uninvited

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Summary

Is the end of the world near? The answer to that might be closer than we thought. One thing is for sure, the world as we knew it is gone. We thought we were alone in the universe. We were wrong. They came uninvited. I certainly didn't invite him into my life. His kind are lifeless with no emotions to speak of. He's incapable of offering any true feelings so why can't I look away from him? How is it that I know whenever he walks into a room? Should we take the lifeline they offer? Are they the enemy or can we trust them? They have the power to save us or destroy us. He has power to save me or destroy me.

Genre:
Romance / Scifi
Author:
ShawMcKnight
Status:
Complete
Chapters:
66
Rating:
4.9 15 reviews
Age Rating:
16+

chapter one

unshed


The end of the world. Who hasn’t wondered how it will all end? Books. Movies. Blockbusters that show us how it could be. There are many guesses. Who hasn’t wondered about it from time to time?

Angels of the apocalypse carrying out the wrath of God? Zombies? There is much speculation among us.

Will we go the same way the dinosaurs did? Will it be an earthquake that sends us all to the bottom of the sea? Nasty little aliens that want what we have?

Some worry about our own sun taking us out. Could the animals around us turn on us? That would be messy.

If you would have asked her a week ago, she would have said that we’d probably end ourselves. War. Nuclear weapons. Who hasn’t seen that coming for years?

Nothing lasts forever. We know that. We just didn’t know how or when.

We knew it would happen one day but the thing about us, we never thought it would happen to us. It was supposed to happen one day. Another day. To somebody else.

No matter what tried to snuff us out, we thought we could handle it. We’re fighters. Give us something to fight. Hell, most of us walk around looking for something to fight.

She’d kill for something to fight right now.

“Jess, it’s starting to rain. We should go in now.”

She couldn’t answer. She was too pissed off.

There were three graves in front of her. The dirt, fresh and dark. They had no flowers to toss, so instead, they left keepsakes and cherished objects laying in the fresh dirt.

An army of green, plastic soldiers laid in the center of her brother’s.

He hadn’t played with them in years. He’d been too old for that, but they had meant something to him. He never said why but she knew. Those toy soldiers were like her pocket watch. All they had left of the man who walked out on them.

Now there, was somebody she’d like to get her hands on. The bastard. His son laid here in a grave and he’d never even know it.

Wrong or not, she hoped he was in his own grave by now. He probably was. The news last night had reported that almost half of us were gone now. Half of the world. In less than a month.

How was that possible? Do you know how many graves that equaled?

She didn’t mind the rain that was coming down. She wasn’t able to shed any tears but why shouldn’t the heavens?

It was the end of the world, after all.

Her brother, her cousin Michael, and Julian’s dad laid here but they would only be the first.

Inside Julian’s mom was doing bad. She wouldn’t be able to hang on for much longer. Her uncle Chad was sick now too.

A fucking virus.

There was nothing they could do but sit around and watch everyone around them die. It fucking sucked.

She bent down and snatched up one of the soldiers.

Danny hadn’t been like normal thirteen-year-old boys. Quiet. Sad. That’s what happens when your father, your idol runs out on you. But he was only that way when Michael wasn’t around. That little shit hadn’t just been Danny’s cousin, they’d been best friends. Michael had brought the boy out in Danny. Got him into trouble every chance he got.

She’d thanked him for that when he’d been the first in their family to get sick.

He winked.

Give him a few more years and he would have had the girls eating out of his hands.

“Jess. Let’s go inside.”

That’s her mom for you. If she couldn’t get her daughter to do something, she’d go get Julian and make him get her to do it.

She knew her daughter would listen to him. Especially with him looking so broken.

Losing his dad had been hard on him. He wasn’t like her and pissed off at the world. He wasn’t like her mom. Charlotte Williams could take a lickin and keep on tickin.

She barely flinched when her husband had announced that he loved them, but he couldn’t stay. When she lost her son during the night, she’d gotten up and started digging a hole for him.

It wasn’t that she didn’t care. It was because there was no one else to do it. Her mom did what needed to be done.

When her husband, the man who was telling her he couldn’t live without her and he couldn’t stay either, left, she didn’t flinch. She went to work. She took care of her kids and ignored her own pain.

They were a lot alike in that way. Why cry over something you can’t change.

The difference between them is that she would have let her dad walk out the front door, but he would have done it limping.

She looked at Julian. “Don’t you know better than to stand out in the rain?”

He didn’t answer. He’d already forgotten why he came back out here. His eyes were on his father’s grave.

She didn’t have much use for fathers and that included Julian’s. Mr. Cross never missed an opportunity to hassle his only child. His grades were never good enough. No matter how well he played in the game, it was never good enough.

He forbidden Julian to see her weekly.

No, he wouldn’t be getting the father of the year award, but he stuck around. That was something.

She put her arm around her friend’s waist and guided him away.

