I was just told that THE NATION is having some "downloading" problems. I've got my IT guy working on it so be patient and I'll let you know as soon as I can when it's back up and ready to be downloaded again.
Oops - I forgot to get back on and give the, "All's better now." Carry on.
I recently received a very nice email and suggestion from a Trait fan from the east coast. She's a fan of epic novels turned movies--Twilight, Hunger Games, Harry Potter--and she's completely convinced that The Trait Series will be made into movies someday. A little part of her message:
"When the TRAIT Series is made into movies, this should be the theme song!"
I have fallen in love with this song. It feels like THE TRAIT to me. Thank you KP for the suggestion and the kind message!
The two women hadn’t said a thing.
The older woman in the driver’s seat focused on centering her rig on the scale
at the same time her scared young passenger worked to catch her breath. The driver
handed her papers to a Canadian highway official and rolled up her window. She
turned to talk to the passenger just in time to see a vehicle rapidly
approaching through the window.
“Is that friend
or foe?” she said in a substantial Canadian accent.
Brynn peered out
the window to her right. The vehicle in question bounced along the dirt road
and Brynn caught a quick glimpse of the side of it. She knew it was the van she
had been riding in just minutes earlier.
“Foe,” she said
and she started to breath heavy again.
“Climb in the
back. There’s a compartment underneath the bed where I store my dirty clothes.
Roll into it, then pull the clothes in after you,” The woman said without
turning to Brynn.
Brynn did what
the woman said to do. Lying in the dark, stuffy compartment, she closed her
eyes. The compartment smelled of musty cigarette smoke and stale beer, and she
covered her face with her shirt and started to count to keep her mind from
deteriorating into mush.
She had counted
to 162 when she heard the loud banging on the truck door.
“What do you
want?” the driver barked.
for my sister. She’s run away from our group,” the man’s voice said. Brynn
thought it sounded like Andy and she pinched her eyes together as tightly as
“I haven’t seen
“Did you see a
young girl wandering around? Please, ma’am, she suffers from mental illness.”
“Nope. I haven’t
seen any women around her all night except for that window clerk,” the driver
said, pointing at the woman working behind the large glass window inside the
The man turned to
look at the building. The same worker that had taken the papers from the driver
rig briskly advanced the cab. “Sir, you can’t be out here on foot.”
“But my sister.
We’re looking for my sister.”
“I don’t care if
you’ve lost the Queen of Sheba. You’re not permitted to be on or near the
scales on foot. Return to your vehicle immediately,” the worker said.
Brynn exhaled carefully,
but to her ears, it sounded like a foghorn. Before the worker could escort him
away from the truck, Andy climbed up and looked into the cab. Seeing nothing
but an unmade bed, he glanced at the older woman before jumping to the ground
and running to the van.
The truck pulled
off the scales, and Brynn didn’t move until the heat from the vibration of the truck
below her became unbearable. She climbed out from underneath the bed and slowly
peered into the cab of the truck. The woman looked at her through the rear-view
mirror and pointed at the passenger seat. Brynn climbed to the seat and
fastened her seat belt before turning to the woman.
“Thank you for
the ride, and for hiding me.”
“Was that the
creep that’s been hurtin’ you?” the older woman asked. Sitting in a dirty
sweater, frayed, fingerless gloves and a crooked beanie cap, the woman had to be
in her early sixties. Brynn could see a small piece of gray hair sticking out
from the cap as her eyes traveled down from the hair to her wrinkled, pale
“No, that was his
friend. The creep was probably looking elsewhere.”
“Was he abusing
“Yes,” she said.
“My name is Brynn.”
“I’m Penner.” She glanced at Brynn before quickly refocusing on the road.
“For the initial
48 hours, there will be a one-to-one point five vaccinated individual per
caregiver ratio. After that, we’ll start taking shifts. The ratios will jump to
one of us for every four or five of them for at least eight weeks,” Dallin
“Along the far
right wall is a defibrillator, three blood pressure cuffs, the thermometers,
and the oxygen tanks,” Beth explained, pointing at the wall. Brynn glanced at
Beth then at Silus. Silus and Brynn shared a brief, tense stare until Creed
“Si, will you
give us an update?” Creed asked.
security around the total perimeter of the property, including the driveway.
