Friday, May 25, 2012

Worth the Risk: The Calen Natari Saga (Short Story)

Genre:  Young Adult Science Fiction

Type of Short Story:  Short Story

Summary:  The assassin profession is proving to be more difficult than Calen anticipated. Not exactly overwhelmed with job requests, Calen is forced to land on a nearby planet to hunt for food and find supplies.

A stranger she runs into at the local cantina may be the solution to her problems. He lost his honor but is rich enough to pay Calen to help him regain it. All she has to do is risk her life...


Her feet touched ground with a squish. A thick moss covered the forest floor; proof of the general lack of tourists to these parts. Calen pulled out her data pad and examined her map. The taxi driver had done a good job. She was supposedly only a short walk away from the lost spear’s location.

She pulled her pistol out of its holster and headed toward what would hopefully result in her largest payday yet; the kind of money that made this line of work worth the risk.

There was very little light trickling through the dense forest growth. Fortunately, Calen was a scarlati. Part of what made her species such excellent desert hunters was their ability to see in extremely low light conditions.

A nearby rustle made all of Calen’s senses go on high alert. A mere breeze could have produced the sound but something told Calen that this was no mere breeze.

A sweet, tempting smell filled the air. Calen felt her muscles relax and her mind was soothed as if she shouldn’t have a care in the world. It took every ounce of Calen’s willpower to force herself to shake off the sensation. She had studied predators all her life and she knew what they did to make their prey easy targets.

She was getting close.

Buy this short story on Amazon or B&N.

Friday, May 18, 2012

"Affairs of The Heart” by Borislava Borissova (Novellas)

Genre:  Romantic Suspense, Mystery

Type of Short Story:  Two Novellas

Summary:  In "A Love In Time of War" first they faced the war... the love followed later. Peace was somewhere in between. One day he could have killed her on the other side of the front, on the next day he fell in love and what would happen in the day after it? All efforts to remain enemies appeared to be in vain. The borderline between their ability to hate or to love appeared a thin one.

The war became past, the past became history and through the years only love is still alive in a very beautiful tale to remember.

In "The Last Secrets of The Ancient Island" series of mishaps in an old town casts suspicion on a number of residents, provoking changes in an adopted practice of the underground world of relics. Ralph, a young graduate of a university proves the last mysteries of ancient National Park sites are yet unexplored by historians and archaeologists and discovers the personal secret of his older brother Michael. An unknown driver has a tragic motivation to take his life and that of another.

We were born alone, we die alone, but life is our chance to live in love.


From The Last Secrets of The Ancient Island:

“I wanted to see the face, to look into the eyes of the dangerous driver who scared us with his crazy driving, caused a series of collisions and accidents on our streets and placing the life of each of us in danger and uncertainty. I still remember the squeal of the high-speed tires and the sense of an evil menace and I wanted to rage at him, to strike him. I expected…” Michael sighed sadly and, forgetting everything and everyone around him, he lapsed into the memory of that time.

“In the hospital, I ran up the stairs and I looked in the room to peer over medic’s shoulder. There were a multitude of tubes and wires. The intravenous system and respirator were attached to the body in the bed, to keep the driver alive. I saw the ashen skin, dark rings around the eyes, fragile hands—they were already powerless to hold the wheel. The body was worn, similar to a shadow. It was a young woman who wanted to die, who searched for death on the road as fast as the car would go. And to take another life with hers so she wouldn’t be alone when she drew her last breath.”

From A Love In Time of War:

After a while, the older white-haired man repeated in amazement, “Let’s clear this up. You fought to the death in the Balkan War against her father, her brother and her country. And she served as a nurse to Bulgarian soldiers, among blood, wounded, dead, and the smell of formaldehyde on the opposite side of the borderline. Does it mean you are coming to ask for the hand of your enemy’s daughter? The Bulgarian general, who personally led his army from the front line against the Ottoman divisions?”

“Yes. First there was the war… the love followed later. Peace was somewhere in between.”

“Yesterday, you could have killed her on the other side of the front, today you are in love and what about tomorrow?”

“She feels the same way. All our efforts to remain enemies appeared to be in vain. The border line between our ability to hate or to love appears a thin one.”

His fellow traveler shook his head distrustfully. “Your story sounds crazy. Most probably, her father will not allow her to marry you. Hmm... Kidnap her instead. Escape together as others have done many times on the Balkans.”

“Who would easily marry a Muslim man and a Christian woman in secret? If not, what would she be in my life without a legal marriage? A mistress? The woman who was born to be my wife? I cannot make a political scandal between our countries. The general is respectful and popular.”

Buy this collection on Amazon in paperback or for your Kindle.

Friday, May 11, 2012

"Dark Steps" by Martin Pond (Short Stories)

Genre:  Psychological Horror

Type of Short Story:  Collection of Short Stories

Summary:  "Dark Steps" is a collection of eight short stories. In "Near-Death Experience", excerpted here, a man tries to get as close to death as he possibly can.


He watches the girl as she runs across the park.

