I’m currently writing the dEaDINBURGH trilogy. Here’s a wee excerpt, cast bios and Plot summary.
All text is copyright of Mark Wilson 2013
Joey regained consciousness and became slowly aware that he was still on the grass, beneath her. She hadn’t left him. Whirling, jabbing her Sai, leaping and kicking, she was a lethal whirlwind of blows and strikes and death. Inches from his prone body she did what had to be done. That’s what she always did. He rolled over from his back onto his side, curled his body inward and ripped off his right shoe. On glance at the red stain blossoming out across the fabric of his sock from the big toe of his foot told him that it was all over. He watched it spread detachedly, noting to himself how like a poppy it looked with his toe at the centre of the blood flower. Why is she still here?
Glancing across at his left hand, he noticed that the injury he’d taken there, was bleeding freely also.
Trying to stand, he braced himself with the palm of his right hand pressed into the mud and blood, but found that his legs weren’t listening and crumpled back to the ground. He tried twice more to stand before she kneed him in the shoulder, knocking him back to a curled position. She’d fought hard and made a three second gap in the fight to turn her attention to him. Three seconds was three times as many as she’d need, but that’s how she was; well prepared. He’d taught her that.
Instead of the terror he’d expected when this moment came, a peaceful acceptance slid over him. He didn’t raise his hands to protect himself and he didn’t close his eyes. Placing one foot either side of him in a strike position, she drew her third Sai, the deadliest, swirled it around in her palm to a stabbing position and threw herself at him. As she struck, he did close his eyes. Not for himself, not to welcome the black darkness he still missed from Mary King’s Close, but for her. She shouldn’t have to look in his eyes as she killed him.
Thank you, Alys, Joey’s voice whispered inside his head. Outside, Joseph MacLeod was still.
End of excerpt.
Born onto the cobbles of the Royal Mile, Joey lives with a religious cult named The Brotherhood of Elisha. We meet Joey at 15 years old. The Brotherhood resides in the crypts of Mary King’s Close and worship the walking dead, who they call The Children of Elisha. They have taken a vow of silence and feed the dead by filling troughs with their blood. They inhale desiccated zombie flesh in ceremonies called Communion and believe this makes them closer to the Children of Elisha. The Brotherhood walk among the dead unharmed, believing that their religion makes the Children of Elisha ignore them.
Joey has grown up in darkness and silence but secretly leaves the crypts to visit the esplanade at Edinburgh castle, where he practices archery and parkour. His bow, a takedown, recurve bow made from carbon fibre was left in his chambers along with a quiver-full of carbon fibre arrows when he was ten years old. He doesn’t know where it came from and is his only possession. He’s taken under the wing of Padre Jock after saving the older man from an unseen Zom.
Joey dresses in slim black denims, close fitting thumb-hole long-sleeve black ribbed top, and leather jacket. He always wears hiking boots. Joey has blonde, tangled hair and green eyes.
Alys was also born in the city but lives in Princes Street Gardens with a community of female farmers. No men live in the community as they were banished a decade before. The residents believe that the men are weak and dangerous in their weakness, but share their harvest of crops with the Brotherhood who are their nearest neighbours.
Alys is tough, lethally clever and has been trained since she was a toddler to fight zoms. She is an expert gymnast and fights with three Sai. Two are blunt and one, tucked in her belt, has been sharpened. She has black hair, green eyes and is stunning. She is slightly taller than Joey although the same age. Very lean and athletic. Alys treats Joey with disdain, like a cross between a pitiable idiot and a risk. Alys’ mother is leader of the farming community and is very demanding of her daughter. Alys’ father ‘left some years ago’ according to her mother.
In his sixties, Jock was sealed in with the other residents of Edinburgh when the mutant plague hit and the dead claimed the city in 2015. A former marine chaplain, Jock has fought in many wars and is an expert hand to hand combatant. He lives in the crypt with the Brotherhood, but does not subscribe to their dogma. Jock protects the Brotherhood by hunting and killing the strongest and most dangerous zoms that come too close to the fenced area. He watches over Joey but does not speak to him until the boy saves him one afternoon on a hunting trip. After this encounter, he begins teaching Joey to hunt zoms. Jock wears his dog-collar with a black shirt, dark blue denims and cowboy boots. He wears biker leathers, gloves and boots to go hunting. He also wears the mask of a plague doctor when hunting, discovered in the crypts of Mary King’s Close.
Fraser Donnelly (Joey’s Dad):
TV exec in the outside world. Very wealthy, very clever. Very unlike Joey in appearance
A handsome, madman who cut off his own eyelids, perpetuating the myth that he never sleeps. He calls himself Somna and cuts the eyelids from his victims, keeping them in an ironically cheery, ‘I love Edinburgh’ bum-bag around his waist. Somna is obsessed with his looks and wears slim-cut suits and styles his hair in the fashion on his celebrity king, a zom whom he worships.
dEaDINBURGH will be set over three books and focuses on a group of survivors quarantined in the former city of Edinburgh.
In 1615 a large group of plague victims were sealed in the crypts of Mary King’s Close, an underground town beneath the cobbles of Edinburgh. The city council took the measure to isolate the plague victims with the intention of protecting the uninfected populace. The people of Mary King’s Close were sealed in and forgotten about. The plague mutated underground for hundreds of years and some plague victims became something other than human. Undead, shuffling through the dark crypts racked by a 400 year hunger.
On New Year’s Day 2015, the city leaders opened the Close, with the intention of erecting a memorial to the ancient plague victims and using the Close for tourism. The Close’ residents poured out from their tomb and spread the new plague through the city.
Within a day, many of Edinburgh’s residents were infected. Within a week, the UK government, recruiting the armed forces had erected a huge and extensive fence, quarantining the city. Edinburgh is declared an official no-man’s land; a dead zone, its residents left for dead and to the dead. The remaining uninfected struggle to survive in a city of walking corpses.
The dEaDINBURGH trilogy will be published in May/June 2014 by Paddy’s Daddy Publishing. You can find mark’s books and other great titles there.