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In the End

In the End

Автором Demitria Lunetta

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In the End

Автором Demitria Lunetta

оценки:
4.5/5 (22 оценки)
Длина:
329 pages
4 hours
Издатель:
Издано:
Jun 24, 2014
ISBN:
9780062105509
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From Scribd: About the Book

From author Demitria Lunetta comes an utterly compelling conclusion to the survival story In The After. The final installment of this thrilling post-apocalyptic tale, In The End is an unputdownable look into the ravages of the future.

It's been three months since Amy escaped New Hope and seen any of her friends. She’s been surviving on her own, like she did before she was "rescued" and taken to what she thought was a safe haven.

Until one day, a voice rings out in her earpiece. And in a desperate tone, Kay utters the four words Any had hoped she would never hear:

Dr. Reynolds has Baby.

Now it's a race against time with Baby in the clutches of the malevolent doctor who had helped start the end of the world. Amy will have to make her way to Fort Black, a former prison-turned-survivor colony. She'll have to endure the darkest places — and people — of the prison. And one small slip-up could not only cost Baby and Amy their lives, but threaten the survival of the people in the After.

Издатель:
Издано:
Jun 24, 2014
ISBN:
9780062105509
Формат:

Об авторе

Chicago native Demitria Lunetta is a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators and a faithful follower of all things YA on her blog www.demitrialunetta.blogspot.com. She holds a BA in Human Ecology and has spent countless hours studying the many ways in which people are capable of bringing about their own destruction. In case the end is near, she always carries a good book and a chocolate bar—the two items essential for postapocalyptic survival.


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In the End - Demitria Lunetta

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Chapter One

I long for the comfort of night.

The sun feels warm on my face. Before, sunshine was a good thing. But this is the After, and outside of New Hope, the light means only one thing if you’re not armed: death.

It’s early spring, but in the place that used to be Texas, it gets oppressively hot early in the year. I stop walking and open my canteen. The water drips from it and sizzles on the asphalt when I take a drink.

My synth-suit shields my otherwise bare feet from the burning ground, though my calluses also offer protection. I always wear my synth-suit in case I come across someone unfriendly—and out here, everyone’s unfriendly. In the After, I learned to live without noisy shoes, and continued to run without them while I was in New Hope. I’m grateful I kept up with my running, or I wouldn’t have made it out here these last three months. Even a simple supply mission like this could turn deadly.

I close my canteen and scan the area. On the horizon, I see a strip of houses that lies by a dried-up lake. I haven’t hit this neighborhood yet for supplies, and as it’s a fair way from the main road, I’m hoping no one else has either. As I get closer, I see that at some point this must have been a cozy little community. The walls of the houses are stucco, the roofs red tile, as if designed to look like a Spanish village. An old swing on a backyard jungle gym sways, its metal links creak in the wind. The houses, obviously cheaply made, aren’t suitable for shelter anymore. After just over three years, many are missing doors and windows.

Houses like that don’t stand a chance against Them.

At about a hundred feet away, I break into a full run. There seem to be more survivors in this area, more than I ever saw in Chicago. They won’t be active during the day, but if someone’s staking out this place, I don’t want to give them time to catch me. There’s no sign of anyone, so I flatten myself against the wall of the first house and peek inside. No hint of life, not even a breeze.

As I make my way inside, I let out a sigh. The place is wrecked. It’s not the old bloodstained walls that sadden me. Evidence of past Florae attacks have become so commonplace, I barely even register scenes of death anymore. I’m just disappointed that the house has been ransacked already. The cabinets are thrown ajar and empty, the couches overturned. Even the pillows have been ripped open, the stuffing strewn across the floor.

Some people are worse than Them, I sign, then bite my lip to keep the tears back. I’m talking to Baby in our secret language. But she’s not here with me anymore.

A quick check of the other houses reveals nothing but a half-empty bottle of vodka. I toss it into my pack. You never know when you need disinfectant or a Molotov cocktail. My time with the Guardians taught me that.

