Can you tell readers a little bit about yourself and what inspired to write in this particular genre?
A: I’ve always been interested in the paranormal, everything from ghosts to vampires, zombies, and the different realms and creatures in between. My wife and I enjoy venturing through graveyards, looking at the old tombstones and researching the histories of the people entombed there. My interests may be a bit dark… but so sue me.
What inspired you to write this book?
A: One time while watching a show about psychics, I asked myself, “How do they cope with these things when they first encounter the ability?” From there my imagination took off, both in the abilities and plot. Then one particular scene from the book I would later write came to mind. “What would happen if a teen developing the ability to relive people’s murders walked into a Civil War battlefield where every object is imbued with memories?” After that there was no turning back. I had to write Alex’s story. I drew from my experiences as a teacher and the stories I’ve helped kids work through.
Please tell us about your latest release.
A: The latest release is The Golden Bulls, book 2 in the A Life of Death series. I was a little afraid of how people would respond since it takes place while Alex Drummond is an adult, a homicide detective in fact. He is no longer telling the story of his childhood when he first developed the ability. He’s struggling to track down a serial killer who uses an Anubis mask and is operating closer to home than Alex realizes. However, the response from readers has been quite good. In it, we get to know a few blasts from the past better, including Alex’s son.
Is there a character that you enjoyed writing more than any of the others?
A: I must say that I feel closer to Alex than any other. There’s a bit of me in him, but as I continue writing the series, his son is quickly overshadowing him as my favorite. Jamie’s an overzealous teenager with a sense of humor, an ankh branded into his forehead, and more prolific abilities than his father. What could be better?
Do you have a formula for developing characters? Like do you create a character sketch or list of attributes before you start writing or do you just let the character develop as you write?
A: I normally write the scene with the character’s introduction before I ever start outlining the story. To me, characters are the heart of the book. Without believable characters, you don’t care enough to read on. Once I’ve introduced them, they’re fleshed out enough that I can expand on the details and history a bit more in the character outline. However, that isn’t to say that they don’t change and evolve later.
What is your favorite scene from the book? Could you share a little bit of it, without spoilers of course?
A: My favorite scene from book 1 is still the one that started it all, Alex and Paige taking a trip to the Civil War battlefield museum for a research paper. When someone like Alex can relive people’s vicious murders at just a touch, there are so many ways to take the story that I had difficulty keeping the scene from becoming all-encompassing. However, it’s still a pivotal point in the story.
The scenes I enjoyed writing the most in book 2 are when Alex winds up going back thousands of years to Ancient Egypt to help a few archeologists at George Washington University. The things you endure during a murder investigation…
Can these books be read as stand alones?
A: In reviews, readers have expressed the same things I feel when it comes to this question. While the A Life of Death series can be read as standalones and enjoyed perfectly, really the entire experience will be more entertaining starting with book 1 and so on.
Do you have any weird writing quirks or rituals?
A: Well… I enjoy writing naked while barking at the ghosts screaming into my head, if you can call that weird—just kidding.
No, I don’t really have any writing quirks. I can normally keep the personalities jumping around in my head confined there… mostly. However, I have a basic process or ritual. I normally listen to a little soft rock on Pandora while writing. This is the station I put together. It’s pretty eclectic, but works great for me. After writing the initial character introduction chapters, I start planning out the story and outlining it. Then I go back to the initial chapters and continue writing, bolding the sections in the outline as I finish them in the manuscript itself.
Do you write in different genres?
A: Yes. I write the stories that choose me… if I can. There are still a few running around in my head that I haven’t quite caught, but once I get them figured out, they’ll go down on paper too. I can’t confine myself to one specific genre, although most of my stories have supernatural aspects. Whether that’s vampires, ghosts, different planes, or creatures from the abyss of my own mind, the elements in my stories normally test the boundaries of “known” science.
Other than writing, what are some of your interests, hobbies or passions in life?
A: Well, I love teaching middle and high school. Helping and entertaining the kids simultaneously can be a struggle sometimes, but it’s well worth it when you see what they do with their lives. That same interest extends to my editing company, WAKE Editing, where I help authors fine tune both their manuscripts and their writing in general.
In my spare time, I enjoy movies, video games (I’m trying out the new Cities of Tomorrow expansion to SimCity currently), roleplaying games like D&D and Pathfinder, and fishing. There’s not much that can beat a good day out on the water with friends, rods in hand and a large fish on the hook.
What was the last amazing book you read?
