While I'm waiting to release the new Kindle Worlds short story that I finished this weekend, I've got a new, original short story to share. It's called Wolf Skin, and it's available right now on Amazon for ninety-nine pennies (or six dimes, seven nickels and four pennies).
This has been the year of the short story, so far (which doesn't mean it won't be the year of Eleanor – she's still chugging along). Since January, I've written and published a fun variety of shorts about the end of the world, the end of a saga, the birth of a new world. (Man, they all sound so epic when you reduce them to a few words.)
Wolf Skin came about from having watched so many different movies and TV shows about the apocalypse. What I noticed, almost without fail, was that these portrayals of the end of the world often included the rise of generic baddies – dirty men with bushy beards and goggles and leather getups and flamethrowers who rode over the land on cobbled-together war machines, conquering and pillaging. Books are guilty of these stereotypes, too. These guys exist purely to threaten heroes, but often have little substance – they're scary because they're supposed to be scary, and that's what makes them boring.
So I tried to write a short story from the point-of-view of one such marauder (the working title of the story was, in fact, The Marauder). I was curious about his life before the end. What made him into a killer? What did he feel when he murdered someone for the first time, when he did unspeakable things? Who was this masked man?
Here's the official synopsis of the story:
He remembers video games. His mother’s cooking. His father’s awkward sense of humor. He remembers air conditioning and warm beds and graduation.
But all of that was before the end of the world.
Now he is a survivor, one of them – part of a roving clan of killers that combs through the ruined neighborhoods and towns, looking for things to steal, men to butcher, women to enslave and abuse.
Then he meets a woman who could kill him without blinking, and together they escape the world that was...
As is often the case, the story went in some unexpected directions, and for a short time I even considered The Librarian as a title. But that only lasted for a moment. Instead, this is a story about identities, about histories, about things won and things lost, and legacies earned.
(And if you'd like to get free copies of my new releases, just sign up for my newsletter – last night, all of my subscribers got Wolf Skin for free!)