Saturday, November 9, 2013

Best Tales of the Apocalypse, Available Now From Permuted Press

Some say the end is near. Some have been saying it for thousands of years. John of Patmos wrote about it in the Book of Revelation. Baptist preacher William Miller actually set a date for it. 1844. He was wrong. So were all those who constructed and stocked bomb shelters in preparation for Y2K. So was Marshall Applewhite. And in 2012, the human race, along with John Cusack, dreaded the end of the Mayan Long Count calendar. Nothing happened. Except we bought new calendars. And yet, with wars waging in the Middle East and economies melting down and North Korean and Iranian dictators making all sorts of threats, some are still worrying about the end of the world. And I say, “Good.”

Anyone who has ever seen The Secret should understand the concept of how negative thoughts manifest negative actions and outcomes. And almost everyone grasps the idea of mind over matter. Even if you don’t believe in all that New Age shit, simply lift your arm. Simply punch something. Your will over matter be done. In other words, if we think it, if we believe it, we can make it happen—simply with the hands we’re given. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Sure, we might not be able to control certain things. The earth will quake, rivers will flood. Supervolcanoes may darken the sky. Now, mind over matter does suggest we have some
control over these things, collectively, and I could blather on and on about interlinked electromagnetic fields, the holographic universe, and the interconnectedness of it all—but you don’t believe in that shit. So we’ll focus on the obvious thing we can control: ourselves.

Just as negative thoughts can manifest negative outcomes, positive thoughts can manifest positive actions and results. If unconditional love were everyone’s guiding value, the world could be a much brighter place (natural disasters, animal attacks, and accidents aside); our precious bodily and planetary fluids would be less spastic and more sacredly cymatic in design. If our societies, governments, and economies fostered unity instead of hierarchal competition and greed, our focus might shift toward feeding each other instead of ourselves. We might actually live up to our dogmas, to robes from filthy rags. But alas, you don’t buy into any of that pinko commie bullshit. Good for you! Even better for me.

Because the second we stop cogitating on and worrying about (and setting dates for) the apocalypse, the second the apocalyptic genre goes tits up. As an editor and creator and capitalist in that literary category, I cry out against the New-Age hippy mindset to preserve paper, human spirit, and love. I guzzle from the glass that’s half full. I empty it. And I let future generations suffer the desert left behind. 

So, please, let us crack open yet another tome of the apocalypse. Let us savor the blood. Let it rain. Because the more we think about it, the more we read about it, and the more it manifests. In my bank account. In fact, as I write this, I feel the power behind it grow. I feel a movement afoot. And I feel well supped on its spoils.

D.L. Snell - Editor 

Best Tales of the Apocalypse is now available

Saturday, November 2, 2013

New Acquisitions for the Month of October at Permuted Press

Permuted Press continues its tradition of partnering with talented authors to release great, unique horror titles. October, 2013 brought a flurry of activity with the following acquisitions.

SP Durnin, Keep Your Crowbar Handy Series: 
Formulated in classic zombie horror style, Keep Your Crowbar Handy is a 6 book series to be published by Permuted Press. Architect of the KyCH world, SP Durnin, has done extensive rewrites and edits from the original 170,000 word epic first edition and is birthing new life into this series.

RJ Sevin, Buster Voodoo:
A washed-up janitor from Six Flags New Orleans investigates the disappearance of children in Marie Laveau’s zombie nightmare.

Vanessa A. Ryan, Horror at the Lake: A Vampire Tale:
Susan Runcan wants to clear the name of her famous archeologist grandfather Lindon Runcan, who died fifteen years earlier. Although Lindon claimed thieves stole the ancient artifacts from his last expedition in Egypt depriving the Egyptian government and his backers of the spoils, Lindon stole them himself. Susan inherits the artifacts from her uncle, including a mysterious gold medallion, as well as her grandfather's stately home in the town of Lake Masley. She comes hoping to the lake to learn the reason her grandfather risked his career for these artifacts. But instead, she finds a town gripped with fear ruled by rumors of murders.

Rhiannon Frater, Pretty When She Dies, Pretty When She Kills, and Pretty When She Destroys:
An ordinary woman is murdered by an ancient vampire and reborn as a powerful vampire necromancer. Now it is up to her to save the world.

