Interviews of the Apocalypse – Chapter 17 (The Shadowcast)

Personal notes of Alex Ahmed

Topic – The superstitions created by remnants of humanity before The Fall.

Referred to as – Shadowcast, Shadows, Remnants

Time Period – During The Fall, ongoing

 

The Shadowcast, as they are most widely known, are a fascinating topic. I do not know much about the bio-weapon that led to their creation, but the evidence and stories I have collected over my travels point in one, general direction.

I have limited knowledge of the path to The Fall, I can only assume that political tensions and greed led to humanity’s near-downfall as it has so often in the past. During one of the wars evident during this time, an extremely potent and tragically effective biological weapon was deployed. It’s not clear at this time which of the nations at the time developed and launched the weapon, but my investigation took my far to the East. I have taken great care in ensuring any research pertaining to this abomination have been totally destroyed.

What I know for certain is that there are no remnants of the contagion remaining. Wether the weapon used some kind of toxic gas, sonic weaponry or something completely unknown is a mystery to me. However the weapon was deployed, almost certainly some kind of ICBM, it has no explosive payload. My best guess is that it was deployed in high planetary atmosphere, and traces of the weapon are now lost to space.

However, this is not what people talk about when they refer to the Shadowcast. They are referring to the remains of the people this weapon left in its wake.

Shadows.

I can think of another example in humanity’s far-reaching history, that of the atomic weaponry first used to end the Second World War. Two cities were entirely levelled, thousands of lives extinguished within the blink of an eye. All that was left of the inhabitants of these city’s were shadows of their forms before the explosion, etched into the ground.

Whatever weapon was used in this new war, it had almost the same result without the loss of infrastructure. No buildings were damaged by the weapon itself, although many buildings were ruined as fires began and spread beyond control. The shadows of the unfortunate victims were cast upon the walls and the floor. Many of them looked as though they were unaware of what was about to befall them, perhaps this was a mercy. Family and friends, parents and children hand-in-hand. There were small shadows at the  parks and larger shadows in the streets.

Many people fear the areas that these shadows now reside, mainly the larger cities and towns. There is an odd superstition that the souls of these people now haunt these places, bringing misfortune and bad luck to those who happen to disrespect the area. Nonsense of course, but a fascinating observation nonetheless. Despite our best efforts, some superstitions remain intact, almost embedded in the people who hold them.

The shadows can be removed, either by cleaning the surface or destroying the buildings and walkways they now occupy. However, no one alive today seems to be willing to do either…

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Interviews of the Apocalypse – Chapter 16 (Kat & Andy)

The following interview was transcribed from a recorded session.

AA – “Ah, two new-comers! Always exciting to see how people react to this place and how this place deals with new people! For the record, would you both please introduce yourselves?”

AR – “Sure, I’m Andy, sixty four as near as I can guess, and I think I’m from the South originally…”

AA – “Lovely, and yourself?”

KR – “I’m Katharina, Kat for short, I’m sixty four also and I don’t think I’m from the country originally.”

AA – “Ah yes, I thought I detected a trace of an accent there. Can you remember where you’re from exactly?”

KR – “I’ve been trying, it’s all a little…fuzzy really. I can only remember thinking of this place as a second home.”

AA – “Interesting. You’re the only one in the town I’ve talked to so far who doesn’t seem to be from here originally. Do you remember what brought you here?”

KR – “I think it was this guy next to me! That and work, maybe study? It’s difficult to pull together.”

AA – ‘That’s alright, don’t push yourself too hard. Just an old man’s curiosity. Do you remember much Andy?”

AR – “Not really. I think I was working some regular job, though I remember being in the military before that.”

AA – “Ah, another soldier for the town guard?”

AR – “Not a soldier as such, I think I was more of an engineer. Weapon disposal and maintenance, that sort of thing.”

AA – “Still a good skill to have, I bet there’s plenty for you to do around here.”

AR – “Oh yes.”

KR – “You should have seen the state of this place’s armoury before we arrived!”

AA – “That bad, eh?”

KR – “People just thought they could find a gun and use it straight away. Luckily someone was smart enough to at least make sure the weapons were safe for use first.”

AR – “Most weren’t really, those were just left in a big pile that people stayed away from. One of the first things I did was take a look.”

KR – “He managed to get most of them working again, and the others were disposed of safely and even recycled for parts.”

AA – “That must have been a welcome accomplishment.”

