Just for fun, I wrote this alternate ending to the Sympatico Syndrome series. It came about when my daughter scolded me for procrastinating on my writing and I said something like I’m just going to end it with they all lived happily ever after, or something to that effect.
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Cole blinked awake, disturbing images from his dream fading so quickly, he wasn’t sure what he’d dreamed about, just that it left him feeling uneasy. He shook off the feeling and glanced over at Brenda, still sleeping beside him. He bent and kissed her warm cheek. “You go ahead and sleep in. I’ll get Hunter ready for school.”
She mumbled a thank you and turned the other way, pulling the covers up over her shoulders.
As he spread peanut butter on a slice of bread, he heard snippets of news from the television on in the living room. Hunter hadn’t yet turned on SpongeBob as he still sat at the kitchen table, playing with his oatmeal. “Hurry up and eat, Hunter. You don’t want to starve later in school.”
Cole chuckled…as if the kid would even know what starvation was. The longest he’d ever gone between meals, not counting sleep, was a few hours. He’d survive on a few bites of oatmeal between now and snack time at school. As Cole tucked a mini juice box in Hunter’s lunch.
“The flu virus is expected to be widespread this year and the vaccine isn’t going to be as effective as normal.”
“Thank you, Dr. Jackson. How bad do you think it’ll be?”
Cole glanced at the screen as he grabbed a pack of Twinkies from the pantry, the short hallway between the kitchen and living room affording him a view of the screen. The doctor was pretty and petite, but for some reason, he expected her to be a redhead, not a blonde. He paused, golden cakes in hand.
Dr. Jackson smiled. “Well, it’ll be the usual flu, nothing too severe. Not pandemic level, certainly. We’re not talking the Spanish flu or Ebola. Just your typical fever, aches, pains. But I always encourage vaccines to protect the old, the young and those with compromised immune systems.”
Cole froze. Spanish flu? Ebola? He had glimpses of an island and … something about pandemics.
Brenda came into the kitchen, yawning as she tightened the belt on her robe. “Cole, you really need to turn off the television before you to bed.”
“I’m sorry. I forgot. Did it wake you?” He had a bad habit of dozing off, then getting up to get a midnight snack before heading to bed. She then recited flu statistics. Cole’s paused as he returned to the counter. “How’d you do that?”
He stuffed the Twinkies in Hunter’s lunchbox and added an apple. The same one he’d taken out yesterday after school. He looked at it critically. It wasn’t too bruised yet. It’d be good for another day or two. At least it made him look like a good father providing healthy food even if his kid didn’t eat it.
Brenda laughed as she started a pot of coffee. “I only heard it repeated about five times through the night. I was too lazy to get up and turn the damn thing off, but you left it on and I bet the volume is all the way up.”
Now that she mentioned it, he had turned it up last night so he could hear the sports scores while making himself a bowl of cereal. Oops.
“Now that you mention it, I had the weirdest dream last night about pandemics and people dying…”
She took a couple of mugs out of the cabinet and set them beside the coffee maker. “Sounds more like a nightmare.”
“Yeah…it kind of was.” More images from his dream came to him. Dead people and his brother, Sean. “And my brother and his family were in it too. Everybody was dying, but get this, they partied themselves to death, sort of.”
“Sounds like one of your frat parties when we met.” She grinned at him as she handed him his steaming cup of coffee.
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So, that’s the alternate ending. If you want to be sure to get the REAL one, just put in your pre-order now. Invasion: Book Three