Clickers III

Acknowledgements

Both authors would like to thank Shane Ryan Staley, Mark Sylva, Tod Clark, Joe Maynard, Jim and the staff of Borders Express in Camp Hill, Jim Lewin of The York Emporium, Chet Williamson, David J. Schow, and Mike Lombardo of Reel Splatter Films (for abiding by the restraining order we had sworn out against him).

J. F. Gonzalez would like to thank his family, the Keenes, Mike Harrell, Jamie LaChance, Michael Lansu and 34th Street Productions, Arlene Ocampo and Sione, and all the staff, volunteers, attendees and fellow Guests of Honor from CONvergence 2009, all of whom graciously allowed Brian to sit in his luxury hotel suite and work on this book when he was supposed to be socializing with all of you in the bar.

Brian Keene would like to thank his family, the Gonzalez’s, the message board regulars at The Keenedom, the members of the F.U.K.U., and all of the staff, volunteers, attendees and fellow Guests of Honor from CONvergence 2009, all of whom graciously allowed me to sit in my luxury hotel suite and work on this book when I was supposed to be sitting in the bar instead.

For Del and Sue Howison, who were there at the very beginning of the Clickers saga.

Excerpt from
Reliving the Nightmare
by Rick Sycheck

Page 5, Introduction

Harper Collins

Changing my identity and going underground was the furthest thing from my mind when I drove to Phillipsport, Maine to begin what was to be a six-month retreat to write the second novel in my two-book deal with Lion Books.

After all, I was Rick Sycheck, the “Generation X’s answer to Stephen King.” I had an image to live up to and I’d lived it. Adoring fans. Over four million books in print. Groupies. You name it, I had it.

At conventions, I was the guy whose hotel suite every-body showed up to for parties. I took over convention panels. I commandeered signings. The old guard in horror and dark fantasy at the time thought I was a raving asshole and, on reflection, they were right. I was young, I had a huge chip on my shoulder and an ego bigger than Mount Rushmore.

I was not the kind of guy who would go underground and change his identity.

But I did. When it was apparent that my life, and the life of Melissa Peterson, was in danger, I swallowed my ego whole and shed that old persona the way a snake sheds its skin.

What you’ll read in this volume will be not only my personal account of the four days I spent in Phillipsport fighting for not only my life, but the life of people who had become friends in a very short period of time, but also how I got there and what I did in the ten long years I became a fugitive. You’ll also read about the circumstances sur-rounding my decision to visit Philadelphia, my hometown, and how, by bad timing or luck, managed to be at ground zero when Hurricane Floyd hit the Mid-Atlantic region and brought the Clickers and the Dark Ones up again.

RS:
You and another Phillipsport resident watched what happened while you were at the Sheriff sub-station. That’s one of the most chilling moments of the Phillipsport incident.

Sycheck:
The whole thing was awful.

RS:
What was the worst moment for you?

Sycheck:
Thinking that we’d made it out of the freezer alive only to be ambushed by Dark Ones as we tried to head out of town. Watching people I’d come to know and love get killed in front of me (Editor’s note: Sycheck and several other people hid for two days in a supermarket freezer during the hurricane and the slaughter).

Excerpt From
Rolling Stone
Interview with Rick Sycheck

Steve Walsh

Rolling Stone, July/August 2009, Issue 605-606

RS:
Your autobiography is not only a bestseller, it’s your fastest selling title ever. How does it feel to have another book out there in the marketplace?

Sycheck:
It feels great, actually. Of course, in a perfect world none of this shit would have happened and I would have just gone on and write horror and suspense novels for a living.

RS:
You’re very frank in your book about the years leading up to the Phillipsport incident. I got the impression that if that hadn’t happened, you would have either burned out as a literary figure or you would have become a recluse like Kurt Vonnegut.

Sycheck:
To be honest, I was settling down when I went to Phillipsport. Those first four paperback originals I wrote were done during an extreme period in my life. I was in the riptide of my twenties and success came to me early and hard. That deal with Lion books was a very big thing for me because it made me take stock of who I was and what I could achieve. People were paying attention to me. Movie producers were taking note. That first hardcover book Lion published got a write up in the
New York Times
Book Review. It was time to stop the party and focus on growing my career.

RS:
So where were you headed?

