Read an Excerpt
For days, smoke, steam, and the plaintive cries of the dying issued from the hole.
From ground level, it looked as if someone had built a new opening to hell. Norwegian authorities wisely stayed far away. The few travelers who noticed the smoke from the highway and tried to approach were dissuaded by the immediate stink of death, the electric madness that coursed through the air and set their teeth on edge and made their hair stand up, even the sight of the occasional filthy survivor, with matted hair and ragged clothes and open wounds.
Everywhere was blood, blood, blood.
So nobody bore witness to the ones who pushed through the wall of stench.
They drove as far as they could on a road made impassable by heavy snow, then got out and walked, carrying their equipment and supplies.
Approaching the hole, their booted feet broke through red snow. They stood at the holeÕs rim for a while, shoveling through snow and debris, talking about the sight in soft voices, making notes, one taking digital photographs to document the scene. They swallowed hard, chuckled, patted each otherÕs shoulders with gloved hands, and stamped their feet against the coldÑwhatever it took to remind them that they were still upright, their bodies more or less whole, and that they wouldnÕt see anyone like themselves inside the gaping pit.
Then they went inside.
Copyright © 2008 by Steve Niles, Ben Templesmith, and Idea + Design Works, LLC