The Remaining: Faith

A Novella


By D.J. Molles

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Dan Molles' stunning Remaining saga continues in the first novella in the series set in a world ravaged by a bacterium that has turned 90% of the population into ravenous animals.

The world is slipping into chaos. A mysterious plague has come stateside, and Clyde Bealey suddenly finds himself with nothing but a suitcase full of worthless things and a desperate sense that he must prove himself to his pregnant wife. As he tries to lead his family to safety through a world filled with madmen, he will learn that the cost of his pride might be more than he can bear.



The soldier behind the megaphone blinked away sweat and took a loud, amplified breath. When he spoke, it was deliberate and slow, the sound of his voice taking on the muffled, squawky quality of any loudspeaker announcement.

“Folks, we cannot fit everyone on the bus with everything they’re carrying.” A very thin layer of patience was still intact. “We only have room for you to take one bag. That’s one bag per person. If you can’t fit it into that one bag, you have to leave it behind. Also, there’re no firearms on the bus. If you have any firearms with you, please hand them over to the soldiers standing next to the big green boxes and we’ll try to make sure everything is returned to you at a later date.”

Clyde Bealey stood on hot, cracked concrete, crammed in with everyone else. Hundreds of scared, sweating people. Above them, the sky was bright and cloudless. The sun merciless. All the tiny muscles in his face ached from squinting so long against it. Under its broil, the blacktop shimmered and heated the soles of his dock shoes to the point of discomfort. Wearing them without socks seemed like a bad idea now. His cotton polo shirt hung damp on his shoulders. One stubborn strand of his longish blond hair kept meandering over to the center of his forehead, routing drops of sweat right onto the bridge of his nose, where they caused his thick glasses to slide out of place.

He felt sick to his stomach.

It never happens on a cloudy day, he thought. Bad things always happen on sunny days.

He had watched the news. He knew what was out there. As did everyone else standing in that crowded parking lot. They knew it academically, on a small, muted scale. They’d watched the madness in other, poorer countries, and they’d seen it spread. And the whole time they had the attitude of, That’s so tragic for those people over there.

But then it was stateside. And then it was a few cities away. And now they were standing here, scared to death, thinking of all the videos they had watched on their televisions and laptops, and wondering how the great and mighty United States government could let this happen to them.

The soldier pushed on. “If you need to rearrange your belongings, please step to the side and make room for others to pass by. You don’t have to worry about losing your place. We’ve got enough buses for everyone. You won’t be left behind. Just keep making your way forward in an orderly fashion and comply with the soldiers as they search you and your bags.”

The soldier with the megaphone stood in the bed of a Humvee, painted tan to mismatch every other piece of military equipment around that was painted green. They were gathered in the middle of a high school parking lot. Everything around them had the usual sandy-looking dilapidation that went hand-in-hand with towns along the coast. The wide-open expanse of cement was fissured and potholed. Water stood in large puddles from last night’s rain.

There were perhaps three hundred people in the parking lot, and still more were coming in. As the crowd grew, so did the sense that panic was resting just underneath the surface of everyone’s minds. When the crowd had been small, there had been the sense that they were only the silly “paranoid ones.” The sense that everyone else was more levelheaded and didn’t believe it was necessary to evacuate to FEMA camps.

Now, as the crowd began to press in, the mood changed. It was clear that they were not the paranoid ones. It was clear that everyone was sharing the same fears. And a shared fear is made real, and can no longer be rationalized away.

The cars that everyone had driven were clustered up around the high school parking lot and completely jammed the surrounding roads. The only path that remained open was one marked by caution tape and guarded zealously by soldiers. It led the buses through the packed-in vehicles and out to the only lane of Highway 55 that remained open. There, they would step on the gas, the engines roaring like they were airliners heading down the tarmac, and they would haul ass to the FEMA camp at New Bern.

Still, people were trickling in, having parked blocks away from the school and hiked in, lugging all their precious things that the sweat-soaked soldiers would soon tell them they couldn’t have. There were small hills of personal effects that had been left behind. Soldiers walked among the piles, dressed in their gray and tan digital camouflage, wet rings around their collars and armpits.

Clyde watched them and realized that none of them wore helmets or body armor. Most of them had rifles strapped to their shoulders. But Clyde didn’t think they were loaded. He didn’t know much about guns, but he thought these ones should have had big clips sticking out of them. And he couldn’t see a single rifle that had one. Some of the soldiers who stood at the big green crates full of confiscated weaponry had pistols strapped to them that looked like they were loaded, but that was it.

Strangely, it gave Clyde comfort.

After all, if the US Army didn’t think it was serious enough to give their soldiers ammunition, then surely it wasn’t that dangerous, right?

A hand gripped Clyde’s arm. The heat and sweatiness of it annoyed him briefly. He looked down and found Haley looking up at him, brown hair frizzed on top, matted underneath. Her cheeks flushed with heat. Eyes sharp and clear blue.