At the last house, I freeze when I see it in the backyard: an orange tree, full of fruit. I haven’t seen fresh fruit in a long time, not since New Hope. Hands shaking with anticipation, I pick every one. When I can’t fit any more into my pack, I sit on the ground, peeling orange after orange and jamming the sections into my mouth. The sweet taste helps the emptiness for a while. I eat until my stomach feels like it will burst.

I rest in the shade of the tree, satisfied. My contentment is fleeting, though, and soon the emptiness returns, not just a gnawing in the pit of my stomach but a hollowing out of my entire being. It’s impossible to avoid the loneliness that has haunted me since leaving New Hope, so I let it wash over me. I nearly give in to it, and sit under the tree, waiting until something hostile finds me. In the end I fight the despair, pushing it down inside where I don’t have to deal with it. I stand, determined not to give up.

Time to go, I sign to the empty air.

Chapter Two

On a shady side road, I make my way back toward the place I’ve made my home. I pick up my pace, anxious to return before nightfall. I used to be afraid of the day, but the sonic emitter that Kay gave me keeps me safe from the Floraes. Night is what worries me now, when I hear the occasional voice nearby or a gunshot in the distance. There are people out here. Not many, but enough. They are alive in the After, which means they were either smart and figured out the Floraes’ behavior, or they are just mean enough to survive. I don’t want to find out which.

When I reach my new home, I bypass the large plantation house and head to the backyard. Beyond the overgrown tangle of grass is a field. I scan the area for any sign that the yard was breached while I was gone. I’d set traps, pressure-activated alarms that would send the Floraes running. So far, no one has disturbed the yard and my luck seems to be holding; everything looks as I left it. I sprint to the overgrown tree in the far corner and scramble up the trunk, into the tree house.

The tree house, a remnant of Before, has held up well. It barely creaks as I walk across the wooden floor and make my way to my sleeping bag in the corner, careful not to overturn the stack of books next to my makeshift bed. The tree house is large, larger than my room in the Ward, with two giant glass windows, one facing the house, one facing the field. Seems silly to have glass windows in a tree house, but judging from the mansion up front, that family had money to spare. There was a rope ladder that I cut down. I can climb up the tree without it. It’s not ideal, there’s no running water, but the tree house is sturdy and hard to spot in the mess of leaves and branches. Even without the emitter, I wouldn’t have to worry about Floraes up here.

In the three months since I’ve left New Hope I’ve had too many close calls. The first couple of nights were sheer terror. I thought about going to Fort Black, since Kay had dropped me so close, but I didn’t see the point. If it was as bad as everyone said, I wanted to stay away. I had nowhere else to go, so I wandered aimlessly. At least I didn’t have to worry about Floraes. The emitter kept them at bay.

One night, while I was scavenging a house, I heard voices, whispered but deep. I hid in the bushes and waited, knowing what kind of men banded together. The kind who Amber brought to my home in Chicago, the kind who attacked New Hope. Still, I wanted to check them out.

When I looked at them through the leaves, I could see there were no women with them. Not a good sign. After they moved on, I ran in the other direction. I’ve had a few encounters since then, but I always hide. I was lucky to find this place. Anyone looking to scavenge will head straight to the mansion up front.

This place is only twenty miles from where Kay said Fort Black would be. After I decided not to go there, I started to feel the loneliness. It was small at first, just an itch that I knew I couldn’t scratch. But now it’s an ever-present sadness. Even if I don’t feel safe going to Fort Black, I like at least being near other people. In New Hope, I grew used to being in a community, to being part of a family again. As much as I was mistreated there, as much as I don’t want to admit it to myself, the horrible truth remains. I miss New Hope.

And now, I am all alone.

I try not to feel sorry for myself, instead passing the time by working out to stay fast, or by reading or scavenging for supplies. But the memories come back. I think of my mother, who loved me, but not enough to save me from Dr. Reynolds. I think of Kay, my real friend.

I think of Amber, who betrayed us all and paid a horrible price. She brought a gang to the doors of New Hope, and they tried to create a panic, kill the leaders, and take everything we had. I forced her to tell the truth, and for a brief moment I thought I’d done something good. I’d saved New Hope. But then I found out all the people in the gang were put to death, without so much as a trial. And Amber, she was unmade, given a lobotomy to keep her placid.

