Title: Nation of Enemies
Author: H.A. Raynes
It’s all about the genetics. DNA. Black & white.
A decade ago the U.S. government mandated that all citizens be issued biochips containing all of their medical information and an ID number indicating a person’s health. Then they made the information public—the implications of which are wide-spread and devastating.
Now on the eve of the 2032 presidential election, the country is deeply divided and on the brink of civil war. But as the two major political parties face off, innocent Americans are dying at the hands of masked terrorists. When the Liberty Party’s presidential nominee is assassinated in a highly-coordinated, masterful attack, it sets off a chain of events that will change the course of history and leave America’s inalienable rights—life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness—dangling on the precipice of extinction.
H.A. Raynes was inspired to write NATION OF ENEMIES by a family member who was a Titanic survivor and another who escaped Poland in World War II. Combining lessons from the past with a healthy fear of the modern landscape, this novel was born. A longtime member of Boston’s writing community, H.A. Raynes has a history of trying anything once (acting, diving out of a plane, white water rafting, and parenting). Writing and raising children seem to have stuck.
Twitter: @HARaynes & @hollyiswriting
NATION OF ENEMIES excerpts
So, this is freedom. No sirens pierce the air. Buildings in the distance are whole. Yet the ground beneath his feet feels no different. Dr. Cole Fitzgerald glances past their docked cruise ship, to the horizon. The sky blends into the ocean, a monochromatic swatch of gray. A chill in the air penetrates him, dampens his coat and makes all the layers underneath heavy. When they left Boston, pink-tinged magnolia petals blanketed the sidewalks, blew across overgrown parks and the burnt remains of brownstones. He’d reached up and touched a blossom, still hanging on a limb. It’s remarkable to see beauty amid war.
The din of discontent is constant. On the vast dock of England’s Southampton Cruise Port, a few thousand passengers stand in line, all on the same quest to flee the United States. He’s heard that three million citizens emigrate annually. But no one documents whether those people are more afraid of the lone wolves and militias, or of their government bent on regaining control. Cole isn’t sure which is worse. But London is a safe place to start again. They have family here, built-in support. No point in dwelling.
Beside him, Lily’s usual grace and composure are visibly in decline. He reaches out and gently strokes the nape of his wife’s neck, where pieces of her dark hair have strayed from her ponytail. The coat she wears can’t hide her belly, now twenty-nine weeks swollen with a baby girl. Cole wishes he could offer her a chair. Instead she rests on one of their enormous suitcases.
Their son Ian sits cross-legged on the asphalt and reads a paperback. Throughout the journey, he’s gone along with few complaints. Ten years ago he was born the night the Planes Fell, the night that changed everything. Living in a constant state of fear is all he’s ever known. The joy and devastation of that night was so complete. To become parents at the same time terrorists took down fifty passenger planes … there were no words. It was impossible to celebrate while so many were mourning.
A waiter swings by and hands Senator Richard Hensley another scotch on the rocks. It helps to override the anger that has settled in Richard’s gut, loosens him up enough to mingle at this fund-raising gala. Between tuxedos and gowns, he watches fellow senator James Gardiner, the newly nominated Liberty Party presidential candidate. Richard runs a hand through his thick white hair. Gardiner is ten years his junior and has barely dipped his toes in politics, yet somehow he may lead the country in a matter of months. It’s tough for Richard to stomach.
Second place is unacceptable, and yet here he is. A month has passed since he lost the nomination to Gardiner by a handful of votes. After years of public service—years of ushering through the MedID to protect these evidently ungrateful citizens. The wealthy hide out in Safe Districts, and the middle class has fled to the countryside, while the low-income population remains in what’s left of city housing. Agriculture is the only sector that’s seen a boon in a decade. Fortunately, the largest corporations have survived by increasing security to keep their buildings and employees safe. But for the most part Richard’s hometown of Boston has been reduced to piles of bricks. And though the New York City buildings still pierce the sky, firefighters can’t keep up with the blazes that are set daily. Chicago is burning as well, and from the air, Los Angeles sparkles, the sun glinting off the shards of glass from incessant looting.
After the Planes Fell, every religious fanatic and mentally ill citizen was emboldened. They come from all sides, with different agendas—though one of the shared themes is restoring their lost civil liberties. If it was just one effort, it would have been more predictable, easier to fight. But the attacks don’t stop and law enforcement can’t keep up. The lack of courage in the citizenry is disappointing. If it wasn’t for Richard’s MedID program, all hope and control would be lost. He’d been foolish to expect gratitude in the form of the nomination. He drains his glass, enjoys the burn that travels down his throat.
For two weeks following the results, he shut himself away from the world and considered his options. But the private sector doesn’t appeal to him and he’s far too young to retire. Politics course through his veins, a calling passed down from a father and a grandfather who were senators until their dying days. To walk away is unthinkable. So when he received the call, he had no choice but to accept.
His rival appears to have similar style and grace, floating seamlessly through the sea of party supporters. They lock eyes. Richard smiles and holds up a hand in greeting. After all, they must appear cordial now that he’s Gardiner’s running mate.
It’s hard for Lily Fitzgerald to believe that only a month ago they were on a ship to London, only to be denied entry. Now thirty-four weeks pregnant, she rests her hand atop her belly and sets her feet on an unpacked box of pots and pans. Early morning sun fills the room as she sits at the kitchen table checking email on her tablet. She shifts uncomfortably in the maternity jeans she’s come to loathe. The baby moves and a bit of Lily’s belly juts out. An elbow? A foot?
Their failed attempt to immigrate brought her to a dark place. Since the moment they scanned her belly, she’s questioned everything. If it weren’t for the baby, they might be living in England. And though she wants this baby with every thread of her being, she knows it’s selfish. After Ian was born, they debated having another child. It seemed wrong, knowingly bringing a child into war. But it didn’t stop her yearning. Finally, they decided to leave it up to Fate. Fate waited ten long years. Despite everything, she can’t wait to meet her daughter.
She’s promised herself not to cry anymore, and she needs to be strong for Ian. Cole says he’ll find a way around the MedID system, but she can’t imagine how. He also swore to keep them safe. When they’d disembarked in South Boston, he surprised her with a self-driving, bulletproof Land Rover waiting for them in the harbor parking lot. And instead of going to their wilting Victorian in Brookline, he’d taken them to a Safe District just west of the city. They’d been fighting this move for years, clinging to an old way of life in a beautiful, but decaying, neighborhood. Now they live in an unimaginative, mind-numbing, prefab house. Still, she has to admit that driving through heavily guarded gates into a community surrounded by twenty-foot walls is comforting. She actually lets Ian ride his bike down the street now. And Cole has abandoned his treadmill, his runs finally infused with fresh air. He must’ve spent most of their savings for their new life-in-a-bubble. The exclusivity of it all bothers her—most people can’t afford to live this way. But her children are safe here. So to hell with her guilty conscience.
The next email fills the screen with video of an animated woman. Her voice is eerily friendly. “Lily Fitzgerald, your daughter has a forty-eight percent higher chance of securing a clean MedID number if you address issues in utero. New life equals new opportunity. With embryonic intervention, your daughter won’t need to worry about major medical issues. Though you’ve entered your third trimester, there are still options available. Don’t wait until it’s too late. Call now to give your baby a healthier future.”