Have you ever wondered what the world would be like if
something created by the government escaped? What if it was a
virus, a virus so deadly it killed incredibly fast? So fast that a
cure was out of the question. What would you do?

Journey with me to find out how the twins, Shyanne and Drayco,
handle the outcome of just such a virus, and how the world
around them seems to have fallen back in time to an era before
technology, an era where the sword rules.

Because of a side effect from the virus, the twins are forced to
separate shortly after the dying stops. Over time, the longing for
family fills them; they begin looking for one another. When they
finally locate each other, they learn that someone else is looking
for them, as well. The Boss wants Shyanne badly. Why, they
don't know—but they're going to find out.

With their animal companion, a genetically altered mountain lion
named Drizzle, the twins embark on a cross-country journey.
They encounter many obstacles along the way, but the worst is a
mercenary named Ruben. He will stop at nothing to accomplish
what he is paid to do, even if it involves killing his own men.
Unfortunately, he succeeds in getting Shyanne.

Now Drayco must survive his biggest challenge, a challenge filled
with pain and suffering, if he is to help his sister survive the Boss.
It took the trio six long days to cross the vast open plains. In that time, they saw no
other living being except for some birds flying high in the sky. A few glided lazily on
the air currents while others accompanied the riders in shifts, as if giving them an
escort. None flew close enough to replenish the dwindling food supplies. The big
animals seen at the beginning of the journey had long since gone. It appeared as
if the trio and the flying escorts above were the only living things left on the planet.

Very little conversation transpired throughout most of the travel. Drayco tried on
several occasions to get his sister to talk. She refused to say more than a few
words, which was just as well since he wasn’t in the mood to talk either. Joseph
chatted on those occasions he was spoken to, but he also remained silent.

Shyanne avoided the fair-haired man for most of the journey, keeping Drayco
between them, or riding ahead. On those occasions where they were forced
together, like when they camped for the night, she kept mostly to herself. Drayco
felt the steadily worsening effects of needing blood increase when the plains finally
surrendered its hold on the world to the trees growing visible on the horizon. He
had been feeling the weakness and ache for the last two days, but said nothing to
the pair riding with him. They could not resolve the issue. Moreover, he had not
wanted to weigh them down with any more worries than they already had.

“Finally!” Shyanne yelled when she sighted the trees. Her mood picked up
substantially, as did Joseph’s. Drayco wanted to share in their excitement. His body
hurt too much to let him.

The waterskins hung limp from the saddles with only a few drops remaining.
Because of the shortage, the horses had been rationed along with the people on
them. Some kind of water must have been close because they picked up speed as
the scent of the badly needed moisture reached their nostrils.

Joseph and Shyanne could barely keep their animals from breaking away. They
grinned, winked at each other, and finally gave in, letting the animals run.

Drayco smiled as he watched the others bridge the gap between the open field
and the trees ahead. With a slight prod, Bravaro leapt to follow. A few feet into the
run, however, Drayco was hit with an intense pain in his abdominal region. It forced
him to double over and grasp a handful of mane to stay in the saddle. Sweat broke
out on his forehead; it ran into his eyes, causing them to sting, adding more insult
to an already abused body. He grimaced as another wave more intense than the
first hit him. This time, he wasn’t able to stay in the saddle.

Bravaro was running at a brisk pace when Drayco’s grip finally gave way. He fell
sideways off the horse and hit the ground, hard. His right shoulder dislocated with
the impact, and the back of his head bounced a couple of times while he rolled like
a broken rag doll on the grassy plain. He vaguely noticed the new pains due to the
other pain still holding him in a vice grip, refusing to give up its hold. When he
finally stopped rolling, he was face down on the ground. His right shoulder was at
an awkward angle and he couldn’t catch his breath.

                                    * * * *

Shyanne made it to the edge of the woods and pulled Jack around, halting his mad
dash across the open area. A wide smile covered her face; it was the first one in
many days. Joseph pulled his horse up beside her, laughing. “You should see
yourself. It’s hilarious the way your hair is sticking out. It makes you look like a
giant sunflower.”

Shyanne laughed. “You should see yourself, mister.” Pushing her hair down, she
glanced back to see how her brother fared. Her face changed in an instant. Where
joy and pleasure had glowed over every inch of her, fear and dread replaced it.

“Drayco!”

She was looking over Joseph’s shoulder in the direction they had just come. He
turned in the saddle and saw Bravaro running their way, riderless. A dark patch lay
sprawled on the ground in the distance, half buried by the waving sea of greens
and yellows. His smile faded as quickly as hers had. Shyanne spurred Jack toward
her brother’s still form. Joseph jerked his horse around and kicked it in the sides.
At first, the animal fought, its thirst strong, but the will of the man on its back was
stronger.

In seconds, they raced back to where Drayco lay.
After
Janet Durbin
Book Reviews
Excerpt
"As I read the book I could hardly believe that
this "world" was located in my friend's mind.
Being a fan of the genre I felt "qualified" to give
my opinion whenever. I have to say that they
were mostly positive. I thoroughly enjoyed this
book. As I am getting ready for an "extended
vacation", I can only hope that Janet has
another book ready for me."
–Michele

"The characters she created were wonderful,
and I felt connected to them. I felt their pain,
their fear, and their suffering. It was
wonderfully written, and I can't wait for a sequel
to come out, because she left it open for one."

–Mousey "Mouse"

"At the end of After, I not only felt satisfied but I
also wanted more so I could continue my
relationship with the characters. I look forward
to seeing where Janet will take me next."
–Rick
Byrd

"I love the book. I just couldn't put it down. I
hope to read ur new one when ur done with it
and I'll be the first one to buy it too."
–Chris

"This was actually a very cool read!!!" –Mike M.

"A look into the future of a world gone wrong. A
dangerous part of our history that could
become a reality. Explore this world with a
brother and sister that have everything and
nothing in common. But in all the darkness of
the events that led to this new world, some
things are desirable, 'Humecat'"
–Gordon
Fiction-Science Fiction/Adventure

Available in Print & e-book
April 2007

$14.95 / $3.99

ISBN-13: 978-0-9787738-1-6

A Journey of Twins Novel, Book One
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