Monday, September 24, 2012

Mace of the Apocalypse by Daniel J Williams: Character Interview & Excerpt


A terrorist attack on a BART train has left San Francisco in the grip of a powerful toxin. Spreading like wildfire, its victims convulse violently until death overtakes them. With death, however, comes a new type of existence; more horrible and deadly than anyone could have imagined.

A small band of survivors led by Mason “Mace” Marconi, struggle to stay one step ahead of the raging infected as the virus spreads, battling not only the undead but a psychotic gang of drug-addicted teenagers intent on ruling the new forbidden landscape.

Father Jack McCann, one of their traveling companions, has gained possession of the only antidote for the toxin. Seeing it as a sign of God's grace, he has yet to discover the terrible side effects it contains.

The enemy is everywhere. The enemy is within. The zombie apocalypse has arrived.
Mace and the others ran in a panic, turning up Stockton and heading for Mace’s apartment approximately twelve blocks away on John Street in the heart of Chinatown. He pulled his 9mm out of its holster and checked the chamber, even though he knew it was fully loaded. He knew that using it earlier would have been a waste of ammunition, although he doubted he had enough to survive the night anyway.
Lisa, their traveling companion, had never stopped trembling and she kept darting around expecting to see disfigured creatures chasing them down. She held Chelsea’s hand tightly, who had to run just to keep up. Chelsea never spoke a word, but just looked straight ahead, lost to reality by the explosion of violence.
Mace spotted a Land Rover parked across the street near the corner of Stockton and Sutter on Sutter Street. He quickly darted across the street, pulling his gun out once again. He grabbed it by the muzzle, using the butt to smash in the window. He turned towards his small party.
“Get in.”
He went to work on the ignition wires and had it fired up within a minute, a misspent youth providing him with skills that proved useful. A few people gathered down the street to watch, but nobody did anything. One of them tried to call 911 but found all circuits busy. Mace looked at them as he pulled out of the spot and almost said something, but knew just how absurd it would sound.
He hit the gas and tore down Sutter, making a left on Grant and driving on both sides of the street, honking loudly and screaming for people to get out of the way. It was 5:15 on a Thursday afternoon in San Francisco, nine minutes past the attack, and traffic was thick and congested. He sideswiped a half-a-dozen cars making his way to California. At California, he made a left and drove halfway up on the curb, chasing pedestrians out of the way and sideswiping more cars, hearing the horns of outraged drivers.
He made a right on Stockton and hit two more cars as he tried to squeeze past congested traffic. By the time he hit Washington Street he realized the hopelessness of his venture and stopped the car on the sidewalk.
“Let’s go. We’re going to have to run from here. It’s only a block and a half to the apartment.”
They piled out and started running towards his place. A few people who had witnessed his driving started after him, yelling as he exited the vehicle, but a wave of the gun sent them scrambling for cover.
They were at his apartment within two minutes, and they ran up the small narrow stairway leading to his apartment. He went straight to the closet and opened up his weapons safe, grabbing three pistols: handing one to Jade, one to Lisa and tucking one in the back of his pants. Lisa was completely shell shocked. She took the gun and absentmindedly kept murmuring, “Nobody knows, nobody knows.”
Mace glanced at her as he grabbed boxes of ammunition and threw them in a gym bag, followed by two flash grenades. A third he clipped to his belt. “The whole city will know within a half-an-hour. We’ve got to get out of here. It’s going to be overrun.” Without diverting his eyes from the task at hand, he said to no one in particular, “Turn on the TV. Let’s find out what they know.”
He grabbed a wad of cash and threw it in the bag, then grabbed a large flashlight, spare batteries, and a case of power bars he kept on the closet shelf. “We’re going to try to make it to the Piers and get a boat out of here.” He looked at Lisa and Chelsea. “You’d better grab some of my shirts and jackets and bundle up. If we don’t make it out we’ll be fending for ourselves for awhile.”
Lisa seemed to wake from her daze. “What about the police? Can’t we just sit here and wait for them?”
Jade had turned on the TV and found a news station.
Within ten minutes of the toxin's release bay area news agencies were scrambling for information and sending reporters racing to the scene, as the emergency broadcast system was being prepared to release emergency and safety information.
“…reports are coming in of a major disturbance in the Union Square and South of Market areas. A police spokesperson wouldn’t provide details, only saying that police and fire personnel are en route to the area and that further reports would be available shortly. All people are being urged to avoid the area until police get the situation under control. Channel 5 reporter Stacy Wong has just arrived at the scene. Stacy, could you provide us with a description of the disturbance?”
The news anchor stared at the camera for a second. “Stacy, are you there?”
No response.
“We seem to be having technical difficulties. Once we get Stacy on the line, we’ll update the situation immediately. We’ll stay right here until we find out the latest information.”
Mace looked at Lisa and said point blank, “That reporter’s dead and the cops will soon be as well. There won’t be anybody to help us. At least not for a while. We’re on our own.”
Lisa’s eyes were wet and she looked completely perplexed. “What are we supposed to do! What’s going on?”
Mace looked from Lisa to Chelsea, who was sitting on his futon staring into space. “We’re going to get out of this. We just need to keep our heads together.”
Jade went to the window and looked outside. “Oh my God, it’s happening already.”
In the distance, she could see figures running, and being caught.
Mace shut the safe. “Time to go.”
In the back of his mind, he kept thinking about Father McCann and Jason. He’d have to find a way to get to them…somehow. 

