Short Stories

Tales from the Ruins

The Aftermath

Tales from the Ruins: A Post-Apocalyptic Anthology
Black Beacon Books 02/25/2023

Fourteen terrifying tales of a ruined tomorrow!

Was it nuclear war, an uncontrollable pandemic, or forces beyond our reckoning? Will we even know what happened once supply lines have been cut, radio silence has kicked in, and our world has come to a grinding halt? Who will have what it takes to carry on? Who will want to?

This cataclysmic anthology casts the reader into a post-apocalyptic world where every step taken and every decision made can mean the difference between life and death. These are epic stories of a world in ruins, but they are also intimate and moving accounts. Our masterful contributors take you by the hand and show you what will be. Don’t let go, whatever you do…hold on tight! You will share the characters’ struggles as you navigate wastelands or hole up as best you can in the crumbling remains of supermarkets and abandoned houses. You will go hungry. Your feet will grow numb. You will fear, and you might have to fight to the death. But in the end, you will remember it is only a book, and that you can close it, knowing you are safe and sound, because we are not in a post-apocalyptic world. Not here. Not now. Not today. But what will tomorrow bring?

The Aftermath – Claire Davon
Hell Takes All Prisoners – Karen Bayly
Chasing the White Limousine – Kurt Newton
An Interlude in the English Civil War – David Turnbull
Kissidougou Christmas – Michael Picco
The Fields – Mark Towse
Cast Upon the Water – Joseph S. Walker
Help, Scotland – Malcolm Timperley
The Deep End – Cameron Trost
End of the Line – Louise Zedda-Sampson
The Death of a Raccoon – Adam Breckenridge
Darkness at the Edge of Men – Stuart Olver
Sailors’ Delight – Claire Fitzpatrick
Homecoming – L.P. Ring


‘Where is everybody?’

When everything went silent, we put it down to the snow and ice of the desolate Yukon area. This was the Arctic and things went wrong, but we had provisions and the experience to survive.

We didn’t worry, not right away, as we continued with our data gathering. While we hadn’t anticipated being this cut-off, neither did it trouble us.

We expected some folks during our time away, but hadn’t glimpsed another soul. While it was odd, we were too busy doing our jobs to take much note of it.

When we started heading back was when we finally admitted things were weird. We came to one of those tiny villages that subsisted for months with no contact from the outside world, but that place was abandoned. Although I wouldn’t admit it to Roan, I started to worry.

We reached our facility, but it was empty. No scientists, no staff, nothing but a pack of hungry dogs. We backed away from their snapping jaws and bared teeth. All the while Roan kept trying to reach someone, anyone, but picked up nothing. Perhaps they’d had to leave due to some emergency, and when our systems failed, they couldn’t locate us to give us the new plan.

Roan shook his head, gazing around at the empty base. The buildings showed no signs of life. The only movement was the hop of a rabbit in the distance, and the trees where bears or elk moved.

‘Let’s keep going. There’s a town not too far.’

Roan was calm on the surface, but the tremor in his hands told me that his outward tranquility was a lie.

‘Sure. We can get supplies at that rustic grocery store.’

The place a short distance from our base was as deserted as the prior two locations. Snow piled high in the streets, the drifts making driving difficult. The stores were quiet and dark, and we couldn’t detect any movement.

I tried to control the alarm surging through my body, but the tightening of my shoulders gave me away.

‘What’s going on?’