Alone Revisited

I wasn't too crazy about the opening for Alone so that was the first thing I worked on. I want to show the immediacy of the situation.

Old Opening:


It felt as if the weight of the world was resting on his shoulders, and in a sense, it was. A thousand feet of the earth stood between him and the sunlight above. Even with his kerchief pressed against his nose and mouth the dust that filled the air around him managed to find a way in, coating his teeth and tongue with a gritty film. He’d made the mistake of opening his eyes as he tried to assess his situation, and a piece of grit had gotten into his right eye. Though it was tiny, it felt like a pebble had become lodged beneath the lid.

Given the circumstances, he did the only thing he could do, withdraw within himself, and wait for the dust to settle. He turned off the light on his hardhat, after all, he didn’t know how long he was going to be down here, sat down and waited with his head resting on his knees.


New Opening

It happened so fast there was no time to react. One moment Pete was moving through the darkness of the mine, the small lantern affixed to his helmet lighting his path with a narrow beam of light. The next he was overwhelmed by a dense cloud of dust as the roof of the mine behind him collapsed without warning. The tons of dropping stone displaced the air so fast he was driven forward by a brief gust of wind, nearly falling to the rocky ground as he struggled to maintain his balance.

Boulders and stones tumbled to the ground behind him as he covered his nose and mouth with a handkerchief in an attempt to keep the dust out. It was too late, his teeth and tongue were coated with a coarse film that turned to mud in his mouth. A piece of grit had gotten into one eye, and though it was tiny, it felt like a pebble had become lodged beneath the lid.

Given the circumstances, he did the only thing he could, withdraw within himself, and wait for the dust to settle. He turned off the light on his hardhat, after all, he didn’t know how long he was going to be down here, and sat down with his head resting on his upraised knees. As he was not the superstitious type he felt comfortable in the dark and as he waited his thoughts turned to what had happened.

They’d been getting warnings about a potential cave in for the past two weeks, if the older miners were to be believed. Gustaf was growing restless, they’d say.

Hiram Gustaf had been one of the first miners killed in Tredwell number seven affectionately dubbed The Pit. They believed it was his ghost that had been knocking on the stones as he tried to warn them of the coming danger. 


As this is a story about superstition I need to touch on that issue briefly near the beginning. It's a point  that I will expand on as I explore the conflicts in Pete's upbringing. A college educated man who spent his formative years listening to stories of tommyknockers and ghostly miners on his grandfather's knee. 

What do you think?
 

Did you like the old opening better?

Monday Motivation

You know, it's Monday.




Spent the biggest part of the day working on a stand up desk. Nothing elaborate, but it's functional. Need to get off my butt now that sciatica has become a part of my life.

Free Read Friday: Billy

Welcome to the start of a new short story I call Billy. He's a special little boy, how? I'm not sure yet, as the journey has just begun, but I get the feeling he's going to be very important. Wrote this last night in an hour, and just went through to correct typos this morning. Tuesday I'll be posting the updated opening of Alone, along with notes on what editing was done to bring the story to that point.

photo of gloomy forest

Billy


He heard it crashing through the dark woods around him, the sound filled with deadly intent as he turned to flee into the gloomy depths. He didn’t know which way to run as the sound of the beast hunting him came from every direction. He was trapped between the emptiness of nowhere and gloomy depths of a featureless void. He could smell its rancid breath as the slender trucks of the trees on his right slowly parted, razor sharp claws glowing in the faint light of a sliver of moon that was playing hide and seek behind the low clouds skirting along the treetops above him.

He opened his eyes, relief and disappointment battling for dominance as the featureless void of his bedroom ceiling came into view. The moonlight painted the shadows of the branches of the tree beyond his bedroom window on the wall above his bed. His gaze tracked across his room as he struggled to shake off the paralysis that held him in its grip.

It would ease up shortly and he’d be able to get up, until then he was trapped, only able to move his eyes. Like the dream the paralysis had been happening every night since his big sister, Sarah, was laid to rest several weeks earlier. He hadn’t told anyone yet what was happening to him. Not that they would listen. His parents were still wrapped up in the sorrow of his sister’s passing, going through the motions of their daily lives on auto pilot. Getting up, going to work, coming home and going to bed.

They rarely spoke anymore and several times he’d found his mother standing at Sarah’s door just staring at the unmade bed, and the piles of clothes still littered across the floor. Everything had been left just like it was the day she had been rushed to the hospital. As if at any moment she would crash through the front door, slamming it behind her, before charging up the steps, taking them two at a time.

His father used to yell at her all the time about slamming the door, threatening to take it off its hinges, not that that ever made any sense. Why would you leave your front door open like that.

But what did he know, he was only six, and as the paralysis eased he threw back his covers and crossed to the door of his room where he opened it and peered across the hall to his sister’s closed door.

Was she waiting for him in there?

The night continued around him, so full of possibilities, and he was tempted to sneak across to hall a take a quick peek. But he didn’t, just as he hadn’t the night before, or the night before that, or even  before that. Every night he looked across the hall at his sister’s door, wanting to step across and find out, but fear kept him rooted in place.

Just as every night it had been the same dream, repeated over and over again. Always beginning in that small house sitting next to a babbling brook whose soft voice whispered about secret places and unknown things. The forest around the house was filled with shadowy things that slithered over and around on another in an endless dance to gods whose names had been forgotten long before man set foot upon the world. Held at bay by forces they had little understanding of.

Inside a roaring fire filled the small house with the scent of fresh pine and an embracing warmth that wrapped you in a loving manner, that made any worries seem insignificant by comparison. They sat together on a handmade rug before the leaping flames of the fire, side by side as they gazed into the dancing flames.

Every time she turned to regard him for a moment with weary eyes, to ask him a simple question for which there was no simple answer.

“Do you believe?”

To be continued!


If you'd like to be notified when I update my blog.
Follow the link below.



Would you like three of my books for free?







Sign up for my free starter library by following the link below


Postapoc Wednesday

Coming this Month in Post-Apocalyptic Fiction

Click on cover for more info or to order!

Synopsis:
Surviving in a tough situation is not always the best option; sometimes dying is much better than staying alive. The Academy showed Paladin Yaropolk what makes the world go round: pragmatism and personal gain. Restart was set in motion, but it only makes players more frantic. Now everyone plays only for himself. Yaropolk faces the same dilemma: be like all of them, or keep his humanity and be known as an odd duck. Because there is only one rule in this world: kill or be killed…


Click on cover for more info or to order!

Synopsis:
Set in the UK in the immediate aftermath of a mysterious illness which swept the country and left millions dead, the series follows the trials facing a reluctant hero, Dan, and the group he forms around him. They must battle the elements, find sufficient supplies and equipment to survive, and protect themselves against the most destructive force on the planet: other people.

