Hell’s Womb Intro. & Index

Chemistry happens, in more ways than one, when trapped four hundred feet below the surface of the earth with an unthinkable evil clawing to escape.

Hell’s Womb, the birth of a plague. The death of a brother.

First, an introduction.

Hidely-ho, reader. I’m the writer best known as David Mark Brown and the infamous RedneckGranola. You may know me from such websites as www.thegreenporch.com or www.onetruepants. But currently you have stumbled upon my greatest achievement.

Reeferpunk is my self-created genre description (a sort of weird-Western, alternate history, 1920′s, humorous adventure thriller thing). Go here for more on that. These short stories take place in the same alternative history as the novels and sometimes involve major and/or minor characters. They are supplementary (but not necessary) to reading the novels and vice versa.

Join the Revolution!

No longer do good stories have to comply to the button-down world of publishing! You won’t find these bad boys behaving themselves under YA Paranormal or Mystery/Thrillers. Reeferpunk stories are written to blast apart retrictive confines of convention while still adhering to the classic elements of story-telling, the tried and true practices that carry us to the edge of of our seats, make us laugh and make us cry. I’m particularly fond of the characters that you will get to know and love over the next decade’s worth* of Reeferpunk.

*The first book will be cataclysmically good. The next three will be somehow even better. I’ll grow fat on my wealth of penny rolls (I like my money in shiny form) leading to a blase fifth book, then rebound for the sixth, seventh and eighth. The ninth will be a terrible attempt to take the characters into space on a diesel-powered locomotive (only read it if intoxicated). And blah, blah, blah.

Reading Hell’s Womb

Hell’s Womb is an origins story interwoven with a tale of twisted and broken love. Some of the characters you meet in this horror/suspense ditty will die gruesomely. Others will live gruesomely. While still others will simply live or die. It’s Aliens meets Pitch Black, but in 1919.

Divided into 12 sections that will reveal much and question more, Hell’s Womb aims to titillate, tease and freeze you with horror. So turn on the night light and enjoy the show!

Follow these links for more on ReeferPunk or Fistful of Reefer, the first novel in the series.

Hell’s Womb: p.12

The men’s empty stares forced her to relent. “This way.” She did her best to ignore the harsh yellow light put off by the Wedge and focus on the dim blue glow of her pendant. With a final glance behind her she saw Serge helping his wounded younger brother up from the spot where Eve had left him crumpled and bleeding. His words echoed in her mind. I’m not leaving without my brother.

She threw her mask off and puked without slowing down. In an even darker moment of clarity, she realized she hadn’t planned on leaving at all. As she guided the injured miners deftly through the maze of debris that used to be her home, the memory of Eve’s desperate expression choked her more thoroughly than the toxic air. The same transformation had begun in her, and the process would run its course unless she could stop it.

Sensing the miners falling behind, she slowed her pace so they reached the gap leading to the exhaust shaft together. Helping the three staggering men crawl through the hole, she realized they were exhibiting the same symptoms as her: hair bristled, skin cool to the touch. Helpless desperation seized her. They were all worse than dead. If Adam and Eve were any indication, trapping them and herself in the mine would be a kindness.

But the will to live overrode the haunting thoughts. Maybe… Her self-absorption shattered as more rock crumbled and fell around her, a large piece striking her foot. “Serge!” She hopped on one leg, peering into the chasm.

“Go! Just go!”

Faintly she made him out, the two brothers limping awkwardly toward her, bumping into debris and scrambling over rock. “I can help—”

“Run the lift! Two at a time, go!” He grunted the words.

Arguing would kill them both. She felt the familiar press of the logbook against the small of her back as she reached up and took the hand of a miner who helped her through the gap. Even if she was doomed, the log must survive. Maybe her notes could save others.

Quickly they reached the vertical shaft, and to her surprise it echoed with the sounds of rescue, a search light dancing off the rough hewn walls.

“Hello!” a voice rang out from several yards above them.

The miners croaked with scratchy, exultant voices.

“Good God, we’re glad to see you. How many are there?”

Gayle took charge. “Six! But the—”

The lowering cage lurched suddenly to the side, grating against the rock wall as a tremor rippled through the ground. An explosion rumbled from somewhere behind them, deep within #4.

“After damp! Come on boys, climb aboard. All of you!” The cage had lowered enough for the miners to reach it and help shove each other inside.

“But there’s two more!” Gayle panicked.

“We can’t wait! Fire’s comin’!” Their rescuer knelt and held out his hand.

“Just go, you dense woman.” Serge’s voice echoed in the small tunnel leading from the lab. A plume of black smoke swirled from the opening, belching from the dragon’s mouth. If the fire inside awoke, it would consume them all.

“Do as he says.” The rescuer spoke.

Turning, she recognized his fright when he saw her yellow eyes. She closed them tight and took his hand. Crushed against the back of the cage, she kept her eyes closed, surrendering herself to a fate beyond her control. Already over limit, the cage groaned with the weight.

