Archive for April, 2013

by the letters

Posted: April 28, 2013 in Uncategorized

We’ve been showcasing the work of student horror authors. Next up is J.D. – an opinionated young lady who utilizes concrete imagery and an unusual format for her tale. We at Dark Silo will be amazed if J.D. doesn’t make her mark in the writing world. Read her piece and see if you agree. 

Zombified J.D.

Zombified J.D.

All of the students that we’ve printed are from the Polaris Expeditionary School in Fort Collins, Colorado. Our thanks to their teacher, Ryan Grindel, who gave us both the opportunity to print these stories, and a glimpse at a remarkable future for genre fiction. Thanks, Mr. G!

A is for Apocalypse

The heat reached me first, numbing pain slicing through layers of skin all the way to the bone. Light clawed its way into my eyes, biting at them mercilessly, aiming to kill. Thoughts jumped from my head in a wild attempt to flee this awful fate. I didn’t dare take a breath for fear of letting in more of this nullifying light. Maybe I screamed, but it could have been the wail of the world as the fleas of humanity were whipped from her surface. The moment seemed to burn a hole through time, ditching me in the center of the inferno.

The blast had cast me aside like a cranky child finished with a toy. I tried to unwrap myself from the street lamp in vain. Hot air slithered through my lungs as I tried with every ounce of muscle the blast hadn’t stolen to detach from the pole. Finally, I slumped onto the unforgiving ground. A large chunk of concrete punched the tender skin of my back. Maybe the pole was better, I thought with a whimper. My next shift in weight was into a smoldering patch of grass that crackled underneath me. I made a decision to just not move. Unfortunately that decision quickly changed when I heard the quick exhale of breath next to me.

Twisting onto my side, I saw a woman face down on the concrete with a hunk of debris immobilizing her left leg. Without thinking I hobbled over to her, new wounds of my own becoming clear every time my foot made contact with solid ground.

“Ma’am?’ I nudged her shoulder hoping she was still alive. Selfishly I yearned not to be trapped in a state of loneliness through whatever madness this turned out to be. “Ma’am are you alright?”

She let out a small groan.

“Oh thank God! Just be still, I think help should be on its way!” If the help was even still alive.

With short jerky motions, she began to lift her head, twisting from side to side to get free from the ground. I opened my mouth to tell her to lay still, but then I noticed the pool of red where her face had been. A meaty chunk was still stuck to the pavement. As she continued to twist and grind her body, I caught a good look at her face. The meat on the ground was a piece of her cheek that now left an empty hole where you could see bloodied teeth. She pulled her arms up to perch her upper body on and let out a gut tearing scream muffled by the steady flow of her own blood pouring down her throat. Her blue shirt was soon an awkward purple from the blood sloshing from her mouth.

Unable to form a coherent sentence, the only intelligible words to pop from my lips were “Holy shit”

The woman jerked her head my direction. Through blood matted hair, she looked at me with clouded eyes. Her broken nose twitched slightly. There was a long pause. We watched each other, uncertain of what move the other would make.

Then she lunged with such force that the tendons of her left leg separated mid-thigh. Being trapped under the concrete block didn’t seem to appeal to her and she began yanking at her leg to get free. She ripped away flesh with a sickening tearing sound until finally she snapped her bone. As she stood, the meat of her leg twitched and started to spasm around the gray bone. Crimson splashed and dripped from the wound leaving a puddle in the concrete as she gained her balance.

Clearing shock from my mind, I scrambled over rubble to get away from this crazed monster. She screeched and screamed, gargling blood. Finding unsure footing with her one good leg, she lunged at me again, coming mere inches from my eye. Adrenaline enveloped me as I hopped over concrete and bodies. Somehow, the woman was keeping up with me, despite her severed leg and massive blood loss. Within seconds, she was at my heels, reaching out to grab at me. Without really processing my plan of attack, I grabbed a nearby pole about five feet long and swiveled around to face the creature. Locating her chest, I slammed one end of the pole through it with all my strength, right where her heart was. She was thrust back, but didn’t seem to take any notice to becoming a shish kabob. Lucky me, I was her only focus at the time.

