Cool News! Just got a fantastic new cover for REAPERLANDS Part One by the amazing Stephan Martiniere. Take a gander and if you haven’t read Part One yet, now’s a great time to jump on. Part Two is just about ready to go! Click to buy
Here’s a short (unedited) preview of REAPERLANDS: LOS MUERTOS TRAIL (Reaperlands Part Two):
Hooves beat the earth in a race with the falling orb in the west. Gus cracked the reins wildly, pushing the beasts to their limits.
Oscar scanned the horizon to either side of the darkness chasing them from the east.
A black streak on the plains.
Before he could raise his voice in warning, Oscar felt the thump at the wheels.
Panicked wails erupted from the horses.
Another black streak shot forward from the shadows, grazing the already strained hind cannon of the steed to Oscars fore, causing it to lurch in toward its companion, swinging the harness, and causing the entire wagon to swerve.
Gus strained against the bridal, forcing the frightened animals back on course.
Oscar drew up a gas filled bottle with a rag jammed into the opening from the supply pack he kept at the ready. Flicked the lighter from his pocket and lit the cloth. Flame flickered in the cold air.
He chucked the bottle to the ground alongside the vehicle. The exploding flash revealed the monstrously deformed bodies of a coyote swarm racing alongside them for a brief moment before the shadows swallowed them up again. He counted somewhere between five to ten.
The horses lurched once more at the explosion and Gus held them to their task.
“We’ve got visitors. Coyotes. Viral. Ugly motherfuckers.” Oscar called to Gus as he clutched his machete and swung his boot down to steady himself on the runner alongside the vehicle.
His eyes focused against the darkness.
A black streak shot out from the streaming abyss. He swung his blade. Contact. He felt the weight of the mass split, a heavy thump against the hummer door, a smaller mass, the head most likely, bounced across the hood and disappeared back into the receding gloom on the other side.
Oscars’ arm was still extended from the arc of his swing as another streak flew out from the black. He flung the blade back up, but only the broad side of his arm reached his attacker. It wasn’t enough to prevent the weight of the beast from slamming directly into him, crushing him against the vehicle and causing him to lose his footing on the runner, his grip on the luggage rack the only thing keeping him from slipping away into the darkness of the desert beating past below.
He kicked until his heel found the footing and steadied himself once more on the runner.
A fevered gaggle of yips and growls flew up from the breach. He felt the sudden beating of feet against the earth. A mass of phantom forms gained out from the shadows, keeping pace, the powerful snapping of anxious jaws.
Oscar raised a leg and kicked. Steel toes connected with flesh. Then a vice grip of teeth clinched the fabric of his cammos, snagging and pulling at him, the sudden weight dragging him down again.
He swung the machete at the black weight. Blade sliced to a hard stop against bone. He tugged, wresting the blade back up over his head and then swept down again, back to the bone. He repeated the process over and over, hacking away until the sudden release of weight at his leg. Bodiless jaws held their grip, teeth still snagged in the fabric.
Gus held his gaze to the horizon, Oscar’s struggles in his ears. Nothing to do but drive the stallions hard toward the abandoning sun in hopes they might reach the Salas outpost before being consumed by their numbers.
There was a loud clanging and the scrambling of paws from the rear. Gus recognized the sound immediately — one of the beasts had made it up onto the trailer.
He heard the scratching of claws as it steadied itself over the packed contents of the trailer, followed by the hard thud of its weight against the rear door panel directly behind him. Claws scratching desperately for a hold as it pushed itself up to the roof.
A chainsaw growl burned in the air.
Instinctively, Gus reached down and grabbed the lantern hanging from the rear view mirror. Raised it up with a wide stroke to meet the cranium of the charging Viral. Flame exploded, igniting the rotted flesh and mangy hair of the beast.
It writhed and howled, shaking madly until it lost its footing and tumbled off the roof like a comet to the abyss.
One lantern, one shot. Nothing left if another made its way up.
Oscar vaulted back up to the drivers box, chest heaving, blood flowing from a gash above his left eye. The truck lurched left then right, Oscar gripped the bar to prevent himself from going back over the side. “Too many – they keep coming.” He swallowed a deep breath. “Overwhelming me.”
CONTINUED in REAPERLANDS: LOS MUERTOS TRAIL