A: I recently did a book signing at Duckon, a convention in Wheeling, Illinois that caters to most subjects. I had the pleasure of meeting John Everson, Brian Pinkerton, and quite a few more great authors. After hearing Brian read an excerpt from his witty zombie novel, How I Started the Apocalypse in a panel, I was hooked. I read it in two sittings. It was quick, funny, and entertaining. I highly recommend it.
Where is your favorite place to read? Do you have a cozy corner or special reading spot?
A: I enjoy reading in a comfy chair in my living room, my feet propped up on the ottoman and a cup of coffee near at hand on the end table.
What can readers expect next from you?
A: I’m currently working on Book 3 in the A Life of Death collection and hope to have it published through Books of the Dead Press later this year. I also have a few more projects in the works, including a YA fantasy story that started with a Shakespearian reference to Queen Mab, a short story I should be shopping around to publishers shortly, and a post-apocalyptic roleplaying game I’m co-writing based on the D20 system.
A: I’m pretty easy to find. Here are the easiest ways to find out about upcoming books or get in touch with me directly:
Author Page - http://kincadefiction.blogspot.com
Twitter - @WestonKincade
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/WAKincade
Editing Site – http://www.wakeediting.com
Would you like to leave readers with a little teaser or excerpt from the book?
A: Sure. Since I’ve mentioned it a couple times, why don’t I include the scene where Alex and Paige head over to the Civil War battlefield museum. Enjoy this snippet from Alex’s tale!
A Life of Death, Book 1 Excerpt:
I turned and confronted the Tinen Valley Museum as though it were an odd stranger from my past. The last time I’d been here was in better times. I stared at the building straddling the hilltop and ran my sweaty hands along my jeans. It was the only thing for miles, outside of monuments and ancient cannons that had seen better days. As I discovered renewed sweat on my hands, it felt like I had something in common with the war remnants. The dirt and perspiration just wouldn’t stay away. The rest of the land around us was rolling hills. It was a comfort to feel Paige’s hand again slip into mine, intertwining our fingers. She didn’t comment about my palms. With a deep breath, I nodded toward the building and the glass wall surrounding the second floor that overlooked the battlefield. It was one of the few characteristics not limited by the antique design.
Paige stood tensed, but whether it was due to the mystery of what lay beyond the museum doors or in anticipation of spending the day with me, I’ll never know. “Yes,” she mumbled, but added with more gusto, “It should be fun.”
She matched my step as we meandered up the sidewalk and past the corroded green plaques. I remembered the story they told. They detailed the events leading up to the conflict in the order they occurred. As we stepped up to the building, Paige guided me off the path and up to a large plaque adorning the cedar sided wall. It outlined the outcome of the battle and how it benefited the Union army. But at what cost?
I’d experienced violent deaths first hand over the last week and could only imagine what it must have been like fighting and dying in the war. 2,500 men died where we were standing, or so it said. As I read on, a tingling spread up my foot and into my leg. I dug the ball of my foot into the ground to rid it of the pinpricks. The odd feeling persisted. I stomped my heel and the feeling dissipated, but returned a moment later. I repeated the motion and got the same result.
Paige peered up at me with a quizzical look and a peculiar slant to her eyebrows. “What’s wrong?”
“Nothing, foot’s just asleep.”
When she finished reading, we turned and entered the building. The annoying sensation faded away. In the entryway stood a large, rifled cannon, the earliest of its kind. It stood out from the others with its original paint and markings. It had fared far better than those outside, which were subjected to the elements each day and night. The spokes of its wheels were anchored to the floor with large chains, as though someone might consider loading it into an oversized pickup truck. I chuckled as the image of a lone man attempting to steal the cannon came to mind. The weight alone would deter any normal person from the idea. I was in awe at the might of something so large and formidable. I’d seen it before, but at that time I thought only a giant could control such a thing. To a four-foot-tall child, it was monstrous.
“Wow,” Paige gasped, “It must be a replica to be in such good shape. It says it’s a Galena Blakely, one of the few ever purchased by the Confederacy.”
I nodded in silent agreement as my eyes scanned every inch of it. The long, chilled barrel was pitted and chipped, as though the museum staff had attempted to make it look more realistic. The large gun felt familiar. It was something from a past long lost to me. Although we’d only met once, it felt like it knew me. I set my hand atop its great barrel and all thoughts of Paige and my unwelcome home left. The dense metal reminded me of what life was like, once upon a time. I caressed the barrel like a cowboy would his steed.
The antique aroma wafted up from the cold metal. Oh no, I thought as I was jolted from the museum. It’s happening again.
