The Dead Days Journal (Volume 1) by Sandra R. Campbell
Age Group: New Adult
Release Date: March 30, 2015
Amazon ♥ B & N
The daughter of a radical doomsday prepper, Leo Marrok spent her entire life preparing for the end. A skilled fighter and perfect marksman, Leo is her father’s second-in-command when Armageddon comes to pass. Together, they lead a group of survivors to a secure bunker deep in the Appalachian Mountains.
Vincent Marrok is willing to take extreme measures to repopulate their broken world. Leo’s refusal marks her as a traitor. With father and daughter at odds for the first time, their frail community is thrust into turmoil. Until the unthinkable happens, a blood-thirsty horde arrives. The impending attack will destroy all that they have worked for.
To protect her home and everything she believes in, Leo puts her faith in the arms of the enemy—a creature only rumored to exist—the one she calls Halloween. An alliance born out of necessity evolves into feelings Leo is ill-equipped to handle.
The Dead Days Journal is a post-apocalyptic story of love and family told through Leo Marrok’s first-hand account and the pages of Vincent’s personal journal, giving two very different perspectives on what it takes to survive.
Ben watched as I finished getting dressed, his eyes glistening in the dark. “I’m so sorry. Please don’t go, Leo.” His whispered pleas were growing louder. I knew he was sorry, just as I knew it wasn’t his fault. Eventually this was going to happen. I had known it. How could we continue to be together and not be together? He couldn’t. I couldn’t.
“Stop saying you’re sorry.”
When I stood to go, Ben grabbed my arm. I didn’t pull away but just looked at him with a horrible sadness ripping through my heart. “Let go.” Ben released his grip as a single tear escaped his eye and fell. “I love you.”
Not only did I not say it, I never even looked back. I simply walked away. But my emotions wouldn’t let me stay quiet for long. As soon as I exited the back door, I ran through the cave opening into the early dawn and down to the spring-fed river. Not bothering to take off my mother’s treasured dress, I plunged into the icy-cold river and screamed through the pain under the water.
I tried to ignore the throbbing ache in my extremities and swam to the middle where I couldn’t touch bottom and the current was strong. I floated on my back and let the river take me away. Above me, the pink hues of dawn were brightening, and I watched the brilliant night stars dissolve into nothing.
If only for a short time, I wished to feel nothing, to be nothing. At least now my hands and feet had completely disappeared. “Leo! What are you doing?” I didn’t have to look to know it was Lincoln. I recognized the high-pitched squealing and swam toward shore. Damn, kid, what are you doing outside alone at this hour?
Once I started to move again, my arms and legs were no longer unfeeling. My blood was moving as I waded back to shore. Sharp piercing stabs replaced the numb ache.
“Why are you outside alone?”
A cool morning breeze raised fresh goose bumps. Chilled straight through to the bone, my teeth chattered like a tightly-wound plastic toy. “I had a bad dream and you weren’t in bed.” Lincoln pulled a brown plaid scarf from around his neck and handed it to me. The scarf wasn’t much, but it was enough to get a spot or two dry.
“Come on. I’ll race you inside and you can tell me all about it.”
Lincoln didn’t move. He stood there staring past me. I turned around to see Jack crouched on the opposite side of the river. His black hair was shiny wet, as was the rest of his nude, hard-coiled body. Another chill ran through me that had nothing to do with the cold. Jack’s eyes narrowed to dark slits as he watched me take hold of my brother’s pale hand to lead him away from the riverbank. “Come on. Let’s run together.”
Sandra R. Campbell lives along the tranquil waters of the Chesapeake Bay with her husband and weight challenged cat. She can trace her passion for the macabre back to reading Edgar Allen Poe as a child, with her pet crow, Big Fellow, by her side.
She has since submerged herself in a wide range of dark literature. An avid thrill seeker, Sandra is always looking for her next big adrenaline rush, and when spelunking, diving and monster hunting fails to deliver, she turns to the creation of through-the-rabbit-hole worlds and sends her characters on their own adventures.
Sandra also writes children's stories, is a member of the Maryland Writers' Association, the head of a M.W.A. critique group, and the founder and co-author of Water Front Writers