A thought registered in my head that made my mouth drop. Clashing teeth, can’t be killed like a living human, and can walk around no matter what wound they have. I closed my throat tight around the word before it could breach my lips. Realizations like this are better left to the mind.

I placed a foot right below where the pole had pierced the woman’s body and jerked back. She took a second to regroup but I was ready for the attack this time. When she lunged, I slid the pole right through her head, creating a flower like splash of red, gray and pink out the other side. The woman slumped down, lifeless.

With a shaky sigh, I dropped the pole. Years of America obsessing over the creatures of the night and someone had just brought them to our doorstep. Logic had clearly been burned out reality with the blast. The cushy life we all had once lived was now over. We needed to survive the world, not live in it. ‘The product of our imagination shall be the reality of our demise.’ My Dad’s quote sounded in my head through the silence of the new world.

I took another look at the woman lying dead by my feet, her gnarly hole of cheek peering up at me. So this is what the new world had in store for us? Zombies?

 

 

B is for Backstory

 

 

Before the bomb went off, America was in a state of bliss for the first time in decades. No one knew the true story of why. America had been at war for so long, and then all of a sudden, war seemed to stop. Why look a gift horse in the mouth? Probably because inside lay the carnage of half-a-dozen civilizations that America had put to rest. The reasons all varied; difference, nuclear power, oil. Mostly oil. Which is ironic. considering gas is now useless to the Undead. We didn’t care about the people we put down like dogs and forced to work in factories that only shipped shitty products to American soil. This was all kept a secret of course, because why worry the rich and powerful? Only a handful of people knew, and everyone who was sent to carry out these ‘missions of peace’ was executed upon return to their motherland.

But we must have forgotten some big super power, because shortly after the American take over, the bio-bombs were dropped. Word has it that we couldn’t even pin point who was leading the attack. The nightmares of American sin were at our door step, ready to knock down the domino stack which we called home. And they did. The final siege of biological terror landed at the head of every domino tower in the country. We fell with hardly a scream, out with a whimper.

It may be sick but I still love the irony. Our downfall brought on by the very creatures that we idolize and use to entertain so often. We had this coming. Decades of stepping on the little people and we expected no rebellion? No reclaiming of power that was ripped from the hands of the powerless? How naïve a world in which these dead morons used to float.

In my few possessions I still have a crumpled flyer that seemed to litter the streets of Loveland after the initial attack. Someone who clung to the theatrical title of ‘Rosy Death’.

 

“We are breast feeding the cruelty of the world. With “good intentions” we are feeding our innocence on a silver platter to those who wish to destroy us. Our secrets lay on broken spoons slipping repetitively into the mouths of the greedy. They grow with ever mounting malcontent, sponging off of our sacrificial happiness. Punishment becomes obsolete to those in a seat of power. They strangle the voice boxes of those who dare cry out to the crimes of today’s world. Forcing them to sit in a laminated torture that is watching the plague called humanity continue and spread through the land. Silence becomes the only cry let loose from bloody victim’s lips. Lathered in their stolen innocence, a taunting game played by many. The choice of power becomes blurred by corruption. And we, the people, are condemned to rot with the bones of the forgotten, at the feet of the crown barer.

This is our ultimate punishment. To become that which the mirror sees. That which our hunger feeds. Broken by the very hunger that used to propel us to the safety of wealth.

Feast my lovely corruption! Feast on the slaughter land of dreams!”

 

So Rosy Death was probably a complete nut case, but he or she made a good point.

it’s not a cuddle puddle

Posted: April 25, 2013 in Dark Silo Event

Ben H. is a student at Polaris Expeditionary School in Fort Collins, Colorado. What follows here is an excerpt from his zombie story (untitled). Ben’s work is the second of three student efforts from “Zombie Week” at Polaris. You will notice a macabre sense of humorin Ben’s narrative, in the grand tradition of legends like Dan O’Bannon. Great work, Ben!

