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#1: Rebirth - About - Go to Chapter 1

#2: The Rising - About - Go to Chapter 1

Thursday, 31 July 2008

Calling all online fiction writers

I am looking for contributors for the *.fiction anthology volume 1. The anthology will provide a printed showcase for the emerging community of online fiction writers who publish their work on the internet for free. The plan is for the anthology to contain samples from 10-15 writers to allow them to promote their work in an accessible and cost-effective format.

All online fiction writers are invited to submit their work for inclusion in the first volume of the *.fiction anthology. This will be a community-focused publication and should be considered as a starting point in building awareness of online fiction. It will be made available for purchase at cost price and all contributors are encouraged to promote this work along with their own.

If there are more submissions than the number required for the first volume, additional work will be carried over to subsequent volumes. Please contact me at for more information and submission guidelines.

The closing date for submissions for volume 1 is September 30th 2008.

Wednesday, 30 July 2008

The Rising - Chapter 13: Plunging Into The Darkness

The car drew to a halt and Emily jumped as she heard the clunk of the doors unlocking. For the first time since she had been dragged out of the police station, Emily’s captor turned round and looked her in the eye. His face was deathly white and his piercing eyes a shade of unnaturally light blue. The darkness cast deep shadows across his face and Emily looked away in fear. In a deep, gruff voice he barked ‘Get out!’

She complied immediately.

Emily opened the door and stepped outside. She regretted removing her shoes in her cell that afternoon, wincing as her bare feet met dirt and sharp rocks. Looking around, all she could see was grass and patches of dirt stretching into the never-ending darkness.

What are we doing here?’ she asked as the pale man got out of the car and slammed the door. The rocks underfoot crunched as he took huge steps towards her. He reached out and gripped her tightly. Emily stifled a scream as he pulled her close to him.

Hey, what the hell are you doing? Why have you brought me here?’

He leaned forward and whispered in her ear. ‘Hold on.’


Before she could protest any further, the pale man leapt into the air. But instead of dropping back down to the ground, they kept rising and rising, soaring high above the dirt road. No matter how much she didn’t want to be within a hundred miles of this man, let alone holding on to his belt as he dragged her screaming into the sky above them, she clung on to him for dear life.

With the harsh chill of the night air rushing past her face, they arced high in the air and started heading back towards the ground. Emily screamed at the top of her lungs as they passed over the car and over a ridge that had been obscured from view by the darkness.

They plunged into pitch black for what seemed like an eternity. Emily’s body tingled all over, awaiting the inevitable impact at any moment.

Then without warning, they started to slow down. They slowed down until they were hanging in mid-air. Emily felt her body shaking all over. The pale man whispered in her ear again.

What’s wrong? Never flown before?’

She didn’t reply and the pale man laughed.

Do you want to try it again?’ he asked and let go of her.

Emily felt gravity take hold of her body and screamed once more, louder than she had ever screamed before. Her fingers clawed for grip on the pale man’s body as it rose above her and she caught hold of his boot. His blue eyes looked down on her. Before she could plead for him to spare her life, he shook her loose from his leg like she was just something stuck to his boot.

She screamed once more, with what she thought would be her final breath.

After falling not even a metre, her bare feet hit a wooden floor. Her legs buckled and she crumpled to the floor. Emily’s whimpers of fear and humiliation were drowned out by the hearty laughs of the pale man, who lowered himself onto the wooden floor. He stepped over Emily’s shivering body and banged on a huge wooden door.

The sound of a metal bolt echoed around the narrow cavern and the wooden doors were flung open. Emily looked up and saw Roxy limp out from the doorway and onto the wooden platform where she lay quivering. Roxy addressed the pale man.

Is this the wife?’

The pale man nodded.

Good work, Jackson,’ she said, ‘Get her inside.’

The pale man grabbed Emily’s arm and dragged her to her feet. He marched her through the entrance hall and down a long corridor. She cried out for help but no one came to her aid. The pale man slammed the heavy wooden door shut and locked it, ignoring Emily’s screams from inside as he pocketed the key.

Job done, Jackson thought, That was too easy.

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Tuesday, 29 July 2008

Sample: Corvus by L Lee Lowe

I'm pleased to offer a sample from another online fiction writer. I'll let him tell you all about it in his own words...