Rhiannon Frater and Kody Boye, Midnight Spell:
Two lifelong best friends ostracized in their small town – he is gay, she is a witch –  cast a midnight love spell. They and their new love interests will have to battle a force of darkness which has killed in their town before and will kill again.

Rhiannon Frater, The Mesmerized:
A woman in Las Vegas witnesses a horrific, supernatural mass event and must team up with the few people left unaffected to save their loved ones from the new terror controlling the world.

Mason James Cole, Pray to Stay Dead:
Set in the 1970's, five friends try to survive the zombie apocalypse. Bram Stoker award winning author Jonathan Maberry calls PTSD, "a brutally entertaining collision of zombie thriller and grindhouse action."

Tony Monchinski, I Kill Monsters series:
Nine books are pending release in the I Kill Monsters series. The series begins in August, 1998. Boone is a hard-drinking, cocaine-snorting, steroid-injecting kid with a hot temper. He's a racist, and he just so happens to be a terrible shot. Boone runs with a crew that makes their living the old fashioned way. They steal for it. Robbing vampire clans of their blood and flipping it to rival blood suckers has been quite lucrative... until they rob the wrong vampire. Now the hunt is on.

Tony Monchinski, Dervish:
A group of disgraced military types are used as test subjects in a new weapons system combining alternate universes, inter-dimensionality, and time travel. Using their special forces experience, they have to survive fighting armies of the past, present and future.

Tony Monchinski, Gassers
Tony Monchinski, author of the best selling Eden series will be delivering a new action/horror work in 2014 for future release.

Brendan Deneen, The Ninth Circle:
This dark, surreal novel inspired by Dante's Inferno introduces us to teenager who runs away with a traveling circus in hopes of finding a better life after becoming enraptured by the bewitching blue eyes of Hairy Carrie, the bearded lady. Soon, he discovers that nothing is ever quite what it seems.

Craig DiLouie, The End of the Road:
As five college friends cross America in a minivan to find themselves, they chance upon a road that isn’t on any map that they can't resist exploring. When they finally find themselves, they won’t like what they find. This short story is now available at major online retailers in eBook format.

Jessica Meigs, The Becoming Series 4, 5 and 6, Under Siege, Descent and Redemption:
Jessica Meigs continues her best selling series, The Becoming, with three new works with Permuted Press. Look for these releases throughout 2014 and 2015.

Stephen A. North, Beneath the Mask:
Rumors claim the whole earth is under siege. Is it an alien invasion or terrorist attack? Tampa, Florida is quarantined and Military Police are called up for the crisis. Sergeant Alexander Cray is on a patrol that begins with a deadly encounter at an interstate truck stop and continues through a trek across a panic-stricken, lawless metropolis.

Stephen A. North, Drifter
In the year 2099, facing joblessness, a spiralling crime rate, and an unquenchable demand for offworld human labor and soldiers, Earth's rulers begin using forced transportation to other planets. Do your time and maybe you will get a second chance at life on Earth as it should be. When condemned killer Mace Christopher is sentenced to Test Group Six on the hell planet known as Bacchus III, he knows his chance of survival and his second chance at the good life just got even slimmer.

R. Thomas Riley and Roy C. Booth, Mortuary of Madness
Young William Ackerman, the last family member in a long line of controversial morticians, had to get out of the small, stagnating town he grew up in before it smothered him to death. Saddled with the recent death of his father and plagued by ugly family rumors of experimentation with reanimation, William had reached his breaking point. All William ever wanted was health, happiness, and a family in his life, but all of those dreams suddenly change when his childhood sweetheart is wrenched away by her money-hungry parents. This eerie, macabre tale of revenge follows one man's tortured descent into madness, explores the hazards and trappings associated with greed, and shows the evil that men are capable of when pushed to the limit. This novel is based off of an original screenplay by Actor Jim O'Rear.