Click on cover for more info or to order!

Synopsis:
It's been days since the terrorist attack and the nation has torn itself apart. Food and medicine are scarce and daily life has become a struggle for survival. Two survivors, thrust together in the most unlikely of circumstances, travel from Maine to Tennessee in search of family, but as they travel the scarred land they are about to discover that this attack has a far more insidious purpose than they first realized.

Monday Motivation

It's the start of another week, yay. Here's a little thought for all the procrastinators out there, you know who you are.


Alone: The End

After a bit of a delay I'm now able to finish this little tale. I hope you've enjoyed it so far and again my apologies for last week's delay. So without further interruption let's get into it. Here's the link for the full story if you'd like to start from the beginning. 






Alone


 The dead miner stirring from his ageless sleep?

He felt the presence on a purely instinctive level,  something massive yet insubstantial. A yawning emptiness that slowly opened to consume everything in its path.  He moved away, scrabbling across that rocky surface, coming up hard against the wall as the emptiness opened behind him.

As it came closer he reached out with one hand, feeling for the floor that was no longer there. The mine had vanished, replaced by that all consuming void as a single thought whispered through his mind.

Am I dead?

It elicited a sense of sadness, a deepening sorrow as he came to understand that he would never see his daughter again. She would grow up without him to watch over her, maybe she would fall in love, and have children of her own. His wife  Renee might move on, find another not as foolish as himself to stand by her side until death parted them.

But most of all he would miss the warm feeling of the sun on his face. The gentle touch of an errant breeze carrying the scent of the pine trees covering the hillside behind his house. The hard bite of winter’s chill as the snow crunched beneath his feet.

The emptiness grew behind him, expanding to encompass everything his world had become, replacing the mine with its frozen caress. The sweat on his brow chilled his flesh as the cold slowly wrapped him in its embrace.  He was thankful he’d kept his heavy coat as it now served to protect him from the encroaching cold.

It made no sense, yet at the same time it was perfectly logical. This deep, on the devil’s doorstep, the temperature should be over a hundred degrees. But it had changed as that emptiness opened behind him, and the cold loneliness of the grave wrapped him in its mournful embrace.

He felt its touch on a purely instinctive level, coming as a  faint tickle at the base of his neck. Slowly it climbed the back of his skull, numbing his flesh at its chilled touch, and he became aware of another presence.

Something as old as time itself that regarded him with a frigid indifference. As the numbness of its touch spread across his body his memories stirred as this essence rifled through the files of his past with calloused indifference. He saw his life flashing before his eyes, and knew then that death had come to take its due.

He saw himself as a child sitting upon his grandfather’s knee as he wove the tales of miners of old, who viewed the world around them as one filled with the creatures of legend, and the magic of unlimited possibilities. Then he was a young man, focused on his studies, having shed the wonder of childhood and all the beliefs it entailed, as cold hard facts replaced the myths and folklore of his early days.

He saw his bride to be once again as she walked down the aisle towards him, surrounded by family and friends as two loves were joined into one. He saw the birth of his daughter and his heart filled with sadness when he realized he would never see her again.

Light filled the chamber behind him as his memories cascaded through his thoughts. His shadow was long against the loose stone and blasted walls of his grave. He saw his tool bag lying next to the boot protruding from the ground and crawled towards it.

With every step more details came into focus. He recognized the pattern on the bottom of the boot, it was a red wing just like he wore and that spark of recognition set off a chain reaction that washed through him like the rushing waters of a dam suddenly released from its prison.

He recognized the coveralls as well, they were similar to what every other miner wore, but with one small difference. The tiny plastic butterfly attached to the zipper tang that opened the bottom of the pants leg.

“They’ll protect you daddy,” his daughter whispered in his mind as a chilly tear traced a wet path down his cheek. She had attached one to every zipper tang on his coveralls, a talisman of her own making to protect the one she loved.

The guys had ribbed him about them when they first saw them, but the kidding died down shortly after, when he explained what they meant. The atmosphere becoming somber as they waited for the cage to take them down into the bowels of the earth.

Into an eternal darkness where no one’s future was assured.

As the light grew he came to understand what love truly meant when more of those tiny plastic butterflies came to light. Behind him death waited as it waited for everyone, it had all the time in the world, but his had run short and when he felt that chilled touch on his shoulder he knew it had run out.

Upon your birth a voucher was issued, a chit, a token much like the ones the miners of old used to mark their loads. It was something we all carried our entire lives, slowly counting down the seconds, the moments, until death lay claim to our soul. For some that timer was short, while for others it was long.

His had wound down to the end and the sorrow that overwhelmed him at the sight of those sparkling butterflies filled him with a bitter remorse. He’d always promised to come home to her, now he was going to break that promise.

The hand on his shoulder tightened as it pulled him back towards the light that now filled the mine around him and painted his long shadow upon the shattered wall. Other shadows appeared around him as a babble of voices intruded upon his consciousness. Other hands grabbed him and he expected to find his grandfather and two of his uncles who had passed away when he turned towards the light.

Instead the bright light of a work lantern blinded him, and he held his hand up to cover his eyes.

“Are you okay, Pete?”

“Yeah,” he answered, startled to find his crew around him, “yeah. I’m okay.”

“Can you walk?”

Pete nodded silently as his eyes adjusted to the light and he looked around for his tool bag. It sat on the ground to his right, the boot that had been next to it now gone.

“Let’s get you out of here,” Arnold said as he pulled him towards the opened shaft, “make way people,” he shouted to the others who stepped back to clear a path.

As he was led from the mine he looked down at his coveralls, noticing that the small plastic butterflies were gone. A child’s talisman used in exchange for his life and for the first time in his life he came to understand that sometimes magic did exist, and the power of love, and belief could be enough to defeat even death. 

THE END


If you'd like to be notified when I update my blog.
Follow the link below.



Would you like three of my books for free?







Sign up for my free starter library by following the link below


My apoloigies

Just want to take a moment to apologize for not posting Alone part 6 last Friday. The story has presented me with two possible endings and I haven't settled yet on which one to follow. Stay tuned this Friday, I'll have the ending posted by then.

Oh and while you're here, did you know?


D-Day

Seventy three years ago today allied troops launched their assault on fortress Europe.


Alone: Pt5

It has been a busy week for me. I've been on vacation taking care of some things around the house and I'm, looking forward to going back to work so I can get a break.  Here's the latest part of my serial story, a little later than normal, but I've got a good excuse.

I can see where some foreshadowing will be needed when I rewrite this little tale.

I hope you're enjoying the story so far. Don't hesitate to let me know what you think.



