Category Archives: Thrillers

Thriller Book Spotlight and Author Interview: Going Gone by Abraham Lopez @AbeLopezAuthor

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Anthology, Thriller, Alternate History

going gone

Release Date: 1/16/18

What is a single life worth? In our modern world, where wars are on the cusp of igniting at a moment’s notice, new diseases ravage entire populations, and hidden atrocities erase the lives of thousands, what can the death of a single person mean?

It can mean the tenuous line between peace and destruction.

Kurt Ramis knows this, as he watches the aftermath of an assassination on his television set. His years in the CIA have prepared him for such a dreadful day.

“Rasul” knows this, as he follows his young guide down the streets of New York City, with a gift for his adopted country.

The soldiers and sentries of Camelot’s Corridor, deep under the sands of Texas know this, as they prepare the secret bunker for the President’s arrival.

Mike Keogh knows this, as he remembers fallen friends, betrayals, and mention of a secretive monster named the Tangerine Demon.

Jessie Rosen will know it soon enough, as she descends the steps to Kubrá, to meet her deliverer. Her new family descends those steps as well, calling for their Lord to hear their prayers.

Phil Barr begrudgingly knows this, as he cowers in his palatial Hollywood Hills mansion, murderers and thugs auditioning on live TV, sirens ringing in his ears. This wasn’t how his charmed life was supposed to turn out.

And DaRWIn knows this best of all, as it predicted the assassination, and the calamitous after-effects some time ago.

On a certain day, on a certain street in the Middle East, the taking of a single life will mean everything, and it will shake the foundation of humanity. It will be the pulling of a loose strand in mankind’s tapestry, undoing the progress of a thousand years, ripping apart at the seams countless lives, countless societies.

Intertwining lives and stories, some saved and some ended, some Going, some Gone…

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In order to allow for new growth, the old must often be felled, burned away to the ashes. This is as true of forests as it is the constructs of men.

And as a single thunderous current can engulf an ancient forest in flame, a solitary strike of violence can erase the oldest of men’s foundations.

On this day, such a strike of violence unfolded almost perfectly.


It began with a group of vehicles methodically making its way from the outskirts of the capital, through the dust-covered streets, and emerging into the open space of the ancient city square.  This motorcade moved in precise unison, seeming like a scarab beetle crossing a desert hardpan.

The lead pair of motorcycles, traveling side-by-side, came to a stop just past the main entrance to the embassy.  Following closely behind was an out-of-place black limousine, somewhat dusted over, yet shining brilliantly in the midday sun, which was itself followed by a pair of aging military transport trucks.  The head and abdomen of this insectile formation were bristling with weapons; the ‘cycles had RPGs mounted across the handlebars for easy access to the driver, and rear-facing second riders, conspicuously armed with AK-47s; the trucks, each carrying a dozen armed men in their canvas-covered beds.

After a moment’s pause, the doors to the elongated thorax opened almost simultaneously.  Several brutish men, whose demeanor and air could only be those of guardians, emerged into the hot Arabian day.  Seconds later a small man of indistinct features was helped out of the rear of the limousine.  He then began a slow but purposeful walk up the stairs toward the entrance.

The motorcade had already begun moving away, into the crowded street, when the first flashbang went off to the right of the embassy’s entrance.  This non-lethal grenade, usually used in close quarters to confuse an opponent and render them momentarily vulnerable, nonetheless produced the desired effect out in the open.  The trained guardians were instantly put on the defensive, and surrounded the Prime Minister.  They began moving him away from the embassy and toward street in an attempt to regroup with the motorcade.

The motorcade itself had already made its way halfway down the block when it too reacted to the explosion.  The driver of the Minister’s limousine stopped and attempted to reverse course, but the sudden onslaught of frightened citizens enveloped the vehicle, rendering it temporarily immobile.  The men and women attempting to flee the explosion likewise impeded the men in the back of the truck and the motorcycle drivers.

One of those fleeing men, dressed in a flowing but crudely made thawb, made his way behind an abandoned food cart, and calmly observed the security detail’s next move from this hidden vantage point.