We were heading to the main UNM campus to find a biological research center that Gayle was talking about. It was our best bet of finding a formula for some kind of cure or anything that can potentially help us. As we were going down the road, I noticed that the truck’s fuel gauge was empty. I looked at Zack and said, “Hey man, we should stop for gas, you’re running on empty.”

Ben H.

Ben H.

He looked at me and said, “Quit your whinin’, this thing’ll run for a good ten miles before it runs out of fuel. We’ve got plenty of time, we can just refill when we get closer to UNM”.

As soon as he finished that sentence, the car stopped dead, and Gayle and I burst out laughing because of the irony. “You shut your god damned faces,” said Zack with an incredibly irritated look on his face.

“Don’t be such a sour puss, Zack,” I said. “So we just gonna walk down Tramway with a gas container until we get to a gas station, fill up, and head back to the truck?”

“Hell no,” Zack said. “Walking down this open road, out in plain sight would be suicide. By now, we’ve probably attracted dozens of them from the noise of the truck. Our best bet would be to cut through one of the residential areas here and get to the gas station that way. It’ll take longer, sure; but it’ll almost certainly be safer. By the time we’ve gone there and back again, they’ll have wandered away from the car following some other noise.”

“Alright, that makes sense. Since it’s getting late, we can stop by one of these houses and make camp there for the night after getting the fuel,” I said.

“Alright, it’s a plan. Gayle, anything you’d like to add?” asked Zack.

Gayle said, “Let’s do it. Just be quiet, these houses may be home to some people who didn’t escape and became infected, or just crazies. There’s no way to know, so we have to be cautious”. Zack and I nodded in agreement, and so we set off. As we were walking off, Zack looked behind at the truck and the road beyond it. He stopped us and pointed over at the truck. We looked over and saw a huge horde shuffling towards the truck, moaning the haunting moans they made.

We darted nimbly into the suburban area, dashing around tumbleweeds and hopping over fences. When we decided that the coast was clear, we started moving down the streets past the houses, paying attention for any sort of alternate route to the gas station. As we were walking, we came across a house that had a pile of headless corpses lying on the driveway, the stench intoxicating us as we walked by. Gayle said, “I’m assuming those bodies aren’t just in a giant cuddle puddle taking a cat nap. Someone in that house has to have dispatched them all. Let’s go see if they have any supplies.”

Zack got a grim look on his face, and said “We might as well.” I’ll keep my shotgun out in case I need to use it.” We all nodded in understanding, and headed into the house.

We found an elderly lady crouched on the ground in a pool of blood, holding a little girl in her arms. Gayle calmly asked, “Excuse me? Are you friendly?” The lady turned around sobbing hysterically and said “Please, take whatever you want! Don’t kill my baby; kill me but not my baby!”

“Ma’am, calm down,” said Zack in the most consoling voice I’d heard him use since we met. “What is the situation here? Maybe we can help somehow”.

“It’s my baby, my little Amanda. I was trying to hold off those… things with my husband’s old shotgun, and one of them got past me and bit my Amanda! Please, just save her!”

I looked over the woman’s shoulder, and sure enough, Amanda had a huge chunk of her arm missing. She had passed out from the pain. “Jesus Christ…” I said under my breath. We won’t be able to save her. She’s bitten; she’s going to turn into a rager in just a matter of time… damn it. I looked at Zack and Gayle, confounded, wondering what we should do.

Zack said, “Lady, your girl… Amanda… she’s infected. In a few minutes, she’s going to become one of those things.”

“NO! Don’t say that! She’ll survive! She’s a strong little girl!” the lady replied.

“That may be true, but her strong will won’t save her. Nothing can save her now.”

“You’re lying! You’re wrong! I know she’ll be okay!”

Zack turned to us and whispered “What the hell are we supposed to do?”

Gayle said, “Well we can’t just kill it. It’s the woman’s child.”

“Correction. It was her child,” I interjected. “I say we put it down before it becomes a threat to us.”