Alone


Stopping he gazed into the emptiness as the steady sound of a pick striking stone came from the darkness. It had to be his imagination, there was no room for ghosts,  and the legends of ghosts in his ordered world. Dead was dead, and there was no coming back.

As he stared into the darkness he began to make out small details that he knew he should not be able to see. The silhouette of a slender man stood against a faint illumination that he knew was not there. Yet it was something his emotional side grasped for with a desperation born of the need to see anything but the featureless void.

The man moved, picking up his pick, raising it above his head before bringing it down in an arc that was accompanied by the sound of a pick striking solid stone. Pete shook his head, wiping at his eyes, as the silhouette of the man bent down and retrieved something from the ground. He looked at the object in his hand for a moment, then seemed to turn and regard Pete, before tossing it in his direction.

A small stone hit Pete on the shoulder as a soft chuckle came from that presence. It was a  low, guttural, sound without mirth. A predatory sound that sent a chill washing across his back as the odor of decay tickled his nose . A pair of red eyes emerged, glowing softly with a malevolent light. They blinked and Pete jerked back with a startled cry.

Knocking came from his right, hard and fast, the ringing sound of cold steel against unyielding stone. It wasn’t a distant sound, as if heard through the earth, but right next to him. In the small chamber with him.

More knocking answered from the left, a fast tempo that raced the first. Even more joined in, coming from behind and before him as those glowing red eyes watched him with a preternatural stillness. More knocking came from the ceiling and floor as Pete curled into a fetal position with his hand clamped over his ears.

He withdrew within himself, retreating from the disharmony that filled the chamber around him. He’d always laughed at his grandfather’s belief that knockers lived beneath the earth. Chalking it up to a miner’s superstition coupled with long days spent beneath the ground. But now that he was experiencing it first hand he understood that these old beliefs had been born in truth. 

Something snatched at his shoulder and he cried out in terror. Another hand grabbed at his ankle, the fingers ice cold through the protective layer of his clothes. A cold hand caressed his cheek and he screamed as a shriek of agony sliced across the symphony of sound, silencing it instantly.

He opened his eyes and looked up into the hushed emptiness. The silhouette was gone, as was the faint illumination that had set it off. He was once again, alone in the dark, with the sound of the earth settling around him.

How long had it been?

From behind him came the sound of movement, stones stirred as something emerged from the rocky depths, pebbles cascaded across the hard ground, and he sensed a deeper blackness rising up from the floor of the cave behind him

Was it death coming to take him at last?

To be continued!


If you'd like to stay abreast of the story, follow the link 
below to sign up to be notified when my blog updates.



Would you like three of my books for free?







Sign up for my free starter library by following the link below



 

Memorial Day 2017






As we go about our day let us pause for a moment to reflect upon those who have given their lives in the defense of this country. They came from all walks of life, from city streets and country roads, from backgrounds as diverse as Wall Street to the rolling Farmlands, and everything in between. White, black, red, and yellow, it didn't matter the color of their skin, they came together under a common cause, and a shared desire to do their part for the country they loved.

Free Read Friday: Alone Pt4


I've posted the entire short story, up to the end of this part on it's own page that you can find HERE!.


Alone


Moving closer he traced the outline of the object with his hand as it curved upward, the Cris-crossed object terminating at a scarred flat surface. The scarred surface curved down to another flat section and as his fingers traced the pattern embedded in its face he realized what it was.

A boot.


Just like the one he wore and as the realization filled his mine he came to understand that the Cris-crossed patter had been the laces. Someone had lost or discarded a boot in the mine, and it had lain there ignored until he came across it while searching for his tool bag. It wasn’t uncommon for miners to bring spare footwear with them when they ventured into the mines so the presence of the boot was not uncommon


Relieved by the sheer innocence of the object he tried to pull it from the ground, only to find it was securely held in place by the stony earth. And as he pulled he came to realize the boot was occupied by a foot.


Who was it?


 With fingers shaking at the revelation and the implications it contained he followed the outline of the boot in the opposite direction. Slipping his finger beneath the hem of that coarse fabric he came to a softer fabric bunched around a solid object. Beyond that his fingers came into contact with flesh as cold as the ground in which it had been buried.


An uncontrollable flash of panic drove him back and he scrabbled through the loose stone, loosing all sense of direction as a single thought blossomed in his mind like a poisonous flower.


There was a body with him.


He looked left, and then right, the emptiness pressing in on all sides as he focused on that singular notion. There was a body in the mine with him. It was followed by another that came with an ominous clarity. It was not where it should be to have been affected by the cave in.


Unless, he tried to convince himself, he had gotten turned around when he was crawling through the dark, and instead of being near the face of the mine, he had unknowingly returned to the collapsed section.


Who was it?


The others had gotten out, he was sure of it, he’d left them at the bottom of the vertical shaft leading to section 16B. Unless one of them had followed him back without him knowing about it, and had become buried by the falling stone.

It made sense, it was logical, and if anything was to be said about him, he was logical. Four years of college had made him that way. His time in school had also severed to distance him from his roots, but the roots of a boy raised in the West Virginia coal fields ran strong and deep. Roots that ran as far back as the late seventeen hundred when the first settlers ventured west, finding the rolling hills of the Appalachians that reminded them so much of the homelands they had left behind.  These roots might be weakened, but they could never be removed.


Reaching this conclusion helped to quell the panic simmering in the pit of his stomach, and he stopped moving so he could work out where he’d left his bag. The section he occupied was not very big, no more than thirty by forty feet. If he took his time, and approached his problem logically, he’d find his tool bag.


It was just a matter of remaining focused as he carefully worked his way back and forth across the open space. It wasn’t going to be quick, but it was preferable to running around in a blind panic.  Calmly he crawled forward until he reached the wall of the mine. Turning to his right he crawled two steps, then turned right again and crawled across the open space towards what he hoped was the other side of the mine.


As he worked, slow and careful, he became conscious of the sound of a steady pounding that came from his left. Turning his head in that direction he peered into the emptiness as a slow chill crawled the length of his mine when he realized it was the steady sound of a pick working the wall.


It was believed that when a miner died in the mine, his ghost returned to finish his shift. 


To be continued!

If you'd like to stay abreast of the story, follow the link 
below to sign up to be notified when my blog updates.



Would you like three of my books for free?







Sign up for my free starter library by following the link below



 

Legion of the Damned Excerpt

Here's another little taste of Legion of the Damned, coming May 31, 2017. It's currently available as a pre-order at the low price of $.99 that will go up to  $2.99 the day after release. I've also lowered the prices of book 1, All Roads Lead to Terror, and book 2 The Reaping, to celebrate. You can grab all three for less than three bucks using the links above. . 
There has been a slight change to the cover to bring it in line with the story inside. Today's excerpt will make that perfectly clear, and I hope intrigue you enough to reserve your copy today.