Sometimes I even allow myself to think of Rice, how good and safe it felt to be held by him—then I stop. I can’t let myself think of that or I’ll go crazy. And I think of Baby, who I love more than anyone, who’s safe in New Hope. I wanted to take her with me, but Kay talked me out of it. That she was better, safer, where she was.

Suddenly I freeze, holding my breath, not moving a muscle. Outside something is rustling the long grass in the field near the house. I silently crawl along the floor, peeking up out of the window. A lone Florae shuffles slowly. I stand up behind the window, turning on my flashlight. The monster swivels toward me and immediately begins loping. At one hundred feet away, it will run into the sound waves from the emitter.

With shaking hands, I reach to the emitter at my hip and switch it off. My pulse races and every nerve screams against what I am doing. For a moment I feel truly alive, awash in adrenaline. For a moment I forget my loneliness.

The green monster crosses the hundred-yard line, creeping menacingly, its yellow teeth bared. Looking up, it knows exactly where I am. And I look curiously into its horrible eyes.

You used to be a human.

What are you now?

The creature circles the tree house, and I peer out over the doorway. It tries to climb the tree and makes it up a few feet, surprising me. Startled, I come back to my senses. What am I doing? I fumble with the emitter, pressing it on. The creature falls from the tree and staggers back, unsure of which way to run to escape the sound. It darts toward the house at first, and I fear it will set off one of the alarms, but it changes direction and speeds back to the field, not stopping when it breaks away from the sound radius.

I exhale, realizing I had been holding my breath, and shakily sit down. Was I that desperate to see another person that I would risk my life . . . or was it something else? Something darker that I don’t even want to begin to think about? I shake my head. No. I want to live, even if it’s this solitary existence. I sneak a look out the window, searching for the Florae, but it’s long gone.

Leaving me alone again in the black, hot night.

I spend the next two days roaming through the surrounding neighborhoods, searching through houses I’ve missed or skipped before. Supplies are getting dangerously low, and I’ve combed through the area too thoroughly. If I want to keep living this way, I’ll have to start traveling farther out to scavenge. I make it home with nothing more than a dented can of spinach and some shampoo. There’s a pond I found a while back that I’ve been using for water, but I’m sure I can spare a couple of bucketfuls to wash my hair. The synth-suit keeps my skin clean, saps sweat away from my body, but my hair is another story, especially if I don’t wear my hood often.

As I settle into my sleeping bag, I hear a familiar crackle. It’s my earpiece. Kay remotely turned off the communication ability, so Dr. Reynolds couldn’t track me. It has a solar-powered microbattery, though, good for years, and I’ve been using it to amplify faraway sounds, keeping it in my ear at all times. It’s been so long since I’ve heard anything, I forgot that someone might actually try to use it to contact me.

Sunshine? Are you there?

I sit up in anticipation. It was nothing more than a whisper, but I know who it is. Kay?

Just the thought of talking to someone friendly makes my eyes flood. But she doesn’t answer.

Kay? I plead. Kay? Nothing. I slide back to the floor, my head in my hands.

And then, after a few minutes, she’s back.

Sunshine? She’s whispering, but there’s something else, a tone in her voice, something I never thought I’d hear. Kay sounds scared.

Kay! Are you all right? Did you guys get in trouble? How’s Baby? How’s Rice? How’s my mother?

Amy, I don’t have a lot of time. Gareth hacked me in to the system so I could contact you . . . but I’m being watched closely.

By Marcus?

No time, sunshine. You making it okay out there?

I’m handling it.

Good girl. Listen, I need to tell you something. . . . She pauses so long, I think she’s cut out again.

Kay, what is it?! I ask desperately.

It’s . . . Baby.

My stomach turns over as dread seeps into every pore of my body.

Dr. Reynolds has Baby.

Chapter Three

The world goes black. I blink hard, trying to regain focus on the now spinning room.

Dr. Reynolds has Baby.

Amy, are you there?

Yeah, I say. My voice sounds far away.

