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 L.E. White, author of Rock Garden in Carnage: After the End – Volume 2.
L. E. White is a married father of four living on his family farm in Southern Indiana. He has published urban fantasy and horror short stories in a variety of anthologies as well as having multiple stories appear in The Sirens Call Ezine. He also publishes a new short story every week on his blog, and he can also be found on Twitter.
Without further ado, I give you L.E…
The Inspiration for Rock Garden
With Rock Garden, I started with the idea that I did not want to write about zombies. I decided to avoid the current stereotypical walking dead. From there, I needed a different apocalypse. At the same time as the call for submissions for “Carnage: After the End” went out, I was looking at another anthology that wanted to see classic monsters from legend in a modern retelling. That anthology listing asked what would happen if Medusa were to appear in New York City.
Medusa? My second favorite mythological monster gave me the idea for the Medusa Virus. So I was ready to turn most of the world to stone and was working on an outline.
The problem I had with the first outline was that it made me think of Castaway and I Am Legend. I didn’t want to tell a story about someone wandering around alone. Without something to drive my main character, I was going to bore the pants off of people.
And I thought it was best you kept your pants on.
So I added another type of monster and began writing. I had a two stage apocalypse, multiple characters and a few scenes in mind; the main one being the final protagonist/antagonist confrontation. Everybody likes the destructive power of modern heavy machinery right?
That was when something changed. I placed my characters in my part of the world and wrote what I knew, but as I started, I realized that I could tell you about my biggest fear in this story. This was a chance to show everyone the thing that really scares me.
That was when Rock Garden went from being a story about the survivors of an apocalypse to being a story of loss. That was when I got the chance to write words on paper that made me want to crawl away and hide.
I submitted Rock Garden at the end of April. I write this post at the end of November. There are still a few lines of the story that I can’t read without my guts churning and my skin crawling.
This story is where I tried to show everyone how the apocalypse itself isn’t even close to being the worst part of it. Zombies are awful, but they move and change and our loved ones become something else. We see them and we can see the difference. Those things aren’t our family anymore. The differences let us move on.
Pictures can have the same effect. You can look at them and instead of seeing a piece of paper and colored ink you get to re-live a moment in time. You get to experience the happy, hurt, funny or sad that went with it. It is just like the way looking at a scar can bring back pain.
I have shared my biggest fear with you; the thing that wakes me up at night and makes me get up to go check on the other people in the house. After reading it, I really hope you take the time to check on someone else.
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 is an excerpt from Rock Garden, L.E.’s contribution to Carnage: After the End – Volume 2…
“Oh my god,” I said when I looked up at the sky.
When I heard the screech, I expected to look up and point out a hawk. Instead, a fireball streaked overhead. The bright green flare raced across the clear blue sky of a July afternoon while leaving a trail of smoke through the heavens. “Did you see that?” I pointed the trail out to both my girls as it faded from view but we never stopped walking.
The tall grass of an Indiana hay field brushed my knuckles as we made our way to the lake. My daughter’s tiny body rode on my hip, while she held my wife’s hand. The wind blew their hair back and had I been standing off to the side, each would have had a halo of spun gold behind them. It was far too windy for me to fish, but I never turned down a request to catch frogs and skip rocks. So instead of mending fence or putting a new roof on the chicken coop, I was going with my girls to play in the water.
The day had started as it always did. I fed the animals while my wife made breakfast. My daughter had played with her pets and we checked the weather to help plan our day. As far as we knew, today wasn’t supposed to be special, just hot.
“Shawn, turn on the news. There is stuff all over the web about that shooting star you saw. It hit Hawaii.”
I jumped up at my wife’s request and flipped on the TV so that we could listen from the kitchen.
“…nexpectedly shifted course. NASA officials have stated that there are no other meteorites close enough to the planet to pose a threat of impact at this time.”
The image of the anchor disappeared as pictures of destruction were splashed across the screen. “Estimates suggest that the meteorite was the size of a large office building. It is believed to have impacted Honolulu with a force equivalent to the largest nuclear bomb currently in existence.”
“I wonder how close we came to that being a planet killer like the one in that movie?” Wren asked.
Don’t forget to come back tomorrow when we’ll feature Charlie Fish’s inspiration for Clean World in Carnage: After the End – Volume 2!