Book #5-The Suicide Collectors

So, four and a half books later, we reach the book that would finally make it to publication, like the lone child in a big pioneer family who survives a harsh winter, an outbreak of cholera, and wolf attacks. I started The Suicide Collectors as a side project while I was waiting for Fishbowl to sell, a sort of challenge to myself to see if I could create a new post-apocalyptic world, having grown tired of Super Viruses and stuff like that. At the time, my agent didn't represent science fiction novels, but he made an exception for me and it's turned out pretty well. The book took a major turn for the better when Jonathan suggested killing off a main character (much to the chagrin of at least one early reader)and upping the "grit" factor in the book.

From The Suicide Collectors:

Norman and Pops rolled up their parachutes, slipped them on like makeshift backpacks, and hiked across the field. They skirted the area where their plane had crashed. Eventually, they came to a paved road and started down it without speaking, headed west. Tall, brown weeds blocked their view of anything but the road behind them and the road ahead of them. When Norman breathed deeply, he could smell recently melted snow.

A pheasant ran up from the ditch on their left, darted across the highway, and disappeared into the ditch on their right.

Pops sighed. “We should have packed guns.”
“We’ll be okay.”
“Maybe, but it’s a long walk to Seattle from here.”
Norman patted the old man on the back. “We’ll come across a vehicle that runs. Our luck can’t be all bad.”

Around noon they came to a car that had veered into the ditch and crashed into a solitary tree. The car’s windows had all been broken, and a man’s skeleton still sat in the driver’s seat, dressed in the tattered remains of a faded black suit. Cobwebs hung on the roof of the car, over its steering wheel, and swathed the skeleton itself. Norman and Pops munched on dried venison as they peered into the car.

“Maybe he was a salesman who got tired of traveling,” Pops said, smacking his lips as he chewed.
“No,” Norman said. “Look at that black suit. He was probably on his way to a funeral and couldn’t take it anymore. Maybe his wife had already killed herself, and it was her funeral he was going to.”
Pops shook his head. “I don’t think so, Norman. I think he was the kind of guy who needed to see things through. I’m sure he would have attended the funeral first.”
“Any way to salvage the car?”
Pops went around to the front of the car, where a good portion of the grill was still wrapped around the tree. Mushrooms had sprouted on the car’s hood. The tree was bent slightly forward, as if growing into the car.

“No, sir,” Pops said, frowning. “This car is as dead as the man driving it.”
“Guess we better keep walking, then.”


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