In honor of returning to one of my favorite story settings, I want to introduce readers to my main source of Steel City inspiration, Dave Dicello. Dave takes amazing photographs and has been hit hard by the pandemic. He had to close his gallery this spring. However, his prints are available online for purchase. I’ll be adding them to story-links for this chapter.
Bart squatted by the fire, greasy grey hair tucked behind his ears. “The squonk should be sleeping now, but it’ll be up in a few hours. It ain’t afraid of people or smoke, so we won’t bother it none. They eat hemlock though, and this grove is the biggest in the area.”
The cold spray tasted of salt. Despite the chill in the air, Chelsea leaned over the side of the boat, letting her tumble in the wind. She had thought the prairie to be endless, but watching the ocean merge with the horizon reordered her perception and her soul.
*I had forgotten what the true edge of forever looked like.*
He shuffled over, eyes bright and smiling. Chelsea’s stomach bottomed out. The man had tried to lie about his name and had done so poorly. Like many new hunters did. Yet he had beheaded a fairly big monster in moments. He moved a bit like the older people she hunted with, smooth and precise. But Rick had… an edge. He was so much faster… better than anybody she’d ever seen.
The only constant was a sense of belligerent purpose. They were a people who knew that they were lucky to be alive, and they intended to press that luck yet again.
She ran a hand over her ax and glanced at her hunting partner. “I thought you said this was only going to take a few minutes?”
Keegan shrugged his thin shoulders. “That’s what I was told, but…”
But the spindly vampires still hadn’t appeared after nearly an hour
The only signs of civilization were the blue ones on the side of the highway. They told of food and shelter, but Chelsea wanted neither.