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*Novella companion to Sanctuary*
What if the Biblical End Times unfolded in a way no one told you about and the rapture didn’t happen before the tribulation began…
Aliens have attacked and Rory’s mother is missing, but none of that matters much to him. He’s safe in his apartment complex, has his friends and his twin sister, Hailey. But as supplies start to dwindle, it becomes obvious that he needs to do something to make sure they all survive…even if it means he has to brave going outside through the Shisa and the zombies people have become. As long as they are safe, that’s all that matters, right?
Sequel to Sanctuary
About the Author
Pauline Creeden is an award-winning author, horse trainer, and overall book ninja. She becomes the main character in each of her stories, and because she has ADD, she will get bored if she pretends to be one person for too long.
Armored Hearts, her joint effort with author Melissa Turner Lee, has been awarded the Crowned Heart for Excellence by InDtale Magazine. It is also the 2013 Book Junkie’s Choice Winner in Historical Fiction. Her debut novel, Sanctuary, won 1st Place Christian YA Title 2013 Dante Rosetti Award and 2014 Reader’s Choice Gold Award for Best YA Horror Novel.
“The worst part about the end of the world is the thirst,” Hailey said as she swiped a dirty blonde curl from her forehead and put it behind her ear. Even though she was Rory’s fraternal twin sister, her hair was a few shades lighter than his and wavy instead of curly. Red model paint from her fingers smeared on the edge of her ear, and Rory couldn’t help but hate the color. It looked too much like blood.
Water everywhere and not a drop to drink…
Wasn’t that a poem or saying or something? Even though water still poured from the tap in every single apartment, everyone knew it was completely undrinkable. It still made Rory salivate for it just thinking about it. He shook his head and tried to think on something else.
Tion shoved the window down on the last of the T-shirts in apartment 4F and pushed away from the window. “Shut up. We don’t need to talk about it. Talking about it makes us think about it. And thinking about it just makes it worse.” He dropped down on the floor beside them and sat cross-legged. When they all were on the floor together like this, it was funny how they all sat at about the same height. Tion was two years younger than Rory and Hailey, but, at fifteen, he still towered over them both by more than six inches. All legs.
“I wonder what it looks like from outside,” Rory said, picking at the dried paint on his own fingers. Any transport that happened by wouldn’t be able to miss the four white T-shirts with red letters that spelled out “HELP.” At least, that’s what they hoped.
“Not like we could go out and take a look.” Tion stretched out on the floor and leaned on his elbows. He’d lost weight—they all had. But Tion hadn’t had weight that he could afford to lose in the first place. At 6-foot-2, he’d played basketball for their high school and had even made varsity his freshman year. Now, his legs and arms could have belonged to a grasshopper instead of a teenage boy.
For a long while, they sat together in silence except for Hailey’s humming. Rory continued picking at the paint on his fingers. Tion had his eyes closed as if napping, and Hailey sat humming every Top 40 song she could think of. Faded white light came through the window, the sky a cloudy hue that hovered between gold and gray. Mrs. Foster’s apartment smelled faintly of cinnamon. The plug-in air freshener in the wall hadn’t yet lost its ability to fill the room with the scent of freshly baked pastries. Rory’s stomach growled, and he moaned.
“Hang in there, bro. We’ve got at least two more hours until dinner.” Tion laid himself all the way to the carpet.
Rory swallowed the saliva forming in his mouth. Some choice they had. Suffer in the scent of non-existent baked goods or head on down to the first floor where everyone wallowed in the rank odor of sweat and feet. While it was daylight, the teenagers had split into two groups to continue searching for supplies, but it was slim pickings. It had been over three weeks since the aliens known as Shisa were let loose on the population of Newport News, Virginia. No one had been let in the building or out…except Mr. Harris.
Now they were running out of water and food fast.