Wednesday, October 31, 2012

LAW Day #19 - An Interview with Dog, a wild animal with special abilities

Cynthia Quest Reporting
April 20th, 2013

This was an interview I didn’t expect, folks, so please hang with me. My schedule said interview at noon, but no name and now I understand why. Cynthia looked at the chair she had directed them into with shock.

Will he really let me print this?

Only one way to find out. Let’s get comfortable and have us a little chat with Dog, shall we?

Angela waited restlessly by the door, not sure if Adrian was making a good choice here. The camp already knew Dog was different, but to expose the wolf this way was...

“Let’s see… How do you like being a part of Safe Haven’s animal population?”

Cynthia waited eagerly for an answer, expecting paw stamping, but the wolf only looked back with a bored expression.

Cynthia turned to Angela. “How’s this supposed to work?”

Choosing to trust their leader. Angela waved toward the floor. “Get him out of that chair and he’ll show you.”

Cynthia motioned and the wolf immediately came to her side.

Staring into those golden eyes, the reporter was almost able to hear his answer.

“I have work to do. Ask something that matters.”

Cynthia blinked. “What.. um, what work do you do for us?”

Dog yawned tiredly. “I keep the ants away and make sure the others watch their posts.”

“The other Eagles?”

Dog snorted, slinging saliva onto her shoes. “The other workers.”

Realizing he meant the other dogs, Cynthia gaped at him.

Dog turned to Angela, who shrugged.

“I’m not sure either, but I trust him. Do you?”

Dog blinked once. “Yes.”

“Then we’d best get it over with.”

Instructed, Dog turned back to the reporter in resignation. “Next?”

Cynthia struggled to accept it, to speak. This had to be a cruel joke, right? Her mind flashed seeing Dog herding the ants and rats in the evening, without a trainer.


The reporter’s head snapped up.

“Do your job, or someone else will.”

Cynthia nodded, swallowing. “It’s… it’s just a lot to accept.”

Angela nodded. “Yes, but he wouldn’t have let you know, if you couldn’t be trusted.”

That woke the woman a bit, and she peered up at Angela with a frown of confusion. “Will he let the camp see this?”

“I have no idea.”

Sensing Angela was telling the truth, Cynthia blew out a snort. “Who am I kidding? Of course he won’t. This is just another test to screw with me.”

Dog yawned again, sitting down. “Will this take long?”

Amazed to feel insulted, Cynthia shook her head. “Five minutes.”

The wolf wined. “That long in here, with your smell?”

Cynthia flushed in real offense. “My smell? You’re the animal!”

Angela didn’t smile, but there was no mistaking it in her tone. “Your perfume is a bit… heavy on the nose.”

The reporter’s chin went up. “My mother wore it.”

“Was she a writer, too?”

Dog’s question sent pride into Cynthia, and made Angela wonder if it had been intentional.

“Yes, she was a famous reporter.”

Realizing she hadn’t gotten but one answer so far, the reporter forced her daze back and got to work. “Ok, um…How many pups do you have?”

It was a question she didn’t expect him to know the answer to, but Dog’s flash of hot eyes said it mattered to him. “One. Stillborn.”

Cynthia felt his pain. How could she not with that deep voice in her head? “I’m sorry.”

Dog sneezed again, but didn’t respond.

Cynthia pushed her brain into the moment, and felt that shark inside finally start to come back out.

“Do you know that the Eagles are different from the camp members, from me?”

“Yes. They carry the guns.”

“Do you know they consider you to be a tool?”

Dog seemed to grin at her. “I didn’t see the need to tell them differently.”

The reporter looked down at her mostly empty note page and realized she couldn’t record this interview. Her hand started scribbling, and the comforting motion let her relax the rest of the way.

“Why do you stay here?”

“The Man.”


“Yes. I owe him a debt.”

“And when it’s paid?”

“I may go or stay. Nothing has been decided.”

“Why do you owe him?”

“He saved me from the brown coats.”

Cynthia frowned. “The brown coats?”

“Rangers.” Angela supplied. “He was supposed to be put down.”

“Ah, he rescued you. That does make a strong bond. What about Angela and Charlie? Are you bonded to them? If so, in what way?”

