Tag Archives: post-apocalyptic

The Faceless People by Natalie Rix – Chapter 1

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The Faceless People Natalie

I always thought The Faceless People were a myth told by my people to keep children inside at night. Beautiful and intelligent beneath their metallic bubbles, they are also said to be violent and cruel, taking unsuspecting victims away in the night. I never truly believed this myth until I saw them for myself, beating and dragging my people away. Those taken never return. I have always lived in constant fear that the same might one day happen to me.

“There’s one, Peter,” I hear a deep male voice say.

I stand still at the sound of the unfamiliar voice. I have just separated from my friends and family. We dispersed across the abandoned terrain in the hunt for some food, perhaps some rats or a small berry bush. Peering through the dusky red dust clouds for the source of the voice, my eyes focus on a humanoid form a few yards away. A sharp wind blows over and clears the dust cloud. It is then I see the reflective surface of the metallic bubble. My mouth hangs open in surprise. The Faceless People… The humanoid stands upright, about six feet tall. Its legs and arms are long but bulky with muscle. It’s wearing a dense sort of fabric of the likes I have never seen before. Like the myth goes, it has no face – just a shiny metallic bubble where the head should be. I need to hide right now, but my body has gone numb with fear. My heart hammers in my chest and I feel slick with cold sweat.

“Where, Jamie?” Another male voice. This voice sounds lighter and more pleasant. The owner of the voice comes into view from behind one of the many derelict buildings. Another humanoid creature. Another metallic bubble. This one is slightly taller and slender than the other.

Two of them? I swallow hard, my tongue catching on the back of my throat. The Faceless People can speak English. How is this possible? Perhaps they have been watching us without us knowing. Perhaps they have been using our libraries that hold the books in which we learned how to read and write. But we would have seen them. This doesn’t make sense.

“Over there, you idiot,” Jamie says, pointing to my cousin. I was lagging behind, so he must have come back to find me. Panicked, I look around, catching sight of a low, broken wall. I scamper towards it, hurriedly trying to hide myself. My cumbersome feet catch beneath my gangly legs and I try not to trip over on the rubble strewn across the floor. I leap over a mangled piece of metal and scrabble over a mound of bricks. Now half hidden behind the wall, I can see my cousin scrabbling backwards across the dusty floor, also trying to get to cover.

“Fucking ugly, ain’t they?” Jamie says. I wince as he runs up to my cousin and kicks him in the face. There is a loud crack as Jamie’s huge booted foot hits him square in the nose. Blood pours down his face. My cousin wails as he falls backwards to the floor, shaking with pain.

I cry out. My voice sounds strange to my own ears; I sound like a wounded animal.

“What the fuck was that?” Jamie turns towards me. I duck my head beneath the wall, but it’s too late. He’s seen me. “Another one over there.” He runs over to me, but the slender one, Peter, runs after him and places a hand upon his shoulder.

“Our mission is to capture one and bring it back intact,” Peter says.

“But they’re ugly, filthy, disgusting animals. Let me just kick one about a bit.”

Peter holds Jamie back with an outstretched arm. “No. We must bring one back intact and unharmed for scientific testing. Save your energy and violence for the hell beasts saved especially for the festival. Donny is out rounding the hell beasts up in the cage as we speak. You can play with those, but not this one.”

“Spoilsport.”

“Governor Sam says he wants one bringing back safely, remember? And that’s what I’m going to do. If you’re going to jeopardise the mission, I’ll have no qualms in telling him that you are the one who ruined it, just because you can’t control yourself. You know how dangerous he is.”

“I don’t give a fuck what Governor Sam says.” Jamie folds his bulky arms.

“But this is for the High Lord.”

Jamie sighs. “I would do anything for the High Lord.”

Peter nods. “I think this one is female.”

“Who the fuck knows. They all look the same to me. Freaks.”

“I’ll talk to her.” Peter leans over the wall. My reflection stares back within the reflective surface of the bubble. I wonder what sort of face lies beneath it. “Can you talk?” he asks me.

I try to speak, but as usual, my voice comes out like an animal’s. I have a cleft lip and teeth that jut out in different directions, which makes it hard to form sounds and speak words in the way that they do. I wish I could speak the English I have learned from the books. I find it hard to look at him with my weak vision.

“It’s probably braindead. It’s just an animal,” Jamie huffs. “So we should treat it like one.”

“You had better not treat my dog like that or I’ll kick your head in.”

“Screw you,” Jamie huffs. “You bring the special hell beast then. Don’t blame me if it attacks you. I’m going back to the pickup truck.” He skulks away.

Peter holds his gloved hand out towards me. I stare at the long, straight fingers. There are five of them altogether. I reach my own hand up. It looks so different in comparison. I have four knobbled fingers on the one hand and a tiny thumb. Peter takes my hand.

“Come with me. I won’t hurt you.”

I wonder why he wants me to go with him, and to where? I try to ask, but he doesn’t understand my noises in the way my friends do.

“Don’t worry,” he says as he pulls me up onto my uneven legs. “Here, this is to relax you,” he says, placing a red cloth over my mouth. The smell is intoxicating, and even though it smells sweet, it is also pungent, and I struggle to breath. I flail my arms and legs out but then feel powerless to resist. Everything goes dark.