Look for these and many others from Permuted Press at retailers throughout 2014 and beyond.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Permuted Press Acquires New Story Set in J.L. Bourne's Day By Day Armageddon Series

A new short story from JL Bourne, Grey Fox, set in the universe of his successful Day by Day Armageddon series, has been acquired for independent publisher Permuted Press by Michael L. Wilson from Marc Gerald at The Agency Group for North American English publication. Bourne says his readers will have "stumbled upon a ticket with service through the apocalyptic wastes, but this time the train is a little bit older, a little more beat up, and maybe a little wiser." Grey Fox will be available in eBook format at major online retailers on Tuesday, October 15th. For additional media inquiries, email

Monday, September 30, 2013

Permuted Press Announces New Acquisitions for the Month of September

September was a busy month at Permuted Press. In addition to a record breaking Friday the 13th sale, we've also been working on new arrangements with some fantastic authors. Here are a few bite size glimpses at what's ahead in 2014 and beyond.

Craig Saunders: The Setting Sky
"Post-apocalyptic adventure with dark skies following a meteor strike."

Elise Walters: Tentyrian Legacy
"A Story of Destiny, Love, and Vampires Centuries in the Making."

Iain McKinnon: Denying Thanatos
A new work from the author of Domain of the Dead, Remains of the Dead and September's Demise of the Living

Jack Hanson: Cry Havoc
"Science Fiction involving dinosaurs in the future with machine guns. Yes. Dinosaurs with machine guns."

Jeremy Robert Johnson: Skullcrack City
"Weird dystopian sci-fi noir with brain eating zombies"

Jonathan Moon: Hollow Mountain Dead
"The story of a cosmic evil being awoken from its centuries of slumber within a populated mountain during the late 1800’s in the American West."

Michael Gardner: Downfall (Book 1), Aftermath (Book 2) and Retribution (Book 3)
"Dejected from the loss of his girlfriend, Mathew Ryland finds himself leading a motley crew of survivors in a world where the dead stalk and consume the living. "

Steven Pajak: Mad Swine 3
"Originally, Mad Swine was planned to be a two book series, but it became clear when the book reached beta readers that they wanted more and there were enough materials and unanswered questions so this is the third."

Steven Pajak: Project Hindsight
"A sci-fi/thriller/adventure about remote viewing, government conspiracy and mysterious disappearances."

Timothy W. Long and Jonathan Moon: The Boom Generation
"At random times people are exploding in a manner that creates human bombs with bones as shrapnel when Gerald Coin escapes his office building and realizes that he is not safe with his own wife and child because anyone of them, at any time, can become a weapon."

Tom Calen: Scars of Tomorrow Series: Torrance (Book 1), The Ignota (Book 2) and Tears of the Sowilo (Book 3)
"Did Torrance, the man from the woods, in fact save humanity or did he simply deliver us from one Hell to another?"

Tonia Brown: Skin Trade 1, 2 and 3
"The skin trade is the terrible deed of trapping and skinning zombies for profit."

Bryon Morrigan: The Ancients
"The first in The Ancient City dark fantasy series."

Sean Schubert: Alaskan Undead 4: Resolution and (untitled)
"The Alaskan Undead series continues, and an entirely new series begins."

Caesar Diogenes: The Secret of the Black Crystal
"Meet Maat Winslow, a psychic paranormal investigator in New York City."

Each of these releases will be available as eBooks at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo and Smashwords. You will also find them in print immediately following their electronic release.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Permuted Press Announces New Acquisitions

We've been busy this summer at Permuted Press, and have recently inked new publishing deals with some of your favorite authors as well as a few new names. Here are some things to look forward to in 2014 and beyond.

Brian P. Easton: Autobiography of a Werewolf Hunter: The Lineage
Continuing his successful Autobiography of a Werewolf Hunter series, Brian P. Easton will bring Permuted his third book in the series.

Briar Lee Mitchell: Ghostie
Briar is new to Permuted's list of authors. Next summer, she will introduce us to a 60-foot Megalodon shark thought to be extinct that makes an appearance off the California coast with deadly consequences.

C. Dulaney: From The Ashes - Roads Less Traveled 4
C's first three books with Permuted, the Roads Less Traveled series, have consistently been among our top sellers. The ink just dried on our latest agreement with her which will bring her 4th installment to eBook and print in the future.

