Saturday, 13 November 2010

One Of The Many Reasons Why My Wife Thinks I'm Frank Spencer

OK, here goes my tale of woe.

A few years ago I brought a chainsaw home from work (I can hear you all moan "Why give Garry a chainsaw?").

Well, in the end I didn't use it because the blade was f**king blunt. Instead I had the brainstorm of using a circular saw and the first two trees came down a treat.
At this point my wife, Paula, went inside to make a call and I got a bad case of 'I'm an overconfident arsehole, watch me do this f**ker on my own'

So, off I set with the sawing and the wedge is cut without a f**king hitch and I'm thinking 'I'm the Motherf**king God of the tree fellers, OH YEAH, BABY!'

I move around to do the final cut and realise I can't get the saw in due to another trunk. As I step back to think, a big ass f**king gale comes out of nowhere. That c**t, Mother Nature, has decided to bring me down a peg or two.

The tree I'm working on creaks and groans and starts to fall...The wrong f**king way. If it goes my extension is going to become an arbouritum.

I shouted for Paula but got no reply and primal instinct took over.

What did I do?

What clever idea did I come up with?

I climbed the next tree and wedged myself between it and the falling one to halt disaster. Trapped I called again for Paula... and again as the wind continued to buffet me and the trees.

Twenty minutes later Paula comes out and asks. "Did you shout, dear...cup of coffee?"

My reply was a barrage of four letter words and curses to all the Gods and a plea for the long handled sledge hammer sat in my office (Don't f**king ask).

"It's next to the filing cabinet," I yelled and Paula ran in, only to return with...

"Which filing cabinet?"

"The one with the F**king huge hammer next to it," I snarled.

This time I am saved as Paula returned with said hammer and passed it up to me. I used the handle as a lever and was able to relax on my perch and stop my legs shaking.

"What now?" Paula shouted.

We spent the next thirty minutes converting a loft ladder into 'a stop the f**king tree falling device' with the help of my eldest son, Ray.
This device then allowed me to climb higher and tie of a rope at a decent point. I threw the ends down to Paula and Ray and told them to pull from their respective places to the left and right whilst I climbed down and got a smaller saw to make the final cut.

With the cut made and the tree, partnered with the wind, threatening to pull Paula and Ray with it I ran over and assisted Ray with a final pull.

Now, in a perfect world, the tree would have fallen between the two sets of pullers. This, however, is my f**king world and the tree began to fall towards Ray and myself.

I turned to run and collided with Ray, pushing him to what I hoped was safety just as the tree landed on the top of my f**king head and forced all it's weight down into my knees. The right knee (having taken some shit over the years) went f**king POP and I was on the floor screaming, but the tree was gone.

Ignoring my pleas for pain relief and my curses of "C**ty, f**king, twat, bollocks and cock," Paula leaped over me screaming for Ray.

I rolled over to see what all the fuss was about and saw only Ray's backside and legs sticking out from under the tree.

"RAY, RAY," Paula screamed.

"I'm good," came the reply. "But get this f**king tree off me."

With Ray saved they tried to move me, but I was a soldier and said "Just leave me here and get me a ciggie."

Paula returned with the smoke only to find me laid on my side, cock in hand, taking a piss.

"What?" I shrugged. "I've been holding it a f**king hour."

And that is how I f**ked my knee up. The doctor says I've torn the spongy cushion within the knee joint and it's got two choices. Either heal OK or not OK.
The not OK will require surgery.

Oh, well. That's f**king life.

My Kids are Mad

My two children, Chandler and Estelle are crazy.

I don't mean crazy in a bad way, but in the way that makes me laugh. When most kids are drawing flowers and cars, my two are drawing vampires and zombies.

I know that I must be to blame for this, doing what I do and all. But It's the amazingly silly things they say that really makes me smile.

Example one:

I was sat writing one day and Estelle came over to the desk (she was about 3 at the time) and climbed up on my lap.

She started, as kids do, fiddling with the things laying around my laptop and decided that a big book looked like an interesting place to spend some time.

"What's this?" she asked.

"It's a Thesaraus," I replied.

