Welcome to the seventh day of the The End of the World Playlist blog tour. It will run until August 1st and will feature excerpts and new author interviews each day. But first, here is the obligatory blurb about the novel to settle you into this dystopian world:
The world as we knew it had ended. Deep in the mountains of the west coast, six men survived. In the town of River’s Bend, these six friends continued on with their lives as zombies inherited the Earth. As they navigated the world that had been left behind, the soundtrack of life played on.
A few questions for the author:
Are you more worried about doing things right, or doing the right things?
I am generally more concerned about doing things right, though it really depends on the circumstances. If I set out to do something, then I am always trying to make the best possible product that I can.
You’re having lunch with three people you respect and admire. They all start criticizing a close friend of yours, not knowing she is your friend. The criticism is distasteful and unjustified. What do you do?
Ask them to stop it immediately. Gossiping always has a way of coming back around and getting you. I would hope that someone who knows me would do the same for me.
If you could offer a newborn child only one piece of advice, what would it be?
Learn as much as you can throughout your life, it will most certainly come in handy.
Would you break the law to save a loved one?
Yes, whatever I needed to do. The people I love make life worth living.
Knocking on Heaven’s Door
Music played in the store, softly, like a haunting hymn. Kenny walked slowly through the aisles, touching various items as he passed. He reached down and picked up a candle, smelling it. A soccer ball screamed past, slamming into the shelves that had held candles.
“What the fuck, Short Stack?”
Will shrugged his shoulders and retrieved the ball, negotiating the aisles with relative ease as he ran deeper into the store.
“Fucking idiot,” murmured the lumbering giant. Walking into another aisle, Kenny touched a huge pillow, pushing his hand into it to test its softness. “Fuckhead, grab a cart.”
The sound of Will kicking the soccer ball echoed again. He sent it spiraling into something that resulted in glass breaking, followed by the quick footsteps of him running. Kenny continued to look at the pillows, walking down the aisle inspecting them. Will returned, riding the cart and laughing hysterically when it crashed into the tall shelves, rocking the items there.
“Are you in middle school or something? Grow the fuck up.”
“Coming from the guy who wanted Hello Kitty sheets, I’m not sure that means shit.”
“Hello Kitty is cool as shit.”
“You want some pink curtains to go with that, maybe some tampons?”
Kenny lunged forward, but Will slunk away easily. “Make yourself useful and grab cleaning supplies. You have about a shit-ton of zombie parts to clean out of my room.”
“The fuck if I do.”
Kenny pushed the smaller man and Will overdramatized, shrieking and covering his mouth as he bounded away. Will ran through the store, jumping off of things, touching damn near everything within touching distance. He, however, stopped in front of the paint counter upon seeing Bob the Paint Counter Zombie.
“Greetings and salutations, Bob.”
It was with much more vigor than any of the other zombies. Struggling against the bolts in its hands, black and red muck oozed all over the counter. “Looks like you are making quite the mess there.”
Bob tried to lunge forward, twisting its arms.
An elbow cracked.
It drooled menacingly.
“You really should be careful with your anger there, chief, could be bad for your heart.”
Bob lunged again, breaking another elbow.
Its arms hung loose.
“You see, now you’ve really done it. Two broken arms can’t be good for meeting the ladies. Interferes with the night life, ya know?”
Bob merely drooled and gargled at this point.
“I think perhaps my wisdom is lost on you there, Bob-o. I think I will be going about my business. You keep on keeping on, man.”
Will walked past Bob, who continued to struggle manically despite its broken arms. The youngest of the survivors grabbed a golf club from the counter and swung it about in wide arcs. Looking into the distance, he covered his hand over his eyes like he was out on the green. Reaching out with the golf club, he ran it over the counters, knocking various plastic-wrapped items off of the shelf. A tube of tennis balls fell to the ground, spreading out in a collage of green, yellow, and orange.
“Tiger Woods is set up for an eagle. He eyes the hole carefully, feeling the ground, testing his window of opportunity here on the 18th green.”
He drew the golf club up and then swung it with a grunt, launching a yellow tennis ball across the store. “He has done it. Again the green jacket will revert to the immortal Woods, further proving his dominance over a sport populated by overweight white men.”
Will raised his arms, making jeers and cheers as he danced about like Rocky Balboa.
Allen carried two duffel bags full of various goodies and camping equipment. The butt of his assault rifle was pressed against his shoulder; his head moved back and forth as he swept the store. With a kick, he opened the back door into the store room. Swiveling his head left and then right, he moved into the storage unit.
A groan echoed in the darkness.
His eyes steeled as his grip on the weapon intensified. Stalking forward with precise, powerful movements, he squared himself as he stepped into the open space of the storage room. A zombie sprinted forward on all fours, running with its body nearly sideways.
The shell discharged, and the round caught the scrambling zombie in the head. Angling to the side, Allen approached it carefully, barrel steady as he stood over it. There was nothing left except a mutilated corpse and bits of skull and brain matter.
Turning, he moved into another portion of the storage room. Shuffling and scraping announced another denizen in the deeper shadows. A zombie screamed as two emerged running along stacks of goods like roaches along the walls of a dirty home.
Allen followed them calmly with the rifle.
The first one fell, its body tumbling. The other one pivoted, moving from side to side on all fours. The barrel of the gun circled slowly, following the zombie’s approach.
The round tore through half of the zombie’s face, putting it down. Allen turned back into the darkness.
Bio: A psychologist, author, editor, philosopher, martial artist, and skeptic, he has published several novels and currently has many in print, including: The End of the World Playlist, Bitten, The Journey, The Ocean and the Hourglass, The Path of the Fallen, The Portent, and Cerulean Dreams. Follow him on Twitter (@AuthorDanOBrien) or visit his blog http://thedanobrienproject.blogspot.com. He recently started a consultation business. You can find more information about it here: http://www.amalgamconsulting.com/.
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