Derek Gunn: The HMS Swift Adventures
In Permuted Press circles, Derek Gunn is better known for his book The Estuary and the forthcoming reissue and new works in the Vampire Apocalypse series. Derek is a prolific author, and we are excited to have obtained the publishing rights to two novellas and one full length novel which collectively make up The HMS Swift Adventures. Derek describes the series as "action on the high seas with a lesser known history of the emerging world." Describing the period in which the series is set, he calls it, "a time for exploration and great discovery but it is also a time when horrors and dark forces that have lain dormant in the world begin to wake."

D.S. Sager: Evil Vein 1 and 2
In the first book of the Evil Vein series, Dark Beginnings, Hal Johnston thought he had created the perfect serum in an attempt to save his dying wife; one which could extend human life indefinitely. Instead, it went horribly wrong and de-humanized her. Hell bent on revenge against the cruelties of the world, Johnston releases the drug into the small port town of Tylerton, California with devastating results.

Gareth Wood: Black Horizon 1, 2 and 3
Gareth, author of the popular Rise series, is developing a new saga involving several astronauts who have spent hundreds of years in suspended animation on the moon. They are awakened as they fall into the Earth's atmosphere hundreds of years after going to sleep. The Earth they return to is nothing like the one which they left.

Jacqueline Druga: Sleepers 1, 2 and 3
With Healing, book #2 of her Flu series, approaching release in November, Jacqueline Druga has brought Permuted her self-published Sleepers series which will be finding new life with a set of new edits and new artwork. Additionally, it will be available in print for the first time in early 2014.

Jason S. Hornsby: Desert Bleeds Red
Jason, author of Eleven Twenty-Three and Every Sigh, The End, is approaching completion on his latest work, Desert Bleeds Red. Jason promises "demons, travels through desert wastelands, exotic locales, evil international intrigue, Biblical parables, symbolism and haunting imagery, a little sex, and lots of gruesome violence."

M.L. Katz: The Information Thieves
M.L. Katz will be a new name to Permuted readers. Even though her first books with us, the Raft People series, have not yet officially hit our press, M.L. calls The Information Thieves her personal favorite of the stories she has written. Set in the Raft People universe The Information Thieves follows a later generation of characters who explore future history.

Michael S. Gardner: The Downfall Trilogy
Great zombie novels are what built Permuted Press to what we are today, and Michael Gardner continues the tradition with three new books, Downfall, Aftermath and Retribution. In Downfall, Mathew Ryland, dejected from the loss of his girlfriend, finds himself leading a motley crew of survivors in a world where the dead stalk and consume the living.

Rob Fox: Z-Day is Here and Z-Day Is Here One Year Later
When Rob Fox isn't writing writing for the screen, currently being consumed with creating two new television pilots and two feature films, he spends his leisure time crafting zombie novels. His two Z-Day books, originally released by Library of the Living Dead, are finding new life with Permuted by seeing re-release in 2014 or 2015.

Steven Pajak: Mad Swine 3 - New Dawn
Steven's Mad Swine series was originally envisioned as two books, but readers quickly developed an insatiable appetite for more. Even though much of Mad Swine 3 still resides in the mind of Mr. Pajak, upon its manifestation to the page Permuted Press will be there to deliver it to hungry readers.

Each of these releases will be available as eBooks at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo and Smashwords. You will also find them in print immediately following their electronic release. 

Thursday, August 29, 2013

A Discussion with D.L. Snell and Thom Brannan

We recently sat down with D.L. Snell and Thom Brannan, co-authors of the Pavlov's Dogs series and discussed a few topics their readers ask from time to time...

On Co-authoring:

D.L. Snell: I tend to do most of the plotting for the PAVLOV’S DOGS series, and on the first book Thom did most of the actual writing—I came in after him and revised, added, and edited, creating the second draft and streamlining our separate voices.

Thom Brannan: That was my biggest concern. In our natural voices, D.L. and I don't sound a lot alike, though we think along the same lines. Comparing writing styles, I'd say D.L. was a smart phone, whatever's newfangled now, with all the bells and whistles and fancy apps the kids are crazy about... and I'm a rotary phone. We both get the same basic job done, but his style is so pretty. But the final product, after several rounds of revision, sounds enough like the both of us that it's like a legitimate third entity. DTLBS.