Her little eyes went wide with amazement and she looked from me, to the book and then back to me.

"Doe's it have dinosaurs in it?" she innocently asked.

When I explained the truth behind this wonderful tome she left, quite dissappointed.

Example two:

Walking to school a few weeks ago Chandler was talking non-stop as he tends to do most times. He was going on about everything and anything.

The mindless chat suddenly turned to Scotland.

"I want to go to Scotland," he stated and looked up at me. "Do you know why?" he asked.

"Why's that then?" I enquired.

"Because I love PIPEBAGS."

I tried, but it was impossible to hide the smile. He must have noted the reaction and, knowing it had amused me, he began to use any sentence that allowed him to use the word pipebags.

Well, it ended up being one of those times when if you hear a certain word again you are going to either scream or eat you own ears and I decided to put him straight.

"Chandler, they're not called bloody pipebags."

With this his younger sister stopped walking and turned to him. "You idiot," she said. "Everyone knows they're UNIBAGS."

KIDS, the never cease to amaze me.


Just before Christmas a few years ago my wife's Nana died. She had suffered a massive stroke and spent two weeks in a hospital bed before she finally gave up her hold on life.

She was 88 years old and one of the most amazing women I've ever had the pleasure of knowing. It was a constant in joke that she was my 'other women'.

Yesterday we visited the house she had spent all her life in so we could help with the job of emptying it. My wife took a few photographs etc... to remember the great old lady by.

Whilst emptying a kitchen unit my wife screamed and I (the ever shining knight in armour) ran to her assistance.

'What's wrong?' I asked.

'It's Nana's teeth," she wailed.

And she was right. Sat in a jar, on a shelf was a set of dentures in water. I burst out laughing.

Now, being the horror writer I am I asked permission to keep the teeth as a momento. Afterall they would look good on my office shelf. Everyone involved, knowing what I'm like, agreed that Nana would love to be remembered in any way.

Upon arrival back home I called my young son into the kitchen. He came running with a smile on his face.

'Hold out you hand and close your eyes,' I said and, trusting son he is, he did so.

I lay the teeth in his palm and told him to open his eyes. He looked at the object in his palm and frowned.

'What is that?' he asked.

'It's Nana's teeth,' I replied.

Well, he screamed and threw the teeth that, hit the tiled floor and broke in half. Without pause his little sister pushed passed him and picked up the two halves.

'Why'd you do that?' she asked. 'I'd have worn them for Halloween.'

Everyone laughed and I can't help but think it's amazing that Nana can still help us smile even though she has moved on.

We love you Nana...Bessie Martin 12/07/1919 to 13/12/07

Funny story... I hope

Who Dunnit?

"I'm telling you, Mr Bones, it was the blue lady who done it," insisted the cook, Miss Basted.

"She's right, you know," added Mr Hoe the gardener. "She roams these halls in search of vengeance.

"I refuse to believe in such mumbo jumbo," stated the detective, fingering the pipe hanging from his mouth. "I have not made it this far in my career by chasing ghosts and ghouls."

"Then how do you explain the trail of other-worldly juices?" Lord Stickleweather pointed at the liquid covering the floor below the swinging body.

"All will be explained, my dear chap, as soon as we are all here." As he spoke he allowed the pungent pipe smoke to drift from between his lips.

Shylock Bones was sure he had all the answers, years of hard work and practice had honed his skills as a detective. He would not allow himself to be caught up in talk of the supernatural. He was a firm believer in that which he could touch, see and smell. His world had no room for such wayward thinking.

"And just who are we waiting for, Mr Bones?" Stickleweather asked with a snort of derision.

"Two important players in the game." Bones removed the pipe and pointed at them all with the tip.

"It's the blue lady, I tell ya, she's coming for us all." Miss Basted began to cry, her shoulders shaking uncontrollably.

"Someone get that woman under control," Bones snapped. "I'm trying to think.

Mr Hoe obliged, standing up and crossing the room. He grabbed Miss Basted by the shoulders and shook her from side to side, pausing to slap her around the face. Finally the woman snapped out of her frantic state and, without any warning, her knee came up and stole the wind from Mr Hoe's sails with a firm blow to his tender area.

