Hello...I'm new to the group and wanted to post the beginning of chapter 1 of my book "Tribulation" in hopes that I could get some feedback. All criticism is welcome. I want to make this the best I can. Thank you to all who reply.
A convoy barreled down the dirt road pitching a cloud of dust behind it. Two guards standing at the gate entrance, pulled their rifles to the ready awaiting the oncoming visitors. The Humvee in the lead, braked to a stop in front of the guards as the driver threw his arm out the window flashing his I.D. Immediately, the guards ran to the gate and opened it. Three vehicles drove through the entrance down a maintenance road to the back of an old factory building. As the dust settled, the soldiers from the two Humvees surrounded a black limousine that had been driving between them. The door to the limo opened and two men stepped out; one in a black suit and the other in a white trench coat carrying a metal briefcase handcuffed to his wrist.
His name was Nador Naigall; an international criminal and a mad scientist of the sort. His specialty was biochemical warfare and he marketed his weapons to terrorist groups and dictatorial governments across the globe. He was powered by greed and had little concern, if any at all, for humankind. He knew that his knowledge was well worth its weight in gold and those who wanted it would pay any price. But soon, the money and power he had gained from his death-dealing services didn't curb his appetite.
"I have both the knowledge and the means, so why not just take it all?" he reasoned.
The two men were escorted down the sidewalk to a side entrance of the factory. Alone, they marched into the building, the pounding of their steps resonated down the hallway. After climbing several flights of stairs, they came to a locked door. Nador typed in a code on the keypad and the door buzzed open. He rushed inside and gently set the case down on the table. He uncuffed his hand and rubbed his wrist as he eyeballed the case. His heart was pounding in his chest. This was it; the final piece to his dastardly plan. Nador picked up the key to the case, unlocking it. He hesitated then slowly opened the cover. Six programmed reactors lay waiting to be installed into their casings that were being built in the lower levels of the factory. They were the heart and soul of Nador's operation. If they failed, it all failed.
Sparks flew from flames of welding guns colliding with sheet metal. Colored wires were coiled and clipped, and metal casing were sized and fitted together. Nador's men labored day and night and after weeks of work, his creation was finally complete; a redesigned electromagnetic pulse bomb that would wipe out entire electrical grids for miles. After giving instructions to his men, the six bombs were loaded into unmarked delivery trucks, each to be taken to specific locations across the country. Nador dismissed his men and and as the trucks left the factory, he convulsed in anticipation.
The last driver saw Nador's freakish expression from his side view mirror.
"Crazy bastard!" he said shaking his head.
The dirt road went on for miles until finally reaching pavement. The trucks turned off in different directions; one left, the other right until the final truck turned towards its destination.
The landscape changed from countryside to city streets; daytime to night as the driver sped down the highway. From the interstate, he turned onto an off ramp to downtown Capitol City. As dawn approached, he pulled into an old parking garage in the heart of the metropolis. Driving to the second level, he knocked down the "low clearance" sign, sending sparks flying through the air. Once parked, he cut off the engine, got out and walked to the rear of the truck. As the door rattled open, two armed guards jumped out and stood on each side of the truck. The driver climbed in and pulled the canvas cover off of the bomb, then radioed Nador. "We've arrived." After a long pause, a fiendish voice scratched from the radio's speaker.
"Good. Very good. Dial in 1:24:00 and get out."
The driver didn't ask questions, just punched in the the numbers and flipped a switch. He stood up, covered the bomb, jumped back out, and locked the door behind him. The driver and the two guards turned and walked out the exit. Their job was complete.
Under the canvas cover, red numbers clicked down; 1:20:00, 1:10:00, 1:00:00. Rays of sunlight began to breach the skyline of the city. 00:50:00. The streets began to fill with traffic. 40. People filed into buildings. 30. Footsteps pounded the pavement. 20. Capitol city buzzed with excitement. 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. A tick, tick, tick sounded from underneath the canvas cover and all at once, a pulse was emitted from the bomb that sent an invisible charge across the city. Silence. Then, in a tremendous roar, a burst of chaos erupted from the streets.
Laughter turned to tears, anger to violence, happiness to fear. The city was in disarray; complete blackout.
"What happened? What's going on?" people shouted.
The proud city, was dead.
Rural community outside of Daniel's Valley
Eryn woke up in a daze as her cell phone clanged on the nightstand. Blindly, she fingered for her phone, knocking it to the floor. She groaned at the sound of the alarm and crawled to the edge of the bed. Tangled in sheets, She leaned too far, tumbled off the bed and landed next to her phone. She sighed blowing a stand of hair from her face. Breaking free from her cocoon, she stood by her bed and stretched. She stumbled to the bathroom and looked at her reflection in the mirror. "Yeesh!" Her hair was a tangled mess on top of her head. She pulled the band from her knotted hair while examining her face in the mirror.
Eryn was an ordinary girl in her early twenties. She was very eccentric with a lighthearted personality. She was average height and had a slender frame. Though she was not particularly attractive, she had an aura about her that made her stand out. Her wide, aqua blue eyes and heart shaped face was complimented by her long blond hair that fell past her shoulders.
Before getting into the shower, she walked over to her radio and turned it on. She jumped as static blared from the speakers. She tried tuning it, but it was the same on every station.
"Great! Looks like I'll be saving for a new radio."