DLS: For the second book, THE OMEGA DOG, we switched things up: I wrote about half the book (hell, the outline alone was half a book), and Thom contributed a ton of fantastic ideas to the plot. Just as an example…

TB: ... I'm thinking, too. Hold on. I think one of them was keeping Chan at Command, like Bonnie in the back of the Knight Rider truck, doing diagnostics (or April, depending on when you watched) and holding a gun to Kaiser's head. Oh! Ken keeps the sword!

DLS: Yes, that, and… Thom worked on an oil rig out in the Gulf and was also a submariner in the Navy. When I told him we needed to get our characters from Northern Mexico to the Yucatan, he mentioned something about always wanting to write a submarine crew. He also mentioned pirates. It was pure gold, and I set about finding a way to incorporate those elements into THE OMEGA DOG. I can’t wait to see how readers react to what we came up with.

TB: *holding an imaginary book*: “Oh, no you di'int!”

DLS: We had so much fun with this element that if we ever do a third book, there will be a lot more action out in the Gulf.

TB: Especially for those readers who saw the pirates and felt short-changed with the absolute dearth of sea-battles in THE OMEGA DOG.

On Writing a Series:

DLS: The most important thing is that PAVLOV’S DOGS ends, not on a cliffhanger, but on a note of finality. Thom and I didn’t even plan to write a second book. I mean, we’d talked about it and we’d established a very minor story thread that could spin off into new material, but… I didn’t want readers to reach the end of the first book and feel forced to continue the series, you know? I see reviewers complaining about that all the time.

TB: Definitely. It seems to me that planning a series is incredible hubris. Are you sure you have enough story? And if you do, are you sure you're going to have enough fans to sustain it? Star Wars strikes me as a great example. Write your first book, give it a definite ending. Finish that story. And if people like it, then you can leave the next one open and continue on, secure in the knowledge that you're reaching people.

DLS: As we were editing PDogs, though, I was thinking of ways to continue the story. Then it struck me. We’d left this huge narrative gap that readers won’t even notice, not until they start the second book. The gap was purposeful in that we were leaving something unsaid; but in that silence I found opportunity, and it spurred the entire sequel.

I’m really hoping it’s a twist readers will love. Already, one reader has commented on it over at Goodreads: “The book opens at the very moment where we were abandoned in PAVLOV’S DOGS… and then something awesome happens. Awe. Some. It is a complete game-changer... a really cool scene that opens up exciting possibilities.” Once Thom and I knew we were doing a sequel, we started planting seeds in the first book, which was still in editing. Little things. Seemingly inconsequential things, like that one of the characters was an Eagle Scout or that there was a pilot on the island (we now refer to him as Chekhov’s Pilot). Having both books in the works at the same time was invaluable; the sequel didn’t have to be chained down by what had happened in the first book because if we needed something, we just went back and planted it to pay off later. I can’t wait for fans of the first book to see how we pulled it all off.

TB: There was one thing we wanted to do that would have required a massive amount of change to the first novel, so that idea was abandoned. But after the dust settled and both books were written, the idea was still there between us. That's where DOG YEARS comes in. More on that later.

DLS: Thom, are you talking about the Hide?! Anyway… like the first book, THE OMEGA DOG ends on a note of finality. But you better believe Thom and I planted seeds for a possible three-quel. If the stars ever align, we have some awesome ideas that will send the series, and the entire zombie and werewolf genres, into a great leap forward.

On Writing Inventive Zombie Stories:

DLS: Writing in the zombie genre is getting increasingly difficult because so much ground has been covered by so many awesome writers and filmmakers. And something I’ve learned is that, while you have to come up with something fresh each time, you also can’t stray too far from basic zombies—sprinters or shamblers—before you start losing your core audience. In PAVLOV’S DOGS our real innovation is the werewolf. Not just the fact that we pitted the two monsters against each other—that alone was new—but we’ve done some fun stuff with our shapeshifters, and readers have really appreciated the ingenuity. As the Guilded Earlobe wrote, “PAVLOV’S DOGS is a unique story with a fascinating scientific tint…”

TB: See that? We terrify with science. Thank you, Mary Shelley.

