Rise upMany thanks to Coffee Time Romance for the opportunity to participate in the October horror event. C.S. Fuqua’s latest book, Rise Up, scheduled for October 2012 publication by Mundania Press, collects two dozen short stories that span nearly thirty years of Fuqua’s career, featuring ghosts and faeries, the macabre and mundane, rich and poor, and distraught and jubilant. From the dark fantasy of “Rise Up” and science fiction comedy of “The Garbler” to the science fiction of “All the Brave Soldiers,” each story in Rise Up explores the motivations, actions, and consequences that force ordinary people to become extraordinary.

Rise Up’s stories intertwine good and evil and how we waver between condemnation and redemption: the cold-heartedness of a president in “All the Brave Soldiers,” the pity of a ghostly girl for a dying general in “Grace,” modern society’s propensity for foolish restrictions in “The Addict.” The title piece, “Rise Up,” explores second chances when a mandolin player uses music to resurrect his fiancée following her tragic death, only to bear even greater tragedy in the long run. In “Demons,” an Iraqi War veteran suffering PTSD mines the depths of compassion when he befriends a phooka, tortured and starved to the brink of insanity. Evil comes in many guises, from the man who saves children from life’s heartaches, to the mechanic who grossly overcharges clients for unneeded repairs, to the politicians who deceive countries into war to torture and maim in the name of a plethora of gods.

Sometimes we recognize evil’s approach; sometimes we don’t. Rise Up explores the consequences.

For more information on Rise Up, please visit http://mundania.com/book.php?title=Rise+Up. For a free sample eBook, write to me at fuqua.cs[at]gmail[dot]com with “free eBook” in the subject line. Please specify format (ePub, Kindle/Mobi, PDF). Thank you very much for stopping by. Please visit my website at http://csfuqua.comxa.com.


The following is an excerpt from Rise Up’s opening story, “All the Brave Soldiers.”

“All the Brave Soldiers” is based on remarkable science that has reportedly enabled researchers to place dogs into suspended animation and later reanimate them without harm, physically or mentally. The technique’s first practical application for humans is expected to be on the battlefield, ostensibly to save lives by allowing medics to place severely wounded soldiers into suspended animation for revival and treatment at a hospital, increasing survival rate while decreasing time to return a soldier to duty.

All the Brave Soldiers

The gavel echoes.

Murmurs fade. The senator lays the gavel aside, adjusts the microphone before him, clears his throat. His eyes meet those of the elderly man seated at the long table before the panel. “Please continue, Mr. Richards.”

The old man draws a deep breath. “As you know, my daughter and Parker Haynes were the first. Haynes died in the hospital, but my daughter…”

“Mr. Richards,” the senator interrupts, “you’re aware that every soldier in the program fully understands the risks before volunteering. I’m extremely sorry for your loss, but no one could have anticipated…”

“When you play god, Senator,” the old man says, his voice steady, “you must anticipate every possibility.”

Private Kayla Richards’s eyes opened to bare slits against the pain in her gut. Wisps of smoke wafted across her field of vision, and she noted a vague odor akin to barbecue. Machinery clattered in the distance while muted voices droned nearby. Blue sky began to bleach white in the pain. She licked swollen lips, tried to call Parker’s name. She felt a hand lift her head, a click at the base of her skull, a tugging at the tube in her chest. She groaned, and the sky consumed her in a chilling rush.

Shells explode, flies scatter, settle. Heat radiates. She hears the mechanical lock of a pistol’s chamber, turns slowly, her arm, fluid, swinging up the assault rifle. She fires. Blood sprays and a body flails back. She recognizes the fallen soldier’s face. She kneels beside the body and raises her hand to her chest. Her fingers sink through the fatigues and into flesh, grasping, tightening around her heart. She gasps, wrenches it from her chest. Her eyes glaze with indifference as she lays the heart on the dead soldier’s chest. The heart beats once, twice, and the dead soldier smiles up at her. She whispers, “Parker.” He raises his pistol, and Kayla takes the barrel into her mouth, lips scorching against the metal.

Security gave the all-clear. Medical and body recovery units deployed across the battlefield, searching for survivors and loading the dead onto two flatbed trucks. They left dead dogs and cats where they lay and shot the strays and wounded. A burial dozer would be brought in to cover bodies in mass graves once human casualties had been cataloged and personal belongings logged and bagged.

The sky’s white…


Rise Up, a second collection of short stories, is Christopher S. Fuqua’s fourteenth published book and third from Mundania Press. His work has appeared widely in publications as diverse as Bull Spec, Slipstream, Pearl, The Year's Best Horror Stories, Christian Science Monitor, Honolulu Magazine, Naval History, The Writer, and many others. His published books include Alabama Musicians: Musical Heritage from the Heart of Dixie, If I Were (children’s poems), Big Daddy's Gadgets, Trust Walk short fiction collection, Notes to My Becca, and Divorced Dads, among others. His short fiction and poetry collections have earned several “Year’s Best” honors. He is a musician and craftsman of Native American flutes which are sold through WindPoem flutes at www.fluteflights.com. For more information about his writing, please visit his website at http://csfuqua.comxa.com.

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