Submitted Date 08/07/2021

I know I've been a bit quiet the last month. That's because I'm hip-deep in editing my next novel, Beyond The Steps Of Stone. This novel has been 15 years in the making. It is the only complete manuscript my dad got to read before he passed away and he loved this book. Getting it out this year is very important to me. So if I miss a few blogs, you know why.

In the meantime, here is a little taste of that book. I'm not going to set the scene. I'm not going to tell you when it takes place. But you get to meet the heroine of the book, a character that is near and dear to my heart. I hope you enjoy it.


Computer systems tend to be touchy things, easy to reprogram, easy to corrupt. In some cases, a single glitch, a moved zero or one, a broken piece of binary code is all that is needed to disable the whole system. A delayed signal could botch up the whole works. Programmers hold their breath the first time they compile a computer program in the hope that it runs as planned. Nine times out of ten, they were looking for a missing piece of punctuation to fix whatever was causing the program to crash.

In the case of the computer system that kept the underground bunker beneath Area 51 functional, it booted up exactly when it was supposed to, which was just short of a miracle since the system was never tested before being put into operation. The lights in the main chamber illuminated slowly, chasing away the shadows, forcing them to retreat to the corners. The cryogenic chambers that lined the walls of the chamber also came to life, venting the chemicals that kept their occupants in deep stasis. The occupants were about to return to the ranks of the living after a very long sleep. The only thing was…

…there was no one waiting to greet them, to help them acclimate to the new world that they were about to face.

There was no one in the base that could tell them what happened after they went to sleep. As planned, generations had passed. The world the survivors were about to enter was quite different from the world they had left behind. Some people thought they wouldn't wake at all, the Earth having torn itself apart with all of her storms, her shifting plates, her temper tantrum. But she didn't. She had a good shake-up, and eventually, things had settled and calmed.

To say cryogenic stasis was a pleasant experience was not the first description Army Colonel Morgan Langtree would use if anyone asked her. As a matter of fact, she had terrible nights sleeping with a rock for a pillow with mortars exploding around her in the Iraqi desert that had been more restful.

And that included the discomfort caused by the sand that burrowed into her boots and other bodily crevices.

It took her a full ten minutes to clear the sleep-induced haze from her mind as she gazed at her surroundings after stepping free from the coffin-sized chamber mounted against the rock wall. She took the time to work the stiffness from her neck and shoulders, making a mental note to never knock the physicality of basic training ever again. She rotated her wrists then her ankles, holding onto the edge of her cryo chamber for a few deep knee bends. It helped work the wobbly feeling from her calves and thighs. That's when the tingling kicked in, the blood moving through long dormant muscles. She breathed in sharply through clenched teeth as she kept moving, marching in place until it passed.

She worked through math tables and the alphabet as she marched in place, trying to get her mind to function after the long sleep. It helped dispel the strange feeling that permeated her body, the feeling one gets when they wake up from a nightmare but can't remember what the nightmare was. She went through the motions of taking apart and putting back together her pistol in her mind, and that feeling, that apprehension left by the nightmare finally subsided.


Copyright 2021, Beth A. Freely. All Rights Reserved.


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