In this exercise, I had to slow down time in a short sequence of events. Our perception of time often changes depending on the event. I used an idea I've had on a take on the zombie genre to try and create a sense of anxiety that would probably occur in this situation.Read More
This week's prompt was to write something that involves some kind of countdown. Okay, honest moment. I already had this written. It still fits though. It's a scene from Forever Hollow. The crew is stuck inside an apartment complex with several GenReps (cyborg entities) surround the area. Enjoy.Read More
This week's prompt was to write one paragraph that strongly evokes a certain emotion. I was going to attempt humor, but I couldn't come up with anything, so I tried my hand at some thriller/horror.Read More
I joined a writing group, and we do new prompts every Wednesday, so those will be some new upcoming posts. This past week's prompt was using the first sentence on page 5 of the nearest book. Mine came from Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, which, by the way, is a wonderful book that is being adapted to film.Read More
In this blog series on Star Wars: The Force Awakens, I take a look at literary aspects of the film such as plot, characterization, and themes. This post takes a look at Kylo Ren, a character I think could end up one of the most formidable foes of the Star Wars galaxy.Read More
In this blog series on Star Wars: The Force Awakens, I take a look at literary aspects of the film such as plot, characterization, and themes. This post takes a look at Finn, another newcomer who brings a new type of character into the Star Wars story.Read More
In this blog series on Star Wars: The Force Awakens, I take a look at literary aspects of the film such as plot, characterization, and themes. Today, I take a look at Rey and the nuance she brings to the Jedi protagonist role.Read More
I finished reading Hacker about a month ago. I knocked it out in three days. If you’re into present-day science fiction thrillers, then you’ll probably enjoy this novel. Seventeen year old Nyah Parks is a hacker genius trying to find consulting jobs to pay for an experimental procedure that could help her mother recover from brain damage suffered in a car accident. However, she soon realizes that her hacking skills have gotten her way over her head into a dangerous situation. She goes on the run and seeks the help of an old hacking friend she hasn’t seen in years. He’s been working his own project, hacking the human brain and breaking free from the restraints of the body.
I loved the book, and I’m interested to see what will happen with the film. I’ve followed Dekker’s career for almost ten years now, and I’ve never been disappointed with any of his works. He is able to mix real world reality with spiritual themes in a way that I had never previously experienced from an author of the Christian faith. He’s kind of one my my heroes when it comes to writing and being a novelist.
If you’ve never checked out any of Ted Dekker’s stuff, do it. Every chapter is packed with action or mystery or thrills. It’s so engaging that you don’t even realize that you’ve read twenty pages of it, and it keeps you wanting more.
Here's a little flash fiction story I did on a whim. When I finished, I thought it could be a nice opener to maybe a thriller kind of story.
All I can feel is the incessant pounding of rain on my head and shoulders. Everything’s blurry, but not from the rain. My head is swimming, much like the rest of this drowned city. My socks are drenched, I know that. Every step I take feels like I’m walking through a marsh.
That’s about as far as I can get.
I focus on putting one foot in front of the other, but even that proves difficult at the moment. I have no idea what happened, but I have a very real sense of danger telling me to continue forward. If only I could remember. Think. Nothing comes.
I forget the gaping hole in my memory and hurry down the sidewalk, but something’s not right.
Where is everybody?
I know it’s pouring rain, but I don’t see a single soul anywhere. No street vendors. No police patrols. No homeless. No cars on the street.
I’ve seen the city empty before late at night, but there was always someone out and about. And this was in the middle of the day.
The world blurs momentarily, and I have to prop myself up on the window of a store front to keep from falling face-first into a puddle. As I steady myself, I catch my reflection in the glass. I look like I haven’t shaved in days.
How have I forgotten days? The last thing I remember is…
I reach into my jacket pocket, fishing for a handkerchief to wipe the sweat from my forehead when my hand grazes a smooth, cylindrical object that I don’t recognize. Puzzled, I pull the object out of my pocket and find a small vial filled with a viscous green liquid. What is this, and how did it get in my pocket?
The feeling of dread returns. The hair on the back of my neck prickles, and I get that strange feeling that somebody is watching me.
I turn and see a man walking down the sidewalk, looking at me. My heart rate instantly quickens. Even though the man is smiling, I know that he has nothing but malice in store for me. His smile is too perfect, too polished. He looks like a plastic doll.
