Predators of Darkness: Aftermath is the first book in my Darkness series (followed by Beyond the Darkness and The Game of Pawns).
The synopsis is:
"The desolate streets of downtown Pittsburgh are a constant reminder of the missile attack that forever changed the lives of the surviving scientists and students hidden inside the fallout shelter of Helmsby's Genetic Research Center. Believing themselves to be the only survivors, they reside inside the research center until their food supplies near depletion. Thinking the fallout has lessened, they emerge three years later to discover strange creatures patrolling the streets in search of human flesh and blood. The creatures possess the ability to shift their genomes and alter their appearances by realigning their genetic sequences. Although they have no conclusive evidence to prove the creatures’ origin, Dr. Helmsby—a renowned genetics genius—believes the shifters escaped from TransGenCorp, a scientific laboratory suspected of manufacturing clones and other genetic atrocities.
Daniel Hutchinson, their leader, teams with Lucas Ridale to comb the streets and search for provisions. To cover more area, they head out opposite directions and scavenge downtown Pittsburgh. They also hope to find other survivors. But Daniel uncovers mysteries more frightening than the shifters. He discovers the tip of Pittsburgh has been fenced off from the rest of the area. Low-flying helicopters observe the streets, making him ponder the question: Were the shifters released as simply part of a military experiment with humans being their prey?”
From the first book and into the series, one character seems to stand out more than all the others. Morton is a yellow shifter cat created by Dr. Helmsby—a genetics genius. Morton has the ability to speak as well as shift into another creature whenever he feels threatened. He generally speaks his mind with a bit of a smartass attitude. Not always. Just most of the time.
Morton lives with Daniel, Julia, and Felicia (3 yrs. old). Without giving a spoiler, here is a scene from one book (sorry, cannot divulge which book) that demonstrates Morton’s interaction with the family he adopted.
Felicia patted Morton’s head. The cat purred and brushed his face against her tiny fingers.
“Tell the other cats ‘Hello,’ for me,” she said.
“Certainly,” Morton said.
Julia wiped a tear from her eye and scratched behind his ears. “You be careful.”
“Not to worry.”
“Are you ready?” Daniel asked.
Felicia hugged Morton tight.
Morton nodded. “If I don’t go now, I’ll never leave.”
“Here,” Felicia said, handing him a cookie.
“Thank you,” he said, taking it between his teeth.
Daniel opened the door that led to the garage. “The drive to the airport is an hour long.”
Morton grimaced. “I’m not flying in a pet carrier. No way. No how. It’s just not my style.”
“You won’t have to. I have a friend who has his own private plane. He’s agreed to fly us to Jersey.”
“That’s more like it. Just because Helmsby didn’t bother giving me wings doesn’t mean I can’t have some luxury.”
Daniel opened the front car door. Morton hopped in and took his place in the passenger seat. After Daniel backed out of the garage, Morton turned the heat on and aimed a vent full blast at his face.
“What are you doing?”
“Nothing like a fluffy cat face to break women’s hearts.”
“I doubt we’ll see any women on this trip.”
“All the same, I have to look my best.”
Daniel shook his head. “And what’s that about Felicia wanting you to tell other cats, ‘Hello?’”
“I had to tell her something, so I told her I had a cat party to go to.”
“Ahh, I see.”
“I have dreams too, you know? A world of talking cats makes my existence less awkward.”
“How would you feel if you were the only human that could talk? It gets a bit lonely from a cat’s perspective.”
“That makes sense.”
“I usually do.”
“I wasn’t trying to undermine you.”
“I know, but I’m logical. I’m the Spock of cats.”
Daniel gave Morton a side glance. “Watching Star Trek again?”
Morton shrugged. “Marathon on cable. What can I say?”
“You watch too much television.”
The cat made a Vulcan hand sign. “Live long and prosper.”
Daniel sighed. “This is going to be a long trip.”
To learn more about my series and this wonderful cat, you can read excerpts of my novels at: http://www.ebooksforpleasure.com/bookstore/sci-fi/predators-of-darkness-aftermath.html
Leonard D. Hilley’s blog: http://deimosweb-hilley.blogspot.com/