August 20, 2015

Beware -- Nature Kills: a guest post + giveaway by Hunter Shea, author of "Tortures of the Damned"

First, the electricity goes—plunging the east coast in darkness after a devastating nuclear attack. Millions panic. Millions die. They are the lucky ones. 
Next, the chemical weapons take effect—killing or contaminating everything alive. Except a handful of survivors in a bomb shelter. They are the damned.
Then, the real nightmare begins. Hordes of rats force two terrified families out of their shelter—and into the savage streets of an apocalytic wasteland. They are not alone. Vicious, chemical-crazed animals hunt in packs. Dogs tear flesh, cats draw blood, horses crush bone. Roaming gangs of the sick and dying are barely recognizable as human. These are the times that try men’s souls. These are the tortures that tear families apart. This is hell on earth. The rules are simple: Kill or die.


Beware – Nature Kills
by Hunter Shea

If you grew up in the 70s and 80s like I did, and spent a great deal of time at the movies, you were exposed to a plethora of movies centered around a common theme - Nature gone wild. Me, I loved them all. From small creatures made impossibly large and ravenous (Empire of the Ants, pitting Joan Collins against ants the size of cars or Food of the Gods, an island of oversized animals out for blood, especially the rats) to hordes of everyday beasts out for a little payback (Frogs, Ssssss or Grizzly), the whole concept fascinated me.

I mean, we’re supposed to be the top of the food chain! What kind of world would it be if we toppled to the bottom? Not one you and I would want to live in for long…if the ten foot ferrets would let us.

There’s a whole sub-genre of horror that explores the delicate balance between man and Nature. Sometimes, Nature strikes back, and maybe in a karmic sense, it’s long overdue.

When I was doing research for last year’s thriller, The Montauk Monster, I spent a lot of time learning about the animal disease testing facility on Plum Island. Out there where no one can see what’s truly going on, scientists studied and preserved a host of the most deadly diseases and viruses you could ever imagine. We’re talking truly terrifying stuff. If some of it got released, it could lead to massive animal die-offs or complete rewiring of their brains.

That really stuck with me, so much so that when I sat down to write my apocalyptic thriller, Tortures of the Damned, I knew I had to add a very pissed of Mother Nature to the mix. With most post-apocalypse stories teeming with zombies, I wanted to add a bit of realism with a dash of the fantastic from the movies I loved, and still adore. I’m pretty sure that if our world is drastically altered to where we’re fighting for survival, the undead won’t be one of our problems. Call me crazy.

But what if chemical weapons managed to turn our beloved pets against us? And what if another chemical weapon laid waste to almost everyone around us, presenting the rabid animals a veritable buffet of flesh? We’re talking the feeding frenzy of all time. And in the midst of that is a family and their neighbors, struggling for answers, clinging to life and running like hell from any living creature.

My apocalypse ain’t easy, and the more you know about the dangers that are already out there, it’s frighteningly plausible. You might not find yourself fleeing ants the size of Shaq, but then again, that might be the lesser of the two evils.  

Hunter Shea is the author of the novels The Montauk Monster, Sinister Entity, Forest of Shadows, Swamp Monster Massacre, and Evil Eternal. His stories have appeared in numerous magazines, including Dark Moon Digest, Morpheus Tales and the Cemetery Dance anthology, 
Shocklines : Fresh Voices in Terror.
His obsession with all things horrific has led him to real life exploration of the paranormal, interviews with exorcists and other things that would keep most people awake with the lights on. He lives in New York with his family and vindictive cat. He waits with Biblical patience for the Mets to win a World Series. You can read about his latest travails and communicate with him at


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