Update Feb 2016-
Chapter samples can be found at the following links;
Weekly chapters are being released until the final edition is published.
Update: 1/17/2016-- Below is a sample of the 2014 rough draft. 2015 has seen many changes, and the release for book three is set for March 2016!
1- THE GRAY
A drizzle of rain began to fall on the windshield.
Within several minutes, the dry road had darkened under the steady scatterings of water. It seemed the further I drove down the interstate, the heavier the downpour became.
As the wipers rubbed roughly against the window, each stroke did little to clear my view of the way ahead. This forced me to cautiously slow my speed.
When I’d left Barstow, the sky had been clear, but that was nearly two days ago. I tried to map out my route beforehand, but as neither Tara nor Simon had passed that way, I was forced to proceed blindly.
The course I’d taken during the initial drive from Las Vegas to California was too far north to take from Barstow. It would have added days, if not weeks to the trek.
I had remained weaving the small Toyota Yaris through the lanes, but the breaks in traffic were becoming more difficult to drive through.
Just after I passed Calico Road, which detoured to parallel the interstate, I decided I would need to make a slight deviation in my route.
Up ahead, there appeared to be yet another traffic jam. Many of the vehicles had been abandoned with their doors open. I’d noticed that a few trunks were left ajar as well, with their contents still lying scattered on the surface of the ground. I could make out the remains of suitcases and soiled clothing. Weathering had taken a heavy toll on the unprotected items, and any dust that had still clung to the vehicles had become a thin layer of mud.
It was obvious that there would be no way through, but a sense of almost morbid curiosity drew me nearer.
I stopped the Yaris just short of the last car in the traffic jam. Common sense told me to turn around and keep driving, but the small car was beginning to feel uncomfortable to sit in. My back and legs had begun to feel stiff and ungainly.
After putting the car into park, I turned off the ignition and climbed out to stretch. The muscles in my back ached appreciatively, despite the chill of the morning rain.
Purposefully, I made my way towards the abandoned cars to see if there was anything useful to take.
As I walked, one vehicle in particular caught my attention. It appeared to have several holes in its windshield. Upon closer inspection, it became apparent that the driver had been shot and left to decay in the car.
The driver still sat in their seat, but the desiccated head lulled unnaturally backwards. I couldn’t see much more than the long auburn curls that draped downwards and obscured her face. Other details were concealed by what remained of the blackened, shriveled flesh.
Forcing my eyes away, the other cars seemed to stretch out for a mile, if not farther. A few of the more daring drivers had attempted to navigate around the collision, but remained trapped in the loose dirt. The uneven terrain was unforgiving to anything with less than four-wheel drive.
I’d peered inside several more cars, but none seemed to contain anything worth taking. Clothes, shoes, and sentimental items were the predominate objects to be found.
Conscious of the time I was wasting, I turned back to head towards the car. By then, rain had sodden my jeans, but the Jacket I wore kept the majority of my upper body from being soaked.
For a brief moment, I gazed up at the sky. The gray clouds above seemed to be thinning, despite the continual downpour of rain. With any luck, the sky would fully clear by the afternoon.
After starting the vehicle’s engine, I backtracked towards the off-ramp. It appeared surprisingly empty, considering its close proximity to the interstate.
The condition of the road had become severely deteriorated. Cracks ran long furrows down the faded asphalt. These were more bearable than the random potholes that threatened to pop an unwary tire.
When I pulled onto Yermo road, I took a left. According to the new map I’d picked up before the trip, the thin line representing Yermo would parallel the interstate, then later re-connect. I hoped that in bypassing the accident, I would be able to remain on the interstate. If not, I’d have to drive along the outskirts or continue on foot.
I took a cursory glance at the vehicle’s gas gauge, though I knew how much was roughly expected to be left. It should be enough to get to Vegas, but I would need to re-fuel for the ride back. Syphoning gasoline had become an annoying, if commonplace event.
Traveling alone was more difficult than I’d anticipated. It was the silence that had become grating to my nerves. Simon, Tara, and Katie had accompanied me nearly everywhere since Michael and Rachael had left. Tara had offered to join me, but I’d turned her down.
When the location of my pre-amnesia home had returned to me, it had been nearly two months ago. My first impulse had been to tell the others immediately, but once my initial excitement faded, it was clear that traveling there as a group would be impossible.