AR – “It just felt…natural to me is all. I wanted to make sure if using guns was an absolute necessity, then we should at least do it right.”

KR – “Now we manage the armoury together. I do most of the admin stuff and Andy takes care of procurement and inspections.”

AA – “Sounds very efficient, and formal.”

AR – “So it should be really.”

KR – “We can’t just let everyone have a gun. Each weapon is now registered on our database and we keep a thorough track of where they are at any time.”

AA – “So only the soldiers get a weapon?”

KR – “Quite right.”

AR – “They have them on-hand at all times. In certain circumstances the townsfolk can apply for gun use, and we lease them out on that basis.”

AA – ‘So you charge for their hire?”

AR – “Not at all.”

KR – “No no, nothing like that. We’re just trying to make sure the weapons remain in what little amount of capable hands we have. We do have a firing range being built now though, so we’re getting better at it.”

AA – “Good to hear someone is taking a level-headed approach with weapon use in this little town.”

AR – “If we left it alone for too long, everyone would own a gun. Some would be barely functional and most people wouldn’t know how to use one correctly.”

KR – “There would be more accidents than necessary. It’s not a video game, we still need some kind of infrastructure here.”

AA – “Quite right. Well, that covers the first question anyway! If you could tell me more about your first memories of this new world.”

AR – “Well, as we say it’s fuzzy. I can remember a few years ago, coming out of…I dunno really…a bunker?”

KR – “Had to be something like that, not sure how we got there though.”

AR – “Yeah, can’t remember anything about this. Just an urgency to get to that place as quick as possible.”

KR – “Then we, what? Woke up I guess? I can’t remember waiting in that place for however many years it was.”

AR – “But we seemed to have a clear sense of how much time had passed. I think there were a few clocks around.”

KR – “Even that much is fuzzy really. I can’t remember much before we started wandering around.”

AA – “So how did you two end up here? What did you…encounter while wandering?”

KR – “A lot.”

AR – “Yeah, we travelled for a while. Switched cars a few times, decided to arm ourselves once we had encountered…whatever it was those things were.”

KR – “Zombies.”

AR – “I refuse to acknowledge that.”

KR – “What the hell else could they have been?! They were ravenously aggressive, raggedly dressed and trying to kill us without provocation!”

AR – “They were…diseased, I don’t know!”

KR – “Like…some kind of zombie disease?”

AR – “No, like some mutated rabies or something.”

KR – “Like the basis for every zombie disease ever?”

AA – “I think we can move on from the…let’s just agree they were monsters?”

KR – “Zombie monsters.”

*AR laughs*

AA – “Very well, zombie monsters. When and where did you first encounter them?”

KR – “It wasn’t until after we met with a few other people really.”

AR – “Yeah, we tried to do what they’ve managed to do here a few times, establish a safe haven.”

KR – “We tried to settle down again, scavenge supplies, build a new life. It never worked.”

AR – “There was always…something drawing us on. Some unheard voice telling us to keep moving. Not in any specific direction mind, just never to settle down.”

KR – “It felt weird to stay in one place for so long. Now we’re here though, I can’t imagine ever wanting to leave.”

AA – “You feel that way so soon?”

AR – “Difficult not to really.”

KR – “Yeah, it’s the closest thing we have to a new civilisation. There are plenty of people here, some tough walls around the town. Plus we have farms and power generation, we’re working on expanding every day. It’s nice to be part of it.”

AR – “Don’t get me wrong, the fall of humanity is devastating to say the least. But…there’s something freeing about doing this. No big government to worry about, no 9-5 desk job, just being quite…primal. Survival with cooperation, it’s different to what I was expecting.”

KR – “I remember stories of the apocalypse. Being told through film, TV, games, music, damn-near everything. It was always portrayed as man vs man in the final days of humanity. But it’s not. People realised that it wasn’t supposed to be man vs man it was man vs the problem. We naturally came together, drawn by a need to help one another rebuild what they had lost.”

AA – “There is survival in greater numbers, however. And there have been tales of groups of human survivors roaming the ‘wild’ destroying all they see.”

AR – “Folklore mostly, but we have seen something similar.”

KR – “There are…people left out there. They turned violent and feral during whatever happened out in the world when we were safely locked up. Not sure how they survived but it ruined what they were. We tried to talk to a few of them we found on the road, they weren’t very…receptive.