Excerpt

As night approached and the shadows grew long the children gathered around a single fire as David stood before them. Meat and Einstein had become outsiders.

“Do you believe?” David said as he gazed at the faces gathered before him.

“Yes,” they whispered in response, hands clasped before their chests as they watched David with rapt attention.

“Do you believe with all your heart that God lives in each of us?”

“Yes,” they answered with more assurance as David moved back and forth in front of the fire, pointing at them as he spoke.

“He said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.”

“Amen,” the children whispered.

Meat was reminded of the service he’d attended when he was younger, the preacher moving back and forth across the stage as he whipped up the emotions of those attending. Smoke and mirrors, he had thought then, but after his experience in Richmond where he'd learned belief could be a powerful weapon, it was with just a touch of unease that he watched David.

“What are they doing?” Einstein said, and Meat held up his hand to quiet him. There was no sense drawing attention to them, not now.

“Let us pray,” David said as he bowed his head and the others followed suit.

“Father, we stand before you, a lost flock without its shepherd. Taken from us by a world that has closed its mind and its heart to the glory that is your love. We are without hope, lost upon a sea of unease. Will you lead us to our rightful home? Will you guide us in the task we have undertaken? Amen.” David finished and lifted his head to look at the faces that turned up to meet his gaze.

“Amen,” the children responded dutifully.

“Jesus said. ‘So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. “

“Amen,” the children answered in a growing voice that threatened the stillness of the darkening forest.

“Do we remember what Jesus said in Matthews twenty-six when Peter drew his sword as the Romans came to take him?”

“What did he say?” the children asked their combined voice a shout of righteous anger that stirred the short hairs on the nape of Meat’s neck.

“Put your sword back in its place,’ Jesus said to him, ‘for all who draw the sword will die by the sword.’ Our enemies have chosen to live by the sword, and so they shall perish by the sword.”

“Amen,” the children shouted and David leaned forward with one hand cupping his ear. He had them now, they’d follow him to hell itself if he asked, and what they planned to do was not far from it.

“Amen,” they repeated, louder this time, their voices carrying more conviction than before.

“I can’t hear you,” David said as he leaned over with a smile, his hand still next to his ear.

“Amen,” they screamed in a single voice that rocked the stillness of the forest around them.

“Jesus said, ‘Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels?”

“Amen,” came the shout on cue, even louder than before as the children warmed up to David’s preaching.

“Are we not Father Henry’s legion of angels?”

Again their shout rocked the forest and David drank long and deep of the conviction that rolled off the assembled children. They had achieved a symbiotic relationship with one another, one feeding on the other, fueling their anger, their conviction, their belief

“But we failed him,” David said as he took a step back and crossed his arms over his chest. A feeling of quiet discomfort spread through Meat’s stomach as the gathered children groaned in response to David’s comment.

“I don’t like this,” Meat said.

“He’s just talking to them.”

“That’s the way it always starts, with just talk, I imagine that’s the way it began in Richmond.”

“I wasn’t there, so I don’t understand.”

“I know, but had you been you would. It was like,” and Meat paused as he sought out the word to best describe the feelings that were coming to him from the gathered children. Fanatical came to mind, but he felt that was too strong, it was something much more subtle. Loss, confusion, they were close, but not quite right.

“They had been taught from the Bible, but somewhere along the way it had become garbled, mixed up with other things that made little sense,” Meat said, trying his best to put his finger on the problem.

“We, his legion of angels, have failed our father,” David said in a near whisper as several cries of anguish rose from the gathered children.

“What can we do?” One of them cried out.

“Yes, what can we do?” another took up the call.

Soon they were all asking the same question, their voices rising in volume as the night slowly descended around them.

“We must pay penance for our failure,” David said and turned away from the crowd. He did something none of them could see. When he turned back, a black cross bisected his face. The upright started at the hairline of his forehead and followed the line of his nose, ending at the tip. The cross member made him look like he had a unibrow, following the line of the ridge above his eyes.

“We must take vengeance on those who have wronged us for they have chosen to live by the sword, and now they must die by the sword. Who will take penance with me?”

Hands shot up throughout the crowd as a babble of voices rose up through the trees. All repeating the same thing. “me, me, me, me,” they said, and if a god existed within the low gray clouds that hugged the earth, he would have surely heard the anger in their voices.

“We will become Father Henry’s legion of angels, and we will bring death to his enemies. For we are the lost legion, we are, the legion of the damned.”

End Excerpt


Synopsis:

Hell was coming to Paradise!


In a remote desert world that bore little semblance to their own, the boys corner and kill Nickoli. Unfortunately the act fails to release Window from his curse, and they discover that a much higher sacrifice must be made to free him.

Struggling to silence the voices from his past, Billie-Bob’s drinking results in his capture by the family of cannibals he once escaped from. This time he is taken to Paradise, a small compound along one of the many tributaries leading to the Chesapeake Bay. For those who lived there it was truly a paradise on earth, for its captives it was a different story as they were reduced to nothing more than livestock to feed a growing population.

While following the trail left by Billie-Bob’s captors, Meat, Window and Einstein come upon the shattered remnants of the church that had given them shelter on their trek north. Many of the church’s inhabitants had perished in the attack, but most of the children had been able to escape. They join the boys on their journey south to rescue Billie-Bob, and exact their vengeance on those who had shattered their peaceful existence.

Hell was coming to Paradise, and there would be no denying its vengeance.





 To get your copy of the 

Richard Schiver starter

library, tell me where to

send it!


Send my FREE BOOKS!








There was a flavor of “Lord of the Flies” expressed through the savage tribe of kids who kidnapped the children in the first place. They were viscous, brutal creatures grown from the cycle of abuse this book explores. And the religious practices they had cultivated in the absence of love and protection is truly horrifying. It’s the kind of horror that at once makes your stomach churn and your hand itch to draw it. (Or maybe that’s just my response to these kind of stories…)

Jeanette Andromeda
Horror Made

I would place Mister Schiver's talents in league with Neil Gaiman's. He shines in his ability to let dialogue propel a story. That is trickier than it may seem, but the talented writers do it with an effortless grace.
 
T.W Brown
Brutally Honest Reviews

Free Read Friday: Alone Pt 3

You know how sometimes you're working on a story you think is headed in one direction, and it suddenly decides to go off in another. Well that's what has happened with the continuing saga of our hapless miner.

If you're new, here's a link to part one so you can start at the beginning of the story. Part 1
There will be a link for part two at the end of part one so you can follow along.





Alone Part III




He struggled against the panic threatening to overwhelm him, taking in slow steady breaths after coming to a stop. He didn’t want to get turned around in the dark. After a few moments the panic passed and he continued on his hands and knees, the sharp edges of loose stone cutting into the flesh of his palms as he carefully worked his way across the stony ground.

