“The old woman sat in front of the slot machine, slowly pulling the lever repeatedly, bits of dust collecting upon her head. The oxygen mask still strapped to her face showed no signs of breathing, no air moving through the tube down to the empty oxygen tank that sat on the floor beside her. She had no idea she was dead, pulling that lever anyway waiting for the jackpot to hit, because hopes and dreams never die.”
Pre-orders for The 8th Day start next week on my website. They’ll all be signed for the first month, after that unsigned from Barnes & Noble and Amazon.
“Once again, Tom did not disappoint me at all! Another story to shake you to the core and make you think.”
“A powerful, unflinching thriller that gives you a ring-side seat to the end of the world.”
“The writing is solid and brutally honest. The characters are relatable. The swift pace slows down in all the right places just long enough to put your emotions through the ringer. The imagery pulls no punches and becomes more intense as the book progresses. I absolutely loved the ending.”
“Judgment is a compelling story that snags you from the beginning — exactly what I’ve come to expect from this talented author.”
“Tom Reinhart has done it again! every time I think Tom has written the best book ever, he writes one even better than the last one.”
“Thank you Tom for making me read outside my comfortable genre, thank you for making me scared, happy, sad, angry, and thank you for making it where I won’t be able to sleep for a while because I am still on the adrenaline rush from reading another incredible book!”
“Just finished this book and man is it good. Biblical post apocalyptic horror at its finest. Highly recommended.”
“It has been a long time since I’ve read a book that I couldn’t put down. The author is a wonderful story teller and keeps you on the edge of your seat. The idea in this book was exciting and nothing I ever thought of. I highly recommend this book.”
“Really grabs your attention in the very first chapter and sucks you in till you absolutely can not put it down! Author is very descriptive and tells a great story! No matter what your religion or beliefs, this book is enjoyable, suspenseful, and will leave you wanting more!!! I highly recommend this book!”
“I couldn’t put it down. Entertaining and thought provoking from beginning to end.”
“Great book. Could not put it down. Edge of your seat suspense throughout. Love the way this author tells this story. Makes you feel as though you are right there with the characters. Can’t wait to read more from this author. AMAZING!”
“What would the end times be like? This book does a great job of giving us a picture of what might happen. I had a few late nights staying up reading this authors version! Take a shot and read this one. I think you’ll be glad you did.”
I’m not sure why I keep writing these. It’s not like you’ll ever find them. I think maybe it just helps me keep my sanity.
I awoke this morning, like I do every morning, coughing up the dust. It used to gross us out, the thought of breathing in human remains. Now we’re all just used to it. It floats in the air like pollen and covers everything in a fine gray powder. It clogs our noses and sticks in our throats; a constant reminder of the fate that awaits us.
Last night I fell asleep watching the wispy souls of the judged rise up through the night sky. Thin translucent trails shimmering in the dark like fireflies, drifting upwards and disappearing into the stars. They’re the lucky ones, seemingly welcomed into Heaven. Many die leaving no sign of an escaping soul, and the common belief is their judgment didn’t go well, and they went to a place none of us are willing to accept or talk about. Way off in the distance, every now and then, I could hear the screams of other survivors as their running came to an end. We used to take bets as to whether it was from a judge, or another human; both have become equally dangerous. Several times last night I heard the wings of judges pass by overhead. They never sleep, and with less and less people left to occupy them, there’s been way too many close calls lately.
I brushed off the bugs, as I always do in the morning. Apparently safe from the wrath of God, and without human control, insects are becoming alarmingly prevalent. I guess the meek really are inheriting the earth.
Margie was already awake and gearing up for our trip. Today we are going to Suicide Bridge. We named it that because it’s the place where many that didn’t want to be judged took their own lives, leaping off the overpass to their deaths on the concrete road forty feet below. The bridge is lined with abandoned cars, and we always find good loot there, but it’s a horrible place. Without being judged, there is no ash or dust. Beneath the bridge the bodies just lay there in the road, rotting; the stench of human fodder carrying for miles. No one has jumped in a while though, not since they realized what was happening to the others. By avoiding judgment, God refuses to allow them to die, and they remain alive forever, no matter how broken their bodies. So they lay there under the bridge with broken backs and cracked skulls, suffering, being eaten by bugs, until the earth finally reclaims their flesh, no matter how long it takes. I guess we all make our own hell, even in trying to avoid it.
