Title: Those Who Are Left
Author: Josh Stricklin
An apocalyptic tale that surprises you with humor when it’s not terrifying you with horror, Those Who Are Left follows Derrick as he and two strangers venture through the major cities of the South in search of family and safety. But not all the human factions can be trusted, and if the trio can’t figure out what’s driving the different groups they could end up with enemies on all sides.
But even in a chaotic world of murderous screamers and posturing humans, there’s always time to play a few games of bowling before the slaughter begins…right?
The walls are going up today. That really puts a sense of finality on the whole thing. It started over with a flood. I don’t know what they’ll call this exactly. I guess for the most part it’s over. There's just this one last thing to do. Something so that those who are left can move on. A favor for a friend. I really believe that everyone in the world at least once in his life wants to do something about which the entire world cares. Something that matters. I think this is probably my turn to take a swing at that. No one is ever really ready for what they’re forced to do. But we make it. That’s what I think is most important to remember when flipping through these pages. We make it. I was told when the papers are filled I would be finished. I don’t know why, but that makes me nervous.
If another survivor walked into this nearly empty collection of walls that person may see a man sitting on a stool in the white glow of a LED electric lantern. The visitor would maybe notice the blue and red pattern carpet, and the two full-sized beds against the wall. The visitor would see the woman lying on the bed across the room attached to an IV drip. What that person wouldn’t see is the story of the past week. Sure, he’d see the bruises and wounds, but that would only be the moment right before the credits roll in the movie—the part when everything has already happened. He’d ask what happened to her, but I would just shut the door with him on the other side. Before that though he’d undoubtedly notice a rusty typewriter sitting on the middle of table, one of the heavy black ones with the circle buttons. He may even make a comment saying he didn’t think they made those anymore. He’d see the little black circles and the metal L-shaped pieces that rise up and slam a letter onto the paper. There’s a chance the visitor would notice the reams of paper sitting under at the foot of the stool, but he wouldn’t be looking that hard. He would only see the constructed metal instrument sitting plainly on the table. But where our visitor sees a square foot of antique keyboard, I only see minefield of letters. I remember hearing of Al Davis once that playing with a clenched fist was encouraged, and at this point that idea is the only thing about which I can think.
Josh Stricklin is an American author and musician with degrees in English literature and advertising from the University of Southern Mississippi. His first novel, Those Who Are Left, made its debut in 2015. The terrifying follow up, The King of Evil, is available from Silver Leaf Books. He's currently hard at work finishing his first series…or more likely reading comic books and wearing a Seahawks jersey.