathomable amounts of sand, until Nat finally stopped as lightning flashed in the distance. Pastor Earl stopped next to him and got off his bike, taking off his helmet. They were surrounded by seas of sand on all sides. The wind howled, blowing gusts of sand off the tops of the high dunes. Earl could see the oasis in the distance, and in the stark desert he remembered how refreshing it had been to see grass and trees. “So what’s this all about?” he asked Nat.

Nat got off his bike and took off his gun belt, sunglasses, and hat. “You’ve been disrespectin’ me an awful lot, pastor. It’s time we settled this once and for all. There’s more to this than a difference in religious views.” He assumed a fighting stance.

Pastor Earl glanced at Nat’s robotic arm. “You brought me out here to kill me?”

Nat chuckled. “Nah, Earl. We need ya. I ain’t gonna kill ya. I’m just gonna beat some sense into ya.”

“Of course,” Pastor Earl said. “You can’t win the argument, so you resort to fighting.”

“Neither one of us will ever win this argument,” Nat said, “but you’ve disrespected me one too many times. It’s time for me to show you what I do to people who patronize me.”

Pastor Earl smiled and shook his head. “I’m not going to fight you, Nat.” Nat punched him hard in the face with his non-metal left hand, knocking him backwards a little. Earl hadn’t been prepared for it. His cheek throbbed with pain. He put his guard up, and Nat swung at him again with another left. Pastor Earl blocked the punch and jabbed Nat hard in the side. Nat grunted and punched Pastor Earl in the stomach. Earl swept at Nat’s legs with his foot, but Nat jumped backwards, dodging the attack. He lunged at Earl and knocked him to the ground, and the two men rolled in the sand, punching and wrestling, each trying to hold the other down as lightning flashed in the distance and thunder sounded.

 


Continue on to the next chapter:

Afterlife, Volume 1, Chapter 18

Where:

Pastor Earl and Nat Bigum finish their fight.

Nat and Bobby talk about Nat’s past some more.

Abby tells everyone more details about her plans.

Find the Table of Contents page here.


Check out Michael Monroe’s page on Amazon to find other stuff he’s written.

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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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