Having spent a day shooting locations from the book with Paul McGuigan of PMCG Photography, it felt like a good time for another update.
At this point in the book, Alys and Joey have reunited after a three year absence. Alys has convinced Joey to enter a no man’s land in the South of the dead city, beyond the inner fences in search of a cure and a madman.
The following excerpt is from dEaDINBURGH by Mark Wilson and is copyright of Mark Wilson and Paddy’s Daddy Publishing:
A sudden push against the bus sent it wobbling to one side. Alys and Joey both snatched their weapons up and stood to look through the misted windows.
“Didn’t you have a check around before you arrived?” she snapped at Joey more out of shock than genuine anger.
“Of course I did.” He said calmly.
Both turned their eyes back to the winnow, Alys stepping forward to rub some of the condensation away with the sleeve of her coat. She gasped as she looked out onto Canonmills. Joey pressed his cheek against hers to get a better look through the gap she’d made and let out a little sound of his own.
The bus was surrounded by Zoms. Every panel, front, sides and rear was being pushed upon by a herd of them, three deep in parts. Each of them was completely fixed on the bus, lips drawn back from snapping teeth.
“Where the hell did they come from?” Joey asked. “You ever see that many in one place?”
Alys shook her head.
Not like that.” He replied. “They’re all pretty fresh.
By fresh he meant fast, vicious, dangerous, and of course, hungry.
There was little chance of them pushing the bus over; they simply didn’t have the strength or coordination for that, unless they got lucky. The greatest risk to them was that the hands that had begun to slap against the windows would eventually break the glass. Neither of them was particularly worried about a zom climbing through a broken window, the panels were too high for that, but the broken window would definitely mean exposure to the bitter winter wind howling louder than the Zoms groans outside.
“Upstairs.” Alys told him, leading the way to the top deck.
From the top they gained a better view of what they faced. Alys guessed maybe sixty Zoms, all fresh, had surrounded the bus. She rubbed her temples, thinking, what the hell brought so many of them here?
Canonmills was outside the inner fence, but only just; and generally was fairly clear of the dead. Those she had encountered recently in the area had been older ones, slow and part-frozen with the winter frost.
Glancing along the aisle of the bus towards Joey who had his face pressed against the rear window, she gave him a sharp whistle. When he turned, she pointed up at the ceiling, eliciting a conspirational grin from him, followed by a quick nod of approval.
Stepping on Joey’s interlocked hands, she boosted herself up towards the skylight, pushed it open and climbed through, out onto the snow-covered roof, before dangling her arm through to help Joey up.
“I’m cool.” He told her. As Alys withdrew her arm, Joey’s hands grabbed the skylight and his feet suddenly shot through followed by the rest of him, head last. He landed lightly on his feet in a crouch.
“Show off.” She shook her head at him. “Let’s see what we’ve got.”
She said, heading towards the edge to lean over. Her sudden presence above brought a surge of hungry groans from below.
“You think you can shoot them off? Maybe just clear a section for us to break through?”
Joey had a quick peek over.
“Na. Too few arrows; too many Zoms. How about we go back to the lower deck and just start braining them through the windows after they’ve broken through?”
“Too risky; too easy to get grabbed or bitten whilst reaching out.”
Joey’s face suddenly broke into a wide grin. Hooking his bow over his back, he went through his ritual of checking his weapons, tightening his laces and pulling his hood up, before cocking an eyebrow at her and flashing an even wider grin.
“Back in a minute, Alys.” He laughed and leaped from the bus’ roof onto the nearby bus shelter, from where he did a tight sideways somersault, landing on the roof of a phone box several feet away. With a final cartwheel-tuck, he span off the phone box, landing catlike two feet behind the row of Zoms who still faced the bus.
Launching into a song, he took off up the hill towards a burnt put Esso petrol station, Sixty-odd dead shuffling behind him like a grotesque parade.
“Searching for answers and finding more reasons, not to believe in the bullshit they feed us….” Joey sand loudly and out of tune, laughing as he ran, tumbled and span his way up the hill, away from the bus.
He’s entirely too full of himself, that boy, Alys thought, supressing a smile.
Returning a few minutes later, Joey had doubled back around the Zoms who were still headed up towards Rodney Street. Joey was walking towards her, arms wide in a what you think gesture. Alys shook her head, “Nice singing, Joey.”
He laughed loudly. “You like that? Jock taught me it.”
Joey launched into another verse, ducking as she threw a right-hander at him.
“Shut up, idiot. You’ll have them back down here.” She nodded up at the herd of Zoms. Some of the rear ones had lurched around and were looking in their direction, teeth bared.
“Okay. Let’s go tell your mother that we’re running away to find a cure at The Royal Infirmary, which is by the way, surrounded by murdering madmen who worship a Zommed-out footballer. That’ll be fun.”
Alys cocked an eyebrow at him. Deadpan she said. “Okay.”
End of Excerpt
You can follow Mark’s progress on dEaDINBURGH on twitter at dEaDINBURGHbook