I'm an indie writer, meaning that I write fiction - novels and short stories - but have no interest in conventional publication. Hence I make all my work available online, though I've recently issued a POD copy of my YA fantasy novel Mortal Ghost as a reader service (no royalties). Here is a link to a recent interview which will give you more information:

At the moment I'm rewriting/revising my new F/SF novel, Corvus, which I plan to begin serialising online in a few months. It's set in a slightly alternate future in which the minds of teen offenders are uploaded into computers on the pretext of rehabilitation – a form of virtual wilderness therapy. The novel is part thriller, part love story, part riff on the nature of consciousness. Here is an extract:
His attention fell upon Josh's album, which lay open on her desk. Most of the photos on view were stiff, cheesy poses in front of bazaar or amphitheatre or cathedral, sunburnt faces of lads in khaki shorts and sandals who must have once been important to the old man, but to Laura interchangeable in their anonymity—there were no labels, not even a date—and about as lifelike as an effigy. A group of friends on holiday together, probably. She'd squinted over the pictures trying to recognise Josh, without success. If the faces of the young are a roadmap of their future, the resolution was too low for her to zoom to the present. Or maybe, quite simply, he was always holding the camera.

To read more, follow the link below...

Review: The Fog (Blu-ray)

My review of John Carpenter's The Fog is now online at DVDActive.

Monday, 28 July 2008

The Rising - Chapter 12: 'Where Are You Taking Me?'

Emily Owen had kept perfectly silent during the long journey from the city out into the country. Without any interruptions, she had managed to calm herself down and accept her situation.

Thoughts of her husband were always on her mind. She hadn’t seen him since he had left, promising to come back for her and telling her everything would be okay. He could be in exactly the same position as her for all she knew but it was the not knowing that was hurting her the most.

Worrying about Andrew meant she wasn’t thinking about where her captor was taking her. She tried not to think about what her captor had done at the police station but she couldn’t escape the images that had flashed before her eyes after he had pulled her from her cell.

The floor had been strewn with bodies, some police officers, others civilian, but all dead. Pools of blood had gathered on the floor and red splatters streaked up the walls. The commotion she heard outside her cell had lasted for only a matter of seconds, but it was all the time her burly captor needed.

Did he really kill all those people single-handedly?

She knew there was only one explanation for his strength. This was the first time she had met a vampire. Well, it was the first time she was sure she had met a vampire. Andrew had told her they were everywhere in the real world, not just hiding in dark corners waiting to suck the blood of innocent people. Ever since he told her the secret he had kept hidden from the rest of the world, she always kept her eyes open for vampires in her everyday life.

The woman who always served her at the bank. Their dentist. The postman. Members of her own family. Her friends. Politicians.

Are any of them creatures of the night? Are they all creatures of the night?

She could never tell for sure but always had her suspicions. Many times in the past she had questioned her husband’s sanity and her own.

Come on, Andrew. Monsters don’t exist. How can they? They’re the stuff of fantasy, creatures that only show up in movies.

But she trusted Andrew. He was the last person in the world she thought would let his imagination run away with him. He was the most strait-laced and sensible person she’d ever met. That’s why she loved him so much. She had no reason not to believe him so she put her faith in him with no promise of any pay-off for her devotion.

Andrew had been straight with her from the start. He knew that he might not live to see the fruits of his labour, but he was certain he was part of something big, something important that the survival of mankind depended on. Many scientists before him had tried and failed to create a cure for the vampire virus. Part of him wanted to be the man to succeed where others had failed, but he was a realist.

All he thought he could do was make one breakthrough that would allow his successors to continue to develop further. But that had all changed when he and Doctor Forrest made the breakthrough just a matter of weeks earlier.

Emily stared out of the window at the dark, empty countryside. They were driving higher and higher into the mountains, working their way round winding roads edged with metal barriers that were supposed to stop careless drivers plunging into the rocky depths below. Artificial orange light illuminated the car for a few seconds as they passed through a small village. The car was then plunged back into darkness.

After a few minutes, Emily finally plucked up the courage to ask her captor a question.

‘Where are you taking me?’

As soon as the words had left her lips, he hit the brakes and turned the car off the road. A shiver shot down her spine and adrenaline coursed through her veins.

Oh my God, she thought, is he going to kill me for asking where we’re going?

Relief hit her as she realised the coincidental timing of her question. The reason the driver had turned off the road was not to kill her and dump her body. A large metal gate ahead of them swung open and they continued down a dirt track that led into the mountains.

