G. Michael Hopf is the author of The End and The Long Road. He spent two decades living a life of adventure before settling down to pursue his passion for writing. He is a former combat veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps and former bodyguard. He lives with his family in San Diego, CA.
October 15, 2066
Olympia, Washington, Republic of Cascadia
Haley stood, staring through the thin pane of glass that separated the chilly sea air of the Puget Sound and the warmth of her living room. She looked at the capitol building in the distance. Its sandstone dome towered over the other buildings in the city, as it had for the past 138 years. At one time, it was the capitol of a single state; now it was the capitol of her country, a country born out of chaos and destruction.
She tore her gaze away from the distance and looked down at the photo she held in her hand. She touched the faces of the family depicted. Tears began to well up in her eyes as she passed her fingers across the photo. It contained four smiling faces; a portrait of a once-happy family, her family. More tears came as she thought back to the day the picture was taken. She remembered it vividly, as though it was that very morning. Haley closed her eyes and pressed the photo against her chest; the tears ran down her cheeks and hung from her chin. She remembered her father holding her tight as she sat on his knee; he kissed her many times on her head and told her how proud he was that she had tied her own shoes that day. She longed for that innocent time when she had no concerns or cares. She longed for the days when her family was together and happy. Not long after that photo was taken, her innocent world collided with the harsh realities of mass murder and apocalypse. Her family was to be ripped apart by this new reality, and what remained would never be the same.
A knock at her front door jolted her back to present. She quickly wiped the tears from her face and placed the photo in the pocket of her sweater. She walked toward the front door, but before she opened it, she turned to the mirror that hung on the wall in the foyer and looked at herself. She made sure she had wiped all the tears away and fixed her graying hair.
You can do this, Haley,” she said, attempting to reassure herself of the difficult task she had before her.
She turned and opened the door. On the porch before her were three people. The first was a man in his thirties, John, the lead reporter for the Cascadian Times. He was accompanied by two photographers, neither of whom could be more than twenty-five years old. They were all postwar babies; none of them knew the horror and brutality of the Great Civil War.
Mrs. Rutledge?” John asked as he reached his hand out.
Yes, please call me Haley.” She grasped his hand firmly and shook.
She greeted the other two and invited everyone into her house. They shared small talk as the photographers set up equipment for the photo shoot that would follow the interview.
Mrs. Rutledge, when you’re ready to begin, let me know,” John said.
John, please, call me Haley.”
Yes ma’am,” he answered with a sheepish grin.
Haley sat nervously, her hands rigidly clasped on her lap. She rubbed her fingers in anticipation of the first question.
Haley, first let me thank you for letting us into your home. It is an honor to be able to speak with you and to get your personal story and perspective.”
You’re very welcome, John. I have to admit, I’m a bit nervous. As you know, I don’t like the limelight nor have I ever been one for doing interviews. If it
What would you do to survive?
Young Gordon Van Zandt valued duty and loyalty to country above all, so after 9/11, he dropped out of college and joined the Marine Corps. This idealism vanished one fateful day in a war-torn city in Iraq. Ten years later, he is still struggling with the ghosts of his past when a new reality is thrust upon him and his family: North America, Europe and the Far East have all suffered a devastating Super-EMP attack, which causes catastrophic damage to the nation’s power grid and essential infrastructures. Everything from cell phones to cars to computers cease to function, putting society at a standstill.
With civilization in chaos, Gordon must fight for the limited and fast dwindling resources. He knows survival requires action and cooperation with his neighbors, but as the days wear on, so does all sense of civility within his communityand so he must make some of the most difficult decisions of his life in order to ensure his family’s safety.