They were detailed questions for a mental conversation with a wolf, but Dog had answers to give. Unlike humans, he couldn’t lie.

“The woman and his pup are my family. Where he goes, they go. The same is true of me.”

Angela glanced at her watch, giving Cynthia a hint that the interview was about over.

For an instant, Cynthia was stumped for a question, and then the War flashed.

“Do you understand what happened? Why it all collapsed?”

“As much as I can. The greed of man became too much.”

Thinking that was close enough, Cynthia began to dig into the secret world of Safe Haven’s animal population.

“Are there others like you? That can…think?”

“All of them think, but no, none here are like me.”

“Any that are close?”

“Yes. The Dogs watch me. In time, they too may learn to communicate this way.”

“Do you like talking to people?”

“No.” Adrian’s scent went through Dog’s nose. “Except for the Alpha here. His mind is like mine.”

Meaning Adrian. Cynthia frowned, hand cramping from trying to keep up. “Do you talk to him a lot?”

“No. Only when he needs something.”

“Does it bother you that he treats you like a tool?” Cynthia guessed, not sure how many human emotions would apply.

Dog looked at her with golden eyes. “When he speaks, I am honored to listen.”

“Because he’s your Alpha too?”

“Yes, but also because he is the light.”

Dog sneezed again, and hefted himself to his feet.

Cynthia hurried to get in a few of the new questions that had just occurred. “Will you take a mate soon? The camp would love puppies.”

Dog glared balefully. “Then perhaps you should have them.”

His head went into the air as he padded for the flap. “I might consider you, if your scent wasn’t so ugly.”

Cynthia stared, mouth open. “What?”

Dog stopped to look back. “You destiny is also set. When it comes, don’t fight it.”

Angela and Cynthia stared after the wolf, neither of them speaking. That vivid intelligence was another sign of the future, the world that Adrian was trying to piece together from the ashes, and they were both drawn into the images. Camp animals that could communicate by thought…and then people.

Cynthia’s eyes flew to the doorway, only to find Angela gone. Why had she come with the wolf? Did she understand?

…was she like that, too?

"This is Safe Haven Refugee Camp. Can anyone hear me?
Hello? Is anyone out there?"

The Survivors
*Free on all retailers

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

LAW Day #18 - An Interview with Seth – An Injured Former Eagle

Cynthia Quest reporting
May 2nd, 2013

This is one of the first few interviews I’ve done here, legally anyway, and I still feel like I’ve forgotten how to do it. I hope that as we go on, I’ll begin to draw things from these men – things they don’t want anyone to know. With some of them, I’ll need a second interview, I’m sure. Like the one now sitting down in my hot seat. Still surprised to be allowed to talk to these men, but I am determined not to let anything sway me. We will have the truth at some point, I just can’t promise when.

Ready to get started? Me too, I think.


“Sometimes moody, sometimes the life of the party, let’s chat with Seth Daniels, injured man and former Eagle.”

Seth smiled a bit too casually, muscle twitching in his jaw. “I’m always an Eagle, just off duty right now.”

Knowing her title said it all, Cynthia didn’t push the point. “What was it like to be stabbed with a pick-axe?”

The undercover cop frowned. “It hurt.”

Cynthia flushed at the tone that said she was an idiot who asked stupid questions. “Do you remember the gunfight? The murders?”

Seth leaned back to cover his anger. “There were no murders. We were attacked, and yes, I remember all of it.”

Cynthia caught his hesitation. “Did someone screw up? Is that how you got hurt?”

Understanding this was an ambush, Seth forced his face into that expressionless stare he was known for. “They were sheltering in the train station. Neither group knew the other was there. No way to avoid it.”

Sensing she’d get no more from that line, Cynthia switched paths. “When will you return to duty? Who has your posts while you’re injured?”

“Another week or so. Angela and Lee have really stepped up to fill those empty slots.”

Cynthia’s eyes glittered dangerously. “Does it bother you to take orders from a woman on missions?”

“Does it bother you to take orders from a man during moves?” Seth shot back. “Of course not. She’s an Eagle first. That’s all I see, because that’s all Adrian sees.

The redhead was one of those people you couldn’t shake without prying hard, and Cynthia was suddenly sure this had been a waste of her pen.