He’d been less than twenty feet away from his tool bag and the spare battery when his light went out. An area that could be covered in just a few steps if he could see. Less than the distance across the front porch of his house where his wife and daughter had surely heard the news of he the cave in.

Would they know he was trapped?

Surely they’d figured that out by now and had told his wife. She would be waiting by the phone for any news while his daughter, Becky played nearby, blissfully unaware of the danger he was in. Later, after it was all said and done, maybe they would tell her. Of course that would depend on whether he survived or not. If he didn’t… He let that thought die the quiet death it deserved. As long as he was still breathing he would do everything in his power to get home to his family.

Without ventilation how long would that be? The question rose up in his mind and he quickly squashed it with a stubbornness born from years of hard work, and doing the right thing.

Carefully he reached into the emptiness ahead of him. His fingers splayed out as he slowly moved his hand back and forth across the space in front of him, searching for the familiar shape of his tool bag. In addition to a spare battery it contained his water as well. Another essential to his survival.

He had to find that bag!

Without light he was unable to see the landmarks that would help keep him straight. Making it possible he could crawl around in circles for hours as his panic grew to envelope him, driving him to run around blindly as he bounced off the walls, increasing the likelihood of another cave in that could bury him beneath tons of unrelenting earth.

Maybe that would be for the best, a quick death beneath the falling ceiling was preferable to the agonizing demise that awaited him if he didn’t find his water. Already his mouth was becoming parched, and the air around him was growing stale.

How long did he have?

He moved another few feet forward, the loose stone rattling beneath his knees as he searched the emptiness in front of him. Perspiration sheathed his body beneath the heavy coveralls he wore. It would be much cooler to shed them, but at the same time he would have only a thin layer of clothing to protect him from the sharp edges of the stone that surrounded him.

A mine was not a place to go without some form of protection. The stone had been shattered by explosions and drilling as miners worked to extract the treasures it contained. Unlike natural caves formed over the millennia’s by the carving action of running water, mines were places of jagged stone faces ready to exact their revenge for man’s intrusion.

His fingers brushed against coarse fabric and he grasped at it as a whimper of relief sounded in his throat. Stretching out his arm he searched wit his fingers for the familiar shape of a battery or his water bottle. What he found instead made little sense in the dark. The fabric ended in a hem, and beneath that was an object that felt familiar, yet alien. It wasn’t his bag and as he worked his hand along the fabric he realized it was half buried beneath the stony ground.

There was something solid, yet yielding on the other side of the fabric and beneath the hem lay a cris-crossed pattern that was achingly familiar. His fingers traced the coarse fabric that made up the pattern to one side, finding a metal hole through which the  fabric passed.

What was it?


To be continued!

If you'd like to stay abreast of the story, follow the link 
below to sign up to be notified when my blog updates.



Would you like three of my books for free?







Sign up for my free starter library by following the link below




 

Monday Motivation

I'm late as usual. Always working, and always behind. I don't think I'll ever catch up.

I'm sure by now you've noticed that I've updated the blog. I'm also raising the stakes on my mailing list. Instead of only one book when you sign up, I'm now giving away three full length novels to get you started. An introductory library if you will.

It's right over there, on the right, you know you want to click on the link, go ahead, I'll still be here when you get back.

You know it's really tough at times staying motivated. Being a writer is one of those jobs that's better performed alone. Sure, once the writing part is done there's a whole slew of other people who get involved in getting the story out. But in the beginning it's just the writer and the blank page, and one word after the next as we string together sentences we hope will enlighten, inspire, and maybe send a chill down the reader's spine.


Everyone draws inspiration from something, for me it's the readers response to my work, their reviews, good or bad, are what drive me to continue to create. To push the bar just a little higher with each completed project.

What inspires you in your work? What is it beside fame and fortune that compels you to climb out of bed each morning and do your thing?


Free read Friday: Alone Pt 2

Final edits are finished for Legion of the Damned. They have been formatted and uploaded to Amazon and Smashwords for distribution. I still have to format for the print version and that is the next project on my to do list. But before I move onto that I want to share the next part of my story in progress with you.

If you haven't read part one yet, here's a link to get caught up, there is a link to get back. Part 1


Alone

It was as silent as a tomb, and he shuddered at the thought that this might very well become his grave. In a perfect world they would do everything in their power to rescue him, working around the clock if necessary, unfortunately Tredwell was not known for expanding any more effort than necessary to protect its miners.


If the cave in wasn’t too bad they would put forth an effort to rescue him, on the other hand, and here he stopped this line of reasoning before it got too far ahead and the discomfort he felt blossomed into a full blown panic. There was nothing he could do but wait.


Turning off his light to conserve the battery he rested his head on his arms that he’d crossed over his knees, and listened to the earth around him as it slowly settled. The temperature was climbing, wrapping him in a suffocating cocoon of warmth.


Shaft 17C was so deep it was rumored that one had to be careful where they swung their pick for fear of knocking on the devil’s doorway. 


Without ventilation the temperature hovered around one hundred and five. With the shaft blocked it was anybody’s guess how hot it would get. As the heat seeped through his heavy work coat he reached for his water. Luckily he’d brought several bottles, but he only took a small sip. As much as it pained him to do so, he knew it would be best to conserve every drop of water he could.


Turning on his light he looked around to take stock of his situation. The dust had settled as much as it was likely to, and he found he was at the face of the mine. The deepest part they had worked to, the stone around him scarred by the marks of their passage. Gouged out lines from the drills that bored into solid stone to set explosives for blasting.


Pushing himself to his feet he crossed to the collapsed section of the roof. Here a pile of stones blocked the entrance, filling the opening completely. Taking his hammer from the loop on his pants he beat on the face of the largest boulder. He stopped, and leaned in close, pressing his ear against the silent face.


Was that knocking? He wondered, or just an echo of his own pounding. He was certain he’d heard an answering knock on the stone, faint, almost imperceptible, he was sure it was there. It had to be there, to believe otherwise would lead only to death.


He knocked again, leaning in close to listen, and once more was certain he heard a faint knock answering his own.


They were coming. How long it would take was anybody’s guess, but they were coming to get him. He turned back to where he’d left his tool bag, and was halfway to it when the light on his helmet flickered briefly before going out completely.


The battery was dead.


He stopped, and tried to recall how close he had been to his tool bag. There was another battery in it, If he could get to it he could replace the dead battery. Carefully he dropped to his hands and knees, his eyes wide open, yet completely blind, as he carefully worked his way forward, reaching out with one hand to feel for his tool bag.


A thought emerged at the edge of his consciousness and he struggled to keep it at bay. Yet it persisted, blossoming into his mind like a deadly flower, with a cold clarity that made his knees weak and turned his bowels to ice water.


