Some days are good days.
Some days are okay days.
Some days are bad days.
And then there are those absolutely dreadful days when the world seems
to conspire against you and everything goes wrong !
An ancient and sinister evil is resurfacing….
But nobody is watching.
Life was laid-back and routine in sleepy Bluffton, South Carolina. Suddenly, people started dying with mysterious symptoms. The alarming truth is buried when a local medical examiner is murdered after discovering autopsy samples have been switched.
Driven by a centuries-old, secret order, unscrupulous scientists use a complex DNA-editing process to splice together genetic material from two highly infectious viruses. The result: a new and completely unknown virus, more lethal than anything humanity has ever seen.
The new and unknown virus, with a mortality rate over 97%, will burn through America’s population like a hurricane-driven wildfire.
Most terrifying of all….
There is no vaccine
There is no cure
There is no treatment
Zach Templeton and Anna Mae Watts, complete strangers from different walks of life, will be thrust together and called upon to prevent the DREADFUL PLAGUE about to be unleashed upon their country. If they fail, millions will die.
This is their story.
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NOTE: Research for this book began in August of 2019 with the outline being completed in very early 2020.
The emergence of the Chinese Coronavirus was coincidental to the premise of this book.
Port of London – Borough of Tilbury,
Sha’ban Rabi Bahar, known also by his Arabic nom de guerre as al-Ta'abin―The Snake―dressed in black trousers, black overcoat, and a black skullcap, crept cautiously down the dark and gloomy street. He stopped before reaching the edge of the last building on the block. Edging forward, being careful not to move beyond the shadows, he squinted into the darkness, trying to read the street sign at the corner. Obscured by a dense fog, he could not make out the street sign in the feeble light provided by one lone street lamp. Inching forward as far as he dared, he squinted into the foggy gloom again. Confirming he had arrived at the intersection of Lansdown Road and Calcutta Road, his intended destination, he drew back into the shadows and waited.
Only a few blocks from the Port of London, spread out for miles along the Thames River, the haunting, forlorn sound of a foghorn rumbled through the fog. The sound of footsteps. Sha’ban stiffened, his hand, inside his overcoat, instinctively closing around the gilded hilt of his jambiya―the curved dagger worn by all males from his country of birth.
“al-Ta'abin, is that you?” a voice called out from the darkness. “It is me, Mislav.”
“Quiet, you fool,” Sha’ban whispered, withdrawing his hand from the jambiya. “Over here.”
Mislav Berislav followed the sound of Sha’ban’s voice and stepped into the shadows.
“Your mother’s name?” Sha’ban asked.
“Hermina,” Mislav answered.
“Follow me,” Sha’ban ordered, hearing the agreed upon response. He grabbed the man’s arm and directed him into an alleyway between two buildings. “Do you have the items I requested?”
“Yes. Nebojša prepared all items you asked for,” Mislav replied. “The passport and the documents in envelope.”
Sha’ban took the envelope and tucked it under his coat.
“What of the man I asked about? Were you able to locate him?”
“Yes,” Mislav answered, holding out a folded piece of paper. “I write name on paper. He in United States. Place called Ok-la-hom-a.”
Sha’ban took the paper and stuffed it in his pocket. “Is he absolutely certain he located the right man?”
“Yes, he swear,” Mislav gulped, deathly afraid of the man standing in front of him.
“You must swear to never speak of this. Agreed?” Sha’ban warned, pulling the double-edged jambiya out of its sheath. Mislav shrank back against the wall upon seeing the menacing dagger. “You must promise,” Sha’ban warned again.
Yes, promise. I say nothing,” Mislav whimpered, turning to leave the alleyway.
