Into the Night by USA Today Bestselling Author

Into the Night is a prequel novel to Dead of Night (aftershock novel #1) 

Inspired by her daughter's fatal illness, Dr Prilla Greenhorn sets out to find a cure, instead discovers the secrets in saving humanity. 

Set in a world after WW3 where the human condition is outlawed she is held hostage for her fatal flaw - love for her family. 

The only way to save her daughter is to work side by side with the Government in finding ways to cure the world of humanity forever. Can Prilla cure her daughter and hide her miracle discoveries from those who will only use it for their own twisted purposes - or will she choose the life of many over saving the ones she loves? 




Chapter 1

Like Acid Rain

Dark skies alight with the explosion of colour as fireworks go off with a whistle, crack and a popping echoing into the night.  To some on the other side of this window, it marks the start of a new life after so much death. A colourful announcement to the survivors that their answer to saving what is left of humanity has arrived.  World War Three has ripped our planet to shreds, torn it limp from limb, and scattered the remains on our isolated continent. Left the surface of Planet Earth hazardous, and unrecognizable. Most of the plant and, animal life, even that of the surviving human’s condition have come away scared, deformed and frayed. But the festivities of tonight, even if it is in my honour, is an attempt at masking the true horror of what we now call our existence. But as a scientist, and engineer my eyes see only the immense task of reconstruction ahead of us.

A display of fireworks shoot across desperate skies in glorious celebration marking one month until The Gate is complete, a safe haven for our survivors to call their new home. It’s taken eight years to build, and it’s taken me eight years since The War to perfect my project.

 Tonight I stand staring out at the hungry world in gaiety of my dream that has become a reality. I have found a way to recreate human organs and limbs that has a ninety five percent success rate on any transplant patient, regardless of blood type or illness. But with a heavy heart I take in the fiery colours if the fireworks as they illuminate the dense, distant clouds in hues of rose-gold, followed by the purple sparkled wings stretched out like fractured stars across smoky heavens. And for a brief moment I’m taken by the forged beauty as the colours slash through the skies, reminding me of what sunsets used to resemble before The War. One more unexpected boom roils thought the sky at the explosion of golden bursts of glimmering hues, and with it I watch in deep angst as the sparkles descend to the earth like falling stars. Flinching at the harsh sounds that resemble gunfire - I guess we all still feel the aftershocks of The War. Instinctively my arms fold around me for protection, squeezing down, then willing myself into a calm state - to not show him how on edge I truly am. To practice, something I have yet to master – hiding my weaknesses. When the embers of the last fireworks dissipate into the dusky smog of the city, I’m left in total darkness, and breathless as I try to force myself to hide the one flaw I still own – feelings, of fear, love, hope and anxiety.

 A knock comes at the door and I’m wary to answer straight away. I know what awaits on the other side. I stare at my mobile device clutched in my hand, the signal is strong, steady but most importantly secure.

The knocking becomes louder.  “Prilla,” His voice takes on a dangerous edge. “It’s time darling, the people are waiting for you.”  His tone is calm, but it’s a ruse, and I slip my mobile into the pocket of my skirt, feeling the flowing material soft against my palm. I stare at my reflection in the window, wishing I could escape into the night beyond. There was a time his voice used to sooth me, carry me to new highs. Now when I hear it, or even think of him, of us, I want to crawl out of my own skin. When I turn, he is already found his way into the room. He stands there all charming in his tuxedo, but the dirt on his shoes give him away, he’s been in The Wilds. I’ve become quite the investigator since I discovered some of his secrets.

 He stands there, his eyes don’t quite meet mine when he speaks. “Oh good, for a moment I thought you already left for the proceedings without me.”

He closes the door behind him, “I know how excited you must be,” and switches on a light where I catch a glimpse of the bulge under his jacket where he hides his gun. 

I give a small smile, swallowing down the fact that he is my husband and where I go he will be. And that is how it is for now. After two millennia woman have fought for their independence and equality only to end up like this. Property of men – once again. The ring on my fingers is a symbol of partnership, but a symbol that I belong to the upper circle of STE. (Our government.)

His eyes study mine carefully and with trepidation at the lack of keenness on my face he says, “Or skipped out on me?” His hands fisted inside his pants pockets as he stairs straight ahead.

Of course he is aware of my contempt at him lately. I’ve always been bad at concealing what I feel. A big reason he keeps me hidden from the outside world. I step away from the window, bracing myself to exude a calm smirk, consciously using my entire body to convey the ‘smile’ before I answer, “I was so deep in thought I never heard you come in.” I fain nervousness and tug at my bottom lip.

