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Graham's Resolution, Book 8 - The Tender Harvest

Graham's Resolution, Book 8 - The Tender Harvest

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🔵 Read the Synopsis

“In the silent depths of Diablo Lake, where shadows dance upon the water's edge, secrets linger like whispers in the night. Five years have passed since the world was torn asunder, yet the scars of our past haunt us still, etched into the very fabric of our souls.

I watch from the shadows as life unfolds around me, a silent guardian amidst the chaos. Clarisse tends to the wounded with a quiet determination, her eyes betraying the weight of our shared burden. Bang and Addy, their love a beacon of hope in the darkness, prepare for the arrival of their first child, unaware of the storm that looms on the horizon. And Tehya, consumed by a rage she cannot tame, teeters on the brink of oblivion.

But it's the arrival of Meg that sets my senses ablaze, her presence a harbinger of danger in our fragile sanctuary. With eyes that hold secrets untold and a past shrouded in mystery, she brings with her a darkness that threatens to engulf us all.

As the days pass, the specter of the terrorists looms ever larger, their presence a malevolent force that refuses to be ignored. And when Meg's true intentions are revealed, we're thrust into a deadly game of deception and betrayal, where trust is a luxury we cannot afford.

Yet amidst the shadows, there is still light. Light in the bonds that bind us together, in the flicker of hope that refuses to be extinguished. As explosions echo in the distance and lives hang in the balance, I know that we must stand united against the encroaching darkness.

In "The Tender Harvest," the next chapter of our journey unfolds, and I stand ready to confront whatever lies ahead. For in this world of uncertainty and shadows, one thing remains certain: the strength of the human spirit, and the resilience of the heart, will see us through.” - Graham Morgan

🔴 Read Chapter 1

“Do you think this will work?”

Clarisse studied the pale face of the young woman sitting in front of her. Marcy was strong and healthy, snappy and feisty, but of all the survivors, she appeared to be the most vulnerable. Not because she lacked the skills to fight should the enemy ever resurface in soul-destroying numbers again, but because of her secret. Clarisse had seen it before. A woman reached her thirties, and her body clock started ticking… Even in this unrecognizable world in which survival was the invisible word in everyone’s mind.

Should she be honest? Should she tell Marcy that it was all down to her and Mark now? Despite the medical science behind the fertility-boosting injection Clarisse had recently administered, the ovulation charts, and the meds that were as close to folic acid as Clarisse could get given the dwindling and aging supplies, there were no guarantees that any of it would work. And the longer the situation went on, the more disheartened the couple became.

Even Clarisse had come to dread the look on Marcy’s face each time another month passed without her getting pregnant. She put on a brave face and disguised it with the mantra that became second nature: I’m not putting myself through childbirth, no siree! But then she would catch Clarisse’s eye, and there was no mistaking the dull flash of disappointment. It broke Clarisse’s heart, month after month. But she was starting to think that Marcy and Mark simply weren’t compatible when it came to making babies.

And she didn’t have a cure for that.

“I think it’s your best shot,” Clarisse said, choosing her words carefully. She forced a bright smile. “Stick to the carnivore diet. It helped Bethany. Cheryl is making sure you’re getting your share of protein. Lay off the caffeine.”

Marcy’s shoulders slumped. “Seriously?” But there was no conviction in the question. Both women knew that she would do whatever it took.

Clarisse reached across and took the younger woman’s hands in hers. “I know this is easy for me to say, Marcy, but please try to stop stressing about it. From experience, these things always happen when you least expect it, and stress—”

“Affects our chances of conceiving a baby. I know.” Marcy shook her head and peered out the window of the new clinic at the view of Diablo Lake. “If it’s stress, we’re screwed.”

This was the first time that Marcy had acknowledged it might not happen for them, that they might never conceive, and Clarisse’s heart lurched. Her twin, Macy, had two beautiful little girls, Ennis and Nova, who adored their auntie Marce, but at the end of each day, the children went back to the cabin they shared with their parents, and Marcy was left with empty arms.

Clarisse swallowed hard, hoping that Marcy wouldn’t hear the clicking in the back of her throat. It had been five years since ‘the war’. Five years since they lost Dalton and Hunter. Five years since they said goodbye to Sherriff too, and although there had only been infrequent sightings of the enemy, stragglers who’d somehow become separated from the armies of jihadists sent to claim their country, they were all scarred. They would never relax. Ever. They’d made the mistake of becoming complacent before—they wouldn’t do it again.

Sometimes, Clarisse wondered if it would ever be over. If there would ever come a time when they could draw a line under what happened when the virus destroyed ninety-eight percent of the global population, tearing the planet apart so that the jihadists could crawl through the cracks and take over. They’d experienced the very worst of humanity. Over the past five years, other survivors had emerged from their hiding places and passed through the settlement at Diablo Lake with tales of tunnels leading to underground bunkers and mountain lodges and wild animals. They rarely lingered. Some spent time with Bang and Addy, being trained in armed combat. Others learned how to use radios with Rick so that they could communicate when they moved on to wherever they were headed. But mostly, they accepted Clarisse’s vaccination, listened to the camp’s recollections of the war, were open-mouthed and horrified, and didn’t stick around for more than a day or two.

Were they too intense for the other survivors? Perhaps. But Clarisse had come to realize that if intensity was what it took to stay alive, she wouldn’t swap it for all the scientific equipment in the world.

Before she could respond to Marcy with something upbeat, with the reassurance that the younger woman so desperately craved, raised voices from outside the clinic penetrated her thoughts.

“Stop right there, young lady!” The voice belonged to Graham, and there was only one person he could be talking to.

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