Tag Archives: suspense

The Journey: Chapter 10

Excerpt from my book, ‘Fragments of Fear: Collection‘.

 

One by one, the passengers filed back to their seats. They eagerly gazed through their windows, hoping for a glimpse of their destination. But the only thing they saw was their own reflections. Outside was black as pitch. You wouldn’t even be able to tell if the train was moving by looking out the window.

Everyone felt the train was slowing down. The normal excitement and anticipation of arriving at their destination was instead replaced by a subtle dread. No one understood why. They all dealt with it in the same way though, denial.

At last they lurched to a stop.

The iron beast that had pulled them all this way let out a hiss of steam that sounded like a sigh of relief after a long journey.

The conductor appeared in the doorway and announced, “End of the line, please take all your belongings with you.”

They looked in their seats and in the overhead compartments, but none of them had belongings, just the clothes on their backs. This struck a few people as odd, but the rest just shrugged it off. The conductor helped them off the train.

“Watch your step.”

He directed them down the only visible path. It was made of intricate stone-work and lit with antique gas lamps, but the light didn’t extend beyond the path. It was as if they were floating in a sea of darkness.

Suddenly, out of nowhere, they came upon a large set of beautiful brass doors. Both of the doors were marked ’Enter’, but neither was marked ’Exit’. The conductor heaved the massive door open and beckoned the passengers inside. Hesitantly, they followed and were met with a remarkable sight.

The inside of the building was massive. It was Grand Central Station times ten. The ceiling seemed impossibly high and painted to look like the night sky. As Emily stared up, she noticed a painting of the moon. Nothing about that seemed unsettling at first, except the painting was slowly moving across the painted sky. She rubbed her eyes and looked again, just to be sure. Not only was the moon moving, but the stars seemed to be twinkling too.

The passengers moved forward, awestruck by the sheer size of the place. As they struggled to take it all in, one of the passengers said,

“Something’s not right here.”

“What is it?” Emily asked.

“How many people do you think are in this room?”

Emily panned across the gigantic room full of people.

“I don’t know. Thousands, maybe more.”

“A lot more. I would say we’re talking a hundred thousand people here.”

“What’s your point?”

“My point is, you could hear a pin drop in this room. How many times have you seen a crowd this big, being this quiet.”

“Never,” she said softly.

“It’s like the worlds largest funeral home.”

“There’s something else,” she said. “Look around, what is it that’s missing?”

He scanned the room. “I don’t know.”

“Everything,” she said. “There’s no ticket counter, no concession stands, I don’t even see a restroom.”

The man looked around and saw that she was right.

“In fact, all I do see is a line. Where does it even lead?”

The man called over one of the other passengers that he had spoken with on the train and convinced him to climb up on his shoulders and look around.

“What do you see?” the lower man asked.

“I see people,” the upper man said. “So many people it’s impossible to count.”

“What else?”

The upper man strained his eyes to see to the other end of the building.

“There’s two escalators, one going up and the other going down. There’s also a man sitting at a desk, reading from a huge book.”

“What is the man wearing?” the lower man quietly asked.

“A white robe.”

The upper man suddenly held on for dear life as the lower man’s knees buckled.

“What’s wrong? What is this place?” the upper man asked, but the lower man seemed to be in shock.

“Why this is your destination,” the conductor said, nonchalantly. “Didn’t you read your ticket?”

He directed them to a sign that said, ‘The end begins here.’

“I wish to thank you all for your stories,” he said, tipping his cap. Then he turned toward the doors.

“Wait!” Emily said. “Where do I know you from?”

“My dear,” he said, with an air of astonishment. “Haven’t you figured that out yet?”

She paused uncomfortably.

“Please tell me.”

He turned back and drew close so only she could hear.

“About four months ago, you were a passenger in a very bad automobile accident. I took the driver right from the scene, but you held on to life. You lay in a coma for a month.”

“Several times I came to take you, but you refused to go. You even boarded my train once. Imagine my embarrassment as you disappeared, having been revived by the doctor. I had quite a bit of explaining to do to that load of passengers. The endless questions I dealt with for the remainder of that trip were something I’d rather forget. Eventually, you recovered, and I had to wait, but not for long.”

“After I took care of the doctor that snatched you from me, I pursued you covertly and allowed you to see me. As you ran down the path, I extinguished the lights, hoping for the result that I eventually got.  So once again, I had the pleasure of having you as a passenger, only this time there was no one to rescue you.”

He smiled broadly, but she felt no warmth, no comfort from it. All the color drained from Emily’s face. She shook all over.

“So that would mean that you’re … ”

“Yes,” he said.

“And I’m … ”

“Yes.”

She recoiled in horror, slowly backing away.

“Well, I must be off,” the conductor said, turning to leave.

“What will happen to us?” a passenger asked.

“I just transport. That keeps me quite busy nowadays, I don’t do the sorting,” he said, pausing. “But judging by your stories, I would say two of you will be going up.”

They looked at the escalators, then each other.

“Which two?” one of them said, but the conductor was gone. They looked all around, but he had vanished.

Off in the distance, they heard a train whistle sound its mournful note.

Emily looked down at her ticket, it said, ‘Afterlife express.’

 

 

The End.

 

Thank you for reading my story. Even though this is the end, I do have one more chapter that I will share next week as a bonus.

The Journey; Chapter 1

The Journey: Chapter 2

The Journey: Chapter 3

The journey: Chapter 4

The Journey: Chapter 5

The Journey: Chapter 6

The Journey: Chapter 7

The Journey: Chapter 8

The Journey: Chapter 9

 

The Journey: Chapter 8

Excerpt from my book, ‘Fragments of Fear, Collection‘.

 

“The Stranger”

I always liked to run. I never really knew why. I wasn’t running from anything or toward anything, I was just running. It soothed me. There had been times when I had noticed strangers watching me, and these times always brought to mind the same thought.

Pervert.

For the most part, I ran in my little world. I had earphones in, but the wire just ended in my pocket. It was a great way to avoid any conversations I didn’t want to have.

Mostly I ran in the morning or evening. Before or after work always relieved stress. On this particular day, I had to work overtime. I got home late and debated about skipping the run, but the weather was so beautiful I went even though the sun had set an hour before. Twilight had begun and the sky was glowing a brilliant red. The scent of the pine trees mixed with the flowers that lined the path always exhilarated me.

The park was deserted. I only saw a few people and all one at a time. The lights that lined the path had just begun to flicker to life. For some reason, the lights comforted me. I could see just fine without them, I just felt safe when they were on. Like nothing could hurt me near the lights.

As I ran, I approached a spot of darkness amongst the lights. One of them had burned out.

Hmm … nothing to worry about, just a blown bulb.

I tried to convince myself of that, but I failed. Approaching the burned out light, I saw a shadow leaning against the post. It was tall, thin, and dark. I couldn’t make out a face, but his eyes were following me.

It wasn’t the same as when the others leered at me. I felt no sexual attraction, only fear. I hadn’t been pushing myself hard enough to really sweat, but my heart was pumping now, and it had nothing to do with exercise.

My pace quickened as I passed the stranger in the darkness. Aside from his head, he never moved. My pace slowed just slightly with the return of the light on my path.

Just as I was chiding myself for being so stupid, another dark spot inflicted itself on my path. Approaching it I saw the impossible. The stranger was leaning against that pole as well. Again he merely watched. I ran even faster trying to get past this pole.

That’s not possible. How could he get here before me?

My fear abated, but not as much as the first time. A nagging feeling was settling into the back of my brain.

He’s following me.

I glanced back at the pole and I could barely make out the Stranger’s silhouette, still standing against the pole. I nearly fell when I turned back around and the approaching lamp was out. Not only that, but the stranger was somehow leaning against it.

Cold sweat ran down my back. I broke into a dead run. I was near the end of the path where it ended at a street. Suddenly my worst fears were realized. The remaining path lights winked out one by one.

The stranger leaned against the pole, but was no longer still. He was coming toward me. Somehow I reached deeper into myself and found a little bit more speed.

Come on, come on. I goaded myself to go faster.

Glancing over my shoulder, I could see the stranger gaining on me. My eyes must’ve been playing tricks on me because it didn’t look like he was running. If I had to put a word to it I would say he was floating.

I was running for all I was worth. The street was only fifty feet ahead. I could see the street lamp bathing the sidewalk in beautiful light. I redoubled my efforts to reach the safety of the lamp. But my pursuer was gaining on me so fast that I would never make it.

OhmyGodohmyGodohmyGod!!!

Desperately I clawed at the air, trying anything to move one iota faster. I could feel his hot breath on my neck, I knew he was just about to

*BAM*

At first, I wasn’t sure what happened. I remember flying through the air, landing hard, feeling a snap, and incredible pain.

I was staring up into the night sky, I could feel something warm running down my cheek and into my eye. I remember feeling helpless. I looked over to see a metal bumper hovering over me. I couldn’t move, I couldn’t speak, but I could hear just fine.
Shadows surrounded me, I could barely make out what they were saying.

“Did you see that?”

“She came out of nowhere.”

“Someone call an ambulance!”

“Give her mouth to mouth!”

“How? Her face is smashed in.”

The voices started to fade away like someone was turning down the volume on my hearing. The last thing I saw was the stranger step into the crowd of onlookers …

***

“That was a harrowing tale.” the Conductor said. “Are you alright my dear, you seem to be sweating.”

Emily looked down and sure enough her palms were wet.

“I … I’m fine,” she said unconvincingly.

“Perhaps you could use a little refreshment, why don’t you come to the dining car and I’ll get you a drink.”

“That would be nice.”

“Everyone is invited of course,” the conductor said, starting toward the door.
***

 

The Journey: Chapter 1

The Journey: Chapter 2

The Journey: Chapter 3

The Journey: Chapter 4

The Journey: Chapter 5

The Journey: Chapter 6

The Journey: Chapter 7

Haunted: a short story audiobook

Step 2. My newest video/audiobook is now up on youtube.

Once again I have borrowed the talents of Dalan Decker as the incredible narrator, and Mason Carlton to help me with the tech stuff to put this video together and make it awesome.

I hope you are enjoying these videos as much as I’m enjoying making them. If you watch, please like, subscribe, comment, and tell your friends. I would love to make many more of these videos, but that takes time and money.

Every click, like, subscribe, review, anything that gets the word out about these videos will enable me to make more.

Thanks so much for watching.

 

Puzzled, a short story audiobook

Review of Jonathan Maberry’s ‘The Dragon Factory’

Joe Ledger is back and the fate of the world hangs in the balance. The story barely starts before he’s being pursued by government agents for an unknown purpose. This book jumps us straight into the intrigue of the story of wondering why Joe is yet again being chased two months after joining the DMS.

Jumping straight into pursuit mode, this book is very much about action and intrigue which kept it moving along at a good pace.

A very strong, smart, group of evil characters who seem to have out thought the DMS gives Joe a formidable, seemingly unbeatable, enemy.

The thing that really struck me about this book was the stronger sense of relationship. Being that Joe Ledger is already established as a character, there’s a lot more of showing his relationship between the other characters. The trust that is forming between him an Church, the physical and emotional relationship that’s building between him and Grace, even caring about what happens to his men and being a better leader through knowing what his men can do.

There’s even minor relationships like between Joe and Dr. Hu, that are not critical to the story but amusing nonetheless.

Once again we’re given a countdown throughout the book that keeps the tension very high. We also have a sense of intrigue on the antagonist’s side of the story, giving us a very two sided story with a great deal of depth. That, plus the fact that the world is in very real danger of total extinction, keeps the tension high throughout.

One thing that I missed in this book was Joe’s smartass sense of humor. It seemed to have dissipated a little bit as he grows into his role in the DMS.

I listened to this book on Audible and the voice acting was excellent. Ray Porter did a wonderful job. All of the characters were very convincing and really drew me into the story. It also made the conversations much easier to follow when the characters had different accents.

The story itself was very well done. In the end, the plot could’ve been a very eye roll subject, however, Jonathan Maberry very expertly wove it together with the sinister intelligence of the villains and threw in a surprise or two at the end.

Unfortunately, I guessed a major plot point early on. So I spent most of the book confirming my suspicions. However, it was well done and the ending was both satisfying and disheartening.

 

A worthy read for the action/adventure/military crowd.