“Go. I’m on.”

“Serge?” She opened her eyes, searching the human crush for his face when a fresh wind rushed past them from above. Next came the fire. The cage bounced along the side of the shaft as they rose at full tilt, faster than any cage she’d been in before. If they hadn’t been packed like sardines the result would have been much worse.

At the top they collided with the arm of a crane. Swinging sideways and crashing to the ground, the cage finally came to rest in a slag heap. Gratefully, her side of the cage faced up. But the door faced down, so rescuers quickly rolled them over until the miners’ coal-encrusted clothing suffocated her.

Dazed and blinded by daylight, she accepted the hands pulling her out. Finally on her own two feet, she focused first on two sorrow-filled eyes belonging to a woman—voluptuous, Italian, tears streaking her face. The woman addressed thin air with a single-word question. “Serge?”

Gayle scanned the blackened faces around her, but he wasn’t there. She swallowed hard, her throat like sandpaper, her mind blank and listing on an ocean of doubt and fear. Suddenly she patted the space at the small of her back—her logbook gone as well.

END

Hell’s Womb: p.11

Gayle flicked the lever in the other direction, and the Wedge danced accordingly. Slamming her fist down on a black button, the large drill protruding from the front like an upturned raven’s beak sparked to life. Seconds later the whole contraption collided with the cave wall, belching gases from its sides as sparks rained down on the backs of their necks.

For the second time that day she prayed to an invisible god whom she didn’t know. Crouching on the platform behind Serge, she prayed the inert gases pumping from the machine’s base would flush enough of the oxygen and methane from the surrounding atmosphere to prevent the machine from creating a firestorm. As rocks pinged off the Wedge’s metallic surface, pelting down from the newly created ceiling, she added another prayer to the growing list.

Her eyes jumped in their sockets. Her ears filled with ringing as the metal teeth lining the raven’s beak chewed the rock and coal, spitting gravel out beneath them and pulverizing it into road base. She spent a furtive glance behind them, searching for a pair of twitching monsters thirsty for blood.

Finally the Wedge burst from the newly formed tunnel and spun wildly in the open space of mine #4, its carbide light a whirling dervish amongst the swirling black dust. Her mind snapped back to the dangers in front of them. Gayle reached for the shut off, but with a neck-snapping jolt the Wedge lurched, tossing her into a pile of rock. Sparks burst from the vibrating sled of the machine as it collided with the rails running along the tailgate road.

With a whoof, the sound of the Wedge was consumed by the ignition of the air surrounding them. Her hair frizzled, her eyes popping with bright white spirals. Her skin tightened on her frame, pounding her with jolts of pain. She tried to stand, but a heavy blanket followed by a solid mass enveloped her. Crashing to the floor of the mine, her ribs cracked as she rolled, the weight now fully on top of her. The suffocating fabric ushered her mind further down a darkening funnel, the last of her consciousness about to wink out for good.

Then, like rushing serf at the beach the blanket receded. Stale air washed over her. Finally a coughing fit racked her with fresh pain. In between fits she focused on a familiar face hovering over her. “Serge?”

“That’s a first. A beautiful young thing wakes up asking for my brother.”

“Dino!”

Serge’s welcome voice filled her ears, but it didn’t match the lips in front of her.

“Brother, you found us.”

Brother? Of course. On their knees, the two men embraced above her, forming a sheltering tent.

“Serge?”

“Gayle. Are you alright?”

“Your lady friend here was about to poke her head into a hot pocket. Singed a bit, but I think she’ll be alright.” Dino grinned, coal dust crinkling around the edges of his eyes.

“Dino.” Serge gripped his brother’s shoulder. “The rest?”

“Ay.” He nodded. “We’re all here. They’re weak. Hell, I’m—”

The air around them split with Eve’s blood-curdling cry as Gayle watched both brothers ripped away from her by the pale, pulpy flesh of the monster she had helped create. The beast whisked over her, and with a sickening thud their bodies collided with the pillar wall. Rebounding from the shadows, Eve’s ghostly figure flailed backwards directly toward her. Gayle rocked onto her shoulder as Eve’s body crashed down beside her.

In bone-chilling slow motion Gayle turned her head and met the monster, eye to exhausted eye. In that instant the two shared a mutual understanding. Clinging to human life by a thread, both were fighting a losing battle. Eve’s upper lip slowly curled, revealing her sharp, yellow teeth. With a low, guttural growl the pallid monster leapt to all fours and darted into the darkness of #4.

The ground shook beneath Gayle, fragments of rock dropping from the mine’s ceiling.

“What the hell—” Dino started, but Serge cut him off.

“We’ve got to go.” Serge gripped Gayle by the wrists, heaving her to her feet.

Her vision swam and popped. “You lead them out. I’ll bring up the—”

“No.”

She protested, “But—”

“They need your eyes. There’s no time.” Serge nodded to a clump of black, spectral beings while still supporting her weight. The shaft shook again as larger portions of ceiling gave way. “Go.”

Part 12