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The After/Life
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News from Nowhere > Your Post-Apocalypse Now!

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Vardan Partamyan (vardanpartamyan) The After Life is the story of Nad Raven - a young man, whose childhood is shattered by a cataclysmic event that leaves him trapped in an underground vault with a few other survivors of a modern day apocalypse. It is a tale of a small community that tries to move on after all hope seems to have been wiped out by an all out nuclear war. With our planet turned into a grim wasteland, the protagonist discovers that even in an isolated micro society there is love and hate, grief and happiness, valor and treason as well as that overpowering human temptation to find out what is out there - beyond the safe walls of the underground shelter. To find out, Nad embarks on a dangerous journey that holds many dark secrets... a journey that will change his life forever... currently rated 5/5 stars on Amazon, pick up your copy today for just $2.99 and do let me know what you think!


Vardan Partamyan (vardanpartamyan) Another 5 star review of The After/Life titled "a must read"

The theme of this book is one that very familiar to me and if you read apocalyptic fiction in any sort of regular fashion it will be immediately recognizable to you as well. Raven is a small boy and is aware that the news has been filled with an ever increasing volume of news stories that are very alarming to his parents and that they are worried and becoming more worried with each passing day. But he is not worried. Raven makes light of the whole thing with humor and intimation of the panicky voices he hears. Then one day at school the television gives the alert signal and the bombs drop.

After that the vast majority of the book takes place inside a vast and well apportioned nuclear bunker. This follows well known (and loved) PA themes that you'd find in books like Wool by Hugh Howey and The City of Ember by Jeanne Duprau and to a lesser extent What Niall Saw by Brian Cullen. It the placement of the bunker that made the story so different. It's the setting itself that I connected with.

When the bomb dropped Raven was at school. The bunker he was hustled into was hidden beneath the school. How the school came to have a giant state of the art bunker complete with a vast garden, a large armory, a barnyard full animals, as well as all the food needed to feed the residents of the bunker is not really explored. Raven does mention his surprise at its existence but he doesn't know either.

The interesting thing about the bunker being under a school is that all the adults were either teachers or were the administrative staff. So as the fledgling society begins to coalesce it chooses its leadership on those lines. The leader is known as The Principal, Teachers take on teaching duties as well as a political position. As children grow up in the School and graduate they take a test. If they score well enough they are trained as Teachers. If they don't score well they take other jobs that need to be done in the School grounds (the bunker).

Things go fairly well until Raven hears a radio signal. He tells his girlfriend and she goes apes***. Soon after that there is an uprising, a new Principal takes the helm, and soon things spiral out of control. In the back of his mind Raven is wondering if the world outside is really as bad everyone thinks or if he's been trapped and locked away for no good reason.

All in all a great book. Read very quickly and I wanted more. Here's hoping the you write the sequel Verdan ... and if so I stand ready to read and review it. Cheers.

Final thought: The giant radioactive squid monster was fantastic ... loved that part.


Vardan Partamyan (vardanpartamyan) http://www.amazon.com/The-After-Life-... the direct Amazon link of the novel


Vardan Partamyan (vardanpartamyan) for some exclusive content and other post-apocalyptic goodies, join The After/Life community on Facebook at:
http://www.facebook.com/theafterlifea...


Vardan Partamyan (vardanpartamyan) The After/Life has just won the best ebook cover award on the Book Designer website! Check it out here!: http://www.thebookdesigner.com/


Vardan Partamyan (vardanpartamyan) A little short story I wrote recently...it's called

The (dis)appearance

And I open the door and I step inside. I am in my apartment. It is mid afternoon and the still warm autumn sun fills my home with a warm glow. I just returned from… I try to recall where exactly I returned from but get only disjointed images – people walking in the street; a window through which I can see a couple sitting and drinking coffee and laughing; a child that smiles at me from his throne on his father’s shoulders; a sports car speeds past me reflecting the world in its bright red body; a woman in a grey dress is walking away – somehow I know she wants to look back but will not. All of these random images somehow come together and collide in my head and I have to close my eyes to regain the sense of reality.

