It’s not often that I drop every single responsibility I have in life to binge read a book from start to finish. Less so when it’s two books of a trilogy together amounting to over 1000 pages. But to the exasperation of my long suffering wife from Wednesday afternoon to Friday evening, that’s what James Fox Higgins’s sci fi novels ‘The Ghost of Emily’ and ‘The Ghost of Delacroix’ induced in me. No food until dragged off my arse by my better half to eat. No sleep unless passing out with exhaustion. Just read. Nothing else matters but the book! What a story!
- Stephen Wells, XYZ.net.au
“Jake, you can put the gun away, you know how this goes.”
He fixed his gaze upon the tip of his rifle, not letting his eyes wander to her face. In the blur beyond his vision, he noticed her cheekbones and the soft flow of her flaxen hair. He winced, squeezed the rifle in his palms harder, and drew his focus up its barrel, closer to his hands.
“You won’t hurt me, Jake. Put it down.” Her hand rose and gently landed atop the shaft. As she gently pressed down, he eased his resistance and the rifle arced its aim down her torso, past her feet, to the rocks between them.
As her hand retreated, the tip of her finger brushed against his, and he leapt back as if a violent shock of electricity had transferred between them.
“Jake, we need to talk about the children, about their future. How much longer can you put them through this life out here? There’s something better waiting for you!”
“My family! I... I can’t reach them, Marcus. I don’t know. They were in Lyon, the last email they sent me said they were leaving for Geneva. They said that their power was cut, that utilities over all of France were being closed down. They said they were going to try to sneak into Switzerland, you know... to get out. To try and catch a plane. But I haven’t heard back from them. It’s been days. I don’t know, Marcus...” he broke into another bout of grunting, devastating moans.
“I’m sure they’ll be fine, Frank. They’re probably just laying low until they get on the plane and out of there. Just sit tight and...”
“No, Marcus!” Frank shouted, looking him straight in the eye, wild terror in his face. “Geneva Airport was blown up! It’s gone. Those god-damned terror gangs have spilled into Suisse! They’re blowing up airports everywhere! Cologne, Paris, Brussels... all the airports are burning!”
“No...” Marcus whispered.
“And that’s not all. The Police in France, they’ve all quit! They all started not showing up to work, and now there’s none left. They knew it wasn’t safe anymore. The gangs are too big, too many, too wild. The only ones protecting the children...” he broke into a torrent of tears again, then collected himself to keep speaking, “the only ones protecting the children, the women, are the militias. And even they are too small. But, Marcus...” he looked at his friend, and his face fell from its contorted ruffle of red folds of skin, into a flat, white surface. His mouth hung open for a moment, and suddenly, as if a fire had been extinguished by a blast of cold water, he lost all expression in his voice and face. “La Tour Eiffel...” he whispered.
“What, Frank? What happened to it?”
“It’s down, Marcus. It’s felled.”