Later, after the day’s discussions had given the other part of my brain a chance to think more rationally about events, I drove home in a calmer manner than in the morning. Cloud cover had begun to creep across the sky at about midday, gradually reducing the sun from a bright ghost behind a translucent screen to an unobtrusive and dimmer source of light. The ceiling dropped lower and lower as I drove and it was obvious that a stormy night was in store. By the time I was home, dark rolls of cloud were tumbling over and over in the rising wind, and the slab sided Defender rocked to every gust.
I put my key to the lock, but stopped short. My heart accelerated, thumping. My mouth went dry. I had locked the front door when I left, now it was almost closed. Almost, just half an inch of the jamb was showing. It open slowly and quietly to a gentle push. No sound could be heard over the storm and the odd creak from the old house. Precious little light entered through the small windows from that darkening sky; it was impossible to make out any detail in the room. I stood motionless until my eyes adjusted, the door pulled to behind me, listening for the slightest odd sound amidst the patter of the rain on the tiles and the rumble of the weather rolling in.
Every drawer and cupboard door was open, the contents strewn over the floor. Chair cushions had been ripped open and tossed to the side, one chair was on its back, the TV was on the floor, but intact. The kitchen did not look as if it had been touched. All this I took in at a glance. Was he still here? That was vital. Anger tried to surface. I forced it down; emotion could wait. I quietly crossed the room to my office. It was trashed. Files were ripped open and paper lay everywhere. Sellotape, scissors, paper clips and pens were strewn across the floor. The bookshelf had been tipped over, and my laptop had been given a stomping.
Lighting flashed, illuminating the room for a second, the devastation stark. An immediate crack of thunder showed how close the strike had been. The shock was distracting, but a little noise behind me wasn’t right. A rustle of clothes, a breath close by, I don’t know, but it shouldn’t have been there. I ducked and turned. Something clipped my ear and glanced off my left shoulder dropping me to the floor. A broad, dark, hooded figure stood over me, a jemmy high above his head, the curved end silhouetted by the window. It swept down again, seemingly in slow motion. I rolled away just in time. It thudded into the floor. It went up above his head for the next blow. He wasn’t going to miss again. Hooking my left foot behind his to jam it, I stabbed at the front of his knee with my right one. He grunted in pain and fell over backwards. I tried to get up, but my shoulder wouldn’t support the move. I rolled over to use the other side, but he had already clambered to his feet and run out, limping heavily.
He half ran and half hopped down the drive, disappearing in the rain before he reached the gate. He was in no state to continue the fight, thank goodness; I certainly wasn’t. The whole episode had probably lasted no more than ten seconds, less, but it felt an age. Talking of age, I poured an twelve year old malt down my throat and then added a touch of water to the next one.
Alastair is helping his close friend to avoid a punishing divorce. Drawn into a situation which he battles to control, he finds his relationship with Juliet has been ripped apart. Do we really know what we’re capable of when pushed to our limits?
Born in England, Colin was brought up in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe and Zambia). On leaving school, he was a member of the third party ever to climb the Credna glacier to reach Mount Kilimanjaro’s summit from the west.
Jetdriver: Betrayal, intrigue, fraud, a sprinkling of violence and a deliciously salacious villainess are pitted against the story's two main protagonists in this compelling yarn of friendship, love and manipulation. The multitude of ingredients could have been overpowering but instead ended up resulting in a well seasoned page turner of a crime thriller. A great debut novel and I suspect not the last we've seen of the charismatic and morally compromised Mr. Forbes.
Really quite enjoyed it!
Robert: I won this book in a Goodreads giveaway. A Fitting Revenge was a captivating mystery/thriller that kept me guessing throughout. Showing just what man is capable of when pushed to the breaking point. 4 stars...
Pierrette: Great book. Took it with me on holiday and could hardly put it down. Lots of suspense, It is one of those books you cannot put down. The characters of the story are very attaching and you wander all along your reading what will happen to them....you worry. In a few words, very good thriller, read it, you will love it.
Other books in this genre:
HAUNTING AT THE COTTAGE
My daughter, Barbara, and I have enjoyed going to Eureka Springs, Arkansas, for several years. One of our favorite trips was in 1993. We were staying at a cottage inn on this particular trip. The house had three floors, and the only other guests in the house were in the basement. The owners of the house live in a small house at the back of the property. Barbara and I had adjoining rooms upstairs. Each bedroom had a bath just outside the bedroom door.