The relief Emily had felt left her as soon as it had arrived. She realised that wherever they were going, they were almost there and her fears turned to thoughts of what might happen to her when they reached their destination.

He didn’t bring me all this way just to kill me.

Did he?

Buy Rebirth and The Rising in print


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Amazon: £7.99

Saturday, 26 July 2008

Review: The Orphanage (Blu-ray)

My review of The Orphanage is now online at DVDActive.

Friday, 25 July 2008

The Rising - Chapter 11: Calling In Reinforcements

Private Hindle had been staring at the same screen for hours. The red dot he’d been watching had stopped at the digital representation of a lake an hour ago.

He had alerted the general when it stopped moving but had been told to keep an eye on it for now. After all, the sun would be rising before long and once the fugitives found shelter they would be easier to pick off. They wouldn’t exactly be eager to run outside with two vampires in their gang.

It wasn’t quite the exciting assignment he’d been expecting when they received the emergency call from Captain Stein. Private Hindle, like many other members of The Brotherhood, had never actually seen a vampire. Of course, he’d seen them on training videos and locked inside observation rooms but he’d never made a bloodsucker stare down the barrel of his gun. Even when they arrived at the base, he had been marched into the comms room while his squad mates got to kill all the remaining vampires several floors below.

The red dot disappeared.

Sir,’ said Private Hindle.

The general, who was looking at the screens on the other side of the operations room turned round. ‘Yes, Private, what is it?’

We’ve lost them.’

How could you lose them?’

Either the tracking device on the helicopter failed or they found it and destroyed it.’

The general thought to himself for a moment. ‘They must have abandoned the helicopter,’ he announced, ‘Where are they?’

The last fix on their position was just over a mile south of Lake Arcadia.’

General Graham picked up the telephone sitting next to Private Hindle and dialled the number for the regional headquarters closest to the lake.

This is General Graham. Give me Captain Sayers,’ he barked as soon as his call was answered.

Private Hindle tried to listen in to the conversation but all he could hear was the general’s booming voice.

Captain Sayers, I need your help. I am at the regional headquarters nearest Hartley House. Yes, terrible losses. We need more men.’

General Graham then read the longitude and latitude of the last position of the missing helicopter out to Captain Sayers from the screen.

Load up a helicopter and meet me at Lake Arcadia in one hour.’

Buy Rebirth and The Rising in print


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Lulu: £9.50


Amazon: £7.99

Wednesday, 23 July 2008

The Rising - Chapter 10: First Strike

Marcus Verrico stood over his desk, looking down at an intricate diagram. His finger traced the locations he planned to position his men, who were significantly fewer in numbers since the loss of one hundred soldiers in the attack on Hartley House.

While they had failed in their primary objective of recapturing Doctor Owen, they had undoubtedly succeeded in telling the humans they meant business. They had shown the humans that everything they thought they knew about vampires was wrong. Their numbers would continue to grow in spite of their failure the night before.

This strike will be our first against the human race. It will be our first strike in the battle for our supremacy and they won’t even know it was us until it’s too late.

A knock on the door signalled Roxy’s entrance and he turned round to face her.

How’s the leg?’ he asked as she limped towards him.

Nearly there,’ she said, ‘I’m having another treatment in a few minutes’ time. After that I should be fighting fit.’

I’m glad to hear it,’ he said.

Roxy looked over his shoulder at the plans on his desk.

Do you think we have enough men?’

Yes. I think we can do it with fewer than twenty men but they’ll have to work quickly. When we complete this attack successfully, we will have a force to be reckoned with once again.’

Their thoughts were interrupted by the ring of the telephone on Marcus’ desk. Marcus reached over the plans and picked up the receiver. He answered the call and heard a strange voice utter the phrase he had been both expecting and dreading. As soon as the caller had finished what he wanted to say, he hung up, leaving Marcus no time to reply.

Roxy could tell he was shaken by the call. “Who was it?’

That was one of the Lord Chancellor’s advisors. He’s coming here.’


He didn’t say. The sun will be up soon so we should probably expect him at sunset.’

They contemplated their fates in silence. After they had killed the Lord Chancellor’s deputy to save their clan, they knew it would only be a matter of time until he came calling.

To save their skins, Marcus knew he had to pull out all the stops to impress the Lord Chancellor. His attention turned to the diagrams on his desk once again.

This plan must not fail. Our lives depend on it.