She walked across the room to her gym bag and pulled out her mp3 player. Unwinding the cord, she plugged it into a set of speakers on the floor. Music blasted into the room. Walking into the bathroom, she slipped out of her clothes and stepped into a hot shower.
It was the weekend, and Eryn was looking forward to being able to relax. Wrapped in a towel, she stood staring at her clothes in the closet, looking for something to wear. She grabbed her ripped jeans, favorite t-shirt and tennis shoes. Once dressed, she danced to the kitchenette of the Airstream trailer and whipped up a quick breakfast. She sat on the counter and grabbed the remote to the TV, turning it on. Static.
"What the heck?" She flipped through the channels. Nothing. "Uuugh...Whatever," she said out loud as she hit the power button on the remote.
Finishing up her breakfast, she threw her dishes into the sink, grabbed her tote and stepped out onto the stone path in her little garden.
"Keys, purse, phone," she said feeling for each item. "Crap! My phone!"
She ran inside and grabbed her cell phone, then quickly, came back out, locked her door and walked to her red 68' mustang. Her car was her pride and joy; a gift from her father before she left home. It rumbled as she cranked the motor.
She cruised down the old country road listening to tunes on an old cassette tape, taking advantage of the car's power. The curves whipped left and right, but the old 'stang hugged the pavement. Eryn looked down at her gauges and noticed her gas was almost on empty. A little country store sat at the end of her road, but as she pulled up to the pump, she noticed the store was closed.
"Geeze!" she exclaimed. "Nothing is working out today. I hope I can make it to town."
She pulled back out of the station and headed to Daniel's Valley; a booming little city, nestled in the mountains. As she approached an intersection, she noticed that traffic was bumper to bumper. Slow moving cars inched their way through the intersection with honking horns and drivers yelling out the windows. She looked up at the stoplight and realized it wasn't working. "What is going on today?" she mumbled to herself.
She eased into the flow of traffic, cutting off a woman who was struggling to get through the light as well.
The woman yelled out the window, "Are you crazy? Learn how to drive!"
Eryn looked back in her direction and mouthed the words "Sorry," and continued driving. Traffic was backed up. She peered out her window to see if there was any indication of a wreck or construction work blocking the road, but there was none.
As soon as the road turned to double lanes, Eryn moved to the second lane hoping she would see what was causing the chaos. A grocery store was up ahead; the parking lot jam-packed, full of people. A squad of police officers patrolled the doorway and directed traffic in and out of the parking lot. When she slowly passed by, a mass of people charged the door. The officers were overwhelmed and threw off a warning gunshot. The sound resonated in her chest. Startled and confused, she sped up. She could feel her blood pumping through her veins as fear plucked at the chords of her heart.
Eryn looked down at her gas gauge. "Damn! I've got to find a station," she said in a panic. "Maybe I can get to the one on the corner of South and Main."
When she reached the next intersection in town, she noticed soldiers directing traffic. The right lane was dead-locked and the only way she could turn was left towards the university. A man in uniform stood on the median observing traffic. As Eryn got closer to the soldier, she put her window down and stopped beside him.
"Excuse me. I can't go this way," she groaned. "The only gas station is on the other side of the school and I'm about to run out of gas. I know I can't get there."
The soldier looked at her with a heartless expression. "I'm sorry ma'am, but there is nothing I can do." Eryn impatiently objected. "Did you hear me? I am going to run out of gas and..." The soldier interrupted. "Again, I'm sorry, but I need you to move your car. You're blocking this lane. Please keep moving."
"Ma'am! Please move your vehicle!" He shouted at her.
Eryn hesitated but then continued to drive. As she was waived through the intersection, she saw the rifle harnessed across the soldier's chest. Martial Law; something she never thought she would ever witness.
This is the kind of stuff you see in movies, she thought as she drove past.
Only a handful of cars traveled in the same direction as her. People that were waiting to move forward, glared at her through their windows. She tried not to look at their faces; they only made her more nervous.
Fidgeting, Eryn flipped on the radio trying to find the news, but again, she only got static. Her hands began to shake; her mind reeled with confusion. "
What is going on? " she whispered.
Fear replaced sanity. Her mind on other things, she forgot about the ever-dissipating level of gas in her tank. As she turned onto King Street, her car began to sputter.
"No! No, please No!" She said as she pounded her foot on the gas pedal. "You can't die on me. Not now!"
She eased the car to a parking lot off the main road. She could feel the pressure from the steering wheel as her car began to lose power. Eryn turned off the car and sat staring blankly out the windshield. She didn't know what to do. She had no family or close friends she could call.
"My phone!" she suddenly said out loud. "Maybe I could call a tow truck. With traffic the way it is, there's no telling how long I'd have to wait, but at least they could take me home."
She was relieved at her sudden stroke of genius. As she looked for her phone in her bag she talked to herself.
"Come on, where are you? Phone? Aha!"
She slid her fingers over the screen, opening the web browser. It wouldn't load. She tried again, and still nothing happened. Sighing, she dialed Information. No signal. She tried again and again, hoping that miraculously the service would connect. She began to realize that she was stranded; alone. Anger and frustration began to build, and all at once in a fit of rage, she threw her phone to the floor and pounded her fist into the steering wheel.
"What the hell is going on? This can't be happening. Not today! This was supposed to be a good day. Nothing works. What the hell am I going to do?"
When her anger was finally spent, she broke down into tears and laid her head back on the headrest. After a while, she dozed off to sleep.