Sycheck:
I wanted a career as a writer of thrillers. I wanted the critical and commercial respect of a Stephen King or a Dan Simmons or a Peter Straub. Those four paperback originals were pure monster-fests, plain and simple. I was a splatterpunk, my whole intention back then was to give you a good read, shake you up, gross you out. My work did that and it did more, too. The hardcover deal I got after the success of the four paperbacks proved that. I had to start taking my career seriously.

RS:
Yet Phillipsport ended that.

Sycheck:
Hell yeah, it did. I was under contract to write a book about a haunted mansion for Lion Books. Sort of a modern day
Haunting of Hill House
. What I saw at Phillip-sport, what I experienced there…it killed my enthusiasm for wanting to write that book.

RS:
What happened in Phillipsport could have come out of one of your earlier horror novels.

Sycheck:
Absolutely. I mean, here I was, brand new in town, and I run over this…fucking mutant crab-scorpion-lobster thing that was just…it was the weirdest thing I’d ever seen. I crashed my car into a tree after hitting this thing and I hit my head against the steering wheel. I get a prescription to deal with the pain of my injuries and the local Sheriff hassles me. Then more of these things show up and just start rampaging all through town, killing and eating people. I tried to save a family from getting killed. Me and Jack Ripley, the comic book artist, were down at the pier when a bunch of these things just poured out from the ocean and swarmed the beach. I describe all this in the book. It was very much like out of one of my earlier horror novels.

And the thing about it was it happened so fast! Before I knew it I was locked in a jail cell because the Sheriff had a hard on for me. In retrospect, he did me a favor because if I’d been out there I might have been killed by the Dark Ones.

RS:
You and another Phillipsport resident watched what happened while you were at the Sheriff sub-station. That’s one of the most chilling moments of the Phillipsport incident.

Sycheck:
The whole thing was awful.

RS:
What was the worst moment for you?

Sycheck:
Thinking that we’d made it out of the freezer alive only to be ambushed by Dark Ones as we tried to head out of town. Watching people I’d come to know and love get killed in front of me (Editor’s note: Sycheck and several other people hid for two days in a supermarket freezer during the hurricane and the slaughter).

Excerpt from
Reliving the Nightmare
by Rick Sycheck

Chapter One, Page 12

Harper Collins

…so there I am, back in Philadelphia, with my mother dying, freaking out because I’m near the Delaware River! There’s a monster of a storm heading up the Atlantic Sea Coast and all I want to do is fly back to North Dakota and retreat into the anonymity I’d come to think of as normal…

Excerpt From
Rolling Stone
Interview with Rick Sycheck

Steve Walsh

Rolling Stone, July/August 2009, Issue 605-606

RS:
In the book you describe your feelings at being reunited with Colonel Livingston.

Sycheck:
He and I were just talking about that the other day. Yeah, I was very… scared is the proper word, I think. I’d been calling Livingston for over a decade from various parts of the country to make sure he was still taking the Clickers threat seriously. Thank God he was.

RS:
If it wasn’t for Livingston’s quick thinking and his take-charge command at Peachbottom, a lot more people would have died.

Sycheck:
You’re right, and Livingston had my back the entire time. That’s what’s so cool about him. During all that time he was keeping his information that Melissa and I had gone underground a secret. He never told anybody in the government that I was calling him.

RS:
When the second wave of Clickers and Dark Ones swarmed Baltimore and Washington DC, what did you think would happen?

Sycheck:
I didn’t think they would attack on such a grand scale. My whole thing was getting out of there, getting as far away from the east coast as possible. That didn’t happen, and by circumstance I wound up with Livingston and his team, along with Dr. Wasco and Dr. Linnemberg of the Baltimore Aquarium. We met up on the road, right before we all ended up at the Peachbottom nuclear power plant.

RS:
What were your feelings when you heard President Tyler had been killed? You don’t really talk about him that much in your book.

Sycheck:
(pause) I didn’t mention my feelings in the book because I didn’t want to sound like some kind of asshole but…to be truthful…I was glad. So much of this could have been avoided if Tyler had used his head and listened to the leading scientific experts instead of relying on his religious beliefs to guide him.

RS:
Do you believe that was the reason for Livingston’s winning the election?

Sycheck:
I think that’s a big part of it. The people had a clear choice this time. Vote for the party that believes the earth was created ten thousand years ago and that people lived with dinosaurs, or vote for the party that listens to what Mother Nature is telling us, the party that takes science seriously, because we need to if we want to ensure our survival as a species.

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