Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Blood Crave's Birthday and a Distraction (for me)

Wow. So today's the day. BLOOD CRAVE is now available for everyone to (hopefully) enjoy! I am filled with an overwhelming amount of excitement, nausea and dread, as is my custom whenever something I write goes public.

Instead of going all mushy on you guys and boring you to death with thank-you's, I'll just say this: To everyone, EVERYONE who helped me in the process of writing this book, you are so very special to me and this is a day for us ALL to celebrate. And to everyone who reads my books . . . . crap, I just hope you like this one!! ;)

So, in honor of my second (holy monkeys I can't believe I have TWO books published) I decided to distract myself from the excitement by writing some Flash Fiction. Writing sometimes helps me deal with my nerves. It's a distraction.

This FF was inspired by a song by Imagine Dragons called Radioactive.

Here ya go, people:

I awaken to a sky that is not how I remember it. There is no blue. There is no sun. There is smog and there is cloud, thick and green, that clogs my lungs and makes me choke.

“We got another live one,” says a voice and I try to sit up. I can’t.

“Check her vitals,” says another voice. “If she’s got any hiccups, knock her out again. New mandate. No weaklings.”

Beeping. Cold touches on my wrist and abdomen. I am naked.

I lay flattened against a table, restrained by what feels like rope. I pull against them. Wrists. Ankles. Stomach.

“Don’t do that,” says the first voice. “We’ll let you up just as soon as you pass the health check.”

I try to ask what that means, but only a strange choking sound erupts from my throat.

“Don’t do that, either. Voice activation comes later. When you’ve earned it.”

No voice. I have no voice? My heart begins to beat harder.

“Pulse is a little fast,” says the voice. Something cold on my throat. “Calm down or we’ll have to zap you again.”

I focus on the sky, on the furious clouds roiling above me. It stinks of sulfur and burning earth. What has happened?

“Better,” says the voice. It is a woman. Her voice reminds me of the way my doctor spoke: mechanical. Almost bored.

The restraints release. I feel her hand behind my shoulders, guiding me into a sit. My body feels stiff like it used to the morning after a swim meet, like I’ve used the muscles too hard, and then not enough.

I look around and suck in a breath.

I don’t know where I am, but wherever this is, it is a nightmare. I appear to be inside a city, a city that has been burned to the ground. The wreckage of once-great buildings surrounds us on all sides; fires still burn, black smoke churning the smog to charcoal. Giant tanks, like the ones I saw in war movies, rumble to my right and to my left gunshots sound and people scream.

Thousands of people painted in red clothing stand in rows. They clog the street, their backs laden with guns, faces blank.

In the distance, I hear a siren.

“Great,” says the voice with a sigh. I turn. She is an older woman with soot streaking her face. Her hands are dirty. Her clothes, crimson rags. “Another raid.”

I try to ask what that means.

“The scourge,” she says. “Another attack.”

At mystified look she says, “Never you mind, soldier. You’ll see soon enough.” She pushes me off the slab and I stumble to my feet. My toenails were painted purple before. Now they are about an inch too long, bare.

Beside me, several more naked people lay on slabs, and tubes connect them to what looks like a gigantic air tank with DANGER slapped all over it.

“You were the first of your batch to come around,” she says and begins pushing me toward a large cammo-green tent where naked people go in and people wearing red stagger out. I don’t want to go in.

Above me, a strange aircraft whizzes by, blowing my hair back. My hair. It is down past my knees.

The air craft shoots some kind of gun – it makes a shriek and fire erupts a few blocks down. I start.

“Scourge,” the woman says. “They got into the city, looks like. Better hurry up and get that gun, soldier. You’re going to need it.”

She shoves me into the tent.

A face appears, a man with a scar tracing his left eyebrow. I try to shield my breasts. He rolls his eyes. “Honey, I’ve seen it all before. And then some.” He takes my elbow and steers me to a corner of the tent where women stand with scissors and razors, nail clippers, soap.

The first woman grabs me roughly and forces me into a seat. “Any preference, sweetheart?” she asks, monotone. She holds my hair in a fist. She means to cut it.

I can’t speak, so I touch my shoulder.

She slices off my hair. A crimson sheet falls to the ground.

I am ushered to the right. This is a cot. The woman there shaves my legs, my underarms. The next woman cleans my body with a bucket of lukewarm water and a white bar of soap. The next woman clips my nails. The last woman reaches into a closet and pulls out a pile of red.

