WWIV Book 1

FOUR WWIV Books are now available on Amazon.
Click here for more information.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Catching up again!

I know, I know...it's been a while.

Sorry; I've been busy creating new novels and new ideas to be released in the next twelve months. I think you're going to like them. So stay tuned!

Here's what you might have missed while I've been on hiatus:

My latest release (from about a month ago) was The Remnants of Antietam. It's post-apocalyptic and involves a little more fighting and weaponry than my usual stuff, but follows much of the same vein you've grown to like.

Set in Sharpsburg, MD (near the Antietam Battlefield) a small community of preppers finds themselves thrown into the world they thought they were ready for. But is anyone ever truly prepared for the end of times?

You can get it by clicking on the picture/cover below:



Also, if you were following the online novel Glitched, it's available in ebook and paperback as well now:



I'll have more to tell you in a few days. I'll catch you up to speed on what I'm writing and an exciting series that will be released in 2018.


Until then, have a great week.


Thanks for reading,

e a lake


Sunday, March 26, 2017

New Release Announcement



I enjoyed writing this novel, though at times I became somewhat depressed with the situations I put the characters through. In the end, I think it's a good post-apocalyptic tale of survival that the reader will enjoy.

So sit back and let me introduce you to Abigail Turner (our main character), Sunshine Jones (Abby's best - and perhaps only - friend), Rickard Hulton (a nearby wealthy rancher who oversees the area), and Jeremy Lasky (Hulton's right-hand man, who is certainly no friend of Abby's).

The apocalypse has been 22 years in the making. Each year has become more and more difficult. The only question that remains is will Abby survive to see a 23rd?







Now available on Amazon. Get your copy today.


Thanks for reading,

e a lake


                      

Friday, March 24, 2017

"Glitched" - Chapters 17 & 18

Click on the chapter numbers below to read prior publishings:

1&2  3&4  5&6  7&8  9&10  11&12  13&14  15&16



Chapter 17


I called Gareth to see if they had started on Lucy. Fortunately, he told me they hadn’t. But 16:00 was drawing nearer and time, as well as her luck, was running out.

“What did Anuk have to say?” Gareth asked. I heard him clicking on his keyboard in the background.

“She wasn’t home, but I ran into a nark who wants me to help her find someone.”

When he didn’t reply, I assumed our call had been cut off. That would be like Gar, dropping my call on purpose. I was using the wrong cell I guess.

“She wants me to find—”

“I’m reading her report right now,” he replied hastily. “Do those people have any clue as to what goes on in the world? Why would she ask a low-level glitch like you for help in finding someone like him? Just how stupid are they?”

His confidence in my abilities was touching. “I’m not that low-level, Frankenstein.”

“No offense, buddy. But how do they figure you can help find a guy that no one has ever met? As far as I’m aware no one has, right?”

That was the truth. And that, amongst a myriad of other reasons was why I had no intention of helping sexy Cassie, much less our tyrannical government in the least. Although Cassie was good looking enough to string along for a while. That could be fun, I mused.

It bothered me that Collins had given her my name for help. He knew better than that. I was barely a decent glitch; how in the devil did he expect me to locate someone who’d been on the lamb for years. But, that was the thought process of our country’s best.

The problem with most government employees was that they were generally lazy. Aside from sitting on their computers all day – researching God only knew what – they might leave their desk for meals, or meetings. I had always heard they held plenty of meetings at the various stations throughout the Cities. Both scheduled and impromptu.

But a man like Collins was the classic government type. Jerk someone else’s chain if they needed something done…make that anything done. I wondered if they even signed their own paperwork, or did they have some low-level lackey take care of that for them as well. No need in exerting yourself when there were hundreds of people willing to do your bidding, I supposed.

“Holy shit,” Gareth shouted into the phone. “Holy shit, Trent!”

“What?! What?!”

“I mean holy shit on a sherbet cone, dude.”

What had he discovered? Did the government know where Nithiw was? Was Lucy already dead? Were they sending a kill squad to find me that minute?

“Did you notice what a level 10 hottie Cassandra Lundt was?” Oh, that. Duh.

“I met her in person, you moron,” I replied, starting the walk back to Ma’s place to grab my black phone. “Trust me, it was a little hard to miss. A blind man would have noticed her downright hotness.”

“Wow, she is uber hot,” he continued. “She could come and interrogate me anytime she wanted to. Wowzer, dude.”