“Your mom is worried about you.” He told her softly.

“No more than usual. You’re worried about me. That’s okay. I’m worried about you too.”

She knew loss. Danced with heartbreak before, but up till a few days ago, Julian had it pretty good. Sure, his father sucked, but he still had a pretty easy life. He was the town’s golden boy. Basketball star. He had the car everyone wanted. Cool mom. A hot girlfriend. The best friend in the entire world.

Now he knew how she’s been feeling the last four years. She’d give anything for that not to be true but at least his dad hadn’t left by choice.

Great! End of the fucking world and that man leaving her is still the worse thing that’s ever happened to her.

“Where did you go last night?”

She grunted. “Doesn’t matter.”

He stopped and waited for her to look at him.

He was tired. There were dark bruises under eyes that were red. She didn’t know what she’d do if she lost Julian too.

Would he get sick next?

None of them were getting any sleep. Who could sleep with death knocking on the door?

High fever. Vomiting. Loss of appetite. Maybe that’s how they’d lost so many so quickly. The virus that kills the whole world, looked like the regular ole flu.

They only difference, once your fever went up there was no bringing it down. It just kept climbing higher and higher.

Jess reached out and laid her hand to Julian’s forehead.

“I’m good. You do that a couple dozen times a day.”

“You too. Let’s get you out of this rain.”

“You shouldn’t have snuck out last night. What if they had caught you? What if you’d gotten around someone sick?”

“Julian, there are sick people all around us.”

“Then what if you had gotten around someone who hasn’t been around the sickness? They put the quarantine in place for a reason.”

She pulled him the rest of the way into the house and grabbed the towel her mom had left.

“Todd?”

She shrugged.

He was frowning at her once she was finished tugging his shirt up over his head. “Don’t look at me like that. Why don’t you go visit goody two shoes? She needs to sin at least once before she dies. It’s what all the red-blooded Americans, who aren’t sick yet are doing. Make her wear that cheerleader outfit you love so much, and you can play with her pompoms.”

He nearly choked. He smiled. “I can’t even stay mad at you.”

“Are you going to take my advice?”

Julian sighed. Took the towel from her and started drying her hair. “No. If the world is ending, then I’m where I want to be.”

No one could understand how it is that they could mean so much to each other. He was the sun. She was just the moon. If the moon was made of cheese. Not even the good stuff, the cheese in the can.

He was a handsome boy with dirty blond hair that he wore a little too long. Warm chocolate brown eyes and a body even she had swooned over a time or two.

She had brown hair. No natural highlights to speak of. Just dark brown, but it was thick, wavy, and easy to manage into whatever look she was going for that day. Weird eyes that weren’t brown, weren’t blue, weren’t green. You couldn’t even call these babies hazel.

In a time and age where thin, barely healthy was in, she was healthy. That was a nice way to put it.

Yep, she and a double bacon double cheeseburger with everything on it were best buddies. The only thing she loved more was cheesy bacon fries.

She wasn’t saying she was a bow-wow or even a hefty. She just wasn’t in the same universe as Julian.

And damn it, why did she have to mention food? Her stomach just realized she hasn’t eaten all day. Hell, she couldn’t even remember eating yesterday. “Have you eaten anything?”

“Are you going back out?”

“Damn it, Julian. Do you want to be the next one sick?”

“Are you?”

No. She should have been here to help dig graves. Running off to be with her drummer boyfriend hadn’t made her forget anything. “We broke up.”

His eyes narrowed. “Before or after you slept with him?”

“Before and after. His family is packing up. His dad thinks there will be better meds in one of the bigger cities.”

“The news says to stay put.”

“I know. Hungry?”

“Who breaks up with someone in a time like this?”

“It’s cool. He was cool. Last night was fun but no loss.” She gave his face a playful slap. “I’m where I want to be too. I’m going to cook. Maybe I’ll be able to get mom and Aunt Sarah to eat.”

When she turned away, he caught her and put his arms around her. “I know you’re okay about Todd, but I also know you’re heartbroken over Danny and Michael.”

Grief dug its razor-sharp claws into her chest and carved at her heart, but she refused to cry out. Yes, it hurt but in a time like this, wondering who would be next, hurt a lot more.

Jess squeezed her hand until the toy soldier dug into her skin. “All good here. I’m all about cooking. Why don’t you check on Mel before you go sit with your mom?”

His arms only tightened. “Do you think we did wrong by not taking the sick somewhere else?”

“Julian, by the time everyone knew what was going on it was already too late. We’d already been around it. The news is just trying to come up with something to say. They can’t say what we all already know. We’re fucked.”

“You really believe that?”

She wished she didn’t, but it had hit too hard, too fast. Who had time to find a cure? Hell, the ones who could were probably already dead. Or dying.

“Maybe it will run its course. Some might be immune to it.”

“Maybe.”

Yeah, maybe, but the world as they knew it was gone and there was no going back.

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