Buy Rebirth and The Rising in print


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Amazon: £7.99

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

Review: 30 Days Of Night: Blood Trails

My review of the prequel to 30 Days Of Night is now online at DVDActive.

Monday, 21 July 2008

The Rising - Chapter 9: Bad News

Detective Dave Thomas hung up and turned to his wife.

Who was that?’ she asked.

It was Tom,’ Dave said, bracing himself for the usual response to a call about work when he was on vacation.

Jesus Christ, Dave. Doesn’t he know you’re on holiday? What did he want?’

Dave paused for a moment to try and think of the best way of telling her what was about to happen. He realised there was no good way of telling her and just came out with it.

He’s coming here.’

Tom? Coming here? When?’

Right now. He’ll be here in half an hour.’

What do you mean, Dave? It’s the middle of the night,’ she exclaimed then lowered her voice, ‘The kids are asleep. What’s he coming here for?’

He’s in trouble. He hasn’t got anywhere else to go.’

Well he can’t. You’re on holiday. We’re on holiday.’

Dave really wasn’t looking forward to telling her the next part of the deal.

He’s in trouble so he’s coming to see me.’ He left that comment hanging in the air with the emphasis on me. After all those years of marriage, he hoped she would pick up on the hint. When her face turned from disbelief to anger, he knew he’d made the breakthrough.

That’s why I love you so much, he thought.

So you’re kicking us out so your buddy can come here and take over the place?’

I’m really sorry. It’s out of my hands. He’s at the lake already and didn’t give me any choice. What would you do in this situation? Put yourself in his place. He’s my partner.’

She let it all sink in and looked up with a glint in her eye. ‘You owe me big time, big boy,’ she said, patting his belly.

Anything, sweetheart. You know I wouldn’t ask you to do this if it wasn’t important.’ He knew she was on his side but he also knew that he would have a lot of making up to do.

If you think you’re in the doghouse with me, just wait until I wake up the gang upstairs. Leo isn’t going to be happy about not going fishing with you tomorrow.’

I know, I’ll make it up to all of you. I promise. Take my car if you want.’

It’s okay, I’ll take mine. I’d better get this over with.’

She got to her feet and Dave heard the floorboards creak as she walked up the stairs to the kids’ bedroom. The flickering golden glow of the fireplace became contaminated as she turned the bedroom light on.

Dave’s heart sank as he heard his kids’ protestations at being woken up. Whispers were followed by more protestations at being told they had to go home early.

This had better be important, Tom.

Buy Rebirth and The Rising in print


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Amazon: £7.99

Friday, 18 July 2008

The Rising - Chapter 8: Final Test

Doctor Forrest stepped out of his lab and walked across the stone floor of the corridor to the metal door that held his test subject in solitary confinement. He stood at the door for a long time, admiring his handiwork.

The doctor had expected his guinea pig to turn within an hour. His predictions were accurate. Now the naked man was lying in the corner of the brightly lit room among the splinters of the chair he had been sitting on, crying out in agony for help from the emotionless face that was looking down on him.

A bite from even the most powerful vampire takes a matter of hours to take hold on the weakest human, but I have developed something much more powerful. More potent than anything God himself could ever have created.

The rising vampire army had been in dire need of the missing link in their plan. Something that would allow them to increase their numbers at such a rate the human community could never comprehend. Something the humans couldn’t hope to resist, even if they were to find out about it before it’s too late.

The human race had expanded rapidly since great leaps forward had been made in the field of medical research, but the terms of the treaty that was signed five hundred years ago refused to allow the vampire numbers to grow at the same rate. The size of the vampire community was secretly growing but their numbers were still small. The Brotherhood and the World Health Organisation always found a way to curb the growth.

But now that we can multiply quicker than ever before, there will be no stopping us, Doctor Forrest thought to himself. It is written that we will rise to take our rightful place as the dominant force in the world. The Rising is inevitable. This treatment is the catalyst.

The sound of footsteps echoed around the stone walls. Doctor Forrest looked down the corridor and saw the imposing figure of Roxy limping towards him. As ever, she was dressed in black combat gear and her awkward movement coupled with the flaming torches on the walls lighting her way made her look meaner than ever.

‘How is he doing?’ she asked.

The doctor pulled his stopwatch out of his pocket and showed it to her. ‘Fifty-three minutes.’

‘Excellent,’ she said, ‘Any side effects?’

‘None that I can see. I’m about to prepare the treatment for your operation. How many syringes do you need?’