Without waiting, I pivot and head in the opposite direction at a brisk pace, trying not to look suspicious. My mind pushes my body faster than my wobbly legs can handle. Every once in a while, leg muscles give, and I nearly collapse, but adrenaline keeps me going. I clutch the vial tightly in my hand and push through the curtain of rain without looking back. My legs automatically lead me in the direction of my apartment, and as I round the corner, I take a peek.
Still there. In fact, he’s closer. As soon as I’m out of sight, I take off at a sprint. My legs still haven’t fully recovered, but I can at least run now, and my gut tells me that running is the key to making it out safely.
I take a few detours on the way, just to check and see if he’s really following me. Sure enough, I hear the rapid slapping of footsteps on wet pavement. Plastic Smile sure is persistent. I duck into an alleyway briefly and take the vial out again. Holding it between my thumb and forefinger, I turn the vial over several times, examining the liquid inside. It’s pretty transparent, but it sticks to the side of the vial like honey. Surely this little vial will connect me, this deserted city, my memory loss, and Smiley McSmiles.
I need answers, but from whom? Maybe if I can just get home, I can clear my foggy head and figure something out.
I listen. No footsteps, just the sound of rain pounding the city. Maybe I lost him.
I turn to head home and see nothing but teeth in my field of vision. Panic sets in. How did he sneak up on me like that?
He reaches a hand out without a word, but before he can grab my shoulder, I shove him into some trash cans nearby and take off. The clanging of the tin echoes off the walls.
My apartment is close. I’ll just have to risk it and head straight there. Home equals safety.
I hurry down the sidewalk, not caring about staying inconspicuous or the fact that I’m drenched at this point. Right now, I just want to be behind a locked door. I listen for footsteps behind me as I jet across the street without looking. He’s on my trail once more, but I don’t care. I only have to outrun him for a few blocks.
I round the corner of the market beside my apartment building and pull up immediately. He’s standing on the other end of the block. How? I dismiss the question and rush toward the door to my building. All I have to do is beat him to that door. I fumble through my keys as I reach the steel-barred entryway. My hands seize up momentarily, from nerves or whatever “they” gave me, I don’t know. I quickly check Mr. McSmiles as I find the correct key and find him casually strolling toward me. I don’t even stop to think about why he’s doing this and jam the key into the lock.
I turn when I reach the landing of the first set of stairs and see him standing outside the door. He’s not trying to get in. He’s just standing there, staring and smiling. I catch a look in his eyes though. It’s the first time I noticed anything except that plastic smile on his face. There’s something familiar there, but I dismiss it and continue up the stairs.
When I reach 4B, I head inside and secure all three locks on the door.
I pull out the green vial once more. Curiosity overtakes me. I have to know what it is. So I down half the vial without a second thought.
I wait. And wait.
After arriving at his apartment, Lucian desperately searches for the porcelain statue. However, an unexpected surprise is waiting for Lucian. The Aerial Combat Unit.
Lucian nodded and steeled himself. Small punched through the window and cleared the glass with his pistol. Lucian crawled into the apartment and crept through the living room in search of the china monkey.
He found the coffee table with his shin and stifled a yelp. He limped to the couch and searched the cushions to no avail.
“Where is it?” he whispered to himself. He walked through the darkness. “Come on,” he exclaimed. The lights in the living room came on, and the television blared to life. Lucian cringed at the noise, but the image that appeared on the screen drew his attention. He saw images of himself and Genevieve all over the different frames. A journalist on one channel was in the middle of an explanation.
“…recently added these two to their list of wanted terrorists. They were recently spotted in the Potter’s Crescent district of Brightwater and have, with the aid of other known terrorists, engaged several federal agents, killing several. If anyone has any information as to the whereabouts of these two fugitives...”
Lucian muted the television.
“What’s going on?” Small yelled through the window.
“Sorry,” said Lucian.
“Just get the statue and get out here!”
Lucian spied the monkey statue smiling mischievously at him from the top of the bookshelf. He snatched the statue off the shelf and stuffed it into his backpack just as Small spilled through the window.
“Kill the lights,” he demanded.
Lucian commanded the lights and television off, and the two were surrounded in darkness again.
“I got it, let’s go,” said Lucian.
“Too late,” hissed Small. “You took too long. Where’s that evac?” he said into his radio.
“Few minutes out,” replied Gold.
Small cursed, and at that moment Lucian heard what had spooked Small. A silent, electric whir surrounded them. It grew steadily louder and hovered over the apartment building.
“What is that?” asked Lucian, catching the worried look in Small’s eyes.
