Sick Cruising – Meet the Writers Part 1

R.C. Mulhare

I’m a writer who grew up surrounded by stories, whether my mum read them to me, or my Irish storyteller dad told them to us, or I read them myself. I had troubles with handwriting as a kid, but I started scribbling down stories starting when I was eleven and I’ve been writing ever since, telling stories where the ordinary takes a turn toward the extraordinary and shining a flashlight into the dark corners of the world and the world beyond.

What is Sick Cruising about?

– Sick Cruising doesn’t just retell “Masque of the Red Death” in a modern setting, it expands on it, introducing us to the guests at this wild, non-stop party on the edge of disaster.

What did you enjoy the most about writing for this guided anthology?

– I cut my teeth in fan fiction, so writing characters invented by someone else and keeping true to how they live and breathe comes as second nature for me. It also gave me a sense of connection, of adding a piece to a fascinating narrative in sections, like an episode in a TV series or a podcast.

Why should the reader pick up this book?

– It’s a crazy time and the world is going mad. But going by “Uncle” Stephen King’s rule that horror fiction helps us rehearse for real-world horrors, these stories will give you an inoculation against the madness of real life.

R.C. Mulhare’s on FB – R.C author page on the ‘Zon


Marcus Cook

My name is Marcus Cook and I am a writer out of Cleveland Ohio. The last two years I have had 22 short stories published or about to be published by the end of the year.
My favorite authors are Elmore Leonard, Dean Kootz and Gregory Mcdonald. You can follow me on facebook under Read marcuscook or email me at readmarcuscook@gmail.com

What is Sick Cruising about?

Is about what happens when the Wealthy rich think they can escape anything because they are rich. It is also about the not so rich believing the same. A story about tragedy and more tragedy with the possibility of hope. (Or not)

What did you enjoy the most about writing for this guided anthology?

I enjoyed writing a story with a group of people. I have been apart of many anthologies where it was twenty different stories in twenty different places. This one is all set in one place and characters pop up here and there or one story introduces a Hurricane and others then have to continue with a hurricane.

Why should the reader pick up this book?

It is a fun and scary tale. You get to know characters and cheer them on or hope they die. It will


S.E. Howard:

I grew up in the heart of the Bluegrass, and have worked as a newspaper reporter, travel writer, and magazine editor. I’ve written about some of Kentucky’s most infamous haunts, including Liberty Hall, Bobby Mackie’s Music World, and Waverly Hills Sanitorium. Currently a registered nurse, I’m also a Certified Specialist in Poison Information.

What is Sick Cruising about?

Sick Cruising is a modern parable, a collection of cautionary tales exploring what can happen when you try to cheat death. Or, in this case, Red Lungs. It’s a viral infection decimating the entire world, and unfortunately, as the cast in the anthology quickly discovers, neither money, privilege, power, nor prestige can guarantee an escape from it.

What did you enjoy the most about writing for this guided anthology?

I enjoyed coming up with the background for my character, Djana Louette. She’s a nurse aboard the All-Powerful, and she’s running away from her past. She’s pretty much on her own when the story begins. Her beloved sister has only recently died from Red Lungs, and in the aftermath of this loss, Djana has given up her job, home, car — her entire life — to go and work for Mitch Winters. In the back of her mind, she knows they can’t really escape the horrors of Red Lungs, but she wants to believe in Winters’s crazy scheme. Like everyone else on board, she wants to break free from the horrific reality of the pandemic and find something new, something better for herself. And when she befriends fellow crew member Michael O’Rourke (who is kind of handsome, she has to admit), she realizes maybe she has.

Why should the reader pick up this book?

Each story builds off the next, with the fear factor mounting every turn of the page. Even though the stories are fictional, and Red Lungs is just imaginary, it’s all-too-easy to see a scenario like this occurring in real life, especially in light of the year we’ve just had. The uber-wealthy ignoring the plight of those less-privileged and wanting to party away the end of the world in luxury and decadence isn’t just something reminiscent of Poe’s classic The Masque of the Red Death. We see it happening in real-time when we turn on the news or open social media. Sick Cruising may be a “worst-case scenario,” but that doesn’t make it any less relevant — or any less gratifying when those who made a deal with the devil finally get their comeuppance.