“Practicing your speech for tonight will get rid of those nerves.” He walks over to me and gently tugs at my hand still lingering on my bottom lip. “Don’t do that. You know it’s an anxious trait and you cannot show them a wife of a general is prone to any kind of weakness.”

Looking down at my hands, I twist my wedding ring round my finger in contemplation of all of our relationship. I am his tool. I must not forget that the entire foundation of STE relies on my practices. When he pulls me closer, I feel frozen, my skin prickles with guilt and disgust. My entire body screams for me to run. But for my daughter’s sake I can’t. I need to remember who I am doing this for. Why I am doing this, if not to save her life, perhaps for those like her. As an award-wining scientist I know what this could mean to save what’s left of humanity. And just like that he becomes a tool to me too, without his status, and the protection it brings me, I cannot save Melo.

Travis places something in my hand. “We have been working for this our entire lives.” He whispers into my ear, then plants a kiss on my forehead. I feel ill at his touch. He’s up to something. He hasn’t been this affectionate in a very long time.

“Something’s wrong.” He takes a step back, his green eyes scrutinizing my every move.

“It’s this headache.” I lie, again staring into his arctic glare with as much conviction as I can force into my gaze. Hi sighs heavily, a display of his impatience.  “I got you something to mark this momentous occasion.” He releases my hand and his eyes meet the gift he left behind in the palm of my hand.

A strangled smile crosses Travis’s face at my delayed reaction. A year ago I would have thought that smile so alluring. Knowing what I know now, who he is, what’s his done, and who he has chosen to allow into our lives, I see one thing only – murderer. Travis, dark hair, silver peppered on his temples, green eyes that math our daughters, still has an effect on me, especially when he looks at me like that.

“Open it.” He takes a step back.

“You shouldn’t have.” I slowly start unwrapping it.

“You are shaking.”  He notes.

 I shrug in response. “You know I don’t like these events. Not with all that’s going on out there.” That is not a lie, then I add “The last time we were here,” meaning the awards evening. “, was the night of the first attack.”

His chin dips, his eyes are alight, he’s on the edge his temper. He has seen right through me.  “Don’t lie to me. I cannot protect you if we have secrets.”

“Secrets!” I spit out. How dare he!  “I know what you are up to Travis. What you have always been up to. I know what STE is really about. And I don’t want to accept this prize tonight, knowing it’s for nothing.”  

Travis is stoic in his gaze, but a flicker of something bitter and mournful churn behind green eyes. “You have no choice.” His gaze turns intense.

“We have a choice Travis.”

“Don’t fool yourself Prilla dear, choice is weakness.” His shoulders stiffen, as if changing out of automatic mode, his voice taking on a softer tone as he says. “I have things to do. I will not fight tonight.” Then his shoulders relax again, his chin raising so all shadows disappear from his features as the lights above bright up his face. And he is handsome once more.

“Get ready, “He says to me. “ The car is on its way to take you to The Grand Hall.” As he turns he says from over his shoulder “Fix your make-up and hair, you look terrible.” 

Yes sir.” I say pushing my shoulders back. Tightening my fist over the wrapped gift. I watch in careful study as he turns back to me, my stomach churning as I see the tempest in him dissipate as his eyes take me in. He comes closer. His shoulders squared again. As if his relaxed state is what he has to force himself out of.  As his gaze penetrates mine, my breath catches in my throat as he reached out. His touch like acid rain - something that has the potential to be good, and beautiful, is also so destructive and deceiving. Luring you in with all its wonder then burning a whole straight though you.  Perhaps that is why love and lust is banned – the way my body reacts to his touch, his smile – is weak and clouds my judgment. I must not forget the lies. The truth of us, as I know it now. His fingers glide up my arms and rest on both of my shoulders as I swallow the ripple of pleasure making its way down my spine.

 “What is out there Prilla. It’s not pretty, there are people dying. I get that. But the world needs to see achievements like these, especially in these times. This is how we win over the aftershock of The War. This is how we lift society again and come back stronger. Show them that we are above their threats and attempts to take us down. When he says them, I have to wonder who they are. No one is quite sure who was responsible for the almost total wipe-out of our continent. All communication to the world beyond severed, but at times some attacks have penetrated our defences, just as a reminder that we are still vulnerable.

Clearing his throat he adds, “What you have achieved is the cure for humanity.” He puts it like it is that simple.

Despite everything I try to bury it so deep, but it escapes anyway. “I know STE started The…” my voice cracks,  I can’t bring myself to say it. Instead I let all pent up emotion, allow it to wash over me, so I can come clean again. “I read your documents in the vaul…” He doesn’t allow me to speak. His hand shoots up and clamps over my mouth. He shakes his head as he says, “Don’t you dare think you know what is going on, because you don’t. You are here for one purpose only, you live only because you are on the brink of curing the world.” 

