Monday, September 21, 2015

Book #2 In The Changing Earth Series is Here! Introducing Without Land

“I thought I was entering a brave new world of freedom but I walked right into the arms of soldiers I thought were there to protect me... They told us we were going to live at this ‘happy’ camp where we would be cared for until the country was stabilized.”

Erika thought America would let freedom reign forever but nine years after the Great Quake the reaction by the American Government was quite different. The Day after Disaster brought hardships to the world. The American citizens fought valiantly to bring back some sense of normalcy in a world that was shaken to bits. Many people were left landless and those still in possession of land had many obligation to fulfill for the citizens left fighting for their lives. Erika and her family are just another group left landless and forced to find their way in this new government construct. They are caught between a yearning for the freedoms they used to take for granted and a will to fit in and excel in this new landscape. However, Mother Nature will always have the last word and she isn’t done yet. 
Chapter 1



E
rika’s warm tears mingled delicately with the cool water in the basin. She stared at her reflection in the mirror. Her soft, chestnut-colored eyes were puffy from crying. Slowly, she brushed her long, brown hair behind her ear. She had noticed some new strands of gray, but that was not what she was looking at. Her fingers slowly traced the lines of the scars her body bore from her escape from Sacramento. It seemed a lifetime ago but the rough, mangled skin she saw reflected back at her in the mirror reminded her that it had not been some horrible nightmare conjured up in her dreams.
Erika was doing it again, dredging up the memories from the past that haunted her. She splashed the cold water over her face as the images of the ones she had left behind flashed in her mind.
“Oh God, how could they have done it,” she squeaked out in a muffled whimper.
Suddenly there was a soft tap at the door. “Baby, you ready yet?” Vince’s deep, manly voice questioned.
The sound of his voice snapped Erika back into reality. “Oh yeah, be out in a minute,” she quickly answered, barely controlling the quiver in her voice.
Water smashed over her face again, and she grabbed a towel that was on the counter. It wasn’t a soft, cushy towel like the ones she had known when she was younger. It was simply a piece of cloth, probably from an old T-shirt salvaged from some destroyed town. The water swirled down the drain when she yanked on the chain that held the stopper in place. She made a mental note to change the bucket under the basin that held the dirty water later, as she stared at the vortex. Shaking all those painful thoughts from her head, she went toward the door.
Erika turned the knob and the door creaked open. Vince’s loving eyes met hers. They were beautiful. Gold stars extended from his pupils and smoothly melded into the hazel color that surrounded them. His face was neatly shaven, and his handsome features struck Erika silent as she looked at him.
“What’s wrong, Erika?” Vince could immediately tell she had been crying.
“Nothing, I’m just shocked to see you looking all GQ with your beard shaved,” she teased, trying to distract him.
He blushed a little. “It’s itchy. Now really, what’s up,” he prodded on.
“Nothing…really, I’m fine.” Erika was hesitant to tell him about her memories because it was an argument they had too frequently.
“Oh no…not again.” Vince rolled his eyes. “We are not doing this today.” Vince had lived the same nightmare as his wife, but that was then. Nine years had passed and this was life now. He had lost too much to dwell there, wallowing in memories he was powerless to change. He tried every day, with little success, to forget.
“I’m not doing anything, Vince.” Erika didn’t really want to think about the past today either, but it seemed like she had little control over the anger, sadness and frustration she felt when she thought of the friends she had left behind in California and the life they had been forced to live since.
“That’s right, you’re not. This could be our chance to get out of this…this hellhole, and you are not gonna blow it again with all your freedom rhetoric.” Vince said. It was not his usual way, to talk to his wife like that, but he had a good feeling about this meeting. He felt it was just the opportunity they needed, an opportunity to get his family out of this situation and back to a free, real life. A chance to reclaim some of his past and maybe find some of his family he had lost connection with.
“That’s not fair, Vince. You feel the same way I do.” Erika was shocked by his “freedom rhetoric” comment.
Vince’s eyes softened, “Baby, you know I do, but I need to get out of here. I hate the desert,” he added with a smile.
