Tuesday 11 November 2014

Tuesday Tease - The Dead Lands by Dylan J Morgan

This week's Tuesday Tease is provided by Dylan J Morgan from his novel 'The Dead Lands'. I read this a few months ago and enjoyed it. Discover a taste of the book in the excerpt below:

Click on image to buy from Amazon

The Dead Lands
by Dylan J Morgan
Within an hour, what remained of Magna’s high-rise buildings concealed the sun and shadows grew throughout the neighborhoods. They stretched across the shattered city like the tortured souls of those millions incinerated and forgotten. Whatever form of life once prospered here had been replaced by something foreboding and malevolent.

It stalked them through the streets.

Lane had no idea if it was the creature that had concealed itself in the toy shop, but he’d been aware of a threatening presence for about the last mile. The sensation crawled over his flesh as though a myriad small insects scuttled through his hair, an awareness he’d learned to trust without question during his existence on Tenebris’ crime filled streets. He’d caught glimpses of movement, too. Silhouettes lurking in the shadows, never venturing from the concealment of damaged buildings. The smell made him certain of pursuers; an odious rotten stench fluctuated on the breathless air, as if their hunters' hidden movements fanned the stench across the city.

If it was the thing from the shop, it wasn’t alone.

The others in the squadron seemed aware of it, but they clung to the belief that the city streets were deserted and devoid of life. There’d been the odd disinterested comment about the state of the city and its level of destruction. Some had complained about the prevailing odor, and how it seemed to strengthen in places on the inert, heavy air. Some mentioned shadows moving in the derelict buildings, or the odd sound of disturbed masonry that could only have been caused by the passage of something keeping pace with them. Maybe they were not as acutely aware of their surroundings as he, but Lane figured they were just too afraid to voice their true concerns.

He sensed it: an eerie gut feeling.

They were being hunted, and Lane trusted his instincts.

Berserker drawn yet secured in the folds of his arms with the safety off, Lane hiked silently through the wrecked streets.

Multiple warhead blasts had eaten through entire districts, reducing apartment blocks and shops to shredded carcasses. Some structures remained partially intact, a barely recognizable outline of what had once been. Resembling spilled innards, bricks and mortar spewed onto the streets, metal framework protruding from the carnage like twisted bones. A multistory car park had folded upon itself, its levels stacked like cards, the bodies of destroyed vehicles protruding from the wreckage. A shopping mall stood forlorn, glass fa├žade blown away, its guts black and vacuous. Remnants of the populace lay exposed in the ruins; limb bones scattered across the breadth of devastation, cracked skulls peering from the rubble as though the city’s ghosts gazed with misery at their pitiful demise.

Lane wondered if the remains had decomposed over time, or had the flesh been picked from bone by those things stalking them through the streets.

Static hissed momentarily in Lane’s headphones and then Cody’s voice cracked through.

“Uh, guys, I seriously think there’s something out there in the buildings.”

Johan told Cody to keep his eyes peeled; Ludger remarked he couldn’t see anything untoward; Matteus stated he hadn’t heard anything and that the tail must be mistaken.

Lane ignored the comments and glanced over his shoulder, making eye contact with Cody. Fear had control of him, its presence shifting the man’s countenance into a grimace. Behind him, shadows fluctuated in the thickening gloom of twilight as something scampered into a sheltering building.

Lane smiled. “Have you only just noticed? Something’s been following us for about the last hour.”

Cody turned a full three-sixty, searching the mess of blasted buildings and strewn rubble. He shook his head. “I don’t see anything.”

Rolling his eyes, Lane faced forward. To his left, about forty yards ahead, something flickered into view inside one of the shattered windows of a partially destroyed apartment block. It didn’t stay long—just observing, Lane assumed—before darkness swallowed its shape once more.

Yep. More than just one.

His visor hadn’t flagged any movement, but it didn’t mean the creatures weren’t there.
Light from the setting sun faded beyond the city wall some miles to the west, and shadows pressed around them. Night crept through the suburbs, the buildings growing dark and foreboding. Lane figured he’d wait ten minutes, and then activate his visor’s night vision mode.

“Up there,” Johan said. Uncertainty coated his words. “We’ll hole up there for the night.”

Ahead, the devastated form of a hotel towered above the surrounding streets. Lane didn’t like its appearance but had to admit that getting out of the open seemed the most prudent decision. Whatever stalked them was keeping a safe distance.

With a sense of impending doom, he wondered how long it would stay that way.

Click here to buy The Dead Lands from Amazon US / Amazon UK (and it's an excellent read!)

About the Author:

Now living and working in Norway, Dylan J. Morgan was born in New Zealand and raised in the United Kingdom. He writes during those rare quiet moments amid a hectic family life: after dark, with limited sustenance, and when his creative essence is plagued the most by tormented visions.

If you’re searching for that light at the end of the tunnel then stop looking—you won’t find it here.

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