So this is what it was like to be buried alive.

To be continued.

Link for part three: PART 3


If you'd like to stay abreast of the story, follow the link 
below to sign up to be notified when my blog updates.




Legion of the Damned: Excerpt #3

My goal had been to post another portion of the story I started last week, unfortunately the need to finish the final edits on Legion of the Damned, ate up much of the time I have available for writing. With that behind me now I can focus on finishing the story.

In the interim, here's another little taste of Legion of the Damned, coming May 31, 2017. Currently available as a pre-order at a special price of $.99 that will go up to the regular price of $2.99 the day of release. Reserve your copy today. Stay turned to the end of the post for a special offer.

I hope you enjoy it.

Reserve your copy HERE!

Excerpt

“Please,” he moaned as a solitary tear slid from the corner of his eye to trace a wet path down his cheek. As a child, he’d needed a night light to keep the creatures lurking in the shadows at bay, and as he had grown older, he thought he had been done with such childish things. Now, as he stood alone against the emptiness, he wished he could have that small light once again.

He shuddered at the thought as another emerged, sending a slow chill winding its way down his spine. With a light, he would be able to see what hid in the shadows and he realized then that sometimes it was better not to be able to see what waited in the dark.

He focused his attention on that single point of light, struggling to ignore the vast emptiness that stood behind him, and the denizens of the dark who sought the comfort his warmth could provide. Shadows passed across the face of that distant light as the steady sound of footsteps echoed through the emptiness. They faded in and out of focus, and he was reminded of what he’d seen when he crossed over.

He had returned to the interior of that cooler at the supermarket, Maria resting on his outstretched legs, but they were not alone. There was something else with them, something as old as the emptiness that shrouded them. Kneeling beside them as he comforted Maria in her final hours that ticked down with resolute steadiness. He had felt it as it caressed her battered and bleeding body, and the chill it awakened within him had taken root in the heart of his soul.

Those steady footsteps moved around him, circling him as the denizens of the dark backed away, and a single thought whispered through his mind.

Welcome home!

Around him, it was as silent as a tomb, the only sound that of his heavy breathing, and the whine of terror whispering softly in his throat.

“I’m sorry,” he whimpered as the light faded from view and the emptiness behind him reached out to wrap him in its chilled embrace. The loss of sight served to heighten his other senses, and he heard something slithering through the emptiness behind him. His sense of touch and smell exploded, and he felt the chilled caresses of those nameless things that stirred the hairs on his arms causing them to stand on end. The odors of ozone and excrement combined to create a noxious smell that set his teeth on edge and left a metallic tang in his mouth.

As the darkness filled the void around him his emotional sense of empathy was double, tripled, until he was overcome by a primitive terror that let him feel their pain. They were the creatures of the night, forever imprisoned in the shadowy corners of a well-lit world, fated to a bleak future. 

End Excerpt
Synopsis:

Hell was coming to Paradise!


In a remote desert world that bore little semblance to their own, the boys corner and kill Nickoli. Unfortunately the act fails to release Window from his curse, and they discover that a much higher price must be paid to free him.

Struggling to silence the voices from his past, Billie-Bob’s drinking results in his capture by the family of cannibals he once escaped from. This time he is taken to Paradise, a small compound along one of the many tributaries leading to the Chesapeake Bay. For those who lived there it was truly a paradise on earth, for its captives it was a different story as they were reduced to nothing more than livestock to feed a growing population.

While following the trail left by Billie-Bob’s captors, Meat, Window and Einstein come upon the shattered remnants of the church that had given them shelter on their trek north. Many of the church’s inhabitants had perished in the attack, but most of the children had been able to escape. They join the boys on their journey south to rescue Billie-Bob, and exact their vengeance on those who had shattered their peaceful existence.

Hell was coming to Paradise, and there would be no denying its vengeance.


Special Offer

Get all three books, over 550 pages of post apocalyptic adventure for less than the regular price of one. Order books one and two for only $0.99 each, and reserve book 3 for the same low price.


But you better hurry!
This deal won't last forever!


Click on the image above to order!



Dreadland Chronicles

Fourteen years ago a cataclysm shook the realms of multiple universes as a rising tide of evil rose up to battle those in power. Many worlds ceased to exist in the blink of an eye. On our world the dead walked, bringing society to its knees. The technology we had taken for granted stopped working as a new dark age filtered across the land. An age of unrestrained brutality where the only law was the firepower one carried, and the only hope was for a quick death followed by a dreamless sleep. 

It is into this world they have bee born. 

Four boys who have grown up knowing the brutality of a society teetering on the brink of extinction. Each of them alone is but a boy, however, together they are a force capable of defeating the evil that is slowly spreading across the land.


While you're here, don't forget to subscribe to my mailing list.
Each month I give away a personally autographed print copy of one of my books to one person chosen at random from my subscribers.

I'll also give you a free copy of my novel White Walker just for signing up, follow the link below.

http://www.eepurl.com/2bYSf




Free read Friday: Alone

As promised in my last post I offer you a brief detour through the landscape of my mind. My intent is to weave a tale about superstition, and who would be more superstitious than a miner, after all these men who toil beneath the ground face death almost daily. When they climb onto the car for the trip down, I'm sure they wonder if this will  be the last time they see the sky.

This is a work in progress. Next Friday I'll add to the story, possibly finish it, maybe not as I work to uncover the fossil of the story that lies buried in my mind. Thanks for stopping by and don't hesitate to share your thoughts in the comments.

So without further adieu, I give you:



ALONE

It felt as if the weight of the world was resting on his shoulders, and in a sense, it was, as a thousand feet of the earth stood between him and the sunlight bathing the ground above in a soft yellow light. Even with his kerchief pressed against his nose and mouth the dust that filled the air around him managed to find a way in, coating his teeth and tongue with a gritty film. He’d made the mistake of opening his eyes as he tried to assess his situation, and a piece of the grit had gotten into his right eye. Though it was tiny, it felt like a pebble had become lodged beneath his eyelid.

Given the circumstances, he did the only thing he could do, withdraw within himself, and wait for the dust to settle. Turning off the light on his hardhat, after all, he didn’t know how long he was going to be down here, he sat down and waited with his head resting on his knees.

An electrician with the Treadwell mine Pete and his crew had been removing the last of the lighting from shaft 17C in preparation for closing it permanently. Structural problems had been recently uncovered, and though the shaft was likely to produce for another six months, it would have been foolish to continue operations.

Did the others get out? He wondered.

They should have, all of them had reached the vertical shaft that would take them up to the next level when he realized he had forgotten his tool bag. Had it not been for that he’d be on the other side with the rest of them.

