The stench of frozen rotted meat is in the air! Welcome to the Winter of Zombie Blog Tour 2014, with 10 of the best zombie authors spreading the disease in the month of November.
Mark Tufo is no stranger to TripThroughMyMind. He was one of the first authors to be reviewed with his book series, Zombie Fallout. He was one of my first interviews with an author. Even Rhyanna, of Rhyanna’s Reads did a review of his YA book here. Now, he is back to be the first sneak peak of a release with a sample of his upcoming book as a stop on the Winter of Zombie Blog Tour 2014 with an excerpt from his new book Lycan Fallout 2 which will be release this December. Let’s take a moment for this rare sample of an upcoming book here on TTMM. Thank you Mark Tufo for coming and visiting.
LYCAN FALLOUT 2
by Mark Tufo
Chapter One – Mike Journal Entry 1
Oggie went just about nuts jumping up and down on me as I walked back on shore. Maybe he knew just how close I’d been to saying, “fuck it.” I got down on my knees and grabbed Augustine “Oggie” Purpose’s massive head in my hands. I pressed my face close to his and wept for Tommy. The boy had been a major guiding force for the majority of my life, really all of my life if I thought back on all he’d said. Even Oggie here had been a gift from him to get me moving off my ass and rejoin a humanity that I’d had no desire to see again. Oggie let me drench his face in tears that seemed of endless supply before he licked mine, I guess to return the favor.
Bailey seemed unruffled, as I stood completely naked. She had started a small fire in my absence.
“You will need clothes if you wish to hunt Lycan,” she said as she tended to the flame.
“And what of you, Bailey?”
“It is my place, much like BT, to be by your side.”
“If you remember correctly, that didn’t work out too particularly well for him.”
Bailey looked at me queerly. “He lived a long life, surrounded by family and loved ones, and he had an incredible tale to tell his children and then their children. Would you deny me that?” she asked.
“I would not.”
“When do we start then?”
“I suppose we already have,” I told her.
“You are probably going to want this then.” She handed me my sword, the one Azile had forced from my hand before I could kill any more. I was thankful she had cleaned it up before giving it back.
“Yeah, it would have been a bit more difficult without this. Thank you.”
My clothes were a total loss. The parts that were not shredded were so covered in a thick layer of viscera as to be unrecognizable. Naked was one thing, barefoot was another. I grabbed my boots and headed back towards the water, this time Oggie made sure to stay right at my side. I was fairly convinced he would bite me if I attempted to go any further into the lake other than the shoreline. He watched as I scraped off all manner of biological matter with the flat side of a rock that would have been perfect for skipping had I been in a more agreeable mood. As it was I was close to two hundred years old and lost damn near all that was dear to me. I had Oggie, that was it. Was that enough to do what needed to be done? Was the hate I felt for Lycan due to Tommy’s death enough? Bailey and I had an alliance but that was more out of necessity and obligation rather than regard and respect (on her part anyway).
Azile the Red Witch. What did I feel for her? Desire? Betrayal? It was complicated like every damn relationship I’d had with a woman. If I cared to think on it, it amazed me that men and women could even procreate. We are almost as different a species as dogs were to cats. I looked at my boots. They would never come completely clean—they would always be stained much like my soul. I snorted. “If I had one,” I said sourly. “At least they’re serviceable,” I said as I held them out to the waning sunlight. Again much like my soul.” I half-laughed again. Oggie visibly relaxed as I stepped away from the lake and went back to the fire. Bailey had pulled up some logs she had found for us to sit on. I noticed there were two and they were on opposite sides of the fire.
Had I been in a better mood I would have sat on the same log with her, just to gauge her reaction. I placed my boots as close to the fire as I could without melting them. I could deal with the nudity well enough; it was something about the possibility of stepping on thorns or some ancient discarded rusty nails that bothered me to no end. Maybe I could fashion a banana hammock for my other delicates.
“How are your wounds?” Bailey asked after a moment.
I grunted. My body was crisscrossed with deep puncture wounds, scrapes, cuts, welts and bruises. I was pretty sure I had a broken rib or two as well. I looked like I’d been tossed in an industrial dryer with bowling balls and broken bottles. I’d taken the old saying, “death by a thousand cuts” a little too literally.
“I have an extra tunic. Would you care for it?” Bailey asked.
I’m sure she wasn’t appreciative of the view. I was sitting on the log she’d provided, my knees were apart and I had a hand on each of them as I stared deeply into the fire waiting for it to yield answers it did not possess. The oncoming chill did not affect me, nor did the nakedness. It was a further shedding of my humanity, which would bring me that much closer to my enemy, and by understanding him I would be better prepared to kill him. Ultimately I did not believe I could do it, not without Tommy. He was the strongest and if he could fall then any of us could. I was planning on running in full tilt and killing everything within sight as fast as I could before I yielded as well.
“Michael?” Bailey prodded.
As I looked up, our eyes locked. “Sure.”
She reached into a small pack she had and walked around the fire to hand me the garment.
