Being thirteen has pitfalls of its own, but growing up has never been this hard.
Jenna had promised her mother that if the worst happened during her dad’s weekend, they would meet at Red Hill Ranch. When she finds seven words spray-painted on her dad’s wall the morning after a deadly outbreak, she makes a promise to herself: to get to the ranch with her seven-year-old sister, Halle, and to get them both there alive.
Among Monsters is the companion novella to Red Hill, both exploring from different perspectives what many broken families experience every other weekend: What if your children aren’t with you when the world ends? What would you do to get to them? What would they go through to get to you?
For Jenna, seeing her mother again is worth everything. Determined to keep her promise, she is faced with experiences and decisions that force her to leave her childhood behind.
The governor was elevated above the crowd on a make-shift stage in the center of the room, speaking comforting words into a microphone, as people yelled questions and concerns.
“I hear what you’re saying. I’m not saying not to worry. With words like epidemic and now pandemic being thrown around…it’s a worrisome situation. But we’re safe here, and that’s what we need to focus on now. Panic won’t solve anything.”
“Is it the terrorists?” someone yelled.
“No,” the governor said, amused. “I’ve been told it’s a virus.”
“What kind of virus?” someone else asked.
“We’re not exactly sure yet,” Governor Bellmon said.
He was being honest. I’d give him that.
“There are reports in Mississippi!” a man said, holding up his phone.
The crowd erupted, and the governor leaned over to whisper something in a man’s ear. He was dressed in a suit, and he nodded before leaving the stage immediately. He walked over to Tom, the fire chief, just feet away from where we stood. Tom listened intently to the man in the suit and then waved to his men to come closer.
“The governor has ordered we gather water and supplies. We’re going into disaster mode, guys. I know most of you came in for the photo op, but you’re getting called in. Let’s get going.”
The men gave a nod and turned for the back door. Dad looked around and caught Tom as he was making his way toward the police chief and the mayor.
“Tom, I’ve got my little girls here,” Dad said.
Tom looked down at Halle and me and then nodded, giving Dad an unspoken pass, before he continued on.
“Now what?” I asked.
“We wait for the guys to get back and help as best as we can.” He leaned in, whispering in my ear. “Do me a favor, Jenna. Stay off your phone. I don’t want any of the stuff on the news to scare your sister.”
I felt a small hand grip mine. I knelt down beside Halle. Her stringy blonde hair was a ratty mess as it always was after school. Her clothes were mismatched, and her heather-gray hoodie jacket was tied around her waist. She pushed up her black-rimmed glasses, her ice-blue eyes glistening.
We couldn’t look more different—Halle with her light-blue eyes and tiny frame and me with my honey-brown irises and chestnut hair. I was always athletic, always pushing against boundaries, vying for independence, even when I was little. Halle just always seemed so fragile.
As if she could hear my thoughts and personify them, she squeaked her next words, “I want Mom.”
“I bet she’ll head this way as soon as she gets off work. She’ll want to be here with us,” I said.
Halle shook her head. “She won’t come here, Jenna. She’ll go to our place.”
“Red Hill? That’s just if something bad happens, silly.”
Halle looked around at the roomful of frightened people. “This is bad, Jenna.”
I stood and squeezed her to my side.
About the Author:
Jamie McGuire was born in Tulsa, OK. She attended the Northern Oklahoma College, the University of Central Oklahoma, and Autry Technology Center where she graduated with a degree in Radiography.
Jamie paved the way for the New Adult genre with international bestseller, Beautiful Disaster. Her follow-up novel Walking Disaster debuted at #1 on the New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestseller lists. She has also written apocalyptic thriller Red Hill, a novella titled A Beautiful Wedding, and the Providence series, a young adult paranormal romance trilogy.
Jamie lives on a ranch just outside Enid, OK with husband Jeff and their three children. They share their 30 acres with cattle, six horses, three dogs, and Rooster the cat.
Find Jamie at http://www.jamiemcguire.com or on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!