“Is there a woman in your life? One the camp doesn’t know about?”

Seth looked away. “No.”

“Why don’t you date? Are none of the camp’s women good enough for the Eagles?”

His head snapped back to her. “The camp’s women are great. We’re just busy trying to make sure everyone survives right now. They’ll be time for romance later.”

“How do you feel about Kenn being allowed to stay even though we all know he beats on women?”

Seth’s voice was hard. “I think he’ll screw up again and get himself banished this time.” His eyes darkened. “Or worse.”

“Who are you searching the new arrivals for?”

Seth slowly took a photo from his wallet and held it out. “My daughter.” His voice caught. “She was only 4 when the War came.”

Cynthia tried not to feel anything for the toothy girl in the picture, and couldn’t quite succeed. She didn’t even like kids. What the hell was this place doing to her?

“Do you think she’s still alive?”

Seth shook his head, standing up. “No, not really. It’s been too long, but in my heart…”

He glanced back with damn green eyes. “In there, I’ll always hope.”

"This is Safe Haven Refugee Camp. Can anyone hear me?
Hello? Is anyone out there?"

The Survivors
*Free on all retailers

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

LAW Day #17 - Profile - Doug - Unofficial 5th in Command (Until Brady arrived))

This image of Doug is from just after the Gulf War, and before his obsession with dreads
250 lb
Green eyes
Long Red hair

Slight limp
Born in Idaho
Irish American w/no accent
Red vest and green army jacket
Retired Army Sergeant
Was trapped under a bridge in Nevada after the War
Hand shakes – a sign of something he refuses to face yet


Doug resented people all of his childhood, but most especially, his parent’s, for their unwillingness to change or adapt. Tormented by the other kids, and even by the more uncaring adults, for his poverty, and then his size and vivid coloring, Doug escaped in the only way he thought available. He joined the Army. Once there, he found a way of life that he could believe in, and an ability to provide for himself that didn’t include farming. Planning to spend his life in service, Doug never returned home.

After being injured during an attack on the area he was guarding, Doug retired and quickly began to sink down into depression. He needs a goal, a reason, as much as the rest of Adrian’s refugees, and the thought of finding a woman, even after the apocalypse, is one he avoids. Doug doesn’t realize it, but he’s lonely and sure no one will ever want him because of his size.

Doug also has a dangerous secret, one that may cost him his place among Adrian’s Army. It’s a weight he carries silently, not willing to give up even a single day of being in their leader’s light. Eventually, though, the truth will come out. He knows this, but has little idea what he’ll do then, except grow old and die.


Author Notes

Doug has mostly been a side character so far, but that will change as we go on. He still has a lot to give, and Adrian knows it.

Oh, and his fears of dying alone are groundless. Doug’s place in the chain of command would earn him a mate anyway, but more than one Safe Haven female already has their eye on Doug. Because he’s so quiet, so seriously determined to help Adrian, these older, more responsible females understand that it’s all in their timing.

With that clue, I’ll bet you can think of a couple names, huh? Grin.

"This is Safe Haven Refugee Camp. Can anyone hear me?
Hello? Is anyone out there?"

The Survivors
*Free on all retailers

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

LAW Day #16 - An Interview with Samantha – The luckiest woman in Safe Haven

Cynthia Quest Reporting
May 4th, 2013

I may not care for the hardened woman now sitting down in my hot seat, but I do respect her. Not just anyone could have escaped from Cesar and his Slavers, and still be so coolly intelligent. It won’t stop me from asking those hard questions, though. Some things just have to be said.


“Hello, Samantha. Thank you for agreeing to this interview.”

Sam snorted. “Yeah, agreed.”

“Let me guess. It was on your schedule?”

Sam didn’t frown like she wanted to. “Something like that.”

Cynthia gave a sweetly sympathetic smile. “I’ll be quick so you can get back to your training.” The grin widened. “Why don’t we start there?”

Sam shrugged, trying not to appear as nervous as she felt. “It’s your five minutes.”

Realizing Adrian had allotted the woman the same time as the men, sent hot flames of jealousy into Cynthia’s gut. Adrian was treating Samantha like an Eagle. He’d chosen his next warrior.