AR – “We ran when we could, fought when we had to. It’s a strange old world we find ourselves in now.”

AA – “It’s always good to see humanity striving on through the darkness, always on the path of glory even when things turn sour.”

KR – “Nothing glorious about this.”

AR – “Sometimes I used to find the idea of a post-apocalyptic landscape to be quite…fun really. Scavenging, fighting, building-”

KR – “Questing?”

AR – “Well obviously I never actually wanted it to happen, but even you have to admit it always seemed a little fun. No rules, no powers, just people returning to their primal natures.”

KR – “Well, I’m sure the people who were flayed alive in that town felt the same way…”

AR – “Oh you know what I mean, don’t be so dramatic.”

KR – ‘Dramatic? Listen-”

AA – “If I may interject? You mentioned people being flayed alive?”

KR – “I’d prefer not to remember it really.”

AR – “Awful stuff. Just a small town we’d found while wandering, looking for food and supplies that sort of thing. We turned the corner and the main road was just lined with…people. With no skin. Some were still alive, most were dead. Seemed like they’d lost the energy to scream…”

KR – “We wanted to help…but…”

AA – “There’s no shame in fear, it’s what makes you human, at the end. There was nothing you could have done for those people, who knows what would have happened to you. Flayed alive? There was no way they would survive, even with the medical expertise uni had 50 years ago.”

AR – “Still though…”

KR – “No, he’s right. We have to survive, that’s always the end goal. Survival.”

AA – “Moving on to slightly brighter topics, there seems to be something happening in the town tonight?”

AR – “Yeah, a party of some sort I think.”

KR – “To celebrate such a large party of newcomers, it’ll be a good opportunity to relax and get to know everyone a little better.”

AA – “Well I shan’t delay you any longer, thank you both very much for answering my questions as you have. Please go, settle in to your new home and enjoy yourselves tonight.”

KR – “Thank you, hope to see you there.”

AR – “It’ll be good to see you in a less formal atmosphere.”

END.

A lovely couple once again, only the cream of the crop seems to have made it through The Fall.

I’ll always admire humanity for standing the way they do, especially tonight. Amidst all of the chaos and brutality of the world as it stands now, they still find the time to come together and welcome the new comers in the most human way possible, by throwing a party.

No doubt there will be food and drink aplenty, doors will be opened and furniture will clutter the streets as people eat, drink, laugh and meet their new neighbours, their new friends and family. A hardy race humanity, hardy indeed.

Interviews of the Apocalypse – Chapter 15 (Rob Johnson)

The following interview was transcribed from a recorded session.

AA – “Thank you for coming along, there seems to be a lot to do today…”

RJ – “Aye, there’s a party happening in town tomorrow. Decorations and such have to be up.”

AA – “A party? Interesting, well get to that soon I think. Just for the record please state your name, age and current occupation.”

RJ – “I’m Rob Johnson, sixty-five years old and I’m a bit of a jack-of-all, but my speciality is computing.”

AA – “Ah, a man of code! So few of you seem to be around these days.”

RJ – “Might have something to do with the world ending…”

AA – “You’re right of course, I don’t suppose there’s much call for a computer expert around here?”

RJ – “More than you think actually, I’m starting to get everyone round to the idea of digitising a lot of our systems, moving away from paper, starting our own network etcetera.”

AA – “Wow, that seems like quite a challenge for a town like this, especially now.”

RJ – “Well, it’s not all that difficult really. Most of the infrastructure is still there, computers still work, components are plentiful, and I imagine the internet is still having around somewhere.”

AA – “Now that would be handy. What do you hope to accomplish with it?”

RJ – “Everything. We seem to be heading toward how things were. It might not have been the best place to be, but it’s something everyone knows, and most of the time people just want things to get back to some semblance of normality.”

AA – “This is very true, the people I’ve spoken to so far certainly see to think so.”

RJ – “Well if that’s where we’re heading I might as well do everything I can do to help. I’m building a few computers and getting a few servers ready now, we managed to stumble across a few computing outlets while we were scavenging so that’s come in handy.”

AA – “You must have had quite the education before The Fall.”

RJ – “Not particularly, I was fairly average at school I think. These things just come naturally to me, I can build a computer from muscle memory alone and the rest of it seemed to just stick with me.”

AA – ‘Are you hoping to establish communication with other colonies?”