About the Author:

abraham lopez

Abraham spent his formative years in rural Colorado, where he was born in 1979. He has also lived in Northern Nevada, Virginia, and Northwest Arkansas. These disparate environments and local cultures have had a great impact on Abraham’s view of America and his writing styles. Though educated as a computer programmer, Abraham hopes to be a full-time writer in the near future.

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Author Interview:

Thanks for doing an interview! Could you tell our readers a little bit about your writing journey? I was a voracious reader as a kid, mostly because of my step-father’s influence, and I think that because English is my second language, reading helped me to learn structure and vocabulary early on.  That said, although I always dreamt of someday being a writer, I didn’t seriously consider publishing anything publicly until a few years ago.  I had a few ideas for some short stories, and after publishing a couple of them on their own, the bigger idea of publishing an anthology of short stories got me going on my present path.

How many books do you currently have published?  Aside from two short stories that I published in 2013, this upcoming anthology, “Going Gone”, is my first big work to be published.

What has been your favorite book to write so far? Why?  “Going Gone” is definitely my favorite because of the diversity of story-telling involved and the way the stories intertwine around a central theme.

Are you currently working on a book? Will this be your next release?  I have two novels in mind as future projects, though the success of this anthology will determine how quickly they get written and published.  I’m currently working full-time as a computer programmer, and the anthology I wrote on my spare time, on and off, for about three years.  If I can manage to write full-time I should be able to knock at least one of the novels out in about a year’s time.

What do you enjoy most about writing? The creative process.  Specifically inventing a character or situation that didn’t previously exist, and then finding a way for your characters to progress beyond that situation.

Do you ever get writer’s block? If so, how do you deal with it?  I don’t think I’ve written for a substantial enough time to get writer’s block.  I only say that because the ideas for everything I’ve written so far have come to me fairly easily, it’s just the actual writing (and the time to do it) that have been the most difficult part.

Have you ever had one of your characters to take a twist you weren’t expecting and surprise you? Yes, probably every significant character in my anthology have turned out different than I originally intended them to.  There is one protagonist that I began writing as a man, then realized that that was wrong, and that she needed to be a woman.  Coincidently, hers is one of my favorite stories in the anthology.

Which of your characters is your personal favorite? Least favorite? Why?  I’d have to say my favorite is Jessie Rosen (alluded to above), the investigative journalist in my short story “Jessie and the LARGOnauts” because she finds herself in a dangerous situation and her strength and inner resolve really shows throughout the narrative.  My least favorite, but funnest to write, is Symon Stephenson.  He’s a rock star, and a walking ego, and doesn’t really care about anyone but himself, and it was fun to have him interact with people who couldn’t stand him but needed to work with him.

What lessons have you learned since becoming a writer? Do you have any tips for new writers? I’ve learned to not give up, to keep writing even when you don’t feel like it.  Some days you’re tired and your brain is fried, but it’s a privilege to be able to write your thoughts down so that you can go back and mold them into something better later.  You can’t take that for granted, and I learned that I love the editing process because it allows me the freedom to overwrite ideas that I thought were done and (hopefully) make them more complete through the edit.

If you were to recommend your books to a stranger, which book would you advise them to start with? Why?  “The Man” which is a short story I wrote a few years ago.  It’s free, for one, and it encapsulates, I think, my writing style and technique.  If it intrigues you, buy my anthology, why not?  If not, at least it didn’t cost you anything!

Now it’s time to get to know you! What are some of your favorite books to read?  “One Hundred Years of Solitude”, “The Road”, “No Country for Old Men”, “What We Talk About When We Talk About Love.”  These are the books that impacted me most, and made me want to become a writer.

If you had to sum up your life as a writer in ten words, what would you say? It’s still a work in progress!

Do you have anything else you’d like to share with readers? Yes, I hope you enjoy my work and don’t be afraid to leave me a review or recommend my book to friend!  Thanks a million!

Psychological Thriller Spotlight: Portrait of Death by Greg Ryan @GregRyan24

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portrait of death jpg

Nathan Pearson defines emotional scars – a former Chicago detective who is against becoming an FBI agent and used to date a psychotic serial killer, an art teacher fixated on painting portraits of her victims. But when new murders make a connection between him and Mona, he will be forced to go visit her at the mental hospital for information.

