Saturday, January 26, 2013

First Pages: Old Magic by C.M. Simpson

Old Magic is a short tale about surviving in post-apocalyptic Melbourne by C.M. Simpson. 

After disaster and disease wipe out the world we know, powers carried by right of ancestry act as a sixth sense for trouble in a ruined city. Can she be the only one to have survived?

Old Magic is one of the short stories that will be included in An Anthology of Bloodlines. It is currently available on Smashwords, and will soon be available on Kobo, Kindle, iTunes, and Nook.

First Page Excerpt: Old Magic

Heather stood amidst the wreckage of the city in the cold, grey light of dawn. She felt the soft mist of the newly fallen rain settle on her arms. Constant and clingy, the rain reminded her of gum leaves, silver-grey with the same misty drops. It brought to mind the sharp scent of eucalypts on a damp mountainside, a scent that momentarily eclipsed the smell of sodden cement and bitumen in decay.
The rain formed a patina of dew over her hair, making the top layer matt so that heavier droplets rolled from her head and down the back of her daypack. Heather wiped a hand across her eyes, clearing away the moisture that clouded her vision, clearing the momentary glimpse of silver-barked trees from before the leaning buildings.
The north of the city was dead. She had searched it for life, just as she had already searched through its north-western reaches. She had found only the emptiness of abandonment and decay.
St. Albans, Sunshine, Footscray, Essendon and now, it seemed, central Melbourne. Once they had teemed with life. Now, they were only scars on a landscape, where the bush was rapidly moving to reclaim its own.
Heather had survived the bombings and the first wave of plagues. She had survived the petty warlords, and the anarchy that had followed the sudden loss of contact with the rest of the world. She had even survived the second wave of sickness. There had to be others.
Sighing and shaking her head so that raindrops scattered from her hair, she noticed what had once been a small cafe. Shaking her head again to clear the ghostly images of gumtrees reflected in the remains of the café’s plate glass window, Heather crossed the road towards it. Perhaps she would find food there.
The cafe made her think of drier nights when the footpaths had been full of crowds, and trams had rattled down the streets. It reminded her of moonlit walks in the parks beside St. Kilda Road, and of feeding the possums in the trees, forbidden as that was.
Clambering past the broken glass of the shattered front window, she stepped into the cafe. There were reminders of old gangs and overlords all around her. The reminders ranged from the paint-spattered walls to the bullet-riddled body at her feet. Something about the corpse caught her attention, made her pause. She moved slowly into the cafe, studying the body as she went.
The body was wrong. Something… It clicked as she reached the door leading to the back of the shop. The body hadn't started to smell yet.


If you would like to read more, Old Magic is currently available on Smashwords, and will soon be available on Kobo, Kindle, iTunes, and Nook. 

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