Since Gareth’s idea of dating revolved around online anonymous chatrooms, where he hid his identity, I scoffed at his words. “You’d just stutter and stammer until she called in the kill squad, man. She could stand in front of you in her birthday suit and you wouldn’t know what to do.”

The silence told me I had nailed him, right through the heart. I felt a smile grow as I waited on his clever response, the one that didn’t seem to be coming anytime soon.

“You still there, Gar?”

“Yeah,” he moaned. “Just checking security at one. It seems they have an eye on our area right now. But, and this goes without saying, they don’t seem to know what they’re looking for.”

Cassie had already told me that, so it wasn’t news to me. It wasn’t unusual for the State to be focused on one area or another from time to time. I just figured it was hot, in their eyes at least, because of Lucy’s arrest earlier.

“Are you completely dark?” I asked, pausing for a moment on my walk. I needed the break anyway. If I made one more lap of our area, I’d be ready for the marathon by nightfall.

“Two is looking at cyber activity right now,” he replied casually. “They have been all morning. Though the bright ones down there think they’re getting phished by a bunch of hackers from the north side at this moment.”

I knew there were several smaller cells in the north. But I couldn’t recall if they had much hacking capability among the group.

“It’s me,” he admitted, sounding pleased with himself. “So to answer your question, yes, I am completely dark. And just so you know, it’s getting close to 15:00. Clock is ticking for Lucy, bud.”

Sighing first, I glanced at my surroundings. The gray day made the dismal neighborhood between Anuk’s place and Ma’s even more depressing. Besides the dilapidated buildings and roads, there were no signs of life save a single barking dog.

“Where the hell is he?!” I heard shouted from Gareth’s end of the call. “Well?” I thought I recognized the voice.

“Your girlfriend is here,” Gareth chuckled.

“Screw you, brainless,” the feminine voice replied. “If you’re talking to him right now, tell him to get his skinny ass over here. Now!”

Well, Anuk certainly sounded in a good mood. “Tell her I’ll be there in five minutes, Gar. And maybe give her a drink or something. She needs to chill.”

I clicked off before he, or she, could respond.

Now what? I wondered, taking the next right to return to Gareth’s.



Chapter 18


When I walked through Gareth’s front door I found Anuk standing in the middle of the room waiting for me. I expected her to be pissed; she had sounded that way on the phone. Instead I found a smiling young woman, approaching me with open arms. She wanted a hug.

“Hi, sweetie,” she said in a voice I’d never heard from her before. She squeezed me tightly with her arms. “I’m glad you’re here safe and sound.”

There probably, in hindsight, were multiple signals coming from the tiny one that it was all a ploy. She wanted something else. But stupid me didn’t think it through. Instead, I wrapped my arms around her tiny body.

I enjoyed the closeness, the smell of her hair, her fingers massaging my back. Though unusual from Anuk, I had to say I liked it.

Until…

Her knee rose so fast I had no time to react. One minute I was hugging a woman whom I believed was showing me real affection. The next thing I knew I was on the floor in the fetal positions, clutching my aching balls.

“What the—” I managed to moan after a few painful seconds. That’s when the toe of her right boot found my sternum.

“You met Margo Hanks, in public no less?” she screamed. “How many ways of stupid are you?”

A response wasn’t coming anytime soon, not from me at least. I was too busy protecting myself from further attacks to my sensitive areas. That, and the fact I still hadn’t caught my breath from the initial attack.

“What if they have you on tape, you idiot?” Her rant continued, though her foot had let up. “What if they were listening in? We don’t know shit about her. She could be one of them.”

Okay, maybe meeting with Margo wasn’t the best idea I’d had in a while. In my defense, however, I didn’t know who I was meeting until I got there. And, nothing important had been said.

“Ease up, Anuk,” Gareth said, coming to my rescue. “Let him get up so he can defend himself.”

Anuk went behind the couch and began to pace. Seeing I had a good 10 feet of safety zone between us, I rose. When she made a move to come at me again, I shook a finger at her.

“Don’t,” I stammered. “Don’t make me hurt you.”

That brought a grin to her otherwise sour-puss face. The grin was followed by a snort. Gareth joined the fun with laughter.

“You couldn’t hurt anyone, much less me,” Anuk replied. “You’re just lucky Margo didn’t pull a knife out and slit your scrawny throat.”

“She’s not that type.” I had enough breath to finally defend myself, if only in words.

