The Lesser Witness

Title: The Lesser Witness: Book One of The Eschatos Chronicles - AVAILABLE JUNE 15, 2019
Series: The Eschatos Chronicles #1
Published by: Eye of the Needle Press
Release Date: June 15, 2019
Genre: ,
Pages: 316
ISBN13: 978-1548464905
ASIN: B07RZ125XD
Buy the Book: Amazon

For people who liked The Left Behind series by Jerry Jenkins and The Outsider by Stephen King.

CLASSIC WINGATE INSPIRATIONAL, POST-APOCALYPTIC  THRILLER

Would you run into the arms of death to save someone you love? Or would you save yourself? How would you choose who lives and who dies?  Pick one person—a throw-away—a person you must sacrifice to save humanity.

In the not too distant future, a bolide ignites an onset of earthquakes marking utter ruin on Earth. especially on one small island where Croy Justice lives. With a gang of virulent boys trailing her, Croy must outwit them or risk a gruesome death at their hands. Will she survive these end times? Or, will she be snapped up into satan’s grip?

LAST WITNESS is a story about one young woman’s fight against evil during a time when all hope has been vanquished.

THE REVIEWS ARE IN!

"THE LESSER WITNESS” is a gripping thriller that will captivate the mind and enthrall the senses..." - Daily Press 

"THE LESSER WITNESS" is apocalyptic survival writing at its best. Through Croy's eyes, the focus is not just on the disaster that caused this ecocatastrophe, but the resulting impact on human survival and interactions. In this, Susan Wingate shines, creating a chronicle that equates belief with hope and the savagery of man with the possibilities of redemption." - Diane Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review

"THE LESSER WITNESS” is a remarkable read filled with riveting suspense that will keep you on your seat from start to finish. This is simply the must read book of the summer." - Sun Sentinel

"Every now and then a book comes along that fills you with emotion; an emotion that is not easily matched by others. “THE LESSER WITNESS” by Author Susan Wingate is that and more as she weaves the emotions of life and the realities that we live in with vivid realism that only a true master can pull off. If you are looking for a thrill ride this summer, this is the book for you." - Chicago Tribune

 

THE LESSER WITNESS

BOOK ONE OF THE ESCHATOS CHRONICLES

 

THE LESSER WITNESS

(Book One of the Eschatos Chronicles)

Eschatology [es-kuh-tol-uh-jee], noun, theology.

1. any system of doctrines concerning last, or final, matters, as death, the Judgment, the future state, etc.

2. the branch of theology dealing with such matters.

Origin of eschatology

1835-45; < Greek éschato (s)

 

2025

It happened in the spring of the year when kings go out to battle…

The ESCHATOS CHRONICLES

A Journal of Apocalyptic Proportions

By GORDON BRICE, London Correspondent                    

DECEMBER 31, 2025

 

Human Interest Story: The Atacama Desert Destroyed.

Reported by Carina Alfuego, The Eschatos Chronicles correspondent in Chile.

In the copper-laden mountains of Calama, a sable-skinned boy named Pichi pokes a stick at a grasshopper. He has trapped the insect inside a rusty toy truck.

One can only imagine him saying, “Monstruo, muerte” as he giggles at the insect, which means die, monster. Not because Pichi is cruel but because he simply doesn’t understand things of nature. He’s only a child.

He is also unaware that behind him a building swarm of haze scuds in his direction. Daylight fades to dark when sand and earth roiling within the wind smudge out the sun. But innocent Pichi doesn’t see. He remains in a squat, his oily back turned to the storm bowling down upon the swatch of hardpan leading to the spot where he stoops over his insect. Dirt particles swell up off the ground as though losing gravity. The ball of filth gathers speed and has blossomed to heights where small planes fly.

Witnesses claim they saw wings and horns in the dust. But Chileans are known for their superstitions that give weight to supernatural visions, to apocryphal sightings, and to mysticisms. What Chileans might call God, others might call Mother Nature.

The difference between God and nature is that one controls the other, and nature is no match for God. Not at any time. Certainly, not this time. Nature takes a backseat, watching as the first squall undulates over the land.

One witness said Pichi must have felt the fury in the wind because he stopped poking the grasshopper and stood. He turned, slowly and deliberately, but all too late. The witness tried to scream for him to run, but the monolithic wall of debris howled in and consumed him. All Pichi could do was gasp.

Then he was gone.

Others spoke of the wind in Biblical terms, of thundering horse hooves, searing temperatures, and tidal waves. Survivors scoured through its toll—statues and mining equipment uprooted, homes flattened, lives taken, like little Pichi’s. They reported the wind feeling alive, said it was hungry.

Pichi’s story is one of many catastrophes occurring across the globe. A person would have to have blinders on not to see that something far worse was at play, from several other reports with similar symbolism—that these catastrophes have split open the gates of heaven, have carved out the cells of hell, placing armies from heaven and throngs of the ungodly squarely on the shoulders of Earth, where every living soul is at stake. Where lines have been drawn in the rubble. From which sides have been taken.

There will be a winner. There will be a loser. There will be a fight to the death.

Game on.

CHAPTER ONE

2025 – San Juan Island, South Beach – The End

Then there was utter ruin. It showed up in waves around the lesser island, miles south and north, east and west, and the ruin circled, uremic and deadly as saliva from a diseased dog. But ruin took its time arriving, as though ascertaining a precise target for its killing blow—one lone stump of land sitting in the sea miles from the mainland.