There are four secured phone lines down here, as well as in the duplex we’ve
rented for the families. Nothing can get in or out of here that we don’t want
“Dallin, what are
the potential problems we need to be aware of?” Creed asked. He didn’t look at
Dallin, but instead focused on the bulletin board in front of him.
“We have two
older recipients, one who’s almost 50 and the other, 56. Both are male. We also
have a minor who will be turning 18 in 28 days, but still isn’t legally able to
make a decision like this without the approval of a guardian. Luckily, Sally’s
mother is very accepting and supporting, but she’s also overly involved. For
the privacy and protection of each individual recipient, no one besides this
group is permitted in this room … ever. Sally’s mother is going to struggle
“She’s going to
be staying in the north side of the duplex, right?” Creed asked.
she’ll want to come down here, but she isn’t permitted to. The Harrison twins are massive boys. Both are built like
linebackers so it’s going to be a chore if we have to lift or move either of
them. Out of the ten recipients, five are between 20 and 30 years of age, which
is a good thing, three are teenagers, and then the two older men that have
already been discussed.”
recipients are in excellent health. Nancy examined them one-by-one and she
couldn’t be happier with their pre-inoculation statuses,” Creed stated as if
Nancy had been a part of the process all along. Brynn had to physically
restrain herself from rolling her eyes and turned away from Creed when Dallin
cleared his throat.
“I have a
personal concern about your dad, Creed.”
“And I have a
personal concern about Nancy,” Brynn said, quickly making her statement before
Dallin could continue on with his. “I know she’s signed confidentiality forms
and stuff, but I—I have reservations about her.”
“I know you do.
We all know you do. That’s why she’s on a need-to-know basis only. She doesn’t
have full access here. She doesn’t know everything, hell, she hardly knows
anything,” Creed replied.
“I don’t want her
alone in the house without one of us here to supervise her,” Brynn demanded.
Brynn to see if she was being serious. “Brynn, love, you know that isn’t
Brynn began to
retort when Silus loudly cleared his throat. “I agree with Brynn.”
said, desperate to keep the conversation from becoming uncomfortably hijacked.
Nancy asked. She entered the basement as if she lived there.
“We’re going over
our final checklist. Please, have a seat,” Creed said to Nancy.
Brynn tried to
pull her hand away from Creed’s grasp, only for him to gently squeeze her
fingers in between his.
didn’t like the building tension, or the amount of time being spent at the
expensive of Nancy, the newest member of Creed’s team. “Like I was saying about
your dad, he’s the oldest recipient and it’d just … well, it would kill me if
anything happened to him,” Dallin cautiously said.
“He’ll be fine,”
Beth replied. She gazed intently on Creed. Silus wrapped his arm around his
mother Beth and she turned from Creed to her youngest son and smiled. She was
confident, at least she put on an air that she was. She didn’t agree with
Kalen’s strong desire to receive the EA-7, but she’d support him with almost
anything he requested of her after a bit of coaxing and even more explanation.
The syringes are locked and loaded. One by one, starting with Sadollah, we’re
going to bring an individual recipient down to receive an injection. One
injection per hour on the hour, unless a medical emergency occurs,” Creed
“Don’t forget to
chart absolutely everything—a one degree temperature change, if their pee looks
too yellow, if you have to flush an IV. Are the consents and waivers all
signed?” Dallin asked.
Operation Enhancement is officially underway,” Creed said. He looked at Nancy
and pointed at the stairs.
Nancy quietly exited
the lab to get Sadollah. Sitting in the family room of Creed’s house were the
first five recipients. The other five, which included Kalen, were waiting at
Brynn’s house to receive their own vial of the thick, blue EA-7.
24 hours later,
10 very sick individuals were lying in twin beds scattered throughout the
basement of Creed’s home.