I mumbled from behind his fingers still pressed against my mouth, “You already said that.”

 He let’s go and the anger keeps coming, so I raise my voice. Against all my ‘anti human’ training I slide back into old mortal habits… “Cure the wold of being human, are you listening to the words coming out your mouth Travis? Humanity is not a disease!”

He snickers. “Melo needs you, that’s all you have to focus on.” When he says her name, all we had shared that lead up to the night she was conceived fills my mind, and I’m blinded from thinking, only feeling. The way Melo was created is only reserved for our founders. But I can tell he cares, he just show it – he will be killed for it, and then I remember that he too is a victim of circumstance.

I smile up at him, I can almost believe his words because they call to my heart too, desperately so. Exactly what I need to hear. As always.

Tears brim my eyes. “I will save her Travis.” I nod, swallowing against the words that threaten to choke me. “I will save our daughter, I will find a way.”

His hand comes up to stroke my face. “That’s why I married you.” He says simply, and turns to walk out of the room. He stops at the door. “Get your shoes, the car is waiting,” Shoulder relaxed as he heads out. “I need to make a stop at Cyrus’s room.” He says as I am about to ask if he will be accompanying me.  

“Of course.” I whisper to myself as he closes the door. “Business as usual.”

The velvet cloth still rests in my hands, I have to take the gift and wear it or risk his perceived control over me, risk us being eliminated. I sink to the bed, the mattress dipping beneath my weight. I stare at the velvet cloth in my palm.

Hans and Greta by USA Today bestselling author Cameo Renae

Thirteen years after the government fails to avoid a global disaster, Hans and Greta emerge from their underground bunker in search of food. But they quickly discover that the world and its inhabitants are much more horrifying than they could have ever imagined.

* this book will be exclusive and free to the pre-order deal of Into the Night* 





Mother-in-law? I spat at the word. The entire thirteen years my brother, Hans, and I were forced to suffer with the beast, she’d never shown an ounce of motherly love, and we both agreed she was the primordial spawn of Satan. And every day, without fail, she proved it.

She was hideous and looked like a troll … hairy and smelly and hated kids. I was surprised she didn’t kill us in our sleep and eat us.

I had no idea what our dad saw in her. He was her complete opposite … kind, generous, a decent human being. But he was also soft and obviously destitute of vision. For God sake, the woman was manlier than he was. The thought of them having any kind of physical attraction or interaction sent a shiver up my spine.

After our real mom died—months before the apocalypse—the earth went to hell. Literally.

A massive solar storm erupted and entered the earth’s atmosphere, completely collapsing the national power grid, shutting down all navigational and communication systems across the globe.

Millions were thrust into darkness. But that wasn’t the worst of it. 

Over four hundred nuclear power plants were operating across thirty countries. Very few had backup generator pumps which relied on large tanks of water for cooling the containment shells. Within a span of about ten days, nuclear fuel melted through containment rods, spewing massive doses of radiation into the atmosphere.

To help keep global panic to a minimum, the governments offered people hope in the form of a vaccine. An anti-radiation vaccine. Despite the lack of testing or results, it was approved, mass produced, and distributed to shelters across the globe.

But we didn’t have to worry about any of that. Before the terror was widespread, our father, an electrical engineer, took us to an underground bunker he’d secretly built and stocked. The shelter was small, and after thirteen years of surviving, it felt like the walls were closing in—claustrophobic.

We were now to the point our food supplies were dangerously low.

Through Morse code, our father learned the topside was safe to return to, but we were screwed. My dad built our survival bunker in the middle of the Alaskan boonies, at least twenty miles in any direction from civilization.

In recent months, my brother Hans and I kept our eating to a bare minimum. Because of it, we were slowly becoming emaciated. We’d gone to the topside several times to look for food, but there was nothing but dry, barren land as far as the eye could see.

My name is Greta. I’m seventeen and was raised by my nineteen year old brother, Hans. We don’t look alike, aside from the same dark brown hair and brown eyes, and he’s almost foot taller than me.

Our stepmother hated us. From the time we arrived in the bunker, she made sure to keep our father busy with her matters. Every time he showed a bit of attention toward us, she would get infuriated and we’d end up getting punished. We never forced their love, and to be honest, we didn’t need it. Hans and I had each other, and that was enough. I was thankful I had my brother with me. He was the only reason I survived.

