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Blackbird’s Fall (Savage World #3)
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Before the infection and fall of civilization, Marius Blackbird worked as a scientist for the government, specializing in virology. But now, after the end of the world, he was just a man trying to survive.
But then she saw someone who needed help, an injured man who could be friend or foe. The humanity in her wanted to help the only person she’d seen in far too long, but strangers weren’t to be trusted.
Marius instantly wanted Maya, and he knew gaining her trust would be next to impossible these days. And rightly so. But as they grew to know each other, the attraction and trust between them built. He wanted Maya as his and only his, wanted to have her by his side as they rebuilt their lives in a destroyed world.
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The fall of civilization
It was the anarchy and chaos that was the most frightening at first, the fact that humanity was slowly crumbling and that nothing was ever going to be the same.
The news reports blared that people should go home and stay there until they got official word that everything was okay.
Maya knew it wasn’t going to be okay.
Those words were just something to placate society, to make everyone stay calm in an otherwise crazy situation. It was just something to keep everyone in line, but it wasn’t doing its job, not in the cities, at least.
There was no cure, would never be a cure, not given how fast the infection was being spread.
That’s how it was spread. The healthy humans walking around with those little white paper masks probably thought they were safe, but they were far from it. That wouldn’t save them when the infection wasn’t airborne. The ones that thought they were safe were fools, especially when they got bitten, a chunk taken out of their body, and the infection pushed into their bloodstream and changed them from the inside out.
Maya had seen an infected only once, but she knew as time passed that would change.
“Turn that off, sweetheart,” her father said from the bed.
Maya looked over at him, saw the ashen look on his face, the fact that he had dark circles under his eyes, and that he was starting to bleed from his nose and mouth. She turned off the radio that was repeating an emergency broadcast about the infection, one she’d heard countless times.
“How are you feeling?” she asked and moved toward him. The slight commotion of her mother in the kitchen couldn’t hide the noise coming from her father: the sound of dying.
He wheezed and pushed himself up on the bed. “How do I look?” he asked and tried to smile, but it looked weak, sickly.
“Honestly? Like shit.” She was teasing, but it was obviously the truth. Her father had always told her never to sugarcoat anything with him, that honesty was a genuine reaction.
Her father, before he got sick, had been full of life, always teasing, calling it like it was. He wouldn’t have had it any other way. To even think that he’d die, and most likely very soon, was too much for her. So Maya joked about it, and so did he. It was their way to cope.
He chuckled softly and reached for the glass of water beside him. She grabbed it before he could wrap his hand around it, held the straw for him, and brought it to his mouth. He took several long sips from the straw but started to cough. Swirls of redness filled the glass, and she felt her chest clench painfully. “I feel like shit.”
She grabbed a washcloth and dipped it in the cold water before wringing it out and bringing it to his mouth and wiping away the smear of blood. She cleaned it by repeating the action with the water and placed the cloth on his forehead now.
The silence stretched on as she didn’t respond to what he said. She didn’t want to acknowledge any of this, even if it was their reality and right in front of them. She was about to turn away and grab some fresh water, when her father grabbed her arm gently, stopping her.
They looked into each other’s eyes for a moment, and she told herself not to show emotion, not to break down right now. She knew what he was about to say, and as much as she didn’t want to hear it, she knew it was the truth, and the truth of the situation needed to be laid out.
“When it happens, I want you to finish me off with my rifle, understand?”
She breathed out slowly and nodded.
“I don’t want to hurt you or your mother or anyone else, and I don’t want to live like one of… those.”
Maya’s eyes were watering, but she didn’t let the tears fall. Her father said this same statement over the last week, ever since he’d gone out to search for supplies for them and had gotten bitten.
Although they initially had food and water stocked up, had started stockpiling when they first heard about the infection rapidly spreading, among the three of them, it was running low. That’s why her dad had gone out, despite Maya and her mother pleading with him to stay.
Although there weren’t a lot of infected in the small town they lived in, what was more dangerous right now were the looters and rioters in the heart of town, and the ones migrating from the bigger cities. That’s what they’d been so worried about, yet it seemed like it wasn’t the healthy who had gotten her dad but the damn infected.
“I promise, Dad,” she said and sniffed, turning and grabbing the medical kit to look at his wound.