With Mona committed to a mental hospital, a mysterious group are striking back at her and Nathan. Though Mona claims she knows nothing about it, the murders are committed in a similar fashion as hers.

But every time there is another murder, a threatening note is left specifically for Mona—and Nathan begins to wonder why he has been named in all of this. Nathan will do whatever is necessary to get the information he needs from Mona—or wait until the mysterious group catches up to him and Mona. One thing is clear: Mona’s obsession with art goes far deeper than anyone knows. This all leads to a twisted and shocking turn of events that will make Mona Pruitt the next deadly famous artist.

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Linda gave in and turned the portrait around to show Mona. Mona took it in her hands to get a real look at it. It was a portrait of a young guy at a library, standing near a bookshelf, picking out a book to read.

“I followed him to the campus library,” Linda said. “I knew there was something about him that had a story to tell. His eyes had so much promise of a wise man. I couldn’t let him go.”

“How did you kill him?”

“Stabbed a pencil in the back of his head. Then I used some string to make him stay standing, appearing to be looking for a book to read. What do you think?”

“I think this is wonderful, Linda. It shows you have a true understanding of art and where it comes from. I like the color you used for his face.”

“Thank you so much, Mona!” All of Linda’s dreams just came true. She was waiting with so much anticipation to find out what Mona Pruitt would think of her portraits. Her face filled with the acceptance that she may never have gotten before, and Mona handed the portrait back to her.

About the Author:

greg ryan

I have been fascinated with stories ever since I was a kid and my passion for it grew as I got older. Focusing on TV shows and movies has really helped shaped the kind of vision I need to be a good writer. Stories are told differently between shows, movies, and books and by getting very familiar with all three it has only enhanced my skill as a writer. Watching stories unfold one episode at a time has a very specific structure that has to be followed and that has allowed me to write better stories. Learning different structures for movies or shows has been a great combination to allow me to tell the best and most exciting story. I promise you won’t be bored.

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Thriller Book Spotlight and Interview: Shadow of the Drill: Born of Circumstance, Bred for Revenge by Rhani D’Chae @rhanidchae

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shadow of the drill

A Gritty and Violent Thriller.

A brutal experience transforms an unproven young tough into a ruthless killing machine.
For fifteen years he waited, building his body into an unstoppable weapon so that vengeance would be had through the strength of his will and the power of his hands.

On the bloodstained streets of a northwestern city, the enforcer known as the Drill stalks his prey. Judge, Jury, and Executioner; he seeks out those who target the weak, condemning them to the kind of justice that has made him a legend.

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The fire was gaining ground, and he knew that time was very short. He tried to stay calm, to ignore both the heat and the ache of his burned wrists, but the horror of his predicament momentarily overwhelmed him. Panic raged and he thrashed against the ropes, losing his balance and falling face first to the ground.
And still the ropes held.
The fire was close enough for Decker to feel the heat on his face no matter which way he tilted his head. His struggle had winded him, and he panted cautiously, each ragged breath searing his lungs regardless of how cautiously he inhaled. He could sense death hovering, just out of sight, but he was not done yet.
He inched his way across the floor, coughing and choking from the smoke that billowed around him in suffocating clouds. Breathing was torture, but he managed to keep going, his watery eye fixed on the dirty pane of glass. I can do this. I can make it!
However, it soon became apparent that he could not. He did not have enough freedom of movement to propel himself along the floor with the necessary speed. He was going to die, alone and most likely screaming, but even though he acknowledged that fact, he continued to fight for his life.
His fingers dug into the floor as he tried to scoot along on his back. When that failed to accomplish much, he rolled onto his side, still trying to crawl. The window was barely visible, but he was not sure if it was the smoke or his own failing eyesight that obscured it.
His pants began to smolder, and he felt panic rise again. He was not sure how easily the denim would ignite, but if it did, he would be unable to put out the flames.

Youtube Book Trailer:


About the Author:

rhani dchae

Rhani D’Chae is a visually disabled writer who was born and raised in Tacoma, WA. Because of her failing eyesight, she no longer reads as much as she used to, but she does enjoy falling into the worlds created by other Indie authors as often as hre vision will allow. Shadow of the Drill is her first published novel, and is the first in a series that revolves around an unrepentant enforcer and the violent life that he leads.

