Tag Archives: The Afflicted

The Afflicted – Patient Zero

The Afflicted

Wow. It’s been so long since I’ve written anything for The Afflicted. June 13th and February 8th to be exact. Each time I saw the beautiful cover for it, I was sad that I wasn’t finishing the story. Like many professional writers down here in the dregs, I have many unfinished stories rattling around. As one of my favorite “new” authors, Chuck Wendig, has said again and again and again, “Finish your shit, yo!”

Well, I may be misquoting him, but it’s what I’ve synthesized from him. It’s fitting that the prompt today from terribleminds works in nicely with The Afflicted. I was actually pissed that I had to stop at 1000 words on the nose, but I’d rather this be a slow burn instead of a flare-out. I may wrestle another from The Afflicted this weekend. Hey, Matt! Hey, #fridayflash!

* * *

Matt opened one eye. He closed it and forced them both to open. The room was fuzzy on the edges, but he at least had a small field of clear vision. He blinked a few times and the image retained more focus.

I’m in a hospital, he thought, followed by, I’m hungry.

Matt couldn’t remember the last time he was so hungry. He tried to swallow, but something made his throat hurt. He reached to feel his throat, but a pair of hands gently held his.

“Please don’t move, Mister Siebert.”

The face of a woman in her early twenties shifted into focus, hovering above him. Even though his vision had mostly cleared from the haze, her face was still blurry. It took Matt a few heartbeats to comprehend what his eyes were telling him: The nurse was wearing an isolation suit.

He could hear a soft whir coming from what he could only assume was a rebreather. Flares of condensation appeared on her mask as she breathed steadily. “I’m going to remove a tube from your mouth. On the count of three, I need you to breathe out as hard as you can.” She smiled a blurry smile. “Blink twice so I know you understand me.”

Matt’s world became nothing, a black void of gnawing hunger, twice in quick succession.

The nurse smiled again and started the count down. When she reached ‘three,’ Matt forced air from his lungs. The pitiful wheeze startled him, but the insatiable hunger overpowered his fear.

“Hung…”

“Don’t talk yet, Mister Siebert. I’ll get you some water.” She placed a plastic cup to his lips and he drank greedily. “Not so fast, there’s plenty of water.” She produced another cup and he drained it immediately.

Matt coughed and he felt his entire body shudder. Pain radiated from everywhere, but that pain was nothing compared to the hunger that dominated him. He reached up to rub his throat, but realized it wasn’t the nurse’s hand that kept him from moving but a strap across his wrist. Matt struggled to lift his head, to take in his situation, but it was also strapped down.

“What’s going on?” he whispered.

“I’m sorry, Mister Siebert, I’m not supposed to be talking to you.”
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Rambling Pen

book-shipment

I received a shipment of my books to be distributed to a local indie bookstore. If you are in Prescott, Arizona, drop by Peregrine Books and pick up a dead tree version of Forlorn Hope or Body Rentals. Arranging a book signing there for Champion Standing is on my “to do” list, but I’m just so busy with everything. I also autographed a few books for people who have supported various projects I’m working on. The progress on The Afflicted and Champion Rising has stalled so I can work on 16Sunsets. I had originally planned on writing sixteen 1,600-word chapters, but I suspect it’ll end up being longer. I haven’t talked to Telly lately about Soulsmith, so I can’t let you know much on that project. Champion Standing is off for the final edit. I’m expecting it to be published in January instead of February, with advance reading copies available in October or November. I’d like to launch with a bunch of reviews, so those of you interested in an ARC for a review, let me know. I expect inks from Joel for 16Sunsets by the end of the week, perhaps the following week. I’m lazily working on the Paradox audiobook. I’m finding it difficult to maintain focus on it. It’ll still get done, I’m just not sure when. Technophobia is super difficult to work on since I’m chained to antique technology to produce it. It’s much easier to pull my phone out of my pocket and tap out a few sentences. Finally, updated print versions of Forlorn Hope and Body Rentals will hit the distribution channels on Monday. Electronic versions will be up on Amazon sometime tonight. Kobo and B&N have been the worst for purchases – I’m not sure if those platforms are even viable any more.

Enough rambling for today, so I’ll just close the post with this: B.J., I got pages for you to look at tomorrow and welcome to the blog.