When we arrived, we just wandered around the house looking at the wonderful antiques and furnishings. At one point, Barbara was upstairs taking photographs and I was downstairs. Each time she took a picture, I could see the flash. I don't know how.
There is a very large porch, which runs the whole length of the house on the back. We went out to sit on the porch swing. There were two ceiling fans on the porch, which were going full blast, but there was no air coming from them. At the time, we thought nothing of it. Before we went to bed that night, we looked through the rest of the house. The other bedrooms upstairs were all beautifully furnished and all the bedroom doors were open and all the windows were closed.
When we finally went to bed, we each locked our bedroom doors from the inside. Sometime during the night, Barbara was awakened by her bed shaking. She remembers thinking there must be a train going by. Then she realized she was in the middle of Eureka Springs, and there couldn't be a train. Having no other explanation, however, she went back to sleep.
When I went to bed, I put all my rings and bracelets in a small glass dish that was on the nightstand next to the bed, underneath the lamp. The first time I was awakened, there was a “figure,” either a child or a very small woman, looking at my jewelry! It was only there for a second, and thinking I was dreaming, I went back to sleep. The second time I awoke to the sound of rustling material and I thought Barbara was going through my room to get to the bathroom. I couldn't understand why she would be going that way, because she had a bathroom just outside her bedroom. The next thing I knew, this “figure” was again looking at my jewelry and turned to look at me. When “it” realized I was looking back, “it” went back around the end of my bed and went through the door to Barbara's room.
When I awoke the next morning, I immediately looked to see if my jewelry was still there. It was. I called out to Barbara and asked her if she had gone through my bedroom to the bathroom. She hadn't. I then told her the story and she told me about the shaking bed.
Barbara then related to me that she had been told stories about ghosts at this cottage, but she had not told me because she didn't want me to be afraid. We decided to get up and get ready to go downstairs for breakfast. When we walked out onto the landing, all the other bedroom doors were shut and the windows were all open. Also, when we had gone to bed the night before, all the lamps in the upstairs hallways were on. Now they were off.
When we finally made it downstairs, the man who owned the house was fixing breakfast. We asked him if he had been upstairs and closed the doors and turned off the lights. He had not been in the house at all since the previous evening. I asked him if strange things happened there sometimes. He asked us to tell him our experience. When I told him about the “figure,” he took me to one of the photograph albums he kept in the living room. He showed me a picture of the smallest young woman sitting in a large chair, looking very childlike. She was the wife of the first Governor of Arkansas who had built this cottage. She did not die in the house, but lived there for some time. The woman in the picture looked very much like the “figure” I had seen in the bedroom.
According to the owner, this little woman was not the only visitor they had from time to time. His wife had seen a tall, thin man many times when she was cleaning or rearranging furniture. Also, he told us that doors would close for no reason. He also said that the drawers and cabinets in the kitchen would open and close all the time. He told us that he doesn't publicize these things because some people might be afraid to come. But when he is asked, he will tell you whatever you want to know.
He told us a story about a couple that had stayed in the same room I had. They complained the next morning that the air conditioner had stopped working during the night. When he went upstairs to investigate, he pulled a very large chest away from the wall and discovered that the air conditioner had been unplugged. After we finished breakfast, Barbara and I did a thorough search of the house to see if we could find hidden doors or some way for someone to project an image into the rooms. We found nothing.
When Barbara went back to work, she told this story to a friend. The friend told her about a Tulsa dentist who had a similar experience at the same cottage. His wife was taking a bath, and he had pulled a chair out from the wall and was reading the newspaper. His wife called to him to bring her a towel, so he laid his newspaper on the bed and took the towel to her. When he returned to the bedroom, the chair was back against the wall and his newspaper was folded neatly on the bed.
Barbara and I have stayed at the cottage since then, and absolutely nothing out of the ordinary happened. We plan to stay there again in the fall. In my 70 years, I have never seen anything I could not explain, except this. I don't have weird dreams, don't hear things that go bump in the night, and have never before or since experienced anything like this. These things did occur, and I no longer give funny looks to people when they relate they have had strange things happen to them.
By: M. J. B.
THE TERRORIST’S BULLETS had killed Yakov Barsimantov six weeks ago. The vice-consul at the Israeli embassy in Paris had just stepped from the front door of his apartment building when the assassin fired the WZ-63 machine pistol. Three slugs had slammed into Barsimantov’s chest; two penetrated his skull. The autopsy had determined that the bullet severing the diplomat’s aorta had killed him.