She enjoys chatting with readers and fellow writers via Social Media sites, and loves getting comments and other input from those who have read her work. She is on Facebook, and also on Twitter, @rhanidchae. Also, if you have the time, please stop by her blog:

Ms D’Chae is currently working on Winter of the Drill and hopes to have it completed by late January of 2016.


Author Interview:

How many books do you currently have published? I currently have 3 available on Amazon, and I’m in the process of completing the fourth, which is the sequel to shadow of the Drill.

What has been your favorite book to write so far? Why? I think my favorite is Shadow, because so much of it was drawn for my own life. Also, because it’s the first in a series, I’ve been able to get to know the characters so much better then if it had been a stand-alone book.

Are you currently working on a book? Will it be your next release? I’m in the process of finishing up Wnter of the Drill, which will be my next release.

Have you ever had one of your characters take a twist and surprise you? Yes, I have. My characters all have their own ideas of where their path leads, and often disagree with where I see them going. I’ve learned to listen to them with an open mind, because they are often right.

Which of your characters is your personal favorite? Least favorite? Why? My favorite character in the Drill series is Rudy Valdez. He’s more relaxed and easy going than Decker is, and he has a great sense of humor. If he was my best friend, I would consider myself very lucky. My least favorite character is probably Tawny. But I can’t really blame her for that, because she was written to be disliked. She’s self-centered, and very mercenary. She’ll do anything that will benefit her, regardless of how underhanded or backstabbing it is.

So far, what has been your favorite scene to write? My favorite scene in Shadow is probably the kitchen table surgery scene. It brings a definite feeling of intensity, and I think it shows readers that Decker is very human, very emotional, and very afraid of failing the people that he loves.

Adventure Thriller Feature and Interview: CABAL by Rick Jones @rikster7033

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Action/Adventure Thriller


cabal rick jones

The Vatican Knights Book 9

In an abandoned church deep inside the Syrian Desert, Father Jenkins watches over a group of children who’d been orphaned by war and unrest. Having been marked for extraction by the Vatican Knights, a cabal of ruthless killers from the Islamic State cripples all attempts of safe passage and gives chase across a desert landscape that’s completely ruled by scorpions and snakes. With little options and less hope, the Vatican Knights quickly discover that they’re in possession of a precious cargo: a young boy by the name of Farid.

As Kimball Hayden and the Vatican Knights fight to preserve the lives they protect, another ISIS team marches on the Vatican to take out the highest and most sacred seat in the land.

But as ISIS marches on Rome and Vatican City, Kimball Hayden, the fulcrum between sinner and saint, finds himself divided by saving the lives of the children and the life of the pontiff, with little chance of preserving both.

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About the Author:


rick jones

Rick Jones was born and raised in the Boston area and moved to Las Vegas in the early eighties where he graduated from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas with a degree in English. He is retired from law enforcement and currently resides in Las Vegas, NV where he writes fulltime.

Rick Jones is the bestselling author of the Vatican Knight series (THE VATICAN KNIGHTS, SHEPHERD ONE, The ISCARIOT AGENDA, PANDORA’S ARK, THE BRIDGE OF BONES, CROSSES TO BEAR, THE LOST CATHEDRAL, DARK ADVENT, and the soon to be released CABAL), the psychological thriller, FAMILIAR STRANGER, and the bestselling action/adventure series, The Eden Saga (THE CRYPTS OF EDEN, THE MENAGERIE and THE THRONES OF EDEN).

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If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why? Term Limits by Vince Flynn, which is why I became an author in the first place. His writing, his characterization, everything stood out to me. I wanted to develop somebody like Mitch Rapp, and I think I succeeded with Jon Jericho, the main character in the Hunter series.

What makes this particular genre you are involved in so special? I love Thrillers in the vein of Vince Flynn and Brad Thor, with a political backdrop with a plot developed from today’s headlines.

How important is research to you when writing a book? Very. Though I do take certain liberties to bend a dramatic situation in order to make the story run. It is fiction, after all. And sometimes real life can be very boring.