Swallowing the bitterness, the shark got the interview started with a hard tone. “You’ve taken a lot of defensive classes since joining Safe Haven. Why? Are you thinking of following in Angela’s footsteps?”

Sam had planned on this question, and many others like it. She’d enjoyed the thought of more provocative answers, but in the end, her place (her future place) by Adrian, meant more.

“I want to be stronger, able to defend myself. As for becoming an Eagle, I hadn’t really thought about it.”

Cynthia let that lie slide. “Angela seems to be your only friend here so far. What’s wrong with the rest of the camp’s women?”

Samantha stiffened. “I’m not sure.” Her voice hardened. “They seem to have this habit of saying the wrong thing and pissing me off. Apparently, I do the same for them.”

The reporter scribbled hurriedly, copying word for word.  “As of right now, you are considered the luckiest woman in camp, but I have to ask - Does it bother you that Neil had been committed to Becky until you showed up? And that Jeremy had a… girl in the shadows?”

Sam allowed herself to flinch, sure it would be mentioned. “A little.”

“Does he know that?”

Samantha snorted, but kept the nasty remark to herself. “I assume so.”

Feeling like she’d just discovered a gold mine, Cynthia leaned forward, voice lowering. “You haven’t told him it bothers you?”

“Why would I? We’re not dating.”

“Yet. You still have to pick one of them, right?”

Sam cringed, face flushing at the boldness she knew the reporter would use in her paper. Everyone would read that question and the three of them would never live it down. “No, I don’t.”

“Wise, I guess, but honestly, Samantha. Which one do you like more? One of them has to be more…special to you, than the other. I happen to know that Jeremy is a very sweet man.”

It was as close as Cynthia had ever come to publically acknowledging her relationship with Jeremy.

Now, the jealousy was licking up Sam’s spine, and she opened her mouth, not sure what was about to come out. “You know how you can like two flavor ice cream at the same time, even up to occasionally mixing them? That’s me.”

Cynthia’s face went red. Sam wasn’t sure if it was anger or embarrassment, but either was fine.

The reporter followed up with a shaky voice. “You mean you want to keep them both.”

Sam didn’t respond, just grinned a bit, and the reporter pushed harder. “I guess it feels pretty good to have two of Safe Haven’s highest-ranked Eagles drooling over you.”

Quickly tiring of the attempt to make her look bad to the camp, Sam had to hold her temper in check. “A hell of a lot better than being Cesar’s Slave.”

“What was it like to be held captive by the Slavers? Was it awful?”

Sam’s anger rose. “What do you think?”

Cynthia didn’t take the hint to back off. “Did they follow you here, do you think?”

“I have no idea.”

“Well what about your ex, Rick? Is he a spy?”

“How would I know that? It’s not like spies go around announcing it.”

“But surely you have an opinion…”

Samantha sighed, hating it that she had to play along. She also loved it that she could, that she was included. Lying was no stranger to Sam. She knew those streets well. “I think if he was, he would have been caught already.”

Realizing she wouldn’t get more on that topic, Cynthia moved on. “What did you do before the War?”

“I helped track storms for the EPA in Washington.”

Cynthia’s eyes narrowed, ready to catch the smallest sign. “You don’t have a regular job listed. What is it that you do for Adrian?”

“The same thing I did before, only without all the fancy gadgets. I make assumptions about the weather,” Sam stated, looking at her watch.

“So there’s nothing…instinctive? Just cold, hard data?”

Samantha’s eyes were hot as she stood up. “Everything is instinct, Cyn. Even you know that.”

Sam headed for the flap. “Your five minutes are up. Hope you didn’t get whatever it was that you wanted.”

Cynthia grinned at the open hostility. The blonde woman was one of the few in camp who actually spoke her mind and didn’t seem to care about the consequences. It would be very interesting to watch her try to fit with Adrian’s Eagles and all their lies.

Sam thought she could handle it right now - because she was still mostly on the outside, but Cynthia had spied enough to know that from the inside, Adrian’s Army was a much darker place. It was where the reporter dreamed of belonging.

"This is Safe Haven Refugee Camp. Can anyone hear me?
Hello? Is anyone out there?"

The Survivors
*Free on all retailers

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