"Why you little bit…" Mr Hoe gasped as he doubled over and cupped the agonized area.

"Please, people, some decorum," Bones yelled in impatience.

He glanced around the study and pointed at the maid, a shy young thing who had spent the evening standing off to one side.

"You, girl, I think tea is in order."

The maid nodded silently and scuttled from the room.

"And bring the custard creams," Stickleweather shouted after her and then turned back to the detective. "You still haven't answered my question. Who are we waiting for?"

Bones sucked deeply on his pipe, pausing to savour the taste and apparently thinking over whether he should answer the Lord or not. As he thought he paced the floor, finally stopping and turning to face the man who had hired him.

"We're waiting for your wife, Lord Stickleweather," Bones shouted.

"Are you mad?" Stickleweather jumped up, his face flushing deep red. "My Angelique has been dead these last five years."

"Some say she is the blue lady," whispered Miss Basted.

Before another argument could arise the maid returned with the tray of fine china. She stood in the doorway and looked around blindly, her eyes rolling in her head. The tray fell from her fingers, hitting the hardwood floor seconds before she followed.

Miss Basted began her screaming anew, but Mr Hoe stayed clear of the woman with the deadly knees, his testicles only just returning to a state of normality.

Reverend Fiddler ran over to the fallen maid, his hand outstretched towards the knife protruding from her back.

"Don't touch that," yelled Bones as lightning flashed outside.

The lights flickered out.

Yet once more Miss Basted screamed; the sound akin to that of nails on a chalkboard. As her new fit of hysterics died away the lights flickered back to life and revealed a fresh scene of death.

The knife was no longer sticking from the maid like a grave marker; it was now lying on the floor at Stickleweather's feet. But not before it had been used for yet more nefarious means. Stickleweather was dead, a bright red gash running from ear to ear. The Reverend Fiddler was laid across his lap, his stomach open from ribcage to pubis.

"I need the toilet," cried Miss Basted, running from the room.

"Go with her, man," Bones, pointed at Mr Hoe.

The gardener hobbled after the cook, his genitals complaining at the sudden movement. This left Bones on his own to contemplate the situation. He looked at the bodies' one at a time, finally taking in the body hanging from the ceiling and the watery spillage below the corpse. Bones crouched down and ran a finger through the residue before rubbing it around his gums and smacking his lips together.

"Urine and ejaculate," he mused. "I deduct that this man committed suicide, expelling his life fluids on the point of death."

The case was interrupted by the sound of yet another scream from the direction of the water closet.

"The game is afoot," Bones exclaimed, taking off at a quick trot that made him appear extremely camp.

Outside the storm reached its zenith, thunder shaking the windows and lightning turning the interior into a zoetrope of light and dark. Bones came to a sliding stop at the open door of the water closet and his stomach knotted at the carnage laid out before him.

Miss Basted sat on the Royal Dalton toilet, her face covered in thick red that still poured from the wound in her head. The murder weapon – the cistern lid – had been discarded to one side.

Mr Hoe was sprawled at her feet, his trousers around his ankles and clearly something was missing. Not that the gardener would ever need that tool again.

Bones turned at the sound of footsteps and was met with the sensation of cold steel plunging into his gut. He fell to the floor and stared at the highly polished shoes in front of his face. As he died he looked up at the impeccably dressed figure and rolled his eyes.

"I should have known," he cursed. "The bloody butler did it."

Memoirs of the Dead

It was going to be Diary of the Dead, but some Romero guy
already took that title.


I can still remember awaking on that fateful morning only to discover that I was dead. Not that the realisation came straight away. Yes, I felt a bit stiff and I was cold, chilled to the bone cold but it wasn't until I ate my wife that I realised I was a zombie.

My wife was still enveloped in a deep sleep when I awoke to an unnatural feeling in the pit of my stomach. Even before I'd thrown back the covers I knew I was unwell. Every joint ached; the dull pain that warns of the onset of flu. My head was throbbing behind my eyes and the inside of my mouth felt as if someone had taken a shit in it whilst I'd slept. I rubbed my tongue across the back of my teeth, flesh rubbing against the fine, hairy coating that had been hiding there.