Richard Hercher

I’m a full-time nerd, dad, and audiobook narrator. I’ve had the privilege of narrating several books for Notch’s House Publishing. Every piece has been a joy to read! This is my first published writing piece and a labor of love. Of course, like almost everyone else in the world, I’ve got a podcast; you can find mine at gravitywelltheater.com, iTunes, Google, you name it, just search for “Gravity Well Theater” where I narrate classic and original science fiction. And if you follow me @GravityWellTh8r I occasionally give away free copies of my audiobooks.

What is Sick Cruising about?

Sick Cruising is a brilliant commentary on the state of the world. It’s a fun house mirror brought to life by so many creative and talented writers. It’s The Poseidon Adventure meets Contagion, with some societal overtones of The Walking Dead, and I got to sprinkle in a few notes from the movie Sideways.

What did you enjoy the most about writing for this guided anthology?

When the editor approached me to narrate on this newest anthology, I was pouring a glass from my favorite local winery. It took me just a few moments of staring at my glass, and I was asking if I could submit a short story in addition to my narration duties. Thus was “The Vintner” born.

Why should the reader pick up this book?

Sometimes you read a book to escape, sometimes you read to put life in sharper relief. Sick Cruising is both: a floating Petri dish of the rich and famous trying to vacation at the height of hubris. I’m lucky to have contributed a small piece along side some fantastic writers, and even luckier to get to read their work.


Reed Kuehn

Reed Kuehn is a combat veteran, an avid runner, and an aspiring writer. While he has called Wisconsin, Washington DC, North Carolina, and Colorado home, he currently lives and writes in Providence, RI. He had been writing seriously for about a year. His flash fiction has appeared with Akashic and Dream Noir and recently had a piece published in the most recent issue of the Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library literary journal, So It Goes.

What is Sick Cruising about?

Sick Cruising is a contemporary story inspired by The Masque of the Red Death by Poe. The current societal climate has exposed common themes of humanity such as denial, elitism, mortality, and morality, and how those themes are expressed during times of crisis. By using the horror genre, this book takes those human aspects and takes them up to level ten.

What did you enjoy the most about writing for this guided anthology?
I have written pieces in the noir style, but this was the first piece that I’ve written in the true horror genre. It was fascinating to step outside my usual comfort zone of writing and dive into something new.

Why should the reader pick up this book?
This book uses the horror genre and the voices of so many talented authors to explore the ideas of base human nature when exposed to an existential threat. The stories are woven into an incredible narrative that will have the readers buckled in for a wild and bloody ride.


Daniel R. Robichaud

I’m Daniel R. Robichaud, a writer, poet, and critic who lives and works in east Texas. I have degrees in Physics and English literature. My work has been collected in Hauntings & Happenstances, They Shot Zombies, Didn’t They?, and Gathered Flowers, Stones, and Bones: Fabulist Fictions. Recent publications include, Hookman and Friends and The Other Side: A Horror Anthology. I write articles for parABnormal magazine and Considering Stories.

What is Sick Cruising about?

Sick Cruising is an anthology interested in exploring one misguided man’s attempt to escape a pandemic through flagrant use of his privilege and wealth. However, he unwittingly invited death along for the ride, and both he and his passengers will suffer. Think “Masque of the Red Death” updated to today’s world.

What did you enjoy the most about writing for this guided anthology?
It was fun to try out a character I might not have chosen to be a protagonist in my other fiction. Trying to find a bit of sympathy for a person who does not invite it through their public persona is a challenge, to say the least. Add to this the difficulties associated with putting together one element in an environment shared by numerous authors and you face some interesting work! Luckily, our editor was there to keep us motivated, keep us thinking outside the boxes we might unintentionally put ourselves in, and keep the interests up.