DLS: In THE OMEGA DOG, we started to play around with the zombies a bit, and we even broached the idea of… well, it’s something I can’t tell you without giving too much away. But I will tell you that the Mayan ruins, and maybe an authentic Mayan ball game, have something to do with it. Finally in the third book, if it ever does materialize, we’re kind of hitting the reset button—kind of. We’ll get back to our roots, while adding something so freaking cool… Let’s just say I really hope it’s in the stars for you to read what we’ve got planned.

TB: I like to think there's nothing wrong with the original monsters, as well. Not everything has to be, ah, a stunning new breakthrough in horror technology.

DLS: Totally.

TB: To that end, we took a step backwards in time for the prequel novellas, DOG YEARS, both in timeline and concept. DOGS YEARS takes place starting thirty years before PAVLOV'S DOGS, and you get to see nascent versions of both these core creatures, the zombie and the werewolf. Before all the chaos from the last act of PAVLOV'S DOGS, before the accelerated madness from THE OMEGA DOG, the DOG YEARS story takes you back to a simpler time, when it was just a couple of bugs in a coffee can.


DLS's and TB's books Pavlov's Dogs and The Omega Dog are available now in eBook and paperback.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

An Excerpt from The Omega Dog

And now an excerpt from the sequel to PAVLOV'S DOGS...

Six Days Ago

"KILL ME!" the Omega Dog shouted.

He lay defenseless at Ken Bishop's feet, lit by the halogen lamps of the sparring cage, just a shaggy torso with one arm and a head. The werewolf's lower intestines steamed in a pile below his gaping abdomen.

Usually the Dogs healed rapidly, but Ken knew Omega Kaiser wouldn't heal. He had witnessed firsthand what the infection had done to the Omega's nemesis, Alpha McLoughlin. The Alpha's golden-haired form now lay decapitated on the concrete behind them, one of many corpses littering the cageĆ¢€”one of many littering the island.

Sick Dogs didn't heal.

Ken should have let the Alpha finish ripping Kaiser apart, should have let him rip the bastard's throat out. But Ken had liked Alpha McLoughlin, before the infection had taken him. So he had put the Alpha out of his misery, he had cut off his head with a sword. Mac would have wanted it that way.

"The messed up thing is," Ken said, still clenching the haft of the executioner's blade, "before this, I would have never met you. But seeing what you've done, I don't have to know you to know that you're a monster."

The Omega's shredded, exposed diaphragm clenched and shuddered at his attempts to draw breath.

"New world," Ken said. "Maybe we're all monsters now." He gripped the handle of the sword in both hands and raised it up.

But something stopped him from bringing it down. This Omega Dog, this pitiful beast before him, had destroyed everything the zombies hadn't. He had enslaved Ken's friends, had pitted them against each other in the sparring cage. He had even pitted Ken against his best friend, Jorge. And for what? For sport?

So even though it had been Alpha McLoughlin who had bitten and infected Ken's girlfriend, Kelly, even though it had been Kelly's germs that had spread across the island like locusts setting upon a cash crop, Ken blamed the Omega Dog for every-thing.

All these stilled corpses, Dog and human alike... Kaiser did not deserve to join them. He deserved to wallow in their shit and gore.

Ken lowered the sword.

"Night," he said. And then he walked out of the sparring cage and latched the gate behind him as Kaiser tried to howl, managing only a wheeze.

* * *

Omega Kaiser lay there for some time after Ken left him in the sparring cage. He stared up at the night sky beyond the halogen lights, up at the uncaring moon. He listened to Ken shouting, echoing, searching. And he felt himself slipping away into deep space.

Lights flashed behind the Omega's eyes, leaving impressions of memories, like sunspots on his retinas caused by radiation from that old Egyptian mirror, the moon.

He saw his Master, Dr. Crispin. Saw him clutching a gaping wound in his throat. Kaiser gulped, tasting the ghost of his Master's blood.

Before his very eyes, the man in the moon transformed, became the gray outlines of Alpha McLoughlin. Infected and unable to heal, the Alpha started healing anyway. Healing, as he was wolfing down chunks he had ripped from Kaiser's body. Chunks like the Omega's leg, and his entire lower half.

Kaiser forced his head up off the concrete. Past his own still chest and everything missing below it, everything spinning and wobbly like the earth, he made out the Alpha Dog's headless corpse, its gory, matted, golden fur.

