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Where New Pulp Lives! And from Time to Time...Dies!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Escape from Shit Town Now Available in Paperback and E-book Form


Available now in paperback and Kindle.  For other info, check out the publisher's website here.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

DEMON and You

So I got this book coming out at the end of the month from Harper Voyager Impulse called DEMON.  You may have heard of it.

Anyway, it's coming out soon and with it's release will come an avalanche of promotion from yours truly.  Now, I try to keep my pimping as fun and gentle as possible.  I do not want to be the reason you claw your own eyes out.  However, pimping I still must do.  

Expect such things as blog posts, tweets, reviews, blogs mentioning reviews, tweets mentioning reviews, a blog tour, blogs linking to said blog tour, tweets linking to said blog tour, Facebook posts linked to those tweets and blogs that are automatically generated thanks to linked accounts, links to all of these on DEMON's Facebook page, links to all of these on my Facebook author page, links, links, links, links....

Sorry, got stuck in a loop there.

Anyway, it's coming.  I'll try to make it as fun as possible but it needs to get done.  Of course, you can save yourself a link tomfoolery by pre-ordering now and coming back in say, late October.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Coming Soon...

So, there's this cool antho coming out soon called MADHOUSE.  It's a shared world antho.  Here's the gist:

In the middle ages, it was thought that insanity was contagious. Centuries on, we label such ideas as superstitious ignorance. But when John Doe begins to speak after decades of silence, the staff and patients at the Golden Canyon Behavioral Health center begin to realize that behind every superstition lies a horrid truth.
On the night that a vicious sandstorm closes the roads and seals the doors, a plague of madness spreads through the hospital. Two staff members try desperately to hold onto their sanity while searching for the cause - and, hopefully, the cure - of the outbreak.
But they're not alone. In this shared world anthology edited by Brad C. Hodson and Bram Stoker Award (R) winner Benjamin Kane Ethridge, some of the genre's most talented authors present their own sanity shattering tales. With fiction by John Skipp, Jeff Strand, Scott Nicholson, Lisa Morton, John Palisano, and many others, the horrible truth is revealed bit by awful bit. Step inside and find out what it's truly like in the MADHOUSE.
Pretty cool, right?  So why am I talking about it?

Well, one, I have a story in it called "The Yellow Bug".  It's freaky-deaky, man.

Second, it's going to be crowd funded, so I want to get the word out before the campaign goes LIVE.  Here's more details:

The new Dark Regions Horror line is launching its first Indiegogo campaign on September 23rd on Indiegogo.com with the new shared world horror anthology MADHOUSE featuring authors John Skipp, Jeff Strand, Lisa Morton, Scott Nicholson, John Palisano, Rena Mason and many others edited by Benjamin Kane Ethridge and Brad C. Hodson with associate editor R.J. Cavender. As with other crowdfunding campaigns launched by Dark Regions Press, the Indiegogo campaign for Dark Regions Horror #1 will be treated exactly like a preorder (with perks): customers can secure their copies of the book at planned retail price with free U.S. shipping included during the campaign. Everyone who backs the campaign will receive campaign-exclusive editions with a unique design and exclusive materials like extra writings and illustrations that won't be offered in retail editions of the book.
The book will be fully illustrated by the immensely talented artist Aeron Alfrey with full wraparound cover artwork and 10 interior illustrations. Depending on the success of the Indiegogo campaign, as many as 40 additional interior illustrations could be added to the book as well as an audiobook version.
Anyway, like it says above, the campaign starts September 23rd.  If you want to know more about the book, the publisher, and the campaign, go here.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

The End of the World

Ebola outbreak...check.

Wars...check.

Rumors of wars...check.

Famine...getting close.

Natural disasters...check.

The best lack all conviction...check.

The worst are full of passionate intensity...check.

Man, it feels like the end of the world has started, huh?

And the four horsemen?  Right around the corner.  Here's what they look like if you didn't know:


The guy on the far right is their manager and booking agent.  Because as you know, the Four Horsemen will, you know, usher in the apocalypse.  Need a lot of help planning and managing that kind of destruction.