Anuk threw her hands my direction and spun to face Gareth.

“And how in the hell would he know anything about her?” she shrieked. “Did you brief him before this meeting, dimwit? Or did he just walk in dark like he did earlier at the Repository?”

Gareth seemed to take no offense to her rant and found his spot in his special chair. Picking up the keyboard, his attention focused on the monitor on the wall.

“He knew enough,” Gareth replied. Good, at least he was on my side. “And he knew enough to leave her alone. We don’t need any more problems right now, but Trent always plays by his own set of rules.”

“Et tu, dickless?” I shot at my best friend. Someone had to defend me, and who better than me.

“I believe the phrase was leave her alone.” Anuk was back at me. “Which head rules your day, Trent? And don’t bother with an answer; we all know.” Why was she shouting again? I was standing in the same room as her.

I raised my hand in surrender. “Okay, admittedly it wasn’t one of my smartest moves. But she was worried about her friend.”

Anuk charged me. “She’s with the government stupid.” A hard jab reached my sternum, damn her. “She’s one of them!”

I didn’t think so. If anything Margo was one us of or at least a peeb sympathizer. She was far too passionate about getting Lucy out of station one.

“Jury’s still out on that one, Anuk,” I replied, softening my voice and stance. “She’s on our side. That’s what my gut tells me.”

Taking a quick right at my stomach, I easily deflected Anuk’s blow. “You gut is going to get us all killed someday. And soon if you don’t start acting a little more cautiously. I had another email. He wants this thing all sewn up by 18:00. I think he feels that two hours of interrogation and your girlfriend will crack.”

A thought came to me. Closing my eyes, I considered it all the way through.

“Gar, how close do the people in the government check interoffice requests?” I asked.

He opened his arms, signaling he needed a clearer picture of what I was asking.

“If we send a request to the interrogation team to hold off for a couple of hours, say until 18:00, will they think twice about it?”

“If it’s from an anonymous source?” He wasn’t following; I had left out the important part.

“Send a note from Collins to the team,” I continued. “Tell them he’s tracking down a hot lead on Selmo’s whereabouts. Maybe his gang can bring him in so Lucy can ID him. Think they’d check up on it, maybe call Collins himself?”

His grin spoke volumes as his finger flew across the keyboard. “They’re so lazy down there; they don’t check shit.” He made an exaggerated key strike and tossed his tool aside. “Done!”

I looked at Anuk, placing a hand on each of her shoulders. “Okay, we just bought another two hours. I’ve got an idea. Hear me out.”


Her tightened expression told me she was skeptical. But since she remained silent, I had my opening.


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All material is the intellectual property of e a lake. Please don't steal it, but feel free to share this with anyone you might think will enjoy it. Also -- and this is a biggie -- if you have any input on the grammar, or content, or ideas for upcoming chapters, please make a comment. Let's create this novel together. And with your help, it can only become better.

Thank you,





e a lake


                      

Friday, March 17, 2017

"Glitched" - Chapters 15 & 16

Click on the chapter numbers below to read prior publishings:

1&2  3&4  5&6  7&8  9&10  11&12  13&14


Chapter 15


Running, well trotting I suppose, it took me 15 minutes to get to Anuk’s place. But there was a surprise for me when I arrived. Her front door was locked and from the looks of things she wasn’t home.

I knew she couldn’t have gone far. I mean how much distance could she make with those short legs. Turning for the sidewalk, I scoured the area in case she was nearby. Instead of Anuk, I found trouble.

It was the gray raincoat that gave her away. The one cinched at her waist so tight I wondered if her legs were getting any blood. If nothing else the tightened belt showed off her tiny waist. And those two nylon coverage legs that stood below the bottom of the coat were pretty noticeable as well.

“Hello there,” she said in a voice that was far too friendly for who she was, what she represented. “Would you happen to be Trent Slate?” she asked, her beautifully full, red-painted lips pursing into a smile.

She knew exactly who I was. She knew everything about me; my birthdate, my ma’s name, my shoe size…everything. Hell, she probably knew what my favorite color of underwear was.

I knew I couldn’t avoid her, or run away, so I gave her what she wanted. “I don’t know Miss Government nark,” I replied with a grin. “Do you have a name?”

She extended a demur hand my way, her nails painted a color that matched her lips. Staring at it for a moment first, I finally shook it. It wasn’t like she was going to bite, right?

“My name is Cassandra Lundt,” she replied in the friendliest of voices. That caused me to smile.