“Try this on for size,” she says. She helps me pull on underwear and stiff pants, a black undershirt and a thick, scarlet jacket with about a million pockets. Tall black boots with laces that go all the way to my shins cover socks about half an inch thick.

She shoves me and a man catches my arm this time. I look behind me. Two more people have taken my place on the assembly line.

The man begins tucking things into my pockets. I see a knife. A compass. Some kind of rock. Papers, something clipped to my belt. Lastly, a gun. A large one with a strap. It streaks across my chest.

He claps a hand on my shoulder.

“Welcome to the resistance,” he grumbles. His eyes don’t meet mine.

I’m pushed out of the tent.

For a moment, I stand there, unsure of what to do next. And then I see there is a line of people like me heading toward a crumbled building. A man out front is directing them inside.

I start walking to him across the street, my eyes eating up about ten different things at once. Countless pallets with naked souls who appear to be in a coma, war tanks bigger than my house; soldiers marching, someone calling “Recruits!”

More shouting. Louder. Closer.

I turn, and my eyes catch on blasts of fire in the distance. People around me begin to rush around. The siren blares.

“To the wall!” shouts the man who was ushering the recruits inside. A blur of red explodes from the building and he leads them down the street.

Someone shoves me from behind.

“Go!” he roars and follows the recruits.

I obey. My legs feel stiff, my arms are led by my side.

Less than a hundred yards away, I see a metal wall that stretches to heaven. Barbed wire crowns the top, red people consume the bottom, swarming it like red ants on a candy bar. The wall is made of scrap metal welded and nailed in a patchwork.

And it has a hole in it.

Red people flood through it; I hear shots fired on the other side. I see a plume of thick smoke.

“Get in there, soldier!” Someone says from behind and pushes me toward the hole. I smell flesh burning, hear unearthly sounds. I don’t want to go through the hole. I want to do anything but go through there. Whatever these people fight – whatever is making those sounds – I don’t want to know what it is.

But I am caught in the tide of soldiers going through the wall, and I can’t stop it. I burst through the wall and into a battle.

My first thought: I don’t know how to use my gun.

My second thought: I’m not even holding my gun.

I fumble it into my hands and put my finger on the trigger. My father had a gun; he never let me touch it.

People scream, soldiers shout orders, gunshots and the thuds of bodies hitting the ground. I still can’t see what we’re fighting.

And then it is on top of me. A human. Or, at least it was human at one point. It is bald. It is naked. Its skin is burned and wrinkled around it’s body like it has once been boiled. The eyes are white, the mouth bleeding, toothless. It makes a sound I never imagined a human could make, a hoarse keening sound; an animal being tortured.  Its hands close around my throat.

I feel my back hit the ground.

I can’t breathe. Blood from the creature’s mouth drips into mine; I gag.

I am going to die.

I am going to die.

A loud crack. The creature goes limp.

I suck in a breath and push the creature off of me, rolling away. A hand appears, and I take it. It is a boy, he is younger than me. Maybe sixteen.

His face is streaked with blood; his storm-gray eyes are wide with mischief. He pushes my gun back into my hands and says, “This is it, the apocalypse. Start killing.”

Hope you enjoyed, and I REALLY hope you'll all rush out and buy Blood Crave and love that too!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Flash Fiction

Been having major writers block lately, so the flash fiction hasn’t been exactly flowing. To combat this, I’m doing some SUPER flash fiction. 100 words. That’s all. I based this FF on an image I found on Pinterest.

As part of the exercise, I’m making myself highlight what exactly inspires me about the image. This way I can access my creativity more easily in the future, and without the help of Pinterest (teehee).
So. I love that there’s a zombie. I love the way the zombie looks – like the boogieman!!! And I love that the image appears to be set in the past. This, to me, is the real allure. I love the idea of writing zombies in the past – like colonial America or something. Or London back in the days. I DON’T much like the expression on the chick’s face (she looks like she has a thyroid problem), but I do like the guy. It could be her uncle or something cool. And that’s about it. Here’s the fiction:

* * *

My breath shuddered to a halt in my throat like an old car without any gas. Slime coated the street below my boots; the creatures’ secretions. Jonas looked over at me, his head pressed up against the blackened brick wall, chest heaving. He was thinking the same thing as me: One of them had died here.

Moonlight glanced off his shotgun as he silently checked the bullets.
I heard it coming closer, smelled its rank festering flesh in a gust of dead wind. Beside me, Jonas sucked in a breath and I squeezed my eyes closed, trying not to think about the fact that it might be his last.

“Another will die here,” he whispered.

The gun went off.