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Episode 1 - The Return
Jaxon rubbed his head and shifted on the hard bench. A number echoed in the long room full of people, some having to sit on the floor while they waited. He looked at his number and it matched. He stood with a groan. Pain shot down his right side, making it hard to lift his pack. Shifting it to his left hand, he plotted his path through the crowded room.
After waving toward the window at the far end, hoping they saw him on his way, he took in more of the surrounding people. Most looked a lot cleaner than he felt, let alone looked with his long hair and beard. A hot shower would feel amazing. However, he could not remember enough to know how to get home, if he still had one.
He stood out as the oldest person in the room. This place represented the start of a military career and the securest employment available. He had survived the Big One, a combo of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions that had changed life everywhere. He just couldn’t remember when it had happened. This place could help him figure this all out. The miles of trekking out of the wilderness past nothing but overgrown relics of the past and wildlife to talk to had not helped. They could not tell him about his life after the Big One or even how he was seriously hurt in the middle of nowhere.
He steadied himself against the thick glass between him and the woman he assumed had called out the number. His smell made him grimace all the more. Her frown let him know he looked as bad as he felt.
“Place your right hand on the pad.”
Her bored, tinny voice came through the little speaker set above the window. A pad slid out from the bottom edge of the window, showing the outline of a hand.
He paused. His body would not let him stop bracing against the window to remain upright. The pad was further to the right than he could reach. His awkward shift deepened the frown, causing the creases around her eyes and mouth to look like canyons. So be it. His right hand slapped down on the pad to the point of jarring it. He thought he heard something snap.
He lost his balance when the pad sucked back into the wall. He leaned heavily against the window and locked his legs to remain standing.
The woman’s eyes went wide before she rapidly started speaking. The speaker in the window was off. Her gaze kept bouncing between a computer screen and him.
His head fell against the cool glass. A ding, heavy boots drumming the floor, and the scrambling of people moving away from the area alerted him. He did not resist the hands that grabbed him, though he yelped when they moved his right arm. He let them drag him into the elevator. His legs gave out. The door closed.
The elevator’s pace pulled him to the floor. He groaned and tried to push himself to a sitting position. The sudden stop made him heave and thank God his stomach had nothing in it.
“Why didn’t someone say he needed medical attention?”
Jaxon recognized the voice, but failed to remember the name. Someone tried to take his pack. He gripped it tighter while giving the soldier a stern look. A feeling of satisfaction came when the man backed into the wall of the elevator.
“Help him out of there.”
“No. Do not touch me again.” Jaxon sucked in a deep breath and let it out. He forced himself to his feet. He teetered when he stepped into the polished stone hallway. The man with the voice he knew wore a clean uniform with lots of ribbons. The name Sampson, along with the three star insignia, jogged his memory about why he had come here. “I have something you need to see, sir.”
“We need to get you medical attention first.”
“No, sir, been too long already.” How many days since he had crashed? A dark cloud had appeared out of nowhere, and then he was plummeting to the earth. “I need to figure this out now.”
“My office then.”
Without thinking, he turned to his left and started walking with purpose. He had no doubts he looked like a drunk who could not navigate a straight line. General Sampson stayed by his side while the rest trailed behind.
“We thought we lost you when your plane went down in the Tox Zone.”
Tox Zone? If that was short for toxic, he could only remember a rather pristine country side. Grass and brush grew through the cracks of the highway he had followed west. Animals and birds abounded until he came within sight of skyscrapers no one had dared build so tall on the west coast before the Big One. But why feel like they could after the biggest earthquake known to modern man? He shook his head to clear the cobwebs. The world tilted, and he fell against the general. He yelped when steadying hands touched his right arm.
“Colonel, you will acquire medical attention after we get to my office.”
“Yes, sir.” Jaxon threw a look at the soldier that had steadied him, causing the man to back up two paces with his hands held up.
He grit his teeth and resumed progress toward the general’s office.
He burst into the outer office first. A loud gasp made him look at the woman behind the desk. His brows furled. Her blue eyes grew wider than he had ever seen before. He could not remember her name, but he knew he should remember way more than that. The general had moved in front of him while he scrutinized the secretary.
He growled and stumbled into the office, dropping his pack onto the coffee table of the sitting area. He worked it open so he could dump its contents. The somewhat crumpled black box from a plane and a helmet cam stood out against the standard equipment of his pilot’s bag.
“I’m sure those will show it all.”
With that said, the room spun. Then nothing at all.
This is the start of a dystopian novel that I wrote in December 2020 through April 2021 that got me back into writing. I soon took the idea of becoming an author seriously and put my Champions of Light into a contest that year. The last two years have seen me learn more about writing and publishing.
The first three episodes of any serial or novel I put here with always be free, much like an Amazon preview. The difference is you will have the opportunity to comment on each episode about what you liked, did not like, suggestions, feelings, etc. I want to hear from you. If you like what you are reading and want to help me fine tune the story further, you can continue with the paid option. This will allow you the opportunity to win prizes based on the stories you help me with. If the story gains enough interest, it will become a book.
Thanks in advance for coming on this writing journey with me and I look forward to the fun we can have. I want to write books for you and only your input can help me do that.
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