Tag Archives: survival

New Dawn – Mid-Week Flash Challenge

New Dawn

Cara had just commented, yet again, on the revolting orange of their suits, when Pete punched her arm and replied, “Don’t look at it as brash, see it like the rising sun instead.”

Cara hit him back and laughed, her voice warping through the fuzzy sound system as she chuckled.

Pete grinned and nudged her, nodding towards the horizon and the golden orb rising out of the ocean.

For a moment, Cara sobered, turning awkwardly in her cumbersome hazmat suit.

They both stared at the sun and its orange glow creating the celestial watercolour masterfully painted across the sky.

Pete raised his arms and held out his gloved thumbs and forefingers, framing the view, and Cara laughed again. She leaned against him and then tapped the side of his goggles. As he turned towards her she raised her open palm to her breathing apparatus and blew him a mock kiss. “You old romantic!” she giggled.

He shrugged and gazed at her, wishing for a moment they could pull off their protective gear, abandon their radiation suits, and just stand in the heat of the sun. He wanted to watch her walk on the sand beyond the pebbles further down the beach dipping her toes into the rolling surf. The last time he’d seen her do that was the day he’d met her. Long auburn hair glinting in the morning sun, goosebumps rising on her skin as she paddled before the ocean had had time to heat up for the day…

Now beneath the bright-orange hood and protective facemask, her long hair remained tied back and hidden.

Cara stepped away from him and began to stride down the beach, her feet unsteady across the stones, and her arms outstretched to balance. Pete laughed, and knew she could hear him inside her suit. She swayed precariously and provocatively and he laughed again. He wondered if she was about to go full-suit paddling again. The last time she’d done that they’d got into trouble, again. Before he could speak, though, she stopped dead, and surprise registered in her inhalation.

Pete hurried down the beach to join her.

She bent and grabbed clumsily at something among the pebbles. He couldn’t see what it was, but he could hear her annoyance at her gloved hands. As he reached her, she unbuckled the glove and threw it off. Pete gasped, preparing to admonish her, but then he saw what she’d picked up.

Cara brandished a feather, a grey feather with soft white down at the bottom of its shaft. She ran her naked finger across the vane and wonder lit her face. Pete gazed at it and then at her, and Cara stared out across the ocean.

“Your glove…” began Pete.

Cara ignored him and dropped the feather. It floated for a moment and then fell to the ground. Pete watched as Cara tore off her other glove and hastily began to unfasten her goggles and breathing gear. Her breath crackled in his ear, and he stood watching her transformation. She pushed back the hood and dropped her apparatus on the stones, and wiggled her shoulders and arms free of the suit, pushing it down about her waist.

Tears gathered in Pete’s eyes, convinced she’d gone mad, that he would lose her, but as her hair tumbled down about her pale shoulders, she turned to him and threw her arms up in the air in a gesture of freedom. Then she pointed up into the sky.

As he gazed beyond the morning sun, Cara tore at his hood and peeled back the layers of protection, until he could feel the cool air and her lips kissing his face.

“Look!” she insisted, and dipped back down to pick up the feather. “Look at this, it’s new, and it’s here!” Pete still didn’t understand, but he didn’t stop her as she pulled his suit down ‘til they both stood in vests and their defensive overalls hung at their waists.

Then he heard them. Shrill cries in the still quiet dawn, and his wife’s tears rolled gently down her cheeks. Gulls flew, soaring on the whispering currents of air, shrieking in the warmth of a new day, calling in celebration of life, and diving down into an ocean that offered food.

“My God!” he breathed. “Life! Birds!”

And Cara swung round to kiss him full on the lips, something they hadn’t done outside in nearly five decades. She ran her hands through her white hair and her fingers across his aged skin, and they laughed, laughter that rang out in hope and in the revelation of a new dawn.

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This is another Flash Fiction Challenge from Miranda at Finding Clarity…so, I’m enjoying writing again with prompts. Take a look and write your own story too.

Up to 750 words, inspired by the image posted. (Though, I have cheated with 770 words!)

 

Author Feature – J. Whitworth Hazzard

Zombies – if you like stories about survival,
about beating the odds against the flesh-eating hordes,
then ‘Dead Sea Games’ is the book for you!
J. Whitworth Hazzard’s Deathwish will keep you biting your nails
as you urge him to outlive the forces against him…

dead sea games, j whitworth hazzard, losing is not an option, zombie book,James Hazzard resides in Illinois with his family and is another author I’ve known for a few years. His writing has enthralled me, and I seriously did bite my nails whilst reading ‘Dead Sea Games’! He has a PhD in molecular biophysics that he now uses to figure out how to scientifically justify the existence of mythical creatures. My kind of guy, I mean dragons – they exist, of course they do! It’s my pleasure to interview him in my latest Author Feature.