“I agree with Asher,” said Zack. “It’ll be hard, but we’ve got to-“

At that moment, he was interrupted by a blood curling scream. We turned around and saw that Amanda had latched onto her mother’s head and was gnawing and thrashing it. The mother began running around, bumping into things and knocking stuff off of the counters. Zack picked up his shotgun and shot at her head, instantly decapitating her and knocking off Amanda. . .

Dark Silo recently visited the Polaris Expeditionary School in Fort Collins, Colorado for “zombie week.” For five days, teacher Ryan Grindle builds integrated curriculum around a fun theme—the living dead. One key assignment involved writing zombie fiction. As promised, Dark Silo Press will present the best three student submissions, beginning with a scene from Olivia W.’s story.

Note that each of the three stories were fairly lengthy. For reasons of space, we had to edit a portion of Olivia’s work. But give this a read. Olivia’s tale is touching, and ends with an interesting turn!

1

Hello my name is Samantha. I don’t know who you are. I am dead if you’re reading this. Sorry about being cliche. The following is the account of however long I live through this. I’m writing so that maybe when this shit storm blows over something of me will be left behind. and then maybe I won’t just be another footprint washed away by the wind. I will be remembered maybe not as something great, but I will be remembered, I hope.

Author/Zombie Olivia W.

Author/Zombie Olivia W.

2

I apologize for the fact that there will be no real dates. I have no idea what day it is. I can tell you that it is most likely late summer or early fall. The leaves are starting to rot on the trees and lay on the ground piling up like an itchy wool blanket. We walked for what seemed like ten miles today, probably more like four miles.

By we, I mean Erica, Matt, and I (Samantha). We’ve been following the railroad track knowing that we won’t be lost, and that it will go through an occasional town where we can stock up on supplies. We met at the Pouder river near Lee Martinez park about two days ago.

Erica is fairly nice. She doesn’t talk much, none of us really do anymore. She has light hair that reminds me of the color of simba from the lion king. Her eyes are blue/grey. She hasn’t told me how old she is, and I don’t think it’s too important to know. Although she looks to be in her twenties. Matt is tall maybe 5’11”. He has dark hair that is longer than a finger, but shorter than a hand. He has green eyes that look like flecks of evergreens, really pretty. He is pretty strong, I guess you have to be strong to survive. I am average. I have brown hair, and brown eyes. I’m not too strong, and not too weak. Nothing special to me really, except for I’m still alive.

3

We’re taking a break at a river to fill up our water bottles, and look for something edible. I don’t know if you have ever had water with iodine in it but trust me it is nasty. I also believe that it has some negative effects on your liver, but it’s better than cholera or malaria. Erica has this really great book. It has a bunch descriptions of edible plants in it with pictures. We found some wax berries that are really good. They are red, they have what seems to be a waxy covering, and they are delicious. It’s too bad it took an apocalypse for me to try them. Alright we are going to get moving. I’m going to write again tonight wish me luck.

4

So much has happened. We were scavenging for food in an abandoned basement at a factory warehouse. We heard moans like the ones in the zombie movies, except for it’s worse. I wish I could explain it. It was as if  someone is groaning while their throat is being slit with a rusted razor blade. We heard them while we were scavenging in a basement that had loads of canned food. The moans echoed in my head piling up on each other until I couldn’t think of anything else. Matt immediately locked the door. I was terrified. I could feel the adrenaline pumping into my muscles like air into balloons. I loaded my crossbow with a shaky hand, and aimed at the door commanding myself to stay still. I tried to even my breath. Erica’s eyebrows were scrunched up, and she seemed to be attempting to solve a difficult puzzle. I glanced at Matt. he had his compact bow ready. The string held an arrow, and it was pulled back, the muscle in his arm faintly twitching.

“Guys,” Erica whispered. “What are you planning on doing?

I glanced over my shoulder staring at her feeling stupid. I  realized that we hadn’t thought this through. Matt slowly let the bow string loose turning towards her.
He sighed. “What do you suggest?”

“We can’t wait in here. If they break through the door there’s no way that we can kill them all no matter how slow and stupid they are. We have the best chance if we’re above them.” She had a point. I had seen a tall building nearby. It had a rusty ladder that led to the top. That would be the best place to go. I told them in hushed tones about the building. We packed up. I scribbled in my journal not wanting to die leaving no explanation. Then we left.

