Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Sneak Peak of Only the Cold Remains coming June 13

I am excited to bring you an excerpt from Curran Geist's soon to be released dystopian, sci-fi thriller, Only the Cold Remains. Last week, I shared the description of the book. Today, along with the excerpt, I'll share a little bit about the author.

First off, let me tell you that I've been a fan of Curran's since April 2013 when I first read The Sity. He'd offered me a copy of his debut novel in return for a review, one of the earliest authors to do so after I started book blogging. Since then, I've enjoyed his blog posts and have been pleased to received updates from Curran about his series from time to time.

If you're looking for an author to follow, Curran's a good bet.  So, read on for what Curran has to say about himself and then keep going for a gripping excerpt from Only the Cold Remains.

Author Bio

Curran Geist grew up in the quaint town of Schwenksville, PA. He often lived within books, and his vibrant imagination allowed him to escape to fictional worlds beyond the tiny town where he was raised. He was home educated up until college, and he’s proud of it. Curran is also a mixed bag of many different ethnicities. No one has ever been able to correctly guess his origins! Though, everyone does still mistake him for Jimmy Fallon.

Curran’s passion has always been to write. He’s powered by strong coffee and loud music. His zest for writing is only matched by his love of animals. His proudest moment was when he rescued a baby Robin and raised the bird until it could fly. Currently, he just has a cat, but he can’t wait to keep building his animal family!

For many years, Curran Geist was dedicated towards human rights work. He was honored to serve in the AmeriCorps and also to work for the Simon Wiesenthal’s Tolerance Center, where he lead trainings to combat bigotry and discrimination. Human rights issues are still very important to Curran. In writing  THE SITY  series, Curran Geist has merged his love of science fiction, fantasy, and horror genres with his belief in tackling social injustices. His novels paint a dystopian, post-apocalyptic, and extraterrestrial landscape that mirrors many modern day social issues, including: the exploitation of children, sexual slavery, and cruelty towards animals.

In  THE SITY  series, the lead characters embark on a harrowing journey of vengeance. They must protect the survival of humanity – at all costs. However, what if that cost is the last slivers of their own humanity?
Curran is currently living in New Jersey with his wife. They are eagerly expecting the arrival of their first child.


Read on for an excerpt from this exciting 2nd installment of The Sity (for readers 17 and up)!


Prologue:

HOW had it come to this?

His boots sunk into the acid soaked dirt. He stepped out from the helishuttle. He could barely stand as the swirling red winds pounded upon him. Beneath his white ranger armor, his skin trembled as the sharp shards of infected rock and stone grated upon him from all sides. The winds had collected the remnants of what was left of this dying planet; consuming it and belching it out again like a gluttonous beast hell-bent on destruction. His suit was now the only thing protecting him from being torn to shreds. We warned you. We tried to help. Why didn’t you listen? Now move, Goddammit, move.

He staggered forward, pushing his way through the dense wall of corruption. Glancing backwards over his shoulder, he realized that the safety of the helishuttle was fading from view. It too was being eaten up by the winds. For a moment, he thought about returning. He wanted to return. However, something had taken hold of his trembling legs and forced him onward into what he knew was a death zone. It is a ranger’s duty. I must find any who remain. There may be hope still. Hold strong. Hold strong. A flash of lightening tore through the smog. In that moment, seconds seemed like an eternity. He could now better see his murky surroundings.

He was near a village; what was left of a village.

He was standing in the middle of a street. The concrete path was cut up straight down the middle. It was like a slab of flesh parting open from a gruesome carving. The houses to both his sides were barely standing. Rooftops ripped open from rocket shells. Flames danced behind shattered windows. These fires led up to thick funnels of gray smoke. There were no signs of life, human or Kuljik.

The few trees that remained were uprooted from the ground. Tendrils of black oil seemed to infect the trees’ bodies. Bark flaked off like dead skin. The trees’ mangled branches reached out for him like the arms of a pained being. They were so close, he realized. The whittled fingers seemed to be trying to grab him. They were grabbing him now, clawing at the fabric of his white armor. He tugged himself away from the clasps of the dying, not allowing himself to be consumed by their pain. The hands finally released from his body. He pressed forward again down the street. The red winds converged to obscure his view. Now, the howling trees were swallowed up.

“Don’t forget about me.”

He stopped suddenly as he heard the voice whisper from up ahead. Was I just imagining it? Could someone still be alive?