I lowered my bare feet to the laminate floor and it felt warm against the coldness of my skin. And so, wearing only my boxer shorts and a T-shirt and feeling like death warmed up (excuse the phrase) I headed for the bathroom. Once there I discovered – via a glance in the mirrored medicine cabinet – that I looked as bad as I felt.

My face was paler than usual, though paler is probably the wrong word. Greyer would be nearer the truth. My eyes were bloodshot, the tiny veins interlaced so tightly as to look totally red and the pupil had turned a milky blue in contrast to the usual vibrant blue with flecks of orangey gold.

"Must be coming down with something," I thought. "Can't be that serious." If it was something bad I wouldn't have felt as hungry as I did.

Not bothering to dress I made my way down to the kitchen. The hunger was growing and by the time I'd opened the fridge I was starving. I took an apple from the crisper drawer and raised it to my mouth, but as my teeth sunk into the flesh my throat clenched. My stomach rebelled and the floor was suddenly covered in vomit. I dropped the apple and it splashed in the thick, lumpy green fluid that lay steaming at my feet.

But I was still hungry. I needed to eat.

I yanked open the nearest cupboard, seizing a box of cereal and shoving my hand into the contents. I rammed two quick handfuls into my mouth before my body said 'NO'. This time the vomit was of the projectile variety. Cereal, bile and, surprisingly, sections of stomach lining sprayed the work top as I tried to bring the retching under control.

"Are you alright, dear?" Flo entered the kitchen, still rubbing sleep from her eyes.

The vomiting came to an abrupt halt and I turned to look at my wife, horrified at the mental image her appearance conjured.


I tried to block the thought from my mind, but she looked so appetising. My stomach rumbled in complaint.

"I'm fine," I said the words and then lunged at her awkwardly.

I think she tried to scream, but it was nothing more than a wet warble as my teeth sunk into her windpipe. As I bit into the warm flesh my mouth was filled with warmth, an oral orgasm that surpassed any feeling I had ever experienced. At last my hunger had found what it craved.

It broke my heart to end the marriage that way, but by the time I'd sucked her brain out through her left eye socket I'd started to feel a lot better. The headache had cleared to nothing more than a dull pain and for the first time since waking I felt warm.

It was with a confused mind and suffering from a mild state of shock that I left the house. Only to discover my dilemma wasn't unique.

The usually quiet cul-de-sac was anything but quiet. People I knew were running from their homes screaming, only to be followed a moment later by their stumbling loved ones. Some, if not most, were caked in blood.

I stood in stunned silence and watched the survivors pack together. They were quickly surrounded and then set upon. As bodily organs were pulled from their warm hosts I began to feel hungry again. Unable to withstand the draw of fresh meat I began to hobble forwards.

"What's happening to us?" The voice stopped me and I turned to look at my neighbour, Muriel. "I just ate Mick." Mick was her husband and what was left of him covered the front of her negligee.

"What was it like?" Silly question, I know.

"Tasted like chicken." She took my hand and together we joined the feast.


And that was the pretty much the start of it, a few isolated incidents of the dead rising from their graves, but the media had a hay day with it.

Unoriginal I know.

That one showed more promise, but the article turned out to be more than a little biased. It painted the undead in a very poor light.

The living have, from the start, got us zombies (I hate the word zombie, but it's something we're stuck with) all wrong. They scream about the flesh eaters, call us the spawn of evil, and accuse us of returning from the bowels of Hell.

Well, I can tell you now that, apart from the flesh eating bit; it's all a crock of shit. I know I've never been to Hell and I'm yet to meet another zombie that has. The furthest I've ever travelled was Bridlington.

Yes, we eat flesh, but we do it for a reason. It doesn't give us pleasure, in fact it's pretty disturbing at first. We do it to ease the pain of death and delay the rate of decay that is slowly destroying our fragile frames. In layman's terms we do it to survive.