* * *
Morning fog filtered the sunlight streaming into my eyes, and I became aware of new sights and sounds. The air echoed as a barrage of large mosquitoes buzzed by. Ash and burning sulfur permeated the air. Looking down from the hilltop where Paige had clasped my hand moments before, a horde of men rushed up at me. They were clad in the somber gray uniforms of the Confederacy. As the sulfuric fog drifted across the rolling hilltops, other soldiers became visible atop an opposing knoll. A battery of cannons was at their fingertips, and they fired on my position. A dissonance of booming shots ricocheted across the sky, but the fog masked our location. The strategic thought was odd, something I shouldn’t have known.
The hard metal of the great cannon lay beneath my hand, but it was no longer cold. In fact, its heat weaved through my thick glove as it blazed to life. It rocked back on its haunches and roared like thunder. I was nearly bowled over, ducking in time as it sprang to life. My ears rattled as the fuse sputtered and died, its mission accomplished.
I dipped the long-handled sponge into the putrid bucket at my feet, waiting for the others to manhandle the weapon back into place and worm out the barrel. When they finished, I hefted the sponge-rammer up to the muzzle and stuffed the dripping end down the barrel of the gun. I swept large flakes and black powder out of the steaming opening as the cannoniers readied the gunpowder and a twelve-pounder. Stepping back, I tapped my foot while the first man inserted the powder. I spun the long-handled rammer like a staff and stuffed the powder into the chamber with the other end. Carl dropped the large shell down the gun’s gullet, and I rammed it home. I worked without thought, doing as I’d been trained. As I finished, I noticed my cuffs. They were like the uniformed soldiers’ around me, Union blue.
At least I know what side I’m on.
We dropped out of sight, and the corporal cleared the vent and lit the fuse. Carl yelled, “Play ‘em some chin music, Jack! Give ‘em hell.”
“Old scratch is waitin’ for ‘em,” I shouted back with gusto, unsure of the meaning of my words. However, I got the gist.
“Hell yeah, Able! That’s right,” hooted Corporal Jack as he stepped back from the cannon.
The adrenaline coursing through Able’s body was contagious. The words felt right amidst the hail of bullets and gun smoke encircling the group. The boast had been all I could muster through the acrid fog. I wiped away the sweat on my brow with a blackened sleeve and put it to my lips to filter the ash from the air. It wasn’t much better.
Bullets whizzed by as the Blakely roared, answering the cannons on the opposing hill. I ducked down beside its large wheel as it leapt back another foot, digging deep troughs into the mossy battlefield. It stopped once its claws found purchase. Peering through the large spokes, I watched as the gun’s mouth belched huge clouds of smoke. It collected over the summit, adding to an already dismal field. The cannonball soared through the clouds and fell amongst the roving group of Confederates below. It scattered a large cluster of men where it struck, bouncing through the ranks and flipping end over end, up the opposing slope. It left a bloody trail of bodies in its wake, dismembering everyone in its path.
As the clouds gathered, they blocked the hillside from view. I could see little beyond my outstretched hand and the men around me. Time slowed to a crawl. How can these men stand tall, in full view of the oncoming army, without fear? They looked like a monument to the men of this land and what they fought for. The image etched itself into my mind. They were all perched in position, watching the devastation their weapon wrought on the defenseless men below. The cannon’s discharge spared only one man as it leapt over his head. The infantryman paused, expecting each second to be his last as his gaze followed the unpredictable shell in an arc over and past him. He turned in place, the shock and disbelief evident even at a distance as his comrades were torn to ribbons.
The three of us grabbed the cannon’s frame and hoisted it back into place. We repeated the reloading process and ducked back in wait. I tried to still my hands as the fuse burnt down, but my nervousness could not be quelled. I scanned the long barrel, but was unable to read the words that had been stamped into it. Something had adorned it earlier in its life, a maker’s mark, but it must have been lost over the years. The Blakely spoke again, and I cheered the cannon on, leaping from my position to fulfill my duty. The others beat me to it, so I grabbed the wheel in my hands. Fighting the sweat and ash covering my gloves, I used every muscle to force the wheel back into its rut. Carl had the other in his hands and was doing the same. The effort of his exertions streamed down his face. Rivers of sweat waged their own war with his ash-coated cheeks.
Once the cannon was level, I snatched my rammer from the ground and rose up, but a heavy weight slammed into my shoulder. I looked down in shock as my jacket was sullied. Pain flared in my shoulder, and a dark splotch spread from a small tear in the fabric. I gazed at the wound in silence, unable to give my emotions voice. Another projectile doubled me over and stole my breath. A stream of blood leaked onto the ground.
