Here is the sample from Chapter 1 of Times of Trouble, an End Times novel. Buy links are at the end.
My wife, Lynda, was about to give birth to our third child, but she seemed to be having a lot of complications, so I was incredibly worried about her and the baby. For the fourth time in what seemed to be as many days, she said she felt like she was going into labor. We’ve lived in Omaha for the past three years, so now I was taking her back to the hospital to see if my wife was actually in labor.
Doctor Ryan was telling me: “Brian, we’re going to have to induce labor,”
Since I was worried about Lynda anyway, this sent my imagination off on a wild goose chase, and I could imagine all sorts of potential problems. Questions of all sorts ran through my mind, but I asked, “What will that involve? Will it be dangerous?”
“No, it won’t be dangerous; it’ll mostly involve a lot of drugs. Don’t you worry, your wife is safe in our hands.”
“Thanks, Doc.” I went to sit down on a couch, because as incredibly nervous and worried I was about this, the hospital staff decided that my wife shouldn’t feed off of my nerves, because they didn’t want to cause complications to the birth of the baby. I made my wife nervous the other two times she gave birth, which is also why I’ve never seen my other two children born.
In times like these, I tend to reminisce and think about how we’ve come this far. My name is Brian Atwood. I’m thirty-four years old, the middle child of three, married to Lynda, and we have three children, including the one that’s being born. I currently work as a field agent for the FBI in Omaha, after having served as a military policeman in the Air Force at Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana. Both of us are originally from a little tiny town in northern Nebraska, closer to Rapid City, South Dakota, than we were to our own state capital. My grandparents moved there right after my grandfather was mustered out of the Army after Vietnam. He wanted to try his hand at farming, which didn’t work out, because he ended up selling John Deere tractors to the farmers in that part of the state.
My parents met at our Baptist church, got married in the same church, and shortly afterwards, the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, occurred. My dad felt it was his patriotic duty to join the military campaign to rid Afghanistan of the Taliban, which took a whole lot longer than anyone even anticipated, but he came home three years later with a Purple Heart for getting shot up. Fortunately, he was missing no limbs, but did have a problem with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder for a few years afterwards. He followed his father into the selling of farm machinery, until he and my mother died in a car wreck four years ago while I was attending classes to be an FBI agent. The business landed in Frank’s, my oldest brothers’ lap, who had worked with my father since he was sixteen. My sister, Melissa, is the youngest. She’s currently living in Dallas, working for the Dallas Mavericks as one of their public relations people.
Lynda’s family settled in Nebraska in 1870, five years after the Civil War, since Nebraska had become a state three years earlier. They dropped stakes, built a couple of buildings, named it Delaney, which is their family name, and began farming. The Delaney’s lived fairly close to Sioux lands, but the Sioux never troubled them, even during the Indian Wars, because the Delaney’s treated the Sioux fairly. The Delaney’s continued to farm through wars and depressions, and even through heavy-handed government regulations. Even now, her brother, Mike, who is the youngest, continues to farm the land, claiming he makes a lot of money off of all those people who still think ethanol is the future of fuel.
My mom and Lynda’s mom were best of friends from the moment they met in school. Her mom met her dad as a teenager, when they were introduced at a church social. Lynda’s parents married after 9/11, and her father was sent to Iraq for combat. He went on four tours of duty, and each time he visited home, nine months later another child was born, Lynda was the third of the four. Unfortunately, her father was one of the last killed two months before the withdrawal of Iraq by the United States military. Lynda’s mom never re-married, and still lives on their family farm. Lynda’s other brother, the second oldest, is Paul, who is in the military. The oldest is Heather, she lives in Colorado, and is the webmaster for Focus on the Family’s website.
My wife and I have known each other all of our lives, since our mothers were best friends. She is a year younger than me, so we never had the same classes together in school, but we always saw each other while waiting for the school bus, at church, and other events around town. Before I left to join the Air Force, I saw her as a good friend, and that’s about it. While I was in the Air Force, she went to Pensacola Christian College in Florida to get a teaching degree so she could teach in Christian schools.
I returned to Delaney after my four years in the Air Force, and Lynda returned to town the same time during a summer break. We laid eyes on each other at church for the first time in four years, and I fell instantly in love with her. Some people think that was just weird, but it’s the truth. She eventually told me she felt the same way when she saw me that first time in years.
The best description I can give of her is that she looks almost like the actress who plays Scarlett in Gone with the Wind, only prettier. She is five-five, chestnut brown hair, blue eyes, tanned because of the Nebraska sun, and is slender. While I’m an introvert, she is an extrovert, and can talk about anything under the sun with no trouble at all. Most people sometimes wonder if I even talk, but she assures everyone that I’m a chatterbox when I’m comfortable with people. She loves children and loves being a teacher.