The Mutation Chronicles is a collection of three post-apocalpytic stories by Natalie Rix, Lozzi Counsell and Alanah Andrews. These short stories, while set in the same world, can be read in any order. Pre-order here.

Pre-order The Faceless People here (Aff link)

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Book Launch – The Mutation Chronicles

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Hey, everyone. On Wednesday 27th March from 4pm GMT, I will be holding a book launch on Facebook for my story, Contagion, along with the two other authors in the series. There will be special guest authors, games and lots of giveaways, including a giveaway of all three of The Mutation Chronicles books that are ready for release!

Special guest authors so far, along with me, Natalie Rix and Alanah Andrews, include:
Curtis Bausse
E.L. Giles
Marcus Turner
Fallacious Rose

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You can join our event by clicking right here!

Hope to see you all there.

First Chapter of Contagion

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Much love to everyone who’s supported me on my writing journey so far, and as a thank you, I would like to share with you all the very first chapter of Contagion.

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My knuckles turn white as my fingers clutch the seat belt. What’s taking him so long? I continue to stare out the car window, past the shards of glass that lie glinting under the moonlight, into the dark warehouse.
Just as I consider picking up Dad’s car radio and ringing the station for backup, he steps out of the shadows, a handcuffed man in tow. I let out the deep breath I was holding upon sight of him. This isn’t the first time a meal out has ended in sirens and Dad rushing to the scene of a crime, and it never gets any easier for me, being stuck in the vehicle, having to watch and wait.
The window sticks as I hurry to wind it down, so I open the door a fraction instead. “Everything okay, Dad?” My voice echoes off the walls of the building, into the night air.
“Yeah, everything’s fine, Bryony.” He pants, dragging the handcuffed man over to the vehicle. “Could ya do me a favour and open the boot?”
I unclip my seatbelt and step out of the car to pop open the boot. I know immediately what Dad needs: antiseptic wipes and a medical facemask to prevent contamination. He should have put gloves on before going into the warehouse, but he was the first, and apparently only, officer on the scene and didn’t have time to spare.
He opens one of the backdoors and guides the man into the car with a harder than necessary shove.
“Sorry I took so long. I had to check the whole building for others,” he says as he opens the packet of antiseptic wipes and cleans his hands.
I hand a facemask over to him. “I was worried.”
“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to scare you.”
“I know, it’s just… since Mum—”
“—Your mum’s death was a terrible accident, courtesy of one of these a-holes. If they think they’re going to get me too, they’ve got another thing coming.”
The man scowls at us through the glass. I unintentionally reel back at the sight of his face—half a bald head that’s been taken over by oozing scabs and two long slits for a nose. He’s also older than I assumed he would be. He sees me recoil and slowly turns away, unfazed.
“Anyway, I need to get this guy into a jail cell as soon as. You know I hate to ask, but are you okay to walk back? I mean, I would drop you off, but I don’t particularly want you anywhere near this freak.”
I roll my eyes dramatically, making sure he sees. Sometimes I think he forgets that I am nineteen, meaning that I am more than definitely capable of walking myself home.
“Okay, okay, I get it. I’m mollycoddling you again, aren’t I?” He squeezes my shoulder gently. “Just make sure to ring me once you’re home, okay? Remember to lock the door behind you—”
“—And check all the windows are locked too. I know, I know. You’ve told me a hundred times.”
“And I will continue telling you even when I’m old and grey and you’ve long moved out.”
“You’re already old and grey.” I smirk, knowing Dad will take it in good humour.
“Don’t be so cheeky,” I hear Dad say as I turn away and start the walk home. And only once I disappear around the corner do I hear Dad’s sirens growing fainter and fainter as he drives off in the opposite direction.

I walk along the outside of our town, looking at the trees that surround it with our ‘no mutants’ signs nailed to their trunks. We’ve never needed a fence to keep the mutants out. Our public executions of the ones kept in our underground prison every time it gets full usually gives them enough of a warning to stay away. We still get the odd few that don’t listen, such as the one from tonight, but it’s not a common occurrence.
“Just a couple more steps,” I tell myself out loud as our house comes into view at the end of the street. I rub at my arms for warmth as each breath leaves my mouth in a cloud of steam. The gate has been left open. I close it with a click behind me, wondering who might have visited while we were out.
The sensor lights turn on, as I walk up to the porch, fumbling around in my handbag. “Where are you, damn keys?” I look under the doormat for the spare, but it’s not there. Tutting, I kick the doormat back into place with frustration. The amount of times Dad hasn’t been able to find his keys and taken the spare one instead should be a world record. I just wish one of those times wasn’t today.
I sigh and use our wheelie bin as a step to climb unglamorously over the fence, before landing on my feet in the squelchy mud of our back garden.
I pull the handle of the back door down, hoping for some kind of miracle, but as expected, it’s locked. “Crap,” I say, turning around.
“Looking for these?” A man is standing there, dangling a single key in front of my face. I open my mouth to scream, but before any sound comes out I feel a hard thump to the back of my head.

If you’ve enjoyed what you’ve read so far, you can read chapter 2 for free as well by signing up to my mailing list!