For your reading pleasure, the prologue and first chapter of Babylon Smiles.
|Available in eBook Only|
On March 19, 2003, the United States invaded Iraq with the intention of capturing Saddam Hussein and finding the weapons of mass destruction the Iraqi dictator had led the world to believe he had. U.S. troops took Baghdad on April 9th. Crowds cheered. Statues were pulled down. Hope was in the air. In these early days of a war that would carry on for many more years than anyone could have ever anticipated there was a feeling of joy suffusing the populace. An entire society had been freed from the vice grip of oppression. Everyone was excited for awhile. But this was before the insurgents. This was before the roadside bombs. This was before the borders opened to foreign fighters. This was before all out intercine warfare. There was a time at the end of 2003 when we all thought it would be over soon; when soldiers were on their first tour into the box, anticipating going home and never imagining that they might be forced to come back again and again; when lifelong friends were made; when American banks shipped old dollars to stabilize a new Iraqi economy; when everyone trusted everyone and shipped this money in the back of Army trucks guarded by soldiers who didn't even know what they were carrying. This was a special time in Iraq because it was a time of opportunity. This is one story of that time. The names have been changed to protect the guilty and those who survived.
"When I think of Weston Ochse, I think of a well respected member of the horror writing community, but then there's this other side of him that has spent 20-plus years serving his country in the U. S. Army... I've said before that I'm not a fan of combat fiction, but I'm a sucker for a good story and that's what you'll get in Babylon Smiles. Look for the reveal on the meaning of Babylon Smiles, too. That's kinda cool." Frank Errington, Reviewer
*December 10, 2003
BAGHDAD, Iraq — After a series of successful raids on Tuesday, U.S. Officials deny capturing a top member of Saddam Hussein's government. More than 2,000 American soldiers of the 173rd Airborne Brigade cordoned off the northern Iraqi city of Hawija, about 25 miles west of Kirkuk, and detained more than 20 suspected guerrillas. A source inside the unit said one of their targets had been Izzat Ibrahim, a former senior aide to Mr. Hussein who is believed to be coordinating at least some attacks against American soldiers.
An explosion rocked the brick and mud-daub buildings along the sides of the dusty lane. A plume of fire and disintegrating concrete shot heavenward until all that could be heard was man-made thunder rattling across the sky.
A camel lurched away from its tether to stand in the middle of the cracked asphalt road. Children scattered and ran behind anything large enough to hide them. A woman waddled behind a goat shack, nervous eyes gazing for the cause of the impromptu violence. A lonely soccer ball rolled from the road onto the dusty plain, carried by a vagabond sirocco. The sound of gunfire split the twilight from both heavy and light caliber weapons. Another explosion, this one smaller than the first, silenced the exchange of gunfire.
A 40 ton, 8-wheeled military transport truck bucked and slid as it took the corner too fast. Private Schmidtke spun the wheel, fighting for control of the gargantuan HEMMET. Last time he'd been this afraid, he'd been hell bent for home after getting caught poaching deer by a Texas Ranger. The private's mad eyes searched the road for mines and obstructions as his mouthed worked itself into a frenzy around a wad of chewing tobacco as he whispered to himself-- Osh Kosh By Gosh. Osh Kosh By Gosh.
"Camel!" Sitting in the passenger seat, Private Scirrotto pointed to the beast that stood directly in their way.
"Shit!" Schmidtke swerved, barely missing turning the half-ton ship of the desert into Bedouin goulash on the steely front slope of the truck.
"RPG. Two o'clock," Stilts yelled. The tall black sergeant swung the fifty caliber machine gun mounted on the roof to engage the target. The thunka thunka thunkas of burning lead and tracers obliterated the doorway and anything within five feet of the man aiming the rocket propelled grenade launcher at them.
Rather than slowing, the truck gathered speed as it plowed through the smoking remains of a Honda sedan. The HEMMET was the biggest thing on the road and nothing short of the Great Wall of China was going to stop them. Schmidtke side-swiped a tinker's cart sending wood splintering into the air, then back to the ground looking all the world like a madman's game of pick-up sticks.
|Me at a bazaar in Afghanistan|
Schmidtke pointed but Scirrotto had already seen it. The former sniper adjusted his hold on the M24 sniper rifle, eased the 10x Leopold M3 Ultra telescopic sight to his right eye, took aim and engaged the target. The grenade ate itself in a bright display of what could have been.
Private Schmidtke's mouth returned to his private prayer as he drove. Osh Kosh By Gosh. Osh Kosh By Gosh.
Private Scirrotto scanned the horizon.
Stilts scanned the sky.
TO ORDER YOUR COPY FOR $3.99 NOW JUST CLICK THIS LINK
Praise for Weston Ochse:
“Weston Ochse is one of the best authors of our generation.” - Brian Keene, Author of Ghoul and The Rising“Weston Ochse is a mercurial writer, one of those depressingly talented people who are good at whatever they turn their hand to.”-Conrad Williams, August Derleth and International Horror Guild Award Winner
“Weston Ochse is perhaps the fiercest and most direct of the latest generation of dark fiction writers.” Rocky Wood , author of Stephen King: A Literary Companion.
“Weston Ochse is to horror what Bradbury is to science fiction -- an artist whose craft, stories and voice are so distinct and mesmerizing that you can't help but be enthralled.” - Dani Kollin, Prometheus Award-winning author of The Unincorporated Man
“Brilliantly rendered. What was so impressive about the piece was that I did not doubt the incredible heroism of the protagonist... nor his motivation." - Andrew Vachss on “Family Man”
“Ochse succeeds in creating a complex plot that casts a brutal overwhelming spell.” - International Thriller Award winner Tom Piccirilli on Scarecrow Gods
Raves for SEAL Team 666:
"SEAL TEAM 666 is like X-Files written by Tom Clancy: ingenious, creepy, and entertaining." - Kevin J. Anderson, #1 international bestselling author of DEATH WARMED OVER
"SEAL TEAM 666 is a wild blend of nail-biting thriller action and out-of-the shadows horror. This is the supernatural thriller at its most dynamic. Perfect!" -Jonathan Maberry, NY Times bestselling author of DEAD OF NIGHT and THE KING OF PLAGUES