A long, long time ago I wrote an epic fantasy called Dark Waters. It’s a sort of horror, fantasy, steampunk novel with a twisted sense of humour. There are a lot of action scenes, lots of battles and – oh yeah – did I mention it’s basically a story about pirates vs zombies. Well for this week only I’m lowering the price from $4.99 to $0.99 – but I had you at pirates vs zombies right?
Here’s a little snippet where Finn, one of the leading characters, is doing his best to cure the zombie plague, but in a Dr Frankenstein sort of way:
A Qatarian girl was strapped to the worktop. Finn sat on one of the free benches, watching Rhoma work without inspiration. She sang sweetly as she adjusted the machinery and shook her new compound every few minutes. This would be the eighth experiment in four days, but the failure had not dampened her spirits like it had Finn’s. She was still convinced it was only a matter of time before she got her chemicals right.
Rhoma had spent the past fifteen years learning the medicines of her ancestors. She understood the poppies in their raw form, which was more than Qataria ever managed. The history of her people and the science explained in the scribbled manuals Eve had left should have been enough to find answers neither side had been able to achieve before. She poured the new compound into the machine filter and tried to encourage Finn into something near enthusiasm.
“This is it young Finnian, I can feel it in my bones.”
“You said that about the last one,” Finn grumbled.
She pinched his cheek hard, a fixed grin forming on her face. “If you keep with that attitude of yours, young man, I’m going to slice you a new smile. Now are you going to be a good boy?”
“Get on with it,” he replied. “I can’t contain my excitement.”
She let him go and danced over to the machine. Finn moved to the incinerator connected to the left of the girl. That had been his position each time. After so many failed experiments he had become an expert in administering the flames.
“Check her eyes,” Rhoma told him.
He pulled the eyelids back revealing a thick coating of red across the balls, just like the others.
“Pretty girl,” Rhoma remarked.
“I was just saying.” Rolling her eyes, Rhoma started the machine. “Administering the cure.” The machine began to fizz and hiss as the chemical was forced into the young girl’s body.
Stepping away from the machine Rhoma put her arm around Finn. “It will work lad, come on cheer up.”
“And if it doesn’t?”
“Then it will work next time. I know it’s not ideal, but we could find answers here Finn. You could go home with the cure in your hands.”
The machine hissed and then stopped. Patting his back she pushed him forward. “Check her eyes?”
Nervously he lifted the girl’s lids and frowned. “They look, well not as red.” Something near excitement began rising in his gut. “It’s definitely fading.”
“Let’s wake her up.”
The machine began its cat-like hissing again as the only successful compound they had made was pumped into the girl. Finn checked the restraints were tight, then backed away to wait for the machine to stop.
Silence filled the laboratory. Rhoma fidgeted, unable to contain her excitement. Finn swallowed the growing lump of nervousness clogged in his throat.
“Did it work?” He squeaked.
“Check her eyes.”
“You check her eyes.”
Rhoma wiggled her fingers, “These are cursed. You try.” She nudged him forward.
His hands were shaking. He reached out for the girl. Taking a deep breath he tried to control his trembling hands. Rhoma urged him forward again. From a distance of a foot he examined the girl. Her breathing was still steady and deep. She seemed to still be asleep.
“Did you use the right mixture to wake her up?”
“Of course I did. Are her eyes clear?”
Steadying himself, he reached forward, brushing his hand across her forehead as he pulled back her lids for a second time. The balls were once again blushed crimson. Finn’s shook his head. He made to move his hand, but the girl sunk her jaws into him. Her teeth clamped into his flesh, her body thrusting against the restraints. She writhed manically, the bonds slicing into her skin. Finn yelled, desperately trying to get free. He slammed her skull against the worktop. Again and again. Blood pooled onto the floor, his and hers, as her skull shattered and she sunk deeper into his flesh.
Rhoma started the incinerator. Liquid fire rushed into the girl. She released Finn in a scream as her veins ignited. Her limbs turned black. She kicked and flayed, spraying her ash body into the air until there was nothing left of her.