Welcome to the Doomed Scavenger Hunt! Over the next eight days, Tracy Deebs and Mundie Moms are sending you on a scavenger hunt through eight different blogs. In Doomed, the three main characters embark on a scavenger hunt that winds itself through a video game and the real world in order to stop a countdown to nuclear annihilation. Our scavenger hunt is nowhere near as complicated– or as scary– as what Pandora and her friends have to go on. Instead, all you have to do is visit the eight sites, read the excerpts and find the hidden number in each of the entries. At the end of the eight days, add up all eight of the numbers and include them in the rafflecopter entry spot for the Scavenger Hunt to earn 10 extra entry points for $75 gift card to your choice of Amazon, Barnes and Noble or Apple. There are also prizes to be won at every stop, so make sure to get your entries in and be sure to comment on each of the blogs to be entered to win. Happy hunting!!!!!
Please be sure to include your number (listed below) somewhere on your blog post. Those following the blog tour are collecting the number to earn 10 extra points towards the gift card and Tracy is giving away some swag at each stop. Those who leave comments on your blogs are entered to win. You don’t have to worry about any of the contests. I’ll be taking care of the winners for each blog.
“No offense, but can we talk ethics later?” Eli asks, getting up from the bed and tossing each of us a granola bar. “I think the urgency level on this just shot through the stratosphere, so if you don’t mind …”
He’s right. Suddenly, his falling asleep last night and losing the van doesn’t seem so terrible. Not in the grand scheme of things, anyway. Yeah, we’re going to be hurt without those supplies but if nothing else, it’s only eight days until the whole world blows up and we no longer have to worry about anything. Especially trying to save it.
We climb into the truck and pull out onto the main streets. I’m driving and I switch on the radio as we try to figure out which way to go. According to the phone book, Orinoco is located on Los Alamos Blvd., but we don’t have a clue where that is. And with no GPS, no MapQuest, nothing, we could be wandering around for hours unless we find a map.
“Pull over here,” Eli tells me when we get to a corner with a convenience store.
The place looks like it’s been ransacked—shattered windows, broken bottles, ripped up magazines and newspapers litter the sidewalk in front of the store. “You don’t actually think they’re open, do you?” I ask.
“It’s worth a shot, even if they aren’t.”
Of course. What does stealing one more thing matter? I close my eyes for a second, try not to be a baby.
When Eli climbs out of the truck, I go with him. Theo looks like he’s going to protest, but I shoot him a look that basically says to stay out of it. Things are still rough and disjointed with us—someone needs to start patching things up and I’m smart enough to know it isn’t going to be either of the guys.
“Stay behind me,” Eli says as we approach the door. As we get closer, I realize s it’s hanging off-kilter, having been almost ripped off the hinges.
“Why? Are you bullet proof?”
He grins. “I might be.”
“Yeah, well, I’ll take my chances.” I take a deep breath and then push through the door, Eli right at my heels.
I stop dead as soon as I see what a wreck the store really is. It hasn’t just been looted. It’s been systematically destroyed. Everything that couldn’t be taken has been smashed or ripped, as if stealing wasn’t enough for whoever did this. It looks like they wanted to rip the store apart at the seams.
If so, they succeeded.
As I stand there, tears threaten, but I beat them back using sheer will this time. The same will that got me through all those days with my mother, when I wanted to beg for her attention. To plead with her to tell me why she didn’t love me, so that I could fix it. Fix me.
A wave of longing rushes over me, so deep, so intense, that I feel it deep inside myself in that place I never even acknowledge exists. I want a do-over. Me, the queen of owning your actions, of moving forward, of never looking back. I want to go back to three days ago, when I was fumbling into my dirty clothes, super-late for school.
I want to go back to the Amnesty International meeting at lunch, when I hadn’t had a clue just how important the rights I was fighting for were suddenly going to be to me.
I want to go back to my conversation with my mother, to the moment I saw the email from my father, to the click of the mouse as I went to that stupid blog.
I just want to go back, to get as far from here—as far from the fugitive me that I’ve become—as I can get.
But I don’t own a time machine, and while this stupid worm can do a lot of things, I don’t think it can completely reset the clock, reset me. Even if I’d kind of like it to try.
“Go back to the car, Pandora.” Eli’s low, serious voice breaks into my reverie, as does his grip on my elbow as he shoves me behind him.
