Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Children of the Grave by Joe McKinney, Armand Rosamilia, Tonia Brown, Joe Mynhardt, Aurelio Lopez III, and Alex Laybourne

Release date: September 7, 2015
Subgenre: Horror, Zombies, interactive fiction

About Children of the Grave

Six talented zombie authors take on the Afterlife in an interactive shared-world zombie anthology.

Welcome to Purgatory, an arid plain of existence where zombies are the least of your problems. It’s a post-mortem Hunger Games, and Blaze, a newcomer to Purgatory, needs your help to learn the rules of this world and choose the best course of action.

Purgatory is escapable, so aid Blaze to win the favor of the ruling Gatherers by earning this right. But what’s waiting outside Purgatory, is beyond what the human mind can fathom.

His fate. Your choices.

Your six different choices are penned by Joe McKinney, Armand Rosamilia, Tonia Brown, Joe Mynhardt, Aurelio Lopez III, and Alex Laybourne.


Blaze hesitated for a few more seconds before trailing them at a safe distance. They crossed over parched earth and rocks, around barren trees pointing toward the ominous sky like skeletal fingers, further and further away from the caves. They walked hunched most of the way, trying to stay low and out of sight, whispering whenever they needed to talk.
Every now and then they’d hear a distant cry for help, or the deafening scream of the dying. 
Bones turned sideways, trying his best to maintain eye contact with Blaze. “Bet you’d like to know what the hell’s going on, right?” 
Scrubs shook his head. “Why else would he be following us, you dimwit.”
Bones pulled a comical face behind Scrubs. “Well, we don’t know everything, but what we do know is that we’re all dead.”
“What?” Blaze said.
“Yip,” Scrubs added. “Sorry, my friend, but you managed to get yourself killed in the real world. Now you’re stuck here with us.”
“How do you know for sure?”
Scrubs stopped, his cheeks scrunching into an expression of uncertainty. “‘Cause in a few days you’ll start remembering how it happened.”
“If you live that long,” Bones said again, continuing to walk ahead. 
Scrubs scooped up a small rock and hurled it at Bones. “Fuck, dude. Sorry about that,” he said as he turned to Blaze, “this guy’s a fucking idiot.”
“Birds of a feather, nutsack,” Bones retaliated.
“So this is –”
All three men simultaneously heard voices off to the side and ducked down, scrambling for cover behind whatever availed itself to them. Blaze’s heart thumped against his chest, louder and louder the closer the voices came. 
It was two women, audibly arguing. The argument quickly turned heated and one of the women screamed in pain. Blaze impulsively made to go and help, but Scrubs reached out to push him back. “Don’t get involved,” Scrubs whispered. “It might even be a trap.” They waited a few more minutes after the voices ended and moved away in the opposite direction. Scrubs turned to Blaze. “Sorry about that, but you’ll have to make some hard decisions if you want to survive.”
“So this is like some kind of Purgatory?” Blaze continued.
Scrubs snapped his fingers. “There it is. I can never remember that damn word. Purgatory, although it feels more like hell sometimes.”
As they continued on, Blaze stared toward the distant mountains encircling them, wondering what lay beyond – how he got to this barren wasteland. “So why are we here?”
“As far as we can tell,” Scrubs answered, “everyone used to be some sort of criminal, but instead of going straight to hell, we came here. Some sick version of a second chance.”
“For what?”
“Life. You kill enough people, or zombies, and you get to leave. Whether you go to Heaven or you’re reincarnated back on earth, no one knows for sure.”
“Did you say zombies?”

About Joe McKinney:

Joe McKinney has been a patrol officer for the San Antonio Police Department, a homicide detective, a disaster mitigation specialist, a patrol commander, and a successful novelist. His books include the four part Dead World series, Quarantined and Dodging Bullets. His short fiction has been collected in The Red Empire and Other Stories and Dating in Dead World and Other Stories. For more information go to

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