Begging and stuff

ChampionRising-front-300dpi

For Champion Rising, I knocked out about 600 words or so last night. Today I wrote about 2100 words. When I’ve written in the past, my daily goal was about 1000 words. With family, work and everything else going on, I suspect I may only get around 500 words written a day with the exception of Saturday, Sunday and Tuesday. I figure 2000 words on those days is a worthy goal. If I can pull off 6000 a week, then I should have the vomit draft of Champion Rising done in about two months. Of course that can vary radically based on the aforementioned obstacles. I still want to put a serious dent into The Afflicted. Moscow Mule has me excited about it again. I still want to start the audiobook for Paradox as well. You know the eBook is free on Amazon right now, right?

I feel like an Emergency room doctor. Dividing my limited time between multiple patients, assessing their worth and spending the time on whichever seems the most important. Like many authors, I yearn for the day when I can do this writing thing full time and it pays my rent, groceries, etc.

Speaking of money, I’m sure you’ve not noticed all my posts, banners and begging my friends to blog, tweet and facebook my Kickstarter campaign. Kick a buck my way. Make it a fiver and you will get an advance copy of Champion Standing. Feeling sassy? There are rewards all the way up to $250.

::sad anime eyes:: Please?


Moscow Mule

The Afflicted

Another prompt from Chuck. I had fun doing my dialog-only flash, so I tried another experimental style here. Here it is at 1003 words:

I wouldn’t admit it to anyone, but I was a little nervous. I mean, come on, he’s a legend. I’ve been a fan of his work for as long as I’ve known about him. I have to say ‘about’ because no one really knows him. Rumor? Check. High kill ratio? Check. Infamous? Yep, that too.

I actually met him once. Nope, no shit. I first heard about him fighting in Panama. The Afflicted were trying to spread south. Where? Duh. South America. We had gunboats patrolling the coasts. They were always in sight of the Isthmus of Panama. You couldn’t be too careful. The damn things would walk to the beach and just keep going. They would usually drown. No fat meant no buoyancy. Oh, they tried to swim, but they usually sank. We protected our bases with a moat. I know, medieval, right?

Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah, the Moscow Mule. I don’t know how he got that name. I think there’s a drink with the same name, but I don’t know – I don’t drink. There’s just too much sugar in alcohol. Can’t risk it. I’m sure the outbreak ended many an alcoholic. Besides, alcohol was better suited as a degreaser than something you’d want to put in your body.

There I go on a tangent again. The summer in Panama was an especially hot one. The water in the moat was barely five or six feet deep. The afflicted could wade through the water to get to us. Not good by any stretch of the imagination. I was on patrol and going through magazines like crazy. One bullet would stop a normal person, but the afflicted were getting hopped up on some sort of honey mead. The scuttlebutt told of some sort of religion they had. They thought the insanity while in the throws of affliction brought them closer to god. As if these things knew what a proper god was.

So there I am – a pile of bodies and on my last magazine. I can’t keep enough lead in the air to slow the horde. I want to run, but as god is my witness, I can’t swim. Yeah, believe it. I figured I could try to wade, but I’m a small fucker. Well not small compared to you, but I’m only five foot six. Yeah, five six carrying an extra seventy pounds of gear. I was totally fucked. Yep, ran out of ammo. I still had my KA-BAR, but trust me, you don’t wanna go up against one of those fuckers with a knife – they’ll tear your arm right off.

So, there I am out of ammo and twenty of those things are advancing on me. I put some heavy thinking into slitting my own throat and trying to drown myself in the moat. I tell you what the fuck I did, I hauled my lame ass into the water.

From outta nowhere he rose up outtta the water. A fuckin Phoenix I tell ya. Yeah, the mythi-fuckin-al bird. He was wearing a helmet – some kind of rebreather. The helmet had a red handprint with only three fingers. Huh? Oh, about your height. Ha ha. Yeah he wasn’t as skinny as you. Dude fired off a shot from some kind of hand cannon, tossed me an old style M-16 and we shot the shit outta the afflicted. He climbed to the top of the pile of bodies firing again and again.

Well, I nearly pissed myself. Nope, not gonna deny it. That was a sphincter moment. We stop shooting – all them fuckers are dead. I just stood there looking up at him like some sort of slack-jawed moron. You know what he did next? Nope. Try again. Shit, relax. I’ll tell you. Don’t get your panties in a twist.