Dr. Reynolds took Baby as soon as you escaped. I thought if I asked about it, it would look suspicious, so I had to wait until I could get to Rice. He told me that Dr. Reynolds just wanted to hold her at first, to use her against you in case you were found. But then he saw the mark on the back of her neck.

I suck in a breath. No, I whisper. I had found Baby in an abandoned supermarket, alone. Later I discovered that as a toddler she was a foster child experimented on by the government. Rice has a similar mark, and I can only assume he was also part of the experiment. My mother, as it happens, was the main scientist on the project.

She also was in charge of another project: the creation of a bacteria that turned humans into Floraes. Meaning she is the person responsible for the apocalypse.

But I don’t let myself think about that.

The scars on both Baby’s and Rice’s necks are from the original vaccine my mother was developing so that American soldiers would remain unaffected by the Florae virus. It was never actually proven to work, but when I found Baby, she had a large bite on her leg. She’d been bitten by a Florae and remained human. So it seems, in this case, the vaccine worked just fine.

They’ve been testing Baby, Kay went on. Taking her blood. Trying to replicate the results. The original vaccine doesn’t work. . . . Rice told me so. But somehow it did for Baby. They think it has something to do with her blood chemistry. All their attempts to modify the vaccine have failed. They just can’t get it right. They make us bring survivors directly to them for experimentation. And we never see them again.

I gnash my teeth at Dr. Reynolds’s—and my mother’s—cruelty. So they’re turning people into Florae to test their vaccine.

And Baby? I ask. Are they hurting her?

Kay sighs. They’re taking her blood day and night, following up any lead that comes to them. It’s blood draw after blood draw, and Rice says Baby’s anemic and really weak. She’s hanging in for now, but she’s not in good shape.

The blood pounds deafeningly in my ears. This can’t be happening. My greatest fear.

You said she’d be safe there! I hiss. I could have taken her with me!

"Amy, she was safe. How was I supposed to know Dr. Reynolds would take her?"

You should have contacted me sooner.

You don’t know what it’s like here now. Everything’s changed. I’m not even in charge of the Guardians anymore. Marcus is. He could try to kill me at any time.

I’m coming back. To get her. Now.

Amy, you can’t.

Why? There is a pause. Kay? Are you there?

When you escaped, Dr. Reynolds went nuts. I can hear the regret in her voice over telling me. The doctors in the Ward, the Guardians, even your mother. Everyone was punished.

And Rice? I wince at the concern in my voice, but I can’t help it.

He’s fine. He wasn’t suspected.

In spite of myself, I’m flooded with relief.

I’ve got to get Baby out of there.

No. You’ve got to go to Fort Black and find my brother. Ken. That’s how you can help Baby.

Why? What can he do?

He’s a researcher. For New Hope. But he’s in Fort Black working on developing a Florae vaccine.

Why?

New subjects. Also, Dr. Reynolds doesn’t want all his researchers in one place. So he’s got a lab set up there.

What does that have to do with Baby? What can Ken do for her?

He’s ruthless about his research. He’d do anything to get a test subject like Baby for himself, even if it means breaking her out of New Hope. And he could do it. He’s been with Reynolds for a long time, since before the Floraes. He has access.

But he just wants to run tests on her too!

Yes, but you could monitor the situation. You could protect her. As long as she’s away from Reynolds.

My mind races. She’s right. I could never take on New Hope alone. This is the only option.

But where—

Gotta go. Someone’s coming. Be—

Kay? For several minutes I yell her name, but she doesn’t respond. Kay’s gone.

Chapter Four

I try to get some sleep, but after a couple of hours I give up. I need to leave, to get to Fort Black. I pack up everything the Guardians outfitted me with when I left: my Guardian gun with spare clips, my water filter, a map. My sonic emitter. I’ve barely used my gun, so I still have plenty of ammunition. I throw my backpack over my shoulder and pause to look around. The tree house has done me well these past few months, but I won’t miss the solitude.

It takes eight hours to reach Fort Black by foot. I could have made it in less, but I didn’t want to push myself and arrive exhausted. The journey is surprisingly uneventful. Nothing more than a long, tense walk, my backpack biting into my shoulders. If it weren’t for the synth-suit, my skin would be wet with sweat. Even though the suit controls my temperature, I was still pretty hot once the day broke, my face sweating in the early morning sun. I sighted some Florae, but they backed up when I got close, fleeing from the emitter waves. I silently thank Rice for the gift (he gave it to Kay) and Vivian, who invented it.