You could never understand how much it hurts to be dead; you can't even begin to imagine what our condition is like. I'll try to paint a picture for you, but even then you'll not comprehend the true horror of how we live.


The cold and the aching limbs was only the start and, when compared to what came next, wasn't that much of an inconvenience.

Rigor mortis; now when that set in I could have cried. Luckily Muriel was still with me then and together we endured the agony of our joints locking up. We couldn't talk, but just knowing that someone was there was enough to see us through. Then there was the side effect of lividity; a massive bruise like accumulation of blood which, until you get up and moving, is the most uncomfortable sensation ever.

After that things weren't too bad. Regular feeding keeps the insides fresh and the joints lubricated, but it only slows the effects of decomposition on the outside. The outer flesh started to suffer after only a few months. I went bald over night, the entire scalp falling away from my skull whilst stumbling away from a gun wielding farmer. Entire lumps of decayed flesh dropped from my body and I can still feel the maggots squirming as they feed on the deadness that is me.

Eating nothing but raw meat has another nasty effect and it's probably the worst thing we have to put up with. Diarrhoea, uncontrollable seepage that burns as it passes and adds to the rank stink that comes from our flesh. It's humiliating to admit, but I shit myself constantly.

Some of us have faired worse than others. A close friend of mine is no more than a walking skeleton, but despite his condition he still insists on sticking to his vegetarian ways. He comes along on raids of the towns, but in truth he's a bit of a loner. Only last week we finally broke into the shopping centre and, as we stalked the living he went off in search of the produce section. Sometimes I think he'd be better off with a bullet in the head.


Yes, the rumours are true. Destroy the brain and you destroy the zombie (have I mentioned I hate the word zombie? If I have I ignore me. My memories not what it used to be)

It's just a shame that most of the living can't shoot for shit. My torso alone, at last count, sported fifteen bullet wounds. I daren't even try counting the flesh wounds on my arms and legs.

Poor Muriel (Yes, we're still together) has come off worse than most. Last month she lost a hand to a shotgun blast and the month before that she took a hollow point to the stomach. If I crouch down I can see clear through her midsection. It's also stopped her eating and I fear I will lose her soon and that makes me sad. It's bad enough being dead, but being dead and alone will be unbearable.


The living are scarce now and more often than not we go hungry. We've discovered that livestock stops the pain, but only for a short while.

I'm glad Muriel's gone; she wouldn't have liked the way things have turned out. We're slowly starving to death and to be honest I can't wait for the sweet release. I've been this way for too long now.

Tonight we hope for a reprieve from the pain. Word has spread of a bunker where they are training the zombies to be pets. We have no urge to free our comrades, but the promise of living flesh beckons with its sweet aroma.

As we march we begin to chant;

It seems to instil fear.

If only they realised that we're begging them to shoot us where it counts.

Monday, 1 November 2010


My latest ebook, Shredder, will be released at 7.00pm on Saturday night.

With this in mind I thought it might be a good idea to give you all a preview. Here it is people... The Prologue to Shredder.

Enjoy :-)


DATE: 21/07/10



Rain falls from the night sky and pummels the empty street, streaming from the cracked pavement and forming fast running rivers in the grime caked gutters. The overbearing heat of the day can be forgotten as the downpour cools the air, bringing with it a freshness that hasn't been experienced for months.

But no one comes out to dance in the streets, there are no celebrations...

Not here...

...Not now.

This is a place of fear, a city held in the grip of war. To walk the streets at night is to sign your own death warrant, to do so in the day is to play a dangerous game of Russian Roulette. Only those with a purpose, those who dare to try and benefit from conflict risk standing out in the open after dark.

Two such warriors run out into the centre of the road, their lower faces covered by loosely tied scarves. One of them holds his weapon, ready for use yet the other has slung his rifle across his shoulder. They pause momentarily and look back, seeing those who pursue them.

Shit!” The hissed curse is not heard over the sound of the rain.

Three armed men step from the shadows of the ruined shop front, weapons raised and unwilling to wait for surrender.

