Authors: Theresa Shaver
A Stranded Novel
By Theresa Shaver
Copyright 2012 Theresa Shaver
All Rights Reserved
This is a work of fiction. All of the characters, names, incidents, organizations, and dialogue in this novel are either the products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously.
Cover art by D.C. Charles at Book Graphics.
To anyone who has sailed a boat, rode on a boat, read about boats or even looked at a boat…Stop yelling at meeee! I did so much research on the proper terminology for all things sailboat (Oh my aching head). Sat down and wrote away. It was all “bow, stern, fore, aft”…and so on. Then I read it (Oh my aching head)! It was way too much and really took away from the story so I got rid of it and wrote it like a teenager that had never been on a boat before. So I know that some of it was vague but it just sounded better! The time frame used in the story is also not quite accurate. It would take much longer to make that voyage but I had a time frame in mind so I changed it. As the song goes… “It’s my party and I’ll (write) if I want too.” LOL!
I can’t even begin to tell you what your reviews meant to me. The reviews posted on Amazon and Goodreads just blew me away. However, this is what they did for me.
Land was such a fun
, easy write for me. It just flowed right out with a lot of laughter and a couple tears. Sea…not so much. I will honestly say that I didn’t like this book. The characters were so different from the first book and there was no laughter. I knew I had to write book 2 so I could get back to Alex and her friends in book 3 but it was really hard. What made me keep going were the reviews you guys posted. Every time I wanted to trash this book, I would sit down and read what you all had to say and then keep going. That is the honest truth. Without all of your support, this book would not have been finished. I’m happy to say that around the halfway point in the book things started to change and I really got into it and started to like it. So THANK YOU!!!!!!!
This book is dedicated to all the people who took a shot on a first time writer and took the time to let me know what you thought. My husband and children who let me disappear while writing, I love you. The rest of my family and friends who cheered me on, you have
my heart. To D at Book Graphics, you are an amazing artist, thank you for the covers! Okay, so…time to get to book 3 and kick a little ***!
Emily took one more look back at the gates of Disneyland before turning the corner and following her friends. She had to force herself to breathe deeply so the panic in her chest wouldn’t overtake her. Choosing to go with Mason and his friends to find a boat instead of going with Alex and the others was one of the hardest choices she had ever made in her life and she still wasn’t a hundred percent sure of why she had.
Emily looked around at all of the stalled and crashed cars. There were people yelling and crying all over the street. Some had bloody injuries and some were just in shock at the suddenness of the disaster. She was still trying to wrap her head around what this would mean for her future. An EMP being set off over North America was a clean way to bring America to its knees. Instead of radiation fallout and the destruction of a direct nuclear hit on land, all modern technology had fried in an instant as the burst raced through everything electrical. The lights went out, phones died, cars quit and as she had seen earlier, airplanes dropped from the sky. Being in Southern California was a very bad place to be. With no power, the water wouldn’t be flowing and without transportation, food wouldn’t be distributed. Couple that with a population of over ten million people in one area, and things were going to get ugly.
When Mason had told her his idea about finding a boat instead of going overland, she had thought it was a very good plan. Overland, home was fifteen hundred miles away. That seemed like a ridiculous distance to try and travel by foot or bike. A boat would let them travel all the way to Vancouver, Canada without having to physically exhaust themselves and then it was only around six hundred miles home from there. A boat was definitely the right way to go. She just desperately wished that the rest of her friends had agreed. She trusted Mason with the blindness of new love but Lisa and Mark were not high on her list of people she could rely on. When it had come time to say goodbye to Alex she had found herself wavering. It was David’s decision to accompany her that had made her decision easier. There was something about David that made her feel safe and secure when he was around. She had missed being around him in the last few months and was happy he would be traveling with them.
Mason looked back and, with a frown, waved her forward to join the group. She sped up and took his hand as they walked down the wreckage-filled street. Everyone was preoccupied with the sight of so much damage and so many hurt people. It was David that broke the silence after they had walked five blocks.
“It’s going to take us all day to walk to the Marina and
we’ll have to make a couple stops to try and get supplies on the way. We don’t want to be out walking after dark so I think we’ll have to speed up as fast as we can. What do you think, Mason?” David looked to the tall quarterback. He wasn’t friends with the guy but knew that he had to make an effort to work with him if they were going to make it home. David hated that Emily was dating the guy. Unfortunately, there was little choice but to trust him for now. They had a long way to go.
