Archive for July, 2008

Midnight Horror — a short story by Gladys Hobson

July 23, 2008

 

Midnight Horror

Midnight Horror

 I had been thinking about the exciting new book I had been reading, Exit… something or other, by Geoff Nelder — you know the sci-fi chappie — when all of a sudden I heard this dreadful rumbling noise. Of course, I didn’t really think something was coming up out of the earth like in Nelder’s book, that is, until I checked the time with my bedside clock. It said midnight, but surely midnight was the time I switched off the light before the earthquake, or whatever, began. Weird! Had time stood still? My hair stood on end. Truly it did. Well, I admit, I do have a good imagination.

I tried to switch on the light but nothing happened. No street lights were shining into my bedroom either. But the loud noises made by house and car alarms filled the air in a most alarming manner, as of course they are programmed to do.

Anxiety made me want to get out before the house fell in. So I felt my way down the stairs, resolving to go in the garden. Shaking like a leaf didn’t help, I stumbled down a few steps and became painfully bruised. Not being the only one wandering about, beams of light from powerful torches pierced the darkness. Swearing and shouting told me my neighbours had been disturbed too.

My comely size 14 might only be dressed in pyjamas but I had no intention of going back indoors. My eyes soon became accustomed to the gloom, but what I saw only made me more afraid; a dark object began moving towards me. Strange grunting noises brought up stiff pimples on my flesh. I ran blindly across the lawn towards where I knew the garden shed to be. But I stopped in my tracks as a glowing globe suddenly came partly into view.

No! Impossible! Surely I must be dreaming? But I didn’t need to pinch myself; I was already hurting from the fall. Confused, trembling and with my head in a whirl I tried to reason things out. Impossible, my world appeared to be in chaos from which reason was barred.

A heavy crash booming simultaneously with a brilliant flash of light threw me to my knees, where I lay in a heap like quivering jelly. A low whine, becoming louder and louder into a crescendo of unmitigated agony, assaulted my ears. Just as I was wondering if that pitiful howl had escaped my own lungs I felt something wet and heavy pressing up to me. Could it be a hound from hell? Had something akin to Nelder’s fictional dog been lifted out of pre-history to be thrown into my lap? With my head in a whirl, how could I possibly think clearly? I was finding it just too hard to untangle the difference between forward-looking science, and fiction loosely based on scientific fact.

A roar, a flash, flames shooting into the sky just a few feet away, sent terror into my paralyzed body. My shed was on fire! I loosed a pent up scream. The creature in my lap bolted pursued by its own pitiful howl.

The skies opened and the ensuing downpour brought me to my senses as well as quelling the flames threatening to lick me to death. At last I could understand all that had happened: a power cut, caused by natural electrical activity. And the roar and shaking ground must be a result of a severe storm. Likely trees would be down and maybe…

My whole body suddenly froze: just in front of me, close where the shed had been, I saw a glowing ball…

“Are you all right, Grace?” It was Betty, my podgy next-door neighbour, dressed in her aging blue chenille housecoat, bending over me.

“Where am I?”

“On your own sofa. I think maybe you fainted, but you do have a bump on your head. We have sent for an ambulance just in case.”

“The lights are on.”

“Yes, the electricity has been restored.”

“How did you find me?”

“We saw the shed on fire and when the rain stopped we wanted to make sure it was out.”

It all came back to me. “The shed… the fire… the… the thing that glowed.”

Betty’s wrinkles creased in puzzlement. “The thing that glowed?”

“A globe thing. Just like in Nelder’s book. It must be real then: science fact, not science fiction. That’s what caused the storm and everything… must have. I saw it clearly after the rain put the shed fire out.”

”Oh, you must have seen that new solar light in our garden. Tim bought it yesterday. Good isn’t it? Jake doesn’t like it though. Damn dog started peeing on it. But he soon shot off when that thunderbolt cracked.”

What a relief.

Suddenly the lights went out.

A glow appeared in the sky through the open curtains.

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Badge of Life

July 22, 2008

If you want to read something interesting and worthwhile, something that one day might help someone in distress — friend, family member, colleague or simply YOU — look up Badge Of Life and read and digest the contents. The information there does not apply to law enforcers alone, because the factors that build up and turn a sound-thinking man, woman or teenager towards suicide is universal. This is True Story stuff, not of the imagination, but it sometimes takes the imagination to realise that “this story” could be mine!

DAVID MICHIE — Pure Deception

July 17, 2008

“Pure Deception” by David Michie is another jolly good read, if a little drawn out in places.

Any performing artist, musician or singer hoping for a breakthrough, will be drawn quickly into this dramatic novel — but so will any reader who enjoys a well written thriller. The story-line follows singer Mark Watson, as he is snatched from obscurity to be drawn into the dazzling world of celebrity status. Mitchie cleverly draws the reader into a nightmare situation of pure deception, where he, along with the leading lady Isis (an icon modelled on Madonna?) are threatened in a most gruesome manner by an animal liberation group. Powerful characters and well-described scenes create an atmosphere of horrific reality. A surprise finale is in true theatrical tradition!

DAVID MICHIE — “Expiry Date”

July 17, 2008

The phrase “Couldn’t put it down” is used so often that it does not do justice to a book that grips you so tightly that jobs that need doing get forsaken!

Such is Expiry Date by David Michie.

Imagine an anti-ageing drug that prolongs human life by decades: a gene therapy that defies the expiry date written into our DNA. In a world already dealing with an exploding population and the world’s poor suffering starvation, I find the idea rather abhorrent. But as a treatment for sufferers of a dreaded ageing disease it would be a godsend. Although hinted at, the story does not delve into morality of such research, which is just as well as it is already a lengthy book. Dr Lorna Reid’s research puts a number of people in deadly peril, including herself. Murder and intrigue, characters so well described I can still see them in my mind’s eye, sub-plots and red herrings, carry the story to a climax and yet still comes up with surprises to the very end. The reader gets the feeling that even the smallest detail has been thoroughly researched. A story not easily forgotten, and a subject not easily dismissed.