Jaimie N. Schock has a new queer sci-fi book (MM romance subplots) book out: The Wasteland Kings. And there’s a giveaway.
Hacker Bast has it all: a cushy condo, a sexy boyfriend, and a place among the wealthy elite. When his past catches up with him, he flees into the dreary and dangerous wastelands between domed cities. There, he meets Delphi, who saves him, and Galeron, who runs a small town. He is anything but safe, however, as robotic “dogs” roam the countryside, looking for people to kill, and humans can be just as deadly.
As Bast settles in to life in the town, he develops a controversial relationship with Galeron. They fall in love, but all is not well in their world. Can the two of them survive and reach the happy ending they long for, or will the wastelands take everything they hold dear?
Warnings: Guns, death, child death, violence, animal death, suicide, drug use, nazis.
Jaimie is giving away a $20 Amazon gift card with this tour:a Rafflecopter giveaway
Breakfast was water. Lunch was water. Dinner was water. By the end of the next day, he had very little left.
He looked for anything that might help him survive. He found paper to start a fire; large decorative stones that he could throw at an animal; an ancient first aid kit featuring gauze, medical glue, tape, and rubbing alcohol; and a shaker filled with salt.
Bast couldn’t believe he’d found so much. He still needed food, however, and his hunger pangs were getting more severe as time went on.
He took an unopened bag of potato chips—not to eat, but to hopefully bring out animals that might be interested in consuming its contents. That night, he dumped the degraded snack into three piles and waited with a rock in hand.
The only thing that showed any interest was a large rat. It looked less than appetizing.
Bast didn’t hesitate. He threw a stone and then jumped on the dazed animal. He smashed its head with a larger rock. Breathing quickly, he sat back and stared at the dead creature.
He wondered if it was safe to eat, even cooked. After all, this animal lived in a polluted world.
First things first, he had to gut it. He’d seen people do it in old survival videos. Taking his small knife, he made an incision along the abdomen and began carefully digging out the digestive system, so as not to break it open. He imagined the bacteria in the stomach and intestines would ruin the meat if it got out. He gagged more than once and tasted bile.
Bast cut off the crushed head and placed the animal in a cigar box. It would last a day or so, he thought. The air was cold, to the point of making him shiver, so it should help preserve the rat.
Now, he really needed to find a way to make fire.
After sleeping for a few hours, he started out as soon as the sun poked through the trees. He wasn’t an expert on survival—not even close. But he knew from movies that there were ways to produce a spark without the use of a lighter or matches.
Near mid-day, he found what he needed:
An old pair of glasses, tucked into the pocket of a person’s naturally mummified corpse.
It was one of several bodies he encountered so far. Bast didn’t want to touch it. The thought of being around a long-dead body made him queasy. The only other times he’d seen a dead body were at funerals and when he killed that police officer. This was different. The body thankfully didn’t smell anymore, but it looked horrific. Drawn lips over skeletal teeth. Missing eyes. Gnarled hands clutching at nothing. If he didn’t need the glasses to survive, he would have stayed far away from the corpse.
He planned to utilize the sun by focusing light onto the paper and hopefully burning it. Bast took the glasses and the rat and found a clearing. He placed the paper and some small sticks on a pile and tried to aim sunlight at it.
At first, it didn’t work. Then, the paper began to smolder. Small amounts of smoke rose up, and he could smell ashes. Bast joyfully added bigger sticks and blew on the fire to encourage it. When the fire grew, he stuck his dead rat on a metal rod and held it over the flames. He couldn’t be happier to eat a day-old polluted rat.
He cooked the animal until it was nearly too tough to eat. Bast pulled off the greasy meat with his fingers and ate it all in little more than a minute. He was still very hungry when he discarded the bones and fur.
Regardless, he felt energized by the small amount of food. And now he knew he could cook something if and when he caught another critter. For the first time, he felt hopeful—and then he ran out of water.
For the next twenty-four hours or so, Bast spent nearly every waking moment looking for more liquids. He would have tried old beverages of almost any kind if it meant he could have his thirst satisfied.
He found nothing. With the empty water jug in hand, he stooped over a stream, wondering if it was worth tempting fate. He could certainly find a pot and boil the water, which would take care of germs, but if it was filled with chemicals, plastics, and man-made contaminants, no amount of boiling would fix that. He knew he was still pretty close to the cities. He knew it could kill him. Sighing, he filled the jug and put it in his bag.
Bast went another full day without drinking anything. It was agony. He found an empty metal bottle and put that in a fire with some of the creek water. By the time it cooled enough to drink, a black slime covered the top of the liquid. He threw it out, preferring to die over drinking something that disgusting.
His limbs stopped working properly. He tripped while walking along uneven asphalt. When he looked down at his bleeding knee, his vision tunneled, and he passed out.
Jaimie N. Schock is an author, editor, and journalist with nearly two decades of professional experience. She has been published in newspapers and magazines and has released nine fiction novels.
She is married and living in Northern Virginia. Though she have an extensive career, she is disabled with PTSD and chronic illness. Schock tries to incorporate her life experiences into the fictional pieces she writes while delivering complex and diverse characters. Her pronouns are she/her, and she is proudly a member of the LGBTQIA+ community.
Author Website: https://www.jaimieschock.com/
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