Every time that Sirens Call Publications releases an anthology, we ask each of the authors to provide us with a guest post; something that speaks to the inspiration for their story that you will read. With the release of Carnage: After the End – Volume 1 &Volume 2, our inspiration series may run a little longer than our other anthologies. But that’s okay, we love Post-Apocalyptic Horror and both volumes have a fantastic mix of tales. Continuing on with our inspiration series, today we feature Russell Linton, author of Prophecy of Numbers in Carnage: After the End – Volume 1.
In fourth grade, Russell Linton wrote down the incredibly vague goal of becoming a “writer and an artist” when he grew up. Taking a decidedly non-traditional route to this goal, Russell graduated with Distinction from the University of Oklahoma with a Bachelor’s in Philosophy and went on to a career in Graphic Design with a local advertising company. Briefly sidelining those pursuits to be a Stay at Home Dad and for a stint in investigative work, Russell returned to graphic design on a self-employed basis.
Throughout, Russell has continued to write collaborative fiction, ghost write for local business blogs and websites. His true passion however is speculative fiction and his interests have run the gamut from fantasy to science fiction and recently the dark paths of psychological horror. He has work forthcoming with Sirens Call Publications and Wily Writer’s Podcast. If you want to connect with Russell, you can find him on Twitter, his personal website, and the Wily Writer’s website.
So without further ado, I give you Russell and…
The Method to the Madness in Prophecy of Numbers
I think a lot of people might read Prophecy of Numbers and wonder “What the heck is this even about?” It’s a perfectly understandable reaction – I found myself thinking the same thing as the story flowed out onto the keyboard. In fact, I was equally honored and relieved when I got the news it had found a home with Sirens Call. I wrote it specifically for the anthology and wasn’t at all sure what I would do with it otherwise.
I’m not much for outlines, preferring to go about things by the “seat of my pants” as it were, but I often search for inspiration before starting a piece. My background is in religious philosophy and I’ve always had a fascination with post-apocalyptic tales, so the combination of the two was a given. I dialed up a fascinating documentary on YouTube about extreme fundamentalist Christian groups that are actively seeking to bring about Armageddon and I also let the bitter partisan politics of this year’s election season seep in as well. A dash of mental instability (mine or the character’s, that’s anyone’s guess) and Prophecy of Numbers was born.
The idea of the world came first; a world that existed after those politics had fractured the nation to such a horrific degree. A once united USA, divided by a religious and ideological chasm seemed a fascinating backdrop for a post-apocalyptic world. I wanted whatever became of the world tied to this collapse and rooted in just enough imminent possibility that it could be a believable glimpse at our future. I only needed to find a character to explore these themes.
What I started with originally was a middle-aged man in a parking garage brutally murdering someone. As he knifed his victim, all the while, the voice of “God” was rattling around in his brain, spitting out statistics and probabilities. He did this so he could siphon a bit of gas from a vehicle. As I often do, I found I had started in the middle and I needed to go back further and figure out what brought this everyman to such a twisted fate.
I owe a bit of the background for Marcus in part to my Critique Group. In particular, a badass writer named Dan who is penning one of the most compelling stories I’ve ever read about a City Council meeting of all things. Seriously, this guy could make paint drying come alive on the page. One of the characters in his novel was involved in a sort of risk management trade and the light bulb clicked in my head. The bigger one… not all the Christmas lights.
After everything was submitted, the layers of ash settled, the blood drying on the page, I dove back into a host of other projects. Once Prophecy was accepted, and we got to editing, it occurred to me that I hadn’t simply written a story about a corporate guy separated from his family. It is in fact a horror story for the future of this entire country; a dark apocalypse which we could in fact bring about through blind adherence to political and religious dogma.
I hope you enjoy this piece. There is a lot crammed into that space. It’s hopefully worthy of a couple of reads to let it all sink in. I don’t want to spoil things, but as for the ending, use your imagination. I always want the endings to be as rife with possibility as the beginnings. What ends? What begins? We use the term “apocalypse” so loosely now, but what is the difference between one life extinguished or many?
Thanks for supporting Sirens Call and my writing habit. Keep an eye out here for more compelling, terrifying, and downright twisted tales by myself and other incredible authors!
The ten stories in Carnage: After the End – Volume 1 are the terrifyingly harsh and brutal realities those survivors must face. Each one takes us to a place where humanity’s stragglers are forced to battle with enemies outside of their control; mutant beasts, groups of depraved and desperate people, and the terrifying threat of a dwindling food supply. Their fight for survival gets even more difficult as they search among the tatters of civilization for the will to carry on.
In a world where society has collapsed and terror lurks around every corner, no one can be trusted and nothing can be taken for granted.
Hell has invaded and happy endings are a thing of the past…
Contributing Authors in Volume 1 include:
Kimberly A. Bettes, Shane Cashman, Shane R. Collins, Laura Diamond, Rodney James Galley, Michael Griffin, Russell Linton, Adam Millard, Christofer Nigro, and Julianne Snow.
Contributing Authors in Volume 2 include
Angel D. Callido, Charlie Fish, Harper Hull, Magda Knight, Jason Lairamore, Harry Manners, Zachary O’Shea, Wednesday Silverwood, Adrian Tchaikovsky, and L.E. White.
Interested in picking up a copy of both volumes?
Here’s a quick taste of Russell’s Prophecy of Numbers – enjoy…
“As you can see, this first year of peaceful secession in these once United States should prove to be an outstanding success, not only for Safari Jack’s Outdoor Emporium but for sporting and camping goods retailers nationwide.” Marcus smiled, directing a practiced sweep of his hand toward the large projector screen. A headline above a series of charts read ‘Risk Management in a Risky World’.
Applause crackled dully across the room. The convention hall was well apportioned with brass lamps regularly spaced along the walls in gold gilt alcoves. The floor was covered by a sturdy carpet with intricate designs that filled the expanse from wall to wall like an enormous Persian rug. The gold trimmed recesses on the walls were repeated on the ceiling, their panels painted with the serene image of a cloud scattered sky.
Faces looked back at Marcus from the neat rows of padded chairs, some familiar, some new. Mostly though, it was the empty space that held his attention. Many of his colleagues from back East had refused to make the trip. They cited family reasons or prior commitments or flatly refused.
For Marcus, the CEO had promised him a handsome raise. Not to mention, he was the keynote speaker.
Several hands hung in the air. A gangly young man in a crème-colored convention center blazer headed for the closest participant with a microphone in his hand.
“Brett Gentry with Affiliated Sports. I see where you’re going with all this. Nuclear aspirations in Iran, our own political turmoil, we’ve all seen a steady increase in sales, but do you really think we will break triple digits?”
Tune in tomorrow when we feature Jason Lairamore and his inspiration for An End for Some in Carnage: After the End – Volume 2!