The warm afternoon’s air, salty and full of the I-8’s usual buzz, was like any other – until ground-shaking booms launched the city into complete and utter chaos. As the city of San Diego lurches into a state of panic, a terrible realization dawns upon its citizens: they’re under attack. The United States of America is being invaded.
While on their way to the southern Californian city, the Hunt Family is caught up in the disorder and
separated. Now, their lives on the line and their humanity in question, the Hunts, along with
unsuspecting allies, must fight to survive the devastation around them. However, they soon discover the invaders are not the only enemies they are to face.
With the United States military rendered ineffective by the technologically-advanced attackers and the
city’s population unable to fight or risk being vaporized, survivors learn that remaining undetected might be their only chance to escape death. But a peculiar new addition to the Hunt’s group exposes a plot blacker than anyone could have guessed as the truth behind the assault is revealed. Weaponless, defenseless, and without outside help, the Hunts embark on a perilous journey that will lay bare the
good – and the bad – of mankind.
She and her boys were the only ones in the relatively large convenience store, but seeing the dearth of products it held on its shelves, it made perfect sense. It had been looted to the bone. The loud, but muffled voices broadcasting from the ships flying overhead still warned citizens to stay inside their domiciles and off the streets. The constant barrage of stringent guidance had begun a day ago and had become maddeningly monotonous, but no one dared to defy the orders. Of course, the only people on the street were the homeless, those caught without a place to stay, or, in Maggie’s case, people with no choice.
Maggie reached to the back of a mostly empty shelf and groped at the small can hiding in the back. When she drew it out, she stared at it for a long moment, simmering. Fucking oysters. Fed up, she chucked it down the aisle with a yowl of frustration, throwing it at the cement block wall at the south end of the building. The milky thick gray contents oozed on the back wall before dropping to a congealed blob on the tiled floor. She let out another scream of anger, for the first time in her life hating God for what he had done; her voice reverberated throughout the store.
The only reply she received was a choked question if she was okay from her oldest son.
Initially flooded with anger – she had told them to stay in the back office where no one could see them – her affect immediately changed upon spotting a bearded face pressed against the glass in the front of the store behind them. “Get your asses over here now,” she hissed at them, terrified. She didn’t know how long he had been looking in, but without a doubt he had heard the scream. The man peering in was unkempt, unshaven, and dirty. His impossibly wide eyes looked ferocious and half crazed.
Heart thrumming, Maggie watched the feral-looking man as he slowly trudged the length of the storefront, heading to the front door, his eyes never leaving the darkened interior. She was furious with herself for advertising her location in that brief moment of weakness and heightened emotion.
The man’s dirt-crusted fingers drummed on the glass, a sound loud enough that the patter echoed to the back of the store; his other hand held a long, serrated kitchen knife that, from a distance, appeared rusted and dull. Maggie pushed her boys below the aisle divider, keeping her gaze on the man as he licked his lips with mad obscenity. The scream had gotten his attention, she was now praying that he didn’t see them- didn’t see her boys. But the way his ferocious eyes stayed fixed on the inside said he knew perfectly well they were in there, and that he did not have friendly intentions. As he approached the store’s door, he allowed his nails to scrape along the glass pane, sending an eerie screech inside.
The three of them had spent almost an hour in the building and knew perfectly well that the only other exit was located in the back office and was locked with a deadbolt that had been rusted shut. The only way they could get out of this was through the front where this savage looking intruder was slowly opening the glass door with a slow and methodic madness.
Breathing unsteady, Maggie glanced around for a weapon, anything.
Once the door was open a few inches, the man brought his face up to the small opening and, in a musical and unusually high-pitched voice, sang, “Helllooooo.”
Just then, something made the man pause and look over his shoulder. His face, once maniacally predatorial, folded in fear – he was now the prey.
Two large, metal legs reinforced by three piston-like tubes came into view at the window’s edge. The legs supported a metallic metal frame which appeared to have electrical currents running down its body. Two bulky metal arms protruded from its sides, with another wiry one folding over the top right shoulder, with what appeared to be some kind of weapon at the end. It took two more long strides toward the man then stopped. The torso rotated a quarter turn to face him.
Maggie motioned to her boys to be quiet and still as she looked on. They had been doing everything they could in the last 48 hours to avoid those horrible machines. Although the ships overhead were sparse, the 15 foot tall mechanical nightmares were now ubiquitous as they patrolled the streets. From what she could tell, they were there to enforce the complete lockdown of the city, and curfew restrictions of the people. And they were enforcing them violently without hesitation. They had begun killing indiscriminately, mowing down anyone who was not following the loud speaker dictates.
“Citizen, you are disobeying lockdown orders,” rumbled a baritone, synthesized voice from the armor’s speaker.
Before the craft had finished its warning, a diamond-white light accompanied by a sound like the intense buzzing of highline wires, burst into the store. A shelf containing the few remaining cans of fruit exploded above their heads and tin cans melted. Maggie dove to the floor atop her boys as red hot debris fell over the three. Then everything went silent.
COMING FALL 2022