I led, Matt next, and Erica taking up the rear. We all had our weapons loaded, ready to kill at the first sight of movement. Half way there we saw a group of them, their skin hanging limply over their bones barely covering whatever was left on them. They were jaundicing and seemed to be blanketed with bruises. Their eyes looked to be looted of all life. The skin had lost all amount of opaque pigment, leaving their insides exposed to eyes. Most of their clothing had either rotted away or fallen to the ground. A guy, maybe twenty when he died, had sagging pants falling below his knees, revealing his plaid underwear. His shirt had stab wounds, and his arm seemed to be hanging from it’s socket. Blood was smeared on his mouth. I avoided looking at him, for he disturbed me, and with my weak stomach I couldn’t afford it.

Lifting my head to scan our rout, I found that their were more of them. Definitely more than a dozen stood in front of us. They didn’t seem to see us; maybe they were blind. We walked quietly forward. I flinched as my boots crunched on the gravel. A few of them turned their heads, tilting them so their ears faced us attentively. We stopped. I thought about it what could we do. If we kept moving, they would definitely hear us. “Run” whispered in my head. I turned and mouthed the word to Erica and Matt. They nodded and I held up my hand three fingers, then two, one, and then a closed fist. My legs extended and contracted rhythmically hitting the ground. The backpack full of survival gear pounded into my spine throwing my vertebrae out of alignment. As soon as my legs reacted the undead turned, facing us. I could see their muscles ripple under their skin. They were fast. Faster than any others I had seen. One lady tripped her leg falling from her hip as the ligament and muscle snapped. Matt passed me, catching hold of the ladder and pulling himself up.

Now the rusty end of the ladder was only ten steps away. Then  five steps, three, two, one. I seized the bottom rung of the ladder, pulling myself up. I felt clammy fingers grab my ankle. I tried kicking it away as I continued to heave myself up from the ground. The grip tightened as I frantically moved my leg, trying to shake free. I reached the third bar from the ground, but the hand still wouldn’t let go. The undying hunger fueling this monster was powerful. I was dragging this body with me and my muscles complained. I felt teeth dig into the flesh of my calf and let out a scream of agony. I held on with one hand my fingers clutching the metal with all their might. I pointed the loaded crossbow below me and pulled the trigger. The weight fell from my leg and I attempted climbing again.

The pain was unbearable, to the point that I am suprised I did not pass out. I couldn’t feel my leg, but was sure that blood was spilling out of me splattering the hungry mob below. for what seemed like hours I climbed the ladder. Matt was at the top flinging arrows to the ground puncturing the heads of those below. I reached the top. dropping immediately from exhaustion. Matt rushed to me and relieved me of my bag. He pulled out a first aid kit and tended to my leg. He poured water over my calf, and bandaged it. I fell into a coma-like sleep. I found myself awake and pulled my journal out.

5

It’s the sixth day since I started my journal and I am better off dead. I feel swollen. My leg probably has some infection from the zombie saliva. I don’t know if I should tell Matt or not. He probably knows anyways. I am better off just killing myself now. If I jump, then I am dead. I probably won’t come back, because they will eat all of me. I don’t want to make Matt kill me, and it would be so much easier if I did it my self. All I have to do is jump into the mouth of those monsters and this nightmare will be over. Goodbye.

6

Hello My name is Matt…

nook me

Posted: April 14, 2013 in Dark Silo News
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We at Dark Silo Press are continuing our climb into the 21st century. This week, we introduce the Barnes and Noble Nook version of Dead Beyond the Fence by Brian Kaufman. The price is a very affordable $3.99.

Nook Version

Nook Version

And while you’re contemplating the perfect book for your B&N Nook, we thought we’d tease you with news of a new release. Mary King’s Plague is a stand-alone novella that will be released on both the Kindle and the Nook in the first week of June – just in time for your first camping trip or summer break. Check back with us at Dark Silo as details become available!