“You fought valiantly today,” she said as I put on the tunic. Because of Bailey’s size it looked more like a poncho on me.
“And still it wasn’t enough.”
“You saved that town.”
“Let’s get a couple of things straight, Bailey. I didn’t fight for that town. I fought for my friends. I don’t give a fuck about that town. I’d rather it had burned to the ground with every inhabitant in it rather than lose Tommy, Azile or you. If none of you had been here, I would not have been either.”
“What you plan on doing next will help these same towns you despise.”
“Again, I’m not doing this for them.”
“Your friends, then? I do not believe the Red Witch would desire you to be so foolhardy.”
“What I do now I do for me. For maybe the first time in my life I am going to do what I desire and for only my selfish reasons. I will kill Lycan until my revenge is sated or I have died trying.”
“Revenge can never be sated. It is an ever-expanding fire that constantly demands more fuel to burn. Like a wild fire it will consume everything within you.”
“I don’t need a regulator. If you wish to go home I will not attempt to stop you.”
“I am here, is that not enough answer? Our reasons for this quest may be different but we desire the same outcomes.”
I looked long and hard at her. Maybe I was looking for a fight, maybe I wanted to force her away, tough to say. How could I argue with her words though? We both did want the Lycan dead. I would hold up my part and looking at her led me to believe so would she.
Bailey and Oggie went hunting, the sun gone upon their return. I had not moved much other than to put more logs upon the flame.
“Oggie is an incredible rabbit hunter,” Bailey said as she flashed a pouch full of the small animals.
“He didn’t do it out of the kindness of his heart as he fully expects his fill.” I smiled as I scratched behind his ear. Oggie watched diligently as Bailey skinned the rabbits. I fashioned a crude spit and within ten minutes we had meat roasting on an open fire.
Oggie and I shared a meal and by share I mean he ate the vast majority. Somewhere inside of me the machinations were telling me I was hungry but the only part of me that mattered in this regard, namely my stomach, said otherwise. The thought of eating food seemed more of a chore, but Oggie had no such compunction. The night was dark but clear as we were afforded some visibility by the waning moon and the stars. We were now one night removed from the battle. Time was moving on. I knew enough to realize it waited for no woman, man, child or even an Old One. I was staring up the hill to Tommy’s final resting place when Bailey spoke.
“Would you like me to take first watch?” she asked.
“I’ve got it,” I said absently, not looking in her direction.
“There is a greater chance that intruders will not come from the top of that hill.”
I don’t know if she meant it as a jest or a barb, as she honed in on my fixation. She lay down, resting the back of her head against the log, closing her eyes. Within a few moments she was asleep. She was a warrior through and through; only those who fight know how to go to sleep on a moment’s notice. I looked at her for a second to make sure she truly was asleep before I began my vigil on Tommy’s gravesite again. Oggie was sleeping with his legs in the air and was snoring loud enough that I could not have heard if a herd of moose was passing by while they bleated out their mating calls.
The fire had calmed considerably, the night was at its darkest. The witching hour, if one was to believe in that, was upon us when I saw a small, unearthly light emanate from where Tommy was buried. I stood quietly, trying to focus my eyes. Was I hallucinating? It was a strange blue with flickers of red around the edges. Was this Tommy’s soul looking for its body’s final resting spot? Was there some unknown lore even now reanimating Tommy? Was that possible? I sat back down, grabbed my boots, which had thankfully dried. I put them on and moved with as much speed as stealth would allow. I did not want to awake Oggie or Bailey or alert whatever or whoever was up there. And what exactly was I heading for? Would a headless Tommy be up there waiting to exact his revenge upon me for letting him fall in battle?
With each step I expected the light to either dissipate or reveal its true nature. A trick of the light, so to speak. I was within ten feet when the answer was revealed.
LYCAN FALLOUT 2 by Mark Tufo—COMING DECEMBER 2014!
ABOUT THE WINTER OF ZOMBIE BLOG TOUR
Stop by the event page on Facebook so you don’t miss an interview, guest post or teaser… and pick up some great swag as well! Giveaways galore from most of the authors as well as interaction with them! #WinterZombie2014
AND so you don’t miss any of the posts in November, here’s the complete list, updated daily: Winter of Zombie Schedule
ABOUT MARK TUFO
Mark Tufo was born in Boston Massachusetts. He attended UMASS Amherst where he obtained a BA and later joined the US Marine Corp. He was stationed in Parris Island SC, Twenty Nine Palms CA and Kaneohe Bay Hawaii. After his tour he went into the Human Resources field with a worldwide financial institution and has gone back to college at CTU to complete his masters.
He has wrote the first installment of the Indian Hill trilogy in college, it sat in his garage until July 2009 when he published it on Kindle. He has since written the Zombie Fallout series and is working on a new zombie book.
He lives in Maine with his wife, three kids and two English bulldogs.
Visit him at marktufo.com or zombiefallout.blogspot.com or www.facebook.com/pages/Mark-Tufo/133954330009843 for news on his next two installments of the Indian Hill trilogy and upcoming installments of the Zombie Fallout series.