Authors: David Bruns,Nick Cole,E. E. Giorgi,David Adams,Deirdre Gould,Michael Bunker,Jennifer Ellis,Stefan Bolz,Harlow C. Fallon,Hank Garner,Todd Barselow,Chris Pourteau
First Kindle Edition: November 2015
Thank you for purchasing this ebook. It is a work of fiction. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is coincidental and not intended by the authors.
Aspects of some of these stories are inspired by worlds created by their respective authors. Used with permission of the authors.
No part of this book may be reproduced, or stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without express written permission. Permission must be obtained from the individual copyright owners as identified herein.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
Foreword by Mary Buckham, copyright © 2015 by Mary Buckham. Used by permission of the author.
“The Water Finder’s Shadow” by David Bruns, copyright © 2015 by David Bruns. Used by permission of the author.
“When You Open the Cages for Those Who Can’t” by Edward W. Robertson, copyright © 2015 by Edward W. Robertson. Used by permission of the author.
“Protector” by Stefan Bolz, copyright © 2015 by Stefan Bolz. Used by permission of the author.
“The Poetry of Santiago” by Jennifer Ellis, copyright © 2015 by Jennifer Ellis. Used by permission of the author.
“Demon and Emily” by David Adams, copyright © 2015 by David Adams. Used by permission of the author.
“Keena’s Lament” by Hank Garner, copyright © 2015 by Hank Garner. Used by permission of the author.
“Tomorrow Found” by Nick Cole, copyright © 2015 by Nick Cole. Used by permission of the author.
“Pet Shop” by Deirdre Gould, copyright © 2015 by Deirdre Gould. Used by permission of the author.
“Kael Takes Wing” by E.E. Giorgi, copyright © 2015 by E.E. Giorgi. Used by permission of the author.
“The Bear’s Child” by Harlow C. Fallon, copyright © 2015 by Harlow C. Fallon. Used by permission of the author.
“Wings of Paradise” by Todd Barselow, copyright © 2015 by Todd Barselow. Used by permission of the author.
“Ghost Light” by Steven Savile, copyright © 2015 by Steven Savile. Used by permission of the author.
“Kristy’s Song” by Michael Bunker, copyright © 2015 by Michael Bunker. Used by permission of the author.
“Unconditional” by Chris Pourteau, copyright © 2015 by Chris Pourteau. Used by permission of the author.
Cover design copyright © 2015 by Adam Hall (
). All rights reserved. Used by permission.
Editing by Chris Pourteau (
Formatting by Polgarus Studios (
The authors support the work of Pets for Vets, Inc., and the Humane Society of the United States.
For our four-legged, feathered, and winged friends
Who often teach their human neighbors on this planet
What it means to be humane
The Water Finder’s Shadow
by David Bruns
Imagine an earth where water is the new oil, where humanity is reduced to the
—who live in water-secure cities—and the
: roaming clans who live a life of perpetual thirst in the open desert. Polluk, a Water Finder, and his dog, Shadow, make a living by showing the clans where to dig for life-giving moisture. As Polluk’s water-finding skills begin to fade, only Shadow’s uncanny ability to find water keeps him alive and free. But dogs don’t live as long as their human companions, and with Shadow’s passing, Polluk’s secret is sure to come out.
When You Open the Cages for Those Who Can’t (a
by Edward W. Robertson
The plague takes everything from Raina. Her parents. Her future. Her safety. But it can’t take her will to go on. Knowing there are dogs trapped in the animal hospital where her mom worked, she crosses what remains of Los Angeles to save them—and to find a way forward.
by Stefan Bolz
This is a tale of courage and sacrifice, of undying loyalty and of the importance of the pack. At the heart of the story lies the relationship between two cubs—one of them a twelve-year-old boy, the other a young wolf. Neither of them is equipped to survive alone, and one of them will become a legend, remembered for generations to come.
The Poetry of Santiago
by Jennifer Ellis
Life on the streets was tough, even for a cat with style and smarts like Santiago. When this aging cat takes refuge in an antique store, he finds more than he’d hoped for. A year later, despite his failing eyesight and sense of smell, Santiago knows that something very bad is about to befall Pompei. How can a cat that can’t speak get his beloved adopted owner out of the city in time?
