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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...

 

 

2012-06-04

  02:00:00 pm, by

Newly Released - Giving Up The Ghost

 

 

 

Giving Up The Ghost is my new paranormal vignette, now available from Smashwords and Amazon.com.

I once heard a ghost tour guide say that some old buildings just had a spooky feel to them. It got me thinking…What if ghosts policed themselves? And what if one of those otherworldly guards stepped away from his post for a moment and let something nasty escape?

Giving Up The Ghost is the result. Hope you like it!


Blurb:

Even a ghost needs a break once in awhile. When Rhys Sentry steps away from his post, he’s just trying to catch a glimpse of beautiful brunette, Marla. Unfortunately, his lapse in concentration allows a dangerous entity to escape.

Rhys must return the spirit to its rightful place. But during his quest, he makes a startling discovery…Marla can see him!



Excerpt from Giving Up The Ghost:

Even a wraith needs a break once in awhile. Even a dead guy gets bored. When Rhys Sentry stepped away from the portal, he was just trying to catch a better glimpse of the dark-haired beauty disappearing around the corner. A momentary loss of concentration, it could happen to anybody, right? Everyone made that kind of mistake once in awhile, didn’t they? Didn’t make him a bad guy, er, ghost, did it? After all, he had been a man once, and for pity’s sake, he was only looking!

Rhys cast a glance behind him at the portal he'd been guarding for over two hundred years. Down in the basement of the old abandoned brewery, it had seen its share of disreputable characters, both living and dead. The area had been revitalized in the past few years and turned into a trendy nightspot. Like that was a good idea. But no one asked a lowly ghost about such things.

The evening had begun normally enough. He'd been dozing at his post, waiting for the tour group to pass. Just for fun, he goosed one of the members and snorted when the middle-aged lady squealed. Ghosts! If they wanted ghosts he was happy to oblige.


That was when he saw the brunette disappearing down the corridor, trailing the tour. She glanced over her shoulder and squinted in the dim light as if she could see him. She must be a sensitive. Rhys quickly veiled himself. Revealing his presence was forbidden, ghost tours or no. A little fun was tolerated. An outright revealing was a punishable offense. The last thing he wanted was to spend another two centuries guarding this pit.

Too late he realized his mistake. As he stepped away to gaze at the dark-haired beauty, he'd done something he'd never done in over two hundred years.

He left his post.

Quickly, he jumped back into position.  The tour group moved on. Rhys breathed a ghostly sigh of relief. No notice seemed to have taken notice of his gaffe. He glanced back at the portal with relief.

That's when he saw the dark vapor trailing after the tour group, an inky cloud that took on more form with every passing second. It moved through the patrons until it located the brunette.

* * * *

Marla shivered as they passed the shadowed hallway under the old brewery. Her friend Deb had talked her into this foolishness and she couldn't wait for it to be over. But Deb had wanted so badly to take the tour, Marla just couldn't dampen her enthusiasm. Her friend was visiting from Calgary and she'd promised her a night on the town. On the town, she added mentally. Not under the town!

According to the tour guide the tunnel led to the lake. Smuggling had been big business during prohibition. She glanced back at it again and couldn't contain the shudder that ran down her spine. Something far more malevolent than smuggling had happened in that long-unused passageway. She hurried after the group.

Yet as she passed she was certain she'd seen the ghostly outline of a blond man staring out at her with green, haunted eyes. She blinked and the image vanished. 

A cold breeze blew from the tunnel. The wind seemed to stick to her like tar. Silent screams echoed in her ears, echoes of long ago horrors. Mist clouded her eyes. It filled her nostrils and clogged her lungs. She choked and clutched at her chest. For a moment, she thought she'd perish there down in the darkness with a knot of people around her, unable to help. Something moved in the gloom, a man-sized blond blur. Then her vision cleared.

She drew a breath and screamed.

2012-05-29

  03:02:42 pm, by

Time Slide - Now Available

 

 

 

A new edition of my space opera Time Slide is now available from Smashwords and Amazon.com.

I've always been fascinated by the idea of alternate realities and alternate universes. The idea for Time Slide began as a short story entitled Time Slide.  I later expanded it to include a sequel, Beyond Oblivion.

But I still felt like a lot of Harry and Moraina's back story was missing, so I wrote the prequel chapters to explain how Moraina came to be Harry's bodyguard and why they both have such tortured pasts.

Here is a blurb and a short excerpt from Time Slide.  Hope you enjoy it!

 

Blurb:

As a warrior in an ancient conflict between planets, Moraina Keller is resigned to dying in battle, until she's captured by handsome space pirate, Harry Kong.

Life as Harry's bodyguard seems to suit her, until she discovers that not only is someone trying to kill her, he looks a lot like Harry.

While trying to solve the mystery of her elusive attacker they stumble upon an even bigger secret, a technology that has the power to destroy the universe itself.

 

Excerpt from Time Slide:

We made our way through the smoke-filled cantina, through half-whispers about Harry Kong, the bored aristocrat, and his Tahluzzian assassin. At another time those whispers would have warranted a brandished blaster, but I held my temper and we stole from the bar into the musty night beyond.

I stepped first, blaster drawn, into the cobblestone roadway which broke off into a labyrinth of passages, all spiraling downward to the spaceport at the bottom of the hill.

A thousand shadows lined the curves of the spiral roadway. A thousand hands, holding a thousand blasters waited to relieve Harry Kong of his mysterious new treasure. And I was Harry's bodyguard.

“Fool,” I said through clenched teeth. “Harry, you make my job difficult.”

“You're well paid.”

“Not well enough.” It was half past midnight on a planet with a 48-hour day, and thanks to Harry I probably wouldn't be getting much sleep. I stifled a yawn, took a tighter hold on my blaster, and pushed forward, Harry bringing up the rear. The third moon was rising in the west, casting inky shadows in triplicate on the cobblestone. Shelter could have been a galaxy away.

The road twisted abruptly and our vision was blocked by a stone wall. We lingered in the shadows. I peered out into the roadway. The spaceport lay just beyond us, a narrow dash, easily accomplished.

Except that the passageway was blocked by every hired gun in the city.

I turned to Harry and the black box he held in his hand. Our attackers closed the space between us, moonlight reflecting off their blasters. Harry grasped my shoulder and his finger moved along the inky gleam of the instrument. Then the bottom of the world fell out.

 

 

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