He heard the faint voice again. Now, he desperately ran forward in the direction of the voice. He couldn’t see anything past a few feet from his face. The glass visor of his helmet was growing slick. Debris swirled around, further obscuring his vision. He stumbled over another jagged cut in the ground, but regained his balance against the brick wall of a torn down building. He pressed forward through the wind, now using his hands to feel his way through the maze of the ravaged village. As he reached to the side, he felt something crumble against his touch. What was it? He paused to catch his breath. He wiped his glove over his visor, trying to clear away the layers of soot. He could make out what looked to be a small, unmoving figure. It was just a few steps before him.

“Are you ok?” he called out to the figure. “I’m here to help you.”

There was no answer. There was no movement. He edged up even closer, until he was almost standing right next to it. Perhaps it was just a statue. Just a statue made of stone. But it looks so real. He scanned the figure up and down. He took in the subtle curves of its nose, its grimacing mouth, and its closed eyes. Its clenched hands were crossed over its chest as if praying for salvation. The air valves on his armored suit pulsated as they filtered out the misting corruption. Through those valves, he could still smell; smell that this being wasn’t made of stone. It was made of charred human flesh. The being stood before him like a snowman made of cremated ashes. It was held together in the form of its final moments. Without thinking, he reached out with his gloved hand and touched the cheek of the figure. Its eyes flickered open. He recoiled backwards from the shock of its movement. “Don’t forget me,” it cried out just before it collapsed beneath his fingertips in a puff of smoke.

There was another flash of lightening, and for just a moment, the area around him was illuminated again. He seemed to be in an open courtyard, before the tall iron gates of a prison facility. In the space around him were rows and rows of these tiny snowmen made of ash and the stink of death. He felt a chill creep up his spine. Once again, he could sense that a presence was nearby. He popped open the latch around his ScII laser rifle and lifted up the weapon. He continued to explore the area, moving slowly to avoid touching the charred figures that littered the field. He tried not to stare into their faces. Not wanting to be haunted by the images of their last moments, frozen in the black soot. But as he crossed the field, he noticed the tears of a small girl, the fear of a boy, and the anger of another victim. The arms of this one punched forward as if unwilling to go out without a fight. A huge gust of wind smashed against him. He could see several of the tiny figures being swept up. They disappeared into the red fog. Their faces mouthed out silent calls for help one final time before leaving forever.

There was a loud booming sound coming from his left. He couldn’t make out what it was, but it sounded like the whirling of tires and the crunching of trampled bones.

He noticed an overturned bench to his left. He quickly scrambled behind it. He kept his rifle poised as he heard the vehicle approaching. Emerging from the red winds, which were battering the grounds again, was a large tanker truck. In the front was a long missile tube. The entire body of the tanker was painted in camouflage. Its tracked wheels churned slowly in a cycle as the vehicle mowed through the courtyard of dust children. The tank just pushed forward with no regard to its surroundings. It swallowed up trees, benches, building rubble, and any beings in its path. Now, it was heading straight towards him.

He stood up and opened fire angrily at the tanker. The laser bursts angled off its thick walls. There were sparks, but his rifle barely left a dent. He kept shooting over and over again at the military vehicle, but it hardly seemed to notice him. It didn’t fire back. Its path never altered. It just pushed forward closer and closer through the fog. As his ScII lasers continued to hail down against its sides, it was almost upon him. He quickly stepped out of the way of its tracked wheels. He could now see the glass of the tanker’s compartment booth. Behind the smudged window panel was the vehicle’s driver. It was a human, made of just bone.

The skeleton’s empty eye sockets were locked straight ahead, not acknowledging him. Boney fingers clenched to the wheel of the tanker, stuck in the aimless purpose of steering the vehicle forward and onward into the nothingness of the toxic wasteland. Another flash of lightening and the glass became a shimmering mirror. He could see his own figure now reflected back in the depths of the tanker compartment. Why am I here? These weren’t my people. They didn’t want anything to do with us. He could see his three arms. His three eyes lurking behind his fogged up helmet visor. His skin was green and wrinkled. Go home. Get out of this Hell. Deep in his own reflection, he could see another face take shape. It was the face of a small boy.

He turned around quickly and could barely make out the form of the small boy running off into the red smog. “Hey you, stop. Come back!” he yelled out in the direction of the boy. Ignoring the tanker, he hurried off after the kid now. He thought he could make out the boy again, dancing through the thick air. But every time he came close, the child would disappear again like a ghost. He traversed the field, searching in desperation as flames licked against his armor. The grime of the outside world seemed to almost infect his body. His green flesh felt itchy from the toxic fumes. The boy was leading him in circles. It was like a game of hide-and-seek. He slammed his fists against a nearby wall in frustration. As he looked up, he realized where he was now. He was right at the base of the prison gates.