So that wound hadn't healed. But everything else, thanks to fresh meat...

"Jorge!" Ken shouted, somewhere else on the island. Ears twitching, Kaiser snorted at the sound. The familiar voice helped him reorient himself. The boiling anger helped him find himself.

After all he had done and destroyed, the Omega Dog wanted only to die. But he couldn't now, not like this; he was infected. And more than that, he wanted Ken's head on a plate. Wanted to scoop the brains out with his claws and savor each slippery piece.

Should have killed me, the Omega Dog thought.

He wished there was a way he could die and get revenge simultaneously. It would be almost honorable. Atonement for contributing to the horrible downfall of the best man he had ever known, Alpha McLoughlin.

With his one arm, Kaiser pushed himself over so that he could crawl. The movement dizzied him again, and he lay there for some time, staring at the dust covering the concrete. Then he dragged himself forward, hearing his lower entrails dragging be-hind.

The first corpse Kaiser came upon reeked of something far fouler than death and voided bowels. And it very obviously had hemorrhaged from every orifice and pore.

Infected, he thought, and kept crawling, kept sniffing for something fresh. Some human who had died before being spoiled, or some savory bit tossed aside. But his sense of smell had dulled. He practically had to bury his nose in the piles of gore to make a determination.

The sixth dead man Kaiser came upon lay atop yet another dead man. He saw the blood on the topmost one and figured that he, too, had hemorrhaged. Kaiser sniffed him anyway.

He caught a whiff of something different.

Something stronger, richer.


The Omega Dog pushed the top body off and suddenly the bottom one opened its eyes. The man's pupils focused on Kaiser, and he whimpered, tried to spring up from his hiding place, tried to scream.

But the Omega Dog was faster.

He pinned the man's head to the concrete with his one black-taloned claw and shot forward, snapping his fangs shut on the survivor's throat. Hot blood pumped and pulsed as if Kaiser held a still-beating heart between his jaws.

Skin and muscle and esophagus and veins stretched and tore as the Omega Dog pulled back. And for the briefest second, the man's scream, now just air whistling out of his ruined neck, stirred the Dog's dark fur.

Kaiser gulped down the meat, mostly unchewed, and then shuddered as his body quickly processed it. Because of enzymes, because of catalysts, and because of a mutant thyroid and probiotics, the Omega Dog's metabolism worked incredibly fast.

Almost as fast was the regenerative process. The stump of Kaiser's missing arm began to grow a new length of bone almost immediately. From marrow to spongy bone to compact bone, and all the blood and lymphatic vessels running throughout, his humerus began to take shape out of nothing.

Magic, Dr. Crispin had once called it. Indistinguishable, anyway.

The Omega's sole regret was that he had been nourished by the blood of a coward.

"Jorge!" Ken yelled again, this time from a different part of the island.

Muscles, ligaments, and tendons latched on to the Dog's new growth of bone, and soon the smooth subchondral tissue of his elbow formed, and then the cartilage. Fat and skin accreted as well, but, layer by layer, the whole miracle was slowing down. And then the new growth started to stink and fill with pus.

No, no, no, Kaiser thought.

His victim had relaxed and had grown still beneath his paw. The coward's gaping windpipe had stopped its wet whis-tling.

The Omega Dog knew there was an essence to life, something fleeting. Something that stayed with a dead body only for so long before the cells powered down, leaving nothing but microorganisms and acids and decay.

He tore off another piece of the man's throat before it was too late and quickly gulped it down, shuddering again as his injured arm struggled to heal and grow around the infection.

It would work, but he still had his whole lower body to re-generate, all those complicated organs, his powerful legs. He was surprised he could digest at all, what with the lower third of his gastrointestinal tract exposed and leaking sludge.


Kaiser lifted his head, but barely registered that Ken was now calling out a different name. All he knew was he didn't have much time before Ken Bishop was sailing away from the island and out of his clutches.

He needed legs.

Kaiser found his eyes wandering back to Alpha McLoughlin's corpse. Missing head, but the rest of him...

The Omega Dog grabbed one last bite from his prey and left the rest for later, crawling toward the remains of the Dog who had once been his superior, his general, his Alpha.

The Dogs had been trained to fight as one. Kaiser decided to force the issue.