‘At least two hundred, but make up as many as you can.’

‘When are you going ahead with the plan?’

‘We’re moving ahead earlier than we originally planned. Tonight, just after midnight.’

The doctor turned to his guinea pig.

‘Unless you’ve got any use for him, there’s only one more test to do.’

Roxy looked through the window in the door. The pitiful figure in the corner was curled in the foetal position with his hand reaching out to her. She heard a voice in her head.

Help me, please!

She turned to Doctor Forrest. ‘Do it.’

The doctor flicked a switch on the wall and the lights inside the room went out. He then flicked another switch and they both stepped back as a second set of spotlights lit up the room. He restarted the timer on his stopwatch.

Ultraviolet light filled the prisoner’s cell, the purple glow illuminating the faces of his audience but the sealed doorway ensured the man in the room only felt the ill effects.

His arms and legs started to twitch. His movements became more aggressive. Within seconds, his body was convulsing violently. Blisters were beginning to form on his skin, which was quickly turning an angrier and angrier shade of red. One by one, the blisters burst and more and more began to form in their place. As they burst and pus oozed down his limbs, wisps of smoke left his skin and small flecks of dust fell to the floor.

He crouched on all fours, screaming in unimaginable pain as his skin turned to flakes of dust. The reactions in his body cut through his arms and they gave way, splitting at the elbows and throwing him face down onto the floor. He stopped moving. He lay still on the floor until every cell in his body that had been human just on hour earlier settled into a pile of ash among the splintered chair.

Doctor Forrest stopped the timer and turned the lights out.

‘Just over sixty seconds,’ he said.

‘Thank you for your hard work, Doctor Forrest. I guess we can’t expect miracles.’

‘Not yet,’ the doctor replied, ‘but anything may be possible if I have time to complete my work.’

Buy Rebirth and The Rising in print


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Wednesday, 16 July 2008

Sample: The Curly Situation by Jason Davis

Regular visitors who enjoy reading fiction online may like to consider The Curly Situation by Jason Davis, which he started publishing last month. In the author's own words...

It's a blog novel (or "blovel" if must blestroy the blingo). It's also an experiment. I write, you read, and we all get a laugh along the way. The story centres on Curly Gibson, an Aussie cricketer whose talent for accidental sporting success is surpassed only by his talent for getting shot at. I'll post twice a week, as long as I get nice comments and a few bucks in the tip jar. Puh-leeese. - JD
Here's the first chapter to whet your appetite...

Chapter 1.1 - Curly as car wreck

Friday, March 2, 2007

The day my life imploded, so completely did things head south that I later reasoned it must have been a horrific thing of beauty to behold. Like a fire in a fireworks factory. Or Britney Spears.
From where I stood, however, caught in the crossfire of my own personal shitfight, it struck me as a tad less than amusing.
Another thing that struck me was a pair of flippers, followed by my unused guitar, although I managed to sidestep the suitcase that followed close behind and thereby avoid serious brain injury. I watched as the case hit the concrete beside me and burst, spraying a geyser of underwear and dirty shirts across the carpark.
At the window two stories above me, was my (former) live-in girlfriend and trainee banshee. Live-in girlfriend, or was I now a live-out boyfriend? While she was frisbeeing my crockery out into the carpark, I’d walked upstairs and tried my front door. Locked. Possibly barricaded. So you could say she currently held the position of power in the relationship.
We’ll call the banshee Karen, because that’s her name.
Her head bobbed out of the livingroom window. “The beauty of this is you’ll get a nice taste of sleeping around too – in your fucking car! Shitwit!” That Karen. A real way with words.
That bright Friday morning began with me capering around like the fifth Wiggle, scraping semi-soiled sporting gear into a bag.
My name is Ashley Lawrence Gibson, but everybody calls me Curly, given that I’ve been semi-bald since my mid-twenties. As nicknames go, it’s a million miles from hilarious, but you don’t get a choice in these things, it seems.
At 35, I still call myself a professional cricketer, although, if asked the same question three weeks ago, the phrase “trainee hobo” may have figured in my reply.
My career had been reduced to club cricket on the weekends interspersed by serious sessions of thumbing through the Saturday job ads and wondering why I’d used my high school careers guidebook as kindling on camping trips.
Financially, things were looking dire. My saving were just about kaput, with the few hundred my club slung me every week hardly enough to finance the lifestyle I was after, like one that included living in a room. And eating.

