This is my first pass at a little serial I decided to write. I hope to make it a regular thing, with each part no longer than a page (or just over) to keep it running quickly and smoothly, plus challenging myself to write something interesting within a limited space.

Anyway, that’s enough rambling…I hope you enjoy this little taster, please feel free to leave feedback – I’m always looking to learn and improve in my writing!

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Dawn was breaking over the town, sending shadows sprawling over roads and walls as the first carmine tendrils stretched from below the horizon.

     Green Gate was usually a sleepy town, but even at this early hour it seemed unnaturally quiet. The wind moaned and an empty soda can rolled and bounced noisily across the street, the tinny clattering sounding like thunderclaps in the silence.

     Dante looked around. He had been walking for hours, all hope of hitching a ride lost long ago when not a single vehicle had passed him on the narrow road that cut through the green countryside. He pulled a bottle of water from his bag and unscrewed the top, unable to shake the uneasy feeling in his stomach. The water quenched his thirst in the warm air, when even the stirring breeze did nothing to cool him down.

     One of those days.

     Returning the bottle back to his bag, he took another look around. Seeing nothing, hearing nothing, but smelling an acrid odour on the breeze, he pulled the handgun from his belt holster.

     Something felt wrong here.

     He pulled back the slide, securing a round in the chamber but leaving the safety on for now. After all, if he shot at everything that made him uneasy, he’d be in prison for shooting his ex-wife.

     And cops don’t do well in prison.

     Being a cop was what told him to be prepared. He hooked the strap of his backpack over his shoulder before rubbing his hand over the fuzz of short blonde hair atop his head, shaking out all traces of tiredness as he made his way into the town proper.

     Further into the town his uneasy feelings came clear.

     Shop windows were smashed in or left with spider-web cracks covering the tougher ones, others were boarded up weakly, judging by the splintered holes left in doorways and house fronts. One building toward the end of the main road, about half a mile from where Dante stood, was still boarded up and intact. Shielding his eyes from the morning sun and squinting into the distance, he could just about make out the shapes of a few people milling about the boarded-up building. He shrugged and made his way down the street.

     As he approached the building, he realised it must have been the town hall or perhaps the police station, judging by the old white concrete and the scalloped pillars holding up the semi-circular veranda at the entrance.

     The normality ended there.

     A huge fence of jagged metal ran around the veranda. Pieces of rusting iron and steel had been grafted together hastily, with an old iron gate lashed across the front, held in place by heavy chains.

     A few rough-looking people shambled around what used to be the car park of the building, drunk by the looks of things, and Dante kept a wary eye on them as he approached slowly. He was about to speak when one of the men spotted him.

     Dante froze.

     The man’s face was torn to shreds, the flesh hung from ragged wounds and the blood had congealed within the lesions.

     How is that possible? How’s he even still standing?

     The man exhaled hungrily, blood dribbling from his lips, and his silvery irises locked on Dante with a mixture of wildness and…nothingness.

     His eyes were dead.

     He looked dead.

     What’s wrong with this place?

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