Excerpt from The Sisterhood-After The Fall, Book Three
THE END WAR had lasted but a week, yet in that mere blink of Father Time’s eye the whole of northern Europe had been devastated—the permanence of its deconstruction forever branded into the collective consciousness of the ragged remnants of its people. At the onset of hostilities, automated command-and-control bunkers buried deep beneath the Siberian Plateau unleashed a deadly squadron of unmanned drones fitted with guided missiles, and brimming with the latest generation of bio-weapons. Their microscopic payloads, destined for select population centers throughout Europe and the High North, were far more destructive than conventional ordnance, or even the rarely deployed tactical thermonuclear warhead.
As hundreds of the small, remote-controlled aircraft sped across the landscape well below the 600-foot radar limit, their satellite-guided delivery systems deployed an insidious airborne virus above their urban targets. Released into the atmosphere in the form of tiny respirable droplets carried on the winds, the designer virus swept through the continent’s unsuspecting population—a biowarfare agent so diabolical that within 72 hours of exposure, all infected adults succumbed to its raging fever.
Oddly enough, prepubescent children seemed physically unaffected. Abandoned by deceased parents and older siblings, these orphans were suddenly compelled by circumstances well beyond their control to fend for themselves in a world fraught with the horrors of the Apocalypse. Bereft of adult supervision and guidance, the youthful survivors in the northern-most latitudes suffered through a chaos of tremendous deprivation and plummeting temperatures—as nuclear winter’s cruel white shroud rapidly blanketed the planet.
While infants and toddlers quickly perished from exposure and starvation, children as young as five and six miraculously eked out a tenuous existence in random pockets of grace scattered throughout the High North. Banding together with older children who nurtured and protected them, these hardy descendants of Vikings demonstrated the indomitable character and fighting essence borne of their robust genetic lineage. It seemed that the worst that Man could create had evoked the best that Humankind could become.
For those who lived through this Great Purging, it was not so much a matter of being spared, as it was of assuming an attitude of defiance—utterly refusing to succumb to its frightening finality. An unusually tenacious will to live was evidenced amongst these five- to thirteen-year-olds, a stubborn determination to survive, no matter what. This resilience, forged in the desperate fires of necessity, demanded an almost superhuman willpower.
Hurled by dark science upon the rocks of extinction, Scandinavia had borne the brunt of its horror. Young food hoarders who managed to shelter through the bitter two-year winter, emerged to discover a world in which no one was alive over the age of fifteen—a situation that had been intentionally engineered by design.