Pulling back the tarp I had nailed to the window, the morning breeze smells like rain, and rainy days are good days. The moisture keeps the dust out of the air, and the rain just seems to wash some of this shitty nightmare away. Peeking out, I see heavy clouds drifting by on the wind, and between them small but bright rays of sunshine wander across the ground like searchlights. The fingers of God, searching for us. Always searching.
Yesterday during a food run I saw a poem someone had written on the wall. It said,
“Ashes to ashes, dust to dust;
I ran and hid while the world turned to rust.
I thought angels had come to keep evil at bay;
Instead I watched God throw his children away.”
I don’t know if I’ll ever understand any of this.
I wonder what my judgment will bring. I always thought of myself as a good person. Sure, I’ve had my evil moments and impure thoughts, but I always thought that was just part of being human. I always saw people as being a combination of good and evil, and if we were all created ‘in his image’, then I assumed God to be the same. Every time I look over the side of the overpass and see the broken bodies writhing underneath, I know I was right.
For now we’ll keep running from the judges for as long as we can. Scavenging for food and supplies, running and hiding, surviving. I’m worried that we’re almost out of flares. It’s the only weapon we have. Guns and knives don’t do any harm to the judges. No physical weapon created by man harms them; only the elements do. Fire, water, wind; things like that seem to be the only thing that affects them. Fire has always been the best, and torches and flares have allowed us to escape some bad situations. But I think I only have two flares left.
I’m getting tired. Tired of living this way. Tired of running. Sometimes I think I might just stand out in the middle of the road, and wait for my judgment. Whatever it is, I’m sure it would be better than the overpass.
I’ve tried for a long time to find you. Last night I actually hoped one of those souls rising in the dark was yours. Just know that I tried. Know that I love you. And wherever you are, I hope it’s a better place.
I was lost in all these thoughts, watching the road below my feet go by a step at a time. So lost in thought I hadn’t noticed the maledicted walking up on me.
“Where do we go?” she asked, and I jumped out of my skin. She was right next to me, and with the breeze blowing into my face I hadn’t even smelled her.
“Do you know where we’re supposed to go?” she asked again. She didn’t appear to have been dead for very long. She was clearly deceased, but not very much decomposition had started yet. I could tell she had been a pretty woman, her facial features still intact. She had long curly hair, although now it had a straw-like texture to it. She had a simple dress on, and no shoes. I backed away a few steps, knowing the unpredictability that came with their brain-dead insanity.
“Go? Where are you trying to go?” I asked her, slowly trying to put more space between us.
“To be judged.”
In that moment I saw the confusion in her eyes, and the fear, and the sorrow. I looked her over to see how she had died. She was covered in old dried blood, but I could see no wounds. It was when she reached out towards me that I noticed the gaping slices in her wrists. Like so many who were afraid to be judged, she had committed suicide instead. Now she found that she was denied the right to make that choice, and would wait as a rotting corpse.
I knew what she needed to know, but couldn’t bring myself to tell her, nor would her rotting brain understand. So I stood in the middle of the road with the dead woman, and I wept for her.
She stared at me, her head cocked slightly to the side. I could see the cracks in her dried lips, but there was no more blood to bleed. There was a bug in her hair, another on her leg, but she seemed not to feel them.
“I think that’s our house,” she stated as she pointed to one of the farms on the north side of the road. “Are you ready to come home now? Molly’s late too.”
I had no idea what she was talking about. Her mental faculties had left her brain minutes after the oxygen did, and that was a couple days ago. She was just a package of disconnected memories, trapped in a corpse.
“Do you know where we go?” she asked again. “Maybe Molly’s there.”
I wanted to get away from her now. I couldn’t help her, and at any moment she could become violent, or start yelling and attract Judges. “I’m sorry. I have to go,” and I began walking quickly away from her.
“So you don’t want soup then?” she called out to me.
No, I don’t want any freakin’ soup.
As I got further away, I heard her call to me one last time. “Mister…”
I stopped to turn and face her. She was still just standing in the road with bugs crawling on her, not knowing where to go or what to do.
“I’m sorry,” she said, her eyes full of sorrow like a child who was just scolded by a parent but doesn’t understand why. I thought about her apology for a long moment.
“Sorry for what?”
“I just want to die now please.”
The vision of her sadness, and hearing her words, it broke me. My spirit sank and the tears streamed down my face as I turned and walked away.
What kind of god does this?
BUY AT AMAZON
Read the first chapter of Judgment HERE
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