As Shlomo Argov, dressed in formal evening attire, left the bedroom in the Israeli ambassador’s residence in St. John’s Wood, he had no thoughts of Yakov Barsimantov or of any danger. Argov approached the possibility of death with each step and chose to stride without hesitation. The residence was constantly guarded by Israeli security, and an armed British Special Branch officer accompanied him daily whenever he left the house or embassy. Even without the security, he would not have altered his schedule or his attitude.
Argov walked into the salon where his wife, Hava, sat in her housecoat, hooking a throw rug. She gazed up and smiled.
“Thank God for the British institution of male-only dinners.”
“I wish I didn’t have to go myself. I’ll try to be early.”
The doorbell rang.
“There’s a late-night film on ITV,” Hava said. “I may still be up when you get in.”
Argov bent and kissed her, then headed for the door. At the front entrance he looked at the television monitor on the table and saw Colin, his Special Branch bodyguard, standing outside dressed in a tuxedo. Argov opened the door.
“All ready, sir?” Colin asked.
Argov saw the bulletproof embassy Volvo idling in the street and nodded to Colin. They headed to the car.
RAMZY YUSUF AWWAD placed his pen between his Walther PPK/S and the tight handwritten Arabic sheets of the short story he was writing. The perpetual lack of time and the need to move constantly for fear the Israelis would locate him had forced Ramzy to learn to develop his entire story first in his mind and then set it down once, in final form, with few corrections. His novellas and stories had swept the Palestinian world. Read by students in the refugee camp schools, where he had once taught, to those deep in the Gulf oil fields, his gun and pen promised that the struggle continued
The phone purred. Ramzy glanced at the receiver. The sounds echoed through the small room, naked except for the desk directly under the hanging light and a narrow bed in the corner. Ramzy waited until the fifth ring, the signal that he was not under duress, then lifted the receiver.
“Hello,” Ramzy said.
“We have him under surveillance.”
“He’s someplace where we can get to him?”
“Where shall I meet you?”
Ramzy quickly calculated to himself. This was the sixth month of 1982. Count six letters back from S. He looked at the circled underground stations on the subway map in front of him. M was Marble Arch. It must be one of the luxury hotels overlooking Hyde Park.
In the future, the only solution to mass overcrowding and dwindling resources is the lottery. A game where people are paid to play but, if they win, they legally become food. Two such lottery-winners, a suicidal teenager named Sammie and an impoverished middle-aged woman named Kim, find themselves 'purchased' by the upscale Bistro Viande which is run by celebrity Chef Nick Delano and his jaded sous-chef, Anne. In the few remaining days of their lives, Kim decides to make the best of her life in enjoying what few pleasures remain for her, while Sammie decides to make the best of her death in ensuring she is at her tastiest. Little does anyone else know, however, that Sammie hides a dark secret, one that could both save her life and destroy the Bistro.
Anne stalked in and shouted “What the hell are you doing!?” Sammie and Kim looked at each other. Sammie stammered and Kim said “What do you mean? We just did as you told us. We weren’t trying to escape or anything like that. Just sitting here.” Anne pointed at them and said “You took that shower and then put your grungy, dirty clothing back on!?”
Sammie nodded quietly “Yes ma’am.” Kim squinted at first, but then smiled. Kim said “Wait, you’re so pissed, that you’re going to send us back into that hot shower.” Kim chuckled and said “We should piss you off more often.”
Anne stared at her coldly and replied “It’s not cheap!” Sammie pulled off her shirt and said “…or legal.” Anne shot her a look and Sammie held up a hand “Not that I’m complaining at all. We really enjoy and appreciate it.” Anne smiled wryly “It’s a perk of being food. The law says using hot water to wash a person is an illegally wasteful practice.” Anne cocked her head to the side lightly and continued “But… you aren’t people anymore and the use of hot water in cleansing of food in its preparation is legally allowed.” Sammie’s jaw dropped “That’s freaking genius!” Kim started to unbutton her pants and said “But, you’re not allowed in, Anne, are you?” Anne shrugged “The only time I’m ever in there is when I’m force-shaving a runner chained to the wall. Trust me, I’m not enjoying the water during those times.”
Sammie said “But, you never, you know… when no one is looking, or maybe between shipments ever want to hop inside this thing and get an actual, nice shower as opposed to those two-minute ice-bucket pieces of crap we’re allowed to have?” Anne shook her head “Never.” Sammie cocked her head to the side and said “Really? I mean, aren’t you even tempted.” Anne replied darkly “It’s an instrument for cleaning food. All the women who shower in there, they die.”