Oh, and the one pointing at you...pretty sure that's Sam W. Anderson in his prime.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Coming Soon from Deadite Press...



I mean seriously, how kick-ass is this cover?  Oh, and if you'd like to get it now but in a limited edition hard cover, click on over here.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Screenplays, Screenplays, Screenplays

So yesterday, I gave you a big update and discussed how I was focusing my writing brain on screenplays.  Today, I've come to tell you what screenplays I'm working on.

Ready?

1.  A screenplay adaptation of my novella BLOOD SPRING.  I'm almost done with the first draft.

2.  A screenplay adaptation of my novel PROGENY.  Pretty much just started this.

3.  Circling a plan to adapt my novel WALKING SHADOWS.  This is in the early "idea" stage.

4.  A couple of ideas for original screenplays but those are, again, only ideas right now.

As you can see, I'm heavily at work adapting my own...work...into screenplays.  Why?  Well, they're mine.  I have the freedom to adapt them because no one has optioned them yet.  Plus, a finished screenplay makes the work more attractive to someone considering an option because hey, the screenplay's already written.  They don't have to hire someone else to adapt it.  And, more to the point, I get my name on the film as a screen writer (hopefully) not just as the original novelist.

This doesn't mean I won't write original screenplays.  I just don't want to spend a lot of time on an original screenplay when I've got plenty of material that already exists to exploit.   And exploit I shall.

 

Monday, August 25, 2014

Career Transition Planning

What the hell is up?  I mean with me, not you.  I'm in complete selfish mode here so bare with me.

As many have you have not noted, this blog has been slow in the updating.  In a previous post, I mentioned I was busy and sorting some stuff out.  Well, I think I've come to the point where I can start sharing some stuff with those that want to know what's going on, or at least, what you can expect in the near future.

1.  The copy edits for DEMON are done and at my publisher.  For those that haven't been keeping up, DEMON is being re-issued as an e-book from Harper Voyager Impulse (part of big Harper Collins).  The e-book should hit the street in late September.  More to follow as it nears.  If sales go well, they'll do a paperback.

2.  I've turned in my latest version of GUARDIAN (once titled GUARDIANS) to the same publisher.  It's not the last version (need to make some continuation changes to match the final changes to DEMON) but it's pretty close (unless my editor rips it apart).  Same deal: first an e-book and if sales are good, then a paperback.  Expect that to hit the street sometime early 2015.

3.  I've pretty much wrapped up my part on the second installment from Mondo Blood, tentatively title BARBARIAN BITCHES OF LAGUNA BAY.  For those shocked by that title, remember, these books are tributes to 70s era grindhouse flicks.  Oh, and the first book was titled ESCAPE FROM SHIT TOWN.  I think we're improving!

4.  The paperback of ESCAPE FROM SHIT TOWN will either hit the street late this year or early next.  There were delays in art work or something so the release got pushed.  Rest assured, the paperback will eventually be released by Deadite Press.

5.  Now for the future:  I'm sure there will be a third Mondo Blood book somewhere down the line.  All depends on sales, of course.  The third book in my angel series after DEMON and GUARDIAN is titled WATCHER and is pretty much finished.  I'm hoping, if DEMON and GUARDIAN do well, Harper Voyager Impulse will want to continue the series.  After WATCHER, I have rough ideas for at least three more books.

6.  Outside of that, I plan to devote most of my writing time to screenplays.  I think I've mentioned this before but my number one love, entertainment wise, is film, and screenplays fit my writing style perfectly (minimal, good dialogue, good pacing).  And if I'm ever going to get into films, I need to fucking sit down and commit to writing screenplays.  It doesn't mean I'm done with books.  Far from it, especially if DEMON does well.  It just means, for the near future, I need to take a crack at screenplays.

So, got some books coming out.  Got some screenplays to write.  Need to do a better job updating this blog.

I think I'm all caught up now.

