by Jami Gray
It’s the End of the World As We Know It, Will You Be Fine?
I’m humming along with REM in my head as I type, which is rather apropos considering the topic. In case you didn’t catch it, my writing superpower is creating vast worlds filled with magic, unexplained abilities and in the case of LYING IN RUINS and my soon-to-be-released BEG FOR MERCY, unexpected futures. The landscape I crafted for this series was created by my endless fascination with how the world would look and how its inhabitants would react when everything unravelled.
Now, I’ve had a couple of readers wince when they hear that my setting described as “post-apocalyptic” because, as they’ve said, “If it’s after the apocalypse, there’s nothing left, so where’s the story?” This gives me a window (slight though it may be) to explain that it’s not so much the end of the world as it’s the rupturing of known society and structured civilisation. People still live and love, just in a tougher landscape. Think of it like a futuristic old west. Trust me, it’s the perfect recipe for a cast of breath-stealing adventurers.
Take this scene from BEG FOR MERCY—who thought sheep could cause such chaos!
A racket at the far end of the street yanked her attention around. Ed and Havoc half turned in their chairs, while Vex got to her feet. A cloud of dust rose in the air, drifting closer on a rush of noise, a crush of yells, hooves, baas, and bells.
“Ah dammit!” Ed took one last gulp of coffee and pushed to his feet, before untangling from the bench. “Looks like Ben’s flock is making a run for it again.”
Mercy rose, Havoc doing the same on the other side. Around her the other lunch customer began their exodus. Under her feet, the ground vibrated and the noise and dust tumbled closer. Covering her nose and mouth in a vain attempt to keep the incoming grit out, she turned to follow the others even as Ed shouted, “Get a move on, people!” He slapped Havoc’s shoulder and pointed to the side of the eatery. “Head that way, we’ll circle around back.”
The last of the patrons sprung up and bailed just as the leading edge of sheep bled into the tables, scattering them. Because their table was closer to the building’s far edge, the wooly bodies became a sea of bleating obstacles and choking dust, dividing the lunch crowd. Scrambling back, Mercy didn’t get far before a large hand grabbed her wrist and pulled her along. The dust got thicker and the noise became deafening, turning the pleasant lunch area into a haze filled pit of chaos.
Havoc’s grip didn’t relent, and she stumbled in his wake, hitting one hip on a table’s edge with bruising force. She found her feet but when she bumped into Havoc’s back for the second time, she yanked her wrist free, and transferred her hand to his waistband. At least that way she wouldn’t end up with a smashed nose every few seconds.
Only after a series of turns freed them from the dust and took the noise down to a background din, did they slow and eventually stop. Letting go of Havoc, Mercy took in their new surroundings. It looked like they were on the back side of the market area. She could see the cloud of dust hovering above the awnings and roofs, the confusion a dull buzz, but at least there were no sheep wandering about.
Ed took off his hat and slapped it against his thigh, knocking off dust. “Damn kid knows better than to bring those thick-witted cotton heads down through main street.”
Next to him Vex coughed and used the tail end of her shirt to wipe her face. “Never thought I’d have to worry about death by sheep.”
As a devotee of the “what-if” scenarios, I thought I’d share a fun quiz and see how you’d fare at the end of the world.
Go ahead, answer a few questions and see what your future holds!
Just for giggles, I scored as:
A Deadzone Explorer
The old world is gone. There is a whole new set of continents transformed by cataclysmic events to discover. You will give birth to legends and be regarded as a pioneer by future generations.
If you feel like living dangerously and want to visit my unusual future, check out my Fate’s Vultures books:
On a mission to retrieve a kidnapped child, a woman skilled in secrecy crosses paths with a nomadic vigilante bent on revenge. Despite their mutual distrust, the unlikely pair joins forces to hunt a common enemy. Together they must survive the predators picking through the desiccated remains of civilization. What will tear them apart first—their suspicions or their enemies?
(Available 9 January 2018)
To trap a cunning and illusive predator, a protector forged in a blood soaked history must partner with the cynical heart of a betrayed assassin. Can the wary pair forge a bond of loyalty before suspicions and betrayals tear them apart?