Kim pursed her lips and asked “Is it because of too many bad memories?” Anne’s gaze softened, but only for a second. She shook her head and it was gone “Just rinse off and get ready.”
They both disappeared in while Anne waited outside. In a few minutes, giggles and splashing could be heard coming from the shower. Anne shouted “Hurry up!” Sammie called back, laughing, “I suddenly feel like running, Anne. Maybe you should take off your clothes and come in here to hold me down. Why don’t you bring a bar of soap in for yourself while you’re at it?”
Anne threw a hand to her mouth to stifle the laughter that yearned to raise from her mouth. She clenched her jaw tight and squinted her eyes hard. She whispered to herself “They’re food, not friends. Food, not friends.” She leaned her head back against the wall and whispered to herself “Come on, Anne. Don’t make the Mary Jenson mistake again.”
Anne closed her eyes and remembered Mary. Over Mary’s short stay at Bistro Viande, her and Anne had grown incredibly close. She had a hard time remembering, between Mary and herself, who cried harder when she eventually loaded Mary into the oven. But, the end result lay seared in Anne’s mind…
Anne had to live on knowing herself to be Mary’s killer.
Anne took a deep breath to force the growing emotions away. Anne whispered “Die inside. Live outside.” She closed her eyes and pictured herself dead until the waves of memories and emotions passed. She reopened her eyes once more…
She remembered who she was. A consummate professional fully capable of a job that required her to kill two people per week.
Her face returned to its normal cold stare.
Buck Sergeant O'Malley has seen a lot of war: more than anyone in First Platoon, Boy Company realizes. Because O'Malley is 6,000 years old and, using various names and disguises, has been there from Thermopylae to the trenches of World War I, trying to protect the men going into combat, trying to save women and children, trying to push back the darkness that descends each time men takes up arms against men. And now his squad has been ordered "over the top" to face enemy machinegun fire. Will this be the end of O'Malley's very long life?
Benito then crushed his cigarette out on the pavement. I noticed it was half lit and still smoking. "When someone steals my property, I get very agitated. I can't sleep, break out in a rash and then I am uncomfortable. When I become uncomfortable I become unreasonable and you don't want me to be unreasonable." "No, I don't." I said. "Good just let me know what State he is in and I will find him. You will be off the hook. I know he is your friend but he is a rat and a low life. Now what State is he in!" He was now digging his hand into my left shoulder. I felt his grip, he was very strong. I loved Cliff like a brother but this was not my battle. "He is in New Jersey" I screeched. "Okay let's go Dobbs, have a nice day kid." I watched them walk across the street and get into a gray Corvette. As they drove away I felt my hands sweating. I got off easy. It wasn't me they wanted but I was the weak link. I also tried to convince myself that I didn't give up Cliff because I didn't pinpoint his location. I really did not know where he was and I think they knew that. They knew Cliff was smart. I told them he was in New Jersey but New Jersey is a big state. I must admit I was still frightened but I was more frightened for Cliff. I did not want anything to happen to him. I really believed these guys would hurt him.
"Hey Johnny, this is my only phone call so listen up. I have been arrested. I have killed Dobbs and Marquez." "What!" I said. "Yeah they came after me like you said they would. They worked me over pretty good. They beat me up but I was able to crawl over to my truck as they were leaving and pulled my dad's rifle out of the truck. I shot and killed them both as they were walking away."
Friday, November 23rd 1888
Doctor J. Watson to Sherlock Holmes Esq:
Here, as requested, is the first of my journal entries made last evening, detailing the events and our involvement in what must surely be our most grisly case yet. I believe at least one of the dailies is running with the headline 'Jack the Ripper', which I think is mere sensationalism, however, history will demand the truth...
Having been brought up to date in the brougham by the effervescent Sherlock Holmes, he and I made our way to Whitechapel. I began to list some aspects of the crimes reported via our friend Lestrade, Mr Lungcutter the police surgeon and constables Armstrong & Miller (first on the scene at the most recent murder). There have so far been five murders - including the two last night - and various items were found at each murder scene. These items include:
A bucket and spade left near the corpse
A quantity of porridge in the victim's breast pocket
A lock of hair tied round the victim's ring finger
The words - yore neckst - written in porridge across the victim's chest.