Oh, wait, speaking of films.  BIGFOOT CRANK STOMP will be optioned.  It doesn't mean it's going to workout but it does have promise and is far closer to being a movie now than it was a few months ago.  I'm very excited about this, especially since I wrote the screenplay (see, my strategy is already working).

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Mandatory Hump Day Self-Promotion



Because what better day to self-promote than Hump Day?

So what work of mine do I choose to beat you over the head with today?  Why my supernatural noir thriller Santa Muerte Series.

Why?

Well, I got to to thinking about True Detective and the rumors its second season is going to take place in California.  That's it's going to involve the Border and Cartel violence.  Maybe even drug trafficking, human trafficking and human...sacrifice.

Of course, these are rumors.  Nothing substantiated.  But these rumors did get me thinking...

Then they reminded me I already wrote a novel about the Border and Cartel violence involving drug trafficking, human trafficking and, most of all, human sacrifice.  It's a little book called DYING OF THE LIGHT.  Here's the synopsis:

Meet Walter, a photographer, whose quest to get the perfect photo leads him to witness life-altering depravity... 

Walter, a once great photojournalist turned errand boy. Once he hunted for the photo that could change the world. Now he snaps shots of interesting architecture and female beauties. 

After years of self-imposed exile and confinement, Walter is ready to get back in the game. Ready to find that picture that will haunt the world. Ready to tackle the sex trafficking occurring on the US-Mexico Border. 

Ready to confront his demons and embrace them. 

But what does one do when those demons are more than willing to embrace you back? Soon Walter finds himself in a deep and dark world veiled from the public. One full of people who consider death a gateway to immortality. And flesh peddling a necessary step in the process to immortality. 

For Walter, the question isn't if he wants to survive. It's if he wants to become a part of the wheel of death or a cog in its machine.


Then I got to thinking about other rumors about True Detective's second season.  Rumors that say it'll be set in California but will involve a string of "occult" like murders along the Border.  And that, hey, these murders might actually be human sacrifices performed by a Death Cult (ala the Yellow King).

Again, just rumors.  But it got me thinking...

Then I realized I also already wrote a novel about occult murders along the Border that just happen to be human sacrifices that tie back to a Death Cult.  It's a book called PROGENY.  Here's the synopsis:

For man-for-hire, Frank Baldwin, it seems like the perfect job. Enter Mexico, locate missing pop princess, Melony Van Kyle, and return her to her father to collect $100,000. Easy.

With his intricate knowledge of Tijuana's seedy and dangerous underworld, Frank should have no problem locating his high-profile target. Still, he can't shake the feeling that something isn't right about his latest gig. When it becomes apparent that the missing girl may be connected to the death-worshiping Santa Muerte cult, Frank knows he should quit the job.

His dreams haunted by visions of a burning Tijuana and a hideous death god, he pushes deeper into the mystery. When Frank is visited by the dead, he realizes that he is in too deep. There are forces at work in TJ ... supernatural forces that proffer only death and damnation. And these forces have big plans for Frank ...


Then I got to thinking about a third set of rumors about True Detective's second season.  Rumors that say it'll be set in California but will involve corruption and murder around public transportation (you know, Roger Rabbit).  And that, hey, these murders might actually be human sacrifices performed by a Death Cult (ala the Yellow King).

Then I realized I also already wrote a novelette about occult murders along transportation corridors that just happen to be human sacrifices that tie back to a Death Cult.  It's a book called CONSECRATED HIGHWAYS and it can be found in the collection THE MUERTE SEQUENCE (gee, wonder what the other stories in there are about?).  Here's the synopsis:

Instead of choosing a life of goodness and reflection, Matt has built himself into one of the most feared gun-for-hire operators in the country. The way he sees it, he's doing a public service, taking out the bad guys before they hurt too many innocents. Innocents like his poor sister.

But what happens when you're too good at your job? When Death takes notice of you and appreciates your service? When you baptize yourself in blood?

