Evie Mitchell eBook Runner (EBOOK)
Evie Mitchell eBook Runner (EBOOK)
Evie Mitchell eBook Runner (EBOOK)

Runner (EBOOK)

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Ellie
The virus ravaged the world, plunging us into darkness. It was in the darkness that nightmares became reality.
And it was in the shadows that I met him – Runner.
He promised me protection in exchange for one thing – my surrender.

Runner
She was salvation. Bringing us hope when all was lost.
I'd fight for her. For our life together. But in the after nothing is guaranteed.
When the world ended, we began. But would we have a future?

Trigger warning: This is a darker book than my other series and contains some violence and references to abuse. A happily ever after is still guaranteed, but this is a gritty series so proceeded with caution.

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Ellie

"What other choice do we have?" Blair asked the round table. We were missing two of our close-knit family group—grief, worry, anxiety, anger etched on the faces and burned into the souls of everyone in the room.  

"Do we think they'll be back?" Yana asked the question we were all avoiding, her eyes on the cameras monitoring the boundaries of the University. 

"They know there are women here. They'll definitely come back." Jo shook her head. "We're trained, but we're outnumbered."

"Did you see their women?" Beth, the youngest of our party, asked in a whisper. "They looked…"

"Dead," Jo said with a nod. "Chained up and used for nothing but sex."

When we'd killed some of their party, the women had scattered, running naked into the dark. Lilith and Jules had followed. We'd tried to find them but had lost them in the bush surrounding the College when The Purge had mounted another attack forcing us back. 

We'd survived, mainly thanks to Ava. But we didn't know if Jules and Lilith were alive or taken.

"We're idiots if we stay here another night," Jo muttered. 

"But where would we go?" Beth asked. 

We all fell silent. Isn’t that the million-dollar question?

Since the world as we knew it had officially ended some nine months before, we'd built our own town. Living out of our abandoned University, the thirteen of us had felt safe. Secure. Insulated from the horrors of the outside world. Or as safe and secure as you could be when you were living in the aftermath of an apocalypse. 

Until The Purge. 

Audrey shoved her glasses up her nose, blinking at the screen of the laptop in her hands. "I've run the scenarios. Based on their losses and what we could find out from the one guy Ava… Ava…." She swallowed, forging forward. "We have three days to either leave the College or find assistance to fortify our defenses." She looked up, frown lines creasing her brow. "Do we have anyone who could help us?"

"The guy said they had over forty people, right?" I asked, looking to Ava. 

"Yeah, though the numbers seemed pretty fluid. The main currency is women, food, and guns. We're sitting ducks," Ava said. She was sprawled on her side in a bed by the table, her face pale, sweat-dampened her brow. She'd taken a knife to her side but kept fighting, keeping us safe and capturing one of them. She'd taken him to the basement and she'd remained in there for hours, emerging much later to hand over her intel. She'd let Blair patch her up, but refused to remain in the infirmary while we discussed options. 

"Fuck," Jo barked, pushing to her feet, and beginning to pace. "We have to leave. Got no other choice."

"I… I m-m-might have an idea," Kate whispered, her hand rising ever so slightly. She only ever stuttered under extreme anxiety or when scared. 

All eyes went to her and she blushed, looking down at the table. 

"Go on," I encouraged, knowing Kate shied easily. 

"M-my father," she stuttered, staring at the table. 

"One man isn't gonna fix this, babe." 

"Shh," I hushed Jo, then looked back at Kate. "Keep going."

"H-h-h-he is th-th-the P-P-President of the Nameless Souls m-m-motorcycle club."

"A gang?" Jo said, her eyes narrowing. "Your daddy is a member of a gang?"

"It's a c-club but, yeah, he r-r-runs it."

There was a beat of silence as we processed this news. How did we not know this?

"They're an outlaw gang," Ava murmured, grimacing when she shifted. "If your dad is part of this club, why are you here? Why not throw your lot in with them?"

Kate flushed and looked away, biting her lip. 

"Kate?" I asked softly. 

"A w-w-woman in the club n-n-n-needs a man. You're not you, you're p-p-p-property." 

"Property?" Jo asked. 

Kate nodded. 

"I've read about this," Blair sighed, rubbing her temples. "They don't have female bikers. They have two types of women—club sluts or old ladies." 

"What's the difference?"

"The old ladies are claimed, they call them property. Like wives so they're afforded some modicum of respect. The sluts, not so much."

We all grimaced. 

Kate looked down, rubbing the tabletop with shaky hands. 

"What are they going to want if we ask them for help?" Ava asked. 

Kate shrugged, still looking down. "M-m-maybe food. Definitely sex." 

"Fuck," Ava muttered. 

An idea tickled the back of my mind. "What about fuel?"

Kate cocked her head in question. 

"The bioethanol and biodiesels we're using to run the vehicles. Could we trade that? I'm still fine-tuning, it's taken me a while to work out how to scale because we don't have all the parts or ingredients but we have enough that I could offer them a sample. If it worked, maybe that could be our in. Do you think they'd go for a trade? Fuel and help with, I don't know, energy? Water? Whatever they need in exchange for protection."

The women looked excited but Kate shook her head. "They'd just t-t-take it anyway."

"But we could try," I said, unwilling to just give up. "Do we have any other choice?" 

"Let's put it to a vote," Jo ordered, looking around the table. "Those in favour of leaving."

Two hands. 

"Those in favour of approaching the bikers?"

Eight hands went up. 

"Kate, you didn't vote," Jo admonished. 

She kept stroking the grain of the wooden table, her eyes fixed on her hands, a single tear slipping down her cheek. "I-I-I'll do w-w-whatever you agree to."

"Then we're settled. We'll approach the bikers." 

Ava blew out a breath. "I can't go. Not like this, at least not today. And we need to shore up shit in case the biker stuff doesn't pan out. Need to get our stuff ready to evac."

"I'll go," I volunteered. "Kate will need to come as well. Anyone else?"

"Jo," Ava ordered. "And Audrey." 

We all blinked in surprise. 

"Me?" Audrey asked, shoving her glasses up her nose. "But… why?"

" I trust you to strategize if things go south." She nodded at Jo. "Jo can talk bikes, try and sell our skills. Ellie has the knowledge to produce biofuel, something they'll likely want with fuel supplies getting low. And Kate will get us an audience with the President." 

"Okay," I muttered, pushing to my feet. "Guess we better get our stuff together."

"We'll leave within the hour," Jo ordered. "I'm not risking us for longer than necessary."

We began to disband, people leaving and Blair pushing Ava's bed out the door. Only Kate remained sitting, her gaze fixed on the table. 

"Kate?" 

She didn't respond. 

"Is there something you're not telling us?"

She raised one shoulder then dropped it. 

Fear prickled my spine. 

"Is it bad?"

"Not for you."

I dropped back into my seat, leaning towards her, trying to catch her eye. 

"Tell me."

She shook her head, her eyes filled with fear. 

"Please?"

"Y-y-you'll see," she whispered.

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