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Ashes, The

Destiny in the Ashes

Written By:William W. Johnstone - 2001

  • Destiny in the Ashes - William W. Johnstone cover


Come and take it

"The price of liberty is blood. The cost of security is bravery. And sometimes, the call of freedom must be answered on another man’s land—and in another man’s war!" —Ben Raines

Ben Raines and his army won a war on two fronts, bringing law, peace, and prosperity to the Southern United States of America. But SUSA’s northern neighbor and erstwhile enemy, the United States, is in chaos. And when a ferocious invader attacks the soft and crippled nation, Raines has no choice but to act!

Courageous warlord Abdullah El Farrar has risen up from the humiliated regions of the oil-rich Near East—unleashing a stunning attack against the once proud northern United States. No one in the Southern States is surprised that USA cannot defend its own land. But with northern citizens defecting by the thousands to El Farrar’s forces, Raines can see the handwriting on the wall: his brave armies must go to war—to save their enemy from itself.


The Real Thing

Coop and Jersey stood in the foyer, their backs against a wall, and pulled out their Uzis as they peered up the stairs.

"We better be careful, Coop. These men may not be terrorists after all," Jersey said, just as a man carrying a Kalashnikov machine gun over his shoulder walked by on the landing to the second floor. She jacked a shell into the firing chamber of her Uzi.

Coop put his finger to his lips and started up the stairs, keeping his back to the wall. At the top, he peeked around a corner, then jerked his head back. He laid his Uzi down on the floor and took his K-Bar assault knife from a scabbard under his coat.

As a small, thin, dark-skinned man with a rifle in his hands walked around the corner, Coop slipped his arm around the man’s neck and pulled his face tight against his chest as he slipped his knife up under the man’s ribs and into his heart. The muffled groan was barely louder than a gasp. Coop lowered him to the floor and whispered down the stairway to Jersey, "Scramble. The party’s heating up fast."

Less than a minute later, another youth leaned over the stairwell above them on the third floor, and said, "Amal?" His eyes widened when he saw them, and he began to shout as he reached for his shoulder holster.

Jersey leveled her Uzi at him and loosed a burst of five rounds, cutting him down. Coop bounded up the stairs, screaming for Jersey to cover her ears as he lobbed a stun grenade down the hallway, then followed with a tear-gas canister. He didn’t wait for the explosion, but ran back down the stairs and took Jersey in his arms, covering her body with his.

As he laid her down, he was grabbed from behind, his arms pinned, and thrown up against the brick wall of the building. "Let’s see some ID—fast!" said a man holding a pistol to Coop’s head. He was dressed all in black, and Coop knew immediately that the man was with the FPPS.

He quickly scanned Coop’s ID, then lowered his gun and released Coop’s arms. "Want to tell me what the hell’s going on here, and what a medical team’s doing firing off automatic weapons and getting shot in my city?"

Just then, Harley and the rest of Coop’s team walked out of the door of the building, Uzis slung over their shoulders.

The FPPS man shook his head. "Oh shit, not more of you?"

Harley walked up to the man, holding out his ID. "I’ll explain it all to you later, sir, but for now could you call for some more men. The terrorists ran out of the back of the building."

"Terrorists?" the FPPS man asked.

"Yeah. They plan to kill the president," Harley said, causing the FPPS man’s eyes to widen and his face to pale in the light from the flames consuming the building down the street.




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