“I know. I need to get out of here too,” Erika agreed. “I just can’t believe we have come to this.” Erika moved around the small wooden room with her arms out as if she was indicating everything, and it wasn’t much. A full-size mattress was in the corner. A blanket covered it, two pillows made of old T-shirts with more T-shirts stuffed inside for padding decorated it, and an old unzipped sleeping bag was thrown over the top. In the other corner stood a milk crate stacked on a pallet with a kerosene lantern on top. Next to it were two backpacks fully packed with everything in the world Erika and Vince cherished.  She turned back to face him. “I can’t give up on what I know is right. Someone has got to do something for these people.”
“Just please, let’s not let that someone be you doing something today, okay?” Vince pleaded.
“Okay, okay,” she replied sharply, “I will keep my mouth shut and play nice for you today,” Feeling guilty she had snapped at him, Erika approached him, wrapped her arms around his muscular body and stared up into his eyes.
“Promise?” he questioned, looking down softly at her. His curly hair was bouncing above his eyes.
“I promise,” she said with a soft kiss.
They opened the door to their tiny bedroom and entered the main room of their dwelling. This room was bigger than their bedroom, but not much. Immediately to the left there was a recessed area in the wall that contained three beds for their children: Star, Dexter and Daniel. Next to the bed each child had a backpack stuffed to the brim with their possessions. Directly across from their bedroom door was the door to the outside; the corner to the right of that was reserved for cooking. Erika couldn’t consider it a kitchen, compared to the standards she had enjoyed back before the great quake. Vince had built counters out of old pallets, and in the top of one a hole was made so the basin they used could set down into it but still be easily removed. In the other corner, to the right, there was a sitting area: an old salvaged wooden table with five chairs surrounding it.  Daniel was occupying one of the chairs.
“Good morning, Mom and Dad,” he said, his voice bubbling with excitement. “Look at what I did this morning!” he said with a bright smile, displaying his latest piece of artwork. His feathery, blond hair bounced in the sunlight that entered through a little square that was cut in the wall in the kitchen area. He was a strong, well-proportioned, eight-year-old boy. Yesterday he had delighted in the three different-colored paints that an old lady down the street had found and given him. Even though paper was very hard to come by, he painted on every inch of every scrap he could find, preciously conserving every drop of the rare paint.
“Where’s Star and Dex, Daniel?” Vince questioned the boy.
“They said they’d meet us at the bus,” he answered. His eyes never even looked up from the final touches he was applying to the artwork.
The wooden floor creaked as Erika headed over to the kitchen area and grabbed a jar that was full of sprouts she had been growing. She had put the seeds in the jar, then watered and drained them for days. Finally, they were growing. They would grow without the little bit of sunlight from the window, but Erika liked them green and they would not turn without the precious light. She began munching on a handful.
“You want some, baby?” she asked, holding out a handful to Vince.
“No, thanks. Come on, guys, we gotta go. Let’s get cleaned up, Danny,” he said, irritated with the delay. His wife was stalling and he was determined they were not going to miss the bus.
“Oh, Dad,” Daniel moaned.
“Don’t, ‘oh, Dad’ me, mister, let’s go!” Vince replied, giving the boy a big hug and a swat on the bottom.
Daniel carefully closed up his paints. Then he used a small shot glass of clean water to methodically clean the fine bristles of the brush. Erika had already grabbed the boy’s shoes and jacket by the time he had finished. In a few short minutes they were all ready to go.

Sara F. Hathaway
Sara F. Hathaway is the author of the The Changing Earth Series: Day After Disaster and Without Land. She also hosts The Changing Earth Podcast which blends her fictional stories with educational survival tips. Sara grew up in the country where she developed a profound interest in the natural world around her. After graduating with honors from The California State University of Sacramento with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, she launched into a career in business management. In her fictional novels her research and experience with survival techniques and forgotten life-sustaining methods of the generations past come to the forefront in a action packed adventures. She has used her background in business management to pave new roads for fictional authors to follow and she delights in helping other achieve the same success. She currently lives with her husband and two sons in California where she is at work on the sequel to her first two novels. For more information and a free copy of “The Go-Bag Essentials” featuring everything you need to have to leave your home in a disaster visit: www.authorsarafhathaway.com
Purchase Without Land
Purchase Day After Disaster