Creed slept for eight
weeks straight after giving himself the injection, the toll on his body from
the vaccine brutal.He was lethargic,
often times unresponsive, and his body’s inability to keep a consistent temperature
was disheartening to both Brynn and Dallin.
Brynn said as she walked into the bedroom where Creed was sleeping.
sitting in a chair next to Creed’s bed, looked up. He nodded at Brynn before
refocusing on Creed. He stood and leaned over Creed, slowly, methodically
touching Creed’s face and neck to check his external temperature. Dallin took
Creed’s pulse and logged the reading on a notepad dedicated to Creed’s vital
statistics. “He seems to be stabilizing a bit.”
sat down on the bed next to the one occupied by Creed and sighed, “It’s been a
has, but I assure you, it will be worth it,” Dallin offered in a calm, almost
eerie tone. Dallin cleared his throat, the noise prompting Brynn to look at
him. Her head started to spin as she and Dallin shared an intense stare. As if
she had been drinking, Brynn was consumed with dizziness. Panic encased her and
her face showed her displeasure.
it!” she snapped, her hands covering her eyes, but her cries went unheard. Her
mind took her out of the bedroom and to place she had never been before. She
felt as if she was moving toward a bright light. Brynn tried to divert her
thoughts, but her efforts were futile. Her mind was out of her control.
was as if she was watching a motion picture of herself, but slower, quieter,
and less colorful than real life. Brynn looked at her feet as she walked
through granules of moist, blonde sand. Her white sundress gently swayed with
the breeze, and the smell of saltwater engulfed her. She could feel herself
sigh. Ocean waves crashed against the beach next to her and Brynn shivered from
a cool breeze coming off the water.
called her name and she turned around. Creed, dressed in a white shirt and tan
rolled up slacks, slowly approached her and embraced her. She could smell him
and hear him profess his love for her. He walked with her to the large white
gazebo placed randomly amongst a horizon of sand. Standing inside the gazebo
was a faceless man dressed in a white suit and holding a white book. Brynn
could feel herself turn to Creed and smile. In slow motion, he said, “I do,”
before Brynn’s mind violently snapped back to the present. She took many deep
breaths before slowly opening her eyes.
controlled my mind. It was like I was having an out of body experience,” she
said as she glared at Dallin, not knowing if she had enjoyed the hallucinative
experience or not.
trait—it’s different now. I can control how you feel, what you see in your
mind. I can control what endorphins I put out and what endorphins you put out.
I can alleviate physical pain. … That’s the best thing I can do. I can only
imagine what Creed is going to be able to do,” Dallin whispered as he stood and
walked to the door. Just before he passed through the doorway, he said, “I can
kiss Aspen, Brynn. I can kiss her without knocking her out or making her high.
I can hold her while she sleeps. It’s worth it. It will be worth it for you and
Creed, too. … I promise.”
I've decided to post teasers of my available books online. Enjoy!
In nothing but his
boxers, in a field of dead grass and patches of grainy snow, Creed Alexander
stood in undeniable agony. The sweat covering his pale torso gleamed in the mid-morning sun. He held his arms up, inviting the sunlight to penetrate him as
his eyes closed against the blinding rays. He slowly tipped his face directly
at the sky. For Creed alone, his decision to stand unclothed in the sun could
fugitive from the sun, Creed was often imprisoned and physically tortured when
captured, then held in regret-filled custody for months after exposure to
sunlight. But for her, for the girl of his dreams who he had met, courted, and
fallen in love with only by night, Creed would risk the imprisonment. He’d
willingly serve the sentence handed down from his trait—intense and relentless physical pain and emotional hell—for her.
held his position until the pain became intolerable. Stumbling to his knees, he
screamed out in anguish as he clutched his abdomen. White foam and the contents
of his stomach spewed from his mouth as his side slammed against the ground and
he recoiled from the heat into a fetal position.“Oh, God help me!” he choked. Out of control
and hurting like never before, Creed cried as sunlight continued to beat on his