Sha’ban, The Snake, stepped quickly behind Mislav. With one hand he pulled Mislav’s head back by the hair and with his other hand he drew the curved blade quickly across the man’s throat. The razor-sharp blade sliced through Mislav’s flesh like warm butter, severing his jugular vein and vocal cords. Sha’ban released Mislav’s hair and shoved the man forward with his foot. Unable to make a sound except for the gurgling of blood in his throat, Mislav fell face first onto the alleyway. Mislav twitched for a few seconds then lay still, his blood quickly spreading out across the cold asphalt.
al-Ta'abin, Sha’ban’s Arabic nickname, was earned and well deserved. The Arabic word “al-Ta'abin”, translated as “The Snake”, referred roughly to a snake called the Black Mamba, one of the most feared creatures in the world. Those that fear its extremely poisonous bite called it “death incarnate.” The deadly Black Mamba, the source of many myths and legends, was widely known for being highly aggressive, very fast, and attacking without provocation. That description fit Sha’ban perfectly. He needed no provocation whatsoever. Having no conscience, he killed simply for gain and because it gave him a sense of power and control, and he enjoyed it.
Sha’ban, The Snake, stared at the jambiya in his hand, stained red with blood, not only from the man laying before him, but also from the man named Nebojša and the two dim-witted fools that worked for him. Sha’ban poked at Mislav’s lifeless body with the toe of his shoe. He bent over and wiped the jambiya’s blade across Mislav’s jacket, then shoved it back into its sheath.
“Stinking infidel,” Sha’ban snarled, kicking the lifeless body again. “You came with greed in your heart but you found death.” He stepped over the lifeless body, turned right on Calcutta Road, and headed for the Tilbury Town rail station. On his way to the rail station, he stripped off and discarded his overcoat and skull cap, wadding them up and dropping them in a trash barrel. He retrieved a briefcase he had hidden nearby. After entering the rail station, he paid the eighteen euro fare to the Russell Square tube station in central London with cash and selected a seat close to the door where the next train would arrive.
He slipped the piece of paper Mislav had handed him out of his pocket and unfolded it. Staring at the name―Zachariah Templeton―written on the paper, he envisioned the joy he would feel when he slit the throat of the man that had ruined his first plan to bring in the New World Order. He would shout praises to Allah as he watched the infidel’s blood pour out upon the ground.
Sha’ban fingered the hilt of his jambiya, savoring the images of his latest “kills”. Years earlier, before emigrating to England, he had paid dearly for the jambiya now hidden inside his jacket. He paid more than the highest-paid workers in his home country of Yemen earned in an entire year. Although now illegal, the hilt made of rhinoceros horn, had turned a greenish-yellow color, attesting to its great age. Also confirming its great age were two silver Venetian ducats affixed to the top and bottom of the hilt. In Yemen, no man was complete without his jambiya, but in his fabricated identity as Bailey Gibbons, corporate financial officer, it could never be worn openly and had to remain well hidden.
Sha’ban smiled as he thought forward to the day he would destroy America, the Great Satan he hated with every fiber of his being. He would use their arrogance and softness against them. “The Americans are weak-willed and impotent,” he thought, fighting hard not to laugh. “They think only of their cars, their houses, their money, and their vile music. They are spineless cowards and care only about themselves. I will watch them snivel and beg for mercy. Then I will laugh as I watch them die like the pitiful cowards they are.”
The lights from an approaching train lit up the outdoor platform. Sha’ban got up off the hard, wooden bench, exited the station, and boarded the closest car. Selecting a seat at the far end of the car, he settled in for the hour-long ride to the Russell Square station, scheduled to arrive at approximately seven a.m. He would spend a short day finalizing some financial reports and then he would hurry home to prepare for a flight to Sardinia, Italy.
A secret initiation ceremony to induct two new members into the Holy Order of the Illumined Elite had been called. Sha’ban, presiding as Worshipful Master, would convene and lead the conclave. Therefore, he must not be late. Even the highest and most elect supreme council members of the Holy Order had no concept of the Deadly Secrets hidden in the mind of al-Ta'abin―The Snake.
An ancient and sinister evil was resurfacing upon the earth, but nobody was watching…..