Why should the reader pick up this book?
Although it might seem ripped from the headlines and therefore a real downer, the stories are entertaining horror riffs. We get a mix of empathetic characters and those we want to see suffer horribly. Some stories hammer the heart through honest emotion while others offer poetic justice (in at least one case at the teeth of some angry sharks). Readers looking for a little escapism and heart will find plenty to reward them here.


Wade Newhouse

I am a Professor of English at William Peace University in Raleigh, NC, where I teach a range of courses from writing to gothic literature to improvisation. I have previously published short spooky fiction in online zines such as 9th Degree, Hello Horror, and Lyonnesse. I also publish scholarly articles and book chapters, most recently on southern literature and the gothic.

I think Sick Cruising is about dealing with fear. Most of the characters in these stories are running to or from something; the ship on which the stories take place thinks it can escape a plague simply by throwing money and distance at it. When we read these stories we are to some degree testing our own imaginary scenarios about what WE would do if COVID really got as bad as it does in these pages.

My favorite part of writing for this anthology was starting with a single character and then watching the interconnected world grow and develop. I had a lot of questions about basic life on a ship when I started writing, and I enjoyed seeing how other writers answered their own versions of my questions in their stories. I particularly enjoyed writing the “Aftermath” because it gave me license to evoke some of the themes and characters that other writers had invented and think about them through the lens of my own style.

A reader should pick up this book if they want some relief from the REAL pandemic through the escapism of a fictional one. The current geopolitical crisis gives us all a chance to think about how and why apocalyptic stories have been so popular throughout history; this version of that age-old formula is JUST close enough to our real world to both shed light on our personal anxieties and give us imaginary respite from them. I think this is a unique opportunity to see history and fiction line up and reveal one another.


Aisling O’Connor

Who are you/writing experiences/etc. (don’t read too much into this, you don’t have to lay bare your soul) just let the readers know why you’re awesome.
I’m an Irish journalist and writer. I’ve been writing fiction, songs, and poetry all my life, but I started really taking it seriously 10 years ago (so, go 14 year old me!). Since then, I’ve had poetry and prose published by Stanzas, An Focal, New Binary Press, and now Sick Cruising! I also run my own blogs thisdreamsalive.com and pricklypineapples.ie.

What is Sick Cruising about?

Sick Cruising is about an eccentric CEO, influencers, and A-listers trying to escape from Covid-21, known as the Red Lungs. Except, an escape from The Dreaming Disease is too good to be true.

What did you enjoy the most about writing for this guided anthology?

It’s always a challenge to write a story with a prompt, especially with this one, because you need to keep it within the same narrative of the overarching story. It was a good challenge! I’ve been writing my own fiction for so long, it was nice to do something slightly different.

Why should the reader pick up this book?

Art is what we turn to to cope with life and the world. This book is both relatable and familiar, if you have a dark sense of humour it will probably help you process what we’re currently living for.

Sick Cruising Prompts and FAQ

I want to thank all the writers and creative folks who wrote for the prompts. And yes, you still have to do that. However to make clearer the flow and direction of this anthology I am adding this post.

Here are some of the characters you may come come in contact with, or be assigned to you.

Mitch Winters

52 yrs old CEO of a top-five hundred company. The All Powerful is an insanely expensive toy. Modern luxurious and huge. You can run your business from afar while the rest of the country burns with fever and chokes in blood. You’re sure you’re safe but your dreams are getting strange. Precognitive dreams are symptom of Red Lungs. You go in denial. How long before that option ends?