How often do you write? It all depends. Some days I’m in the mood to write and other days I’m not. That’s the blessing of being an author. You work your hours during moments of inspiration. Since I make my living strictly as a writer, I try to sit down every day and type out a few words, anywhere from 1000 to 5000.

How hard was it to sit down and actually start writing something? After spending quite some time on the Prologue or opening chanter(s) it’s not difficult, at least not for me. Writing is something I have come to enjoy over the past 30+ years.

Do you set a plot or prefer going wherever an idea takes you? I actually start with a title, which is odd enough. Then I take additional ideals from current events, which is obvious in CABAL, and piece them together. Then I allow the natural flow of incidents to take place logically as I see them play out. In other words: if this happens, then this has to happen. I‘ve never written an outline to any of my novels.

Do you read much and if so who are your favorite authors? Actually, I read very little since I’m a slow reader. But I do read as much as I can. I actually learned storylines and characterization through watching and studying high-end Thriller movies, and took substantial notes. That’s probably why all my books read like movies, or so I’m told.

What is the most important thing about a book in your opinion? For me, and this is always subjective, is pacing and characterization. If you’re going to read a Thriller, then it has to be lightning quick. But the main character also has to be more than likeable and flawed since that has become the rule of thumb in the industry.

What is your take on the importance of a good cover and title? Extremely important. An eye-catching cover, preferably bright in hue and speaks ‘action,’ along with a good title (just as important), and the synopsis on the back cover is more than half the battle in trying to get someone to pick up your book. A poor cover, one that looks cheap, will probably never get a second look.

Any advice you would like to give to aspiring writers? In the words of Vince Lombardi: Winners never quit and quitters never win. Live by these words because I truly believe that determination and perseverance will get you there every time.

Do you recall the first ever book/novel you read? Yes. ‘Salems Lot by Stephen King. Since I was a slow reader and had difficulties as a child due to zero-comprehension, it was the first book I was able to read fully and understand from beginning to end. It was a doorway that finally opened to me.

Which book inspired you to begin writing? A few, really. Mostly books by Stephen King, Vince Flynn and Robert R. McCammon. I know, a strange combination, but one that worked for me.

How realistic are your books? As realistic as possible. But I also add non-realistic elements to make the book race. Like I said before: it’s fiction. And usually reality isn’t quite as exciting.

Do you have a day job other than being a writer? And do you like it? No. I strictly make my living as a writer. You know the adage: Don’t quit your day job if you want to be a writer. Well, I did. And it worked out for me.

Have any of your books been adapted into a feature film? Not yet. However, the Vatican Knights series has recently drawn the interest from an award-nominated producer who has held extremely high-end positions with major production companies with offices in Hollywood and London. Talks are ongoing, however.

Have you ever marketed your own books yourself? It is every author’s obligation to market their own work. Without marketing, there’s no visibility.

Are you satisfied with your success? Yes. But as a writer you always strive for the next level. Be ambitious and never settle. The moment you settle, then you begin to stagnate.

Was it all too easy for you – the writing, the publication, and the sales? No. I don’t think it ever is. But like I said before: Determination and perseverance will get you there all the time.

What is the secret to becoming a bestselling author? Honestly, I think it’s 30% writing and 70% luck. I’ve read books that I thought were horrible but became bestsellers. But then again: it’s all subjective. If you become a writer, then you have to realize that some people are going to like you, some are going to hate you, and some will be indifferent to you. But if you can get more to like you than the other two listed, then you’re winning the game.

What advice would you like to give writers who are struggling with their first novels? Stick with it. If you give up at any time, then this business is not for you. You have to have a thick skin.

Which book would you want adapted for the silver screen? Any of my works since they all read like movies..

How much of a say do you have when your books are being adapted into films? Still in the talking stages.

What other genres do you enjoy reading? Action/Adventure in the vein of Indiana Jones and lost relics. Horror. Maybe a combination of both.

Can you tell us about your current projects? Currently working on Book #10 of the Vatican Knights. Probably after that, the sequel to Night of the Hunter, which the plot is brewing in my head.

Have you ever written a character with an actor in mind? Absolutely. I see Dave Bautista, who plays Drax in Guardians of the Galaxy and a fine actor, as the leading male. And Kate Beckinsale, a great lead for any of my female characters.