In ruin’s wake came a deluge erosive, exact, succinct. The first onslaught was the worst. The second and third? More like toeing the island, checking to see if it were still alive.

Amid the devastation, barnacles floated like rose petals along a bridal path lolling in the water after the torrent passed.

Ruin had waved its wand.

Scant traces of life dotted the water and coastline—a befuddled lone orca loosed from its pod, fish skimming the surface in search of their school, probing through the erratic slosh of boiling tidal action.

The orca lurched up but was brought down by a scaled tentacle coiled around its neck. It slapped feverishly at the water, trying to break loose, but to no avail when the tentacled monster snapped off the head of the orca’s body.

The beast snaked through the water. Its long dragon-like head emerged when it smacked the roiling ocean surface with its tail, its body glistening through a stream of spray. And, as suddenly as it appeared, the beast went under. At that same moment, the raging ocean consumed its dead.

The world went momentarily numb, allowing for other species to reacclimate, to ready themselves for the next great thunder to erupt—a thunder that would once again send life scattering in another bloody array through water and rock.

At that point, ruin submerged into the dark void of the sea.

Because of cowardice or intelligence?

Only heaven knows. Either way, ruin waited for its next great upheaval—its final death march through land, when it intended to alleviate the world of its occupants.

****

Across a strand of beach, no wider than a city sidewalk, Croy Justice is running. Against her alabaster skin, her platinum eyebrows all but disappear. Her strained breathing muffles the sound of each footfall in her fight to get away. Amazed she made it in one piece after tripping through the mile-long barricade of driftwood separating this single stretch of land from the rest of the island.

She struggles with the sandy tract until once again her legs tangle beneath her. After falling twice, she slows her pace but keeps moving forward for fear the gang will catch up to her.

Sand flies up, spraying in all directions, most of it falling into her hiking boots where the grit grinds her heels into hamburger. Her right side aches from the strain like a knife in the lung.

An errant wave laps high onto the seaboard. It’s higher than she’s ever seen before, at least any time in the twenty-three years she's lived on the island. As water drenches the cuffs of a stolen pair of cargo pants, each pant leg clings heavy against her skin. Like dragging a duffel bag through an airport, the wet clothing slows her pace even more.

Breathless, Croy stops on a lone patch of green grass. The spot looks forlorn so near the bleak shoreline. The swath of sand and beach carve the edge of sea. The tract bounds off to the east, south, and west, fanning out toward sunrise and sunset.

Croy checks behind her but doesn’t see them.

Three hours earlier she’d lopped off her hair, shaving her head cue-ball clean. Then, hunting in town for supplies. Finding the dead man. Stealing his Bible.

Is that a sin? To steal a Bible?

It felt like a sin. But it was lying right there. He had no use for it anymore.

“Can’t fix that now. Keep going.” Her own words break so much silence that her voice startles her, sounding gravelly and deep. It’s been forever since she’s spoken a civil word to anyone. The term civil makes her skin prickle. Her body aches. She shakes his image, the feeling of his breath on her neck out of her head and tries to stay focused.

Why didn’t he just shoot me?

A grizzled and desolate sky bounds over the sea. Croy looks back again and strains to listen for any signs of the virulent pack, only to hear waves crest and bubble. Foamy water laps onto the sand into spongey pools, and seeps back into the earth. The whooshing of water calms her. The soothing water contrasts with her erratic breathing. Contrasts with the destruction.

Contrasts with her fear.

She checks behind again for the dangerous gang and digs at a ragged thumb nail, then chews at it. Where are they?

Could it be she has outrun them?

Croy straightens her back, arches and stretches, and then stands strong, still watching for the boys. Still breathing hard but with less pain.

The knives in her lungs are gone. For now.

A sense of reprieve loosens her shoulders.

And yet, the hair follicles on the nape of her neck prickle. She's let down her guard far too long, if only for a few seconds.

Croy aches for a respite. She aches for some sense of safety. For the sanctuary of her small boat.

All this dogged running, hiding, and trying to survive in a place that has become unsurvivable has worn her nerves brittle as onion skin.

A fire burns somewhere. Its oaky perfume plays hell with her senses and twirls her thoughts back to a time in her youth, to a campfire with her parents. When life was carefree and safe. When all she feared was a made-up monster under her bed.

But now the monster is real.

She gazes out over the ocean. She needs to get to the mainland.  She spots her boat. Thank God, it’s still there.

The craft rocks with the sea’s motion and looks so small from where she stands.

The anchor held. The beast didn’t destroy the vessel; it left the cat and dog alone. But, why? How?

Croy turns to view the path behind her. The barren stretch is marked by darker indentations where her feet have landed.

Then she gazes ahead of her. She places an arm over her head and slumps to the ground. The emptiness on the island—in her heart—is stifling.

All this self-examination, the self-pitying makes her sick.

“Buck up,” she tells herself.

But when she stands, in the beat of a butterfly wing something hammers into the back of her skull.

Croy lurches forward. Then falls to the ground.

Lying face down, a knuckle-sized stone rolls off her shoulder and lands next to her mouth.

She hears the gang cheering as they near her body.