Soraya Winters
21 yrs old, trophy 2nd wife You are as smart as you’re opportunistic. As sexy as you can be devious. For now, you’re treated well and your rich husband is still besotted with you. While many are dying you’re aboard a super-yacht, on an open-ended getaway from death sickness and danger. But you never feel truly safe and when on the evening of the fifth day, you join a loud masquerade party; you realize that the virus is aboard. Most everyone is infected. And someone doesn’t want anyone to get out alive.
B.D. Goss

48yrs old CFO, charming, but as selfish as the day is long.
You hate Winters with a passion, why? Is it because of his success? His money? But it’s not something anyone would know. You can hide your emotion like a gifted sociopath, Winters himself doesn’t know. This getaway cruise is your chance to do away with him and take over the business. Enough of the other stockholder will vote for you once winters are gone. It’s a done deal. Too bad with this new pandemic the man has gone into full Howard Hugs mode. But today there’s a major stockholder meeting and everyone will be there in person. You grab an asthma inhaler loaded with the virus. A few sprays in the right places and you’ll be done. Just make sure to stay out of the range, don’t touch anything and get out as fast as reasonably possible. Then you can celebrate with the best looking call girls and purest drugs while waiting for the man to get sick and keel over.
But what gets in your way before you walk as much five feet from your fancy cabin? And how long do you have to live now? Will you even make it off your floor?

Gia Vertain

47yrs old Captain
You’re the captain of the ship. But you’ve got a secret. Your family was made destitute by Winters’ business dealings. Your father committed suicide. Now it’s finally your time to get some revenge. Dr. Mahir called confirming what you already suspected. The virus is on board. You have kept healthy and ensure that your handpicked crew stayed the same. You don’t think twice as you navigate the ship out into the ocean. Now you’ve set and locked the course for the autopilot and are ready to leave. You and your accomplices walk out the bridge and lock it behind. Before you can make it to your lifeboat you’re contaminated. Your accomplices run and you are left behind. More sick people pour into the corridor. What will happen to you?

Murray Holt

Cabin Steward – 22 yrs old.
Flamboyantly gay, unapologetic and so, so cute! At your age you feel immortal, and the hell with quarantine rule! One you found out you'd be shipping out on the All Powerful you threw a hell of a party. Thyla Manors, you BF (well, one of them, after all you're a nice guy with a heart of gold) was one of the attendees. Neither one of you got sick then.

But what do you know. You're sick now, two days in the trip and you wake up with a nasty headache after a night of wild dreams.  Wild enough that the idea of going to sleep again scares you to death. You don't doubt that you're sick, now you have to protect yourself and everyone aboard from you. But you heard rumors of that Winters' bodyguards make sick people disappear. 
What are you going to do?

 

Alvar Vezzio

Tall, muscular and smart.
The head of the security detail for one of the world’s richest men. This is crazy cruise is nothing new for you, who are as tough and well-trained as a mercenary in your field can be.
But three days ago, you bumped into that janitor, Murray? A little twink if you ever saw one, even cute if you rolled that way. And the kid grabbed onto you to keep his balance. Now your throat is a bit scratchy…and you’re feeling run down.
But four self-styled gangstas from SlrFlare entourage needs to be put back into place. Wild is wild, and this cruise is turning into a bacchanal that would put Mardi Gras to shame, but beating up on other guests is not allowed and you got a job to do.
Who knows, maybe later tonight the wife one of the world’s richest men will sneak some love to you in a quiet corner, away from prying eyes.
But first, you have to do your job on this ship where privilege, entitlements, stars, and starlets run with the rest of the passengers in a never-ending party. Who will you pass the sickness to?

Djana Louette

42yrs old nurse
You are at the ship’s entrance. As people board you take their temperature and do a quick inspection. They already passed the first health check down at the dock. But the security is tight. You have already turned away a famous star with her entourage. It took security a good ten minutes before they would leave. Now finally everyone is onboard.
You walk down one of the corridors on the ship. You hear a wet cough that startles you. It reminds you of the hospital where you helped the first patients of this vile new virus. But when you turn you’re alone.
Unsettled you walk on to the sickbay to review the day with the onboard doctors and five other nurses.