Several incisions have been made to the bodies of all the victims, leading Lestrade to believe the murders may have been committed by a crazed doctor. In fact, Lestrade even questioned me, albeit briefly, as to my whereabouts on the dates in question and is satisfied (thank God) that I am not a suspect. He is currently questioning several hundred Doctors to ascertain their movements.
We arrived at Jones the Butchers Yard and were able to inspect the murder scene. Holmes spent several minutes lying prostrate on the ground, examining the cobbles for evidence. Though the police claimed to have been quite thorough, Holmes discovered a quantity of what he suspected might be French tobacco and two cigar stubs bearing a royal crest.
My old war wound is playing up, so I shall continue this narrative in due course.
After her parents mysteriously disappeared at the age of thirteen, Evangeline Evans has been on her own. As a military pilot for Olympus, the most powerful and technologically progressive Citadel of the new world, she keeps her reasons for finding them a secret. Without warning a terrifying disease that could destroy civilization begins to infect citizens across the city.
Only the race known as Angels—who brought advanced technology to Earth—seem to be immune to its devastation. Evangeline and her husband Jack, an Artificial Intelligence designer, are swept into a secret war between the Dissidents in the Low Technology Zones and The Quorum of Zeus. The Human race is on the precipice of Extinction. Who will prevail? Angel or Human? High Tech Olympian or Low Tech Dissident? But the better question is… Who SHOULD prevail?
John Arnold and Lily Smoot sat on a bench in the Santa Fe Plaza early that evening....
He looked at her in the dim light. “What are you doing running around with guys like Cummings and Damours, Lily?”
“Cummings is a U.S. Marshal, John. And I wasn’t running around with Damours. We were chasing him. What’s your point?”
“Cummings is not much of a Marshal and you know it, Lil. Is it true you worked in the Nevada brothels?”
She looked up at his face. Clearly his feelings had been hurt.
“Yes, John. When I left Utah, I looked into all the political and military and business management jobs open to teenage girls, but they were all filled. I didn’t meet any guys like you who were single and sitting around that I could safely live off, so I got a job where I could save some money.”
She looked closely and caught his scowl. “John, you're married, and unless you’re offering to adopt me or to start taking care of me, I have to look out for myself. And for my ranch.”
He looked down at her. For the first time ever, he hugged her. “I’m sorry, Lil. You’re right. It might not be appropriate, but I care about you and want to see you succeed.”
She stood up. Bent down to him and kissed him gently.
“Appropriate,” she said, “Is overrated.”
The Russian state of Sverdlosk was the Soviet Union’s center of fringe military research during the cold war. There, terrifying biological weapons, capable of inflicting unspeakable horror, were intensively researched and developed. Every single medium and long range armament in the Soviet arsenal was repurposed to deliver these lethal agents to anywhere on the globe. The cold war eventually ended. The research did not.
Let your plans be dark and impenetrable as night, and when you move, fall like a thunderbolt.
Sun Tzu – "THE ART OF WAR"
Abel Lewis is a city slicker and a dandy and completely out of his element in the frontier of 1881 Arizona, nursing saddle sores and wishing for a soft bed. But Lewis hides a skill, and as he seeks to find an evil power in the deserts and small towns of the Southwest, he'll need all his abilities and all his cunning to survive. And a friend with a Winchester is mighty useful, too. From Tombstone to San Francisco, Lewis is on the trail of a dark force that has its own devastating plans for the Old West. Will Lewis survive his confrontation with the over-powering malevolence of the terror of Tombstone?
Chat with Authors
I’d like to say I’ve always been a writer. As a child, I would create entire stories in my mind while swimming in our pool....
Life. I am an albino, legally blind because of it. I grew up believing I was nothing. So I wrote to make myself feel like...
When I was a child my dad used to tell me made-up fantasy stories all the time and really think that sparked a desire in...
I have always loved reading; even as a small child I would always be found with my nose in a book. There is such pleasure...
When I was younger I was involved with gangs and a criminal lifestyle. When I received 37 years to life for 2nd degree murder I...
I needed a passion to replace racing. I had written magazine articles in the past and wanted to try and capture in words an era...
Hop on Lenka's List Bandwagon
Book Reels: Be Kind, Rewind!
Everything I Needed to Know I Learned in Hell is a compilation of things I’ve learned about succeeding and failing – in life and business – while teaching. Teaching leads to a lot of revelations,...
Hey there readers and writers…I hope everyone had a wonderful week. I just wanted to let you know that my boyfriend and I are almost finished with the book we have been collaborating on titled...