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Teaser from Emma’s Rose book 1: The Cave by Eric A Shelman

“Eric A Shelman has show his forward-driving storytelling ability and flexibility with all sorts of monsters and tropes over his career. He is known for his zombie work for good reason. Emma’s Rose shows the best of both these sides of Shelman as a writer. You get a great zombie story from the origin of the outbreak and you get to see some of the deeper talents which have been shown outside his zombie work too. I think Emma’s Rose is opening up into something special.” — Jay Wilburn #CaptainThreeKidneys

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Excerpt from Emma’s Rose Book One The Cave chapter 10 by Eric A Shelman

Eventually, Stan managed to separate them.  He had drawn several CCs of Peramivir into the syringe, and now withdrew one hand, took the syringe, and pushed the needle through a rubber seal mounted through the side of the acrylic box.  Once it passed through, he moved the slide directly beneath the needle and pressed the plunger until a tiny drop formed at the tip.

“Will it matter that it’s not injected into an infected person?” asked Arthur.

“The active ingredients will simply find the culprit sooner with this method,” said Brunson.  “No need to search the body’s bloodstream for the virus.”  The drop fell onto the slide, and he quickly put the syringe down and reached back in with his right hand to reassemble the slide.

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Placing it on the microscope’s stage, he dialed in the lenses.  Stan Larrimore stared.  And stared.

“I’m not sure what’s happening.  At least … I don’t think I know.”

“Let me see it,” said Brunson, his voice guttural and thick with phlegm.

“I’ll put it onscreen,” said Stan.  “Turn the chair.”

April spun the office chair around until Brunson faced the screen.  A moment later, the monitor lit up with the images of life unseen.

“I’ll be damned,” whispered Brunson, raising his chin toward the screen in his best attempt at pointing.  “You see the small black cilia-type virions?”

“The ones that are moving like a bucket full of earthworms?”

“Yes.  They are consuming the Peramivir.”

Stan squinted into the microscope rather than look at the screen.  “Oh, my God.  You’re right, but how?  You know as well as I do that viruses don’t eat.”

Then whatever this is, it is not a virus.  It is, I would conclude, a microscopic life form that takes residence in a human, possibly other animal hosts, and triggers specific functions.  It essentially controls them.”

They continued to watch the screen for ten more minutes.  Soon, none of the Peramivir remained visible on the slide.  It was as if it never existed, only now, the cilia had quadrupled in number.

“Remarkable,” muttered Dr. Brunson, his hand lifting slowly to his mouth.  They had only secured his non-dominant hand’s elbow to the arm of the chair so he could still hold the micro-recorder up to his mouth.

He said, “The dust that is yellow in color, that originates from the small, round pods affixed to the underside of the petals on Emma’s Rose, contains microscopic life forms, of a size smaller than virions.  This life form appears to consume almost anything with which it comes into contact, but its appetite is not all-encompassing.”

“You’re talking about us,” said Larrimore.  “Because we’re not infected.”

Brunson stopped the recorder.  “You  well could be,” he said.  “It may simply not find what it seeks within you, or it is repelled by something.”  He looked squarely at Stan, his eyes now red-orange and so obscured, Arthur was not certain he actually saw through them at all.  “There is one more option.”

“What’s that?” asked Arthur.

“It could, in some way, have identified you as itself.  Of course it would ignore you, just as it would not seek to commandeer its own kind.”

“You think it sees Arthur’s system as no different than the … well, I can’t call it a virus anymore,” said Stan.  “But, like them, whatever they are.”

“It’s not likely, but neither are any of my hypotheses.  They are merely roads down any of which the answer may lie.  You must find out why.  As dramatic as it sounds, it could have the potential to save humanity from a plague unlike any in recorded history.”

His hand dropped to his side, and the recorder fell to the floor.  April picked it up, looked at Stan and Arthur, and asked, “Now?”

Stan looked at his friend.  Sylver Brunson was unconscious.  He nodded.

April knelt down and tied the twine around the scientist’s wrist, lashing it tightly to the arm of the chair.

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Jay Wilburn
Jay Wilburn has a Masters Degree in Education that goes mostly unused since he quit teaching to write about zombies. Jay writes horror because he tends to find the light by facing down the darkness. He finds the journey through life easier by having you join him. Jay is the author of 2 series: The Dead Song Legend and The Great Interruption. He cowrote The Enemy Held Near with Armand Rosamilia. You can also find Jay's work in Best Horror of the Year volume 5 and Dark Moon Digest. Each year Jay has the pleasure of featuring many great authors in the genre through the Summer and Winter of Zombie blog tours on his website.

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