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Pan Macmillan

@ Sunday Times Books LIVE

Read an Excerpt from the New SL Grey Novel, Under Ground

Under GroundPan Macmillan has shared an excerpt from the new SL Grey novel, Under Ground.

SL Grey is a collaboration between Sarah Lotz (Day Four) and Louis Greenberg (Dark Windows).

The first SL Grey novel, The Mall, was published in 2011, followed by The Ward (2012) and The New Girl (2013).

In Under Ground, the world is sent spinning by a global virus outbreak – except for a small group of people who were prepared for such a disaster. They head to The Sanctum, an underground survival facility, and despite being a motley crew seem to be getting along fine – until a body is discovered.

Read an excerpt from Under Ground, taken from Chapter 1:

1

GINA

All morning I’ve been cleaning the condo, wiping down every surface with disinfectant, vacuuming the carpets and the upholstery and the purposeless drapes. There’re no windows down here, no natural light. Behind the curtains are just screens with moving photos: a forest scene in one frame, a snowy mountain, a tropical beach right next to it. They make me feel nauseous.

And built-in closets everywhere.

Thick, crisp sheets and built-in closets. This condo is so luxurious, I should feel happy, like we’re on some sort of dream vacation, but I’m hating it already. I wish we could just go back home. I wish Daddy had never bought this place.

Momma changed when we moved out of town and into the trailer on Mr Harber’s farm. I never really understood why we had to go, but I knew it had something to do with Brett being suspended from school again. And Momma was mad when she found out that Daddy had spent her inheritance on this place instead of the family home she’d always dreamed of. ‘What’s the point of a house we can only use when it’s the end of the world?’ I remember her saying. She was crying. ‘What about now, Cam? What about now?’ She hardly ever raised her voice to Daddy, and he didn’t take kindly to it. But she knew just as well as Daddy that life couldn’t stay the same, and after that she covered up every complaint with prayers.

She looked so tired when we arrived at The Sanctum that I told her I’d clean the place up and she should just rest. ‘You sure, hon?’ she asked as she lay back and pulled up the coverlet. ‘You’ll be fine out there with him?’ I told her I’d be fine. ‘You just come to me if you get afraid. Alright?’

‘Sure, Momma.’

I finish washing and drying all the dishes – brand-new sets of plates, glasses, mugs, thick steel cookware, shining stainless steel cutlery – and wipe down the cabinets’ shelves before I replace them.

‘Don’t forget the door handles, Gina,’ Daddy says. ‘We’ve got to make this place shipshape. Don’t want to be living in here with some Mexican builder’s cooties, do we?’ He says it like that to include me, to make it some sort of joke we can share, and although he’s treating me like a kid I appreciate the gesture. We’ve got to be a team in here, even more than we were up on the lot.

‘Sure don’t, Daddy.’

But Daddy and Brett don’t do anything to help me, just sit drinking coffee and eating sandwiches at the breakfast bar, talking about politics and football.

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