RJ – “Well, you’d hope so. But we’ve tried everything from smoke signals to wide-band radio and so far we’ve got nothing. If the internet still exists up there, then we should be able to communicate with others if they’ve managed to establish a connection. That’s if we can even establish a connection on our end…”

AA – “Hmm, quite so. Now, you mentioned a party in the town earlier. Can you elaborate?”

RJ – ‘Sure. So we managed to find quite a large party of survivors this week. There was around one hundred of them I think, but we haven’t done a proper count yet. There were a few empty houses around the town but more are going up as we speak.”

AA – “That’s a rather large party, I’ll have to talk to some of them later, I think.”

RJ – “We all would, but maybe give them some time to settle in? I dread to think what they’ve been through.”

AA – “Oh absolutely, I wouldn’t harass them after such a harrowing journey.”

RJ – “Fair. They brought a couple of trucks worth of supplies with them too, tools, weapons, clothing, food. That’s usually the other good thing with finding a group this size. They’re usually organised, if a little distrustful of anything resembling civil order.”

AA – “That Segways nicely into my next topic, if I may? How do you arrive here?”

RJ – “Probably the same way everyone else did, sheer luck. Woke up in a bunker with a few other people. We stuck together for a while, eventually we either went our own way or were killed off. Nice group of people though. There were only a couple of us left when we found this place. They welcomed us in and now I’m helping drag them back to the age of technology.”

AA – “So do you remember much before The Fall?”

RJ – “Such a dramatic name. But no, I don’t. Like I say, probably the same as most people around here. Woke up in a bunker, barely remember getting there, can’t imagine how I found the place. Stayed around for a while, found other people. We made a living out of staying inside.”

AA – “A similar story, yes. Do you remember anything at all?”

RJ – “Persistant aren’t you? I was probably about twenty-five give or take a few months, gauging on what other people have said. I think I worked for a tech or engineering company back in the day, that would explain why I have an affinity for technology now.”

AA – “And that’s all?”

RJ – “Yup.”

AA – “Fascinating, I’m starting to sense a pattern here.:

RJ – “Yeah, most of us figured that too. Problem is, if we think too hard about it it tends to…break most people.”

AA – “Oh? Can you elaborate for me?”

RJ – “We’ll see if it kills me, but sure. If we concentrate too hard, pulling at the threads of our memories, it hurts. A lot. Severe migraines, bleeding from the nose or ears, sometimes from the eyes or all three. I’ve know of at least a handful of people that died that way. Guess it will be buried forever.”

AA – “That’s it? No nagging curiosity?”

RJ – “If it hurts that much, and judging by the state of the world now, probably not much worth remembering. I miss my family, I think, and my friends. No one here has jogged a memory for me yet. Best to look toward the future, how to rebuild, and get back something of what was lost.”

AA – “Very well put, I appreciate the idea of looking forward rather than over our shoulder, ready to trip.”

RJ – “Very well put yourself.”

AA – “Why thank you. Now then, if I can ask-”

RJ – “Actually, if I may ask?”

AA – “Please.”

RJ – “Who are you?”

AA – “How do you mean?”

RJ – “In every sense of the word. Where do you come from, how old are you, what did you do before The Fall? All of it, who exactly are you? And why are you here?”

AA – “I know it’s easy to mistrust strangers, especially when they act strange-”

RJ – “It’s not that, and you’re avoiding my question.”

AA – “Are you sure you weren’t a psychiatrist in your previous life?”

RJ – “I might have been, though I’m not a dick so it’s hard to know for sure.”

AA – “Hah, very well then. I remember about as much as you do, which is to say almost nothing at all. Fairly normal as far as I can think, family, job, wife, kids and the like. Probably pets too. We found our way to a bunker when something…felt…off? Difficult to explain, but I’m sure you know the feeling.”

RJ – “Sadly, we all do. I fear that’s the only reason we’re here.”

AA – “Indeed. Well, after that we all woke up. Travelled around a lot, fought a few battles, lived in a few villages. Lost my family in a multitude of ways. Now I just…travel.”

RJ – “Lost your family?”

AA – “Difficult to talk about, as you could imagine.”

RJ – “Most people have some kind of emotional reaction when they talk about it”

AA – “You know what they say about time healing all wounds…”

RJ – “I’ve often found it to be a lie.”

AA – “A lot of people do.”

RJ – “So now you just…travel? Documenting people’s stories?”

AA – “Travel, interview, investigate. I’m trying to piece together a very large puzzle. In the dark. With most of the pieces missing. I can only guess at the larger picture.”

