HOT OFF THE PRESS: Equinox of The Dead

7 Sep

Congratulations to P. J. Caiden on his brand new release from GSP, Equinox of The Dead.



Equinox of The Dead features two classic tales of the zombie apocalypse. There are no supermen or clever survivalists within these pages; only average human beings who must fight for their lives as hordes of the living dead begin to converge upon the earth. Stories include; WATCHING THE WORLD END, which takes us into the home of Ben Matthews, a paraplegic, as he witnesses the beginning of a ghastly Armageddon through televised news casts. As the reports grow more and more horrific, panic begins to set in; but with phone lines down and no way to call for help, Ben’s only hope is to pray that the undead terror will bypass his area . . . But then the horror begins to unfold, right outside of his own front door. UNDER A BERRY BLUE SKY shows that love can drive us to do strange things, even during a zombie apocalypse.


 Watching the World End

Ben Matthews lay in bed staring up at the ceiling. Another morning of the same old routine, a routine that he would give anything to forgo. He remembered how he dreaded the alarm clock going off at 4:00, no man should leave the comfort of his bed at that hour. Being a truck driver for a local beer distributer had its perks, but the hours were brutal. He was always on the road and never had enough sleep. With only one day off a week, life seemed to be one long stream of endless driving and deliveries. Looking back now, those endless hours seemed like the best of times—now that Ben had lost the use of his legs.

The accident had happened two years ago. One night when he was driving home from work, a drunk driver swerved onto Ben’s side of the road. It was a miracle no one was killed; after the impact, the cars were entwined with one another like a wicker basket. The drunk driver walked away with a few cuts and bruises; Ben never walked again. Paralyzed from the waist down; at forty years of age, his life was over—he was totally disabled and sitting around the house all day staring at the television and the walls. It was no way to live, and he sometimes wished that he had not survived the car crash. As the months dragged on, he fell into a deep depression that even the strongest medications barely buffered. He felt entirely useless, like the burden of the world was on his wife, Penny. Penny was an earth angel; she never grew weary of caring for him. She told him he was worth everything, when he felt worthless. She disregarded his notions of placing himself in a care facility so that she could get on with her life. At those moments, she would reassure him that he was her life.

It was 7:00, and right on time, Penny bounded into the bedroom dressed in her scrubs. Her long brownish-red hair was pulled back into a Ponytail. A registered nurse, she worked 8 to 5 at the local hospital; she was very pretty, and Ben always used to joke that she was the kind of nurse that he would like to give him an enema. Now such thoughts were of no consequence to him, he was dead from the waist down.

“Good morning, sleepy head,” she said in a perky tone.

“It would be good, if I could get out of this damned bed by myself,” Ben grumbled.

“It’s good because you’re alive and can get out of bed at all.” Penny smiled as she opened the window shade.

It was the morning routine; Penny opened the shade, finagled him out of bed and into his wheelchair. Penny was no stranger to moving people who had limited mobility, and she was damn good at it. With Ben being a mere one hundred and forty-five pounds now, she could have him sitting in his chair in almost no time at all. They had a bed lift to help assist with such tasks, but Penny didn’t use it often. Next, she would wheel him into the living room and help him hoist himself into his easy chair. Ben always protested and told her not to wear herself out dragging him around all morning, but Penny insisted that he sit in his favorite chair and resume some semblance of his normal life. Before leaving for work each morning, she would prop him up with several pillows, give him a bowl of cereal, a cup of coffee and the television remote. And there he would stay, flipping through channels until the home care nurse arrived at 8:00.

“I have to go in a little early today,” Penny said as she bent down to kiss Ben. “The hospital called a little while ago and said they’re being swamped at the ER. I guess flu season is coming in with a bang this year.”

“No one gets their shot anymore?” Ben asked.

“Who knows?” Penny shrugged. “Every year at this time the internet is filled with conspiracy theorists telling everyone that the flu shot is going to kill them. And at least some of the people in the country will believe the hype.”

“Just be careful around all those sick people today,” Ben said. “Don’t catch what they’re carrying.”

“I won’t,” Penny smiled. “I don’t believe in the conspiracy theories.”
Penny kissed her husband again, and then turned to snatch her purse from the coffee table behind her.

“I love you,” she said as she walked toward the door. “I’ll see you tonight.”

Stepping outside, Penny paused and stuck her head back through the door.

“It’s a really beautiful morning,” she said. “Do you want me to leave the door open so you can see the changing leaves through the storm door window? I know how you love this time of year.”

“Yeah . . . sure. That would be good.” Ben said with a forced smile.

Penny pushed the front door wide open, exposing a breathtaking view of nature’s beauty; it was late September, the day of the autumnal equinox. Streams of golden sunlight kissed the landscape as it peered from behind passing clouds. A gentle breeze was blowing and Ben could hear the rustling of the autumn leaves as they clung to their branches with a desperate hold. He used to love this kind of weather, and he would hike on one of the nearby trails as often as he could—back in the day. Now all he could do was sit and look at it from a window. Certainly he could wheel himself outside in his chair and take in the view, but it just wasn’t the same. He yearned to be able to stand, to walk, to go to those little places in nature where he would steal a minute here and there, just to be alone with his thoughts. He had been robbed of life’s simplest little pleasures; that was something he would never forget.

Ben turned his face from the window as if he were turning away from a lover who was taunting him. He surveyed the room with its tan walls, brown carpet and dark brown furniture. He shook his head at the little Halloween decorations Penny had placed here and there in the room. The large thirty-two inch screen television sat against the wall, with his chair folded and parked next to it. He could see the outline of his form in the dark screen of the television. His dark hair sticking up, his once strong body now thin and sickly-looking. He was a shadow of the man he used to be. . . .

Picking up the remote on the small table next to him, Ben flicked on the TV. The usual faces of news anchor people, morning talk shows and loud commercials assaulted his senses. He flipped through the stations and paused briefly on the religious channel. A man in an expensive suit invited his viewers to stretch out their hands toward their television sets. He assured them that the anointing power of God was about to flow from their TVs and heal them of whatever affliction was ailing them.

About the author:

 P.J. Caiden is a certified hypnotherapist, metaphysical healer, author and poet. Early in life he became fascinated with the power of the mind and studied various meditation techniques and psychic phenomenon.
     Mr. Caiden became interested in writing poetry in the early 1990’s and has been published in many magazines and several anthologies. He is the author of several eBooks on where his book, Nightfall Haikus For The Evening Shade, has been a best seller for over a year.
     P.J. Caiden’s latest book, The Metaphysical Power of the Runes, was published by Conscious Kernels Inc. in 2010.
     He lives with his family in upstate New York.



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