She must be about eight or nine, he thinks – any older and she would not be towing the helium balloon along behind her in quite such a carefree manner. She’s still at that age when she is not self-conscious about being a child, or the trappings of childhood. In a year or two she would cringe if her school friends saw her running around in the park with a party balloon, but for now she is still a child.
Her hair is a black scrawl that suggests she doesn’t like having it brushed – that would change in a couple of years too. Her coat is a candy-pink confection with a fur-trimmed hood that bobs lightly as she runs. Her leggings are a little on the short side – she has nearly outgrown them. There are red LEDs on her trainers that flash with each footfall.

It doesn’t take long for him to locate the girl’s mother. She is walking some way behind, talking animatedly into the mobile phone that is clamped to her ear. Her other hand is thrust deep into the pocket of her heavy wool overcoat. Her hair is the same colour as her daughter’s, he notes, but unlike the girl’s it is immaculately groomed. The mother is walking slowly – sauntering, even – and is falling further behind the girl with every pace. Some maternal instinct surfaces enough to recognise this, and he watches as she pulls the mobile’s mouthpiece away enough to call after her daughter. He can’t hear what she says, but can guess. “Don’t go too far, darling,” perhaps. Or, “Wait when you get to the gate.” He doubts that the girl can hear her either.

He checks the clock – it’s almost time.

Buy this collection on Amazon or Smashwords.

Friday, May 4, 2012

"The Wheel of Justice" by Stephen Livingston (Short Story)

Genre:  Humor/Satire

Type of Short Story:  Short Story

Summary:  Hilariously funny dark humor and biting satire combine in this short story set on an American TV game-show of the near future.


Wheel of Justice

"Good evening ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to this week's show. Tonight our executionee is one Rainbow Smith, a twenty-three year old gang member from the Bronx. Rainbow has been tried and convicted of the homicide of a state law enforcement officer. Rainbow come on down, your time is now."

A thick set, muscular, black man with close cropped afro emerges from a doorway at the back of the studio. Handcuffed and flanked by two armed guards, he makes his way down the stairs through the jeering and cheering audience. Rainbow, passing a cameraman, flashes a feral smile. His white teeth glint in the lens and he winks into the camera as he approaches the stage.

The stage is decorated in a gaudy collision of all the colours of the spectrum, specially for its young victim. The power wheel, looming stage right, is separated from the chair, bedecked as a colourful and comfortable resting place for an unwitting Hansel, by the huge liquid crystal display of the scoreboard.

Rainbow climbs the steps onto the stage and is led to the chair by Luscious Linda, the assistant to the show's presenter Bob Vicarage. Dressed in a low cut, long split, black velvet dress, Linda straps Rainbow down. Down into his final resting place, amid roars of excitement from the testosterone fuelled males in the studio audience, Rainbow sinks.

Bob motions the crowd to silence and announces the contestants.

"This week's prospective prize winning executioners are Granny Emmott from Springfield, New Jersey . . ."

Cheers from her supporters and impartial members of the audience interrupt the suave host as banners reading "Go Granny Go!" and "Shock it to 'em Emmott" are waved.

" . . . and last week's champion, Davor Poborsky, a refugee from Sarajevo now living in Queens."

More howls of encouragement, and a lone female voice screams out "Fugees go home" before being hastily ejected by the studio security guards.

The contestants take their places on the podium in front of the scoreboard and a priest, dressed in the puritanical garb of the early European settlers, enters from the left for his evangelistic interlude.

"In God's country we are privileged with the technology and the divine moral right to bring sinners to their eternal judgement before the eyes of the Lord. Jesus loves America. Hallelujah."

Turning to Rainbow, the cathode Christian offers him the chance to confess and repent his crimes and thus be reconciled with his creator. Rainbow, by way of reply, spits on the floor at the old man's feet and angrily growls, "The dirty fascist pig-dog deserved it."

The priest's face contorts in distaste and he leaves the stage with a parting shot of "And now we have participatory justice for all. There is no escape from the ever watchful eye of our Lord. God bless America." The older viewers in the front rows of the congregation cheer and wave white wooden crosses above their heads while those further back in the audience chat amongst themselves and ignore this part of the proceedings.

As Rainbow contemplates the course his life has taken, leading him into the dire straits he is now ensnared by, the game ensues. Bob fires out trivia questions concerning the law, crime and punishment. The contestants are quick on their buzzers, sending electrical pulses from their fingertips and answering on command. At the end of the first round, the liquid crystals on the scoreboard indicate that Granny Emmott leads Davor by just two volts.

"Granny, am I right in saying that it has been your ambition to take part in the legal course of criminal extermination since you were widowed three years ago?"

"Yes Bob, my late husband was shot dead by one of these scum" she motions toward Rainbow, "during a botched bank robbery near our old home in Albany. He was going to withdraw our savings. My daughter had . . ."

"And your family is here with us tonight" Bob interrupts and the family members cheer from their complimentary seats in the middle of the theatre.

"We must pause now for a word from our sponsors," says Bob, "but don't go away, we will be back to see which of these contestants makes it through to run the power wheel after this break."

Buy this story on Amazon US or UK.