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Apocalyptic Bounty Hunter part 3

The Afflicted

Chuck is doing this weird phone-a-friend in the future thing. I worked a tiny bit on Apocalyptic Bounty Hunter it’s by no means a complete chapter, but here it is nonetheless:

“You gonna’ move, or what?”

“I’m just resting, chill the fuck out!”

“Yeah, well, do you wanna end up like Sam?”

Ashlee’s eyes snapped open. “Don’t you fuckin’ say her name!” she screamed, before clamping her jaw shut. “You hear me, cue ball?”

“Yeah, I got your attention now?”

Rising to her feet, Ashlee whispered, “Asshole.”

The hairs on the back of her neck stood on end. Before the collapse, she was always aware of her surroundings. Bigots were everywhere. That feeling had saved her from more than one ‘unfortunate situation.’ It wasn’t that she felt fear, quite the opposite, she could hold her own. It was the stigma and the constant discrimination.

“Yeah, well. Shit! Look out, out, out!”

She rolled on the boulder and came face to face with one of The Afflicted. He simply stared at her.

There’s no time for this… She thought. The KA-BAR seemed to materialize at the thing’s throat. She pressed her lips together tightly as his neck erupted in a spray of blood as the knife traversed his throat. She wiped her face off on her shoulder and flicked the blade to rid some of the viscera clinging to the blade.

“Holy shit! You’re a stone cold bitch!”

“Can it, Quentin. I am so over this mission.” She flicked her KA-BAR once again before sheathing it. “How’s my exit?”

“You’re golden all the way to zone Alpha-One.”

Alpha-One was the area directly north of the boundary between Human and Afflicted territory. She should be able to bribe her way across. She would pay her way in sugar, gold or blood – whichever was easiest.


Afflicted Cover Progress

The Afflicted

The cover art for The Afflicted is almost done. It’s cool to have that part out of the way. I haven’t actually finished writing it, though. This summer, during my writing schedule, I’m finishing Escape first, The Afflicted second and finally, Champion Standing. That will take me through my publications until 2016. Whatever will be out in 2016, I’ll likely write summer 2015.

There is still interest in sequels for Body Rentals, Paradox, Escape, Champion Standing and a prequel for Forlorn Hope. We’ll see what the future brings.


Fairy Tale Remix

The Afflicted

Chuck is doing Fairy Tale Remix. I was originally trying to make “Little Mermaid” work, but I just wimped out and went with “Little Red Riding Hood.” This isn’t specifically part of The Afflicted, but I wrote in in third person in case I decide to integrate it. I went with the original written version, so don’t expect a happy ending. At 968 words, I give you the zombie apocalypse:

***

Samantha “Red” Gregg awoke from her sleep. She had prepared for the mission for days in advance, but the day had finally come. She gathered her long red curls into a ponytail. The mission was simple, deliver the cure to her mentor, lovingly called “Grandma,” the director of a facility that would aerosolize and distribute it. After years, the zombie threat would be neutralized once and for all. The mission itself was expected to be uneventful, as the facility was hidden in the green wood of West Virginia. The trip from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to the facility had to be completed on foot as to not bring notice to her movements. She holstered her trusted Glock 17, packed enough rations for the trip there and back, retrieved the cure in its aluminum case and walked through the guarded gates protecting the compound from the horrors they witnessed beyond. Her mission had begun.

***

The journey was mostly uneventful. Samantha had the reoccurring feeling she was being watched. At one point she stopped and surveyed her surroundings. In the bushes, she saw a human refugee. His clothes were filthy and he had a long dirty beard.

“Help me!” He called out to Samantha.

Drawing her weapon, she pointed it at the direction of the voice. Cautiously, she replied, “show me your hands!”

He spread his hands from his sitting position leaning against the trunk of a tree. Again he said, “Help me, please!”

She stepped towards the man and whispered, “Look, man. I’m on a mission to deliver a cure to the zombie outbreak to the facility ahead. In a few days it’ll all be over.”

“I need help now, ma’am.”

“I wish I had the time to spend on you, but my mission is too important.”

“Please…”

Backing away, but keeping her weapon trained on the man, she whispered, “I’m sorry…”

As she receded further along the path, she heard the pleas from the man. A shudder raced up her spine as she heard his cries.

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