And who is that one author you would love to write the biography of? Vince Flynn. A phenomenal talent taken too soon. He’s my mentor, my teacher, everything about his Mitch Rapp novels are exceptional. Though he was dyslexic, he ultimately fought and overcame to succeed in a big way. Again, determination and perseverance.

Thanks for the awesome interview, Rick!

Paranormal Mystery Book Spotlight: Under the Gibbous Moon by Rebus Scott

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Paranormal Mystery

under the gibbous moon png

The Secret Gods Book 1

Something strange and grotesque has happened in normally cheery Port Gevaar. A man has been found murdered, with horrific wounds forming an occult symbol carved into his body. The only clue to the crime is an ancient stone artifact, dredged from the ocean basin months earlier, leaving authorities stumped. Enter Dr. Nathan Temple: gifted investigator, dedicated curmudgeon, reluctant professor, and relentless chaser of esoteric mysteries.

Hannah Demetras is a bright, young grad student trying to escape her own tragic mystery, but upon taking a job with the mercurial Dr. Temple, she is dragged into the dangerous investigation, where the day-lit world of civilization meets a much older, darker realm. Not yet ready to trust each other, Hannah and Temple must square off against strange visions, shadowy figures, and even the police themselves as they race to solve the case before the answers, and the artifact, disappear into the moonlit sea forever. And all while keeping their own secrets under wraps.

See the beginning of Temple and Hannah’s adventures in Under the Gibbous Moon, as it takes the reader to the edge of civilization, and even beyond, and begins to explore the darker corners of the world humanity has inherited.

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Thriller Book Spotlight: His First His Second by A.D. Davies @authoraddavies

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Mystery, Thriller, Crime

his first his second a d davies

Meet Detective Sergeant Alicia Friend. She’s nice. Too nice to be a police officer, if she’s honest.

She is also one of the most respected criminal analysts in the country, and finds herself in a cold northern town assigned to Donald Murphy’s team, investigating the kidnap-murders of two young women—both strikingly similar in appearance. Now a third has been taken, and they have less than a week to chip away the secrets of a high-society family, and uncover the killer’s objective.

But Richard—the father of the latest victim—believes the police are not moving quickly enough, so launches a parallel investigation, utilising skills honed in a dark past that is about to catch up with him.

As Richard’s secret actions hinder the police, Alicia remains in contact with him, and even starts to fall for his charms, forcing her into choices that will impact the rest of her life.

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Katie Hague knew she was swimming. She just didn’t know why. She wasn’t a strong swimmer, even though she’d spend hours in the pool on holidays, sometimes even brave enough to dip in the sea. Always with her parents watching, though.

She’d been thirteen on her last family holiday, a self-catering deal to Turkey, not that her dad couldn’t afford somewhere more exotic. Turkey was Katie’s choice. Gobble gobble, she’d said, again and again until the day of departure; then all through the flight, her mother fighting the urge to strangle her only child, her dad smiling quietly.

Now, eight years later, Katie swam alone. Somewhere she didn’t recognise. Somewhere black.

She trod water for a moment, something she always found hard. With her feet unable to touch the bottom, or anything solid, she looked around. She was never out of her depth, not without her dad nearby, or, more recently, unless Brian was with her. And where was Brian now?

Katie remembered them arguing, then him sloping off with his mates. It had not been loud, just testy, in a late bar somewhere. She was hungry, had suggested a curry, but Brian wanted to go on, just for one more, babe, please? A taxi. That was Katie’s last thought, the last she remembered, here, now, in this pool.

Now something happened nearby, a movement she did not see because of the dark. She felt a sweeping cold, embracing her head and shoulders like an undercurrent flowing in from deeper water. But that wasn’t quite right either. All her body below the surface was numb, unfeeling, and now all above felt chilled. She hadn’t seen the event, that something, but she knew:

A shadow had fallen over her.

“Who’s there?” she said.

No echo. Nothing whatsoever. The dark ate her voice right up. She expected her words to reverberate around the walls of a municipal pool, or a private home in the middle of the country. No echo, no sound coming back at her. This meant there were no walls. So she was swimming outside. But even outside there were buildings, trees, rocks. She was treading water, outdoors, with nothing around, no lights, no people.