Matt faces the tough answers to those questions as he hunts down a crazy drug cartel killer racing across the country, carrying out human sacrifices in the name of his pagan god. And he'll learn what price he'll have to ultimately pay for being hand chosen by the Mother of Death.


So, there you go.  I think this all of this is adequate proof I should be a staff writer for True Detective.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Mad Max: Fury Road trailer, or: How I Just Relived My Childhood in Two Minutes

This!  This!  Holy Shit!  This!

So, like, I've been Super Busy...

Some people may be wondering, Hey, where's Erik been?  I mean, he's still posting here and there but it's just self-promotion shit and he's not doing his normal thing.  You know, where he yells a lot about stuff no one cares about or flame sprays a stupid movie or pimps a friend's book.  You know, what a few people actually liked about his blog.

Well, I've been super busy.  For realsies.

That may be a lame excuse but it's the one I'm sticking to.  Between the day job (which about crushed me a couple of months ago), a breakneck screenplay revision, a breakneck revision to GUARDIAN to ensure at least the first three chapters make it in as a bonus for the DEMON e-book, oh, and getting DEMON ready to go (still in progress), I've been busy.  Throw in some personal stuff I won't get into along with the day to day effort of being Husband, Dad, and Neighbor while also accepting the fact I need to be better at all three and working hard on all three...

Shit, man, I'm tired.  Beat-up and tired.

Now I'm not looking for sympathy.  A lot of this is self-inflicted and I'm handling it.  And I should have more time to get angry and drop bombs on stupid movies again real soon.

Promise.  

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Coming Soon...


Well, the cover's up on Amazon so I guess it's cool to post it.  And, hey, you can pre-order it as well.

For those who were nice enough to purchase the original limited edition hard cover and paperback, just so you know, there will be some differences in the new mass market version.  Nothing major plot wise but enough to make your paper copies, hopefully, more collectible.  So, there's that.

For those waiting for the promised sequel GUARDIAN, you'll still have to wait.  But not too long.  And why not pick up the latest mass market version, get reacquainted with Mike Caldwell and the demon Semyaza, find those changes from the original, and prime your self for the eventual sequel?  Good idea, huh?

Thanks in advance.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Walking Shadows - Chapter Forty

Chapter Forty

Payday held Ben through the night.  In the morning, he dug a grave and buried his friend.  He left it unmarked.
Sitting next to it, he looked at his shoulder and wondered how much longer he had.  The wound had clotted but without treating it, infection would set in.  And if he moved just right, the bleeding would start again.
Why wait? he thought and lifted Ben’s SIG and considered pushing it into his mouth.  Eat a bullet, as Ben would say.
Out of the corner of his eye, Payday caught something moving.  He twisted and aimed.
A few feet away a jack rabbit sat staring at him.
Payday lowered the gun and smiled.  The rabbit lingered a few more moments and then hopped away.  He followed it until he couldn’t see it anymore.  Then he laughed.
Hope survives in Primm, he thought and looked at Ben’s grave.  So what do you think that means?

Payday nodded and started ripping strips from his shirt to dress his shoulder.  There was a note waiting for him, he knew, taped under the counter in a food mart in Arizona.  He wasn’t going to read it any time soon unless he got moving.