They open fire, flashing muzzles clashing against the blue forks of lightning from the tumultuous sky. Those being chased stand little chance, their bodies pirouetting as bullets tear through flesh, shatter bone and pulverise internal organs.

As they fall to the soaked ground the air is filled with the acrid aroma of cordite and copper as thick blood puddles around the corpses, only to be washed away by the heavy rain.

No one is there to witness the execution and the three armed killers turn their backs on their victims with no guilty in their posture as they fade back into the shadows a moment before the street is illuminated by the headlights of an armoured Humvee, the first in a convoy of three.

The first vehicle swerves to miss the two corpses but the second and third show no such respect for the dead, bumping over the bodies without slowing. All three Humvees reach the end of the street and turn into the next, heading towards the sounds of combat.


The rear of the lead Humvee hasn't been designed for comfort and those riding within are prepared for it. Its what they've been trained to do and its what they're paid to put up with. If they wanted comfort they'd take a holiday.

Four men all sit in silence, three of them waiting for the fourth to talk.

Corbin Keene knows why they wait and he's glad of the respect they show him, remaining quiet whilst he formulates a plan of attack. His face is illuminated by the Adam Tablet held in his grasp, highlighting the rough stubble covering his chin and the scar that runs from his right eye to the base of his ear lobe.

Keene swipes his finger across the touch sensitive screen, bringing up a blueprint of the building they are approaching. He double taps the centre of the screen and the diagram zooms in to show the ground floor in more detail. He studies it for a moment and then shuts the Adam tablet down, placing it on the empty seat at his side.

He looks around the tight confines of the Humvee and then raises a hand to the earpiece hanging loose at his neck, taking it between thumb and forefinger and placing it firmly into his ear. He taps the earpiece, a habit he finds impossible to kick.

Campbell, Rogers... ETA in five minutes,” Keene announces via the throat mounted mic.

Roger that, Keene.” Campbell's reply comes through the earpiece, distorted by static but understandable.

We follow the brief to the letter... no deviations,” he says. “Units One and Two secure the area to the North and South, full quarantine scenario.” He pauses, looking at the three soldiers sat opposite him. “I'm with Unit Three... in and out... no more than fifteen minutes.”

Business as usual,” Campbell laughs before signing off.

Lightning cracks the sky outside and Keene closes his eyes, leaning his head back in an attempt to relax before arrival at their desitination.

Sat opposite him are three seasoned professionals, Brent, Jenkins and Masters. They have fought together many times and they work like a well oiled machine...

Most of the time.

Jenkins leans forward and taps Keene on the knee before continuing. “I don't like this, Keene,” he says with a raised voice. “I got that feeling in my water.”

Maybe you should try sitting down to piss,” Keene replies without opening his eyes.

Brent and Masters both laugh, causing Jenkins to glare at them. “Fuck you!”

Maybe you're due on,” jibes Brent.

You need a tampon, Jenkins?” chuckles Masters

Wankers,” Jenkins turns back to Keene, looking for support.

Enough,” Keene barks at them. “I need you focused.” He opens his eyes, realising he has no hope of gaining that moment of calm he searches for.

I mean it, Keene,” Jenkins says. “I got a bad feeling about this one... We've got nothing to go on but a location? What the hell are we doing here?”

We're doing what we do best... cleaning up someone else's fucking mess.” Keene points angrily at Jenkins. “So you take that bad feeling and stow it somewhere I don't have to listen to it.”

The Humvee grinds to an abrupt halt and Keene once again taps the earpiece as he stands up. “All units move out.”

Keene pulls on his helmet and moves to the rear of the Humvee, throws open the doors and jumps out into the rain drenched night. He is quickly followed by the others.

I still got a bad feeling,” Jenkins mumbles to himself and shakes his head.


The entrance hall to the building is silent and empty. The only sounds come from outside, the steady thrum of rain and the intermittent bursts of gunfire. The power is out but the walls are illuminated by the headlights pointed towards the building.

The front door is kicked open with vicious suddenness, the top hinge giving way with a squeal of screws tearing free of wood. The door swings wide, hits the wall and comes to rest at an odd angle.