“ACUs. Aerial Combat Units.” Small chuckled. “We must have really gotten under their skin if they’re sending out one of these.”
Small and Lucian approached the window and looked out. Lucian saw the small shadow hovering in the air. It looked too small for an aircraft. Small grabbed Lucian by the arm and jerked him away from the window, and they ran for the couch. They dove over the backside of the couch as a barrage of gunfire rained through the window, filling the living room walls with holes.
The assault shredded everything in the living room. Lucian tucked his chin into his chest and curled into the fetal position. When the gunfire abated, Small yanked Lucian to his feet.
“Let’s go!” he yelled as they ran for the front door.
Small kicked the door out of the doorjamb and found a GenRep waiting on the other side. Small put his Desert Eagle to the GenRep’s forehead before it could react and sent it crashing backwards to the floor.
They barreled down the steps of the complex and met two more GenReps in the lobby. Lucian and Small each took care of one. They could still hear the electric hovering of the ACU outside. Just outside the entryway, a shadow filled the lamplit street as the ACU descended. The oversized robot formed a rough shape of a man but did not have skin coverings like the GenReps. One large blue eye glowed in the middle of its “head”. The ACU readied two mounted Gatling guns, and Small screamed in frustration.
Sparks flashed across the ACU’s body, and it took to the air again as a black SUV screeched to a halt with Gold hanging out the passenger window laying down covering fire with a machine gun.
Lucian and Small crashed through the front doors of the apartment building and threw themselves into the back seats. Genevieve sat in the driver’s seat and pulled a quick U-turn, fishtailing down the icy road. Grey Wolfe sat in the very back seat with a splint wrapped around his right leg. Gold, Small, and Pyro all fired upon relentless groups of GenReps in pursuit as they sped through the city streets.
As they neared the outskirts of the city thinking they were in the clear, a slew of bullets rang against the back end of the SUV.
“That ACU’s back,” screamed Small. “Get us out of here!”
“It’s too fast,” said Genevieve.
“I got it,” said Pyro crawling into the back. When he reappeared, he had a shoulder-mounted rocket launcher with him. He crawled back up to the middle seats. “Open the roof,” he said to Gold.
The roof of the SUV folded back onto itself, and Pyro stood up and took aim at the ACU. The Gatling guns silenced, and a metallic thunk sounded from a forearm barrel on the ACU. The unseen bomb exploded in the road ahead of them, causing Genevieve to swerve violently in order to miss the gaping hole that it left. Pyro crashed into Small.
“Strap me in,” cried Pyro.
Small grabbed a harness from the floorboard, and he and Lucian worked to strap Pyro as securely as possible to the seat. Pyro steadied himself as more mortars blasted holes around the speeding vehicle. He stared through the scope, trying to lock onto his target.
“This wouldn’t have happened if you had just listened to me, boss,” Pyro said to Small.
“Oh, shut up, Pyro,” replied Small. “Just take that thing down.”
The targeting computer indicated that it had a solid lock. Pyro squeezed the trigger, and large clawed bullet shot out of the barrel. The barbed tips lodged into the chest cavity of the ACU. A small diamond-tipped drill bit worked through the hardened exoskeleton. A small, mechanical arm then inserted a tiny silver ball into the hole.
Just before the EMP detonated, one more thunk escaped from the ACU’s forearm. The ACU fell silently to the pavement, and sparks flew as it scraped to a halt. A blue ball of electricity then erupted in front of the SUV.
All of the lights in the vehicle faded to darkness as they drove through the electric field. The vehicle crawled to a stop. The crew sat in utter darkness for a moment before Small spoke up.
“Command, this is Fire team Alpha,” he said into his radio. “Do you copy?”
“Command, this is Fire team Alpha. Do you copy?”
“Command, come in. This is Fire team Alpha. Do you copy?”
Not even static sounded through the radio. Small growled.
“Great. That EMP knocked out all our equipment. We can’t contact HQ, and we’re hours from base. Not to mention, we can’t stay here long. They’ll track down the last location of that ACU. We won’t stand a chance then.”
Everyone exited the vehicle, and Gold and Pyro emptied it of any remaining weapons. Grey Wolfe hobbled on his good leg, supported by Small.
“Just couldn’t wait to blow that trap, could you, Pyro?” Wolfe muttered.
“How was I supposed to know you were going to stop and make a suicide stand against those GenReps,” justified Pyro. “And besides, I saved this whole group. We’re all lucky I set up that perimeter. We’d all be toast if it weren’t for me.”