First off, it probably wasn’t her actual name. These government types that chased glitches around were notorious for having fake names. Next, there was the fact she wanted something. No one treated me like a human, much less ever smiled at me. Her over the top happy do-dah attitude was lost on me.

Lastly, and this one was a biggie in my mind, no one in the world was that happy any more. Absolutely, positively no one. If you worked for the government, you most likely hated your job. If you were a supplementary worker, or a glitch like me, you hated your life. If you were a peeb you spent most of your time avoiding people… people who all hated you and wanted you dead.

Thus, Cassandra Lundt was a fraud.

“What can I do for you, Ms. Lundt?” I replied, nowhere near as happily as she spoke.

She snaked an arm through one of mine and turned me down the sidewalk, walking and patting my arm with her free hand. “Oh, why don’t you call me Cassie? I’d so like it if we could think of each other as friends.”

I couldn’t help but grin. How stupid did she think I was? “Okay, Cassie. What do you want? You know, if my girlfriend sees us arm-in-arm, she may get jealous.”

Giggling at something I said, Cassie pulled me onward. “First of all, I don’t think either Lucy or Riley are actually your girlfriend. And if you must know, you can do so much better than either of those two.”

I shook my head as we continued our stroll. I had only tossed out the girlfriend comment to see how she would respond; at her reply spoke volumes. This Cassie, or whoever she was, had been talking to someone, and that someone was most likely Captain Collins.

“I’m looking for a man,” she continued, only softer and less jovial.

“Well, I could free up some time for you, if you’re into guys like me,” I replied, fighting back laughter. I knew that wasn’t what she meant, but Cassie wasn’t getting crap from me.

“Not like that,” she said, slapping playfully at my arm. “I’m looking for a particular man and I’m told that of all the people in the city, you just might be able to help me find him.”

I grinned. It was the one and only Captain Kumquat who had sent her to search me out. Now, who was she looking for? I needed to play her slow. Maybe the dumb angle would work, since it came so easy for me.

“I’m just a lowly glitch, Cassie,” I said, shrugging softly. “I barely get my quota each month. I hope you’re not looking for someone too difficult to find.” I flashed her my sad eyes. “I’d hate to let you down.”

“Oh Trent,” she cooed. “I have it on good authority that if anyone can help me it’s you.”

Man, was she overselling it. She had to be desperate to find the special someone.

“Who you looking for?” I finally asked, hoping to get this lovefest over with.

Checking all around us first, she glanced back at me with pursed lips. “There’s been a lot of chatter today and it’s all revolved around one person…a man.”

Her pause made me sigh. Why had everyone I talked to today decided to hide everything so close to their chests?

“This will be easier with a name,” I replied. “Otherwise, I’ll just be wandering around looking for a guy without a description.”

She rubbed my arm and leaned in for what looked like a kiss. However, her lips slid past my face and close to my right ear.

“Selmo Nithiw,” she whispered.

I let out a loud throaty snort. Her and everyone else in the government were looking for this guy. Most of the peebs were looking for him as well, for a very different reason of course. If she thought I could help with this task, she needed a new job.

“You want me…” I poked a finger into my chest, “…to help you find the mythical leader of the peebs? A guy we aren’t sure even exists. A guy who, as far as I know, no one has ever met. A guy we’re not even sure is a guy; he could be a woman for all I know.”

She shot me a beautiful smile and nodded two or three times. “That’s right. Can you help me?”

Lady, I thought, you don’t need my help. This guy is unfindable as far as I’m concerned.



Chapter 16


I shoved my hands in my pockets and shot her my best “you’ve got to be kidding me” look. But even that didn’t slow old Cassie down…not that she was that old.

“Someone’s been filling you full of shit, lady,” I replied. “I wouldn’t even know where to start looking for him. This is a pretty big city; he could be anywhere.”

I had to hand it to her, she didn’t look like she was going to give up easy. “He has to be somewhere near here today. We’re picking up a lot of chatter from this area. I have it on good accord that he’s keeping an eye on the Lucy Tringle situation.”

I shrugged and backed away. “I don’t know anything about any of that.” Sure, it was a lie, and she probably knew I was lying. Two words: plausible deniability.

“But you know all about poor Lucy, Trent,” Cassie countered. “You must have seen her taken away this—”

“I mean I don’t know nothing about this Selmo guy having an interest in it.”

