Excerpt from “Meridian Pass”
Available later this year
The sun was setting behind the horizon and the sky burned with the colors of dusk. The looming presence of the train stood dark against the backdrop. We all stood there in silence, trepidation causing a mass wave of fear. Six months. To us, having lived in isolation for that long, it was a lifetime. Steel against steel, the train let out a final hiss followed by a high-pitched squeal signaling that it had come to rest on the tracks. A collective gasp washed over the growing crowd who watched with curiosity.
The Judges had arrived.
Curling his fingers through the chain link fence, Leo nodded softly and swept his gaze toward the section of women where Julia was already watching him. Since the Plague had eradicated most of the world and left the remaining survivors to fend for themselves. In this small, simple village Leo and Julia had formed a bond. Between them they cared for the sick, the orphaned, and the despondent. By default, the others looked to them for everything whether it was guidance, food, or day to day tasks.
As if on cue, the large door of the first car opened and seven men could be seen exiting. Each one was dressed in the ankle-length, black cloaks merging both priest and judiciary into one. When they reached the fence, the train let a blow of its horn fill the silence. When it stopped, there was an absence of noise accompanied by trepidation.
The door of the rear car opened and the Guardian emerged dressed in white. A stark contrast to the Judges who were in formation on the ground. The mysterious woman wore a mask made from iron and adorned with etched filigree designs to make her look more feminine. It was both beautiful and frightening to behold. Her white robes were billowing in the wind where she was standing, gazing around at the desolate village before her.
The Guardian made a motion with her hand and the Judges closed in around her, the more senior offering her a hand as she walked down to the last stair. He released her hand and she took her first step toward Leo crossing the dry, dusty path between them.
She made no rush of her pace, reveling in the anxiety she induced upon the common man. When she finally reached Leo, she removed the mask revealing a cold smile that chilling him to the bone. His uneasiness seemed to please her more.
“Let’s skip the formalities, Leo. Bring me the infant.”
Behind her, the sea of black robes all lifted their heads in unison. Beneath their cowls were black masks, concealing the faces of the Judges. But their eyes . . .
Their eyes glowed with a red light that seemed to burn from Hell itself.
July 12th – One year after the world died.
Julia woke with a start, sitting up in her bed with a half-choked scream. Her hand was clutching her stomach when she looked over at Leo. Lying beside her in the bed, she could see from the grey light filtering through the window that he was asleep. His chest was rising and falling in a steady rhythm and the silhouette of his lean muscles gave her comfort.
It was just a dream, she thought. Pulling herself together, she brushed her free hand through her damp hair. Sweat had soaked her hairline and a few strands were still clinging to her face. Trying not to wake Leo, she scooted to the side of the bed and slid her feet to the ground. It was hot, bringing back memories of when the world was still alive and she’d visit the beach during the summer. Her favorite thing to do was dig her toes into the warm sand.
Now, every day was summer and everything was baked to a withered crisp.
By design, Lisa Vasquez creates horror with vivid, dark, and twisted words and images that not only drags the reader in between the pages, but onto the covers that house them, as well. When she releases her grasp, readers are left alone to sort through the aftermath those images leave behind; each one becoming a seed that roots itself within the soft confines of their psyche. She takes this passion for writing horror and uses it to mentor other authors and she also volunteers as the Publisher’s Liaison for the Horror Writers Association. In January 2016, Lisa took her commitment to the next level by opening an independent publishing house, Stitched Smile Publications.
Her work can be found in several anthologies, and has a new novel called, “The Unfleshed: Tale of the Autopsic Bride” available now. Her debut novel, “The Unsaintly” is being re-edited and will be published late in 2017.
For more information and updates on Lisa’s work, you can find her at: www.unsaintly.com or on Facebook, Twitter (@unsaintly), Instagram (unsaintly), or her Official Facebook Fan Page.