Louise Devos

33yrs old nurse
You are excited about this cruise. Open-ended, great pay and away from one of the country’s worst-hit states by Red Lungs. The only problems you expect to face are hangovers, indigestions, and overdoses. All treatable thank God. This morning you helped your new friend and head nurse Djana Louette processes the passengers aboard the ship. Now it’s late afternoon and the ship is leaving the dock and the party is already beginning. As you walk down the corridor you see a bloody red handprint on the wall. Unsettling at best, you’re disgusted. You hear a cough. Wet, deep. Impossible. You follow the sound and come face to face with a man you know, should NOT be aboard. He clobbers you over the head. When you wake up in the bilge. Where no one can hear you scream. Will you make it out alive? How long are in that bilge? How do you get out? Or who gets you out? And are they infected?

Dr. Mustafa Mahir

54yrs old
You’re a damn good doctor, but too old to risk your life in a hospital during this pandemic. Much better to be aboard this ship with your family. Knowing that your wife and son will also be safe.
So far you’ve had to deal with Overdoes, drunks, overeaters, sexual assaults. Some brawlers that needed stitches and other bizarre incidents that you don’t even what to think about. But the man who just showed up is coughing a wet bloody cough. He’s drunk, but no so much that he doesn’t understand what’s got him.
You quarantine him. And contact the captain of the ship. She tells you she’ll call for the navy to remove him. You thank God that you work for a rich man. But hours later the man is getting worse, the captain is not taking your calls.

Dr. Anna Nobles

44yrs old
Seven days in the cruise and everything has gone to hell. Yesterday you insisted security let you in the music venues. But the stricken man took you to a monitor room and you saw the hell that remained behind. No one could have survived.
Today the sickened people are streaming to sickbay and you can’t find Dr. Mahir and four of the six nurses. Alvar Vezzio the head of Winters’ security is one of sick. You convince him to take you to the boss. The captain won’t take your call.
You arrive at his penthouse only to talk into a camera. He refuses to let anyone in. Defeated you leave and plan to get away on a lifeboat.

Dale Henry Morton

Famouse vitner he gets his sickness from Thyla, the young stow-away and passes it on to multiple people on the ship with his wine bottles.

Lea Lovely

26yrs old, Trendy vlogger/influencer. Whose online videos are seen by millions. She has kept company with the richest in the Arabian peninsula, sailed on the boats of English royalty, throw parties for dictators. And if you’re lucky you’ll soon debut in a new dramedy! As haughty and nasty as you’re beautiful blogging and vlogging from the cruise since it sailed. And DAMN, it is wild and delicious depraved if you get invited to the right rooms.
But for the past couple of days you’ve been feeling a bit…sick, your nose is clogging up and you have had to sneak and cover a few coughs…No way in hell you are sick. No way in hell you’re getting off this boat until the cruise is over.
You’re five days into the cruise, who will you infect before your bloody and messy end in one of the ship’s dining hall? Your rival bloggers, a room full of fans ready for fun and makeovers, or dance floor?

Jody Norton

36Yrs old You work for Mitch Winters’ CFO. You’re of the several employees brought aboard as necessary to keep the business running. You stayed away from the mad parties and the drugs flowing throughout the ship.
You’re paid well, but work exhausting hours to impress your boss and to keep them from questioning the need of keeping you. After all, you did manage to bribe the way in for your elderly mom and dad. In the chaos and revelry, no one noticed…Until this morning when dad started coughing at the breakfast service. One of the security personnel across the room noticed. You all left the table before he could check in on you.
But hours later, she’s found you and brought one of the ship’s nurses, she’s knocking on the door of your cabin. And your dad is flush with fever and stuffing his face in a bloody pillow to muffle the sound of his coughing. and your mother is pale with fear.
What are you going to do?

