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Chapter One

Madness and Misery

Safe Haven Den

Somewhere in the Georgia Mountains

September 27th, 2013


"Fire in the hole!"

Marc waited for the rumble, sure that few others were doing the same. After three days of Adrian blocking and blowing roads to their den, the notification didn't garner attention. In fact, it was mostly ignored. People in this mountain had more problems than a former leader hanging around.

Marc had told the camp what was likely coming. He'd also assigned Samantha and a few others to monitoring the situation. The result was a twitchy council who needed reassurances from their boss, but none was coming. Angela wasn't in any condition to comfort others. All she did was cry when awake, so the doctors were sedating her. Even when Marc with her, the tears were constant. That man wasn't certain how much more of it he could handle. He wanted his Angie, even if she was a cruel, self-centered bitch. They'd talked a little and he understood why she'd made the choices she had, but it didn't stop the anger or the guilt. If she had told him what she planned, he would have helped, not interfered. She had no right to exclude him that way and then blame him for what went wrong. At the same time, if he had been able to follow her plans in the past, instead of always second-guessing her choices, then maybe she would have confided in him. The gulf between them could now hold entire towns.

The rumbling of new explosions was also ignored by the camp. Marc had made informed the camp that they would be hearing those noises regularly while Adrian sealed up the mountain. Angela had sent him out to handle that chore alone, in the dying snowstorm, with dazed, angry refugees and betrayed ants roaming everywhere. Marc still wasn't positive that she was trying to kill Adrian, though he was rooting for it. He did hope she let the traitor get the roads and paths blocked first.

There were too many threats in range for Marc's liking, and then there were the three items that Seth and Becky had brought back: Iodine, water purification tablets, and bag of Military-grade personal dosimeters. He didn't want to know what moment those were for. He had his hands full with the current problems. It was infuriating to Marc that yet another group of individuals wouldn't let them have peace. He wanted to challenge them all, but nothing would get him to counter Angela's plans and plots right now. She'd only given a few orders since being brought down from the bloody mountain, but Marc was making sure they were followed–against his own wishes. He didn't want to bunker-in. He wanted to rush out and meet Vlad's populace with his fury. Safe Haven had fought for ten months to keep it together. They had sacrificed and suffered enough. When did they get a break?

According to previous words from their seer, no break was coming until they reached true safety. People now assumed that was Pitcairn Island. Kendle had no idea how popular she would be when she returned. Some of the Eagles reasoned she might keep going on her own, but Marc didn't. Kendle was terrified of being on the ocean again. She wanted to go, but the method of transport was going to keep her with them. Marc wondered how she would react when she found the cruise ship. There was no way she would deal well with that. Marc was glad they would be pulling other boats that would need a skeleton crew. It would allow Kendle a different type of ship for the journey that Theo had calculated would take over a month. Instead of traversing the country again or worse, dipping into foreign coasts as they tried to slide through on their way to Pitcairn Island, they were going to sail all the way around South America. They planned to stay in the open ocean until it was time to ride the deadly currents around the tip and be spit out very near their destination–if they survived. Marc was forever impressed with Angela's courage and ambition. He also thought she was nuts.

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