RJ – “We’ve all tried, better to rebuild I think.”

AA – “Yes indeed. I find people’s stories fascinating, I’m trying to document everything that has happened between The Fall and now, a period I’ve taken to recalling The Reclamation.”

RJ – “Poetic, if a tad cliche.”

AA – “Can’t argue there, but there are only a finite amount of words in the world. Now, anyway. Perhaps Sequentis would be more applicable?”

RJ – “Original too, Spanish?”

AA – “Latin.”

RJ – “Talk about a dead language.”

AA – “I fear that’s all too close to the mark.”

*RJ nods in approval, deep in thought*

AA – “Anyway, if my interrogation is over?”

RJ – “Hah, for now. You still avoided most of my questions but you seem to do it so naturally, I figure there’s stuff you won’t talk about. To each their own.”

AA – “Quite so. So, where are you getting power from for your machinery?”

RJ – “I’ve got a couple of generators separate from the main grid read to power the servers and computers. Obviously, the servers need to be connected at all times so it’s going to be an ongoing task.”

AA – “What kind of generators?”

RJ – “Petrol for now. We’re still rebuilding an entire field of solar generators and hooking them up to arteries so we can store the power for overnight use.”

AA – “A sensible precaution.”

RJ – “Common sense really. Solar uses sunlight, we get none of it during the night cycle. We don’t get much during the day to be honest.”

AA – “I remember that much about this country anyway.”

RJ – “You can see it in action!”

AA – “Quite. Are you still hunting for other power sources?”

RJ – “Over to the east you can see a wind farm, mostly intact. I’m getting a brief together for The Boss requesting a team and resources to go salvage them. It’s a windy area here, positioned well in the hills and so on.”

AA – “So you plan to take them down, transport them and bring them here?”

RJ – “I remember how they work, must be a throw back to my previous life. Should be more or less common sense to disconnect them, take them down, move them over and stick them back up. Luckily that construction site isn’t too far away, they have functioning cranes, diggers, tractors and everything else we would need to replant and hook the turbines up.”

AA – “Moving toward renewable energy?”

RJ – “Makes sense. It’s a stable supply, doubt the wind will go away just because the world came to an end. The sun is always there, if hidden behind the clouds. We have a feeling there’s a hydro-electric dam nearby too, so we’re hunting for that. Between the three supplies, we should have a steady source of unlimited energy.”

AA – “Very sensible indeed.”

RJ – “We’ll always need power, most things use it, even now. We’re using it to keep the water running, the lights on and we’re starting to heat the first houses. If we are going to start running servers and trying to contact the outside world, it’s even more vital now.”

AA – “Agreed. So how do you find living here?”

RJ – “Hard to complain about it really. After we arrived we were welcomed in, given food, shelter, clothing and given something to do. That was the most important part for me.”

AA – “Which?”

RJ – “Everyone needs to be needed, given a purpose. That’s what I found here. If the other survivors I was with tried to start somewhere new, we would’ve been doubtlessly killed in the wilderness. Here, on the other hand, I can be useful.”

AA – “Did you set about your job immediately after you all arrived?”

RJ – “Most of us did, yeah. Took a day or so to settle in, learn our way around, meet a few people. After that we were quizzed about our names, where we came from, sort of the same questions you’re asking really.”

AA – “I know, sorry about that. They’re the easiest questions to ask.”

RJ – “It’s fine really, good to keep reminding people who they are. Anyway, we gave our names, our backgrounds and our skills as best we could remember. Pretty sure I got my name right. They found us stuff to do and here we are.”

AA – “And how long ago was that?”

RJ – “A year now, as best as we can guess. People weren’t super strict about time keeping until we got a few clocks dotted around the place.”

AA – “It will be interesting to see how you recover your sense of time after this.”

RJ – “You mean we?”

AA – “Hmmm. Well, thank you for joining me Rob, a pleasure to meet you. I’m sure you’ve got plenty to be getting on with out there.”

RJ – “Thanks for having me, we’ll get to my questions another time.”

END.

This one was…different. I find it tough to explain it in more clear details than that. Definitely smarter than he looks, not to be underestimated, I have no doubt he’ll be back to ask the questions just like he promised.

It will be good for this town to have one semblance of technology restored to them. If other colonies have formed out there as we hoped, and they have also come to the same conclusion, we should be in for some interesting development.