The two of them were polar opposites. The kind of relationship that he knew his friends talked about behind his back, secretly betting against them. Clyde and Haley were like people from different countries. He was upper-class Richmond, Virginia. She was lower-class Farmville, North Carolina—she disliked even saying the name of her hometown around Clyde’s friends because she knew the name alone made them laugh inwardly. As though only rubes could be produced by a place with such a name.

Clyde’s friends were not the only doubters. His family bordered on hostility. His sister had essentially avoided Haley from day one. And when he had announced to them that he was going to propose to Haley, his father had just quirked a single eyebrow, and his mother had cried bitter tears of disappointment.

But his was not the only family that disliked the marriage. Haley’s family was blue-collar to the bone. Her dad was a second-generation farmer. One of her brothers was a plumber, and the other couldn’t hold a job, because he was in and out of jail.

To these three men, Clyde was a strange little man. It was a mark against him that he knew more about stock portfolios than corn growing. They balked that he had never hunted before. To them, he was an “upper-cruster,” a “rich guy,” and sometimes even a “silver spoon motherfucker.” But most often, they just referred to him with a mumbled, “Pussy.”

Haley was no country bumpkin. She was not only book smart, but she had street smarts that he lacked. And what she had learned, she had learned of her own desire, and not due to family obligations or stipulations for accessing trust funds. She was beautiful, where Clyde was awkward. She was the princess of her town, and he was some gawky foreigner come to steal her away.

And while she took the snobbery of his family with grace, the disrespect from her father and brothers grated on him immensely. Right off the bat, he had been surprised that they would view him as less than a man. Incapable. Effeminate. And certainly not worthy of Haley—which was the general opinion of most of the Farmville population.

When he was around her family, he acted differently. Like a bird ruffling its feathers, trying to make itself look bigger and stronger. Haley would tell him to quit acting like an asshole, but he couldn’t help himself. Silver-spoon upbringing or not, he still felt like he always had something to prove to them.

And to Haley.

And there in that parking lot, smashed in with a bunch of strangers, the feeling of being incapable was stronger than ever before. Strong enough to set his heart racing when he saw how Haley looked at him, her eyebrows up like she was expecting him to answer something. But he wasn’t sure what he was supposed to answer. He looked down to her belly, prominently showing all thirty weeks of its growth so far.

“You okay?”

“I’m fine.” Her lips twitched, showing some irritation. “Did you hear me?”

He dabbed his mouth on the shoulder of his T-shirt. “Did you say something?”

Haley shoved off of his arm and ran her hands nervously over her midsection as she looked down at their belongings. “What are we gonna do with all of this shit, Clyde?”

He looked down at his feet.

In addition to the old hiking pack he wore, they had a giant suitcase, plus a smaller duffel that hung on Haley’s shoulder. They’d packed these bags full of things they thought they would need. Money, jewelry, the paperwork that made up their life. Their college degrees. Their financial statements. The hard drive from their computer. Even their wedding album. He’d packed like you might for an incoming hurricane, taking all the things that you didn’t want washed away.

He rubbed his forehead, feeling overwhelmed. Everything had happened so fast. He hadn’t planned on leaving. He’d sat in front of his TV at night, like everyone else, and he’d watched the news about what was going on around the country. He’d pulled up the Internet and read articles and watched terrifying, grainy videos that people had taken with their cell-phone cameras. And it all just seemed like some big opera going on in a place called elsewhere. But then it had happened here. Someone got sick. And then someone in another town got sick. And those two turned into ten, and those ten turned into a hundred.

And his response had been to go to work the following morning with a surgical mask over his face. Like all those Japanese people during the SARS outbreak. But then there were big green army vehicles rolling through the streets and soldiers on megaphones just like the one on the back of the Humvee, riding through their neighborhoods and telling them that there was a mandatory “containment.” And from that point they had four hours to pack their shit and get to Pamlico County High School, where they would be bused to the FEMA camp at New Bern.

Four hours to look at your life and decide what came with you and what was left behind.

How do you do that? How do you decide what you need in four hours?

Not thinking straight under stress—Haley’s brothers would roll their eyes and tell him to man up.

The news had reiterated the evacuation order, though they continued to call it a “containment” rather than an evacuation. Everyone was being moved into FEMA camps that they called “containment zones,” where experts on virology and epidemiology could make sure no one was catching the plague. Trying to keep it from spreading any farther.

It all smacked of a last-ditch effort.


On Sale
May 27, 2014
Page Count
50 pages

D.J. Molles

About the Author

D.J. Molles has two published short stories, “Darkness” and “Survive,” which won a short fiction contest through Writer’s Digest. The Remaining series (The Remaining, The Remaining: Aftermath, The Remaining: Refugees and The Remaining: Fractured) are his first novels and have been met with overwhelming success. He lives in the southeast with his wife and two children.

Learn more about this author