Demon and Emily (a
Symphony of War
by David Adams
My name is Demon. I’m a good boy. I’m a good boy because my human, Emily, tells me so. One day, terrible lightning and thunder comes to Polema, and even more terrible things follow. Normally when thunder comes, the humans aren’t scared and they comfort me. This time they’re terrified. So now it’s me who has to be brave. I will protect my human, and I will be a good boy. No matter how scary the thunder or the monsters are.
Keena’s Lament (a
by Hank Garner
If you look back through time, you’ll see some calamities recorded as history. Some, relegated to myth and legend, have become part of our collective unconscious. When a Watcher, one of the ancient ones, witnesses the end of the world, he’s hard pressed to care about its price—until his companion, Keena, becomes part of the cost. Can a being who’s nearly immortal learn to value the transient nature of life?
Tomorrow Found (a
by Nick Cole
A nuclear war would kill off much of the world’s population. In the years that follow, friends forged in the crucible of the Wasteland, whether canine or human, would be rare. Here’s a story about loneliness and the wasteland we can find inside ourselves when we’re too long out there. Here’s a story about two friends crossing the terribleness that is the end of the world.
Pet Shop (an
After the Cure
by Deirdre Gould
Life in a shopping mall pet shop was never fun for an unwanted parrot named Surly Shirley. But after the humans disappear and leave Surly and the other animals locked in their cages, she must find a way for them to survive. Just as food and water run short, the humans return. But they aren’t anything like the browsing, cooing customers Surly remembers.
Kael Takes Wing (a
by E.E. Giorgi
When his mother fails to come home from a night of hunting, a falcon chick, hungry and looking for food, tumbles from his nest. Rescued by cyborgs—one of only two surviving human races in the world—the chick grows into a strong fledgling who longs to return to the freedom of the skies. But to learn to fly, he must first overcome a paralyzing fear of falling … and salve the loneliness left behind by his missing mother.
The Bear’s Child
by Harlow C. Fallon
In the domed city of Icarus, people live easy lives free from the severities of disease, poverty, and unpredictable weather. But for Anya, life is anything but easy. She and many others live outside the dome as Ferals: cast out, disease ridden, vulnerable. Her connection with her clan, even her family, is troubled at best. But when she meets a bear in the wild, Anya finds friendship and family, even as the Icarites seek to exterminate their outcast brethren once and for all.
Wings of Paradise
by Todd Barselow
In the post-Collapse world, animals are returned to the top of the food chain after nearly all the Humans on the planet have perished. The Budgies and Bats of Davao City are expanding their colonies as nature intended when they stumble upon remnants of the Human population. The decisions made after this discovery will affect all those involved in ways they could never imagine.
by Steven Savile
Buttons are pushed. Missiles fly. Mushroom clouds bloom. A plane load of passengers manages to land safely on an isolated road in the Scottish Highlands. Amid the desolation, a handful of passengers begin a quest across England to find whatever hope remains in a landscape desolated by nuclear war. As, one by one, the self-proclaimed Grail Knights fall to fate, one man finds himself guided by a golden-furred phantom in a final quest to go home again.
Kristy’s Song (a
by Michael Bunker
In the world of New Pennsylvania, the ongoing battle between the TRACE rebels and the governing Transport Authority means that war is an ever-present reality. Up on the Shelf, under-populated cities—never abandoned because they were never really occupied—stand as decaying memorials to the ongoing war. Kristy, a dog for her time, helps her best friend make contraband runs into and out of New Detroit, but will they both make it home in one piece.
by Chris Pourteau
The peaceful cool of a fall day is shattered when the Storm of Teeth consumes the world. A little closer to home, a dog watches, terrified, as his human family battles a herd of walking corpses. Forced to leave their pet behind, the family flees for their lives. The dog begins his odyssey through the zombie apocalypse to search for them. But can he find the boy he loves more than life itself?
by Mary Buckham
When the visionary author, editor, and producer behind
Tails of the Apocalypse
, Chris Pourteau, invited me to write a foreword to an anthology he described as
The Walking Dead
The Incredible Journey
, I had no idea how 14 authors were going to pull together stories that did not all sound the same. The concept of a dystopian, post-apocalyptic world seen through the eyes of a variety of animals (or the humans in relation to their animals) was not something I’d ever considered. To say I was blown away by not only the power of these stories but by the affirmation of the human-animal connection in them is an understatement.