The bigger danger is other people. I have no idea what things are like at Fort Black, or how often people leave to scavenge. I’m certain there are plenty of people who would kill me without a second thought if they knew what was in my pack.

Once I’m a mile out, I stop to rest on a highway overpass. A few years ago, this road would have been full of speeding cars. People hurrying to work, worried about getting to a meeting on time. Now there are no meetings. No work, other than to stay alive. The only cars now are abandoned, left to rust in the elements. My father used to go on a hippie anti-fossil-fuel rant about how the car-to-person ratio in America was nearly one to one. Now it’s a hundred thousand to one . . . give or take a few thousand. Not that a car would be much use to me. Sure, I could have made it the twenty miles very quickly, but I would have had to find a car with keys and plenty of gas. Besides, they make too much noise, and I never learned to drive anyway.

I walk around one of the many abandoned cars to the edge of the highway and peer over the railing. I can see it now, in the distance: Fort Black. It takes me a moment to process what I’m looking at as I study the surrounding area. Then it hits me that Fort Black isn’t a fort at all.

Fort Black is a prison.

Chapter Five

Formerly the Fort Black Correctional Facility, the walls of Fort Black jut up, cutting into and marring the blue-white sky. The sides of the great prison are three hundred feet high, at least, and laced at the top with two rows of barbed wire. There are few windows, and the ones that are visible are covered in thick metal bars. Around the Fort, there’s nothing but brown dusty earth.

I pull my canteen from my pack and take a long sip of water, then look back and forth, surveying the area and the sun-scorched ground around the walls. A long ribbon of broken asphalt leads off to my left, linking the jail to the highway, which curves out of sight over the distant hill. I study the road from the top of that hill until it slips beneath me, under the overpass where I now rest, and disappears around the bend to my right. There are no Floraes that I can make out, yet my hand goes automatically to the emitter.

The feel of the small plastic device comforts me. I reach into my pack for my Guardian sunglasses—standard-issue, but better than the best binoculars. I adjust the zoom until I can see Fort Black as if I were standing next to it.

The place is humongous, its gray concrete more formidable than I’d originally thought. Men patrol the high, broad walls, armed with rifles. At each of the guard towers rests an immense crossbow on a thick post. Even from here, I can feel the hum of too many people living in a small space. The noise sets my skin tingling. It’s strange to hear it, after all the miles I traveled alone and in silence. Now that I’m so close, I can’t bring myself to walk the last stretch. I rummage inside my bag, allowing myself another sip of water and a bite of food. I don’t know when I’ll get to eat again, or if my food will be confiscated or stolen inside those dark walls.

I stand again, narrowing my eyes at the massive, dark structure. My mission: find Ken. He’s the only way to save Baby. I know it won’t be easy, but there’s a chance, a sliver of hope. And Kay will help if she can by contacting me on my earpiece. My hand goes to my ear to reassure me it’s still there, the one thing that can keep me in touch with Kay. It’s small, like one of those micro–hearing aids from Before. There are three buttons: The top one turns the earpiece on and off, the middle one activates the sound amplifier, and the bottom one calls in. When I was a Guardian, the earpiece was set to automatically call all the Guardians, but there’s a central hub in New Hope where all the earpieces are programmed. Gareth is a bit of a hacker and has mine deactivated remotely . . . until Kay needs to contact me.

A glint on the scorched landscape catches my eye and I snap my head up. A shape is moving quickly over the road toward the prison. I crouch down and turn on the sound amplifier on my earpiece, then quickly drop my hand to my Guardian glasses and zoom in on the figure.

It’s not a Florae. It’s a man.

Chapter Six

The man is on a bicycle, pedaling furiously. Something is wrong with his bike, though, and every few seconds it makes a grinding sound, like metal moving against metal. Behind his bike is a hitched trailer, the kind parents used to haul their kids around Before. The trailer is filled to the brim with bundles of cloth and canned goods.

