4th of October

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Excerpt 4 – Book 1

Amanda jerked awake at the pounding on her door. What the hell? She glanced at her clock. It read 2:47 a.m. She had a momentary flashback to her residency, but she was home. People rarely needed emergency autopsies. She grabbed her robe and shoved one arm in as she raced to the door. A quick look out the peephole showed her at least three men, two in military uniform, one in a suit. The man in the suit held up a badge or shield of some kind to the peephole. It wasn’t a badge she recognized from around here.

As a pathologist, Amanda worked with the police. It was normal in her field, but not the military. And she’d never been roused like this in the middle of the night. She drew herself up to her full height, tightened the sash of her robe and opened the door as the suit lifted his hand to bang on her door again.

“What are you doing?” she demanded. “It’s the middle of the night.”

“Dr. Sutton?” At her nod he continued. “I’m Patrick Boynton. We have a national emergency and I have been sent to collect you.”

“National emergency? Collect me? What are you talking about?” Her mind clicked back to the news, the flu had come out of nowhere. She’d gotten her hands on one of the victims.


Amanda looked up at this Patrick Boynton and the feeling of being enclosed in the hazmat suit returned. Could this be related? No, he’d said national emergency. Had it gotten that bad?

“You are being strongly requested for a task force at the CDC.” He held out his shield again. “We will accompany you to the plane to Atlanta.” Requested was a misnomer in this case and she knew it.

Shit, she had jumped to the right conclusion. “Is this about those cruise ship deaths?” It wasn’t public information. She’d had to dig for the data. The cruise ships hadn’t been mentioned in what little real news coverage was out there about this flu. It was all being downplayed. Speculation and rumor were ruling the day. Maybe not for long if these guys were in the picture.

“I am not at liberty to discuss the particulars. You will be briefed on the plane. You need to dress and bring clothing for several days.”

Amanda stood there staring at the man in disbelief. She wasn’t at her best this time of the morning, especially when she’d been asleep about an hour. Her hair, normally her best feature, hung loose around her face and no doubt looked like she saw it when she woke in the mornings. She had on a light nightgown and a robe, but no underwear and was barefoot. She hated the feeling of disadvantage, but it was no doubt part of his plan. Damn, she was paranoid.

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