Monday, February 15, 2016

An Excerpt from "Death of the Boy"—And a Trailer!

Greetings, WYMOP readers!

Yes, it's more Echoes of Darkness stuff this week. I'm sorry, but I'm excited! I just can't help myself. I arrived home at about 10:00 this evening to find my proof copy waiting for me, so we're about to start the final proofread/edit, and I just stood in the kitchen with the giggles for a while.

So this week, to continue the celebration of my giggly happiness, I've decided to share with you all an excerpt from what I think is my favorite story in the collection, "Death of the Boy." It's the first story in the book, and I had a lot of fun writing it. I still have a lot of fun reading it, too, so I hope that translates into you enjoying the excerpt as well.
Now that's cool!

 . . . And after that, as a special treat, I've included the book trailer my publisher, Books & Boos Press, put together for me. Take a look at it, and if you like it then you have my blessing to spread it
around, on Facebook, Twitter, or wherever. In fact, please, spread it around! I happen to think it's cooler than Snow Miser's sphincter, and the more people see it the happier I'll be!

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An Excerpt from "Death of the Boy"

From the upcoming collection Echoes of Darkness,
 by Rob Smales 

Wake up.”
The words accompanied a sharp blow to his thigh. The boy opened his eyes to find the old man standing over him, dusty boot drawn back for another kick. Noting the boy’s open eyes, the old man returned the boot the ground and squatted, bringing his harsh, leathery face so close the boy choked on his breath: coffee, and at least one tooth going slowly bad.
Them things can’t smell nothing over their own stink, and they can see pretty good, but they can hear better’n you and me, so far as I can tell. You gonna be making noise, you want to be awake for it, so’s you can choose to run or fight if one of ’em comes along. Y’unnerstand?”
The boy nodded. The old man stood in one fluid motion.
Then quit’cher sleep-squallin’. Time to be up and moving, anyway.”
The boy glanced about, confused.
Where’s Mom? Dad?”
The word was hard and flat, hitting the boy like a punch. The flashes that made up his dream filled his head, the world wavering as tears filled his eyes. His chest had just begun to hitch when a callused palm struck him across the face, shocking him into silence. The old man was crouching over him again.
No time for that. Time for you to listen and do as I say, but not for that. How old are you?”
The boy stifled a sob. Touched his stinging cheek. “Huh?”
He flinched as the hand flew again, but rather than striking him, one bony finger extended to touch the tip of his nose.
I’ve got more slap than you have sand, boy, believe me. Or time. Lost my horse getting you out of there yesterday. Lost some of my gear. We shook ’em, but that don’t mean they can’t stumble on us again. Now you best show me how it was worth losing my horse to get you out of there by listening up, because I can just up and walk out of here and make it fine on my own, zombies or no. You, on t’other hand, may have a little more trouble. I talk. You listen. You answer. You do. Comprendé?”
Yes,” the boy managed, imagining for a moment being out there on his own, surrounded by the zombies that had taken his mom and dad. Eaten his mom and dad. It didn’t seem real, though he knew it was. He looked up at the old man, fear strengthening his voice: “Yes, sir.”
The finger disappeared. “Good. How old are you?”
Last month.”
You’re a tall one. I woulda taken you for sixteen, seventeen easy. Okay, now strip.”
The boy blinked. “Huh?”
Strip.” The old man straightened again. “Get on your feet and out of them clothes. Hurry up.”
The boy’s mind flashed back to what his father had called “warnings”: stories about bad things happening to children caught out by bandits and survivalists. It wasn’t just young girls that had to worry about men with needs. He’d been explicit enough that Mom had left the room, and the boy’d had nightmares for a couple of days.
Fear-sweat broke out across his upper lip, and down under his balls. He got his hands under him and began slowly crab-walking backward on his palms and soles, his butt barely clearing the ground.
Look, I, uh—”
He was suddenly looking into the business end of a revolver, bullet tips peeking at him around the great staring eye of the barrel. He froze, his two eyes as unblinking as the revolver’s one.
I said we don’t have time for this shit. God damn it, boy! I checked what I could last night, but I was too damn tired to fiddle with your clothes. I’m getting you out of here, but I ain’t takin’ a chance on you hiding sickness, then dying and turning on me in the night. You shitcan your modesty and peel off right now, and prove to me you ain’t been neither bit nor scratched, or—”
The gun never wavered, rock-steady as the old man thumbed the hammer back. The boy watched as a fresh cartridge rotated into place beneath that hammer, aimed along the barrel pointing directly at his left eye.
“—I’ll put a bullet through your head right now, to make sure you won’t be getting up afterward, then set about finding me another horse.”
Dark eyes gazed steadily at him over the chunk of metal death between them. One bushy eyebrow quirked.
Are we clear?”

Silent tears ran down the boy’s face as he stripped.

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Now, as promised, the book trailer for Echoes of Darkness.
Tell me you don't think it makes this guy's most private of areas look a little warm by comparison!

Talk to you later!

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