His fingers pressed against a flickering yellow button. He heard the clanking of latches opening. The metal gate was parting before him. Without hesitating, he could feel his heavy boots carrying him forward into the black crack that had formed in the gate. The darkness was all encompassing, but it was still a sheltered relief from the corroding red winds that he had been trapped in. His eyes slowly adjusted to the new lack of lighting. He began to make out the structures hidden within the prison facility.

“Are you there?” he called out in the shadows. He reached down for his flashlight and then switched it on. He scanned the facility with the beam of light.

He was standing in a large concrete room filled with jail cells to both sides. Most of the cells were made up of thick metal bars. Behind these stood hundreds of children. The kids were no older than ten years. Each was dressed in green military jumpsuits and black commando boots. Their skin was raggedy. Their cheekbones were thin from undernourishment. Their eyes were burning with deep pools of anger and fear. They stood there in rows as if awaiting some command. He noticed now that their feet were shackled together. The pit in his stomach tightened. In each of their hands, he realized, were weapons.

Some of the children had guns. Others had machetes, clubs, and swords. Each weapon glistened when contacted with the glare of his flashlight. He felt a chill rush up his spine again. Far up ahead, he could see another cell separated from all the rest. This cage was encased in glass and there was a small figure huddled over in the back. He couldn’t tell if it was a boy or a girl, but he could see that this figure was also chained up.

A voice echoed out from somewhere above. Venomous words bounced against each concrete chamber.  “Kill…kill…kill,” the voice droned. He turned his eyes frantically away from the figure in the glass cage and back towards the small soldiers to both his sides. The children weren’t looking at him, but rather at each other. The chains that had been around their ankles had broken free. The metal bars between their cells had disappeared. The red toxic fog of the outside world was now replaced by a new, worse type of crimson.

He closed his eyes. He covered his arms over his head to shield himself. But he could still hear the sounds of bullets tearing through flesh. He could hear the sound of blades slicing through limbs, the cracking of metal against bone, and the patter of blood against the floor. The room was filled with the screams of kids killing kids. The ground was slick against his feet. He slipped and fell to his knees. As he slid in the pool of crimson, his flashlight tumbled from his grasp. He made the mistake of opening his three eyes.

In the funnel of light resonating through the room, he could see the bullet-riddled bodies and hacked-up extremities. There was a child’s head, mouth agape, teetering almost nose-to-nose with him. It was looking straight into his eyes. He flinched, but the floor was sticky with death. The head finally drifted away across what was now a red stream soaking into his white armor. The carnage had stopped at least, he thought. All that was left were the dead corpses of the child army. The beam from his flashlight shone forward across the mangled piles of bodies, which were stitched together like a quilt of green and red. The light carved its own path back towards the glass cage, where one child remained, still alive.

“Don’t forget me,” the voice murmured.

He began crawling through the funnel of light and towards that cage. The ground was too slick with blood to stand, so he pulled himself over the bodies and toward the only living kid. He moved as fast as he could, afraid that he wouldn’t get there soon enough. The glass cage seemed to stretch further and further away each time he scrambled forward. “I won’t forget you!” he yelled as he fought back against the elongating floor of death. “Hold on. I got you.” With determination, he finally broke free from the sodden grounds. He regained his balance and stood up on his feet. He refused to look down at the bodies. He was scared they might be looking back.

Blocking them from his sights, he lunged towards the glass cage.

Above the glass enclosure was a broken sign wobbling from one wire. Before him were the words: TEST SUBJECT ZERO flickering in blue neon light. He was right outside the cage. He could tell now that the last remaining child was a boy of only seven years. The boy had short black hair and hazel eyes. The sleeves of the kid’s olive jumpsuit were rolled up to reveal numerous needle marks. In the boy’s trembling hands was a small dagger.

“Stay away,” the boy stuttered.

“It’s ok,” he said back. He pulled open the cage door. “I will get you out of here. I haven’t forgotten you.”

“You don’t understand,” the boy mumbled. The boy reeled away. Fear washed over the boy’s pale face. “I don’t want to hurt you…”

“You can’t hurt anyone any more,” he calmly replied from the edge of the open cage door. “With us you will be safe.”

As he looked at the trembling boy, he reached down into a slip in his armor and grabbed a radio device. His own hands were shaking as well. He brought the radio to his lips.

“I have found a lone survivor. Medtronik helishuttle please return for pickup,” he demanded. He grabbed the child’s hand and held it tightly. “All is not lost on Earth.”


Promo links:

Amazon Author Page:  http://www.amazon.com/Curran-Geist/e/B009FATDPE
Blog:  http://thesity2012.wordpress.com
Twitter:  @CGeist_thesity
The Sity Series Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/EnterTheSity
Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6466599.Curran_Geist