Friday, November 22, 2013
Half Bean Sidhe and half berserker, Sorcha trained over centuries to become the perfect warrior. She agrees to work with local weres to investigate a new type of zombie capable of coordinated attacks—and is partnered with Kayden. He’s strong, darkly handsome and completely unafraid of her. And his kiss fills her with insatiable desire instead of bloodlust.
As Kayden and Sorcha work together, their attraction grows and their deepest scars are bared to each other. But with the force behind the deadly new zombies poised to overwhelm the city, Sorcha can only pray that the next time her bloodlust strikes, Kayden isn’t among the fallen…
Taking the Serpentine bridge helped speed her along, man-made though it was. Crossing running water posed no deterrent for her. Others of fae blood might have paused in the hunt, but the zombies shambling through the bare trees in these parks were not her quarry.
No. Pursuit was not her purpose. Rescue was. The feeling of wrongness, the taint of spoiled magic, worsened as she crossed from Hyde Park into the Kensington Gardens. Perhaps the lake separating the two parks kept some of it from spreading. What humans called the Long Water remained relatively clean of the pall of death exuding from the land.
The trees in Kensington Gardens were bare skeletons this deep into winter in London—sleeping, but restless, tugging at her heart. Would the trees be too sickened to bring forth new life after their roots had bathed in blood? Parks like these provided sanctuary for the lesser fae and Fair Folk living in cities such as London. Without them, the fae who’d made the city their home, braved cold iron, would fade. And for every city lost, the Under Hill shrank as well.
Even if mortals ruled the world, the fae needed to maintain a presence in order to keep the balance of things or their world would fade from existence. She’d been sent to investigate why the fae of London were disappearing, and she’d found death walking. Stupid humans, coming in after dark, to hunt and be overwhelmed, to loot and be taken by surprise. Perhaps such short lives made for stunted memories. Though the zombies found prey too often in these gardens, the humans kept coming. She didn’t Sing for those, the ones who’d done humanity a favor by taking themselves out of the gene pool.
No. Her Songs aided the passing of worthier souls. A tortured cry rang out in the night, sending ripples through the magic saturating the land, tainted as it was. She ran harder. Perhaps she could be savior this time, and not simply witness to death.
The zombies were gathering, called not only by the sounds of struggle, but also by the disturbance. Like sharks drawn to an injured fish in water, it was as if the zombies could sense easy prey. Unnatural as they were, she’d no doubt zombies were animated at least in part by magic of some kind. The parks used to be the reservoirs of old magic in the city. They’d become death traps.
As she broke through the trees, a brownie stood atop a mound in the children’s playground, a curved dome with tunnels for children to crawl through in play. Good that he’d chosen higher ground, bad that he’d allowed himself to be surrounded away from any trees or route of escape. Maybe the mound had reminded him of a hollowed hill, the way the tunnels led beneath it.
Gentle in nature, brownies like him tended places and buildings, their magic sympathetic to home and hearth. They weren’t bred to fighting, weren’t trained as soldiers the way she’d been. While he could turn boggart and create minor havoc, he wasn’t meant for true violence and was no match for the dead trying to eat him. But she was.
Red haze encroached on her vision. Sorcha reached for her swords, drawing them free without slowing her pace, embracing the sweet song of savagery rising in her blood.
We’ve wondered what we’d do in an apocalypse. We’ve watched movies. But did we ever really wonder how we’d manage? I’ve been in the midst of a few fun activities with friends and thought to myself, hey, this is good training for an apocalypse. Random, I know. But worth thinking about, maybe.
● Batting Practice. Swing a bat at a softball. How’s your aim? Could come in handy for various self defense reasons depending on the type of apocalypse. Just saying.
● Manhunt. Did you ever play this as a kid? Running around, sometimes in the dark. Jumping from bench to bench and climbing walls or fences? Evading enemies and/or predators is important in an apocalypse. Again, not as easy as when we were kids.
● Hide and Seek. Finding shelter and laying low are two very valuable skills in an apocalypse. How good are you at it?
Sorcha and Kayden in Sing for the Dead are very ready and able to face the horrors of a zombie apocalypse. Their training was a lot different from this but hey, we work with what opportunities present themselves.
Born and raised in the North East, PJ Schnyder spent her childhood pretending to study for the SATs by reading every fantasy and sci-fi novel she could borrow from the local and school libraries. She scored fairly high in the verbal portion.