Read 2020: Emergency Exit Online

Authors: Ever N Hayes

2020: Emergency Exit









By Ever N. Hayes

Praise for Emergency Exit


“Every once in awhile a book comes along that catches you by surprise. You think you’ll like it then you love it… you think you’ll start reading it and then you can’t stop. In the last ten years I haven’t read a more intriguing, thought-provoking, hard to put down book. Can’t wait for the movie! (And the sequel!)”

Steve Wetzler
Twin Cities Magazine Owner/Publisher)


“A perfect marriage between the Incredible Journey and the Hunger Games. If this book isn’t a movie in the next few years I’d be shocked. You’ll find yourself casting actors as you read, I promise!” –
Brittney Castro
(Restaurant Owner. St. Cloud, MN)


“You can imagine everything in this book happening as it does. The pace just keeps on picking up. A gripping keep-you-guessing ride.” –
Pete Boldingh
(Pharmaceutical Manager. Rochester, MN)


“My 13-year-old loved it as much as I did. As a school librarian I’m thrilled when I find easy to read, suspenseful, adventure stories like this. Definitely going on our “Hot List.” –
Stefanie Ayers
(Librarian. Madison, WI)


“Publishers and agents should be fighting over who gets this script. Incredible ending. The worst part of the book was the last page. Only cause I wanted more!” –
Kristie Schreck
(Teacher. Sioux Falls, SD)



“An Incredible Journey Remake With People” –
Pure Wander Magazine

General Fiction/Adventure: In a not-too-distant future, 7 powerful nations form an alliance against America & launch a chemical attack wiping out 90%+ of the North American population. Only the most remote areas had a chance at surviving and even then faced an enemy "clean up crew" sweeping the country.

The story follows a family and friends in northern MN as they discover what has transpired. That group intercepts a coded message revealing the lone safe haven--in Hawaii. Their task--crossing a dark continent in the face of an army--is daunting, if not impossible, but they have no choice. "The only way to live is to leave."

Cast is mixed--age, gender & race--"average American," if you will. Largely narrated by the father, Ryan (mid-30s). His son Danny (20) & daughter Hayley (18) are the main characters, combined with a love interest for Ryan and the conflicted antagonist Eddie. It takes a few chapters to set up then quickly moves forward from there. They encounter a mixed bag of friends and foes along the way, allowing for extra character drama, personal challenges and loss.

It's hard to say if anything like this could ever occur, but it's as believable as being wiped out by an EMP, virus, or plague, and more conceivable than the popular dystopian tales out there. If you accept it for what it is, then this is an enjoyable ride with many twists and surprises. You may find yourself wanting more love story or more fighting, but there's no lack of action, suspense or intensity.


*** - Pure Wander is a family magazine. Emergency Exit would be appropriate & enjoyed by our audience PG-13+ (Violence, Mild language, Adult content) - (4.5 out of 5)



This is a work of fiction. All of the characters, organizations and events portrayed in this novel are either products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously.

Emergency Exit

Copyright © by Ever N. Hayes

All rights reserved.

No portion of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means—electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording, or any other—except for brief quotations in printed reviews, without the prior permission of the author.

Published as an e-Book in April 2014 by ENH.

Published in Paperback in May 2014 by ENH & CreateSpace

Word Count: 126,126



Cover Design
by James T. Egan of Bookfly Design LLC

by Kira Rubenthaler of Bookfly Design LLC

by Eileen Cotter of Pure Wander (Boston)


Note from the Author:


Most of the credit for the existence of this book goes to my wife and son, without whose patience and support I’d never have even had the opportunity to write it. Additional gratitude to the friends & family who read it and provided critical and instrumental feedback: Stacy, Dylan, Steve, Mom, Cathy, Pete, Eileen and Hilary. Thanks as well to the editors of the magazines I’ve worked for the past seven years: Darin and Steve – for believing in me and allowing me to hone the craft of writing under your tutelage. And to the professional editors and copy editors who worked on this script over the past seven months to help perfect it. Thank you to my Dad, to God for the remarkable grace and countless blessings you’ve provided in this life, and to my four awesome kids for your daily inspiration. Finally… a special thank you to YOU for picking up this book and giving it a chance. I hope it is both enjoyable and surprising in equal parts.



Praise for Emergency Exit






ONE: (Danny) “No Answer”

TWO: (Ryan) “Over and Over”

THREE: “Last Supper”

FOUR: “The Kids”

FIVE: “How It Went Down”

SIX: “America’s Response”

SEVEN: “The Third Wave”

EIGHT: “Captain Eddie”

NINE: (Ryan) “On The Road Again”

TEN: “Hitting the Fan”

ELEVEN: “Go Wes”

TWELVE: (Ryan) “Off the Mark”

THIRTEEN: “On The Same Side”

FOURTEEN: “Burn It Down”

FIFTEEN: “Blowing Smoke”

SIXTEEN: “Take It and Leave It”

SEVENTEEN: “Bully Pulpit”

EIGHTEEN: (Eddie) “Catching Up”

NINETEEN: (Ryan) “Like Minds”

TWENTY: “Check”

TWENTY-ONE: “And We Were”

TWENTY-TWO: “What the Truck?”

