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 Wednesday Silverwood, author of The Silence of the Dead in Carnage: After the End – Volume 2.
Wednesday Silverwood is a horror writer from North London, England. She has had previous work published with Pill Hill Press and Static Movement. You can find her on Twitter.
Without further ado, I give you Wednesday…
The Inspiration Behind The Silence of the Dead
I am really excited to be included in Carnage: After the End – Volume 2. I think that Post-Apocalyptic stories have a powerful resonance and there is something incredibly frightening about the images of destroyed cities, and the nightmare struggles of those that survive in them.
I am quite a visual writer and it was these types of images that were the inspiration for my story in the anthology – The Silence of the Dead. One of the key images was that of people sleeping in a catacomb, and this became a long, underground tunnel in the story. I also once saw a photograph of an overpass which had collapsed and all the structural supports and cables writhing out of it, and this was another image that came to me during the writing of the piece. The idea of walking along a highway that was overgrown with plants coming through the tarmac was part of a dream I had, whilst the image of a destroyed city with snow falling like ash is a favourite of all SF and horror writers. The most powerful image for me, however, was the final one, although I won’t detail that too carefully for the benefit of readers who haven’t read my story yet.
The idea of the Silence seemed to naturally tie these images together, as well as illustrating something deeper about the end of the world. I knew that I wanted to use a first person narrator to create immediacy and that the narrator should be essentially an outsider figure, someone who remains apart from the rest of humanity and unable to join with them, especially when the world collapses around him. In doing this, I hope I have created someone ordinary and identifiable. Whilst this was his story in particular, I also wanted it to be everyone’s story.
The Silence of the Dead is quite bleak, and I make no apology for that. I don’t expect that the end of the world would be much fun and I thank Sirens Call for allowing me to explore that darker side with this piece. I hope that you enjoy it.
The ten stories in Carnage: After the End – Volume 2 tell of the frighteningly horrific and cruel lives the survivors must face. Each one takes us to a place where humanity’s stragglers are forced to battle for their very existence against their own grim reality; creatures from different worlds or times, individuals or groups of miscreants who feed on the fear of the weak, and even the terrifying threat of unknown bacterial organisms. Their will to go on diminishing among the tatters of the civilization they once knew.
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.
The Apocalypse has come, leaving in its wake small pockets of survivors battling to stay alive; each carving out a new beginning for mankind…
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 an excerpt from The Silence of the Dead, Wednesdays’s contribution to Carnage: After the End – Volume 2…
The Silence seemed to blanket the world as if a thick layer of cotton covered everything. It cushioned the remains of the buildings, and the crumbling walls reaching skyward into the darkness. Small pieces of ash floated down through the blackout, their ragged edges catching in the pale light. It looked a little like snow.
The Silence smothered Jon. It smothered the city. It felt like a pressure inside his ears; inside his mind. It had taken his thoughts, filling-up the world with whiteness; with nothingness. It was the Silence of a future that would never happen. It was the final exhalations of the dying; their last breaths caught and left behind in the world. It was the silent screams of those who did not want to die.
The Silence was the Silence of the Dead.
The thing was, that it had happened so suddenly.
It was a Saturday. Jon and his girlfriend Tracy had been hanging out, doing very little. In the afternoon, his best friend Simon had called and asked them to go round to his basement flat. He had a new computer game, something about zombies, and he wondered if they wanted to go round and play it with him. Tracy had shrugged and said ‘okay,’ so they had picked up a six-pack and taken it over to Simon’s.
Simon’s flat was small and cramped with the three of them in it. Still, they had been having a good time. They were laughing and joking and everything was totally and completely normal. Then, suddenly, everything had changed. There was just this huge, massive, jolt. At first he thought it was an earthquake or something. But really, he knew it was just too big. Part of the ceiling had fallen in and they found themselves choking in the dust and smoke.
Jon had recovered first. He had scrambled out from some of the fallen plasterboard and put out a hand to Tracy to help her up. There was a bright, red gash on her forehead and a look of frozen fear in her eyes. It was then that he tried to say something, to comfort her, but when he spoke, he couldn’t hear anything. He could feel his lips move, but there was no sound. He realised that Tracy couldn’t hear him either. She was looking at him blankly, confused.
Don’t forget to come back tomorrow when we feature Laura Diamond’s inspiration behind Begging Death in Carnage: After the End – Volume 1!