It was only a hundred dollars worth of tools, but hey, a hundred bucks was a hundred bucks. He dropped his hand to the tool bag next to him, comforted by its familiar shape. It was his link to who he was, and what lay beyond the plug of jumbled boulders that blocked his way out.

They should be working on it soon, he thought as a stream of pebbles cascaded down the stone on his right. 

A third generation miner who had gotten the education his father and grandfather lacked. He had not followed the path they wanted. They wanted him to become a doctor, or a  lawyer, anything but a miner who spent the better part of their life beneath the ground. But he had been drawn to the job by their stories of the deep mines, and the men who toiled in them. He wanted to belong to that select brotherhood who every day walked into harm's way to eek out a living and drive a nation.

After what felt like an hour he turned on his lamp, lifted his head, and slowly opened his eyes.  The beam of his light pierced the darkness that surrounded him, illuminating the wall of the tunnel across from him that carried the scars of their digging. Long narrow gouges marred the face of the stone. They looked like the claw marks of some ancient beast, and a chill ran the length of his spine as he turned his head to the right to illuminate the pile of boulders that blocked the tunnel.

He was alone. The realization hit him with the force of a physical blow, and though he had never been one to chatter, he now realized just how important the background noise of daily life could be.

To be continued!

Here's a link to Part 2

If you'd like to stay abreast of the story, follow the link 
below to sign up to be notified when my blog updates.

Creativity and being out of touch.

It's been a little more than two weeks since I last wrote on this page, my plan had been to start writing a short story every week, starting it on Monday, and sharing whatever progress I had made here on the following Friday.

But you know what they say about best laid plans.

In addition to the sciatica that has been making it difficult for me to sit and concentrate on any one thing I got hit with a late winter bug that pretty much put me in bed for three days. I'm feeling much better now but the sciatica is still nagging at me, though not near as bad as when it first flared up. I've gone through MRI's and X-Rays only to be told that this is something I'm going to have to deal with.

When I remember to, I do my exercises. There is so much on my plate right now.  Dreadland chronicles book III, Legion of the Damned is in its final stages as we prepare it for a May 31 release date.

A Father's Love is pretty much finished but I haven't made the final decision yet as to whether I want to publish it myself or send it to a publisher. I know JournalStone is open right now and the story would dovetail perfectly into their line. The questions is am I willing to give up the control? Not to mention the potential earnings were it to take off.

I'm also working on the outlines for books four and five of the Dreadland Chronicles as well as a World War Two horror novella that I've yet to work out a title for.

If you'd liker to keep abreast of my releases you can sign up for my mailing list here.

I'll even throw in a free copy of White Walker.

I want to get back into the story a week idea I originally had a couple of weeks ago. This week I want to tackle superstition. Check back Friday to see what I come up with.

Recently on The Passive Voice I saw a story about renting Emily Dickinson's room for an hour. The first question that came to mind was, who would do that? And why? I can understand a fan wanting to visit the place where the work they've enjoyed was created. After all anyone can visit the cafĂ© in Edinburgh where J.K. Rowling wrote Harry Potter, or tour Ernest Hemingway’s house in Key West.

Who out there believes that staying in a room where a favorite story was created will somehow allow that same spark of creativity to rub off on them? I don't believe that's how creativity works. Or am I missing the point entirely?

The story about Emily Dickinson reminded me of the Stanley hotel writers retreat that was being hyped several years ago. Stay in the same room where Stephen King came up with the idea for The Shining. Did these writers believe that by paying an outrageous sum to stay in a room where a story was created would expand the horizons of their own creativity? That the same spark that inspired SK would somehow rub off on them?

What do you think?


Free Read Friday: Assimilation

For some time I've wanted to post short stories I've recently written, but held off on doing so. I think part of the reason for my hesitation is my fear that some won't like what I've written.

I know, that makes no sense.

There's also the issue that once I've posted the story here it is then classified as a reprint were I to submit it elsewhere. Recently I've come to the conclusion that these are just excuses. To be honest, while my goal is to make a living from writing, I know I'm not going to achieve that through short stories so why not give them away.

And what better place to do that than on my blog?

If all goes well every Friday I will be sharing a short story that I've recently written right here on these pages, along with a little background to show how the story came about.

First up is Assimilation (this is also the title of the as yet written third part of my Shadows of the Past series)

Do you remember the final scene in John Carpenter's The Thing?



Childs (Keith David) and McReady (Kurt Russell) are sitting amid the destruction of the camp sharing a final drink before the cold takes them.


 It is considered one of the most controversial movie endings of all time. I've seen ideas floated about for a sequel to the story, some involving a crew trapped on a submarine carrying the bodies back to the states. To me this made little sense. Why a sub when a C-130 could get them back to civilization faster? And what happened in those final moments before sleep claimed them.

Assimilation is my take on this.

I hope you enjoy it.

Assimilation

It watched from the burning rubble as the two men huddled together for warmth against the plunging temperatures. It felt no remorse, no anger, no fear. It knew only the need to survive, to expand its reach, to assimilate its enemies. It had no concept of love, nor the loneliness it entailed. It only knew the physical sensations that drove it onward, that need to feed, to propagate, to overwhelm all it confronted. 

It felt ragged, taxed to its limits. It had surrendered parts of the whole to keep that central core intact. The essence that made it what it was. That gave it the ability to become whatever it touched. It had tried to pass itself off as one of them, to blend into their tribe, so it could escape this desolate landscape that had been its prison for so long.

Upon first contact, it had marveled at the emotions of these creatures, the raw power that propelled them forward, but at the same time hindered them.

One of them had figured it out. Coming upon it before it could complete its transformation, and the battle of wits had been joined. It had endured this creature's attacks, confident in its ability to tolerate anything it threw at it, until its opponent had discovered the cleansing properties of fire.

Fire was the only thing it could not counter. Fire was a wild thing that consumed all it touched, no matter what it became, or how hard it tried to endure its relentless attack, fire was all consuming. It disrupted its cellular structure, boiling away the protective enzymes, and exposing its essence to the raw agony of its all-consuming embrace.

It would have to move soon. The fires of their last battle were quickly dwindling, the warmth it provided in sharp contrast to the pain it could inflict. It would soon be a memory as the endless winter of this desolate place invaded its essence, forcing it into another prolonged sleep.

It was amazed at the resourcefulness of its opponent, its willingness to surrender its own life to stop its encroachment. But in the end, all things would fall under its influence. Whether it took two thousand years or two million, it would prevail as it had prevailed on countless other worlds before this one.

As the cold penetrated it moved from the shadowy crevice it had inhabited as it watched the two men sharing a final drink. They spoke in soft tones, their words slurred by the advancing cold.