It is her day off and she should be home. I call her name but there is no answer. I start walking through the apartment. Some of the windows are open and the wind is gently playing with the curtains. There is sense of peace that should be there but is not. I try to understand what is wrong and only then notice the strange silence. In a big city you never really hear nothing (unless you’re dead). There is always one especially annoyed driver who wants to share his dissatisfaction with the world by honking away what could only be a string of profanities. There is always a neighbor who turns his TV up just a little bit too much and you are suddenly aware of the fact that one of the characters in his favorite soap opera has fallen into a coma after finding out that he was the father of his future wife. There is always the sound of music coming from nowhere and everywhere. There is always the not so gentle hum of the mega polis – the breathing of a giant beast. But now there was nothing.

I go into the kitchen expecting to see her cooking dinner but only emptiness stares back at me. A bit worried now, I call her name again. My voice rings strange in the great silence. I go through the apartment again and after making sure that she was not home decide to call her. I take out my cell phone and search for her name in my address book. I search again and again, thinking that I have made a mistake but still cannot find her name. I must have deleted it by mistake when I was (a child that smiles at me from his throne on his father’s shoulders)… out. As I go through my phone again and again, something strange catches the corner of my eye. I am in the corridor with our family photos hanging on the both sides. I remember us choosing them together. The photo that has caught my attention is a group photo from one of the New Year parties. I remember us there together and I remember the photograph but for some reason she was not in the picture. Must be my nerves playing pranks on me. I move on to the next picture with us on the beach, at least I was sure that we were both in the picture but in this one I was standing alone. The next picture was taken in Mauritius during our honeymoon (I remember we were so drunk that the shot had come out like a Dali picture). The Dali effect was still there but she was not. I went to all the photos, one by one but she had disappeared from all of them.

As the initial shock of my discovery recedes a bit, the ever efficient rationalizations start to kick in – this must be some kind of a mistake or, which is more likely, a very bad joke. Today’s technology can do miracles far more impressive than removing a person from a photograph. The same goes for deleting her number from my address book – she could have done it while I was in the shower. I try to remember if it is our wedding anniversary or some other memorable date which could provoke this kind of a prank. We have been married for … (and my memory plays another speeding car/smiling child trick on me) … several years now and we did get married in autumn and I am sure that it was on September 16. And today is (a woman in a grey dress is walking away – somehow I know she wants to look back but will not). Whatever today’s date is, one thing is for sure – I have no idea. This is useless and I feel that just standing in the corridor will, literally, get me nowhere.

I go to our bedroom and open a random closet. Somehow, I know what I am seeing but my eyes refuse the register the emptiness that is looking back at me. I open the next closet – the same emptiness is waiting for me there. In the next one, I find my own clothes – it seems like everything is just as I have left it in the morning (which morning?). I take a deep breath and try to push away the rage that is slowly but surely rising inside me (she left you, buddy, deal with it!). Carefully controlling my pace, I head into the bathroom. My razor, brush and shampoo are in the usual places – all her things are simply gone (she is gone, old friend!). I can no longer control my anger. I run back to the bedroom kicking all the closets open (expecting to find her there? She is with someone else right now!). I run to the living room, to the study, to the balcony, through the corridor with the incomplete photographs, through the guest rooms and appear back in the kitchen. Everywhere I go I try to find a little trace of her but there is none. I take out my phone and once again look for her name – it is simply not there. I smash my phone on the wall and watch with a sort of perverted satisfaction at how it cracks open spilling its electronic guts. This sends me on a kind of destruction rampage. I kick the TV and send electric sparks flying joyfully through the air, I smash the cabinets and dishes, appliances and furniture, I throw chairs at the once priceless souvenirs and artifacts we have brought back from our (our or your?) various trips, I watch them break and feel how my own life is falling apart with them.



