Title: The Storm
(The Rain #2)
Author: Virginia Bergin
Length: 336 pages
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
DEADLY TO THE LAST DROP .
Ninety-seven percent of the population is dead. And the killer rain keeps falling. Ruby's not sure she can make it on her own much longer. So when a chance encounter leads her to a camp with the last boy she may ever kiss (it's not easy to date during an apocalypse), Ruby gratefully accepts the army's protection.
But safety comes with a price: If Ruby wants to stay, she must keep her eyes-and her mouth-shut.
Except Ruby stumbles across a secret she can't possibly keep. Horrified, she flips out and fights back-only to make the most shocking discovery of all...
Praise for H2O:
"Creepy and realistic. H2O left me thirsting for more." -Kristen Simmons, author of Article 5 and Breaking Point
"Ruby's candid, addicting narration brought this terrifying and wholly plausible story to life. This is a book you'll devour all at once-from the safety of your umbrella!" -Jessica Khoury, author of Origin and Vitro.
From Chapter 17 of The Storm by Virginia BerginThe prof, the soldier, and the driver bundled out immediately and plonked themselves down in the funny little potted plants and seating area they had—so you could make-believe you were at home on the sofa, chatting about which car to buy (or what to do about the apocalypse, in this case). The discussion pretty much reminded me of radio programs my mom and my stepdad would have on: people going on and on about stuff. Angrily. It got even angrier when Beardy claimed that the people in charge wanted to use the cure as some kind of international bargaining thing (“More like a card game!”)—though quite what trinkets they might want in exchange was not known to him (most probably nuclear missiles, a few countries, oil reserves, that kind of thing).To be honest, I wasn’t really listening that closely. Every time it felt like my brain was tuning into a thought, I’d just tweak it back to the matter at hand: gotta get out of here, Ruby.The Princess, whose sign did not show her name but said “Nil by Mouth,” watched from the side door of the ambulance as, in near darkness, I worked my way through every car in there; each one, same thing: battery dead—and no jumper cables to be found. Useless.I splopped plastickly-rubberily past the discussion panel, ignored: ghost girl in a biosuit. There was a dinky coffee machine and a store of creamers, so I grabbed the lot of them, went back to the ambulance, and—ah! Saw the machine they use to start stopped hearts with. I dumped the creamers and inspected it. It’s basically a giant battery pack, isn’t it?I had a go with it on a car.It didn’t work.Mighty cross about that.I took it back to the ambulance (lights still on inside) to get a better look at the instructions—like maybe it was possible to turn the thing up?—when the Princess tapped me on the arm.“Yeah, yeah, just give me a sec,” I said.It’s all probably sounding a little weird to you, the whole situation and the not even speaking to the kid—it sounds a little weird to me—but I tell you, I was so trying to keep my brain tuned in on what I needed to do. Anything else at all could not be handled.I didn’t get the instructions, but I thought it was worth another go anyway. The Princess tried to pull me back—“Yeah—one sec!” I jumped out of the vehicle and—she slammed the door shut behind me. “What the—”Headlights from the road rippled along the line of cars. I hadn’t even heard the engine. I ducked—way too late.Prof Beardy, the soldier, and the driver—they’d ducked too.I peeked—saw the taillights of a big, dark army truck disappearing.“We need to get out of here,” the driver—who’d stopped blubbering but was still freaking out—said.Yeah, I thought. Need to get out of here. I ditched the heart-starter, and as I speed-crawled/splopped plastickly-rubberily for the ambulance, I had a genius moment. Hanging on the wall by the “Let’s pretend we’re at home on the sofa choosing our car” area was a huge road map of Britain, so you could see all the places you could go once you’d bought your fancy car.I dragged over a spare chair and tried to pull the thing off the wall. It wouldn’t budge. There was some random mini-tree in a pot, a thing that had probably once looked totally plastic and now looked totally dead. So I grabbed it by the trunk and swung the whole thing at the glass. Big smash. Big mess. I tore the map out. Unfortunately, it was stuck down at the edges, so there were quite a lot of places we wouldn’t be going to.I turned around and…there they all were, staring at me: the prof, the soldier, the driver.“I just want to go home,” I told them, trying to scrumple the map into a more manageable size. “Please just let me go.”I felt my frightened heartbeat.“I’ll keep my mouth shut. I won’t tell a soul. I promise you! I just want to go home. Please. Please! Just let me go.”“I could take you,” said the driver, getting to his feet.“Siddown,” said the soldier. He sat.“I’m just a kid,” I told them.I am so not. I was. Once. That’s gone.“I don’t know how I got like this! I promise you I don’t!”“Clinically speaking, she is no longer relevant,” said Beardy.Another set of headlights—army truck—blasted us.I stood and I pointed at the gleaming ambulance. The elephant in the fancy car showroom. “They’ll see that,” I said. “Next truck that comes past, they’ll see it.”The soldier, who was the only one I really needed to pay attention to (gun), nodded.“Get out of here, kid,” he said. “Take the back roads.”
Virginia Bergin learned to roller-skate with the children of eminent physicists.
She grew up in Abingdon, Oxfordshire, in a house tied to her father’s job. Her parents, the children of Irish and Polish immigrants – and one Englishwoman – had moved from Liverpool to the south of England in search of work.
Virginia studied psychology but ruined her own career when, dabbling in fine art at Central St Martins, she re-discovered creative writing. Since then she has written poetry, short stories, film and TV scripts and a play that almost got produced – but didn’t.
In between and alongside more jobs than you’ve had hot dinners, she has worked as a writer on TV, eLearning and corporate projects and has 22 broadcast and non-broadcast TV credits, from children’s favorite Big Cat Diary Family Histories (BBC) to the award-winning series Africa (Tigress Productions for National Geographic). Most recently, she has been working in online education, creating interactive courses for The Open University.
She has lived in North Wales, London and Bristol. In May 2015, she moved from a council estate in Bristol to live in rural Somerset, somewhere between Taunton, Chard and Ilminster. Her nearest neighbor is a horse.