I’ll have to monitor the situation.

Interviews of the Apocalypse – Chapter 12 (Steve & Gary)

The following interview was transcribed from a recorded session

AA – “Good evening gentlemen, thank you for joining me. For the record please state your personal details.”

SH – “I’m Steve Homely, I’m seventy one years old and I’m from North of the border.”

AA – “Ah, a Scotsman, very rare indeed. And yourself sir?”

GH – “Hi, my name is Gary Homely, I’m seventy four years old and I’m from England.”

AA – “Another married couple? How wonderful, I’m glad to see some traditions haven’t fallen by the wayside.”

SH – “Some traditions are important, even the slightly newer ones.”

AA – “Quite so, quite so. Well, that makes an interesting starting point, when were the two of you married?”

GH – “Pre-Fall.”

SH – “Yeah, it was before all of this nonsense. We were married a good few year before the world went to shit as far as I can remember.”

GH – “I’ve got a similar recollection, it’s all we need really.”

AA – “I think now more than ever it’s important to remember love and how it brings us together.”

GH – “Agreed.”

AA – “So, talking pre-Fall, what was it the two of you did for a living?”

GH – “Well, I wasn’t up to much really. Bit of a musician, I don’t think I could ever settle on a job.”

SH – “He’d come home every week with a new passion, but he’d always come back to that guitar at some point.”

GH – “Unlike Mr Career over here. Some people are happy to settle for one life.”

SH – “I never settled dear, I just found a job I could do and stuck with it.”

AA – “And what job would that be?”

GH  – “Copper.”

SH – “Detective, actually. Or it was a few years before the Fall.”

AA – “Ah, interesting. Law enforcement. Do you remember much about it?”

SH – “Not particularly, although I remember the early days of walking a beat were much the same. Not much crime in our little village. They bumped me up to detective because the other bugger wanted to go somewhere more exciting and I’d been there the longest.”

GH – “There’s a little more to it than that but he doesn’t like to toot his own horn.”

SH – “I always had you for that, always bragging to everyone.”

AA – “You seem to be able to recall more than most about your previous lives.”

GH – “It’s…more of a feeling really.”

SH – “Yeah, sometimes we can remember old arguments we used to have quite often. That leads to some conclusions.”

AA – “Well, I bet your input was pretty valuable around here when you first turned up.”

SH – “Not really, no.”

AA – “Oh? And why was that?”

GH – “Have you looked outside lately? Not a criminal in these streets! There’s too much to do, no one has time. Plus no one possesses anything more than anyone else!”

SH – “That’s the way it should be, really. Plus that silly sod, Staff Sergeant Moron wouldn’t have liked one of ‘my types’ interfering with his perfect iron first of control here.”

GH – “Where has he gotten to lately anyway?”

AA – “On a related note, what did you two do after first coming out of hiding?”

SH – “Well, there were around fifty of us all told.”

AA – “Really? That many? That’s the first large group I’ve heard about leaving the same place.”

GH – “Well, it was mostly coppers and their families. There was a bunker-type-thing under the station that Steve was based in, I guess a lot of people got the same feeling we did ”

SH – “We all went out at the same time too. Just popped our heads out, the coast was clear, we left.”

AA – “What did you do when you first left?”

GH – “Well, we’ve been through quite a bit since then. Zombies, Corrupt, wild animals, you name i and we’ve survived i.”

AA – “Once again, you’re the first people I’ve spoken to who didn’t feel the need to find this place straight away.”

GH – “Don’t get me wrong, we were looking for somewhere to live.”

SH – “Yeah, we all went home at first, just to see what the situation was everywhere else. Most of us ended up coming back to the station before the end of the night. Nothing else really felt right.”

AA – “Interesting, did you all proceed as a group?”

GH – “There was safety in numbers at the time.”

SH – “Yeah, no kids in the group, just men and women. Tough people who knew what had to be done and how to do it. We didn’t think of vehicles at first, we mainly wanted to find some other survivors. A few hours later, we found the rest of our little group that hadn’t returned. Torn apart they were, a gruesome sight.”

GH – “Please don’t remind me, I still have trouble sleeping.”

SH – “Yeah…anyway we went back to the station after we found the bodies. We may have been a small village but we’d just received a large shipment of riot gear and a fancy APC to go along with it.”

GH – “We all geared up and rolled out. Didn’t take long before they found us.”

