Eden Rising

Eden Rising by Brett Battles Read Free Book Online

Book: Eden Rising by Brett Battles Read Free Book Online
Authors: Brett Battles
Tags: thriller, Suspense, Mystery, Virus, End of the world, Plague, conspiracy, flu
died. Martina had been playing sports with or against Valerie and Amanda and most of the other girls since they were all kids. Some she got along with better than others. Valerie and Amanda had always proven more difficult. Martina had assumed their current situation had changed that. Apparently not.
    To keep the peace, Martina excused herself to use the restroom, and had instead gone to bed. The next morning, there was no talk of the tension from the night before. Partly that was due to varying degrees of hangovers the others had, but mostly, Martina guessed, they just didn’t remember.
    When the location of the nearest survival station was finally broadcast—the parking lot of Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles starting on December 31 st —the discussion of what to do had come up again. Fortunately, everyone was sober this time, but to avoid any problems, Martina let others lead the conversation.
    When Martina had seen which way the vote was leaning, she had thrown in with everyone else, making the vote unanimous. They would caravan to Los Angeles the afternoon of New Year’s Eve.
    Until the evening before they were to leave, Martina had still thought she’d probably go with them. As she lay in her bed that night, she turned on her phone, hoping it would have a signal now and she could try to reach Ben.
    At first, the same NO SERVICE message was at the top where it always was. But as she was about to turn off her phone, a single bar appeared. She stared at it, hoping for more, but that was all it gave her. And then her phone vibrated, letting her know she had voice mail.
    The message on the screen indicated there were actually seven, all from Ben. The last had been sent earlier that day. She decided to listen to them in order received and brought up the earliest one.
    But as it started to play, the reception bar was replaced by NO SERVICE , and a message appeared on her screen: VOICE MAIL UNAVAILABLE .
    “No, please!” she said.
    She waited, hoping the bar would come back, but it stayed on NO SERVICE . She turned off the phone and turned it on again, but that didn’t change anything. Though she desperately wanted to hear his messages, she felt elated.  
    If she and the other members of her softball team who’d contracted the Sage Flu the previous spring were now immune, she’d assumed Ben would be, too. He’d gone through it with them, after all. But she’d had now way of knowing for sure. Until now.
    Ben was alive.
    When the afternoon of New Year’s Eve came, Martina helped the others finish loading the cars, while leaving her own bag hidden behind the Carriage Inn’s reception counter. Once they were done, they gathered in the parking lot.
    “We need to keep in sight of each other in case anyone has car trouble,” Valerie said. As had been happening more and more over the last several days, she was taking on the self-appointed role of leader. “Plus, we have no idea what kind of mess we might run into when we reach the city. Could be the roads are jammed up.”
    “Wait,” Jilly said. “What would happen then? Would we have to walk?”
    “Anything’s possible at this point, but what won’t help is whining about it, all right?”
    She stared at Jilly, daring her to respond, but Jilly kept quiet.
    “Good.” Valerie shifted her gaze to the others. “Everyone has water? Something to eat?”
    Nods and yeses.
    “Then no time to waste, I guess.”
    As Valerie took a step toward her car, Martina said, “Hold on.”
    Valerie stopped and looked back, her eyes narrowing as if expecting a challenge. “What’s wrong?”
    “Nothing’s wrong,” Martina said. “I’m just…I’m not going with you.”
    “What?” both Noreen and Riley said.
    The group instinctively moved toward Martina.
    “What do you mean, you’re not going?” Noreen asked.
    “Just that,” Martina said. “I’m not trying to stop you or anything, but—”
    “You’re going to stay here?” Riley asked.
    “No.” Martina paused. She

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