The Malefic Nation (Graham's Resolution Book 4)

The Malefic Nation (Graham's Resolution Book 4) by A R Shaw

Book: The Malefic Nation (Graham's Resolution Book 4) by A R Shaw Read Free Book Online
Authors: A R Shaw
can treat us like prisoners, but let me tell you something: you need us. We should be allies, not enemies.”
    Harding ignored Dalton’s warning. “We’ve set up housing right outside of town for you. The women and children will be set free. The men can move into what is presently the women’s prison; it has heating, and you’ll find the accommodations are far better than in your current setup. As for this danger you keep alluding to, you need to get to the point. We are not defenseless here, sir, and I don’t know what gave you that impression. Despite your ammunition and expertise, we took you down quite easily, did we not?”
    “You took a tired group by surprise. Congratulations.” Dalton conceded.
    “What about Mark and McCann?” Graham asked. He hadn’t spoken yet, but wanted to find out who Harding considered children, and whether he could get the two young men free.
    “The women will need hunters to bring in food,” said Graham. “I have two boys in the men’s prison that should go with them.” He was lying in hopes that Harding would believe McCann was eighteen.
    “How old are they?”
    “One is seventeen; the other is eighteen.”
    He wrote something down on a piece of paper. “Anyone under the age of eighteen can go—but not that young man who gave my guards hell, regardless of his age. He stays with you, and the doctor here stays with us.”
    “No, that’s not possible,” protested Clarisse. “We have a pregnant woman with us, and I need to monitor her. I’ll reside with the women and children and come to the lab every day on my own. I won’t try to escape—you have my word. I wouldn’t leave without the rest of the group anyway.”
    Harding stopped writing and looked up at her. “You won’t try to escape?” he asked.
    Clarisse shook her head. “As long as the prisoners are treated fairly. They need food and water, and they need humane treatment. I also want the right to visit with them once a day.” She was pushing it—asking for more than she guessed Harding would allow.
    “No. You can see them once a week to monitor their condition and give them updates on your progress. No more than that. Are we clear?”
    “Can you and I discuss this in private?”
    “Look, you’re getting to set half your party free in exchange for the development of the vaccine. When the vaccine is viable, the rest of you may go.”
    “You’re still ignoring the greater threat here,” Graham said.
    “Sir, at the moment I have individuals in my midst who could bring death to my door. At the same time, they have the power to save every citizen here. I’m bargaining with them, I’m feeding them, and I think that’s pretty reasonable. At the moment you are both my biggest threat and my greatest hope.
    “I suspect the problem you are alluding to is political in nature. Your country has finally taken advantage of a good tragedy. Never let a good tragedy go to waste? Who was it that said that? The conservative against the liberal factions, and they are both fighting over what’s left of your country. A civil war? We’ve heard about the same dilemma in our own. That’s why we shut off all communications from the outside, because in the end it doesn’t matter. It astounds me how politics is the ruination of mankind.”
    “That’s not it. You’re wrong,” Dalton said.
    “It’s actually much worse,” Graham added.
    “If it is, then stop playing games and tell me what it is. What do I have to be so worried about now that most of humanity is dead? What more could happen?”
    “The virus . . . wasn’t caused by the Chinese. It only began there,” Clarisse interjected.
    “ What? ”
    “It was Islamic terrorists. Jihadists,” Dalton answered. “They caused this and they’re here now; on this continent. Only a few hours away, in fact.”
    All color drained from Harding’s face, and he took up his pencil again.
    Tap, tap, tap . . .

Chapter 21 A Visit
    “How are the boys?” Dalton asked.

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