Lyncoln Ryland always saw himself as an ordinary man with an ordinary job, working maintenance in an ordinary mall. The only thing about him that isn’t ordinary are his feelings for the man who’s renovating the mall, but any kind of relationship with such a sophisticated man is highly unlikely.
Adam James is the wealthy man who owns the mall. He’s secretly been yearning for Lyncoln, a man he doesn’t see as ordinary in the least. But Adam’s family has plans for him, and they don’t include a relationship with a blue-collar worker.
All this is about to change when the sirens go off, signaling the possible end of the world. When the two men realize this isn’t a drill, they take shelter in the mall that isn’t quite as ordinary as everyone believes. What will the outcome be when two such disparate men must survive the apocalypse together?
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“Is there a radio down here?”
“Yeah, and the batteries should work.” Lync took it down off the shelf, turned it on, and fiddled with the dial. Usually the emergency alert system would emit a screeching sound, to warn listeners of an impending disaster, but it seemed they were way past that point. Each station that was audible simply repeated, “This is an emergency. Tune to the civil defense band.”
The first station he tried, 640 on the AM dial, had nothing but white noise, but 1240AM had something.
“This is not a drill. I repeat, this is not a drill. This is an actual attack. The president has activated the nuclear codes in response to an unprovoked attack by a foreign power, and the National Guard has been mobilized. Missiles have been intercepted, although we’ve sustained massive casualties. The Air Force will continue to intercept for as long as possible, but some have gotten through, and at least one missile has decimated Los Angeles.
Another is aimed for New York. Evacuate if you can, but for many it may be too late. In that case, take shelter and stay tuned to this station. We will continue broadcasting for as long as possible. God bless America, and may He bless and keep us all.”
Adam made a soft sound of distress. “They did it. They actually fucking did it.”
Lync wasn’t surprised to hear him swear—the situation certainly merited it—although in a manner of speaking, he was. The few times he’d seen or interacted with Adam, the man had always struck him as very classy, very cool and contained, not at all the sort to say words that would have gotten Lync’s mouth washed out with soap if his dad had ever heard him.
“Do… do you think we’ll make it?”
“We should be okay. We have plenty of supplies.”
“No, I mean America.”
“We can only hope, I guess.”
Adam was silent for a long minute. Then he swiped an arm over his face. “I don’t remember this being so spacious,” He looked around before he resumed stocking the shelves.
“Had you ever been down here?” Lync gazed up at the ceiling, which was the same height as the main living area.
“No, I have a copy of the original plans, though, and I’d intended to see what a relic of the ’50s actually looked like, but something always seemed to come up...”
Lync hadn’t seen the plans, but he’d been down here a few times. “Someone must have enlarged the shelter at some point. As you saw, most of the bunks are folded up against the walls to give additional space. Let me give you the dollar tour. This door leads to the generator room, although room is a generous word.” Lync opened the door to reveal the compact space. “I’ll show you how to run it, if you like.”
“Yes, I would like.” Adam had found a stepladder and began climbing up and down it, storing supplies on the upper shelves.
Lync stared at the items Adam was placing on those shelves—packages and packages of toilet paper. “God bless you!”
Adam winked at him. “Is it too much to hope for a toilet?”
“Is that why you brought along the bucket?” Lync had been too distracted to pay it much attention when he’d first seen it, although he had noticed it had been filled with loaves of bread.
Adam nodded. Smart man. Lync wondered if he could use that as an excuse to hug him, then decided maybe not.
Laurel Hill, the town this is set in, is a strange little town where strange things tend to happen.