Tommy Marquise

You thought this would be a pretty good job, especially after having experienced life on some of the supersized tourist cruise ships.
And at first, it was better. You don’t see Filipinos and others from poor countries being treated like serfs. But the class system is still there.
You thought things were under control when you got aboard, the nurses and doctors cleared the guest for Red Lungs before they came aboard. Not at one, but at two checkpoints one at the dock the other at the ship’s entrance.
You thought things would be wild but safe.
Damn, were you wrong.
By the first night, the parties were blowing out of control. The second day the parties went private as well as public. The third day, you heard of others having heard of wet nasty coughing. But things still looked okay to you, and sure you’ve seen some blood here and there. But the parties were wild. The fifth day you can’t deny it Red Lungs is here. By the morning of the sixth day, almost everyone knew of the blood baths at the two music venues.
And now here you are. Seven days into the trip and you’re trying to make it to a lifeboat.
And along the way, you wind up rescuing three children and their babysitter.But are you all going to make it out alive?

Romie Alvarez

27 yrs old, developer. You are grief-stricken and furious. Your sister worked in one of Mitch Winters’ large warehouses with hundreds of other employees, paid a token wage and without any protection. She caught the virus and took it home to the rest of the family. They now are all dead. But rich men need servants, the entitled need the worse off to reflect their power back at them.
You found out through a friend who works on the ship. A couple of days before departure you’ve gone to their place, you didn’t mean to kill them. But it happened. You made it on the ship, with Red Lungs contaminants.
You’re two days in the cruise and realize that one of the cabin stewards suspects you. The phillipino who’s got to work on your floor and is scared of you. You’ve cornered her in one of the supply rooms, for some reason you know you won’t get out alive.

Xiomara Huong

25 yrs old cabin steward
You are a young Cabin Steward, you never had a job like this before and are excited. This beats a job on a regular cruise ship, the pay is better and there are only five-hundred or so revelers. Cause that’s what they are. Within hours of leaving the dock, everyone said: “Let’s party”. Keeping up has become impossible.The ship is louder than a Mardi Gras, crazier than Burning Man and setting records for surreal debauchery. Some of it even made it online. Like that autoerotic asphyxiation body, you found in cabin nine. You hope your parents will never see the videos and you are beginning to wonder if you'll make it out of this gig alive.
But now, four days in you’re starting to hear wet disturbing coughs. You see blood splatter and you and your co-workers have been comparing notes.
The guests, 95% of them are too addled by alcohol, drugs or parties to care. Some of them are in denial. But you’re sure it’s time for you to head to the lifeboats, will you make it there? On a ship where anything goes some guests are taking too many liberties.

Sweet Dew Sweetums

You are a country singer legend whose magnificent voice and talent has also allowed you to cross-genre into opera and pop.
You’re a week into the trip of a lifetime on a cruise on the most modern, fanciest yacht that has ever graced the ocean. Custom built for one of the richest men in the world. The good times are never-ending as he brought along his entourage and contracted the best chefs and the best entertainment. It’s a 24 hrs party event every day. Music and alcohol flow. Drugs are passed and no one can keep their hands of each other.
And you’ve heard the rumors of secret parties in a secret room you don’t even want to know about!
But you could swear that you saw one the waiters cough, And was that just the tiniest drop of blood you saw on his hand, Or was it syrup?
Now that you think of it…you saw fewer people about today. And this isn’t the first cough you heard, is it?
Your event will start in five more hours. Are you feeling well? You don’t know it, but just five days ago that amazing bottle of wine from Dale Morton’s Wilder Grapes winery you drank was tampered with, or maybe just touched by sick hands…So will you make it through your concert? What if everyone is sick. Will they lock the hall and keep you all in it?

SlrFlare

23yrs old Rap mega-star came aboard with a massive entourage.
As far as you’re concerned everyone else is a has-been. You’re still fuming after butting head with the security chief, Alvar Vazzio, last night when he had to put in their places four of your best friend. Little did anyone know that he carries the Red Lungs. But guess what you already got it when you met up for wild and sexy tussle with Famous vlogger Lea Lovely the day before. And things are getting weird. The days and nights are wild bacchanals. But there are rumors that tonight’s night concert by Diva and country legend Sweet Dew Sweetums was apocalyptic with everyone locked in the room amidst screams and hollers. But was it for a wilder party? Or, what? You’re giving a concert in one of the Yacht other auditoriums in four more hours, it’ll be packed, again.You blink, get a minute of clarity and feel fear, something is wrong. Are you hearing suppressed coughs? Is it the weed, the meth or something else? You blink again and that moment is gone. Better get some sleep, four more hours and it’s showtime.You get a second of prescience, maybe the virus touches all its victims with a touch of the surreal and supernatural. And you wonder what will happen tonight, will you come face to face with the infected? Will they lock you in to keep the virus from getting out of the arena?