I don’t know how long this rampage lasts but it leaves me utterly exhausted. The anger is gone together with much of my strength and will to move on. Nevertheless I keep walking around our (or is it just mine now?) apartment, quietly calling out her name as if thinking that I might have scared her and trying to convince her that there is nothing to worry about, that her husband (are you sure you are married at all?) is not mad at her.

The answer was silence and emptiness. As I kept walking around the house, all I could hear was my own footsteps and the sound of my broken heart beating in my chest.

I am not sure how long I have been walking around my apartment in my odyssey of despair. There is no watch on my hand although I usually don’t take it off. It must have fallen victim to my fury just like almost every valuable item in my home. The sun isn’t helping either as it is still fills the house with the same warm and welcoming light as when I just came back home, what feels like an eternity ago.

The self evident conclusion finally dawns upon me – she is gone…even more, maybe she was never here to start with. My memories of our life together were just a product of my imagination, which was always a bit too vivid for my own good. There is no point in walking around the house anymore. My head feels like a thousand nuclear warheads have just detonated inside it. I am not sure about anything anymore.

It is just amazing how our imagination can build these complex structures out of our wishes, desires and aspirations. You then enter these structures and start living inside looking at the world out of the window of your castle in the sky. It feels safe inside – a bit too safe to ever want to step outside. How much of my life have I spent inside this castle? I am not sure. And again I try to recall where I was today (a woman in a grey dress is walking away – somehow I know she wants to look back but will not) but just cannot concentrate enough to actually remember anything but disjointed images I must have made up myself. My thoughts are a confused wasteland of pieces of reality (?) mixed with twisted products of my ever productive imagination.

I finally sit down on the floor and blankly stare at the wall in front of me with eyes that no longer want to see. The wall is covered with strange shadows and my industrious brain starts to transform the shapes I see into various figures and recollections – more castles in the sky. Here we are walking on the streets of an old town, here we are on the beach together, here is the huge antique wardrobe that took up much of our old apartment, here is the first rose I gave to her, here is… there seems to be a blurred spot on the wall that is not a shadow or a creation of my imagination. I disregard it and continue my shadow hunting. Here is the bridge that I crossed every day going to school in the town I grew up in, here is the tattoo I always wanted to get but never got to actually getting it done…but the blurry shape is still there and my eyes keep shifting to it.

I get up, reluctantly, my head is heavy and my limbs no longer want to accept orders from the madman who strained them so mercilessly. I approach the wall nevertheless and try to erase the spot with the sleeve of my shirt. It seems like something is written there. I rub harder and harder trying to uncover the letters which I am now sure are there – just beyond the surface. I can see an A and a U. I take off my shirt and continue to rub with a feverish determination. Nothing else seems to matter anymore and I am somehow sure that whatever is written there is very important. Slowly, one by one, the letters start to surface. An indefinite time later, I step back. I am breathing heavily. Sweat is trickling down my forehead and into my eyes. I make an effort to clear my sight and finally I can read the writing on the wall. Finally the disjointed letters come together. I immediately recognize her handwriting. The hidden message spells two simple words – wake up…

…a woman in a grey dress is walking away – somehow I know she wants to look back – she does and it is her… I wake up.

The end.


Vardan Partamyan (vardanpartamyan) There is one thing I would like to share with the members of the group concerning The After/Life novel. All the royalties I have so far received for the novel (something like 80$) and all the royalties I will receive have been and will be donated to an orphanage in Gyumri town of Armenia. It is a special needs kids orphanage - the only one in our country. The building of the orphanage has been renovated by the foundation I work at but the kids still need that extra attention - the toys and the clothing and that little things that make them feel that there is still kindness in the world and no matter how hard the challenges and long the way there will always be someone to hold your hand and help you along on your way forward. As I move forward with this initiative, watch this space to see photo-stories on what's been accomplished.


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