Author Guest Post: Rick McQuiston

Today’s Author shares information on his zombie novel

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Amazon

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Frankenmuth, Michigan is a unique city. Originally its main purpose was as a mission post for the spread of Christianity, but it became a magnet for German immigrants instead. Its Bavarian-themed shops and restaurants attract tourists by the thousands, and it’s politically independent.

I felt it was an ideal setting for my novel, Fear the Sky.

In the book, evil arrives in the form of a bird, a sparrow to be more precise. Slowly, methodically, it spreads its foul plan across the picturesque town.

Many things are affected by its unholy taint, not the least of which are the dead.

I felt that the undead were perfect as frightening antagonists simply because people can relate to them. They are, after all, just people. These unfortunate souls are common folk who lived, for better or worse, simple, unassuming lives. They are mourned by loved ones who tend to their memories and lament what could have been.

One of these is an elderly woman whose husband was killed in a car accident years earlier. Her name is Margaret Therese, a lonely widow who whiles away her remaining time in the company of her beloved orange tabby Mr. Smores and the fading memories of her husband Jacob.

When the bird resurrects the dead,  poor Margaret finds herself trapped in her own home by a rampaging horde of zombies. She deals with the terror as best she can, but coupled with the grief of seeing her long-long Jacob, the first zombie to present itself to her, she struggles to keep her sanity. In addition to that, the frailty of her physical condition y compounds her dire predicament.

“Please don’t let Jacob be the one who kills me.”

As her luck seems to run out, two men, a father and son, arrive and manage to keep the zombies at bay. 

Two other people, having escaped horrors worse than zombies, meet up with the trio and find themselves in an occult store near the police station. They discover the name of the main antagonist, Sythreuxx, a minor devil that escaped from Hell. They learn if they can catch some of its essence, which it uses to create its monstrosities, they can send it back where it came from.

Zombies attack the building, forcing our heroes to flee. After fighting their way through the throng manage to make it to the police station. Once inside they hunker down and wait for the inevitable arrival of the creature.

The notion that normal everyday people can accomplish much if they work together is a prevalent theme in my works.

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Blurb:

The Bavarian-themed city of Frankenmuth, Michigan has been long peaceful retreat for both tourists and residents alike. So when a strange bird begins to hover over the town, bad things begin to happen.

Realizing the nature of the creature, an unlikely group of people find themselves thrown into a battle for the fate of mankind. of ordinary people overcoming seemingly impossible odds, of good triumphing over evil

 

Excerpt:

While waiting patiently for her tea to finish heating up (she always preferred it a notch below boiling) a sudden feeling overcame her. It felt like pressure. Not enough to hurt, but enough to cause a mild wave of panic to wash over her. Was she having a heart attack? She wasn’t a spring chicken anymore, so heart trouble wasn’t an impossibility.

Even though she knew it could happen to anybody, regardless of age, race, or gender, it still seemed to zero in on the elderly. The heart was nothing more than a lump of muscle (something she learned from all the documentaries she used to watch) that pumped blood throughout the body. It, like any motor, eventually burned out, seizing up from age or neglect.

Her heart suddenly felt very old and neglected.

Reason set in. She wasn’t having a heart attack. The symptoms were all wrong. The pressure wasn’t just in her chest or arms, it was all over her body. A stroke? A brain aneurysm? The long-delayed effects of some bizarre and previously undetected disease or condition?

The bell from the microwave snapped Margaret out of her panic attack. Her cup of tea was done; the water had reached a suitable temperature. “Margaret Therese, you paranoid old biddy. Get a hold of yourself. You’re in good health for your age. There’s nothing wrong with you. You’re just worrying too much again.” Her own words soothed her mind, allowing a calm layer of peace and relaxation to come over her. Talking to herself usually did the trick; a poor substitute for her beloved Jacob, but satisfactory in keeping her sanity intact.

