Welcome to Karen’s Killer Book Bench where, every Wednesday, readers can discover talented new authors and take a peek inside their wonderful books. This is not an age-filtered site so all book peeks are PG-13 or better. Come back and visit often. Happy reading!
Back Cover Burb….
Searching for answers, Joe meets with Angie, an old friend who can talk to spirits, and she tells him of a new threat. Joe and Angie track down Crowley to a mysterious estate in New Orleans, where everything is not as it seems. As Joe digs deeper, Crowley has one more final trick up his sleeve, resurrecting his bloodline for one final battle with Joe.
Joe will throw down the gauntlet, and prepare to make the ultimate choice. Kill the man responsible for Lincoln’s coma, or capture the spirit responsible for their best friend’s death. Either way, justice will be served.
The Ferrymen by Jason Gehlert
[Special Note: Although this scene fits within Karen’s Killer Book Bench PG-13 rating, please be aware you’re about to peek into a zombie novel and it may be more graphic than some readers can accept. I did censor the F-word (the only non-PG-13 profanity) used in this excerpt to accommodate any younger readers. Thanks!]
The cold rain pounded against the tombstone’s, dripping down the aging marble. A few drops splattered across Joe’s face, forcing an insignificant twitch of his right eyelid.
The residents of the cemetery surrounded the fallen officer, hungry for their meal. A few inched closer, inspecting the bloodied face with curious looks, as the red rainwater rolled off Joe’s face.
Joe felt his heart kick start, yet no feeling returned to his limbs. Unaware of his location, Joe’s experiences taught him to remain calm, patient, and digest as much information as possible. He pieced together a potential area: outdoors, rain, mud, and soft earth. Joe’s inability to open his eyes, forced his brain to ignite any of the other senses, hoping they would recover in time.
The residents stretched out their hands, grabbing at Joe’s legs, pulling, tearing at his slacks with curled, shattered fingernails.
Joe could feel something clawing at his legs, tearing away the fabric, and scraping against his skin. A pain so rough and chaotic, Joe’s emotions escalated, his voice in argument with his brain to get everything moving once again.
A hard breath pounded against his ears, leaving behind a sticky residue inside Joe’s eardrum.
One by one, Joe felt his fingers returning to full power, nudging a hard metallic substance across the wet ground, with his left index and middle finger. He knew exactly what it was: the Glock.
Joe raised the Glock without a moment’s hesitation. His eyes slow to reopen, the stampede of growls consumed the dark cemetery, shattering Joe’s concentration.
A blurred image appeared before him, a grotesque cadaver besieged by death and years from burial. The creature clamped down on the end of the Glock, furious to chew on its intended prey. Joe’s vision, still marred from the toxic drug, delivered the horrifying image before him. A quickened flick of his index finger, obliterated the creature’s lower mandible, jarring the attacker backwards. A wave of blackened blood sprayed Joe, the tombstone to his right, and the base of Lancaster’s statue.
“Holy Shit,” Joe muttered, watching the rest of the cemetery’s tenants rushing the wounded creature. Joe’s attacker, a man, barely approaching what looked like to be middle age, scurried across the ground, clutching his dangling jaw in his right hand. The series of other mutated men and women, swarmed over him, pecking away at his body with their fingernails and teeth, eventually tearing clear through his lemon colored skin. A stream of black blood spurted, saturating the hungry entities, staining their disjointed, carnivorous teeth.
“Ah, Mr. Cole, would you look at that?” Jonas quietly stoked the remains of the dying fire in the brick fireplace, while gazing out the window to the cemetery. “It looks like Buchanan will not be enjoying the rest of his stay at the estate.”
“They are ripping that f*(@er to shreds,” added Crowley, swirling a glass of peach colored liquor, “tear him apart!” He raised the glass.
Cole glanced out the window, briefly engaging the other men in this shameless parade of revenge. The cemetery soon filled with pockets of the mutated corpses, enjoying their meal, gnawing through their dead with frenetic delight.