I turned to the edge of the summit and watched as the first line of gray-coated infantry rose to meet us. Having weathered the storm and rushed over the hill, they had evidently sighted our position and charged. One paused atop the ridge and took aim. His rifle was leveled on my bent form when a surprising thought occurred to me. Is that Higgins? The familiarity of this soldier’s childhood friend flashed before my eyes––memories of them playing in the yard and at school.
Before my train of thought could continue, the rifle hammer flashed. The bullet sent me flying into the mud, behind my comrades and the Blakely. My neck and chest erupted in invisible flames as my friends fought to maintain our position. Wheezing for breath, my eyes settled on someone lying next to me. He hadn’t shaved in a fortnight, and his coat lay open to the elements, its edge fluttering in the damp morning breeze. The emblem of my battalion was stitched across his shoulder, two crossed cannons on a yellow background. He didn’t speak or move, but I knew his name: Todd. He had gone down earlier that morning. His sightless gaze was hollow, and his eyes had lost their luster, along with his hearty sense of humor.
Just last night we huddled around the campfire telling stories of our families and sharing the new supply of brandy. Able’s memories streamed through my mind, enlightening me on his life. Now, Todd lay inert with grim determination cemented on his face, as though he would wear his boots into the afterlife. Other men fell around us in a haze of gray. Jack fought off the few remaining Confederates that made it over the hill while Carl and the rest of the dwindling gun crew pushed against the butt of the cannon, attempting to force it into place for one last shot at the charging soldiers. The lull in the oncoming forces was their final chance.
Summoning the remainder of my strength, I hoisted myself from the muddy ground. Pain coursed through my body with the motion, but I was determined not to fall while there was an ounce of strength left in me. With a grunt, I stumbled over to the Blakely and helped shove it into the rut. It settled in place. Davy grasped the lever as Jack shouted orders. The cannon’s muzzle lowered to face the next wave of gray. I lifted my rammer from the ground and cleared the bore with my off hand, the only one willing to cooperate. Two more men shoved grapeshot down its throat and any metal they could scrounge from the bucket. Death breathed down our necks, and Jack pulled the firing pin.
A dreadful whistle picked up overhead like a steam locomotive bearing down. There was a resounding crash as the Blakely fired an instant before the enemy’s iron sphere smashed into it. The carriage disintegrated under the force of the impact. The artillery and its mangled limber leapt at me in a jumbled mess of wood and iron. The shattered wheel spokes and carriage axle forced me to the ground. After a staggered breath, I let out a strangled scream as the cannon toppled, pinning me beneath. Under the weight of the great gun, I fought a losing battle for air.
“Medic!” I tried to shout, but I felt like a trout gasping under a fisherman’s foot. I tried to force the heap of metal off me, but to no avail. As my pain and muffled gasps dwindled to nothing, the sounds of chaos were replaced with silence.
* * *
I blinked my eyes in the canned light of the museum and reality settled into place. The cannon’s cold barrel lay beneath my hand. I stared at the old gun in disbelief. Its restored condition was not at all what I’d seen. Having outgrown its usefulness, it stood as a testament to what Able had died for. I circled the large weapon and ran my hands along its pitted skin as though it were a long lost friend. Its wheel had been fixed, but still stood out from the one on the opposing side. The older wheel was dark and stained.
“Wow, this was really used!” commented Paige.
“I know,” I whispered, replaying Able’s death in my mind.
I was transfixed by the sight. Tearing my gaze from the gleaming Blakely, I strode over to Paige and looked at the passage printed under the heading: The Last Stand of the Cherished Blakely. Printed at the bottom, under transparent plastic, were the names of the final cannoniers to man the great gun. Private Able Thomas was among them. Private Carl Asburger was the only one to live through the battle, or so the summary said. I slid my thumb over the familiar names and a tear slid down my face.
“The Union soldiers recovered the gun and used it on the Confederates.” Paige caught sight of me and asked, “What is it? What happened?”
I shook my head and turned away from the catalog of dead men I had come to know so briefly, yet so well. The list in my head was growing and I couldn’t bear to look Paige in the eye. I knew she would see through the crack in my armor. What I was feeling was more painful than the drunk’s awkward beatings could ever inflict. Seeing a host of pictures lining the walls opposite us, I stepped over and perused the black and white photos. I cast my eyes well above the plaques describing the pictures. I already knew too many of them, too well. What I’d seen could fill a book. It would be more than enough to fulfill Mr. Broaderick’s expectations. I scanned the pictures lining the wall and felt a tender hand slip into mine. Her concern was comforting.