It would have to act now if it wanted to survive, and it moved across the ice that reflected the dwindling flames of the structure that once stood there. A structure that once provided warmth to its inhabitants and the possibility of survival to a species this world had never known before.

They became aware of its presence but it was too late for all of them. Time had dwindled and it had to act now or face another long sleep. They tried to escape but the cold had robbed them of the ability to move and their attempts were feeble at best.

Settling into its new home it waited as the cold seeped in. It would sleep now, but it knew it would be a short nap, as others would come in an attempt to rescue what remained of this outpost at the edge of a vast ice cap.

Awareness dawned and it moved sluggishly as the last of the freezing cold slowly faded away. There was no real warmth, just an absence of the cold that had kept it in a suspended state, not even dreams could intrude upon this little death, that period of unconsciousness that stretched into the shadowy past. It had no sense of the passing time and as it explored its new surroundings it became aware of a bright white light above.

Suddenly it was infused with a burning sensation that was like the fire it had faced before, yet not of the same origin. It retreated from the encroaching sensation, drawing back within itself as it cowered in a shadowy chamber.

It waited.

Time passed, how much was anyone’s guess as there were no devices to measure the passage of the seconds piling into minutes that slowly unfolded into years. Time meant little to a creature that could sleep for millions of years and awaken into a new dawn.

It reached out, sensing that burning sensation again, yet not as powerful as before, a faint tingling that added some discomfort, nothing like the wild panic that had gripped it when originally introduced to the greedy hunger of the flames.

It infused its host with its essence, withdrawing immediately when that burning sensation overwhelmed it, retreating to the solitary chamber it inhabited.

It reached beyond the boundaries of its host, unable to open the eyes, it was forced to evacuate and it probed the perimeter of what confined it.

What it found was a metal chamber, long and narrow, draped in soft fabric. There was a lid, but it was locked, and it probed the corners of its prison as it sought to escape.

It would have to feed soon.

Finding an unfinished weld it forced itself through, emerging into another rectangular chamber, the walls of which were coarse and pitted. Probing the perimeter it soon found a seam between two pieces of the material used to construct the chamber and forced its way through into rocky soil.


Searching its vast memory it found what it sought and became what it imagined, transforming into a burrowing rodent. Powerful claws parted the earth before it as it pushed itself forward beneath the surface of the ground. It came to another of those oblong chambers and slipped around to the right as it burrowed through the loose earth.

Coming to another structure, this one much larger than the others, it probed along the wall, locating a crack that offered access into a large space shrouded in thick shadows. Sunlight came through several openings high in the walls, painting the floor with yellow rectangles of light. In one a furry creature lay sleeping.

Its hunger stirred at the sight.

Keeping to the shadows it flowed along the corner where floor and wall met until it was nearly on top of the sleeping creature. The animal stirred, lifting its head, and yawning to expose sharp fangs. It stretched out one leg, spreading its paw to reveal curved claws protruding from the tip of each toe.

As the creature lay its head back down it struck, immediately wrapping both sets of paws in a tight cocoon that would prevent the creature from lashing out at it.

The creature cried out in a shrieking voice as it invaded its body and began the process of assimilation. As it did it became aware of the creatures purpose, its past interactions with members of the same tribe it had confronted in that desolate place at the end of the world.

They were the masters of the flame, they controlled the fires that were its only weakness.

Footsteps sounded from above as it quickly infused the  creature with its essence, drawing much-needed strength from its new host. A door opened at the top of the steps and an old woman carefully took the steps one at a time as she came down into that shadowy place.


“How’s my little baby,” she said as she approached and bent down to pet the cat it was in the process of taking over. 

It lashed out, latching onto the flesh of the old woman's hand, the lined features of her face smoothing out in terror as she backpedaled. It slithered the length of her arm, around her shoulder, emerging from the collar of her shirt to wrap itself around her face, slipping into her mouth and nose as it invaded her body.


She fell back, hitting the floor hard enough to crack her skull, and she lay there helplessly as it fed upon her essence and took control of her body. No longer locked in a struggle to survive it learned more about this creature that could control the fires as it invaded its thoughts and memories and all it had learned over a lifetime.


For the first time, it experienced emotions beyond the primitive need to eat, sleep, and propagate. It felt fear tinged by a note of sadness that the end was to be in such a lonely manner. There had been hope to be surrounded by those she loved as death placed its claim upon her soul. Children who had long since fled the nest, starting families of their own, visiting only around the holidays, and never for very long as her partner had become verbally abusive to anyone who dared stray within range.


At one time they had loved one another with a passion that surprised this creature as it assimilated the old woman's memories into its own. Fear, anger and a growing need for vengeance washed through the creature as it explored every delicious sensation that presented itself.

Vengeance, the need to strike back, to take a pound of flesh for any slight. It was an emotion it had never encountered before, that need to strike out at one who has harmed them, burning with a shining light in the soul of this creature.

It fed upon this need, finding nourishment in a growing anger that reached far beyond the need to propagate, eat, and sleep like its other victims. It felt renewed, refreshed, as it embraced that churning rage.

“Hey, bring me up a beer, will ya?” A man shouted through the open door.

The old woman pushed herself to her feet and crossed to the steps. Her movements more assured than before, more graceful, almost predatory as she glided up the stairs with a renewed spring in her step.

She’d suffered years of abuse at the hands of the man who inhabited the house with her. There had been a time when she referred to him as a husband, but that had been long before the first punch was thrown, before the love that once blossomed between them was poisoned by his indifference.

He was sitting in his favorite chair when she crossed behind him and dropped a cold beer into his lap. He jumped, his bald head rising as he tried to push himself to his feet, and she clamped her hand onto the crown of his head. Driving him back into his seat as her fingers grew to invade his nose and mouth as it extended its influence in this brave new world.

It would bide its time, wait patiently for opportunities to present themselves. Given time it would establish a foothold on this planet, one individual at a time, spreading like a stain across the surface of the globe until it was too late for those who inhabited this place to stop it.

THE END

So what do you think?


Don't forget I'm running a special sale for my post apocalyptic coming of age series Dreadland Chronicles. Book three, Legion of the Damned that is currently in pre-order. Get the first two books in the series and reserve your copy of the third for only $0.99 ea. That's three books for less than the regular price of one. Over 550 pages of post apocalyptic action for only $2.97.

You better hurry, this sale won't last forever.


Grab yours HERE!
Or copy and paste this address into your browser search bar.
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B06XFP9JK8?ref=series_rw_dp_labf

While you're here sign up for my mailing list to be notified when I release a new book. I give away a personally autographed print copy of one of my books every month to one subscriber chosen at random from my list.

I'll even throw in a free copy of my novel, White Walker just for signing up.

Sign up HERE!
Or copy and paste this address into your search bar.
http://eepurl.com/2bYSf