Today we are very fortunate to have the chance to find out more about Mace Marconi, the hero.  Tell us about your family:

This is a rather sensitive subject and one I don’t speak about very often. I actually had a pretty rough childhood. I spent quite a bit of time in foster homes after my mother died.  My father shot and killed her and then shot himself. I was only ten at the time.

They both obviously had a lot of issues and it put me in a dark place for quite a while. My mother’s favorite line to use against me was that I would always be a failure. It has definitely had an impact on who I am and who I strive to be.


Morning person or Night person?

I am a morning person, especially now. Before the infection, I found that the best time to track down bail jumpers was early morning. They are much less dangerous when they are still drooling on a pillow. Now, because the infected are so sensitive to light, it’s still early to bed and early to rise. It just makes life easier and that much safer.


What are you passionate about these days?

Survival: I don’t have time to think about much else. Staying one step ahead of the infection and working to create a safe place. Controlling my inner demons. Keeping loved ones alive. The list seems to be growing.


I guess right now I would have to say I am most passionate about life. It isn’t until circumstances like this that you really understand just how precious it is.


What one word best describes you?



If you could apologize to someone in your past, who would it be?

(This question brings tears to Mace’s eyes. After a long pause he addresses the question briefly.) There are just too many.

(His voice cracks and he hangs his head for a few seconds.)

Let’s just move on to the next question. I’m sorry.


Is there a piece of advice that you have received that has really stuck with you? If so, what was it?

“A leader without compassion will only become a tyrant.” That was told to me by a dear friend and I hold it close to my heart. Too many people are relying on me. Failure is not an option.
Thanks so much Mace!  I am so sorry to have dredged up some painful recollections, but it's been wonderful to learn more about you.  Thanks again for dropping in.  I'm really looking forward to reading about you!

Captivated by the eerie and a lover of goosepimples, I thoroughly enjoy embracing the fear that resides within. A scary story or movie is always at the top of my list.

Mace of the Apocalypse is my first complete novel which delves into the darkness within all of us. It is meant to shock and repulse at times, but also question who we really are or could become in an atmosphere of pure insanity. There is also a spiritual side to the story, because inside each of us is a struggle to come to terms with the true meaning of our existence.

Value of Jade, the continuation of the story, should be available in October, 2012.


katsrus said...

Great interview. Sounds a story that would reall grab your attention from beginning to the end. Would make a great movie.
Sue B

Dan said...

It was great getting involved with the blog and Laurie does such a good job with it! said...

Enjoyed the interview. Sounds like an interesting story.