You’re an Author? Get your own damn coffee! #FourthWallFiday & @RobertLSlater
*waving from my quiet corner*
Hey everyone, first off I need to tell everyone thank you for all your support and patience. For those that know what is going on, I am doing better, the restrictions on social media and online time are directly linked with my health situation. It is not dire, but the low stress is a necessity. I am slowly getting back and I will be starting here. Secondly I am SO excited to have Robert L. Slater here today to share a wee bit of a window into his deserted lands. As a Seattilite this really was touching to get, and fun! So.. I am going to shut up and let you find out for yourself. The prequel is up (info below along with the first in the series available now) and available for pre-order! Make sure you leave some comment love and if you share, thank you!
A non-canonical story in the Deserted Lands Universe
Robert L. Slater
As I stood up in the stall, my vision swam. The lights blinked off and on again. I dropped to the seat and lowered my head into my hands. Had I had enough water today? No. Only coffee and too much of it. Had I eaten anything? Did creamer in coffee count? No. I’d been to the doctor for a blood-pressure check-up and the nurse had asked a bunch of stroke related questions. Was there pain anywhere? No.
I stood more slowly this time, pulling up my pants and tucking in my shirt. Removing my hat from the hook, I stepped over to the sink, splashed cold water onto my face and then stuck my head down to drink from the stream trickling from the faucet. The water looked rusty, like it hadn’t run in a long time. Damn, it was cold in here. Didn’t they have a heater? The lights flashed again. Hhhmmm… Another winter storm?
I headed back through the door and out into the coffee shop. I’ll get something with protein. Then I can sit and write. But there was no one in the restaurant. How long had I been in the bathroom? I glanced behind the counter to see if the barista had ducked down to clean or something.
The door jingled and a twenty-something woman with dark hair and no make-up came in, a stack of books under her arm. She glared at me. I glanced over my shoulder, wondering if the barista had returned. No. The glare was aimed at me.
“Hi,” I offered. “Not sure where the barista is.”
She chuckled, harsh with a side shot of bitterness. “Where is anyone?” she motioned to the street.
It was empty. A few random cars were parked along the sidewalk, but nowhere near the number present when I came in. I couldn’t pull my gaze from the window. It was strange seeing so many empty parking spaces in Fairhaven.
I shrugged not knowing how to respond. “Just us, I guess.”
“Yup. We’re all here–” she stared at me like it was a test.
At least I knew the proper response. “Because we’re not all there.”
A hint of a smile played across her face and she put out her hand. “You’re probably immune, right?”
“What?” Immune to what? This girl was freak me out.
How does she know my name?
My mouth must have fallen open. Her grin told me she’d won. “Well, I surprised the surpriser.” I tried to speak, but no words came out. A common author problem, believe it or not.
She couldn’t be. I glanced around. Was this some sort of Candid Camera type trick? “Donald? Are you filming this?” My best friend knew enough people in theatre and film to pull it off.
She shook her head with a pout. “Don’t I look like you thought I would? I’m Lizzie.”
I had decided not to solidify what Lizzie looked like in my mind. Her basic physical description involved her height, fried hair, and boobs. The smirk though, that was about as Lizzie as it could get.
“You want some coffee?” She stepped around me and went behind the counter.
“You got anything stronger?”
She shook her head and disappeared behind the counter. “Aren’t you on the wagon?”
“But you get off when it stops at a bar?”
Her head popped up. “You’re very good at rationalization.”
“What the Hell is that supposed to mean?”
“Hhhmmm, let’s see. Lizzie’s life has always been shite. Wouldn’t want to make it easy on her. She wouldn’t know what to do if it was too easy.” She slammed the can of coffee down on the counter.
“I never said that.”
“No. You didn’t have to. So, let’s see. Kill her mother and brother in one of the worst ways possible, slow and painful. Give her a father who ran out when she was three?” Her hands jerked the seal on the coffee can. A soft pop showed it had been well-sealed.
“I know people who went through most of that.”
“Yeah, but not all at once. Then kill off 99% of everyone else, my friends, my teachers. The stupid old cat lady next door. Let a few people survive the disease, but take away most of their mental faculties.” Her hand scooped out coffee and slammed it against the coffee-maker.
“95%. Maybe 98. Well, fiction has to be about interesting people.” A memory from her first book made me smile.
