Read The Lawgivers: Gabriel Online

Authors: Kaitlyn O'Connor

Tags: #romance, #erotic, #scifi, #futuristic, #erotic futuristic scifi

The Lawgivers: Gabriel

The Lawgivers: Gabriel

By

Kaitlyn O'Connor

(C) Copyright by Kaitlyn O'Connor, July
2012

(C) Cover Art by Jenny Dixon, July
2012

Published by KK&M, llc

Smashwords Edition

Lake Park, GA 31636

kkandmpublishing.com

This is a work of fiction. All
characters, events, and places are of the author’s imagination and
not to be confused with fact. Any resemblance to living persons or
events is merely coincidence.

Dedication:

For Jackie Jackson for her unwavering
support. From the bottom of my heart, thank you for all of your
hard work on the website that you built for me! It’s wonderful!
Beautiful! The best ever! I’m so thrilled!

Prologue

The lucky ones never knew what hit
them.

One minute they were going about the
business of living—the next, oblivion.

Already sinking into decay from much
the same causes as the fall of Rome—greed, sloth, corruption, and
civil disorder—the days of the great human civilization of the
twenty-first century had been numbered even before Mother Nature
had unleashed her wrath but, as she had many times before, Mother
Nature proved mightier than all the combined power mankind could
wield. Civilization didn’t crumble slowly to dust. It was vaporized
in a nanosecond by the twin asteroids that whipped around the sun,
evading the Near Earth Object Tracking System and blindsiding the
planet with virtually no warning. One plowed into the North
American continent, the second into Europe.

For the survivors who clawed their way
out of the rubble and ash, life was hellish and it only got worse.
The debris thrown into orbit by the twin impacts blotted out the
sun. The fires that erupted from the superheated air created by the
impacts added their pollution and the Earth began to cool to a
nearly perpetual winter.

And then the angels fell to Earth and
brought the wrath of god to the remnants of the once mighty
civilization left to eke out an existence on the scarred
Earth.

They called themselves the
Lawgivers.

The humans called them winged demons
from hell.

Chapter One

Lexa scanned the rolling plain that
stretched out in every direction, virtually featureless beyond
those dips and swells, wondering which way would lead to water and
which to death.

There were some things one never got
used to—not really—hunger, thirst, being too cold or too hot, being
so tired you felt like you would drop where you stood and simply
cease to live … being afraid. Lexa had never been able to get used
to it, at any rate.

She’d hardly known anything else in her
life, and yet there’d been moments, brief segments of time, when
none of those things had been the case, and it only took the
absence of complete misery sprinkled throughout her memory to make
being miserable from one thing or another, or many of them at once,
nearly intolerable at times.

She didn’t remember ‘before’, at least
not the ‘before’ that most people meant when they talked about
before. She remembered her before. Even though the memories were
faded and ragged around the edges, she remembered Sir, her mother’s
man. She vaguely remembered her mother. She remembered best the
baby brothers and sister she’d helped Sir take care of because her
mother was gone. ‘The day’, her day, was foggy in her memory, not
because there were gaps but because it had been like an explosion,
so many things happening at once that it had been hard to grasp
anything but terror.

It was the day the raiders had
descended upon them and her whole world changed.

Most people, though, were referring to
‘the day’—before ‘the day’. There’d been an explosion then, from
what she’d heard, but she’d been born after that. She wasn’t
certain how long afterwards, but the only world she’d known was
nothing like the one she’d heard olders talk about. That place was
so very different from everything she’d always known that she
wasn’t completely convinced it had ever existed. So much of what
they talked about was hard even to imagine.

Like the cold that was no more than a
‘season’ and then went away—a blue sky, green things
everywhere.

She’d seen blue sky, though—not when
she was young. It had been after she’d finally escaped King Ralph,
after she’d fled the nightmare her life had been since ‘the day’
because she’d finally realized that anything was better than that.
Even death would have been more welcome. When she’d realized that
truth, she’d ceased to be afraid of being alone, of facing the
scarred Earth, the unknown, by herself. It had given her the
courage to flee.

The first time she’d seen blue sky, she
wasn’t sure whether she’d been more awed or terrified. No one else
had been certain either, at least no one who, like her, had been
born ‘after’, she supposed because they hadn’t really believed in
it either. But one day the thick, boiling clouds that formed a roof
over the world had seemed to thin and then tear, and there it was,
pale streaks briefly visible far above and a near blinding glint of
something up there that poured heat down on them. She’d thought it
might be the sun, but it was a monster unlike the hazy ball of
light she was used to seeing when night gave way to day.

That warmth had felt glorious at first.
It had warmed her like no fire ever had. It seemed like she’d been
cold her whole life, sometimes colder than other times, but always
cold and she’d thought it must be a good sign. But then the numbing
cold had begun to subside and she’d gotten warmer and warmer until
she’d begun to fear she would catch fire.