Joe Mollum

Your 47 looks like a late 30. You make your average height look seven feet tall. Your chiseled features and toned body hide your ethnic origins.

David Copperfield wishes he was you, your last stunt where you held your breath and dove to 100 feet in the famous blue hole before disappearing from the cameras had David Blaine gobsmacked. Mitch winters hired you to come aboard and entertain his guests.
Of course, you grab the gig. You got assurance of the extra safety checks, the health stations guests have to pass before they can even get aboard. You are smart enough to be cagey about it. But it looks safe and pays a cool million for two weeks. You can bring aboard your assistant and a much-reduced support group. On the way to the pier (Seattle, Wa) You notice that the assistant is sick. You've been together since the start of your act. No way she (or he, you decide dear writer) gets kicked to the curb.
Can you get everyone past security, past the health station checks? And keep yourself and everyone else safe? For that matter, what if you are already infected, the show must go on. No virus will beat the Magnificent Mollum

Thyla Manors

You are Thyla Manors, one of two stowaways. You're 22 yrs old, beautiful, blonde and blue-eyed with the type of body that gives men whiplash. You're also a decent human being, but you feel the invulnerability of youth, you want fame, fun, and adventure. You know that not only is your favorite rap star SlrFlare will be on board on the most luxurious yacht evah! But so will be so many other stars! A week ago you bragged you'd stow away on your vlog. And now here you are. Your young gay BFF Murray Holt helped get you in. While everyone went through the front door you were rolled aboard on a food cart.

All was going well until you came out of your hiding spot in the kitchen cargo hold. And that man, fell on you and threw up. John he said his name was. And now one day later you feel sick as a dog. Security has seen you and Murray is nowhere to be found, your feel hot, and just a bit dizzy, but look just fine when at last you run into the harm of a famous vintner Dale Henry Morton who takes you to his cabin. Your story ends once he takes you to his cabin.

John Hoyt

37yrs old. Spur of the moment decision, he’s told he’ll be laid off, he can’t pay the rent. He was loading the ship and decides to hide and stay. He’s sick and passes it on to Thyla Manors

Trea Eyez
Trea Eyez
42yrs old. Up and coming filmmaker, vlogger, entertainer. You finally made it into money and fame. You are a guest because your last movie made it big and you got a name now. But once aboard you intend to film, record, and write this crazy trip. You're damn sure it'll make for a great movie or documentary one day. On the second day, you notice the sniffles, the third day you hear a cough here and there and see the fear and denial in the eyes of the other passengers. It only got worse.

Here is timeline of this adventure.

Pre Departure

You're excited, you got an invite to the exclusive cruise/escape trip of a lifetime. While everything around you burns. You'll be Elbow bumping with the rich, the famous and the world shaker. But are you going to make it to the ship? 

Departure - Day one

It's the best, you walk down the pier, you have to clear the first health station check up. Then once you pass them a second health station will take you temperature again along with your health records.

You don't feel sick, no reasons why you can't make it aboard.

Day Two - The sniffles

Your nose feels irritated, wet. It's almost like you're getting a cold. Was one of the waiters sick? Couldn't be the passengers!
Must be the humidity, or an allergy. The parties are starting to spread from the designated venues to the rooms and corridors of the ship. Let's move on.

