The After War
by Brandon Zenner
On the other side of the North American continent, young Simon Kalispell is leaving the safety and seclusion of his cabin deep in the woods, traveling with his aging canine companion, Winston.
For individual reasons, these men are traveling east, where the fragmented lives of a small number of survivors will soon be decided by the choices of a corrupt few.
Simon Kalispell and Brian Rhodes are not yet aware, but the strength that resides inside them will soon be tested, and destiny will call for their fates to be forever intertwined.
Steven lowered his rifle, wiping his palms on his thighs and brushing the sweat from his eyes.
“I said he’s dead, Steve—”
“I reckon he’s dead, Brian. I see he’s dead.”
“Come on now. We’re right at town.”
They sidestepped the corpse until it was well behind them. If the body was someone they had onceknown, it was now impossible to determine who that person might have been.
“That won’t be the last of them,” Brian said. “You better get your head on straight.”
Steven opened his mouth to speak, but then shut it again.
They stepped onto the road as the first house emerged from the woods. They walked past it, taking careful notice of the blank windows—as black as the eye sockets of the corpse—and scanned for any sign of movement, like the fluttering of drapes, or the partially covered face of a person peering out from the darkness with a shotgun clenched tight in their hands. Anything.
But there was no movement.
“Think anyone’s left?” Steven said, with a crack in his voice.
Brian shrugged. “I know as much as you do.”
The yards around the homes, and Pearl Street itself, were spotted with litter and debris of every kind blowing in the gentle breeze. Overgrown tree roots buckled sections of the sidewalk and emerged from cracks in the pavement. They passed the police station bordering the center of town. The cruisers were vacant in the parking lot, and the building was cold and silent.
The After War will be $0.99 during the tour.
I’m not sure if this would be considered quirky, but I am a bit fan of meditating before I write. I got interested in the practice when I was a teenager, but I stopped for many years. Then, several years ago, when I was writing my first book, The Experiment of Dreams, I experienced what is called an aura migraine. I used to get them as a child, but it had been years. There is no pain with this type of migraine—for me that is—but I basically loose most of my vision in a matter of minutes, with my field of view overtaken by strange, pixilated colors. After the blindness, I get a sore headache and basically feel stupid. Just answering questions can be difficult. So after that one particular migraine, which landed me in the ER, mostly out of fear and my wife not knowing much about those migraines at that point, I decided to sit and meditate the next day to clear my jumbled head. It was great, and a few days later, when I was able to sit in front of a computer and write again, my thoughts felt sharper than they had previously. Since the birth of my daughter, going on three years now, I can’t invest as much time as I would like into meditating, but I still do it before I sit and write.
On a side note, my first book, The Experiment of Dreams, deals largely with a person experiencing aura migraines. So when I had one while writing it, it was something of a blessing in disguise. I’m not at all happy that I experience them, but it at least it helped me write the details of the migraine accurately in the novel.