In the midst of looking for sanctuary in the badlands, Sonny and his friends make it to Fort Gold Rush. A militarized city providing protection from the zombies and predators beyond its walls.
However, the military leaders recognize the city’s safety as a sanctuary is only temporary unless they train the next generation of defenders. It’s there that Sonny is introduced to Grim, an unlikely anti-hero who becomes the singularly most important influence in Sonny’s life. As he and his friends adapt to their new life, they are conscripted to train rigorously as the city’s soldiers and defenders in competing units.
This second installment in the Dark Days series shows there are significantly more lessons awaiting Sonny and his friends than just learning to be lethal fighters.
Targeted Age Group:: Adults
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
It happened after high school when I was 19. I was at a Barnes and Noble and a book caught my eye, Everlost by Neal Shusterman. It pulled me in and I enjoyed that book more anything I've ever read. I started getting ideas for stories in my head and I felt the need to start writing, so I did. I was inspired to write this book after reading a great book.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
It was a mixture of characters I liked in stories and characters I wanted to appear in stories as well. Most of my childhood I didn't like reading books, because most of the books I read had uninteresting characters and I found myself rooting more for the side characters than the main characters. I try to write characters in my book that people can care about or want to care about.
We just ran and ran and ran. Running through the forest, past roads, through the brush – not wasting a moment. The storm was almost on us. The sun was gone, covered with dark clouds and the wind was howling, rustling the trees – soon it would be hard to be outside. The dark grey clouds gave an ominous haunting look to everything. We could still see in the day, but the light was dim and the shadows were very dark. There were zombies wandering around, and as soon as they spotted us, they came at us. We didn't have time to deal with them, so we only killed those that were in front of us. We didn't dare waste a bullet, we only used our swords, knives, or hatchets. We sliced the heads or necks. We all had some adrenaline giving us extra speed and stamina. We knew were headed in the right direction, there were gunshots and they were getting louder – they weren't as rapid as the firepower from the previous gunfight.
"Come on! We have to hurry! Move! Move!" Ellen said, running in front of us.
"Move your asses! Come on!" Jess said.
The zombies kept coming at us and slowing us down, we kept cutting them down and I lost count of how many zombies I decapitated or split open – the others tried mimicking my swing, spinning around to build momentum on the swing of the sword.
As we got closer to the gunshots, we came across a horrific sight in a clearing in the woods. There were posts everywhere with zombies chained to the posts. They were snapping and trying to claw at us like guard dogs. Past the posts on the trees were dead people hanging from the tree branches from hanging nooses around their necks, lifeless and rotting. Most of them were half skeleton and half-rotted flesh. Some of the zombies were tied around the trees with their guts hanging out, as if tied there for the zombies to feed on them alive. There were decapitated heads on pikes at chest level high and more heads around tree trunks everywhere – some of the heads were zombie heads as their mouths slowly moved. The chained-up zombies posts were almost lined up as if a borderline. The smell was beyond revolting. Some of my friends gagged while trying not to vomit. I felt nauseous just looking at it. I couldn't find the words. I was speechless and my legs felt weak.
"What the fuck?" Carrie said, shocked.
"Holy Christ," Ellen uttered.
"Oh shit. Oh my God," Molly said, wide-eyed.
"I'm gonna be sick," Danny said, looking away.
Scarlet puked along with Helga.
"What is this? What the hell?" Patch asked.
"Scarecrows. They want people to stay out," Warren said.
"You mean . . . they hang people out here and use their corpses to scare people away?! What kind of sick freaks do that?!" Sarah asked.
"I don't know . . . messed up people," Ashley answered.
"Kate . . . what the fuck are you doing going in there?" Ellen asked, gazing at the hanging dead.
I looked over and saw the paved road.
"She and the others probably took that paved road over there and missed this or they were running for their lives to stop and see this," I suggested.
"Come on, we gotta hurry," Carrie said.
"Wait, we're going in there? Are you nuts?" Helga asked, wiping the puke from her mouth.
"We've come too far to turn back," Patch said.
"She didn't mean that. Shouldn't we get back up?" Danny suggested.
Ellen turned to him, "You see those clouds? You hear those gunshots? Those are our guys fighting those crazy fuckers down there! They don't have time! We need to help them now!"
"No buts! Now come on!"
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