Day Three - Sore Throat

There is a tiny, small undercurrent of tension all around you. You have yet to see Winters. The host hasn't made so much as a token appearance. You notice a lot of the passengers are massaging their throats. You are sure you heard coughing that wasn't present on the first and second day of the ship. Eyes are rimmed red but is it the free flowing alcohol, the drugs and partying around the clock...or is it something worse? (Dear reader, it's something worse)

Day Four - Weird dreams

The sound of stiffled coughs is almost constant now. you almost don't hear it over the din of the bachanal. But you can sure hear it when you retreat to quieter corridors. From behind closed rooms and behind masks and costume. You overhear passengers babbling about weird dreams and nightmares, one of the symptoms of Red Lungs is prescient dreams.

Day Five - High fever

You want to hide in your cabin but can't help yourself. As you walk throughout the ship you realize most everyone is sick to a degree or another. Temperature are high as mass of feverish people congregate to party on and dull their fear with drugs and frenetic action. You don't know it yet. But by tonight the denial won't be an option any more.

Day Six - Outbreak

Reality blew open. You heard and keep hearing the screams. You know that concert venues had been locked shut with the revelers to compartmentalize the outbreak. Madness. It's already out, and been for a while.
Is anyone coming to the rescue? The internet connection disappeared days ago. The messages from the captain are reassuring and unreal. Where are the people in charge?

Day Seven - Did You Make Your Will?

The captain is nowhere to be found, the helipad was destroyed. 

Day Eight - Burial at Sea

Too many bodies. Too many madmen

Day Nine - Anybody Alive?

You find your way to Winter's seclude floor...

Day Ten - Rescue?

All around the ship there's nothing but water. The ocean stretches to the horizon in every direction. Will anyone find you?



And the ship.
Size

Year: 2019
Length: 597' 
Hull material: Steel

Passenger Capacity

Normal passenger capacity: 832
Maximum passenger capacity: 950
Passenger Cabins: 520
Crew Capacity: 250

 

Additional Comments
Crew

Deck Crew
Disc Jockeys
Expedition Leaders
Hosts and Hostesses
Water Sports Instructors
Medical Staff
Bartenders
Photographers
Junior Assistant Pursers
Information Technology Staff
Casino Staff
Cruise Staff
Entertainers
Massage Therapists
Bar Stewards
Bedroom Stewards
Deckhands
Pursers
Engineering Department Crew

Special Features

Pools, two large concert venues. Suana, gym. Helipads. Three large dining areas.

Sick Cruising – Anthology Call

Anthology call, CLOSED, thank you to all the authors who participated

 

Writing prompts anthology call!

As a new virus rages on land the richest man in the world has invited over five hundred rich and privileged friends, acquaintances, influences and hangers-on to weather the sickness on his private luxury yacht.

But one of them has brought a guest along. You guessed it! The Red Lungs virus. It starts like a cold, becomes a raging fever, then floods the lungs with blood.

What we want:

Snappy short stories with a minimum of 2000 words using our provided writing prompts.

Punch everyone’s virus anxieties, fears; anger at inequality in the nuts with your contribution to this anthology! Use wit, gore, action or inaction, (of course, we always love us some good epistolary fiction) you can even throw some sharks in the mix if you want to.

What we DON’T want:

Torture porn, porn, racism, hate mongering, preachiness, bigotry of any kind, sexism, turgid writing.

What can help you:
Read Masque of the Red Death by Poe
And this helpful Pixar information on io9.Gizmodo.

Deadline: May 20 2020
Publication: July 20th 2020 at the latest
Payment: $20.00 on acceptance, one paperback copy, one digital copy, one audiobook copy.

Submission guidelines:

  1. Use our provided prompts
  2. Final submission must be edited
  3. Rights Exclusive, one year; first worldwide electronic, audio and print rights.

Formatting

The first page should have:

  • Your name and pen name if you use your pen name.
  • Contact information: Email, phone
  • Title of story: Title of your manuscript 8.5″ × 11″ layout Times New Roman font. Headers: 18 points font size Body of text: 12-point font-size. Double-spaced

 

Submissions: books  at  nphzone.com