I am delighted to host an extract of Termination – The Boy Who Died by Richard T. Burke. The second book in this groundbreaking trilogy, of which you can find out titles below, after the extract. This has humanity and the global population as high up there topics, and a virus (Orestes Virus) that Antimone with the goal of finding a cure with his uniqueness. Check out more in the extract and then find out more about this thriller/crime fiction author.
Antimone Lessing returns in book two of the ground-breaking Decimation trilogy.
Nearly twenty years after the Orestes virus swept across the earth, finally there is hope. Women are no longer dying within seconds of giving birth. For the first time in two decades, the global population is on an upward trend.
As the world returns to normal, Antimone is back on the athletics track and a single race away from achieving her lifetime goal of winning the Olympic 1500-metre Wheelchair gold medal.
But a deadly new threat has emerged, one that could reverse the fragile recovery and spell the end of humanity’s time on the planet. Could Antimone’s unique biology once again provide the vital clue to develop a cure?
When the details of her past become exposed, ruthless forces prepare an audacious plan to kidnap the first woman in a generation to survive childbirth. Now, the only hope for her survival and that of her young family may rest with the one person she trusts least in the world.
Thursday 12th June 2036
Infant Creche, Bani Waled, Republic of North Africa
Four weeks before the Olympic wheelchair final
“Sit still,” the woman said in Arabic.
“No,” the three-year-old boy replied, angling his head away.
She grabbed a tissue from the nearby box and tried to wipe the child’s nose. He wriggled in her arms as she attempted to reach the twin trails of mucus dribbling down his face. She tightened her grip and pulled him closer. The boy’s struggles intensified. He lashed out a foot and caught her in the stomach. Her hand immediately released his wrist, moving to the rounded bump protruding from her belly.
“Ibn kalb,” she muttered under her breath. The words must have come out louder than she intended because the little girl, playing with the doll two metres away, glanced up sharply. She had just called the annoying brat the son of a dog. In truth, the identity of the boy’s father was a mystery. Like all the children under her care, his mother had died in childbirth, probably moments after a multiple birth. The doctors would have given her fertility drugs to increase the number of eggs she released, then impregnated her with the sperm of a member of the ruling elite.
The woman gently rubbed the point of impact. In less than a month, she would suffer the same fate. She was already finding it hard to sleep at night. The rapidly expanding bulge in her stomach prevented her from getting comfortable. During the last inspection, the midwife had informed her she was expecting quadruplets. Not that she would ever get to see them. Within moments of severing the umbilical cord, the virus would transition to its active state. I hope I’m no longer awake when that happens.
The previous week, a cousin told her the Americans had developed a cure. Their women could give birth without fear of dying. It was typical of the infidel devils to keep such a discovery to themselves. No doubt it suited their purposes to reduce the number of true believers. It was her duty to help replenish her people’s population, but that didn’t make the burden any easier to bear. Why do I have to die?
Her eyes swept the room. The children played in groups of three or four. There were nineteen of them in total, twelve girls and seven boys. As well as releasing more eggs in the mother, the drugs raised the ratio of female to male foetuses. The rulers needed women to increase population numbers, but few, if any, would live past their teens.
The woman glanced at her watch. In half-an-hour, it would be time for the midday sleep. She was supposed to stay awake to supervise the children, but she would often try to grab a few minutes of rest herself. The combination of the energy-sapping heat and the steady, rhythmic whump of the ceiling fan were already making her feel sleepy. Nobody will notice. She closed her eyes and leant back in the wooden chair.
A tap on the knee jerked her out of her drowsiness. The boy with the snotty nose stood in front of her. He held one hand to his face. The other tugged at the black material of her robes. She swatted away his grubby fingers. He dropped the raised arm, revealing a trickle of blood originating from his left nostril and mingling with the trail of mucus.
Why can’t he just leave me alone? With a groan, she reached once again for the box of tissues and tugged one free. When she returned her attention to the child, the red trail had developed into a stream. A reedy wail escaped from his lips. His open mouth revealed a rose-coloured stain on his tiny, white teeth. He balled his hands into fists and rubbed at his eyes.
The woman dragged him nearer and dabbed at the blood now gushing from his nose. Within seconds, crimson fluid saturated the tissue. She tossed it on the floor and grabbed another handful from the box.
The boy lowered his hands and grasped at his throat. His brown irises now sat amidst a labyrinth of burst veins where moments before there had been only white sclera. The boy’s chest heaved as he tried to suck air into his oxygen-starved lungs. A wracking cough culminated in a spray of blood and mucus into the woman’s face.
She wiped the glutinous mass away with her sleeve and levered herself upright. By the time she reached her feet, the child was convulsing on the floor. She lowered herself to one knee beside him, grunting with the effort. The boy writhed on the ground, his frantic movements creating red streaks across the discoloured white tiles.
What should she do? They hadn’t trained her for anything like this. She placed a hand on his chest to still the jerking spasms that rippled through his body. With a final twitch, the child lay still. Is he dead? That isn’t possible.
The sound of crying drew her attention away from the prostrate child. She raised her eyes to see three other children, each writhing in a pool of blood. The rest of the group backed up against the crude, childish paintings distributed along the roughly finished walls. As she watched, two more burst into a fit of coughing, hacking up gobbets of bloody phlegm.
The woman staggered to her feet, raising an arm to cover her face with her sleeve. Everywhere she looked, children were bleeding from their mouths, noses and ears. She took a step forwards as one of the closest victims stopped moving. Is this some sort of chemical attack? She turned in a full circle. Every single child in the room now either lay still or twitching in their bodily fluids. The mingled smells of blood and faeces assaulted her nostrils.
She stumbled to the mirror above the sink and studied her reflection: no nosebleed. The whites of the terrified eyes staring back at her remained clear. No blood emerged from her mouth or ears. Why am I the only one not to be affected?
When she turned around, every single child sprawled motionless on the floor. Those that faced her stared back with open, unseeing eyes.
The woman lumbered across the room as fast as her bulk would allow. When she reached the door, she fumbled with the lock and stumbled outside into the stifling midday heat.
“They’re dead,” she screamed. “The children are all dead.”
The Decimation trilogy:
Decimation – The Girl Who Survived
Termination – The Boy Who Died
Annihilation – Origins and Endings (out 12 Sept 2021, now available for pre-order).
About The Author
Richard T. Burke is the author of crime thrillers with a twist. To date he has written six novels, The Rage, The Colour of the Soul, Assassin’s Web and the Decimation trilogy: Decimation – Termination – Annihilation (out 12 Sept 2021, now available for pre-order).
Richard also contributed short stories to anthologies by Bloodhound Books and Corona Books.
Richard lives with his wife, Judith, and daughter, Emily, in the village of Rotherwick in north-east Hampshire, UK.
Richard T. Burke on Social Media
Author Website: www.rjne.uk
Facebook Author Page: www.facebook.com/RichardTBurkeBooks
Amazon Author Page: author.to/RichardTBurke