Out of the corner of my eye, I see movement, and then I see Them. Two Floraes have topped the rise on the highway. Their pea-green skin almost fades into the baked landscape, their milky, yellow eyes useless, but their heads move, searching for sound. The man’s bike makes that horrible grating noise again,

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  • (5/5)
    Amy is on her way to fort black when she receives a horrible message form kay. "Dr.Reynolds has Baby, go to fort black and find my brother ken." Amy continues on to fort black so she can find ken. when she gets to fort black she meets several people. Jacks is one of those people. Jacks helps Amy in fort black, protecting her from drunk men and sick people. Jacks provides Amy with shelter too. Amy meets a girl named Brenna. Brenna is down to earth, but very self centered. Eventually Amy decides to leave fort black because so much time was being wasted. Brenna came with amy to help out with fighting of floraes. Brenna gets her fingers bitten by a florae and to stop infection from spreading, amy litterally chops her fingers off. (gruesome i know) With a lot of fighting and confesing, and the outbreak of the infection in fort black, Amy and Brenna safly get back to fort black and amy sees baby again. This is one of the best books i have ever read. i would suggest this book to people who like action and fighting.
  • (5/5)
    In the end is the sequel to In the after. Amy has traveled to fort black to find kays brother ken so he can help her save baby. Fort black in way different then new hope. For starters fort black isnt a fort it's a prison and all of the women in fort black belong to men so Amy lives with Jacks the Docs son and the wardens nephew. When amy discovers that the Doc is working with new hope and giving everyone florae vaccines instead of flu shots Doc and the warden order Tank a convicted murderer of teenage girls to assassinate her. Amy leaves fort black with Brenna. Brenna gets bitten by a florae but she doesnt change. Amy brings her back to fort black to see ken. Doc learns of the failed assassination and turns multiple people in to florae trying to kill her. Because of this Kay comes to amys rescue taking her Ken and brenna back to new hope. amy hides out and Ken tests breena. Eventually Amy can't wait any longer and tries to bust out baby but Dr.Reynolds has released all of the floraes and turned off the power so the floraes can get to amy and kill her. It results in the killing of Ken. Kay is devastated but they need to get baby out. finally they bust baby out, Amys mom takes control of new hope and Kay becomes leader of the guardians.In the end is amazing. it has lots of action and suspense. i would recommend this book to anyone.
  • (4/5)
    This book is the sequel to in the after. Amy has traveled to a rugged fortress known as fort black. It used to be a prison so the concrete walls and barbed wire are good for keeping 'Them' out. Amy knows that a deranged doctor has gotten a hold of Baby her adopted sister. Amy knows of a man called Ken who knows the right people to set Baby free. Baby is being experimented on because she is immune to the bite of 'Them'. After searching for weeks Amy finds Ken and they go to New Hope, the city-lab that Baby is being held at. After arriving Amy and Ken head deep into the lab works underground. The deranged scientist releases all of the captive 'Them' and shuts of the lab power. The team fights there way to baby's room where Amy is horrified to find that Baby's memory has been wiped. The team confronts the scientist who tells all about how he released the plague to ' rework the corrupt humanity' They shoot him dead and discover a cure shortly after. The book ends with Baby remembering Amy and their mother saying 'lets go home'.
  • (4/5)
    IN THE AFTER truly blew me away and I was impatiently waiting for the release of IN THE END. The second book didn't blow me away like the first but I still thoroughly enjoyed it. There is a bit of a different feel to the book now that she is again on her own but surrounded by people in Fort Black. She gains new allies and eventual makes her way back to New Hope but the road their is not pleasant or easy.Great writing, plenty of action and danger and lots of new people brought this story full circle.* This book was provided free of charge from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.
  • (5/5)
    I read this book a little while ago, before the second book was available. When I finished it I was disappointed and frustrated that I had to wait for the second book. I didn't want it to end.
  • (5/5)
    YEE YEE NATION AWESOME BOOK THIS WAS A EPIC WAY TO ENTERTAIN ME
  • (5/5)
    For such a great story, a lot of audience must read your book. You can publish your work on NovelStar Mobile App