The Wild Dead West by Eric A. Reynolds
The Wild Dead West is a new character-driven, post-apocalyptic supernatural western series by author Eric A. Reynolds.
A catastrophic cosmic event has claimed most of the Earth’s population, and has left the surface of the planet a barren desert wasteland. In the wake of this “Great Reaping,” supernatural forces have begun rising into the world and plaguing the Dead West.
Liberation of the Left-Behind, Pt. I sees a lone, lost stranger stuck between the ruts of a grinding cycle of survival, despair and addiction—locked without hope behind the imposing walls of a seedy labor camp. Commanded by the fanatical Captain Carson, an officer of the remnant Confederate States Army, Fort Liberation becomes the oppressive, and often horrific, backdrop to the stranger’s “rehabilitation”—in which a growing cult of deranged zealots eagerly await the arrival of some all-powerful being.
But with the help of an old wise man, the stranger begins learning how to scale the walls of a different kind of prison, altogether—a prison with walls higher than that of the impenetrable, towering walls of Fort Liberation. For, the prisons we build for ourselves are often trickier to escape than the ones others build for us.
To Carson’s surprise and rolling stomach, deranged laughter slowly emerged from the eerie being in the street, cutting like a pair of rusty scissors through the heavy, miserable void between the creature and himself.
“Lieutenant Harry Dean Hutter, 3rd Louisiana Infantry!” he firmly reiterated, standing strongly atop the stairs of the laundry house.
There was a moment of quiet just before the undead lieutenant’s frame seemed to erect itself upright into crackling awareness. When the being finally spoke, it spoke in slow and raspy whispers. “Now . . . that’s a mighty tough question to answer. Am I me? Am I still the bundle of memories and thoughts that used to make me . . . me? I can’t really say. It’s the strangest sensation . . .”
He tried to ignore the fact that the entire street still reeked of rot, sulfur and purge fluids. He tried to listen, while the unsavory being kept . . . speaking. “I really ain’t sure how the hell to even answer that, quite truthfully. Last thing I remember is being overrun by a swarm of Shells on a supply run. And then . . . then . . . everything went black.” The decomposing entity raised its hand in front of its face, appearing as though it was trying to understand exactly what it was. “Feels like a lifetime ago, yet only just yesterday.” Its head tilted to the side. “Is . . . Is this a dream?”
A dream . . .
Behind the moment, a specific memory of his two daughters, Jenny and Sarah, began passing through his mind, causing his heart to grow heavy. He used to sing that Row, Row, Row Your Boat song to them when they were still very small. When he’d sit with them by the creek near their home “fishing”—but more so trying to keep their distracted little minds focused on what they were supposed to be doing. They used t