TWENTY-THREE: “False Alarm”

TWENTY-FOUR: (Eddie) “Too Close For Comfort”

TWENTY-FIVE: (Ryan) “Nine Lives”

TWENTY-SIX: (Eddie) “Hiding in Plain Sight”

TWENTY-SEVEN: (Ryan) “Death is Taxing”


TWENY-NINE: “Mount NoMore”

THIRTY: (Eddie) “Cave Men”

THIRTY-ONE: (Ryan) “Hot Pursuit”

THIRTY-TWO: (Eddie) “Divine Intervention”

THIRTY-THREE: (Ryan) “Battle of Cheyenne”

THIRTY-FOUR: (Ryan) “Great Wall of Colorado”

THIRTY-FIVE: “What We Did”


THIRTY-SEVEN: “Tragic Luck”

THIRTY-EIGHT: “Goodbye Father, Farewell Friend”



THIRTY-NINE: (Ryan) “Day Before Thanksgiving”

FORTY: “The Visitor”

FORTY-ONE: “The New America”

FORTY-TWO: “Where’s Eddie?”

FORTY-THREE: (Ryan) “Thanksgiving Day”

FORTY-FOUR: “Chills and Thrills”

FORTY-FIVE: “Black Friday”

FORTY-SIX: “Abbey Or Not Abbey”

FORTY-SEVEN: “Paper Cuts”

FORTY-EIGHT: “Zero Dark Forty”

FORTY-NINE: “Vail, Colorado”

FIFTY: “Not Adding Up”

FIFTY-ONE: (Eddie) “Qi Jia Command Center”

FIFTY-TWO: (Ryan) “Call of Duty”

FIFTY-THREE: (Eddie) “Caught in the Storm”

FIFTY-FOUR: “Guard Down”

FIFTY-FIVE: “Leverage”

FIFTY-SIX: “Underfoot”

FIFTY-SEVEN: “Hunting Lions Don’t Roar”

FIFTY-EIGHT: “Fast Food”

FIFTY-NINE: “Too Many Questions”

SIXTY: “Blake and Kaci”

SIXTY-ONE: “Man Down”

SIXTY-TWO: “Calm Down”

SIXTY-THREE: “The Cold Hard Truth”

SIXTY-FOUR: “Never Safe”

SIXTY-FIVE: (Ryan) “Bitter Cold”


SIXTY-SIX: (Ryan) “Spring Forward”

SIXTY-SEVEN: (Eddie) “Camp Buena Vista”

SIXTY-EIGHT: (Ryan) “Trail Ridge Road”

SIXTY-NINE: “The Passenger”

SEVENTY: “Elevator Music”

SEVENTY-ONE: “Shortcut”

SEVENTY-TWO: (Eddie) “Sit. Stay.”

SEVENTY-THREE: “Learning From Experience”

SEVENTY-FOUR: (Ryan) “End of the Road”

SEVENTY-FIVE: “General Direction”

SEVENTY-SIX: “Run. Stop. Run.”

SEVENTY-SEVEN: (Eddie) “The Bitter Truth”

SEVENTY-EIGHT: “The Package”


EIGHTY: (Ryan) “Decoy”

EIGHTY-ONE: “Dog Gone”

EIGHTY-TWO: “In Flight”



EIGHTY-FIVE: “Fox and the Hound”










There are some things I’ll never forget…


My son’s first word.

Any of Michael Jordan’s signature moments.
Watched every game.

The face of the girl I almost had an affair with.
Never did get her name

My last day as an American.
Kind of.

And the text message that killed my wife.
“I think I’m lo…”


That’s all it said.


It was cliché. The guy was drunk. The guy was lost. He was texting and driving in the pouring rain, one block from our southern Minnesota home.
I think I’m lost.

The difference between life and death was four stupid words.

He was in the wrong lane. Supposedly he never even saw her. It doesn’t really matter. Sophie didn’t have a chance.

She had a seatbelt on. He didn’t. She died. He barely got a scratch on him.

He basically got away with murder.
What’s five years?

My wife got “Amazing Grace.”




There are a few things I wish I could change…


My daughter’s first word.

My college major.

Being the man I thought I was.
When clearly I wasn’t.

My last day as an American.
Gonna have to explain that, I know.

And my wife’s last words. “
Tell him I love him.”


She wasn’t talking about me. She was talking about our son, Danny. She should have been able to tell him herself. I messed that up.



Sophie lost her life four years ago. If she hadn’t, we’d both be dead now.










“Those who try to juggle wisdom, power and greed,

drop one of the balls, every time.”


– Greg Hamerton

ONE: (Danny) “No Answer”


Friday, November 11, 2016.

Southern Minnesota.


Danny’s pocket started buzzing again.
What could possibly be so important?
He shifted so he could pull his phone out and looked at the caller ID. “Loser,” it read.
Danny tossed it on the end table. It continued to vibrate, but he ignored it.

“Who is it?” Kate asked from the basement mini-bar, where she was grabbing them each a soda.

“Dad,” Danny answered. “Again!” he added in disgust.
Leave a message already!

Lightning flashed in the window. Steady rain poured down outside.

“That’s odd,” his girlfriend replied, handing him a Dew. Danny thought so too. Since his dad had come back home five months ago, he hadn’t called Danny once. “So he’s the one who keeps calling?” Kate asked, sitting down on the couch next to him.

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