Enter darkness box set b.., p.1

Enter Darkness Box Set [Books 1-5], page 1

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Enter Darkness Box Set [Books 1-5]
 



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Enter Darkness Box Set [Books 1-5]


  Enter Darkness Box Set - Books 1-5

  K. M. Fawkes

  Contents

  Book 1: The Longest Night

  Prologue

  Chapter 1

  Chapter 2

  Chapter 3

  Chapter 4

  Chapter 5

  Chapter 6

  Chapter 7

  Chapter 8

  Chapter 9

  Chapter 10

  Chapter 11

  Chapter 12

  Chapter 13

  Chapter 14

  Chapter 15

  Chapter 16

  Chapter 17

  Chapter 18

  Chapter 19

  Chapter 20

  Book 2: Dead of Winter

  Chapter 1

  Chapter 2

  Chapter 3

  Chapter 4

  Chapter 5

  Chapter 6

  Chapter 7

  Chapter 8

  Chapter 9

  Chapter 10

  Chapter 11

  Chapter 12

  Chapter 13

  Chapter 14

  Book 3: The Survivors

  Chapter 1

  Chapter 2

  Chapter 3

  Chapter 4

  Chapter 5

  Chapter 6

  Chapter 7

  Chapter 8

  Chapter 9

  Chapter 10

  Chapter 11

  Chapter 12

  Chapter 13

  Chapter 14

  Chapter 15

  Chapter 16

  Chapter 17

  Chapter 18

  Chapter 19

  Chapter 20

  Chapter 21

  Chapter 22

  Chapter 23

  Book 4: Thin Ice

  Chapter 1

  Chapter 2

  Chapter 3

  Chapter 4

  Chapter 5

  Chapter 6

  Chapter 7

  Chapter 8

  Chapter 9

  Chapter 10

  Chapter 11

  Chapter 12

  Chapter 13

  Chapter 14

  Book 5: First Light

  Chapter 1

  Chapter 2

  Chapter 3

  Chapter 4

  Chapter 5

  Chapter 6

  Chapter 7

  Chapter 8

  Chapter 9

  Chapter 10

  Chapter 11

  Chapter 12

  Chapter 13

  Chapter 14

  Chapter 15

  Chapter 16

  Chapter 17

  Chapter 18

  Chapter 19

  Epilogue

  Book 1: The Longest Night

  Copyright 2018, 2019 by K. M. Fawkes

  All rights reserved. Except for use in any review, the reproduction or utilization of this work in whole or in part by any means, now known or hereafter invented, including xerography, photocopying and recording, or in any information storage or retrieval system, is forbidden without the explicit written permission of the author.

  All characters depicted in this fictional work are consenting adults, of at least eighteen years of age. Any resemblance to persons living or deceased, particular businesses, events, or exact locations are entirely coincidental.

  Prologue

  2025 was a good year for a lot of reasons. The President had an approval rating of over fifty percent. The economy was booming, and the unemployment rate was the lowest it had ever been. But there was one thing that eclipsed even those accomplishments: it was an amazing year to own stock in progressive medical technology.

  In a stunning revelation, a biomedical facility that had been flying under the radar for years revealed that they had created a way to cure virtually all human ailments. In a press conference, proud scientists informed the nation that the nanotechnology people had been dreaming of since sci-fi moved out of the basement and into the bright light of acceptable interests was finally available.

  Did you have a history of blood clots? Was cholesterol clogging up the old ticker? Worried that a virus would keep you from that hiking date you’d been looking forward to all week? There was a nanobot for that.

  It wasn’t cheap, of course, but no one was too upset about that. They were riding high on the possibilities and the victory. America had done it! America had cured cancer, HIV, and the common cold in one fell swoop! Who cared if it cost a hundred grand to get one?

  It was new technology. Everyone knew that the price would come down over time. Look how much a big screen television or a smartphone had cost back in the day. They were nothing, now. In no time at all, the bots would be available at a decent price.

  And hey, why not let the rich be the guinea pigs for once?

  Everyone knew that the first generation of anything had bugs in it. Some, more skeptical, people scoffed, saying that the stuff would probably make you go blind in ten years. While the majority of the population didn’t believe that for a second, they couldn’t see the harm in hanging back and seeing what happened to the early adopters.

  The one percent were more than willing to show off their results. They positively flocked to their elegant doctors’ offices, gritted their teeth for the injections, and then took to television and the internet to tell their stories. Some of them didn't even wait that long. They simply brought film crews to the office with them. Those that weren’t quite famous enough for that simply live-streamed to their social media platforms.

  They described the initial injection as painful, ranging from a conservative four from an action movie star, to screeches of, “It’s totally an eight! Oh my God!” from the vloggers wincing to increase their views.

  They all said it burned, almost like acid in the veins. The doctors explained that the burning sensation was caused by the nanobots settling in and that it would abate quickly. Within half an hour, everyone seemed comfortable.