While lying on our old, worn cots in the adjacent room, we heard the entire conversation the bitch had with our father. She wanted him to make us return to the topside to search for food, and not return until we had. In other words, she wanted us to leave … and die.

The burly wench!

It took everything inside of me to bite my tongue and fight the impulse to walk up to her and slam my fist in her face. She had it coming. After thirteen years of putting up with her crap, I was at my limit. The only reason we kept quiet was because of our dad. We didn’t want him to suffer.

My pulse thrummed so loud I could hear it in my ears; my face burned with fury, and my hands balled into fists so tight my nails dug into the skin.

“Relax, Greta,” Hans said quietly, knowing me too well. “Don’t let it get to you.”

“How can I not?” I huffed. “Why doesn’t Dad ever stand up to her?”

“He’s tried, and you know how that ended,” he sighed. “It’s time we left anyway. We’ve survived hell for thirteen years. Topside shouldn’t be much worse.”

I rolled over, boiling with rage. “How can you say that? We’ve been topside. There is nothing there. We’ll die, and she will be all the merrier for it.”

“If you think that way now, you’re already dead.” His brow raised and his head tilted to the side.

“Whatever,” I exhaled, knowing he was right.

“I have something that’ll help us, at least for a little while.”

My head whipped to him. “What?” I mouthed.

He grinned placing his finger to his lips, then carefully lifted his pillow. Under it were six MRE’s. The beast said we were out of MRE’s months ago, so we’d been living off of miniscule portions of rice and beans.

“How did you get those?” I whispered.

He grinned and shrugged. He wasn’t going to tell me and I didn’t care. I was just glad we weren’t leaving without any food. We both knew the beast wouldn’t give us any food.

I quickly calculated our survival rate. If rationed wisely, we could live off of those six MRE’s for almost two weeks. Our dad told us there was a small town about twenty miles north. In our weakened states, we were lucky if we could walk five miles per day. That meant we could be there in four days, or less, depending on how well we fared.

“Try and get some sleep,” Hans said closing his eyes.

“You too,” I exhaled, staring at the same gloomy, colorless wall I had for over thirteen years.

The next morning, we packed survival necessities, then our very distraught father led us up the ladder to the topside. Climbing wrung after wrung, heading up toward the outside world, my stomach twisted in knots. We’d only been out a few times, but the world was creepy and eerily quiet. It was dead and dry. No signs of life, and that made me feel very uncomfortable.

As we exited the bunker, our dad gave us a speech about how necessary it was for us to find food. We knew he was voicing the demands of the beast, but we promised him we wouldn’t return without food.

He gave us each a flask of water and then secretly pulled out, from under his shirt, a few dehydrated fruit packets. Then, he handed Hans a machete, and me … an axe. A really dull axe.

“What am I supposed to do with this?” I questioned, holding it up.

“It will help you chop wood and tinder for a fire,” he replied.

“This…won’t cut anything.”

“Greta, just take it,” Hans huffed.

“Fine,” I sighed, throwing it in my backpack knowing it would take a considerable amount of extra energy to carry it, let alone chop anything. But it could possibly be used to pommel something. If anything was alive to pommel.

“Let’s go,” Hans said, walking away. I knew he was upset my dad was taking sides with the monster, and I couldn’t blame him. Hans played mother and father to me since the first day we came down in the bunker.   

“Greta.” My dad grasped my shoulder, stopping me, so I slowly faced him, his eyes filled with tears. “I’m so sorry,” he breathed, which made my hardened heart soften just a bit. All those years, those thirteen years, I’d hated him for not standing up for us … his kids. It was like we were some strays, brought into the bunker, shunned, and given enough food for us to survive.

 “I pity you, Dad. We never deserved this life and neither did you. This is your bunker but she played owner, for thirteen years. One of these days you’re going to have to stand up to her. It’s too late to do it for us … but for yourself.”

“Greta,” Hans said, behind me. I turned, holding back the tears in my eyes. “Don’t worry about us.” Hans took my hand and pulled me away.

“Be safe, and please take care of your sister. I pray you find food. If you keep north, you should have no problem finding the town.”

“All right,” Hans said, hugging him.

As we walked away, he called after us. “I love you both. I always have.”

“Yeah,” Hans answered.

I turned and smiled, but couldn’t bring myself to tell him I loved him back. Not after all the years of him completely ignoring us and letting the beast abuse us verbally and stealing our food to feed her hideous, gluttonous self.

A tired smile rose on his lips right before the beast’s voice blared from the bunker, calling his name, instantly severing the moment. The sound of her shrill voice pierced my ears, making them ache. And just like that, our dad disappeared into misery.




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