“You didn’t have to try to blow up Wolfe, though,” said Gold.
Pyro looked at Gold with his mouth hanging open. “You’re the one that kept screaming, ‘Blow it up! Blow it up! They’re gonna kill us if you don’t.’ You big wuss.”
Gold punched Pyro in the shoulder, knocking him over onto the ground.
“Enough. We need to find some shelter,” said Small. “Dr. Morgan should be able to find us using our last location. Let’s set up a camp down the road. I’ll take the first watch.”
Now that they have a plan, Lucian has to make it across a GenRep-infested city on the lookout for him with the help of only Agent Small.
Grey Wolfe, Genevieve, and Arcus tiptoed down the back hallway while Small and Lucian went into the restaurant. They passed through the dining room, around old tables with dusty tablecloths and into the kitchen. The stainless steel counters and tables had tarnished from years of disuse. They came to an old aluminum fire door near the walk-in cooler. Small checked his weapon once more before setting his hand on the crash bar.
“Ready?” he asked.
Lucian pulled his Glock out of its holster. He held the gun up by his face, gray eyes all steel. Small pressed on the release lever and inched the door open. Spurts of gunfire already echoed through the night. They crept down the quiet alley, and Small peeked around the corner. He jerked his head back and cursed under his breath.
“They’re all over. No way we can sneak around this one.”
Suddenly, several GenReps hurried down the street. A few of them ran by without noticing either of them in the alley.
“That must be Wolfe,” whispered Small. “We go in ten. Nine, eight, seven...”
Lucian gripped the pistol tightly. Sweat beaded on his forehead.
“Six, five, four...”
Lucian’s heart beat so rapidly that he thought it might actually break through his ribcage. His breath came in short gasps.
God be with us.
Small dashed around the corner with Lucian in tow. They had run ten paces before the first GenRep spotted them. With an electric burst, Small dispatched two GenReps a few meters ahead of them. Three other GenReps chased them from behind, and two more started across the street.
“Left,” shouted Lucian as they reached the corner.
They rounded the corner and spotted two more GenReps on the opposite side of the street. The GenReps aimed and fired a few shots. Lucian slipped on a patch of ice on the sidewalk, and the bullets embedded in the brick wall behind him as he hit the pavement. Lucian fired at the two GenReps and missed. He felt a great force yank at the collar of his coat.
“This way,” Small screamed as he crashed through the front window of a large toy store. Lucian jumped in behind him amidst a shower of bullets. Small crashed through the aisles, knocking over shelves and setting various toys to life.
Two GenReps climbed in through window and stalked through the store. Glowing green eyes scanned the store, jumping at the movement of every toy and blasting them into oblivion. They moved cautiously through the deluge of motion. The first GenRep’s fedora flew off its head as an EMP round pierced its metal frame and detonated inside. The greed glow faded from its eyes as it crashed through another shelf. Before the second GenRep could react, another bullet from Small, who had hidden atop an upright shelf behind a life-sized toy IFP soldier, put it down.
“Come on,” he said.
They ran to the back of the store, and Small kicked open the door. They hurried down the back alley and down another street, ducking into a nearby park to catch their breath. Small released the empty magazine from his pistol and cast it aside, replacing a fresh clip into his Desert Eagle.
“How much further?” asked Small.
“This is the park near my place,” wheezed Lucian. “Just a few more blocks east.”
They snuck to the east entrance of the park and looked out. A group of GenReps combed the area to the north. Small took a grenade from his coat pocket and lobbed it over the group of GenReps. When the grenade exploded, the GenReps froze, and Small took off across the street, taking out three GenReps to his right with as many bullets. Lucian hurried behind.
They rounded the corner and headed east again. The snow fell heavily now, and Lucian had a difficult time seeing through the storm. Small fired at two GenReps ahead of them, but Lucian noticed a GenRep on a balcony above Small. Lucian fired several shots up at the GenRep before it slumped over.
“Come on,” yelled Lucian. “Down that alley.” They crossed the street, and Small lobbed another grenade behind them, disabling more GenReps in pursuit.
They hustled down the alleyway, and then turned to run up another. Lucian halted in the darkness and pointed up to a fire escape. They climbed the ladder and then up several levels of stairs to the window of Lucian’s apartment. Lucian tried the window but found it locked. He looked to Small.
“Ready for evac?” Small said into his radio in a low voice, loading another clip into his pistol.
“Roger that,” Gold replied. “Why have a lock on your location.”
Small looked to Lucian. “Get in, get it, and get out.”