Enhanced (Prologue The Last Thing Debra Saw, page 1 of 4)


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Debra Sterling ran all the way up the concrete steps through the silent forest. She emerged from the trees at the top of the hill, crossed the gravel road and stopped. Panting, she held her sides with both arms and scanned the carnage before her. It would have been more natural to see the sun and moon snatched out of the sky. Her church was flattened like something gargantuan squashed it. She even checked the horizon for a mountain-sized behemoth but nothing was there. The sky was clearing and the late afternoon sun shined down on dozens of mutilated transgenic corpses spread out before what had been the front entrance to her church.

She caught her breath and kept going. As she ran past a medusa's severed head, one of the six cobras that looked like rope-hair reared up to bite her. Debra leapt away from the poison fangs then gingerly dodged around the other hacked-up creatures. She climbed into the rubble of the church and made her way to the spot that filled her heart with foreboding.

Debra tore at the debris, lifted then tossed aside a huge support beam. She found her parents dead under the bits and pieces behind the crushed pulpit.

"No, no, no," she whispered, caressing her parents' broken bodies with her splinter-pierced hands.

The trees behind the church parking lot were green with summer and the hazy air should have been full of the droning of cicadas but only silence and stillness surrounded her. As Debra climbed back out of the rubble she wondered if this was the reward for her faithfulness. How could this horrific day be the day of deliverance? Dropping to her knees, she put her bleeding hands together but instead of praying broke down.

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