“Stop it, Eli! I’m not going anywhere. Now you take that side and I’ll take this one,” I say pointing to the register. “Look for a map and if there’s an stuff left we can use. They probably took everything, but you never know. They might have missed something.”
I head for the magazine rack at the front of the store. There’s nothing there, though, so I continue on along the front corner. I pocket a few packs of gum that are lying, discarded, on the floor. Grab a couple of cigarette lighters, as well—in case we need to start a fire. Then move down the counter, looking for a map.
I’m almost at the end when I see her. A young woman, not much older than I am. She’s flat on her back behind the counter, eyes wide open, cheeks stained with tears. And a shotgun sized hole where her heart used to be.
I scream and Eli comes bounding up the aisle. I scream and scream and scream. He sees her, too, and pulls me against him, burying my head in his chest. “It’s okay, Pandora. It’s okay.”
How can he say that? How can he even think it? Things are never going to be okay again. The tears are back and this time I don’t have the will to stop them. Everything that’s happened, everything we’ve been through, kind of coalesces inside me. It breaks me open and I start to cry.
“Let me take you to the car, Pandora.” Eli sounds so subdued, so different from his usual irrepressible self, that it only brings home how fast things are changing.
Theo bursts through the door. “What’s wrong? What did you do to her?”
Eli stiffens against me and I force myself to bring it under control. The last thing we need is another fight, especially with that poor girl lying there, only a few feet away.
“He didn’t do anything,” I say, as I pull away from Eli. I wipe my eyes, then point. “She’s dead. The looters killed her. Or somebody did.”
Eli’s jaw is granite hard as he walks behind the counter, ignoring Theo. “What are you doing?” I ask, watching, horrified, as he steps over her.
“Looking for a weapon.”
“Wait a minute. You want a gun? You saw what just happened to her and you still want a gun?”
His green eyes are implacable when they meet mine. “More than ever. It’s getting bad. We need to be able to protect ourselves.”
He crouches down and when he stands, there’s a gun in his hand. I have no idea what kind—guns aren’t my thing—but it’s relatively small. It looks like it could be a toy, but the box of bullets in Eli’s other hand proves that it isn’t.
I turn to Theo, expecting him to protest, but his face is blank again. I’m growing to dread that expression. “Put it in your bag,” he tells Eli. Then asks, “Did you find a map?”
He nods, then starts picking through the discarded papers on the floor. Like we’re not in a room with a dead body. Like that girl doesn’t even exist.
And that’s when it hits me. She doesn’t. In this rapidly evolving world, where the only thing you can count on is yourself, she means nothing. And her death means even less.
Still, she meant something to someone, and leaving her laying there like trash hurts me deep inside. I walk over to a door marked Employees Only and push it open. Inside there are boxes of stuff, supplies the looters were in too big of a hurry to look for, I guess. But beer isn’t what I want right now.
On the back shelves I find something that will work, grouped with a bunch of other merchandise that’s probably slow moving in a convenience store. I grab one of the packets and open it as I walk back into the main store. “There are supplies in the back,” I tell the guys. “You might find something we can use.”
Then I flick open the small space blanket, the kind campers use, and walk behind the counter. I close the girl’s eyes and slowly drape the blanket over her, murmuring a clumsy prayer I barely remember from my childhood.
“Come on, Pandora, let’s get out of here.” Eli walks by me, carrying a case of water.
“Did you find a map?”
I nod, then step away from the girl. Go into the back and grab a second case of water. It’s the last one.
Then I walk out the door. I want to look back, but I don’t let myself.
Moving forward is the only way to survive.
About the Author:
Tracy Deebs collects books, English degrees and lipsticks and has been known to forget where—and sometimes who—she is when immersed in a great novel. At six she wrote her first short story—something with a rainbow and a prince—and at seven she forayed into the wonderful world of girls lit with her first Judy Blume novel. From the first page of that first book, she knew she’d found her life-long love. Now a writing instructor at her local community college, Tracy writes YA novels that run the gamut from dark mermaids and witches to kissing clubs and techno-Armageddon stories… and she still has a soft spot for Judy Blume.
Thank you to Tracy we have an awesome prize to enter to win! Want to win a $75 gift card to Barnes & Noble or Amazon or Apple? Than fill out the form below. The winner will be contacted and at that time will get to choose which gift card they’d like.