After: (After Series Book 1) by Samantha Gregory
Genre: YA Horror
Published: May 31st, 2014
Published by J Ellington Ashton Press
The dead walked. The world fell apart. But what happened after? Jenna Deluise is just trying to survive in this broken world, but after her father’s apparent suicide she discovers that she didn’t really know him at all. How was he connected to the zombies? Why is his former boss so sure he is alive?
What else was he hiding?
The dead walked. People try to forget, to pretend it didn’t
happen. But it happened. I’ve heard the stories, the horror. I’ve even
seen some of it for myself. Lives were destroyed, families torn apart,
so many turned, and when it was over - the world was a different
Now the dead are gone, turned to ash.
From the ashes of the old government rose the New Alliance, a
powerful military group who helped us rebuild and aided in creating
a vaccine to prevent another outbreak.
It came with a price, of course. The Alliance has complete
control over the country. Anyone who goes up against them is sent to
one of the many containment camps.
Maybe we were safer with the dead...
I kept my head down as I walked along the C road, clutching the
bag of groceries to my chest. It wasn’t the kind of neighborhood you
wanted to linger in, and it was one of the better ones in the city. I
sidestepped a man sitting on the ground. He was wrapped in an old,
tattered blanket. He held his hands out to whoever passed him,
begging for any money they could spare. I tried not to look at him. I
didn’t have any money to give him. I barely had enough for the
groceries I just bought.
Joining the queue for the checkpoint, I tried to ignore the chill
wind blowing. Summer was definitely over. My jacket was
threadbare as it was and I couldn’t afford a new one. Winter was
going to be fun. Not.
I kept my gaze fixed on the ground as I moved closer to the front
of the line. It wasn’t a good idea to make eye contact with a lot of
the people who lived around here. I missed our old house. At least
you could walk the streets without worrying about getting mugged,
I was jostled from behind by a woman wearing a black knit cap
and a long black coat.
“What are you looking at?” she snapped. I quickly faced front. I
wasn’t interested in a fight; I just wanted to go home.
I swiped my identity pass at the checkpoint; I was two blocks
from home. The Alliance soldier posted there scrutinized it carefully
before handing it back. Seriously, did I look like a threat?
“Reason for entering this area?” he asked, his cold blue eyes
piercing mine. He wore the standard black uniform with the red
Alliance symbol on the breast. An automatic weapon hung at his side
and I had no doubt that he knew how to use it. The New Alliance
was the ultimate law enforcement.
“I live here,” I said.
“What’s in the bag?”
I don’t think he liked my tone, but I didn’t have another I cared
to use. Every freaking day I had to go through this. I’m pretty sure it
was the same guard too, but the AS had a habit of making people’s
lives miserable. He took his time searching my bag, for all that was
in it. A few canned goods.
The line behind me was a long one; everyone was crowded
together, eager to get home before dark. Most of the people looked
half starved. Food wasn’t cheap in this quadrant and a lot of people
had taken to stealing it to survive. We weren’t that bad, yet.
Finally, he waved me through. I hurried away, glad to put him
I didn’t get far before startled cries rang through the crowd. I
glanced back to see someone stagger into the road. He was dressed
in rags, his face covered in dirt. The crowd fell silent as he let out a
loud moan. I froze. It couldn’t be. My heart began to race.
A ripple went through the crowd and one word rang out clearly.
The word no one wanted to hear, the word most people were too
terrified to even utter.
Several AS ran forward, weapons already drawn. When the man
saw them coming he dropped the act and raised his hands in
“It was a joke,” he cried as he was tackled to the ground. There
were grunts and cries from him as the AS laid into him. Idiot!
Nobody tried to help him, and I didn’t blame them. It wasn’t
something to joke about.
They hauled him to his feet and led him away. I wasn’t sticking
around any longer.
Turning into the alleyway that would take me home, I found that it
was already occupied by a street vendor, selling a variety of fruits
that were hard to come by nowadays.
“Hey sweetness,” the vendor crooned at me. I glanced at him,
taking in the ratty hair, beard and cold black eyes that were checking
me out. I used my free hand to pull my jacket tighter around me.
I sped up, hoping to get past him, but he stepped forward,
blocking my path.
“Why don’t you choose something nice for yourself, then we can
discuss payment,” he raised an eyebrow. He was standing way too
close for my liking. I could smell his rancid breath.
He was at least six inches taller than me and while he was no
wrestler, he still had more muscle than me. This could go wrong
very quickly. Thinking fast, I said, “Do you have a permit to sell
I tried to keep my voice steady. The question seemed to confuse
“A permit. Under section seven of the New Alliance code, it is
illegal to sell imported goods without one.”
“Yeah? And what would you know about it, little girl?”
I pulled an ID card from my jacket pocket, “Plenty, I’m an
undercover agent for the Alliance.”
He backed away, swearing, “An agent? What are they hiring
them straight out of kindergarten now?”
I glared at him. Okay, I look slightly younger than my seventeen
years but not that young.
“I should shut you down right now,” I said.
“Come on, I’m just trying to make a living, like everyone else.”
I sighed and took a closer look at his pitch. I spied some oranges.
I hadn’t had one in years. I picked up three of them and dropped
them into my grocery bag.
The vendor watched me, but didn’t say anything. Usually where
there was one agent, another was never far behind. He was probably
used to them shaking him down. Why would they pay for things
when they could just take them?
I lifted an apple too, making a show of biting into it. It was
“If I catch you around here again, I’ll shut you down,” I walked
At the end of the alley I turned right, passing a burnt out car. A
huge black skull had been painted on the wall beside it, along with
the words CHAOS REIGNS. Yeah, it did.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
When she’s not writing, Samantha works as a journalist and in her spare time she enjoys reading, archery and is learning to play guitar. After is her second novel and is the first book in a new zombie series.