Monthly Archives: March 2021
Xi San saved the life of a mysterious girl one night in his ravaged San Francisco neighborhood. He can’t get her out of his mind, but believes that she’s lost to him. Lin Kwan came to America to bring her scientist father Chinese medicinal herbs, hoping to stop the virus that killed most of the world’s Caucasians before it mutates to infect the rest of the world. On her way to finding him, she meets again the man who once saved her, a man she can’t forget.
With a diverse group of fellow travelers, they head for St. Louis, where civilization is being rebuilt. Between them and safety, danger lurks—Gabriel, a self-styled religious leader and white supremacist, who has organized his army from Upper Midwest survivalist and militia followers, determined to take revenge for the white man.
But Gabriel isn’t their only enemy. Before they reach their destination, they will battle nature, prejudice and even those hidden among them who wish their destruction.
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After one such trip, Valery came to stand behind San on the small porch.
“You going to be up to taking off soon?”
“I’m feeling ready, but the doctor says no. And Archer wants to wait. Weeks, maybe.”
She snorted. “Well, don’t you worry about what he says. Kwan and I can take him.”
San looked up at her. Her pigtails and bright ruffled shirt gave an impression of a much younger girl, but he read her adulthood in her eyes.
“Is that so?”
She nodded slowly. “You bet it is.”
“Good to know.”
She patted him tentatively on the shoulder and went back inside.
Surprised at the unusual sign of solidarity, he chuckled. She might think he was an idiot where Kwan was concerned, but maybe when it came to the group, she was still on his side.
Marie came to the door. “Hang? Your radio’s calling!”
The boy extricated himself from the truck and ran inside, Piao and Terry on his heels. San got up, too, moving aside as Archer and his friends came running then followed them in.
The man’s voice was tight with anxiety. “KC-five-NXS, KC-five-NXS, this is K-two-JJB. Hang, are you there? What’s going on?”
“KC-five-NXS, yes, I’m here.” Hang settled onto the floor in front of the radio as the others gathered around. “Thanks for getting back to me. I wanted to let you know we’re going to be delayed.”
“What? I don’t think you can wait any longer, son. Word came down this morning that Gabriel’s on the move. His people set off explosives all along the stretch of I-Eighty between Omaha and Lincoln, knocking out the road. It’s impassable.”
“Cabrón,” Valery hissed.
San eyed Charlie, his worst fears coming to life. Yeah, I do know what I know, fool. “We need a map,” he said.
“I got one in the truck,” Terry said and hurried out.
“Why would he do that?” Hang asked John. “Don’t his people need to get around, too?”
“Word has it that some groups in the two cities planned to set up a blockade, aiming to take Gabriel out. Apparently, he got the jump on them. He’s celebrating on his damned radio station, claiming the other side was the attacker. I’m not sure how much of what he says you can believe, but we’ve got confirmation from our men on the ground that there are plenty of dead, and they aren’t Gabe’s people.”
“Whoa.” Deflated, Hang leaned back against the bookshelf where the radio sat.
“How many dead?” Marie asked.
“Reports range from just a few to hundreds, depending on who’s telling the story.”
Terry came back with the map, and they spread it out on the table. Mere inches separated Lincoln from their intended route on Interstate Seventy, inches that translated into only one hundred and seventy miles. And they still had three states to cross moving east.
John continued, “I know you’re dealing with a wounded man, but honestly, son, you might have to leave him behind if you’re gonna make—”
“No way!” Hang’s eyes blazed. “He’s going to be on the radio, and he’ll give old Gabriel hell. You just wait!”
San reached out to pat the boy on the shoulder.
“Calm down. I’m fine,” he told John. “We’ll be leaving almost immediately. Right?” He turned to Charlie, and the others did, too. The silence awaiting his answer stretched out. “I’ll take my people on ahead if you’re not ready.”
“If he’s headed down the eastern side of the state, maybe he hasn’t hit Chadron yet,” Marie murmured.
San was distracted by the non sequitur. “What?”
“Or the Mormon lands, either. They’re on the western end of the state,” Jack said.
“Okay. We’ve got some decisions to make,” San said. He spoke a little louder. “Thanks, John, for the information. Someone’s passing that on to KMOX, right?”
“You bet. I expect that will provoke some discussion tonight. Gotta run. Hang, son, you check in so I know you’re okay, will you?”
“Yes, sir, I promise. KC-five-NXS over and out.”
He shut off the radio. San looked at the map again. Then he looked at the others. “So, how quickly can we get out of here?”