Mason studied David for a minute before answering him. He wasn’t sure what the guy’s angle was in coming with them, but Emily had raved about his resourcefulness so Mason figured he’d keep the Boy Scout close for now.
“Yeah, I think you’re right, David. Who knows what this place is going to be like after the sun goes down. I really don’t want to be on the streets then.” He turned to Mark and Lisa, “Tighten up your laces and try to keep up you two. We need to make some serious time so we’ll have to do a slow jog and then slow to speed walking when we need a break. Do you think you can do it?” he asked them.
Mark gave a nod and bent down to double tie his laces. Lisa just smirked and rolled her eyes muttering a
Mason looked to Emily and David and they both nodded. When Mark stood back up
, they continued down the road at a slow jog that wasn’t too tiring. Every other block they came to, they would slow to a fast walk for a break. Emily concentrated on her breathing and kept her eyes on the horizon. If you kept looking up and out, it seemed to be a typical California dreamy day with blue skies and tall palm trees waving gently in the breeze. It was only at ground level that reality set in with the sight of mangled cars and injured people standing or sitting on the roads.
The lack of mechanical sound wasn’t all that disturbing to Emily, having grown up in the country and not spending a great deal of time in cities. It was the human sounds filling the emptiness that bothered her. The moaning and cries of pain were the worst. Emily tried hard not to look at the injured people as she knew she couldn’t help them and if she stopped for even one
, they’d never make it to the Marina but that didn’t stop her heart from breaking at all the pain and suffering she was passing.
They had to go around a crowd of people who were standing in the street watching a fire. A house had caught fire and it had spread to the houses on both sides of it. With no electricity
, there was no water pressure and no way to fight the flames. After they had cleared the smoky area, Emily looked over her companions and was alarmed to see how red in the face Mark was. His shirt was completely drenched in sweat and his breathing was heavy. Checking the rest of the group, everyone else seemed to be holding up well. She knew Mark had a temper and tried to spare him any embarrassment by putting the focus on herself.
“Hey guys! I need a water break. Can we slow down for a few minutes
, please?” she asked everyone.
Lisa stopped immediately with a moan, “Thank God! I’m a mall star, not a track star!”
She flipped her long chestnut brown hair over her shoulders and stepped further away from Mark when she noticed how sweat-drenched he was and her cat-like green eyes narrowed in disgust. The pale-skinned redhead was flushed bright red while heaving for breath between gulps from his water bottle.
Emily looked around the street corner they had stopped at and scanned the businesses across the street. Seeing a small convenience store in a strip mall
, she pointed it out to the others.
“We should try and buy more water bottles and some power bars or other food from there. It seems pretty quiet right now but who knows what will happen as the day goes on.”
She looked to Mason and David to see what they thought and both boys nodded their agreement so they crossed over the street and headed towards the store. There were a few cars in the parking lot but nobody in sight. The strip mall also had a computer store, luggage store and a coffee shop on one end. It was dim inside the store without the bright fluorescents on but the front windows still let in enough light to see clearly. It was also very warm without the air conditioning running. There was only one other customer in the aisles, an older lady that had a small suitcase on wheels. She paused in filling it up with canned goods to look the group of teens over, and then quickly resumed her shopping. There was a small Asian man behind the cash counter and he was scowling at them suspiciously
“You pay cash only!” he barked at them with a heavy accent.
David saw Mark’s face darken in anger at the tone and quickly stepped forward to assure the store keeper. “We have cash, sir. We aren’t going to be buying a lot, just some water and a little food.”
The Asian man continued to glare at them but seemed mollified by David’s respectful tone and he gave a brief nod toward the aisles.
They all headed towards the dark coolers at the back of the store and started to pull out water and juice bottles. They were still cool to the touch but wouldn’t stay that way long with the electricity off. After adding the bottles to the plastic baskets they had gotten from the front of the store, they split up and headed down different aisles. Lisa and Emily went to the small drugstore section and grabbed items to add to their baskets. Emily did most of the shopping while Lisa was distracted by the selection of cosmetics. As she grabbed a small first aid kit and a couple bottles of pain killers, she tried to get Lisa to focus.
“We should really try and concentrate on things we will need to survive, Lisa.
Makeup and nail polish won’t help us,” Emily said.
Lisa gave her a condescending look, “You might prefer the natural, plain look
, Emily, but I have standards.” She turned back to the display of makeup.