THE END

Walking Shadows - Chapter Thirty-Nine

Chapter Thirty-Nine

Payday knelt next to Ben and inspected the wounds.  Clean through the chest and back.  Massive blood loss.  Internal injuries too grim to calculate.  He was alive, barely, but there was no way he’d survive.
Christ, Payday thought and lowered his head.
“What are you moping about?” Ben said around raspy breaths.  His voice was weak and faraway.  His eyes mere slits.
Payday dropped the MP-5 and wiped tears from his eyes with his right hand.  “I’m sorry about all this.”
“You’re hit.”
“What?”
“You’re hit.”
Payday looked at his left shoulder.  He felt blood running down his neck from his ear.  He was a red mess.  Somehow he’d forgotten about it until now.  He felt no pain, thanks to the adrenaline and endorphins stampeding through his system.  But that would soon change, he knew.
“I’m ok.”
“I’m not.”  Ben flashed a frail grin.
He lifted his right hand up and Payday took it in his own, squeezing tight, willing some of his life to some how pass into Ben.
“I’ve still got the Demerol,” Ben said.  “It’ll help with the pain.”
“No.”
“Come on, Payday.  That shoulder is going to hurt like a son of a bitch real soon.  Same with the ear.”
“No.  This is my cross.”  Payday motioned his head toward Ben.  “Maybe you should take some.”
Ben shook his head.  “It doesn’t hurt anymore.”
A few moments of silence passed between them.
“It kind of makes sense,” Ben said, barely above a whisper.
“What’s that?”
“The same guy from the sporting goods store.  Not a coincidence at all.”
“I don’t follow.”
“We were meant to stop him.  We save some lives down the road.  Don’t you think?”
“That’s a good way to look at it.”
“Yeah, I like the way that sounds.”
More silence.
“Thank you for saving my life,” Ben said.
“Thank you for-”
            The words locked up on his tongue.  He looked down at Ben’s unblinking eyes and for a moment thought his friend was just messing with him.  Then it sunk in.  As he held Ben’s lifeless hand, he wept.

Walking Shadows - Chapter Thirty-Eight

Chapter Thirty-Eight

They arrived in Primm just before sunset.  Payday pointed out the billowing smoke rising outside the town in an open area of desert.  Before heading off toward it, Ben drove around the hotels and casinos, looking for any signs of life.  They didn’t find any.
“What do you think?” Payday said.
Ben watched the sun dipping near the horizon and shrugged.  “Maybe it was bullshit.”
“There is that fire.  Someone started it and kept it going.  And there are no bodies anywhere.  So someone cleaned up.”
Yeah, Ben thought.  But he didn’t have a good feeling about the fire.  Something odd about it.  Why go through the trouble of building one in the first place?  If it was to dispose of dead bodies, wouldn’t it have been easier just to dig a big hole in the desert and bury them?  The fire required fuel and there weren’t any trees here.  Which meant whoever built it took material from the hotels.  That’s a lot of work.
“What do you think?” Ben said.
A long silence.  “Let’s go check it out and get it over with.”
Ben drove off the road toward the fire.  As he they closed, he noticed bodies on the ground, lying in rows in front of what appeared to be a stage.
“What the fuck?” he said.

*  *  *  *  *

Maynard heard the pop-pop, pause, pop-pop of a Harley Davidson engine.  His head snapped to the left, keying in on the sound.  It grew closer.
He considered his weapons but decided to leave them both where there were; holstered and slung over his shoulder.  He had delivered mercy in a civil way to those lying before him.  And all of them had seemed peaceful and at ease as they took their drink.  No one screamed.  No one ran.  Many thanked him.
Maynard, looking over his congregation now, had never seen anything so beautiful.  He could certainly deliver mercy the same way to two more.

*  *  *  *  *

Payday watched the scene unfold in front of them over Ben’s shoulder.  Rows of bodies, neatly line-up, as if a platoon of soldiers had crumpled and died on command.  Only these weren’t soldiers.  There were men and women and children.  All together in formation.  A regiment of dead.
Hope and salvation, he thought.
Ben slowed as they pulled up.  He parked and grabbed the SIG before getting off the bike.  Payday followed his lead, lifting the MP-5 over his head and making sure a round was already chambered.
“What the hell happened?” Payday said.
Ben didn’t reply.  Instead, he walked between the rows, studying the dead.  Payday fell in behind him.  The bodies looked like normal enough people.  No black zigzags.  No yellow eyes.  No bullet holes.  No bite marks.  No torn clothes.
“Over here,” Ben said.
Payday hadn’t realized he’d stopped moving.  He turned.  Ben stood at the end of a row, looking at a punchbowl on a bench.

