The series is titled The Earthside Trilogy, and Book 1 is tentatively titled Fracture. So far, I’ve written three chapters, and it’s coming along quite well. I’m really excited about this project and look forward to seeing it develop and having fun with creating my own tale of “the ultimate alien invasion.”
I usually share the prologue of my novels with you when I start a new writing project. Honestly, I hesitated to share this one, because it’s a deathbed scene (well, perhaps) and might be disturbing. The thing is, it’s integral to the plot, and you won’t understand future excerpts unless you know what happens here. It is, after all, what kicks off the story. After some internal debate, I’ve decided heck with it, it’s going to be out there eventually anyway. So here you have it.
Here’s the context of the story: meet Kalea Kerner, a thirty-three year old electrical engineer in Columbia, South Carolina. She’s a successful young woman who recently took over as President of her father’s engineering company after his retirement a few months ago, and was recently heralded in the media as one of the youngest professional business owners in the State of South Carolina. We find her sitting with her Uncle Carson, who is in the final stages of Alzheimer’s (maybe?). This is set in the future, but not very far – perhaps fifteen to twenty years. I’ve decided to hint at the slightly futuristic setting throughout the novel without specifically “dating” it per some suggestions I’ve found on writer’s groups online. You’ll see this in future excerpts. For now, you can imagine that it’s sometime in the years 2020-2025.
And now, I proudly present Prologue of Fracture. Venture forth if you dare:
No matter how clean a hospital is, there’s no way to mask the simple fact that people die here. They do it every day, and no amount of cleanser or disinfectant can wash away the overbearing sense of loss that permeates these places. Souls enter and leave the world in hospitals every day with such regularity that it’s routine.
Still, it’s different when it’s someone you know. It’s not just another death. This time, it’s Uncle Carson.
Kalea blew out a long sigh as she fanned herself in the stifling room. “Why is it so hot in here?”
No reply. Just the shallow hiss of the air conditioner and Uncle Carson’s rattled breath. The same as the last two hours. A useless air conditioner that somehow couldn’t go below eighty degrees and that awful death rattle. The nurse called her Aunt and cousin out of the room for a “conversation” five minutes ago, leaving her alone on here to watch him just in case – of what? Maybe he could still hear, but if his demise was inevitable to everybody else, then surely it was inevitable to him. He was the one stuck in the bed. He was the one hooked up the machines. He was the one rattling, rattling, rattling. She heard a muffled sob out of her aunt in the hallway.
“Geeze!” she hissed, dropping her shoes on the floor and pulling the splint off her left leg. “It’s a hundred degrees outside and this sprained ankle is so swollen that it’s almost the size of the pumpkins you used to grow. Remember the pumpkins?”
No response. So much for reminiscing over the good times.
Kalea leaned back in the chair, propping her foot on the edge of the bed. “I’m sorry, Uncle Carson. I’m sorry that the cure came too late.” She raised her canned drink in a mock salute. “Here’s to the world’s worst timing.”
Rattling – from the air conditioner and Uncle Carson.
Kalea sat the can on the table and leaned back in the chair. “This is crap,” she muttered, pressing her hand over her head where she felt a migraine coming on. Great, one more problem was just was just what she needed. Her uncle was dying because the nanotech that could have reconnected his neural pathways was put on the medical market too late to help him. She was hobbling around on a sprained ankle because she couldn’t afford the same tech that could have healed this stupid running injury in a matter of minutes. And now her head hurt and her medication was left behind in her apartment, forgotten in her “your uncle is dying” haste of picking up her cousin at the airport and rushing here, just to sit and wait. She pressed harder, trying to press out pain, the rattle, her aunt’s sobs in the hallway.
Kalea groaned as she squinted at the late afternoon summer sunshine streaming through the window, reminding herself that whatever chaos reigned in here, the world was going on as normal out there, and she’d be part of it again as soon as they got through this. They would get through this. Whatever happened to Uncle Carson, tomorrow would come and they would make it through that day, and the next, and the next, and everyday after that until they faced this moment themselves. At least, that’s what the chaplin said a hour ago.
Kalea relaxed, sinking in the chair. She opened her eyes a slit to see the blue sky and sunlight through the top of the window. A peace seeped into her, a quietness that told her that everything would be alright. Tomorrow may not come for Uncle Carson, but it would for everybody else, and they would go on.
A hand grabbed Kalea’s ankle. She jerked up to see Uncle Carson sitting up in the bed, his hand holding her sprained ankle.
Kalea tried to pull back her foot, but his grip tightened. She whined.
“Kalea, it’s going to be alright.”
She stared at him with wide, brown eyes. “What --“
Uncle Carson smiled. “It’s fine. We’ve been chosen. We’re going to save the world.”
Kalea pulled harder on her ankle. A shock went through her ankle and foot as she jerked away and leaped out of the chair, dashing out of the door. She ran down the hall to the nurses station where her aunt and Avery has retreated with the nurses, her left bloody foot leaving prints on the linoleum floor. They stopped as they saw her approach, her short, brown hair flying behind her. Avery hurried to meet her, catching her in his arm. “Kalea, what is it?”
Kalea gasped, staring at Avery. “He’s awake.”
Aunt Molly turned from the nurse she was talking to, her eyes wide. “What did you say?”
“That’s impossible,” the nurse said, pushing past them. They followed her to Uncle Carson’s room, where they found him sitting up and calmly removing the morphine IV drip from his arm. He smiled at them.
“Hello everybody. Isn’t it a beautiful day?”
Aunt Molly and Avery rushed to Uncle Carson, engulfing him in a hug.
The nurse pushed her hair out of her face, her shaky arm exposing a phoenix tattoo. “I don’t understand.”
Aunt Molly looked up from her embrace, tears dripping down her cheek. “It’s a miracle!”
Kalea backed against the wall. “Then why am I scared?”