This should give you an idea of the type of character Fall is as you read this, the final, free “Skylight” excerpt.
You can pick up your copy of this dystopian novel, Hopkins’ debut work of fiction, at bookstores and from online retailers.
The phone systems, like much of the rest of the city that used to be Denver, are dead. The complex switching systems and networks of cell towers have finally ceased to function. They were overloaded last night by useless frantic calls, and have now been abandoned by the technicians who once maintained them. I try random numbers on my cell phone every half hour, but am greeted only by quick foghorn blasts followed by thunderous silence.
The response is the same on the landlines and pay phones i have tried.
But the van’s radio is working, and so I spend several hours listening to it while Darby sleeps in the seat behind me. I realize what I am doing with this pedestrian routine. I am simply trying to bring myself back to some sense of reality.
Or at least to narcotize my pain.
Darby and I had spent the rest of the night near the oxygen tanks in the back of the ambulance, praying that our supplies would last until morning.
I awoke just before dawn to a terrifying discovery. in my tortured sleep, I had somehow ripped off my oxygen mask. But after a few fevered breaths, I realized that its magic potion was no longer needed. The air outside was once again as breathable as it had been in that distant world long before last night.
Nevertheless, I decided it best to submit to caution. and so Darby and I remained in the rear of the ambulance, masks firmly affixed and oxygen flowing. Until morning came. Now we have moved to the van, and she lies propped against my rolled-up jacket in the backseat, covered by a wool blanket that I found in the ambulance’s storage compartment. We are parked once again on the freeway, directly in front of the ambulance, having just returned from a short and fruitless drive during which I searched for a working phone. We are fortunate in one respect, however. Although the van was apparently scraped by a couple of careening cars during the night, it is otherwise unmolested. and the gasoline tank still registers full.
It’s some small measure of encouragement. at least Darby and I will be able to depart the city without problem.
Whenever our time arrives.