To read more, head over to

The Rising - Chapter 7: Seeking Shelter

Doctor Owen called Jane to tell her and Skinner to return to the helicopter. They hadn’t ventured far so it didn’t take them long to get back. The air was cold but I was certain the temperature dropped by a few degrees as they arrived. They didn’t look pleased to see me.

‘How do you feel, Tom?’ Jane asked when she saw me.

‘Okay. Not as bad as I did after the treatment yesterday.’

‘Good for you. Now, do you want to tell us why we’re here?’

I was taken aback by how cold Jane was with me. Just the day before she had been very warm toward me and we had worked well together. However, that was yesterday and this was now. The faint metallic taste in my mouth reminded me that things had changed.

Even though I’d been out for a few hours, I realised that we were still in crisis mode. The Brotherhood were almost certainly already looking for us. No one else had taken a break from worrying about our position. I had been out cold without a worry in the world.

‘My partner has a cabin at the lake. I’m sure he’ll let us stay there as long as we want. There are hundreds of holiday homes up there so it should give us some time to work out what we’re going to do before The Brotherhood find us.’

Jane weighed up my proposal. The look on her face told me she thought it might be a good idea but she tried her best to hide it from me.

‘Well, it’s the best idea we’ve had yet,’ was her less-than-enthusiastic appraisal.

I picked my mobile phone out of my pocket and called Dave’s number. He answered almost immediately.

‘Hey partner,’ he said in his perpetually upbeat tone, ‘you’re on the news.’

‘I know,’ I said, brushing his comment aside but wondering just how bad the report about me was. ‘I need your help.’

‘What do you need from me? I’ll do what I can but I’m still on holiday, Tom.’

‘Good. I was hoping you’d say that. I need to ask you a huge favour.’

‘Sounds ominous. What can I do?’

‘I’m at the lake with some people who have been helping me with this case. I need you to put us up for a few hours while we work out what we’re going to do next.’

‘What, you’re here now?’

‘We’re only a mile or two away from the cabins. We can be with you in about half an hour.’

‘I don’t know what to say, Tom. You’re not giving me much of a choice, are you?’

I didn’t know what to say either.

‘Anyway,’ he sighed, ‘thanks for calling me first.’

‘Thanks, Dave. I owe you one. You should send your family home.’

‘Are you in danger?’

‘Yes. We’ll be as quick as we can.’

‘See you in half an hour. We’re in cabin sixty-six, but give me a chance to break the news to she-who-must-be-obeyed.’

I hung up and Jane snatched the phone out of my hand.

‘Hey, what are you doing?’ I asked.

‘The Brotherhood will use our phones to track us down. We have to keep the doctor’s phone with us in case Doctor Forrest calls again but we have to throw the rest of them away. Get everything out of the helicopter; we have to get rid of it as well. We can be certain it’s being tracked.’

‘How are we going to get rid of this helicopter? It’s huge,’ said Doctor Owen, ‘We can’t blow it up. Everyone will see the smoke from miles away.’

After keeping quiet, Skinner decided to pipe up. ‘I know what to do,’ he said, ‘Let’s empty it first and I’ll get rid of it.’

We pulled all of the metal boxes out of the helicopter and piled them up on the grass. Skinner then got into the cockpit and fired up the engine.

‘Stand back,’ he shouted to us before the whirring rotors became too loud to hear his voice.

The gunship rose into the air. Skinner floated it over our heads and hovered high above the water level of the lake. The door opened and I witnessed a sight I never thought I’d dream of seeing in my entire life.

Skinner jumped out of the open door and flew towards us, narrowly avoiding being sliced to death by the spinning rotor blades as the helicopter dropped out of the sky and plunged into the lake. An almighty splash was accompanied by the creak of metal as the huge helicopter sunk into the water. Waves were sent flowing from the centre of the lake and washed up on the shore just behind Skinner’s feet as they hit the ground. The water bubbled as the gunship disappeared from view.

‘Right,’ he said as we stood wide-eyed and open-mouthed, ‘We can’t stand around looking at the view. We’d better get moving.’

Buy Rebirth and The Rising in print


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Amazon: £7.99

Monday, 14 July 2008

Review: Ultimate Rambo Collection (Blu-ray)

My review of the Ultimate Rambo Collection (Regions A+B) is now online at DVDActive.

