Into the End - Book #1
Rachel Parker in Into the End can IDENTIFY fear, she can DEFINE it, but she doesn't feel it. Not anymore. Not since the tests. Her inability to feel fear may be the reason why the rest of America is screaming in terror. America’s end is near. No one knows why, but the great country is under attack. After being weakened by countless natural disasters, America opens its airspace for aid. But instead, what is left of the devastated west coast finds itself nearly obliterated from above. The key may belong to tests designed by a Pacific Northwest psychologist, Rachel Parker. Rachel loses the love of her life in a house fire as they escape with their children to the nearby Rocky Mountains following the first round of air raids. In refuge, she faces her husband’s best friend, Joshua, but doesn’t want to face his ill-harbored feelings or her own inability to face fear. Her sister, Brenda, escapes the fallen city, and, mistaken for Rachel, is captured. Terrified and alone, Brenda is protected by the enigmatic Daniel even while he helps keep her captive. Through torture and mind games, Brenda discovers information about her sister’s work that could spin the free world into a tumultuous frenzy where the unknown is safer than reality.
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Allies = All Lies America is burning. The unknown blinds the citizens from fighting. Dr. Rachel Parker’s worst psychological designs are loosed on America by an unknown enemy. She leaves the safety of the mountains for the destruction of town to face her co-designer, Daniel, whose role is blurred by the smoke of deception. Captured by militia, Rachel has to find the answers she’s seeking. She’s not prepared to look within her own damaged mind for the solutions. Rachel’s frame of sanity and emotional stability lay on the line parallel to the country’s circumstances. Brenda Krous, Rachel’s sister, possesses information that could change the face of the war. Sacrifices to get there become more and more personal until the “Brenda” she was and the “Brenda” she is becoming hit a crossroads. If she finds the compassion to help her sister, her patriotism to the nation might be sacrificed.
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America can rise, but the cost is high. Traumatized by previous exposure to her own tests, Dr. Rachel Parker has to complete the methodical steps she swore would never see the light of day… on herself. Her sister, Brenda Krous, may be the only one capable of pulling her through intact. If they can accomplish the feat and find resolution together, the answers they discover can help the rest of America rise up and reclaim itself from the protection of destruction. But a nation’s fall has a time frame and pride can get in the way. Rachel and Brenda must find what they need in each other to conquer the fear in others.
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Now for the Excerpt...
Out of the Ashes
Brenda huddled in the window seat of Rachel’s room. Legs drawn to tuck her feet beneath her rear, she fingered the page with directions for the next step. She hadn’t read that far before.
Despair filled her.
How the hell…
Her sister expected a lot from Brenda. More than Brenda had in her.
The directions detailed the torture devices Brenda was supposed to employ on the “subject’s necessary choice”. Listed in ascending order of pain, the tortures included Brenda banding Daniel’s testicles at the very start of the forty-eight hour process, cut off chunks of his tongue in sections, use an acid dropper on a sensitive part of the body – inner wrists, inner thighs – like there was more work needed near the thigh or groin area, jeesh, razor slits on the fingertips and feet bottoms, then more visible methods to affect Rachel and less about causing Daniel pain.
Apparently, he was supposed to be naked – Brenda shuddered at the option.
Another one involved stretching him by hooking up some kind of a pulley system to yank his arms over his head from behind his back? Brenda didn’t claim any handyman skills. She was a nurse for crying out loud, she didn’t know the first thing about creating pulleys.
Brenda dropped her head to the side and closed her eyes. According to Daniel, he was there under a very steep duress. Branding seemed like child’s play compared to the shit Rachel had directed be done in the second step.
A sneaking suspicion rose in Brenda that Rachel’s tests weren’t designed for the torture of the participants, but rather for the people conducting the tests. If she succeeded in the tasks set before her, would she be any worse off than Rachel? Would she still be herself?
The evil in the tests might be designed to bring out the evil in the conductors. If that were the case, Brenda didn’t want to participate.
She’d already killed in the last couple weeks. Apparently she was supposed to torture and do things that were not a part of her mentality.
No wonder Rachel had made Brenda swear she would finish the tests. All of them, regardless of anything or anyone.
But… could Brenda save herself? Rachel? Daniel? Anyone? Even if she had no idea who she became during the process?
Think. Dammit, come on, Brenda. If anyone can pull through this, it’s you. Think. What she wouldn’t give for a drink – anything would do, a simple beer would work. But if she had her choice? Maybe a pina colada? Or a mai tai… Oh, yeah. If she weren’t pregnant, she’d consider pounding some liquor.
A small chuckle escaped Brenda. She’d never been a drinker, not a serious one, had never really enjoyed the taste or the effects of losing control of her thoughts.
But Rachel… Rachel had enjoyed wine – even if it came from a box. She didn’t care. She’d said more than once that fermented grape juice was good enough for her.
And an idea took root in Brenda, as if she’d had it there the whole time. It sprouted and grew, billowing out to her limbs and in her heart. She could save herself. She could be the person she knew and still do her job.