December 11, 2015

What Are the Dreadlands?: a guest post by Richard Schiver, author of "All Roads Lead to Terror"

What are the Dreadlands?
by Richard Schiver


I see you sitting there all cozy and warm, maybe sipping a hot cup of tea, snug in your robe or pajama. Or maybe you’re at work, taking a few moments to pop online to see what’s going on in the world beyond the walls of your office. Wherever you are maybe it’s day, or it could be night, but there is light to see by. Light produces shadows that gather at the corners of our well lit world. Holding close their secrets of a time and place where dreams can become reality and nightmare creatures slither at will through the ebony night.

Did you hear that?

Don’t worry, it’s probably just the wind.

Did you know they hide in the shadows?

You know, the creatures of the night. Don’t worry though, they’re probably not interested in you. They go for less fortunate fare, it’s been said misfortune builds character, it also makes the meat tasty. As if a daily dose of misery adds the same flavoring as putting A-1 sauce on your steak.

Of course in the shadows the creatures of the night can operate a little more freely. Haven’t you ever wondered why most horror stories take place in abandoned or run down locations? They need the shadows to feed and those who inhabit the shadows, the less fortunate souls who live far from the public’s eye, are their prime rib. If a child goes missing in the tenements, or even an entire family, who’s gonna miss them?

No one really.

Where do we find these places? To the East where man has lived the longest. Where legends and old wives tales have taken on the flesh of reality, fed by the beliefs of those who have lived in these settled areas the longest. We leave our imprint upon everything we touch. All of our beliefs, our fears, our dreams of what could be. Our nightmares, especially our nightmares, as they contain the most power.

When the settlers first arrived on these shores they were greeted by tribes of primitives who in most cases extended a welcoming hand. They guided these new settlers, showing them the best places to hunt, pointing out what plants could be eaten and what should be avoided. They also warned them away from those shadowy places where the spirits of the dead gathered.

But would they listen? Of course not.

Secure in their superiority over these primitive people they built where they were warned not to, and reaped the rewards of doing so. Awakening those creatures of the night that fed upon the bounty provided. Remember the lost colony of Roanoke? I wonder if maybe one of those backward primitives didn’t warn the builders about putting a settlement there.

So what would happen if society suddenly crumbled and the world became an even more dangerous place. A world where it was every man for himself and few, if any at all, were looking out for the less fortunate members of our society. Unrestrained these creatures would emerge to feed at will. No longer restricted to the shadowy basements of crumbling tenement buildings.

And for some survivors these creatures would become gods.



Richard Schiver was born in Frostburg, Maryland, in the winter of '58' and currently lives eight miles away. A five-year stint with the military allowed him to see what he wanted of the world. Married with four grown children and eight grandchildren, he and his wife provide a home to four pets that are spoiled beyond rotten.

In addition to writing daily he works a full time job in retail, and piddles around in his wood-shop making one mess after another when time permits.

Richard can be found online at:

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Written in Blood is Richard's personal blog where he shares his thoughts on writing, and whatever else might strike his fancy. http://www.richardschiver.com

He can be contacted directly at rschiver@gmail.com and would be delighted to hear from you.

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All Roads Lead to Terror by Richard Schiver
(synopsis)


The horrors of the past meet the brutality of the present.

Four boys strengthen the bonds of their friendship, while taking their first hesitant steps into adulthood, as they face the brutality of an old, new world. They will be tested at every step in their journey, as they travel through a blasted land where the only hope is for a swift death followed by an endless sleep. Survival lay in the firepower they carried, coupled with their willingness to use it, and their ability to trust each other with their own lives.

The world has become a wild place filled with wild things, and into this new reality each of them had been born. Coming of age at the end of days, where savagery was the norm, and man's inhumanity to man was on daily display. Where the only law was the firepower one carried and the only hope was for a swift death followed by an endless sleep.

Meat was born at the height of the Zombie apocalypse, upon his birth his mother took one look at him and pronounced him meat. He grew up in a reality where they were all nothing more than walking bags of meat, so in his mind the name fit perfectly.

Window, his best friend, is very quiet, and ever watchful with a quick hand. To him friendship was the most important thing in the world. His family had perished in the ruthless times after the awakening and his temperament had been forged in the fire that took them from him. His friends were all he had left so he watched over them with a jealously protective nature strengthened by that sense of invulnerability all boys his age embraced. Further backed up by a quick hand with the .44 he'd used to kill the men who had raped his mother.

The remaining members of this quartet are Einstein who had been born within the compound at Bremo Bluff after the apocalypse. Having spent his life behind the fence he had no first hand knowledge of how brutal the world has become. As his name implies he's the smartest in the group, as well the most innocent. While that innocence helps to soften the ruthlessness of the other three, it will serve to drive a wedge into their friendship. On this trip he will discover just how terrifying the world beyond the fence has become.

The final member is Billie-Bob, one half of a set of twins who appeared outside the fence several years earlier. Your typical class clown whose mouth runs a mile a minute, if he isn't sharing overused jokes about Zombies, he's whispering the passages from a book his mother used to read to him when he was younger, a chant that provides him with a degree of comfort. Billie-Bob is unique in that at the tender age of eleven he has proven himself to be a natural born sniper with a willingness to use his special talent to protect his friends.

The trail they follow leads them East, into the Dreadlands, from which those who had dared venture in the past never returned. There are places where the fabric of reality is at its thinnest. Where nightmare creatures roam the shadowy corners of a well lit world. Existing at the edge of man consciousness, an indistinct blur briefly glimpsed in our peripheral vision. Their presence felt on a primitive level that reached our consciousness as a faint whisper in the night. Their touch the soft caress of chilled fingers dancing along the spine like the half remembered terrors lurking within the childhood memories of every person who had ever feared the night.

In Richmond they will be confronted by a savage cult of children who worship a creature of the night. A nightmare being that feasted upon the fear of its victims, delving into their innermost secrets, revealing half forgotten terrors that lay like a rotting carcass at the heart of their souls. For these creatures, that were once considered nightmare imaginings, are now awake in a world where the population that once served as their food source has been reduced.

Awake and very, very, hungry.


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