The Rising - Chapter 6: Waking Up

I opened my eyes.

I was expecting to be in pain, just like the terrible feeling of a hangover I had when I woke up after being bitten by a vampire twenty-four hours earlier. However, on first impressions I wasn’t feeling too bad.

I sat up and found myself on the seat in the back of a helicopter. The air was cold. My shirt was soaked through with sweat. I shivered and rubbed my arms, which were covered in goose bumps below my torn and bloody shirt sleeves. Then it all came flooding back to me.

The autopsy.

The attack.

Oh my God, I killed three soldiers and the commander.

I chopped his head off.

My eyes caught a metal box sitting on the floor on the opposite side of the cabin. I lowered myself onto my knees and edged over to the box. In an attempt to prepare myself for the worst, I took a moment to try and picture the horror that was held inside.

Maybe it was all a dream. Maybe I didn’t really do that.

I unlocked the catches on the front of the box that held the airtight lid in place. Very slowly I lifted the lid but I heard a shout and jumped, dropping the lid before I had a chance to look inside.


I looked up, outside the helicopter. I hadn’t even thought to look outside. We were sitting in a grassy clearing. Ahead of us was a thick forest and behind was a small lake. It was still dark outside, with only the moonlight illuminating our surroundings.

Doctor Owen had seen me and was running back to the helicopter.

‘Tom, you’re awake! How are you feeling?’

After having moved around for a minute or two, I reassessed my state of well-being.

‘Okay I think,’ I said, ‘A bit of a headache but definitely a lot better than I felt when we left the base. How long have I been out?’

‘Just a couple of hours. The treatment must have worked a lot quicker than it did last time.’

‘Is that a good or a bad thing?’ I asked.

I didn’t get an answer and the look on his face didn’t fill me with confidence. The doctor took my head in his hands and looked at my face in great detail.

‘Incredible,’ he said, ‘you’ve completely healed.’


‘Yes. When we left the base, the short run from the entrance to the main door resulted in you absorbing a small dose of the sun’s ultraviolet light. Your face in particular was heavily sunburnt. Now, just hours later, you’re back to normal.’

It wasn’t the first time my body had miraculously healed since I had been bitten by a vampire. He looked concerned.

‘I would have expected the treatment to slow down the effects of your infection, but…’ He stopped talking abruptly and his face, that had been happy to see me just moments before, turned into a look of fear and shame.

‘But what?’

‘You fed on Captain Stein’s blood. That would have provided you with a significant amount of energy. The treatment must have reduced the ability of your body to control its movement, hence your unconsciousness, but your blood, which is starting to be self-aware, followed its natural instinct to heal your body.’

You fed on Captain Stein’s blood.

My hand immediately went to my mouth. My fingers probed my canine teeth. They were back to normal.

‘Your teeth only extend when you’re ready to feed,’ the doctor said.

I couldn’t believe what I’d done. I had mutilated Captain Stein’s body and drank his blood. That was surely a fate worse than death. I’d cursed him with the same destiny that I was struggling to deal with. I was still struggling to decide whether I’d be better off dead.

At least I’ve got the doctor to help me.

‘I never thanked you for last night,’ I said.

‘What do you mean?’

‘When they strapped me down, you talked to me. You told me I could break free.’

‘Really? I had no idea that worked. I tried to project those thoughts, but I never thought you would hear them. Very interesting.’

‘Where are we?’ I asked.

‘We’re in the hills, near Lake Arcadia.’

‘What are we doing here?’

‘Just after I gave you the treatment, you were drifting in and out of consciousness but you said something to us. You told us to come here. You said you would know what to do.’

I was very confused.

‘Where are Jane and the other guy?’

‘Private Skinner? They got tired of waiting for you to wake up and went off to check the area out to see if they could work out why the hell you dragged us here.’

I started to feel very guilty.

‘Their words, not mine,’ he laughed.

Why have I brought everyone here? What are we going to do if I can’t remember? Wait a minute…

‘If I didn’t say why we should come here, why did we?’

‘Where else could we have gone?’ the doctor asked, ‘The Brotherhood are almost certainly going to go to our homes and we need somewhere unfamiliar to base ourselves.’

Then it hit me.

‘Where did you say we were?’ I asked.

‘Lake Arcadia.’

‘That’s it. My old partner Dave has a cabin by the lake. He’s up here right now teaching his kids to fish. He’ll take us in for as long as it takes to get our heads together.’

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