“See anything good?”
“Nah, nothing much.”
We meandered along the wall and into the museum. We passed the clear plastic donation box and continued into the dimly lit room. The walls were carpeted to match the floor and track lighting crisscrossed above us, spotlighting artifacts of interest. Others walked through the large room, inspecting each picture, weapon, uniform, and machine with a few muttered words. It was as though we had walked into a shrine. The need to pay homage to those that died began to rise within me. The museum was like a resting place for lost souls, too many to count. The air around us was thick. Goosebumps rose on my skin and with the remnants of the death I’d experienced fresh in my mind, the pull of the enshrined objects drew me forth.
I stepped up to a Confederate uniform like those worn by the infantrymen assaulting the hill. I was careful not to get too close and Paige followed suit, her hand clenched in mine. Unlike those in my dream, this uniform was clean and frayed from age. The cuffs were unraveling, but the collar was yellow with wear. The hat lounged on its stand, sinking in upon itself. Its color had hardly faded over the years. Moving on, we stepped over to a row of small cannons. Each had rusted over time and a few suffered from corrosion. The tag advertised them as 12 pound Napoleons found on the battlefield. I stuffed my free hand into my pocket, and we drifted by. The rest of the museum was packed full of artifacts, weapons, and pictures of men who fought in the war.
Toward the end of the room, we came across a large Plexiglas box. In it were hundreds of spent musket bullets and rifle shells. The bullets were clean, but deformed from when they had crumpled on impact. The label said, Souvenirs, Please take one. I looked nervously at Paige.
“I doubt they’re real,” she answered with a shrug.
I knew better, but a morbid curiosity tugged at me. Glancing back at the transparent box, I lifted my hand and poked through the spent shells. One odd bullet caught my eye. Impact had bent it into a horseshoe. I wondered what stories it held and slid two wary fingers over it. A touch was all it took for the smell to find me like a nostalgic dream.
* * *
I slid into another uncontrollable dream that resembled hell more than anything I knew from real life. Leaves rustled in the trees overhead, but I didn’t stop to listen. I rushed out of the forest, bayonet extended. A line of Union soldiers appeared a few yards away, kneeling with muskets leveled. Another line of men stood behind them, reloading. The uniformed boy ahead stumbled onto them first. Even the soot covering his face couldn’t hide his youthful shock.
“FIRE!” cried a voice from behind the infantry. The troops vanished in a gray fog as muskets answered the corporal’s shout.
Two projectiles thumped into me while my comrades pushed forward. My hip exploded and spots dotted my vision. I stumbled, fell to my knees, then slumped to the ground with the butt of my musket propped in the muddy field. I tried to pull myself up, but a heavy boot slammed into my back, then another, and another. My fellow soldiers pushed forward, trying to overwhelm the Union line. It was too much. With the added weight, my face slammed into the tilled earth and the musket fell from my hand.
“Good bye, my darlin’… Alice. Take care of William.” The words drifted through my clotted beard and disappeared in a roar of shouts and gunfire.
* * *
Blessed darkness soon drifted in, muting the battle around me. But instead of returning home to Paige and the museum, I was cast into a second dream and the thoughts of another man.
* * *
Out of sight from the earlier skirmish, I looked out upon a defensive line of Confederate soldiers. My blade stood perched in the air as charging cavalry sped toward us.
I swept the blade down, shouting, “Fire!”
The world erupted in a cacophony of musket blasts and acrid smoke. Through the roiling waves of currents, I watched horses and riders tumble to the ground, plowing the field with their bodies, yet more emerged through the clouds.
“Reload!” I commanded.
Their counterparts stood up over the spent line and unloaded their rounds into the approaching cavalry. At ten yards, their aim was perfect and more riders were cast to the ground. But momentum carried the horses on, closing the distance to our line.
“Fix bayonets!” The words echoed off my lips, but I knew it was too late.
The charge plunged horses and riders into my line of infantry and trampled the men under hoof. One in three had fixed his bayonet and thrust it at the Confederates with thoughts of survival and death gleaming in their eyes. The blades lunged for rider or horse, whichever was closest. Cavalry swords swept down from above, dismembering and decapitating my men with vigor. I watched the gruesome massacre, speechless and incapable of saving their lives. The death riders pushed through to the second rank, which leapt at the cavalry with blood on their hands. They overwhelmed the riders and pulled them to the ground, only to become pincushions themselves.