Jenkins and Brent enter first, keeping low as one of them heads left whilst the other takes the right. Both hold their automatic weapons raised, sweeping them from side to side in a fluid motion, fingers rested on triggers ready to squeeze at the slightest provocation.

Jenkins looks over at Brent and nods an 'all clear'.

Brent looks back over his shoulder and makes a circular hand motion, a silent message to Keene and Masters that its safe to enter.

Masters enters in a similar way to Jenkins, crouched low and rifle raised, but Keene walks in as if its just another day at the office. He wastes no time looking around and then heads towards the stairs with confident strides.

I want a full sweep,” he states without taking his eyes off the staircase. “Jenkins, ground floor... Brent, second floor... Masters, third floor.” Keene starts up the stairs.

What about you, boss?” asks Masters.

I'll take the penthouse.” Keene continues upwards as Brent and Masters drop in behind him, leaving Jenkins to his own devices.


Keene doesn't raise his rifle until he steps out onto the Penthouse landing, using his thumb to activate the barrel mounted light. He pans the beam across the carpet, a thick pile that once held a vibrant pattern that has been walk down over the years.

Keene moves forward with a caution he would never reveal to his men. They need to see him as strong and fearless, they don't need to see their leader ever show hesitation. The landing isn't long and holds only one door at the far end. Keene raises the rifle and keeps the light focused on the door handle as he edges closer.

After a few steps the carpet becomes wet underfoot and Keene pauses, crouching down and running a glove covered finger across the sodden fabric. He rubs the liquid between finger and thumb, feeling its oiliness before raising the finger to his nose and taking a sharp sniff.

Shit,” he curses out loud, wiping the soiled hand on the hip of his combat pants.

Keene stands again, hoists the rifle into a usable position and heads straight for the door, the carpet growing spongier with each step. He reaches the door and waits for a second, listening for any sign of life.

Only when he 's sure nothing awaits him on the other side does he reach out, take the handle and push the door open. He sees what the penthouse holds and can manage only two words. “Jesus Christ.”

Keene doesn't enter the room, just stands in place and takes in the scene of desecration spread out before him. The floor is littered with human detritus, flayed skin, broken bones and shredded offal spread across the room like something from an Andy Warhol nightmare.

The room is suddenly lit by a flash of lightning and, for the briefest of moments it reveals the line of heads sat on the sofa. Keene doesn't have time to count them all but takes a guess at more than twenty, each one missing their eyes.

What the fuck?” Keene passes the barrel mounted light over a rack and is sickened by what hangs from it.

The number of blood filled bags outnumbers the heads but Keene has no time to wonder at the meaning of it all. He reaches up and taps the earpiece.

Masters... You clear down there?” Keene asks, his eyes darting around the carnage filled room.

Nothing down here but rat shit and dust,” comes the crackled reply.

Brent... report status,” Keene snaps the order.

Three dead,” replies Brent through the earpiece. “Smells like they been that way for a few days.”

Jenkins?” only static comes as a reply. “Jenkins?” Keene asks again, a slight stammer of uncertainty creeping into his voice.

Ground floor's clear, but I've located a basement,” Jenkins finally answers. “I'm going to check it out.”

Brent, get down there with Jenkins,” Keene orders.

There's some... do... ere.” Jenkins voice breaks up.

Jenkins, hold back and wait...” Keene leaves the sentence hanging as a something in the penthouse catches his attention, a shimmer of black within the shadows.

Kee... I... Bodies... least... Dozen,” Jenkins tries to explain but the connection is poor.

Keene raises the automatic rifle and plays the light across the room and its grizzly contents, moving steadily from left to right.

Fuck... missing... where... eyes...” Jenkins sounds scared. “What the fu...” Jenkins voice is replaced by gunfire.

Lightning flashes and reveals the silhouette of a muscular male, naked from the waist up and glistening in a coating of wet red fluid. Keene takes a step back into the hallway as the figure opens its mouth in a silent scream, blood flowing over its lips and down its chin.

Lightning flashes again and Keene sees that the man is looking straight at him with eyes that cannot be real. There are no pupils and no iris, both eyes the colour of liquid mercury.