She claims that I look a lot like that guy who played Greg in that old 1990’s sit-com, Dharma and Greg, and he also played an FBI character in the crime drama Criminal Minds that was on when we were kids. I don’t know about that. While the character and I are both FBI agents, I think the resemblance ends there.
We were married a year later, I was recruited by the FBI, so we moved to Omaha so I could work in the office there. Lately, I’ve heard rumors that the Treasury Department wanted to recruit me to work on the President’s security detail, as a member of the Secret Service. That would be a great opportunity, even though I didn’t vote for the man, but I think I could lay my politics aside to protect a President of the United States. Of course, that’s only a rumor, so nothing may come of it.
While I was waiting for news about the birth, I picked up my Kindle to read one of the novels I recently downloaded. I’ve had this Kindle since I was a kid. I’ve never felt the need to replace it with the smaller ones with the streaming capabilities and all the high tech gadgets that are currently available on it. All I’m doing is reading, so for everything else, I either use my computer or TV.
My nerves had finally settled, when three hours later, Doc Ryan came out, shook hands with me, and said, “Congratulations, Brian, you have a baby boy. There are some problems, however,”
My happiness went to concern in a matter of seconds, “What’s wrong?”
“Your son had the umbilical cord wrapped around his neck, which is why your wife had false labor a couple of times. He came out blue due to lack of oxygen, but appears fine otherwise. There’s also another issue,”
I knew that babies have died from being choked by their umbilical cord, so I was glad to hear that he was fine, but Doc Ryan saying there’s another issue seemed just as grave. “What is it?”
“He has Down’s Syndrome. He can live a normal life, but you need to know that the United States Health Administration is on the look-out for children that will cost them a lot of money. Normally, I’m supposed to report this, and I know you’re FBI, but they’ve taken way too many children and it needs to stop,”
“The USHA takes kids?” I had never heard that before.
“Yes. Ever since the health care bill became effective in the mid-2010’s, the government has taken newborns they think will cripple our economy. I’m sure the only reason you haven’t heard about it, is because parents are threatened, and there’s a tight control of what’s said online about it. I just thought I’d warn you of that possibility,”
“Thanks, Doc. Will your nurses support your decision?”
“Yes, they feel the same way. Be lucky that you found me as your Doctor. Would you like to see your son now?”
Doc Ryan led me to my wife’s room, while I thought about his warning to me about the government taking away sickly children. I decided not to tell Lynda for now, because I know how upset she gets with most of the government’s policies, and I really didn’t want her to worry about something that may not even come to pass. Maybe old Doc Ryan was just paranoid.
I walked into my wife’s room to see her beaming with pride and holding our baby. I walked over to her, gave her a kiss on the forehead, and asked, “How are you two?”
“Other than being tired and sore, I’m wonderful. What do you think we should name our son?”
“How about Joshua James, JJ for short?”
“After our dads? I like that idea. I like the fact that we left this as a surprise. Getting a sonogram would’ve left all the fun out of it. Doc, when do we get to take him home?”
“Would tomorrow suit you?”
“Are you sure it wouldn’t harm her?” I asked with worry in my voice.
“Yeah, don’t worry about it. This is the wonders of modern medicine; mother and baby get to go home within twenty-four hours. Lynda, we need to let you get some rest, so we’ll put little Joshua here in the nursery and he can get some sleep too. Brian, why don’t you go home and get some rest? You can come back to the hospital bright and early tomorrow to take them home,”
“Can’t I just stay here?” I protested.
“Doctor’s orders. Your wife needs her rest and sleep. If you stayed here with her, she’d probably worry more about you. Go on now.”
I went home only because Doc Ryan insisted on it. I couldn’t get my brain to stop running a thousand miles an hour, so I stayed up past midnight watching old movies from the 1990’s. At eight in the morning, I discovered that I had fallen asleep watching the second Jurassic Park movie. I shaved, took a shower, ate breakfast, and then went back to the hospital to retrieve my wife and son. My other two kids were staying with their grandma back in Delaney, so I didn’t have to worry about feeding them or sending them off to school, even though this was summer vacation. Next week, Lynda and I will drive to Delaney to introduce the family to JJ and bring the kids back to Omaha.
Lynda was dressed and waiting for me when I arrived, and one of the nurses went to the nursery to retrieve JJ. Lynda was told to sit in a wheelchair, since that was hospital regulations, and the three of us left the hospital for home an hour after I had arrived there. I put JJ in the safety seat in the back of my car, and helped Lynda into the front seat. I waved at the hospital staff and Doc Ryan, who were outside watching us leave, and they waved back. I put my car into gear and drove home.
BISAC: Fiction / Christian / General
Kindle ASIN: B0075CNFFI
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