Her face lit up. “Oh, but he does. We believe she can give us a name. And that name will eventually lead us right to the man himself.”

I acted as uninterested as I could. “Then grill her and get the name. Everyone knows you guys are good at getting people to spill their guts. I mean, after all, isn’t that the whole purpose of the government nowadays? Getting the poor citizens of this country to squeal on other citizens, regardless of their innocence or guilt?”

“Oh, Trent,” she purred. “If you help out maybe we can save poor Lucy some of the anguish she’ll have to go through otherwise. Do you really want her to have to suffer like that?”

I’d had enough of her bull. It was time for me and Ms. Government-information-persuader to part ways.

“Don’t you have puppies to torture somewhere?” That failed to elicit any sort of response from Cassie so I hit her head on. “I’m sure Lucy doesn’t know shit. So go ahead and torture her for all I care. She’s going to give you some false name just so you can end your crap and put a bullet in her head. Good luck.”

I turned to leave when I felt Cassie grab my arm from behind.

“I’ve got a deal for you,” she whined. “And it’s a really good deal, Trent.”

That I doubted very much. But what the hell, I wasn’t too busy to run off and not hear what she had to say.

“If you help us track down Selmo Nithiw, you’ll be placed on easy street.” She made it sound like a happy place, this easy street. I doubted it, but stared at her. “No more glitching. No more monthly quota. You and your mother will be taken care of for life.”

Cassie had my attention. Well, besides her tiny body, beautiful face, and delightful personality, her words had me interested.

“Go on,” I droned.

“You’ll be given the same rations as the government workers get,” she continued. “No more questionable meats. No, Trent; you and your mother will be eating the very best beef and pork available. Your fruits and vegetables will be flavorful and abundant.

“I think I can even talk the Housing Authority into moving you out somewhere on the west side of Lake Calhoun. You know those are much larger and newer homes. You might even have your own wing, if you play it right. And perhaps a car could be in your future. A new car. Would you like that, Trent?”

My puny brain was still back on the decent food. A few months back most of the meat Ma and I had gotten was rancid by the second week of the month. I hadn’t had a decent piece of fruit in years; not since I was a kid and we took a field trip to an apple orchard way out on the east side of St. Paul.

A bigger house was a nice enticement, but a car? Holy shit. That was a wet dream as far as I was concerned. I think I knew one person who had a car. Well, a legal car. One that wasn’t stolen or pieced together like some kid’s toy.

“And all you have to do, Trent, is help us find Selmo Nithiw.”

And then reality slapped me sober.

“You want me to find you a ghost, is what you’re saying,” I replied as my face went sour. “Find a guy that no one has any idea what he looks like. Yeah, I think I’ll go back to real life here, sister. Because I ain’t so sure I can help you find what you’re looking for.”

She stared at me with those beautiful baby blues and I felt my heart melt. “But you can try, can’t you, Trent? You’ll try…” she inched closer, pressing parts of her body against mine. “…for me, won’t you, Trent?”

I’d say she drove a hard bargain, but that wasn’t what was hard at that moment.

“I’ve got a little free time today,” I said. “I could make some inquiries.”

Cassie’s face lit up like a Halloween pumpkin. “I just knew I could count on you.” She raised up on her toes and gave me a peck on the cheek. “Now here’s my card. Call me the minute you know anything.”

As fast as she came into my life, she turned and headed down the sidewalk. When she got to her car, Cassie turned and gave me one last marvelous smile and a dainty wave.

Three things were apparent to me. First, I wasn’t wasting my time looking for Selmo Nithiw. He didn’t want to be found. Let sleeping mongrels lie, my ma always said. Second, something big was going down inside of the government. Maybe they believed they were about to have the lead they needed to hunt Nithiw down themselves. As if…

Third, and most important in my mind, Lucy was in trouble. They were going to interrogate her and if she didn’t give them what she wanted the torture would begin. Fun and games Collins had once called it. But I knew for a fact that if anyone thought for a second there was any fun when the blood started to flow, well that person was a masochist.


I needed a plan. A good plan. Perhaps my best plan ever. But I had no idea where to begin.





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All material is the intellectual property of e a lake. Please don't steal it, but feel free to share this with anyone you might think will enjoy it. Also -- and this is a biggie -- if you have any input on the grammar, or content, or ideas for upcoming chapters, please make a comment. Let's create this novel together. And with your help, it can only become better.

Thank you,




e a lake