So why did she get the impression she was not absolutely alone? Other than the invisible shadow, she had no reason to think there was someone watching her, not here.

Whatever ‘here’ actually meant.

Outside? No light? No buildings? Was she in the middle of a lake?

Her breathing began to grate in her throat.

No, of course not. There would be light. There’s always light. The darkest of freezing British waters still drew moonlight and stars; even when hiding, their light still penetrates. There is no absolute dark.

Each breath now hurt. She needed her inhaler. Her throat was swelling within. She kicked her numb legs to no avail, and when she flapped her arms, no splashes whipped up. This can’t be, she told herself. Alone; swimming; out of her depth; an asthma attack.

Something wedged in her mouth, something hard, plastic. She gagged, tried to spit it out but it was too big, lodging itself between her teeth. A hiss. Then light. A pinprick, not in front of her but inside her head. Her shoulders grew cold now, as if she were gliding upwards, out of the … lake? The sea? The pool?

That thing, still stuck in her mouth, gave another hiss.

And Katie breathed.

The object hissed a third time and the cold spread to her chest, her back, down her stomach. Her hips. The light inside her expanded, enveloping her in cold. She wanted to use her arms to wrap around herself for warmth, but found them stuck behind her. Looking down now, struggling to free herself, she saw her thighs raised, the clothes she was wearing when she’d argued with Brian still on her, strangely dry. The odour of sweat and booze and a faint whiff of cigarette smoke made her want to undress and shower, but her hands remained bound tight. She couldn’t see behind her, could not turn at all.

Then, like a spotlight growing, her vision improved: a white-tiled floor, her bare feet bound by handcuffs, stockinged legs moving up into the little skirt that barely covered her underwear. She could not see past her chest, other than to confirm her clothing remained intact. She was sitting on a hard wooden chair.

“Hello, Katie.”

A deep voice from outside the spotlight; calm, polite even.

“Please stop struggling, Katie, I don’t want to hurt you.”

From swimming in blackness to being tied to a chair. Nothing. Nothing could explain this. She tried her voice. “Who are you?”

It hurt to speak. Now her head throbbed also. Like a hangover. She was about to be sick.

A bucket came into view within the spotlight, a glimpse of a foot which kicked it closer.

“Please use this if you need to vomit. I won’t be angry if you miss. Only if you don’t try.”

The foot peeking out of the dark into Katie’s halo of light meant something. A clear fact, a truth that really should not be.

“The spotlight’s real,” Katie said aloud.

“Of course it’s real,” came the man’s voice. “What a strange thing to say.”

“Why am I here?”

“You are my second.”

“Your… what?”

“Please don’t make me repeat myself, Katie. It annoys me. You are my second. This…”

Another spotlight cracked to life. It illuminated a girl about five feet from Katie, dressed similarly to Katie, like she was going clubbing, with long dark hair like Katie’s, about Katie’s age.

And then it all fell away from her. The swimming, the light, the dark, this disembodied voice from the blackness all around. But the girl frightened Katie the most. This girl, bound to a chair, gagged, blindfolded, looking so much like Katie they might have been sisters.

“This is your new roommate,” the man said, now behind Katie, hands on her shoulders, his breath on her neck. “She is my first. You will be my second.”

And, doing her very best to aim for the bucket, Katie vomited. She was pleased that a lot of it missed.

“Hmm,” the man said. Then footsteps. An arm flashed into the light and tossed Katie’s inhaler onto her lap. The footsteps receded. “Goodnight.”

And both lights went out, leaving nothing but pitch black.

About the Author:

A. D. Davies grew up in Leeds, West Yorkshire. In high school his ambition was to be a writer of horror novels, although in adult life he became an avid fan of crime fiction. After a long stint in an unsatisfying job, he attended the University of Leeds where he attained a degree in creative writing. Shortly after graduation, he moved to the Midlands to marry the love of his life.

He is well-travelled, his favourite destinations being New Zealand and Vietnam, which has influenced his writing immensely (as yet unreleased). For now, however, globe-trotting is taking a back-seat to raising his two children and writing, although he hopes to one day combine all three.

He now resides in Staffordshire, UK, with his wife and two children.


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