Preoccupied by the sight, a second wave of cavalry had fallen on us unseen. They picked off the remaining soldiers in the first rank and broke the second line. The group of mounted soldiers pushed through the ranks and destroyed any chance of survival. I laid waste to the first man with my pistol, but others bore down on me. My sword jumped to meet the approaching horseman, and steel rang as our weapons met, but momentum carried him past. I ducked the next flailing sword, spun, and grabbed him from behind. My grip threw him to the ground. Without thought, I plunged my sword tip through his shoulder blades. His body tensed, then settled to the ground. I pulled the blade free and spun to face my next opponent, but was too late. His horse leapt over a huddled mass of men, and his blade grazed my shoulder, slicing through golden tassels like a knife through butter. He continued toward other targets and left me behind. Too close… too close.
I huddled low, knees bent at the sight of two more raging cavalrymen. They approached in tandem. I fought the urge to flee and instead gripped my sword in two sweaty hands. I focused on the cold steel perched high at my side like a baseball bat and clutched it tighter, as though it were the only thing holding me there. The riders charged. I forced down the growing turmoil in the pit of my stomach and waited for them to come when a thunderous blow rang through my knee. It bent to the side. I ignored the pain and waited for the oncoming men. A second blow struck my lower back. On instinct, I sprung erect as the shot found its way deeper. The action was my last.
The cavalry flew down on me. One sword swept past, gouging my back as the other crisscrossed and severed neck from shoulders. Unable to feel the subtlest of sensations, I watched as the world spun and settled on its side. The chaos of battle swept by. Pounding hoof beats jostled me on the ground, and dust flew into my eyes, but I could no more wipe it away than heft a mountain. Through this immovable sight, I watched my headless body slump to the ground a few feet away. My final minutes were consumed with the massacre of my squad. I knew the cost of my delayed orders, and the shame of it condemned me. Eventually, the glassy shadow of the reaper’s touch stilled my eyes.
* * *
My God! Will this ever stop? My thoughts echoed through the silence. It was becoming harder to distinguish who I was. My own short life was a distant memory to the scenes I was reliving. Other deaths passed by, too fleeting to remember, but their echoes remained. Failed romances and snippets of loved ones appeared unbidden and a longing infused my soul for what would never come again. Women whispered my name… his name… into my ears, and the lips that spoke flickered, altering with each woman until they finally settled on one.
* * *
“Stanley, I love you,” whispered the alluring beauty seated next to me on the park bench.
The dusk light peeked over the remaining tree line, illuminating her golden curls in a faint halo. Her deep brown eyes were pools, beckoning me forward. I leaned in and kissed her tender lips, cradling her narrow chin between thumb and forefinger. While my stare lingered in her loving gaze, her pools ran over. Her cheeks drooped, following the stream of tears. Her olive skin mixed with the salty water like mottled paint, its colors swirling until her face became distorted and imperceptible. Other images flashed before me, but disappeared in the same indistinct fashion.
Silvy, I’m sorry I won’t make it home. I had to do it, though. Take care of John and see that he learns to fish proper, like I would’ve shown him. He’s a strapping young lad, and I’m sure he’ll become the man we hoped. I’ll always love you. The thoughts slowed as my mind succumbed to death’s numbing touch, freezing each membrane in passing seconds.
* * *
Differentiating between the soldiers’ lives and my own became almost impossible, but a firm squeeze of my hand brought me home. Darkness enveloped me and left Stanley’s thoughts to drone into oblivion. I opened my eyes and watched my hand fall from the plastic box. Spent bullets scattered across the floor as I plummeted to the ground. The impact knocked me out, and all I saw was black. Vague wisps brushed against my skin and the slightest of touches caressed my back, as though trying to push me up. Ghostly voices carried as though on nonexistent winds. Men, women, and children whispered in a multitude of voices.
“It’s not your time,” they murmured, “No, not your time,” “There is much to do,” “Carry on, don’t give up.” Then, a familiar Corporal’s voice added, “Ain’t your time. Ol’ Scratch ain’t ready for ya yet, boyo. Get up on them feet.” The voices disappeared as quickly as they’d come and were replaced by Paige’s concerned questions. A security guard knelt next to her, their hands pressed against my back. When my eyes fluttered to life, they sat me up on the floor.
To read more about Alex’s efforts to both survive and help those long dead find justice, both books are currently on sale for .99 cents.
A Life of Death can be found on:
The Golden Bulls, Book 2 in the collection, can be found here: