Stasis Center Book 1: COLDMOOR

Posted in Uncategorized on February 23, 2011 by David Robinson - Freelance Writer & Novelist

The first in a series that will stretch through 5, possibly 6 or 7 books, sees the beginnings of the battle with Flix, the zombiemaster who during 900 years on the Spirit Plane has been quietly planning his return to life to fulfill his greatest ambition: immortality defended by a massed army of the undead.

It’s February 1st, 2540, and in the remote research laboratory at Coldmoor Castle, Dr Anders Magnusson and his team have tapped into stasis energy, the very essence of space and time. But amidst the celebrations, something evil is taking place. Flix has been waiting for the breakthrough and now that it’s here, he takes the opportunity.

After killing a young soldier, Flix takes over his body and wreaks havoc on this isolated community of scientists and security personnel. Nothing can stop him … nothing, that is, but Stasis Center Special Agents Mia Nellis and Nick Holt.

Sent back through time from the year 3010, Agents Nellis and Holt must meet Flix head on, stop him killing and controlling the bodies of others, and then imprison him in a specially designed energy cell that will seal him away for eternity.

But in doing so, Mia and Nick must exercise due caution and ensure that they do not change history … or they may cease to exist.

Stasis Center Book 1: COLDMOOR is available now as an ebook, price $1.14

Download it to your Kindle at http://amzn.to/fMteHj

Also available for Kindle from Amazon.co.uk at: http://amzn.to/gaxGEy price £0.70

Available in other formats at http://bit.ly/eqfSIb

You can also join the Stasis Center community on Facebook. Log in, go to here and click the “like” button.

Stasis Center Book 1: COLDMOOR. The battle for immortality has begun.

Boo (#fridayflash)

Posted in Uncategorized on February 4, 2011 by David Robinson - Freelance Writer & Novelist

“BOO!”

George studied the figure in front of him. A middle aged man, dressed in shabby chinos, a frayed shirt and dark green cardigan.

“You should be running away,” said the figure.

“Why?” asked George.

“Because I’m a ghost,” came the reply.

George stroked his chin. “A ghost? And do you have a name?”

“Ronnie,” said the ghost. “Now are you going to run away?”

George considered the proposition. “Hmm. No. I don’t think so.”

Ronnie appeared peeved by the rebuttal. “Look,” he insisted, “I’m a ghost, right? Ghosts are scary, so you should be scared and run. Everyone does.”

George sat at the kitchen table and played with a placemat. “That’s the theory,” he agreed, “but frankly, you’re not very scary.”

Ronnie hovered in front of him. “I’m not?” Disappointment seeped through his words.

“No,” said George. “I once attended a Conservative Party rally wearing a badge that said, ‘vote Labour.’ Now that was scary.” He gestured at Ronnie. “I mean look at you. You’re dressed for an afternoon’s work in the garden. What’s scary about that? If you had your head under your arm …”

“You mean like this?” Ronnie gripped his head, tugged and it came away. He tucked it beneath his left arm. “This is scarier?” he asked.

George yawned and scanned the solid apparition. “Hmm. It’s a move in the right direction, but even so … Tell you what, lose the cardigan?”

Ronnie appeared uncertain. “I don’t know about that. I mean, it’s a bit chilly in here.”

“You’re dead, or you wouldn’t be a ghost, so you shouldn’t feel the cold.”

“Ah, now that’s where you’re wrong,” Ronnie argued. “Even on this side we feel the pinch in the middle of February.”

“Yes, but you’re hardly likely to die of pneumonia, are you?” George countered.

Ronnie considered this. “Fair point.” The cardigan disappeared. “Right, so now I’ve got shut of my woolly, are you scared?”

George shook his head. “No. You just don’t look the part Ronnie. I mean, have you ever met my mother-in-law?”

“A dragon?” asked Ronnie.

George nodded. “She’d scare the Parachute Regiment.”

“All right,” said Ronnie, and his shirt disappeared. “How about now?”

George laughed. “You’re wearing a vest. What kind of ghost wears a vest?”

Irritation flooded Ronnie’s face. “I was dressed like this when I pegged out. It’s not as if I thought, hey up, I’m going to die in two minutes, I’d better get me duds off. I was tucking into a steak and kidney pie, a piece of steak got lodged in my windpipe and a minute later, I’d gone.”

“No one there to help?” George asked.

Ronnie’s head shook under his arm. “The wife was there, but she was hopeless. She thought the Heimlich Manoeuvre was one of Hitler’s World War Two battle plans. She slapped me on the back and almost broke a rib. This is how I was dressed. End of story.”

To emphasise his point, Ronnie ran both hands from shoulder to knee but in doing so, he dropped his head, which landed silently and rolled across the kitchen floor.

“Bugger,” he said from beside the stove, and picked the head up. Slotting it back into its proper place, he approached George again. “Look, we’re wandering off topic here. I am a ghost, you should be scared, but you’re not, and I resent that. I mean, what’s the point of me turning up to scare you if you’re not scared?”

George thought about this. “Maybe it’s to do with the way you led your life,” he suggested.

“I was a good man,” Ronnie protested. “I never beat my wife or the kids, I always gave to charity, I never got drunk, I was kind to animals. I led an exemplary life.”

“You led a boring life,” George corrected. “What did you do for a living?”

“I was a clerk at the town hall.”

“QED,” George retorted. “Town hall clerks are hardly scary, are they?”

Ronnie harrumphed. “So what do you do, Mr big-time go-getter? Secret agent?”

“Estate agent, actually,” said George. “That’s why I’m here. I’m trying to sell this place.”

“Estate agent?” Ronnie laughed. “And you call me boring.”

“Selling property at least gives me the chance to be creative,” George argued.

“You mean tell lies.”

“Let’s split the difference and call it accentuating the positive,” George countered.

“All right, smartarse,” Ronnie niggled, “how will you accentuate the positives on this place?” He waved at the drab surroundings. “It hasn’t been decorated since the Millennium, there are tiles missing off the roof, the brickwork needs pointing, and it’s haunted.”

“I can sell this easy,” George said. “The house with the most boring ghost in the world.”

Ronnie almost burst into tears. “I am not boring.”

“Yes you are. Let me give you some advice, Ronnie. You may have been red hot as a town hall clerk, but as a ghost you leave a lot to be desired. The best thing you can do is shoot over to the library and throw a few books around; tell the newspapers readers to be quiet.”

Ronnie’s eyes lit up. “You think so?”

“I know so,” George assured him. “At least you’d get some publicity. And right now, the library could do with some. The town council are thinking of shutting it down.”

“What?” Ronnie was appalled. “No way will they shut the library. Not if I have anything to do with it. See you.”

And with that, Ronnie disappeared.

“You can come in now,” George shouted.

Maria stepped in from the hall. “Another ghost gone?” she asked.

George grinned. “You know me. I never fail. That’s ten this year.”

“Estate agent.” Maria laughed.

“Ronnie believed me,” George pointed out.

“Becuse you’re such a  good liar,” Maria told him. “You’re also the best ghost hunter I ever met. But what will we do when we get more ghosts than readers in the library?”

George shrugged. “Shouldn’t worry. It’ll be closed down by then.”

Friday Flash: Gargoyle

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on December 31, 2010 by David Robinson - Freelance Writer & Novelist

Will it be this year?

I thought it would be last year. And the year before. And the year before that. Every year I think it is the year; every year I am disappointed.

Not for myself. It’s for them: my children who adorn this monolith, their young lives frozen in stone before they had properly begun.

Crowds are gathering below. They come every year in their numbers, offering praise to whatever deity it is they believe in, by singing their hearts out. Bells ring, orchestrating the harmony and with each toll of those bells, each note of the hymns, I feel the stone carapace that has trapped me for over five hundred years, crack a little more. One day it will split completely and I shall be free.

Many years ago, they fought amongst themselves. During the six years of that conflict, bombs fell from the sky, and I prayed that one of the missiles would strike the spire where we are entombed, free us, let us feed on them. They consider themselves the lords of creation, yet they are mortal. They squabble amongst themselves. They fight and kill each other for no good reason. They are food for immortals like me and my babies.

And yet, it was one of their number, one skilled in the mystic arts, who sentenced us to an eternity trapped in stone. Of them all, he probably deserved immortality … until that night when he turned his practised skills on us and perpetrated this obscenity.

What was our crime? What had we done to deserve such punishment?

Nothing. We ate. That is the truth of it.

Unlike most sentient beings, we do not eat to survive. We are immortal. But what use is immortality if you can develop wisdom to go with it? And for that wisdom, we need food.

We lived on such as we could find: small mammals, rodents, and when we hunted in flocks, larger mammals such as cattle or horses. The finest delicacy were humans, but relatives from other parts of the world had advised caution.

“If you must hunt man, do so discreetly. Take them one at a time, when they’re alone, away from their breeding grounds, those vast areas they call cities.”

It was advice we accepted for many a century. We would come across the occasional traveller or maid working the fields far from her home, and we would enjoy the feast. Food to excite even the most jaded palette. And they were never missed other than by a few of their kind.

They begin to sing now. Glory to their god. And those appointed to the task, begin to pull on the ropes. The clappers strike, the bells ring, the vibrations emanate through the vast cathedral. I can feel my stone surround shivering in the oscillations. Tonight, my children, your patience may be rewarded.

I recall that terrible year 1503 (as they count the years). A poor summer followed by bitter winter drove the mammals and rodents underground, safe away from us. Humans did not stray far from their homes. Food was scarce. Hunger gnawed at our bellies. I had babies to feed. I could find no food for them. They whined, growled, chirped at me, pleading for a meal. In desperation I took them to the heart of the humans’ main settlement, and there we found rich pickings: hundreds and hundreds of people revelling in the coming of another new year.

Casting caution to winds, disregarding the long held counsel of my distant cousins, I led my sons and daughters to the feast.

Oh the joy of eating after such a barren season. My children gorged themselves on the hapless humans in that square. We were deaf to the screams (all animals scream when they are on the point of death by mastication, it is only humans who put it into words.) So frenzied was my own feasting that I forget to tell my children to avoid the head. Not that there is anything wrong with the head, but it is mostly useless bone with little in the way of meat.

My beak dripping blood, I watched in satisfaction while two of my daughters cut a woman down and took out her entire chest in a matter of seconds.

It was only when he appeared that I felt the first trickle of fear. I knew the moment I laid eyes upon him that we would never get to him in time. He spoke his magic words. Stone came, as if from nowhere, to surround and encase me. Squawking with impotent rage, I watched through the eyelets while my babies were wrapped in the same impenetrable armour. Over the coming days, we were hoisted one by one to perch on the spire of this great church, where we would watch over the centuries while men gave thanks to their deity.

The bells ring, I feel the stone coat trembling. It is going to crack! It is tonight! I will be free and even if my children are not, once I am flying, feeding again, I will use every ounce of my energy to peck them free of their stone sarcophagi.

No. It cannot be.

The bells have fallen silent. The faithful file from the cathedral. But I am not free. I am still entombed.

How much longer? How many more years, how many centuries must I endure before I feel the wind in my face, enjoy the freedom of the skies and salivate at the thought of food?

I stare down at the crowds leaving the cathedral and bury my useless anger. Enjoy your New Year, unworthy ones. It may be your last.

Friday Flash: Be Careful What You Wish For

Posted in Uncategorized on December 22, 2010 by David Robinson - Freelance Writer & Novelist

(A change from my horror obsession this week. It’s based on a  Facebook post by Lynn Caldwell)

“You’re who?”

“I’m the Penis Fairy,” said the twinkling elf sitting under my Christmas tree. “You know like the tooth fairy comes and takes away your teeth and leaves a sixpence under your pillow. I don’t carry cash and I don’t collect old teeth, so I make changes to your willy.”

Christmas Eve, pissed again, and now I was seeing things. Obviously, my fixation with my tiny todger was getting to me. I laughed in an effort to shrug it off. “I don’t believe in fairies.”

“You can see me. You can hear me. You talk to me. What’s not to believe?”

“My drunken mind,” I replied. “You’re not a fairy. You’re a warm beer hanging around my brain. You’re a psychological mania on the size of my widger. You’re a symptom of my obsession with Miranda.”

The Penis Fairy giggled. “In that case, let me do my work. If I’m an extension of your low self-esteem, it ain’t gonna happen and you can carry on using the cubicles in the toilets so the other guys won’t call you names like pimple dick.”

My boozed up brain was really giving that self-esteem some hammer tonight. I really would have to cut back on my drinking but it helped stave off the self-pity of another Christmas sleeping alone.

And the Penis Fairy was right. It wasn’t just the guys who called me pimple dick. The diminutive size of my horn was a legend throughout the office. None of the classier women like Miranda would date me, and even when I took out the less-classier girls, it was usually only the once.

“All right,” I said to the Penis Fairy. “What can you do for me and my tiny tiddler?”

“Make it longer and thicker,” said the Penis Fairy and flew circles around me, touching her tiny wand to my zipper as she passed by. She flew back up to the ceiling, and hung near the bare light bulb. “There you go. You now have a donkey dick. But there’s a teeny-weeny little condition. You must take one of these little blue pills every day. If you miss one pill, the spell will have unwanted side effects.” She aimed her wand at my palm and small bubble pack of pills appeared there.

I stared at them, and then back up at her. “How do you mean unwanted side effects?”

The Penis Fairy gave a sly wink. “Just unwanted side effects.”

I counted the pills. Seven in all. “What happens when I run out?”

“You can get them at any pharmacy,” she said, “or online at littlebluepills.penisfairy.com. Byeeee.”

And with a puff of smoke the Penis Fairy was gone.

I’d obviously had one too many in the Horse & Hounds. But just to make sure, I visited the bathroom to take a leak and … I almost fainted when I freed the mammoth from my shorts.

Even hanging there it was like a serpent. It was every man’s dream and if the guys in the office had it right, it was Miranda’s dream too. She like length, she liked width. With Miranda, size mattered. All my life I’d yearned for something to impress her, and now I had it. All I had to do was get the message across.

And that’s where the problems really began. Years of frustration had robbed me of the ability to chat to women. Meeting Miranda in the corridor, taking her hand, guiding it to my newly-enlarged lunchbox, then saying to her, “How’d you like a tube full of that?” was not the best way of seducing her. Even the cop who ran me in, sympathetic though he was, felt I’d made more than an ass of myself.

“You’re a bit of a dickhead, lad,” he said.

I didn’t realise how accurate that was until the following morning when they opened the cell door and fell about laughing.

They took my pills away when they locked me up. I missed a pill and the unwanted side effects kicked in.

My jowls fattened, my head tapered. My hair grew and parted in the middle. My head looked like a hard rod. I still had the donkey dong dangling between my legs, but I really looked like a dick.

Now, come rain or shine, I wander the streets wearing a hoodie, and I long for the days when I was known as pimple dick.

Friday Flash: Where’s Kate

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on December 17, 2010 by David Robinson - Freelance Writer & Novelist

“She’s sitting in my chair.”

There’s no sign of Kate so I address my complaint to our daughter, Sally.

She and her daughter, Leanne, a couple of Leanne’s friends, young Sam and his girlfriend, are crowding the living room, taking up all the chairs, wearing silly, paper hats, drinking beer and cider. One girl, Cheryl, is in my chair, by the fire, facing the TV. None of them take any notice of me.

Cheryl is not to blame. Sally hasn’t told her that it’s my chair. No one has. You’d think at least one of them would realise. I might as well talk to myself. Nobody listens to me any more. Senile. That’s what they say. Only it’s not senile these days. It some fancy name. Al someone or other.

The Queen is on telly. Kate always insists we listen to what Her Majesty has to say. Respect. That’s what it is. Kate believes in respect.

This lot don’t.

“Turn that crap over, mother,” says Leanne. “Twilight is on one of the Sky channels.”

I look upon my granddaughter and my lips curl in contempt. She’ll shut up when Kate gets here. She looks like a tart, showing all that leg and cleavage. And drinking, too. Sixteen? Six-bloody-teen and knocking back the cider like it’s lemonade. Kate will deal with her: make her dress properly and stop the drinking.

They haven’t bought me anything for Christmas. They think I don’t notice. They’re wrong. I know what’s going on. They spent all their money on foreign holidays and new windows, and now they have to cut back. Cut back on my bloody present.

“Just wait ’til your mother gets down here,” I say to Sally. Kate was always better at dealing with them than me. “She’ll have plenty to say.”

I don’t know why I’m wasting my breath. They’re taking no notice of me.

Where is Kate? Not like her to miss the Queen on Christmas Day. She must unwell again.

Strange. I can’t remember speaking to her this morning. I must have done. Married for nearly half a century, and I’ve never left the bedroom without bidding her, “Morning Kate.”

Old age affects your memory. You forget these little things.

I look to the stairs hoping to see her coming down, but there’s no sign. I’ll take her a bite to eat and a glass of sherry later. Kate’s always liked her sherry.

The door opens and Ben comes in. A good lad is Ben. A better husband our Sally couldn’t have asked for. I knew his dad. We both worked for the Gas Board when we left school.

“How are you, Ben?” I ask.

“Bloody cold out there,” he says, dropping two packs of lager on the cabinet by the window.

I tut. Even he ignores me these days. Can’t remember the last time I had a decent natter with him. Or our Sally. It’s like I don’t exist.

I wander into the kitchen and study the spread on the table. Dishes full of bites and nibbles, biscuits, pies, and strange, foreign concoctions we’d never heard of in my day. What is an onion bhaji?

I notice lots of sweets for the kids. Kids! Ha! Sat there washing the booze down like sailors on shore leave. Do they still eat chocolates and toffees? Kate does. Likes the fudge. I’ll save one for her and take it up later.

Cheryl comes in and helps herself to handful of Quality Street. She shivers. Not surprised wearing so little clothing in the middle of winter. Disgusting.

“Leave the fudge,” I warn her. “I want it for Kate.”

She has a mouthful of chocolate and can’t answer me. I notice the greedy little bag has taken a fudge.

Shivering again, she goes back to the living room and takes my seat by the fire. “Your kitchen isn’t half cold,” she says to Sally

“It wouldn’t be if you dressed properly,” I shout.

“Cold?” Sally speaks as if I haven’t said a word. “Shouldn’t be. Ben, have you turned the heating down?”

In the act of pouring a can of lager into a tall glass, Ben stops and checks the thermostat on the wall. “Still on full.” He disappears into the kitchen and returns a moment later to pick up his can and glass. “Radiators are on in there, too.”

“It’s granddad,” Leanne says, giggling drunkenly.

“Granddad?” Cheryl asks.

“Take no notice, Cheryl,” Sally says. “Our Leanne’s just winding you up. Her granddad, my dad, used to live with us. You’re sitting in his favourite chair.”

At last, someone has told the little tramp.

Cheryl looks nervous. “Used to live with you?”

“He’s dead, luv.” Sally says. “Passed away on Christmas Day, two years ago. Sat right where you are, nodded off after his dinner and never woke up.”

Leanne laughs at Cheryl’s obvious fear. “He’s still with us, though, haunting the place. Specially at Christmas.”

Cheryl’s fear is nothing at the side of my fury. I scream at Sally. “What the hell are you talking about, you idiot? I’m not dead. I’m right here. Standing in front of you.”

I look up into the mirror above the fireplace. I have no reflection. An icy cold grips my heart.

I feel a presence beside me. I turn and Kate is there, reaching out her hand to me. She looks as beautiful and radiant as she did on the day I met her in 1955. Some distance behind her, a brilliant white light shines like a beacon.

“Come on, Arthur,” she says. “We’ve had our life.” She nods at Sally, Leanne, Ben and the rest of them. “It’s their turn now.”

“Kate …” It’s all I can say. “Kate …”

“I’ve been trying to get through to you for the last two years, love. Now come on. We’re together again … forever this time.”

I take her hand and together we walk off into the light.

Friday Flash: Tis the Season To Be Jolly

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on December 10, 2010 by David Robinson - Freelance Writer & Novelist

“Deck the halls with boughs of holly.
Tra-la-la-la-laa-la-la-la-laa.”

The chirruping of choristers niggles as I wander the icy streets. Why holly? Because it is a perennial. I am perennial, too, so why not lily?

“Tis the season to be jolly.
Tra-la-la-la-laa-la-la-la-laa”

I am jolly when at my work and I am at my work now. As I amble along the crowded pavements, I carry out my work with the same good cheer I have displayed since … how long? Forever?

Here’s a jolly one coming towards me. Jolly and drunk, bidding everyone a gurgled, “Happy Christmas.”

Does he wish the same for me? Like most of them, he doesn’t even see me. They never realise I’m there until …

There’s a bus behind him, filled with more seasonal revellers. The driver takes his time negotiating the narrow street where shoppers and partygoers spill from the pavements into the road.

It’s so tempting. One nicely timed nudge and the jolly drunk will be …

I cannot. He is not the one. I never know who is the one until we meet. Then I know instinctively. Then I carry out my work. Then I am jolly, at peace in the light of a job well done.

“Merry New Year,” warbles the drunk as he passes me.

His greeting is not directed at me but at a crowd of young men and women outside the entrance to a busy bar. They return his compliment and laugh at his inebriation. Others will laugh at them in a few hours when they have drunk themselves into a stupor.

A brass band stands on the street corner. They play O Come All Ye Faithful. I scan their faces, red with the cold and respiratory exertion of producing the music. She’s there. I recognise her immediately. The one. She plays the flugelhorn, the notes resonating sweetly in my ears. Perfect pitch. More soothing than the warbling of the choristers further down the street.

She is young and pretty; slender, curvaceous, and I guess she would be alluring if it were not for the dour navy blue and gold braiding of her band uniform. Her fair hair sweeps gently over the collar of her jacket, her fine boned fingers, so delicate, deftly manipulate the valves in a manner that is at once skilful yet arousing. The baby blue eyes focus on the music, scanning the scales left to right, down, left to right, down.

Long buried memories of passion stir inside me. I want her. I want to possess her, let her possess me.

But I am beyond such lust. She is the one. I must carry out my work. It is the only medium through which I can be jolly in this season of joy.

All I need is the instrument. I study the flugelhorn. Could I? The inevitable pun strikes my mind. The flugelhorn is the instrument of …

A crowd of merrymakers are coming towards her. The young man at the head of the crowd, worse for wear from alcohol, staggers and leaps about in a bizarre imitation of jollity, showing off to his friends. He is not watching where he is going.

The instrument.

I cannot touch him. I can only walk by, let the chill of my passing divert his course. And as he sways to one side or the other, he bumps into her. His friends and other passers-by shout warnings. One man tries to put himself between the reveller and her. Even if he does, he will only be cannoned into her and the inevitable will take its course.

The push in her back thrusts her forward. She loses her footing on the icy pavement and topples, face down. The survival instinct removes the horn from her sensuous lips. She puts out a hand to save herself. It’s too late. As she falls, she lands on the trumpet, its stem striking between those fine breasts. She let’s out a cry, quickly stifled to the wheezing of breath forced from her tortured lungs. Her ribs are crushed in exactly the right place, and her heart is ruptured. Blood trickles from her mouth, stains the pavements a pale pink.

They turn her over. She looks up and she sees me. I smile and as she drifts into terminal shock, I move on.

My work is done and I feel jolly but the joy in my soul at a job well done will not last long. I have to be elsewhere to meet the next one. The thought takes the edge off my jolliness. Death’s work is never finished.

“Deck the halls with boughs of lily.
Tra-la-la-la-laa-la-la-la-laa”

It has a certain ring to it.

Voices

Posted in Uncategorized on December 6, 2010 by David Robinson - Freelance Writer & Novelist

The busy atmosphere of a college refectory shattered by a ruthless bomb attack that leaves many dead and wounded.

Lecturer Christopher Deacon survives with nothing worse than a fractured ankle, but he loses both his hearing and his voice.

From the moment he wakes, he is plagued by demons and voices in his head seeking to destabilise and control him. He has vision of a remote house, he dreams of fellow survivors committing suicide, and then the Voices begin to speak more directly to him.

In fear for his sanity, he sets out to rid himself of the demon voices and his quest takes him to a remote area of Northumberland where he uncovers the terrifying reality of a long forgotten experiment, its vile progeny seeking freedom and the right to replace Mankind as the dominant species on Earth.

Voices is available in all e-formats from Smashwords: visit http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/32024 for sample chapters and details.

You cannot escape the voices in your head. Where they lead, you must follow.

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