Get on your knees,” shouts Keene but the man isn't listening.

Keene opens fire as the man charges towards him, bullets tearing into his stomach, chest and face. The man keeps coming, twitching with the impact of each bullet. Keene's finger is still on the trigger when the man collides with him.

The blow lifts Keene off his feet and sends him backwards, his head making a crushing impact with the wall. Unconsciousness takes him before he hits the floor.


Keene comes around slowly only to find himself laid on his side at the base of the wall. He pushes himself into a sitting position and takes a quick mental check.

No bones broken...

Vision... 20-20

What the fuck was that thing?

Keene releases the chin strap on his helmet and then removes it from his head, throwing it to one side before rotating his neck from left to right and then back again, flinching as a hot poker of pain lances down his left hand side. He raises a hand and taps at the earpiece.

Jenkins... Brent... Masters?” White noise is his only reply.

Keene leans to his right and retrieves the automatic rifle, checks it over with the speed and efficiency rarely seen. Once satisfied with the weapon's operation he gets to his feet, stretches and then looks around. The first thing he sees are the fresh hand prints on the wall, leaving a trail that leads down the stairs.

Masters... You hear me?” Only the crackle of dead air. “Shit!” Keene blinks once and then takes the stairs at a run, only stopping when he reaches the third floor.

Fuck!” Keene sees the blood first and then the severed arm. He knows the tattoo on the forearm.

Keene,” says Masters through the earpiece. His voice is weak.

Masters... What the fuck happened?” Keene kicks out at the severed arm, sending it sliding through the slick of bodily fluids. “Jenkins is dead.”

Come... See... for... Self,” Four words and then the line goes dead, the steady hiss of static once more.

Masters,” growls Keene, on the move again, following the smeared blood that tracks down to the second floor.

Keene reaches the second floor and slows as he pans the light from left to right, revealing Brent's corpse, the throat slit and the eyes missing. He heads over to the dead body and leans down, reaching inside Brent's t-shirt and pulling at the dog-tags hanging at his neck. The chain snaps and Keene wraps it around his gloved hand as he heads down to the ground floor.

Masters... Give me your location now!” Keene snarls in anger and frustration.

With Jen... Down... Basement.”

I'm coming.” Keene pulls the mic from around his throat and throws it aside as he crosses the entrance hall.


Keene takes the steps into basement with a cautiousness not shown earlier. He knows that something is very wrong in this place... something that goes beyond the horrors of war.

He is greeted by the sound of rhythmic thumping, a steady heart beat that pulses through the very walls of the building. As he nears the bottom of the stairs the sound grows louder... dirtier... wetter.

Jenkins?” he asks, knowing the question is pointless.

Jenkins is hanging upside down from the ceiling of the basement, his ankles bound so tightly that the electrical cable used has sunk through the flesh and is rubbing against bare bone. His stomach has been torn open, the contents piled on the dusty floor. His remaining arm dangles loosely, the finger tips brushing against his own innards.

Fuck me!” Keene crouches down and studies the holes where Brent's eyes should be.

Its wonderful, isn't it?” Masters asks and Keene looks up to find the source of the thumping sound.

Masters is stood next to another hanging corpse, the third in a line that numbers more than thirty. He has his rifle slung over his shoulder and holds a vicious looking blade in his left hand.

They should have told you why we were sent here.” Masters slams the blade into the corpse and begins to use the blade to saw upwards. “Maybe then we wouldn't have had to die.”

What are you talking about, Masters?” Keene looks passed Masters.

He is intrigued by the strange object that appears to float in the far corner, an eight foot tall tear drop, opaque in nature and seamless in design.

I never realised how beautiful death could be.” Masters leaves the knife embedded in the corpse and turns to face Keene, raising his rifle.

Lower your weapon, Masters,” Keene shouts.

So beautiful,” sighs Masters. “Let me show you.”

Both men squeeze down on the trigger at the same time, filling the basement with the deafening retort of automatic fire.

The last thing Keene feels is the burning sensation of kinetic lead ripping into his torso.


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