The first few times she’d seen blue
sky, she’d felt much the same—not quite as awed, not quite as
frightened, but still uncertain of whether or not she liked it or
should be afraid. Slowly, so slowly she was hardly aware that
things were changing at first, the thick, boiling gray and white
clouds she was so used to began to vanish little by little and she
could see blue sky more and more often. And, as it did, the ice
that covered everything began to shrink and melt away. The mud and
the heat from that enormous, fiery ball in the sky began to war
with the misery of cold and then she began to see green things,
many green things, not just the occasional stubby brownish-green
things she was used to, but tiny, bright carpets of green bursting
from the soil almost everywhere she looked.

It was scary the way things had begun
changing. She wasn’t certain if it was a good thing or a bad thing.
Mostly it was just something else to worry about—whether it would
make life harder than it already was or not.

Lexa stopped abruptly as she topped the
rise she’d been struggling up, realizing she’d allowed her mind to
wander from her purpose to her misery—a very dangerous thing to
do.

Before her in the gathering gloom of
dusk was a village. Her throat closed. Her stomach growled and her
heart commenced to pounding more rapidly with a combination of fear
and excitement.

She’d run out of water almost two days
earlier and she was so low on food that she hadn’t eaten more than
a few bites here and there for nearly a week. Before her lay the
possibility of replenishing her nearly exhausted
supplies.

And also the possibility of getting
killed or raped or enslaved.

For once she didn’t debate the wisdom
of going in or avoiding it entirely, however. She had needs she
couldn’t ignore anymore. She couldn’t afford to bypass the village.
She was going to die if she didn’t get water at least, and, as
dangerous as it would be to approach the village with the hope of
bartering for what she needed without getting killed in the
attempt, she really didn’t have a choice.

Strangers were never welcome. On one
level, she resented it, but then again she understood their
position. Strangers represented a threat. At the very least, it was
another hungry mouth and no one wanted to share what little they
had with strangers when it might mean someone they knew and cared
about could go hungry, or starve to death, in the stranger’s
place.

At the worst, a stranger could be a
spy, someone sent in alone to assess the fortifications, the number
of able-bodied defenders, weapons and munitions, and the food and
water supply.

Water was pretty much a given. Villages
were few and far between and they only sprouted up where there was
water, a supply sufficient to make squatting on it, and fighting to
defend it, worthwhile.

Food was another matter. Any time
enough people squatted in one place to form a village it meant
feeding them was going to be more of a problem the bigger the
village got … and this one looked like a fairly sizeable village.
Even from a distance and with the shadows gathering because the sun
was riding low in the sky, Lexa could see upwards of two to three
dozen huts.

Clearly, it dated back to ‘before the
day’. Besides the inevitable rickety shanties and huts she was
accustomed to seeing, there were quite a number of skeletal remains
of buildings that were more than one story tall. There were
actually two or three of those buildings that were nearly intact …
or at least looked like they were from where she stood.

Naturally, it was fortified. It
wouldn’t be there at all if not for that because of the bands of
roaming gangs. Rusting vehicles had been dragged into a rough
circle around the village and rubble from the useless buildings
piled on top and around them to form a wall eight to ten feet high.
Jagged, spear-like posts were wedged into the rubble pile at angles
and jutted outward like the quills of a porcupine.

There were a couple of
dangerous-looking men wielding guns guarding the only gate Lexa
could see and she eased back down the rise and sat down to consider
whether she ought to risk going in after all or not.

Only two guards could mean several
things.

The village hadn’t had a lot of trouble
with the gangs and didn’t see a need for more than two
guards.

Or the village had been taken over by a
gang and they were confident they had control over the whole
territory—which meant they were some really bad
sons-of-bitches.

Either one, she decided, was as likely
as the other.

She hadn’t seen a soul in weeks, which
might support the latter theory.

Of course, she went out of her way to
avoid running in to anyone. Traveling alone was a sure way to get
killed if one didn’t make it a habit to avoid people.

Unfortunately, since she didn’t dare
make contact with other people except when it was absolutely
necessary, she was now in a position where it was absolutely
necessary. She couldn’t make it much further without water. She
wasn’t going to last a hell of a lot longer without
food.

Getting up after a few minutes, she
began to circle the village, easing up whenever she found a vantage
point that would allow it, to check out the
fortifications.

The best thing, for her, about the
fortifications, was that they were designed to keep attackers out
in general, not to keep people in, and there were usually several
places where escape was possible if not a breeze.

By the time she’d circumnavigated the
village, she’d spotted three possibilities for a quick exit if she
discovered that was desirable and she felt better about approaching
the gate and asking permission to enter.

Strangely enough, the guards, she
discovered when she’d reached her original position and could see
the gate again, had disappeared. Her heart seemed to trip over
itself. More than half expecting one or both to come up behind her,
she searched the area more closely and finally spotted both men
sitting in the shadows near the gate. They looked like they were
asleep.

She frowned. That was odd. Really,
really peculiar.

She didn’t know what to make of
it—whether that was going to make it easier to get in or if she
should go in at all.

She’d already accepted that she didn’t
really have a choice, though.

Cautiously, she retreated a short
distance to assess the new situation and decide what to
do.

She had to disguise herself. That was a
given.

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