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2012-10-07

  12:17:27 pm, by

Long Weekend

 

 

In the spirit of October and Halloween and seeing as it’s a long weekend, here is an excerpt from a spooky story aptly titled Long Weekend. The inspiration for this paranormal short came from an unsettling weekend spent in a lakeside cabin.

Long Weekend is the story of Paige and her friends who think that a weekend at a remote cottage is the perfect party opportunity. But as night falls, the forest comes alive with terror. And the group suddenly finds themselves in a desperate fight for their lives.

Long Weekend
is now available from Smashwords and Amazon.com.


Excerpt from Long Weekend:

Like the soundtrack to a film suddenly snapping, the loon’s cry died. In the dull quiet crickets fell mute, even the constant buzz of mosquitoes ended. Paige cast a glance behind her at the lake and caught a glimpse of a black bank of cloud blowing in across the lake, moving rapidly toward shore.

Not clouds, she realized with a sudden, inexplicable pang of dread. It was as if a dark filter slid between the ground and the sky. Only this filter had the consistency of thick velvet, and it seemed to transform everything in its path.

The welcoming coolness of the lake now gleamed like black oil, licking hungrily at the jagged edges of the shore, eager to suck anything fool enough to venture close into its thick smothering depths. Nothing moved. Not even the wind’s warm breath stirred the trees. Not even a ripple on the inky black water of the lake. Not a sound, until...

Ground rumbled beneath her, low and deep, pulsating just below hearing range. A breeze began to mutter through the trees. Branches gnashed together. Hot panting breath gusted over her bare shoulder.

Woods stretched out before her like the gutted husk of a vast, burned-out mansion. Gnarled and twisted corridors led only into deeper shadow.

Darkness seeped closer, like thick, spilled paint. A trickle of terror snaked down her spine. In some deep recess of her mind, she realized she was still standing rooted to the dock in mindless terror over a stray gust of wind. But a more primitive level of consciousness hollered at her to run. All the way back to the city if necessary. Something evil blew in across the water. She didn’t intend to wait around and discover what it was.

Paige bolted up the wooden steps, now slick with dew. Suddenly she was flailing in midair before crashing down painfully onto a lower step. Denim tore. Wood and rock grazed the skin beneath. Keys in the pocket of her jeans dug into her side. A hoarse scream wrenched from her throat, hollow sounding in the silence that smothered the hill.

Sliding backward, she floundered for a grip, finding ground beneath her stinging palms. Coarse tendrils of grass wound through her fingers. Roots grasped for a hold on her flailing feet. She scrambled to her feet. Heedless of slivers, she seized the wooden railing and propelled herself toward the cottage at the top of the stairs.

2012-09-28

  02:33:16 pm, by

And Not A Drop To Drink Reprinted in Blood & Water

 

 

 

I'm excited to announce that my short story And Not A Drop To Drink has been reprinted in the anthology Blood & Water edited by Hayden Trenholm.

The idea for And Not A Drop To Drink came to me when I saw a pair of shoes lying by the side of the road, as if the person they belonged to had simply vanished. This story is one possible explanation...

Blood & Water is now available from Bundoran Press.

 

2012-09-18

  11:19:51 am, by

In the Eye of the Beholder - Now Available!

 

 

 

My vampire story In The Eye of the Beholder is now available from Smashwords and Amazon.com.

This paranormal short is a bit of different take on the woman meets vampire story...

 

As a medical photographer, Angel Connor has seen some strange things… But nothing prepares her for meeting the hospital’s newest patient. At first she feels sorry for the suffering man. Until she ventures too close to his stretcher and discovers he’s a vampire.

Cedric Prys just wanted a meal of the hot and bloody variety. Ending up in the hospital wasn’t in his plans, but the medical photographer is looking quite scrumptious…

Now that his indiscretion has been caught on film, he has no choice but to flee, taking an unwilling hostage with him.


Excerpt from In the Eye of the Beholder:

North America, 1993…

The subject hadn't moved in the last ten minutes. Not so much as a twitch or a blink.


Angel Connor thought of the hours of videotape editing awaiting her, and wondered if she might leave the camera long enough to poke at the contact lens that felt like it was stuck to her eye with glue.

He didn't sweat, didn't so much as breathe. A lock of raven hair drifted casually across his forehead. She fought the sudden compulsion to reach out and brush it aside.


Now where'd that come from? He was like any other patient, except this particular subject had landed himself in a file marked "strictly confidential".

Briefly, she wondered what he'd done. Gone crazy and shot someone. Maybe he had some new exotic kind of disease. Whatever he had, he was robbing her of her weekend.

But as her boss, the chief medical photographer was fond of saying, "medical science doesn't keep office hours".

Secured by leather restraints, he lay motionless on the gurney, giving every indication he was dead. Satisfied he was going nowhere, she straightened, squirted her contacts with saline, and tucked a lock of scarlet hair behind her ear.

The subject shivered and opened his eyes. Eyes of dull, incomprehensible pain. Even through the viewfinder, she couldn't look away from those midnight blue eyes.

Medical photography was a kind of voyeurism into other people's pain, she reflected. A sick way to make a living, they joked in the office.

Two hours later her hopes for Saturday night had all but disintegrated.

The doctors were conferring again in hushed tones behind the glass enclosure. She donned the headphones, ready for the commentary.

He flinched as the thermometer touched his ear. It beeped. Angel zoomed in for a close up.

