Dee’s parents are home from their ill-fated cruise, but there’s no time to adjust to life “off-grid.” A menacing ex-military leader threatens their small town. After Dee narrowly avoids being conscripted into his youth army, she is forced to watch her friends suffer at his hands. She will risk everything to rescue her loved ones in this taut post-apocalyptic thriller!
* * * Excerpt from Chapter 2 of Sabotage * * *
Dee saw a middle-aged man stagger into the health clinic, bright red blood staining the front of his oversized flannel shirt. Dee rushed to help him inside but he pushed her away, “Not me, I’m fine. Help her.”
He opened his shirt and Dee saw that he carried a golden retriever in his arms. Her liquid brown eyes looked steadily at her owner. Anywhere else the man would have been sent away, but Linda had worked with her grandpa in his veterinarian practice.
She came out from behind the desk and touched the dog gently on the head. “Oh no, not Mabel.”
“Can you help her?” the man pleaded, his voice raw with pain. “She’s all I’ve got.”
Linda handed the collar to Dee. “Take them into room five and set her up on the exam table for now. I’ll send Doc Kerns in when he’s free.”
The man moved towards the back of the room, and Linda gave Dee a sad look and slight shake of her head.
Dee followed the man, her heart breaking for him. “It’s going to be okay, sir,” she heard herself say. “Let’s see if we can make her comfortable until the doctor can see her.
“She saved me,” said the man, his voice cracking. “I don’t even own a gun. I don’t know what I’d do without her.”
Dee helped him lay Mabel gently on the table. She licked her owner’s hand in an affectionate gesture, keeping her intelligent eyes on him the entire time.
“She knows she ain’t gonna make it,” he said, tears silently streaming down his face.
Dee closed the door behind her, to give him some privacy with his companion. She wiped her eyes and looked around the room before walking to Linda. “Who’s next?”
The night didn’t get any easier. Dee saw her grandpa come out of Mabel’s exam room, shaking his head. About fifteen minutes later, the owner came out, empty-handed. “She’s gone,” he said simply and made his way out of the clinic.
“Poor man,” said Linda. “He must be devastated.”
“He should have something to remember her,” said Dee. “I’ll be right back.”
Dee ran after him, holding the collar in her hand. He took it from her with thanks, then turned and went into the night.
She stood for a few minutes, letting the crisp night air refresh her. A sound nearby startled her, and she jumped. Out of the shadows another man materialized. He cradled his arms around his mid-section and came towards her.
“Help me,” he said, and stumbled. Dee automatically moved to support him and he leaned heavily on her.
“Come in,” said Dee. “My grandpa’s the doctor. He can help you.” Inside, she tried to help the man to a seat but he clung to her, so she brought him to Linda at the front desk. “I’ve got a new patient here,” said Dee. “I think it’s serious.”
Linda looked up, business-like, to assess the new patient. Dee saw her face grow very still, her movements careful. “Sure, Dee. I’ll show him to a room, and send the doctor right in.” She didn’t call him by name like she normally did with the other patients, or look at his wound.
“Is everything okay, Linda?” asked Dee.
“Of course, of course,” she said, coming around the counter and offering the man her arm.
“If it’s just the same to you, I’ll let Dee here help me,” he said.
“She’s just a volunteer,” said Linda. “She’s not qualified to help patients.”
“I said I want the girl’s help,” said the man, his voice loud and adamant. He drew a pistol out of the inner pocket of his coat and showed it to Linda. She stepped back.
“That’s better,” said the man. He gave Dee a hard smile. “Now, take me in back and we’ll wait for this grandpa of yours.”