Joe hid behind a smaller collection of tombstones, routinely peeking at the massacre ahead. His senses returning, Joe felt the warmness of blood emerging from several cuts and scratches he endured during his blackout period. “This is insane,” he paused, the Glock lowering from his side, touching the soft ground. A series of headaches rocked Joe to the core, stirring his brain in a frenzy.
A small woman, roughly a foot shy of five feet, shuffled her eroding feet, covered in decades old mud, crawling with insects and beetles, across the cemetery. The woman wisely used the small collection of bare trees for seclusion. A bony figure with torn skin and petite eyes sunken deep in their sockets, the woman’s physique bordered on frail. Her brittle, stringy hair, dangled above her uneven shoulders, a sign of the woman favoring one side of her body when she walked. A series of small bones cracked through the thin layer of skin on her legs, bleeding black down her calves. A pocket full of rotted teeth displayed their savvy clacking for gnawing on fresh skin.
The woman shuffled closer to the immobile man behind the tombstone, her shadow growing under the full moon’s ivory breast.
Joe felt something awry, turning, startled by a crunching twig in the background.
His fingers retrieved the Glock once more, and readied for the defensive.
Nothing. Blackness enveloped a series of skinny trees.
A quick glance to the left, showed nothing more than the quirky calmness of the cemetery.
Then Joe felt it. A hurricane of a hit, out of nowhere. The brutal force knocked him clear on his back, scattering the Glock from his possession. Her face, scowling with an insatiable appetite for human flesh, penetrated his psyche.
Joe threw up his arms, catching the screeching woman in her frantic attempts to devour his skin. A steady stream of sizzling salvia dripped from her mouth, burning red blotches on Joe’s skin.
His Glock still unreachable, Joe sucked in deep breath, his fingers grabbed hold her hair, hoping to jerk her to the side. His hands culled countless patches of hair from her head, rendering his intended plan useless.
The woman screeched once more, and buried her chattering, jagged teeth against Joe’s upper shoulder, sending a shuddering howl from his trembling lips. Her rogue attacks pierced through his shirt, and uncovered the first layer of skin, bleeding the fresh wound. Her lips soaked in Joe’s cherry red blood, the woman went for the brutal kill: the jugular.
Joe, muffled his screams, sending a hard knee to the woman’s groin, stifling her attack. Her mouth, slightly ajar, crunched down on Joe’s fingers as he grabbed hold of her lower jaw and ripped her head sideways.
“I don’t like biters,” he growled.
The woman recovered, and baited Joe for another attack, while she crouched on all fours, mimicking a hungry animal. She launched through the air, but this time Joe was ready for her, and grabbed her from underneath and threw the woman against a nearby tombstone. Dazed, the woman rolled over and prepared for another stubborn attack.
Joe, still unable to locate his Glock, refused to accept defeat, and reached down and grabbed the woman by the shoulders. Joe’s mind twisted layer by layer, shoving the officer further down a dark road. Joe’s forehead erupted in sweat, his heart raced, his veins pumped with blood, now was the time to act.
A sudden discharge of adrenaline, Joe continually rammed the disturbed woman against the bottom of the tombstone, with escalating force, until the screeching ceased, and left the gray marble tombstone saturated in her black blood.
Collapsing, Joe’s mind again fluctuated between violence and guilt, leaving him hamstrung for a concrete answer to what the hell was going on.
Jason Gehlert is the author of the werewolf horror series Quiver. Through his tireless promotions, Jason landed several contracts, resulting in the fan favorite, Contagion, his sensational South African jungle zombie novel. Jason has been featured in several news articles, radio interviews, and has done various book signings around New York’s Hudson Valley area. Recently, Jason has been an invited guest to the Playboy Mansion, and will be featured in a grass roots documentary due out in 2012. He also has his own website, www.jasongehlert.blogspot.com and has plans to expand his writing library, prolifically offering up work after work each year, including Demon Revolver, and Ghost Prints, the latter which featured the debut of Lincoln Carter and Joe Buchanan. Jason now has the forthcoming “Ferrymen” from Damnation Books featuring an all new case featuring Lincoln and Joe’s, bringing justice to evil spirits. Jason also holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication/Media from Suny-New Paltz.
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