Looking Back Through Ash - Wade Ebeling


Wade Ebeling

© 2015 Wade Ebeling

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means including information storage and retrieval systems, without permission in writing from the author. The only exception is by a reviewer, who may quote short excerpts in a review.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, companies, events, or locales is purely and entirely coincidental.

First Kindle Edition, June 2015






Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9


Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18


Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

Chapter 27

Chapter 28

Dedicated to Paige and Allison,

who made my life complete.

Special Thanks:

Mike Spavale, for your unwavering support. It will not soon be forgotten, my friend.

And Mike Pompo, for all the motivation you have supplied, in all its various forms.

Finally, to my loving wife, Kim, words could never express how much I love and appreciate you.


In 2026 the Pacific Ring of Fire shook the world causing untold damage regionally. While the volcanic activity was localized near the Palliser Island chain in French Polynesia, the effects are soon felt globally. Millions of metric tons of ash and debris spewed forth daily, reaching up to the highest levels of the atmosphere, where it then spread across the face of the planet like a shroud.

As three new volcanoes formed, the world was held powerless as the sun slowly became blocked from view. Satellites and air travel were soon rendered all but useless and the world seemed a big place once again. Scientists across the globe scrambled to find new ways of producing enough food, having estimated that it would take more than a decade for the ash to settle enough to allow open-air agriculture again. The starvations began far sooner than expected.

In 2029, over the span of forty-one hours, an already weakened America saw three of its nuclear generating stations destroyed. The terrorists only attacked plants situated on or near major bodies of water, multiplying the amount of damage done and land lost to radiation. Showing a range of coordination thought impossible to them, over forty well-armed combatants from a host of different Middle-Eastern nations participated directly in the assaults; hundreds more indirectly.

Using nothing more than conventional weaponry and some improvised explosives, assault groups of jihadists managed to achieve total melt-down at all but one of the plants. In the case of the Enrico Fermi Nuclear Generating Station which operated just south of Detroit, Michigan, it took nearly two days before the main reactor building exploded, dumping radioactive graphite and fuel rods out into the open air and water.

Huge areas of the country were evacuated simultaneously. “In an orderly fashion” went out the window within two hours of the roads becoming impassible. Chaos and panic reigned those first weeks, and even cities unaffected by the disaster saw heavy levels of unrest. Hundreds of thousands found themselves trapped, the path forward blocked, the path behind no longer an option. The government briefly faltered, as the scope of the problem seemed almost too big to comprehend. For all those people left behind to starve, cowering in the oppressive darkness, survival meant losing their faith and dignity, causing the horror of the situation to escalate.

All that could be mustered during this riotous time were a few overwhelmed, self-serving communities that resorted to regional currencies to keep a stranglehold over what resources still remained. In most cases, these towns and cities were just lucky enough to be both outside a disaster area and nearby a Military or National Guard base. This is where the lines started to be drawn. On one side people standing up and pushing back against the violence that threatened to consume everything, on the other throngs of refugees fighting over scraps.


Chapter 1

Sunday, August 21 - 2039

“Moron,” he thought.

His name was Daniel Moore, and after telling several lies he had finally reached a deal with the vendor. To anyone in the bazaar happening to pass them by, the two men would have appeared like they were engaged in a heated argument. This was considered completely normal behavior, however, and those people would have continued to walk on by. Some nearly-forgotten piece of Daniel reminded him that he loathed the use of intimidation as a bartering tactic, but in all of his twenty