AA – “Please, feel free to gloss over the details if it makes you uncomfortable.”

SH – “Long story short, we survived the zombies with no more losses. We just avoided the cities for a while, must have been a few years. Next we encountered the Corrupt, shortly after that we found the army that was chasing them down. Most of the rest of our group signed up with them, haven’t heard from them since.”

GH – “So many promising lives lost.”

AA – “It was a terrible war.”

SH – “I thought there’d be an end to all that in this new world, but what else can you expect?”

GH – “After that we just kept driving, found a road, stuck to it, we ended up finding this town. The people didn’t need the riot gear but the van as come in handy for scouting a couple times.”

SH – “We were introduced to Boss when we arrived. I told him who we were and what we could do, he gave us some land, access to materials and a place in this new community.”

GH – “Steve lent a hand in developing some new laws for this town without being too restricting. he still advises now and again.”

AA – “And yourself?”

GH – “Jack of all trades, master of none I’m afraid. I can throw in with the best of them, but I don’t have a specific role.”

SH – “There’s always a demand for your services though.”

GH – “True enough, something always needs fixing or moving or placing or laying.”

AA – “There always will be. We seem to have covered most of the questions already, quite by accident. Ah, tell me, when did yo first feel the danger approaching?”

GH – “The world was falling apart at the seems, most people could see it coming a mile off.”

SH – “Lucky they built that bunker when they did really, it was only a year or so before the Fall. Politics were strained, war was inevitable. But I can’t remember exactly what made us go into hiding.”

GH – “I told you to stop blaming yourself.”

AA – “How do you mean?”

GH – “He carries the weight of the world on his shoulders, this one.”

SH – “When you spend most of your life in public service, you tend to look after everything around you. I should have done something instead of just running away-”

GH – “Shut up you old fool, I keep telling you there was nothing any of us could have done. We couldn’t have just gone round the village warning people that something might be coming and we should all run and hide. We would have been locked up!”

SH – “I should still have put the word out somehow..”

AA – “I’m afraid I have to agree with your husband here Steven, most people would have laughed you off. Others may have taken your too seriously and begun a panic. In the end, it appears you did the right thing.”

SH – “I’ll always be thinking about it. Still, doesn’t interfere with my life here too much.”

AA – “That’s good to hear, we shouldn’t be burdened with memories of the past. Well I’d like to thank you gentlemen for joining me this evening, it’s been incredibly insightful.”

SH – “Any time.”

GH – “Our pleasure.”

END

Not many notes here.

Most interesting about this couple is the fact that they are a couple of the only people whose first instinct was not to seek out a specific place of residence. They were also survivors of encounters with zombies and the Corrupt. Though they did not go into details about their encounters with the various hazards of this new world, it did not feel right to push them on this subject.

The fact they emerged from hiding and proceeded as a group, however, is very promising indeed.

Starting a following!

Wow! It seems I’m starting to gather a little bit of a following. Many thanks for the support you’ve shown me thus far, I promise to keep up the schedule!

If you’re following the Interviews of the Apocalypse please bear in mind it is in the first draft stage right now. I will be finishing the book soon, then going back to develop it for a second draft before trying to find a literary agent. The chapter order may be changed a little to make more sense in the storyline.

If you’ve noticed any of my other first draft works on here and like what you see, let me know and I’ll start writing them again!

Much love for the support!

-The Digital Author

How to be a Man – Written by a man, for men.

First of all, calm down. Whoever you are, for whatever reason you’re reading this right now, just chill. This isn’t a sexist dialogue, I’m not a meninist (lower case intended) nor am I a misogynist in any form. I love women, some of the best people I know are women, my wife is a woman (I’m pretty sure).

I’m a man. Well a man with the mind of a boy anyway. And no, we’re not all alike. I know stereotypes are a bit of fun not really to be taken seriously, and yes sometimes they happen to ring true but I feel like I need to set the record straight about some things. Some men are immature, preferring to spend more time away from their loved ones rather than spend time with them. Some men are ‘more manly’ than others, men who love cars, bodybuilding, physical labour and the like. Some men, prefer to sit and read, play video games for a living. Some men prefer to create, great works of art in song and paint, some men prefer to write beautiful poetry. Everyone is different, regardless of gender, race or station. That’s fine. Just like there’s no universal template for a ‘normal woman’, there’s no universal template for a ‘normal man’.