*  *  *  *  *

Maynard watched the white man with the SIG Sauer and the black man with the MP-5 walk amongst his flock.  There was something familiar about them but he couldn’t place it.  He could kill them both now, if he wanted.  But Caesar’s words kept echoing in his head.
“It’s not mercy if you don’t want to die.”
Were those the words?  He couldn’t remember for sure.  He was exhausted from this day’s work.  But they seemed right.  Maynard wanted to give them a choice.  To share with them the beauty of his mercy.

*  *  *  *  *

Ben held up a ladle which had been resting in the nearly empty punch bowl.  He swallowed hard and watched the sun touch the earth, bathing the desert in hues of orange and purple.  A small wind blew from the west.
Good Christ, he thought.  This is hope and salvation?
He wished he’d never turned the radio on.  He wished he swallowed the whole bottle of Demerol.  He wished he’d eaten the bullet long ago.
“Poison?” Payday said as he walked up.
Ben nodded.
“Like that one place?”
“Jonestown.”  Ben looked at his friend.  “I’m sorry I brought you here.”
“Why are you sorry?”
Ben spun, SIG raised and leveled at the voice.  He saw a white man walking toward him with his hands up.  A shotgun was slung over his shoulder.  A pistol in a holster rested against his ribs.
“Don’t come any closer,” Ben said.
The man stopped.  “But you have come to me.”
“We came here because we heard a radio broadcast promising hope and salvation.”
“Ah.”  The man chuckled.  “There was a man here, a preacher, who promised those things.  But he was a charlatan.  He preyed on the hopelessness of these people, convincing many that the only way to be saved was through burning alive.”  The man pointed at the bonfire.  “In there.”
“Good Christ,” Payday said behind him.
Ben didn’t have a good feeling about this guy.  Not one bit.  And there was something familiar about him.  He couldn’t place it but felt he knew the man somehow.
“What happened to the preacher?”
“I killed him.”
Ben swallowed.  “And all these people.”
“Asked for a merciful death and I delivered them.”
“Stay behind me, Payday,” Ben said.
“There is no need to hide,” the man said.  “I mean no harm.  You have a choice.”
“Like these people did?”  Where do I know this guy from?
  “All voluntary.  Every last one.”
“And you think it’s a good thing.”
“It’s why I’m here.”  His eyes narrowed, focusing on Ben.  “I am an Angel of Merciful Death.”
“Angel of what?” Payday said.
The sporting goods store, Ben thought.  It was him.
Ben’s grip on the SIG tightened and his finger started to squeeze the trigger.  “Stay behind me, Payday.”

*  *  *  *  *

Maynard noticed the man’s eyes widen and his stance stiffen.  It was barely noticeable and only a trained eye would have caught it.  In the next breath, Maynard abandoned the conversation, his right hand moving to the Beretta and drawing.

*  *  *  *  *

“Screw staying back.”  Payday stepped forward, MP-5 trained on the wacko.  He wasn’t going to wait for this guy to try and jam poison down their throats.  “Nah, Ben, this guy’s fucking crazy.”
Ben’s left arm sprang out and hit Payday’s chest and knocked him back.  The next thing Payday heard was a gun shot.  Something hot ripped through his left shoulder.  As he fell backward and hit the ground, he heard several more gunshots.

*  *  *  *  *

As Ben slapped Payday back behind him, the man reached for his pistol.  Ben had never seen someone move so fast.  The man had his gun drawn and leveled like an old school gunslinger.  Ben squeezed the trigger of the SIG and pushed Payday at the same time.  The man fired.  Ben felt the bullet zip past his head and heard it hit Payday.
No time to check on him, though.  Ben shot and missed, his body still compensating from having to shove Payday.  He jumped onto the ground and rolled sideways as three more bullets rang out, hitting the sand around him.  He managed to straighten his arm and fire rounds at the attacker.  But his aim was off and the man returned rapid fire.
Shit, shit, shit, Ben thought and risked a glance at Payday.  Still alive, his chest rising and falling in shallow bursts.
Keep moving, he thought and rolled behind the body of a fat man.