  Within an hour of the injection, they were more than comfortable. They were healthier. Those with blood pressure issues saw their blood pressure even out before their eyes. Oxygen saturation rose. Imbalanced hormone levels began to correct themselves.

  People watched in amazement and held their phones up in the faces of the naysayers. “See? It works! I told you it’d work!”

  “Yeah. We’ll see if it keeps working.”

  The optimists only sighed and went back to refreshing their feeds, hungry for more information. It was working. Healing, within the space of an hour!

  The fervor didn’t slow down over the next two months. Even the pessimists began to come around as they watched nanotech users proudly show off their medical reports.

  The world watched health problems vanish before their eyes. Diabetes, cancer, weight issues…even mental health problems were eradicated in the people who’d had the injection. People sobbed in relief in front of their webcams as they talked about what it meant to have the clouds erased from their minds and the weight lifted from their shoulders.

  The rest of the country wanted in. Waiting be damned, why should only the rich get to feel good? Hadn’t they felt better than the average person for long enough, anyway? People began crowdfunding pages to try to get help for themselves or for loved ones and spread the news as far as they could.

  A few people were lucky enough to gain a lot of attention, their stories featured on every cable news channel far and wide. There was the adorable six-year-old girl with leukemia—her sweet manners, bald head, and big blue eyes captured everyone’s attention. Then there was the twelve-year-old boy in California with a hole in his heart and a passion for chemistry. A young mother of three in North Carolina had aggressive cervical cancer and j
ust wanted to see her children grow up.

  All of them told their stories. All of them met their funding targets and invited camera crews to follow them for the lives they led afterward. The girl’s hair grew back silky, curly, and chestnut brown. The boy played in his new home chemistry lab—donated by a philanthropic billionaire. The young mother tossed her youngest daughter into the air and gave her two older boys kisses as she announced her miraculous fourth pregnancy.

  Companies looking for good-PR opportunities hosted nanotech lotteries—it was an equally good time to own stock in those companies, because people bought their shelves clean in attempts to earn points and be entered for multiple drawings. With their profits up, the stores offered a few extra rounds and a hundred more people got a new lease on life. They stood in front of their local stores for pictures and interviews about how much better they felt. Those interviews were much shorter than the ones involving more famous people.

  Regular people—even ones with nanobots—just weren’t as interesting as celebrities, after all.

  About six months later, the first people who’d gotten the nanobots started to claim that they felt younger as well as healthier. Before-and-after photos of the celebrities who’d been injected began to show up in the tabloids. To readers’ great surprise, they could actually see a difference. People began to speculate that maybe science had unlocked the fountain of youth and interest in the nanobots revved up to an even greater degree.

  Scrutiny was placed on the people who’d made money off the bots. Surely the price should be coming down by now, right? How many millions had the creators made? Shouldn’t they show some humanity to those that were still suffering?

  Lawsuits were filed and the creators were harassed without cease. They were, of course, harassed from the comfort of their mansions and private jets, but by the end of the year, some began to admit that they were in fear for their lives. They promised that they were working on a way to make the technology more affordable.

  The creators also took the time to point a finger at the insurance companies, all of which were dragging their feet about whether they were going to cover the process or not. The furious debate surrounding that issue served to distract the public for a time and give the scientists a brief reprieve.

  As 2025 turned into 2026, however, the headlines began to tell a different story.

  “Nanobot User Dies Suddenly” the somber black print read. The article was clicked and shared so many times within a few seconds as so send internet servers crashing. People switched to television and gathered together, crowding bars and electronics stores and anywhere else that routinely showed the news.

  The woman really was dead. She’d been a celebrity, albeit an aging, B-list one. She’d undergone the injection to get her name out there again, to create buzz for the reality show she was launching. It had worked. People had tuned in week after week to watch her seemingly age in reverse.

  The most recent pictures of her showed a woman with unlined skin and a wide smile. A woman who looked at least twenty years younger than her actual age. And now, she was dead. The public waited for details to emerge, but doctors were close-lipped.

  “There are no signs that this was caused by the nanobots,” a doctor said several hours after the death had been announced, having been cornered by one very determined journalist. “The patient appears to have succumbed to a virus.”

  A virus.

  There was brief relief at hearing such a normal explanation. Then, the questions started again, this time from the ones who’d been pessimistic at the idea in the first place. Shouldn’t the bots have kept her safe from that? Hell, if they could eradicate the damage of a few too many cheeseburgers and cigarettes, shouldn’t they have nipped that virus in the bud?

  Was it a new strain of illness? A stronger one that was somehow resistant to the best efforts of the little bots everyone had fallen in love with? It had to be. What did that mean for them? Message boards were flooded with people begging for information on how to prevent the spread of the disease.

  The CDC issued a statement imploring people to stay calm and reiterating its advice on minimizing the spread of communicable disease. Stay home as much as possible and wash your hands. People scoffed in disgust and waited impatiently for something else, something more concrete.