"Twenty-two degrees centigrade," the doctor proclaimed and proceeded to update the rest of his vital signs.

Twenty-two degrees? That couldn't be right. Shouldn't they do something? IV, CPR? Guy could be dying. But the specialists seemed unconcerned, fascinated even.

As though an invisible director had suddenly shouted 'action!' the patient came to life. He writhed and twisted on the gurney, desperately trying to free himself from the restraints.
Give him something! His moans of agony made her squirm.

One of the physicians approached, a bag of blood in his hand. Finally! she thought, then, Wait a minute… No IV pole, nothing.

She tightened the shot for the record as much as her own curiosity.

"Is this what you want?" the doctor was asking.

The patient stilled. His eyes followed the blood bag with acute interest. Red tinged the irises.

"Just cooperate with us and you can have all the blood you need," the hematologist said.

But the patient merely bit his lip and turned his face away.

They were whispering again in the observation room. Four of them this time. Her eyes burned and her bladder ached, but no one was taking a break, so she kept taping.

He was watching her when she looked up. Watching her with sad, anguished eyes.

Why don't they just give this guy what he needs. Drugs, whatever. The medical staff seemed content with their methodology, and the subject seemed just as content not to cooperate, whatever that meant.

This time they had the blood in a plastic hospital cup. Angel watched as he sniffed at it. The doctor pressed it closer. A moan of desperation escaped the patient's lips. But he shut his eyes and kept his jaw clenched shut.

The medical staff regrouped to update their strategy.

Angel studied the patient carefully. Dark curls lay plastered to his forehead. Deep shudders racked his body. The blue eyes flecked with red held all the pain in the world. She couldn't stand to look at those eyes, couldn't…

She was across the floor before she'd realized what she was doing. The leather restraints were slick with sweat and hard to undo.

"Hey!" someone yelled.

A hand grabbed her wrist.

Face down on the cold tile, she was seized, pinned. Something impossibly sharp tore into the back of her knee. She tried to cry out, but she was strangled by pain. Not the feeling of ecstasy the horror movies promised. It felt like suffocating. Like being sucked down into quick sand.



* * *

2012-08-20

  01:26:08 pm, by

Just Released - Playing Dead

 

 

 

My science fiction short story Playing Dead is now available from Smashwords and Amazon.com.

In Playing Dead a game designer’s nemesis tracks her into the afterlife bent on an endless quest for revenge.

 

Here is an excerpt from Playing Dead:

I logged onto Death's website at six a.m. An ungodly hour if ever there was one. Even when I owned a body, I hated that time of day. The body was gone, but the mind remembers.

My orders were waiting. And that's when the day went bad.

I downloaded the relevant parts of my brain into one of the standard issue bodies. The metal casing felt uncomfortable at first, at odds with the memory of soft flesh. Selective memory offered embellishments, just as it forgot the wracking coughs caused by the poisoned air and the cramps from contaminated water.

Silicon forgets nothing, but in the process of remembering it is possible to revise and save over. So on this morning I was thinking of sleep and forgetfulness and the sensation of lying in a soft, warm bed even as I was stuffing my consciousness into the metal body allocated to me.

I flexed robot fingers, took a tentative step on metal legs. Physical locomotion took a moment's getting used to after flitting about with little more than a thought. I loaded my icon into the ID patch on my chest, and downloaded the rest of my profile. I checked the parameters of this new image. Privileges were rudimentary at best. Locomotion, tools of destruction. In the file marked arsenal, I found laser-lances and pulse guns. Nothing new there. Fully loaded, I headed for the door.

For a millisecond, I entertained the notion that I shouldn't leave without at least a swallow of my morning coffee, then shook my head. The sudden movement startled me. Another slip. I was fragmenting all over the place this morning.

And it all started with that message and the one damnable signature embedded in it.

Darq Phyre.

That name activated links to files best unaccessed. Too late to abort the transfer, I was stuck with the memories and the bad mood that spread like a virus through my code.

 

 

 

2012-07-31

  03:20:36 pm, by

Miles To Go - Now Available

 

 

 

A spooky drive down a foggy country road inspired this short story.

Miles To Go is now available from Smashwords and Amazon.com.

Here's a short excerpt. Hope you enjoy it!

 

Blurb:

A dark, lonely road.
A driver on the edge of exhaustion.
A sudden shape appears in the headlights.
No time to react.
What he hits turns out to be far more terrifying than he could ever imagine.

 

Excerpt from Miles To Go:

Wet ground crept by in a pool of yellow light. His hands were sweaty now where they gripped the  steering wheel as he prowled slowly back through the alien, white landscape.

Each column of parting fog renewed the terror of what he might find. His imagination eagerly supplied the gruesome details: a dying raccoon, desperately trying to drag itself from the road. Worse still, the vacant eyes of a dead man staring accusingly back at him.

Or perhaps that he had completely lost his mind and dreamed the whole incident.

The ground began to slope upwards. He breathed a sigh of relief.

Then, in the fog-shortened beam of his headlights, he saw a lump of something dark against the black ribbon of the road.

Weston slammed the car into park. Leaving the motor running and the lights on, he crept toward the black shape in the road. The car's key alarm dinged several times, then fell silent.

Too big for a cat or a fox, he thought, stopping to examine the thing from a few feet away. The way its back hunched toward him, it couldn't be a dog, unless the spine was broken. At least it wasn't a person. Raccoon maybe. He crept closer. Not like any raccoon he'd ever seen.

For one thing, it had no fur...

 

 

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