This book is written from a bias point of view, I’m not what most people would call an ‘average man’. I’m not too keen on cars, as long as it moves that’s all I need. I love a bit of DIY, but I know nothing about plumbing or electrics. I don’t like football, or any sport for that matter. I’m not the fittest of guys, nor the most ‘masculine’ looking. I have trouble growing facial hair. I don’t like beer, nor going out and getting drunk. I’ve never been one to ‘shag about’, I’ve had 3 sexual partners in my life, 2 of which were in long-term relationships,  and I’m proud of how low that number is. I’ve always preferred a good relationship to many one-night conquests. I like to cook, I love to bake, I love my dog, I hug my dad, I’m not afraid of my emotions and, honestly, I quite enjoy doing the dishes and hoovering.

In this pointless book, I’ll try to cover as many things as possible that goes on in the life of a man, how to transition from a boy into a man and how to deal with these problems as they arise. There will be many an anecdote and inevitably many, many references to my wonderful wife.

My name is Alex Ahmed, I’m 24 as I write this, and I’m a man.

The Third Kingdom – Prologue

There was a time, not so long ago, when daemons freely roamed the earth. The origin of the Schism is still unknown, even three thousand years later. All that is known for sure is The Schism, and the outpouring that followed, broke the world.

In the first years of the Rising, billions of humans lay dead; and the race of great craftsmen, engineers and scientists, was near-extinct. Their great armies were shattered and their cities were sundered. It took time, but they adapted to fight instead of think. Never in aeons had humanity fought with such ferocity and coordination. A race used to thinking and building in peace and harmony was destroyed, and from their ashes a dangerous military hunger was born. They have since reclaimed much of their lost heritage, but the bloodlust lies beneath a thin veil of patience and science. Some splinters of the humans have since detached and formed their own societies. Emperor Lianor keeps the Military Barons at bay, attempting to reclaim a semblance of their former glory.

The Alverii, long descendants of the mythical Elvenkin, emerged from their years of hiding. Their masteries of the Three Arts made them formidable warriors against the daemon horde. Humanoid creatures, standing at little over eight feet tall and moving with feline grace made their perfection of all-things martial seem almost natural. The speed at which they retaliated and the skills with which they fought the daemon onslaught made it seem as though they were prepared for the war. Immortal until killed, the humans suspected these creatures had some foresight of the invasion and had prepared for centuries. They have since vanished back into hiding, most likely in the Ven-dahr forest. Although there has never been any conflict between the two races, the humans and the Alverii studiously avoid each other. The humans are mistrustful of magics they have never comprehended and the Alverii fear the speed at which the human technology is advancing.

Deep from under the ground came the Gorken. Next to nothing is known about these dark-dwellers, save they tunnel deep for resources. Legends tell of a network so vast you can enter a tunnel below the ground and emerge on the other side of the world. Dealings with these creatures face-to-face is highly uncommon, but trade roots have been established using mutual trade posts. Selected human Travelers from the Merchants Guild are chosen to visit these locations on a weekly basis. Materials, such as rare metals, precious stones and building goods are traded for raw materials, food and tools. A mutual trust has been built over thousands of years, some of the best guildsmen have met with the Gorken on rare occasions. Most often described as a conglomeration of human with Elvenkin, no two look alike. Never have they been involved in conflict, with each other, human or Alverii but the daemons never came close to conquering their territory, which may be why the fighting was reported to be most ferocious in these areas.

Even with the impending doom of the world and the survival of all things at stake, the three races of the world never fought united against the waves of daemons pouring forth from the Schism. The war waged across the world for three thousand years, but the daemon horde seems to be dissipating. The armies of humanity push toward the Schism, driving the daemon storm before them, re-conquering cities and Bastions as they go. The Alverii have disappeared, their movements and goals unknown to the outside world. The Gorken have become even more secluded, moving the trade from weekly to monthly or longer with less goods.

Each race is on-edge, waiting for the next wave of daemons to finally obliterate the world. Many ask their gods for guidance, receiving only silence in return.

Humanity pushes their science and engineering beyond anything they have attempted before.

The Alverii commune with the powerful magics of the Three Arts and meditate on the possible future.

The Gorken mine deeper than ever before, hoarding much of the raw materials. Smoke spews from great gouts in the earth from deep foundries.

The daemons retreat toward the Schism but they do not go through the great crack in the earth. No one knows what will possibly happen now, but each race is ready for anything. Including, it would seem, war with each other.