[I have just republished an expanded version of the entire novel, with added scenes and further character development. Instead of publishing it chapter by chapter, which would have been too much of a pain, I did it book by book. Here are links to the four books: I, II, III, and IV. As you can see, I’ve also left the original, shorter versions published, because replacing them all with the expanded version would also have been too much of a pain. So I leave you, Dear Reader, with the choice of the shorter versions or the longer ones. You are free to choose whichever ones you prefer: a quicker but less-developed read, or a longer and fuller story. Either way, I hope you like my story.]
2030, a summer night in Toronto
Mr. and Mrs. Gould looked up at the stars as they were walking on a walkway towards the 48th Highlanders Regimental Memorial at Queen’s Park.
“What a beautiful night,” she said.
“Yes,” he said. “Especially with it so quiet, with nobody else around.”
“Thanks to the lockdown.”
“Yes.” He smirked as he looked at her.
“It really isn’t fair, you know. Everyone else stuck inside their homes like prisoners, except for ‘essential people,’ and even they are usually out only to work or to buy what they need.”
“They aren’t of the same quality as we are, Hannah.”
“I don’t care about people’s ‘quality,’ Derek,” she said with a frown. “They have to wear those uncomfortable masks, just to go outside, and we don’t have to? They’re fined if they don’t comply?”
“Peter Cobb-Hopkin’s lucky,” he said. “He refuses to wear a mask or obey the lockdown, and his dad squares it with the police.”
“That’s because his dad is your boss, Derek.”
“Because he’s of our quality, Hannah.”
She sighed. “Those not of ‘our quality’ have to be given shots of that vaccine your company makes, while we’re given their money, and we don’t have to take the needle in our arms? It isn’t right.”
“You enjoy the benefits of getting that money as much as I do. Why are you complaining?”
“I just feel…badly for them. You know the side effects of the vaccine: the way it makes people more passive and lethargic. And everybody knows it doesn’t guarantee protection against viruses. Sometimes I think it’s designed deliberately to keep the people under our control.”
“Now you sound like one of those conspiracy theorists. And why do you care? I say if it’s true that they’re designed on purpose to make the poor passive, that’s a good thing. We don’t have to worry about them rising up against us. That’s for your benefit, too. How could you be against that? Enough of this silly talk. Let’s just enjoy the walk, OK?”
“OK,” she said with a sigh.
He looked up at the night sky again. “Wow,” he said. “Look at those beautiful stars.”
She looked up. “Oh, yes,” she said, her eyes and mouth widening. “They’re really glowing.”
“Yeah, especially that cluster just to the left of the moon.”
“Shooting stars? They seem to be coming here.”
“Yeah, they seem to be racing at us.”
She frowned. “I…don’t like this.”
“They…aren’t getting any bigger…as they get…nearer,” he said with a frown of his own. “I don’t think I like this, either.”
“Those aren’t stars, Derek,” she said. “Let’s get out of here.”
“I feel…like I can’t.”
A cluster of about a dozen dots of glowing white light flew right at him, staying at about the size of the smallest of pebbles. They seemed to go right through him…but they didn’t.
She shrieked on seeing the impact.
He fell to the ground, shaking as he lay there on his right side in the fetal position. He grunted and groaned as he felt something inside him begin to tear him apart.
She saw fiery red lines all over his skin, like cracks in wall paint. His grunts and groans changed to screams as those red cracks thickened.
“What’s happening to you?!”
His body was beginning to rip apart at those cracks; the rips would widen, showing off internal organs, then they would narrow, as if he was struggling to heal himself.
“Help!” she screamed. Why am I not seeing any blood? she wondered. And why am I even screaming? There isn’t anybody out here to hear me.
Finally, those cracks ripped right open. Her next scream was ear-piercingly shrill. The pieces of his body, what looked like about twenty of them, lay fidgeting on the ground, as if each had its own consciousness. The severed internal organs were showing, such as the heart, stomach, lungs, brain, and intestines; but the blood was somehow kept from flowing out.
The openings in those internal organs, where the severing had been done, were now moving like mouths. Grunting noises came out of them, what sounded like an unintelligible, inarticulate language. Eyes agape, she grimaced at the surreal sight.
After a minute or so of these movements, the pieces dulled in colour and lay still. Now, the blood poured out in ever-widening lakes. Her high heels dodged the flow of red.
She was too distracted by the blood to notice what happened next. The dots of white light came out of the lifeless pieces of what had been her husband and flew at her.
She looked up at the glow. “Oh, God…NO!“
She felt them vibrating inside her. She was now shaking more than he had been. She twitched about spastically, as if that would help her get them out of her.
Then she stopped moving.
She still felt their warm glow inside herself.
But there was no pain.
She stood there, frozen still. Only her pounding heart was moving.
Her panting was the only sound.
Just the inner warmth.
Her eyes darted around in all directions, as if something out there would tell her what was going on inside her body.
Finally, her heartbeat slowed down, her breathing grew softer, and she walked over to a nearby bench and sat down. She’d waded in the puddle of blood, not caring about the red she got on her shoes.
She sat there for several minutes, just staring straight ahead, as if in a trance.
She’d never been so calm.
She took out her cellphone and dialled 9-1-1. “Hello?” she said in a soft, monotone voice. “I’d like to report an accident.”