Delighted that the pressure was lightening, Margaret proceeded to enjoy her cup of tea. She steeped the bag repeatedly, releasing additional antioxidants with each dip into the steaming water in the cup.

Her thoughts drifted to what she would do on a day like this. Should she tend to her garden? Or perhaps call on some old friends? God only knew how much longer any of them would be around. Or maybe she would pass the day sitting comfortably on her front porch swing, gazing at the peace and serenity God had bestowed upon the world. It would be nice and relaxing, just the ticket to excise the bad memories of…of……of the strange pressure she had felt? Or the terrible recollection of her dear Jacob’s tombstone with its dire warning scratched on its stone?

Fear the Sky…

The feeling she was being watched slipped into Margaret’s consciousness. It planted itself firmly, absolutely refusing to drift away until it was recognized.

Margaret held the cup in her hand. Hot tea dribbled over the rim and down the sides of it. She was trembling, and she couldn’t stop. Something deep down inside her soul was cringing into a corner, trying to hide in the dark recesses of her very being.

Margaret hardly noticed the skin on her hand burning from the tea. Whirling around quickly, she glanced at a few windows, the side door of the house, the archway leading into her living room, but nothing seemed amiss. She was all alone in her tidy, small home, safe and secure within her reclusive, lonely lifestyle.

When the tea cup shattered on the kitchen floor, spraying a fine mist of hot water in every direction, Margaret paid it no attention. Her frail mind was firmly clinging to other much more important matters, such as the glowering face that seemed to be embedded in the glass of the window over the sink.

It was one-dimensional in nature, being as thin as the glass itself, but having no depth whatsoever. It was an imprint of a pained human face, mostly obscured by copious amounts of dirt, mold, and grime, but still there, and to no less effect than as if it were sparkly clean and easily recognizable.

Margaret stumbled backward, first bumping into the fridge, and then the adjacent counter. Chips of broken tea cup crunched under her slippers, but she didn’t notice, or care for that matter, even when one of the jagged shards sliced into her exposed ankle, causing a thin red line to well on her skin. She was beyond such trivial matters as cuts or scrapes. She had transcended into more frightening levels of awareness.

The terrible face followed her every move. Its deflated eyes squeaked with the mold-encrusted sockets of its head as they rotated. It was aware of her.

That was not the worst of it. There was something else in that face that looked like it had been underground for years. Something that chilled poor old Margaret’s brittle bones more than the sight of the horrible face in the kitchen window.

Recognition. It recognized her. It knew her. The sharp sliver of knowledge that slid into her thoughts revealed an even more frightening fact: It had loved her once.

The face shook ever so gently after that, not much to be very noticeable, just enough to dislodge some of the grime and filth covering most of its visage. Just enough to show it for what it truly was. Of who it really was.

Margaret froze in her tracks, thus ending the trail of blood she had created on her kitchen floor. Her heart nearly seized up right then and there; something that at this late stage of her lonely life she probably would have welcomed.It continued to beat, pumping thinned blood to various parts of her old body.

“Jacob? Is that really you?”

 

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About Rick McQuiston:

Rick McQuiston is a forty-six year old father of two who loves anything horror related.  By day, he works for a family-owned construction and management company. By night, he churns out horror fiction.

Rick has well over 300 publications so far. He’s written seven anthologies, one book of novellas, and edited an anthology of Michigan authors. He’s also a guest author each year at Memphis Junior High School, and is currently working on his fifth novel, a Cthulhu-based anthology. Rick currently has two novels with Class Act Books:  Fear the Sky and When Only the Nightmare Remains, which was voted #2 in Horror for 2015 by the Paranormal Romance GuIld’s Reviewer’s Choice.

Find out more about Rick at:

Publisher’s website: www.classactbooks.com

Author’s website: www.many-midnights.com

 

Buy links for Fear the Sky:

Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/book/show/25916898-fear-the-sky

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com › Fiction › Horror › Weird fiction