  They got it the next day. News outlets reported that the reality star’s husband was dead as well. Hours after that, reports followed that her children had succumbed to the disease. People were clamoring for answers, now. When a cable news show promised an exclusive interview with the celebrity’s personal assistant that evening, they tuned in eagerly.

  “She showed no signs of being ill?” the newscaster asked the woman in front of her.

  The personal assistant shook her head. “None. She just…” A strange look crossed the woman’s face and then she went on. “She went up to bed like normal and…” The assistant’s brows knitted together and she swallowed hard. “I’m sorry, could I have some water?”

  The host nodded. “Of course, help yourself. Had she said anything strange to you in the hours leading up to her death?”

  The assistant swallowed her gulp of water and said, “No, nothing. We were planning a vacation, in fact. She said she felt twenty-five again and wanted to show it off in the Bahamas. She…excuse me.” The assistant coughed into her fist. “She…Oh, my God.”

  “What’s wrong?” the host asked, then followed the assistant’s gaze to the hand she’d used to cover her mouth. “Are you…is that blood?”

  The assistant had gone as pale as ghost. “I’m so sorry. I just—” Another spate of coughing took her and she clasped both hands to her mouth. It didn’t help. Blood poured from between her fingers.

  The host jumped to her feet. “We need a medic!” she shrieked.

  The assistant slid off of the couch, her body twisting as she struggled for air. Her hands clutched at the host’s legs, smearing blood on the woman’s immaculate white pants. The host stumbled backward, her face twisting in a combination of disgust and horror.

  “Help me!” the assistant begged, still gripping the other woman’s ankle. “God, please, help me!” A fine mist of blood flew from between her lips with each ragged breath. “I can’t…I can’t breathe. And it’s so hot.” She finally let go of the host and her fingers fumbled at the buttons of the pretty pale blue cardigan she’d worn for her interview. “It’s so hot.”

  Paramedics rushed in and the cameras cut off suddenly. The internet exploded with questions. What happened to the assistant? Where had she been taken? Could anyone confirm whether she was still alive?

  Medical diagnoses abounded, some from hysterics and some from actual doctors. Tuberculosis. Complications from whooping cough. Too many vaccinations. Not enough vaccinations. Measles, mumps, rubella, pneumonia. The wrath of God. The end of the world.

  People threw anything, hoping it would stick. If they could figure out what had caused it, they could figure out how to stop it. This was America. Things like that just didn’t happen. Not to them.

  But, like the waves of a tsunami, there didn’t seem to be anything anyone could do. More people began to cough up blood. Ambulances filled the streets and news channels reported 24/7 on the epidemic. Finally, two days later, the beleaguered-looking Surgeon General addressed the American public.

  “The nanobots have evolved,” he said simply. “We believe that, once they weren’t able to change the direction of human aging, they began to see it as a virus. So, they countered that by…shutting down the host.”

  “Killing the host?” a reporter shouted.

  “That’s correct,” the Surgeon General answered.

  “How did you not know this would happen?” another person yelled, echoing the sentiment of a million living rooms across America. “Weren’t there any signs in the tests you did?”

  “No. The nanobots are…” He sighed, rubbing his eyes with his hand. “Very efficient and adaptable.”

  “So, are you sa
ying that everyone with the nanotech is going to die?” a reporter at the back of the room demanded.

  “No, that’s not right,” another said. “That personal assistant didn’t have any tech! So, what killed her?”

  The Surgeon General sighed. “It appears that the ‘healing virus’ that the bots create in the host can spread to those without the technology as well. It seems to happen through direct physical contact and the exchange of bodily fluids. Please, if you know someone who is ill, report it to your local hospital and take all necessary precautions.”

  Then, he walked off of the stage without answering any of the questions thrown at him by the reporters.

  It was three more days before any new information emerged. By then, the people were nearly frantic. Everyone knew someone who’d been taken away after catching the virus.

  “We have found a treatment.”

  There was a fragile-looking man on the stage with the Surgeon General this time. The first man to be cured of the nanovirus, they claimed. Everyone eyed him eagerly. This was what survival looked like.

  “An MRI scan can eradicate the nanovirus if treatment occurs within twenty-four hours of the patient showing symptoms. At this time, we have no treatment for cases identified at a later stage.”

  That was all it took? A few minutes in a claustrophobic little tube?

  The tricky part was in the timing. Twenty-four hours. Just one single day after exposure, and then, there was no cure. Just a painful death choking on your own blood.

  Floods of people showed up to their local hospitals. Some of them had nanobots that now felt like a ticking time bomb; others came because they’d recently been in contact with others with bots. Some people wanted to be scanned just in case. It was so hard to tell who might be infected.

  The doctors and nurses couldn’t work fast enough. Hospitals in major cities were working around the clock, but the lines never got smaller. Nurses were seen rubbing eyes red with lack of sleep, pushing their fingers through greasy hair that they hadn’t had time to wash. In the bigger hospitals, they switched out after every twenty scans so that their comrades could get a few minutes of peace to eat or nap.

 
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