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 Laura Diamond, author of Begging Death in Carnage: After the End – Volume 1.
Laura Diamond is a board certified psychiatrist and author of all things young adult paranormal, dystopian, horror, and middle grade. Her short story, City of Lights and Stone, is in the Day of Demons Anthology by Anachron Press (April 2012), her Young Adult Paranormal Romance, SHIFTING PRIDE, is coming fall/winter 2013 (Etopia Press), and her Young Adult Dystopian, ENDURE, is coming June 2013 (Kae Wilson Publishing). When she’s not writing, she is working at the hospital, blogging at Author Laura Diamond–Lucid Dreamer, and renovating her 225+ year old fixer-upper mansion. She is also full-time staff member for her four cats and a Pembroke Corgi named Katie. You can connect with Laura on Twitter, on Facebook at either her personal page or her Fan Page, or on her blog.
Without further ado, I give you Laura…
The Inspiration Behind Begging Death
When confronted with the topic of a post-apocalyptic world, my mind immediately honed in on the Book of Revelation. That’s right, the last book of The Bible. Growing up, the pastor of my church spent countless Sundays dissecting the imagery, symbolism, and depth of horrors that would befall humans during the “End Times.” This looming destiny became ingrained in my psyche, waiting for the opportunity to express itself at just the right time, in just the right way.
Quite literally, my imagination has spent a couple of decades picturing what the end of the world would be like and my short story, Begging Death, captures the most quintessential piece of it.
The “End” has already come. Millions of people have vanished, disappeared in an instant, leaving a remnant of people behind to figure out how to go on. Since the human race is so sparse, governments are gone, economies have crumbled, and society itself is in shambles. Peculiarly, those who remain cannot die. Now considered a blessing, Death ignores the wails of survivors, and refuses to provide the final relief.
Loose bands of people cling together, mimicking life the best they can. These little communities, called kibbutzim, keep the illusion of order, but some factions are hungrier for chaos than others and do their best to destroy the little bit of humanity that’s left.
This is where my main character, Peter, lives. His journey is the story. By following him, we get to see what is important to him, what keeps him going, and what sacrifices he’s willing to make, and why.
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 an excerpt from Begging Death, Laura’s contribution to Carnage: After the End – Volume 1…
Gray ash falls in a silent deluge. I sigh. No telling how long the “rain” will last once it starts. Could be hours. Could be days.
Though I’m inside, I cover my face with a gas mask. It’s the only way to dull the sooty sulfuric smell. I futz with the thing; it never fits right around my beard.
Lucas shuffles into the sparsely furnished living room, gives me a disgusted look with his dark brown eyes, then settles into a mold-covered chair next to the window. “Really, Peter? Take that goddamn thing off. It creeps me out.” Born scrawny, he’s grown skeleton-thin since The Disappearing. I shift my eyes from his balding head to his blackened feet, now propped on the worn coffee table. Dark red oozes through the soot on his soles.
I lift the gas mask to my forehead and grunt. “Why don’t you wear shoes?”
“I like the feeling of ash between my toes. Besides, what difference does it make? It’s not like I’m going to die or anything.” He shrugs, the sharp angle of his bony shoulders jutting through his threadbare shirt. Damn thing consists more of grime than cotton.
I want to put my mask back on, but fight the instinct. Lucas is all I have left. I can’t embarrass him like that, even if the bitter tang of his body odor mixes with the sickly sweet scent of elusive death. “Yeah, but you’ve got to take better care of yourself. At least wash your feet after.” I breathe through my mouth.
“So I don’t get ash all over the carpet?”
“For your health.” I turn away.
“Why do you stay with me? I can’t do anything. I look like shit.” He sniffs his armpits for dramatic effect. “I smell worse than a skunk-infested landfill.”
I snort, make eye contact. “Of course you don’t.”
“Right.” Lucas grimaces, exposing rotting teeth, which are darkened and thinned from decay.
“I smell too,” I offer.
He swats a bony arm in my direction. His shoulder pops from the effort. “No you don’t.” His eyes close and he licks his chapped lips. The muscles in his neck strain with every breath. I hate seeing it. He needs oxygen, hell, he needs new lungs, but neither is available.
Before The Disappearing, anyone in Lucas’ condition would have died. The Disappearing changed that, somehow. It changed everything…
Don’t forget to come back tomorrow when we’ll feature L.E. White’s inspiration behind Rock Garden in Carnage: After the End – Volume 2!