Emily was trying to think of something to say to get Lisa back on track when she heard a muffled laugh. She turned the other way and saw the older lady had joined them in the aisle and was trying to hold in her laughter. Emily smiled and headed towards her when the woman waved her closer.
In a lowered voice the older woman told her, “That cat won’t change her stripes, honey. I know plenty of young missies just like her. You just go ahead and get the important stuff and let her learn.” The woman looked in Emily’s basket and nodded. “Don’t forget the girl stuff, honey. I don’t think you’ll be able to run to the store once a month when you need tampons,” she said with amusement when she saw Emily blush.
In a haughty voice, Lisa spoke up from behind Emily, “I won’t have that problem. I’m on the
Depo shot so I don’t get a period.”
The woman looked the smug teenage girl up and down and nodded. “You’re lucky then. You won’t have to worry about coming up pregnant after
you’ve been raped a few times.”
Lisa and Emily stared at the lady in complete shock. She shook her head at them like they were idiots.
“What do you think is going to happen, girlies? There will be no police driving around to the rescue and there are plenty of bad men out there that will consider this situation as a paradise. They are going to take what they want and that will be you young pretty girls. It’s not a matter of if it will happen; it’s a matter of when. You’d best both think on that!”
Before either girl could form a reply
, the bell above the front door rang loudly as the door crashed open. All three of the women turned towards the front to see who was coming into the store. Two young men in white, wife beater tank tops and low slung baggy jeans rushed in and went straight to the front counter. The Asian man started yelling at them right away to get out but they kept going straight for him. It happened so fast. Emily couldn’t believe her eyes when the taller of the men pulled a gun from behind his back and shot the shopkeeper in the head. She would have stayed standing there frozen if the older lady hadn’t dragged her down. Lisa had already dropped and was starting to whimper. The older woman grabbed her by the arm and frantically motioned for her to be silent. White-faced and wide-eyed, Lisa took a deep breath and nodded. They could hear the sounds of the cash register being pried open and the sound of glass breaking. Emily was frantic with fear. She didn’t know where the boys were and prayed they stayed hidden until the two men left. They were still laughing and swearing at the clerk they had just killed. The girls were towards the back of the store where the daylight had barely reached and Emily hoped that they wouldn’t be seen in the dimness.
It seemed that they huddled on the floor for hours before the two men finally finished behind the counter and left the store carrying as many bottles of alcohol as they could. After a few minutes of silence
, Emily heard Mason calling her name. She slowly stood on shaking legs and looked over the shelves at him. His face was white with shock.
“You and Lisa
, okay?” he asked in a trembling voice.
Emily couldn’t find her voice so she just nodded and turned towards the front of the store, making her way to the counter. She felt she had to check on the poor man in case he had survived. Mark was already behind the counter bent over the man. Emily assumed he was trying to find any signs of life when she saw him stand up and tuck something into the waistband of his pants. He pulled his shirt over the object and turned around.
When he saw her standing there, he flushed and abruptly said, “He’s dead. Nothing we can do,” and pushed past her.
Having a clear view of the body after Mark moved away, Emily could see the small bullet hole in the man’s forehead. There was a spreading pool of blood under his head and she gagged at the sight. Turning quickly away from the corpse
, her attention caught the small cardboard box lying beside it. There were a few small bullets in the box. Distracted by Lisa’s, “So gross!” from behind her, Emily dismissed the box from her mind and moved away.
Everyone was standing at the front of the store. Mason still looked shaken and David was staring at the counter with anger. The older woman was looking the kids over and nodding her head.
“This is just the start. This city is going to burn and everyone with it. You kids better get as far away from here as you can or you’ll burn with it!” she warned.
Emily nodded back at her. “We’re trying. We’re headed to the coast to find a boat.”
“Mm hm, that’s a good idea. If I was younger, I’d take a crack at that plan. You planning to lug all that stuff with you? You’re going to get mighty tired carrying all that weight. You should get one of these little cases with rollers. Works real good for pulling stuff along.” She paused and looked Lisa and Emily up and down. “You remember what I said, girlies. They’re going to take what they want now. You best be ready for it.” Looking over at the dead man, she grabbed a couple packs of cigarettes from the counter and shook her head. Without another word, she left the store.
The silence was heavy after the bell above the door stopped jangling. It was Lisa who got them moving. “The old bat is right. I don’t want to be carrying all these bottles while running. I want one of those suitcases. There’s a luggage store next door. Let’s go get a couple
,” she said, looking at the boys.