Prologue – Last Will and Testament
Johnstown, Pennsylvania, USA
Friday, 4:00 PM, May 31, 1889
Augusta made one final attempt to escape her destiny. She rushed down the aisles between the pews but stopped short, halfway. She looked ahead at the tall wooden wall and its circular stained-glass window. On most days, a brilliant harmony of colors blazed through the array of glass. But now it revealed only darkness–no light, only the blackness of hell.
Augusta watched as the front wall of the church strained against the torrent of water and then exploded before her eyes. The churchs timbers and siding planks danced through the air, swept away by a forty-foot wall of water.
Chapter 1 – Liability
Northbound on I-495, west of Washington, DC, USA
Wednesday, 4:45 PM, July 22, 2009
Weaverman needed more data to confirm his suspicions, more comparisons for gene sequence number 326, to prove to all those experts deciphering the human genome that he was on to something. Further exploration would require some unorthodox science. Much of society, particularly those of the Christian and Muslim faiths, would scoff at what needed to be done, digging into the dirt of centuries past.
Weaverman, with his minuscule budget, had made the connection–not the HGP, the government-funded Human Genome Project, or the privately funded Celera teams, with their untold millions of dollars of seed money. He alone had stumbled upon a gene mutation responsible for an unusual hereditary anomaly, unrelated to diseases linked to genetic predispositions–a genetic aberration that could prove fundamental to several of the worlds religions.
Chapter 53 – Black Widow
Columbia Pines Lodge, Johnstown, Pennsylvania, USA
Sunday, 3:56 PM, August 9, 2009
Silverstein could not believe what he was seeing and reacted without thinking. Still naked, he leaped across the bed to reach the envelope before it was consumed by flame. Unfortunately, he hadn’t even cleared the bed on the opposite side when he saw two thin wires eject from the weapon and strike him on the upper half of his torso. It hadn’t been that long ago that hed seen a similar-looking weapon. The yellow stripes were the giveaway.
The darts at the ends of the wires embedded themselves in Silverstein’s chest, sending fifty thousand volts of electricity flowing from the Taser into his body. He convulsed to the floor in front of his attacker. His body writhed and jerked for what seemed minutes. He thought he was going to die.
Chapter 59 – Finale
Halcyon Heights home subdivision, Monterey, California, USA
Tuesday, 9:46 PM, August 11, 2009
Silverstein had proceeded through the kitchen, grabbing a large kitchen knife along the way. He continued through the adjacent breakfast nook and into the family room. When the man began counting, Silverstein made his decision instantly. He would not place Kipling in any more danger. He walked into the open, faced the foyer and the strangers back, and made his statement. He followed it with two more words, “Run, Linda!” To his left, a three-foot wall separated the family room from the hallway.
In an instant, the stranger thrust Kipling hard out the front door, slammed the door behind him, locked it, and rotated to fire.
The first shot barely cleared Silversteins right shoulder as he dived for protection behind the wall to his left. Once on the floor, a shallow corridor existed in the room, bounded by a sofa to his left and the solid wall to his right. He crawled frantically to exit the family room and enter the breakfast nook to his right. But during his adrenaline-fueled panic he dropped the knife he had so cleverly retrieved earlier. He slid along the floor to his right as the second bullet dug into the oak flooring behind him. He jumped to his feet, turned into the kitchen, and heard steps behind him charging into the family room.