“Just remembering the first time you made yourself coffee.” She smiled at me and I saw that she was beginning to get laugh lines, but then her face compressed and the lines on her brow stood out even stronger. Had I made her life too hard?
“Coffee became a necessity. Keeping up with little ones sort of makes it necessary. And all the Mountain Dew is flat now. Coffee is worth its weight in gold. More, actually.” She came out from behind the counter.
I chuckled. “How’s everything else?”
Her smile had hardened. “Do you care?” Behind her, the coffee began to burble in the machine.
“Of course I do, Lizzie.” I reached out to her, but she flinched away. “Why do you think I wrote the books?”
Her jaw tightened. “Probably to stroke your ego. And have a sense of control over the universe.” Lizzie turned away to leave. “I didn’t ask to be in your damn book. Get your own coffee.” Then she spun back, her eyes fixed on mine. And punched me. Right in the stomach.
I doubled over. “Why?” I wheezed.
“Oh, come on. You can handle more than that.” She grabbed my coat and pulled me vertical.
“Please. You’re not real.” I tried to grasp both her hands as she let go of my jacket.
“Says who?” Her eyes drilled through me like a needle pinning a butterfly down.
She took another punch at my stomach, but I managed to deflect it with my arm. I’d have a bruise on my forearm.
“Tell me you don’t deserve this.”
We circled each other, my hands ready to deflect hers from my body. “I’m sorry. What do you want?”
“I want my family back, you son of a bitch.”
Her hand flew high and hit me in the face. I saw it coming, but was too dumbfounded to react. Her fist slammed into my nose. Everything went bright and sparkly and then black.
When I woke up, someone held a cold cloth to my nose. One of the wait staff held up her hand and asked me how many I fingers saw. I reached into my pocket for my glasses. As I slid them on, a pain like daggers shot up into my eyes on the inside of my face.
“Two fingers,” I said. “Peace.” A mass of people clustered around me. People were walking by outside the glass door now, too. “Where is she?”
“Who is she?” asked finger-girl.
She exchanged a glance with the older woman I assumed was the manager. “You were alone. Talking to yourself. Your hand reached for the bar to push open the door, but you missed. You walked right into it.”
I shook my head. Big mistake. I felt movement in my nose and everything hurt. I closed my eyes and held the cold cloth myself.
Well, I probably had that coming. Didn’t mean to torture my characters so much. Lizzie knew exactly how much pain she wanted to exact from me.
At least the next story I write will be a bit mellower for her. Of course, she’ll be about 15 years older. That ought to do it. But her question still echoed in my aching head, “Do you care?”
Yes, Lizzie, so bad it hurts.
ALL IS SILENCE
Series: Deserted Lands Book 1
by Robert L. Slater
Published by Rocket Tears Press
Genres: Apocalyptic & Post-Apocalyptic, Dystopian, Fiction, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Amazon • Barnes & Noble • Book Depository • Kobo • • • Goodreads •
What if death forgot you?
In a future that could be ours, Lizzie, an angry teenager, barely navigates her own life. Then everything falls apart. A pandemic hits, killing 98% of the world’s population. Lizzie is left alive.
“Crazy” Lizzie once told her family, “I hope you all die!” Now, her alcoholic mother and her brother are dying in the hospital; her mom’s abusive boyfriend is dead. Despite her words, being alone isn’t a good thing for a suicidal cutter. Fear of the disease and a promise to her mother keeps her inside. The daily sirens and the warnings to stay inside have faded to silence and her only outside link is her former best friend halfway across the country.
Desperate and lonely, she ventures out and finds survivors: people altered by the disease, left less than human, and people less scarred, some from her past. A horrifying encounter leaves her with blood on her hands and reveals a link to the father she thought was dead. As her hometown turns dangerous, she flees south, through Seattle and across deserted lands seeking her father, safety, and a chance at a new family. Along the way, she finds friends, fledgling governments, religious fanatics, and marauding renegades.
This new world has plenty of food, gas, and space… but fear, anger and lust for power still compete for control of Lizzie’s life.
Also, if you are interested in a bit of the world in a smaller cup size, pre-order it today on Amazon!
Untouched by a global pandemic killing over 95% of the population, Sam’s family fears a mutated virus and the people who are left. Is it an act of God? They must escape into the wilderness and find a place of safety as civilization dies around them.