*  *  *  *  *

Maynard couldn’t see the white man from his position.  He’d rolled behind a fat man and the size of the man’s stomach provided good cover.
He cursed himself for not taking the shot sooner, when it had become clear the two were hostile to his motives.  Now he’d have to move even closer to finish the white man off.
No, I won’t, he thought.  Maynard remembered now.  The sporting goods store in L.A.  The man was a professional.  One who knew to keep moving, to advance and put rounds on his target.  So Maynard would let him.

*  *  *  *  *

Ben forced himself to take slow, deep breaths.
Now how do you get out of this? he thought.  Keep moving.  Don’t let him pin you down.
He smirked.  So what the fuck are you waiting for?
Ben jumped to his feet and ran and fired.  He shot wild and it took him a second to locate the target.  Before he could adjust his aim a sharp sting pierced his chest, rocking his stride.  He didn’t quit though.  Getting hit actually helped because the shooter now had to adjust his aim since Ben had moved sideways from the blow.
And now Ben had the man lined up in the SIG’s sites.
He squeezed the trigger and watched the attacker’s shoulders snap back and fall a split second later.  Then the world blurred and Ben felt himself falling as the pain burned from his chest into his neck and stomach.

*  *  *  *  *

Maynard rolled onto his back, clutching his right shoulder.  He sat up on and tried to raise the Beretta but couldn’t move his right arm.  He shifted the gun to his left and aimed at the body.  It didn’t move.
He pushed up to his feet, grinding his teeth and the pain in his shoulder surged into his back.  He kept the gun on the body for another few moments, looking for any signs of life.
The other guy, Maynard thought.
He lingered on the white man for another moment before he felt sure he was no longer a threat.  To be safe, he fire two more rounds into the man’s back.  No movement.
Maynard turned to go check on the black man.

*  *  *  *  *

Payday heard the shots behind him.  Then the footsteps drawing closer.  He was on his left side, staring at the rifle.  He’d dropped the MP-5 when he fell and it was out of his reach.
I’m going to die here, Payday thought.
The footsteps were louder, almost on him.  His right forearm rested on his hip, his fingers dangling.  He flexed them as he tried to control his breathing.  The tips brushed something.
The Ka-bar, he thought.  He moved slow, wrapping his fingers around the hilt.  I’ll only get one chance at him.
The footsteps stopped near his head. Payday heard breathing.  Hard.
“I know you’re alive,” the man said.
“I don’t want your mercy.”  Payday’s right hand squeezed the hilt.
“You don’t have a choice anymore.”  The man kicked him in the back.  “Turnover and look at me.”
Payday didn’t move.  Keep him talking.  “Just shoot me.”
“I will.  First, I want you to look at me.”
Payday still didn’t move.  The man kicked him again.  The toe of a boot dug into his spine.  Against his will, he cried out.
“Your friend is dead.”  The man kicked again.  “If you want this to end, you will turnover and look at me.”
Payday started to roll onto his back but stopped.  “I don’t want to feel anymore pain.”
“Then turnover and look at me.”
Payday heard him kneel.  A hand clasped his shoulder.
“Turnover and behold your angel.”
Payday rolled onto his back and screamed and swung the knife and slammed it into the man.  The blade shuddered as the tip penetrated through flesh and bone.  He didn’t see where it pierced though.  Didn’t care, either.  Just needed to buy time.
The man gasped and fired.  The bullet raked the left side of Payday’s face and ripped through his ear.  He wanted to scream but kept moving, scrambling on his knees toward the MP-5.
Behind him, the man kept gasping for air.  Another shot but it hit the sand a few feet away from Payday.
Payday grasped the MP-5 and spun around and aimed and fired, sending three bursts of three rounds each.  The first couple didn’t connect, sending sand flying as they hit the desert floor.  But the next few did, punching holes into the man’s side and chest.
He stared down the barrel at the man, lying on his back, knife sunk into his chest.  Blood oozed from the fresh bullet wounds to his torso.
Payday started to walk toward him but stopped and thought, Don’t make the same mistake he did.
Right.

Payday aimed at the man’s head and fired another burst.