Hi everyone! It’s day five of the Apocalypse event and I have another awesome post and giveaway for you. Em Garner is here with a guest post and excerpt from her new book Contaminated.
Make sure to visit Rainy Day Ramblings & The Nocturnal Library for their Apocalypse posts & giveaways too!
Author: Em Garner
Publish Date: July 23, 2013
After the Contamination—an epidemic caused by the super-trendy diet drink SlimPro that turned ordinary citizens into violent, uncontrollable creatures—the government rounded up the “Connies” to protect the remaining population. Now, two years later, the rehabilitated are being allowed home, complete with shock collars that will either control, or kill, them.
Velvet Ellis has struggled to care for her ten-year-old sister since her parents were taken in the round up. When she finds her mother in one of the “Kennels,” Velvet resolves to do whatever it takes to put her family back together. But the danger isn’t over. It’s beginning all over again…
Top Five Ways to Survive the Contamination, According to Velvet Ellis
1. Stay Calm – When your next door neighbor shows up on your deck in nothing but his bathing suit and starts slamming himself into your glass doors to get inside, don’t panic. Think about your escape plan, your exit. If you fall to pieces, you’ll never get away.
2. Be Fast – Connies don’t care about pain and they’re not afraid of anything, so the faster you get away, the better off you are. But they’re also easily distracted, so you only have to run fast enough to get away from their attention.
3. Stock up – you never know what the government’s going to do next, so when you have the chance to stock up on stuff you really need, like toilet paper, do it! They’ll tell you it’s coming in the next shipment, but you can’t trust them! So stock up!
4. Avoid the laundry room – Or any place where Connies might be lingering. That’s just common sense.
5. Finally, don’t drink the water!
Now that I’m going to get my mom, I see them everywhere. Neutralized Connies with their collars. Most of the time you have to look pretty close because their clothes cover them up, but it’s not hard to tell by looking at their blank faces, their slack jaws, their dead eyes, that they’re Contaminated. One in the grocery store, shuffling along behind a grim-faced woman who must be his wife, their cart stacked high with jars of baby food and adult diapers. One at the post office where I go to pick up the assistance check, standing in front of the display of free shipping boxes and waiting patiently while the man she’s with buys stamps. It’s not that suddenly there are so many of them, I just didn’t notice them before.The worst is the little boy I pass on my way to work every day. The first time I see him, I think he’s just hanging out in the back yard, maybe playing with the trucks I see stacked up around him. It’s cold outside, but he’s bundled up pretty warm. Hat, scarf, gloves, boots. It’s more than what I have, anyway. I wave when I pass by the yard, and he looks at me but doesn’t wave back.
The next day, he’s there again. Same place. I’d think he hadn’t moved at all, but that’s just silly, because he had to have gone inside overnight, right? But on the third day, as time is spinning slowly closer to the day when I can pick up my mom and bring her home, I stop and look over the fence at him.
“Hi,” I say.
He’s smaller than Opal. Maybe six, or small for an eight-year-old. His nose and cheeks are red. He’s still staring, but he doesn’t react when I speak.
“Hi, what’s your name?” I don’t know why I’m asking. Why I care. I shouldn’t blame him for not answering, after all, I’m a stranger and any kid these days should know better than to talk to strangers. Even ones like me who are hopefully not so creepy.
He gets up, then. His first step kicks a truck out of the way like he doesn’t even notice. I hear the scrape of chain on concrete. The kid’s moving faster, now, heading for the fence at not quite a run.
He doesn’t make it even halfway before he’s jerked off his feet. Flat onto his back. He sprawls, arms and legs out like he’s trying to make a snow angel, though so far the winter’s been bitterly cold and snowless. The chain is stretched out behind him, attached to a ring set into the concrete.
Horrified, I gasp and cover my mouth with my cold fingers. Before I can say anything the back door opens and a woman comes out with a baby on her hip. She’s barely dressed, wearing only a pair of sagging pajama bottoms and an oversized t-shirt. Slippers. The baby starts to scream and no wonder, brought out into the frigid air wearing only a diaper. I’d scream, too.
“Oh, god, Tyler. Get up. Get up, get up, get up,” she chants, leaning over the boy on the ground. “Please, get up.”
Her head whips around to stare at me. “What are you looking at? What did you do to him? Don’t you know any better?”
“I’m sorry –”
She ignores me. The little boy on the ground, Tyler, sits up slowly. He doesn’t look at his mom. He doesn’t look at me. He crawls on hands and knees back to the pile of frozen sand and his trucks, where he sits and stares at nothing.
His mother has snot running out of her nose, and it looks frozen, too. “It’s the only place he’s quiet! It’s the only place he’ll stay quiet!”
I hold up my hands and back away from the fence. I’m not judging her. She puts her hand over the baby’s face, kissing its head, and watching me warily, ducks back in the house. I can see her through the glass even after she closes the door. She’s watching me, making sure I go away.
So, I do.
That’s … disturbing. Just the way I like it!
Thanks for sharing with us, Em!
Em Garner writes books.
She likes rainbows and unicorns and glitter and zombies, and she hates the feeling of corduroy, the grit of sand in her teeth (who doesn’t?) and the way banana candy tastes.
She lives by the ocean with her family, and she always goes in the water even though she’s afraid of sharks.
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The lovely Em is offering one signed copy of Contaminated!
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