James Hazzard, J Whitworth Hazzard, Dead Sea Games,

J. Whitworth Hazzard

J. Whitworth Hazzard

I love the totally original Dead Sea of the title, you’ll have to buy the book to know why, but, with a fair amount of zombie television, movies and books already out there, what made you want to compete and write within this genre of horror?

The honest answer to this question is that I didn’t set out to write in this crowded space. I love the genre, but it’s a small niche in the overall horror space, and I was more interested in the action/adventure aspect of post-apocalyptic survival. Dead Sea Games started out as a flash fiction piece, and after I won the contest it was entered in, I couldn’t leave it alone. I kept coming back to the story and decided I had to know what happened to Jeremy. Thus the novel was born.

Dead Sea Games - J Whitworth Hazzard

Dead Sea Games – J Whitworth Hazzard

You appear to have quite a scientific/mathematical background, from where did you draw your inspiration?

So many years of biophysics, biochemistry, and biomechanics gives you a lot of time on your hands to think about mythical creatures. My very first attempt at a novel used a similar scientific approach to justify how a dragon could survive into the modern world.  After I read World War Z, I came up with pages and pages of theories on how a “zombie” could evolve and survive realistically. There is a huge (and unsolvable) energy transport problem that I solved using…well, now I wouldn’t want to spoil it for you. You’ll find out how I solved the problem in the sequel Dead Sea Escape in 2016.

Your characters are diverse, strong, vulnerable and fully-rounded, and I willed them on right from the start. How much of yourself did you place in Deathwish, or was he drawn completely from your imagination?

Deathwish is an extremely wilful and difficult child that’s been forced to grow up extremely fast. He’s modelled after my own kids (sorry!) with a little more sass and bravado thrown into the mix. There’s a lot of me in Jeremy’s view on life and his situation, except for that part where he yells at his mother…which I would never, never do.

They're out to get you! Dead Sea Games

They’re out to get you! Dead Sea Games

I can really see Dead Sea Games on television or on the big screen; if it made it do you have any preferences for actors or actresses and what sort of soundtrack would you go for?

It’s funny you mention the sound track, because from the very beginning I put together a “DSG Playlist” and would fire it up every time I sat down to write. Some of the lyrics and songs even made it into the book in various forms.

If Jeremy ever makes it to the big screen, I’d like an unknown to get the role. I haven’t seen a teen actor lately that have the kind of physicality and screen presence Deathwish needs, and they grow up so fast anyone I picked today would be in their thirties by the time it was made. All the rest of the cast I have pretty clearly in my head as mainstream actors. All I want in life is to have Jason Statham cast as the Khan. Come on, Jason!

We often talk of the need to create or write because of an innate desire, what does writing do for you?

Writing, for me, is one of those compulsions that builds up over time, and if I don’t write something it starts to drive me nuts. I love writing but it’s difficult to keep up a steady pace, because once I finish a project I can feel empty for weeks. I’m slowly closing in on that 1,000,000 word mark, but I still feel like a novice. For me, that feeling like I have so much more to learn is what keeps me coming back to the process and reaching out to other writers.

Dead Sea Games - J Whitworth Hazzard

So, see if you can survive the Dead Sea Games… I’m not a horror reader in general, but I love The Walking Dead, and this book had me gripped! This is the best book I’ve read in the zombie genre, and with a few other unread zombie books now residing within my kindle, this is the standard they need to reach. Now I’m so excited for Dead Sea Escape!

Dead Sea Games is available on Amazon US and UK and your local Amazon store in both eBook and paperback. Find out more on his Amazon Author Page.

Like myself, James Hazzard works with Blue Harvest Creative, our Publishing Partner.

You can find him on Facebook TwitterGoodreads and Google+. Or feel free to stop by his blog for flash fiction and book reviews at Zombie Mechanics.

Visual Dare: Elite

Photo Source

Photo Source

She carved and built, delicately working her fingers, all month, barely stopping. This time she could help, she could do more than hold a banner, or be chained to a gate, this time she could really make a difference!

They laughed at her, the others, but they’d see.

When Maggie scoffed at the idea of a tree house, River bit her lip and bided her time. When Maggie chained herself to the old oak, River kept working. When they cut Maggie’s chains and the bulldozers moved in, River set down her tools and waited.

They laughed, when they saw it, they howled and snickered, but River watched as the engines growled.

It was the faces at the windows, tiny faces, peaked ears and delicate fingers pressed against River’s tiny panes of glass that stopped the laughter.

No motorway would ever cut through the ancient wood that housed fabled little folk…

(150 words)

00. VisDare Badge

A tale of survival and whimsy…read the others at Anonymous Legacy’s Visual Dare, and enjoy x