Follow My Author Blog

Hey, everyone, if you’re already following my posts here. I’ll be posting more frequently on my new blog page, Allix Booth. Definitely jump over there to get updates on books and such and please check out the new trailer for the book. Foundations, LLC will be publishing the novel August 1st so definitely get your copy at any online retailer next week! Thanks again bloggers! 🙂

 

https://allixboothblog.wordpress.com

“The Temperament Scepter” KU

“The Temperament Scepter” by Allix Booth is officially on kindle unlimited and the ebook has been reduced to $1.99.

Alexandria Roe’s haunted past comes to life when she turns sixteen. Her hallucinations and fevers spark a premonition of her family’s death. A darkness shadows her, but her struggle for answers lead to more than she bargained. Will she be consumed by her fears or overcome what waits beyond the horizon?

A Dragon Lord from the Northern Isles of Alabass conquers all kingdoms in his wake. He hungers for power, but thirsts for the three amethysts. Each gem’s unique ability is absorbed by the person that wields it. If all three are united, the power will bring to life the scepter, which unlocks the ancient prison. What lies in the depths can only be discovered by the holder of the Temperament Scepter.

*Amazon Kindle*

http://www.amazon.com/Temperament-Scepter-Aldoras-Chronicles-Book-ebook/dp/B01BCUN07Q

 

*Reviews are always welcomed!”

I’m on Wattpad!

I don’t know if any of you guys have used wattpad, but last night I decided to create an account. I figured it’s about time to let these stories in my filing cabinet roam free even if it is chapter by chapter. When a writer gets to the point in their life, where they just want readers to enjoy what they read and not worry about the financial side of it, that’s when a writer can be happy. I figured it’s time to let you guys see what’s stirring up in this messed up head of mine. Hopefully I’ll catch some of you there because I’m really enjoying this chapter by chapter posting. It really helps my creative process as well as understand what readers want. Thanks again for everyone’s support and can’t wait to see your responses to my stories!

 

https://www.wattpad.com/user/WilliamLloyd7

The Temperament Scepter (RELEASE)

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Hey, guys! We’re a month away from March 19, which is the release of my debut novel “The Temperament Scepter”. This is being written under my pen name Allix Booth. I know I have been a bit quiet on here the last few months, but it gets a bit crazy when things start piecing together especially after recovering from depression.

I will say it has been a long road to this moment finally, and I can’t even explain how amazing it is to know that you guys have stuck with me this long. It is extremely humbling to know that my writing has caught your eye, or at least brought a little inspiration in your lives. I want my readers of this blog to know that I will return to my regular posts soon. I’m actually going to bring back “Interview with the Awethors” soon. I actually have an extremely talented author in mind that I’m going to be interviewing here soon. Her name will come soon and guess what? She is a fantasy author!

Well, if you guys get a chance to drop in on my author page you’ll find me there most of the time over the next month or so. Also, I have the e-book on preorder on Amazon currently, so definitely take advantage of the savings before the release. Currently, “The Temperament Scepter” is posted for $3.99. After March 19, it will go to $4.99.

One last thing, I’m hosting the release event March 19-20 with 16 amazing authors joining me in this debut event for my pen name, Allix Booth. Thanks again for all the support you guys have shown, and I hope to be back here soon. If you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments section below.

Facebook Page

www.facebook.com/AllixBooth

Amazon Preorder

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01BCUN07Q

Release Event

https://www.facebook.com/events/1676993032585392/

 

Interview with the Awethors Featuring Mary Buckham

Welcome to this week’s episode of Interview with the Awethors! I know it has been pretty quiet on this end of the blog-o-sphere, but I’ve been compiling a list of some awesome authors that pack a punch in their novels. Now, today I have USA Today’s Bestselling author Mary Buckham! Her world in The Invisible Recruits Series will bring you into a mysterious world of magic and discovery oneself.

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William: Thank you for joining me today, Mary. I appreciate you fitting me into your schedule this week! What inspired you to write the Invisible Recruit Series?

Mary: I was talking to a Terrorist Threat Assessment specialist (some plane trips are worth their weight in gold) and he was talking about the fact that here in the US the recruitment process for undercover operatives  eliminated some of the very people who can infiltrate foreign situations. He said the screening process often eliminated everyone except farm-bred boys who’d never been away from home. I thought it was a fascinating insight. Who would you recruit to blend in best in real life situations? So I created a cadre of female operatives who came from diverse backgrounds—a debutante, a hairdresser, a kindergarten teacher, a temp and a fortune-telling con artist—for a new kind of black ops group. The first book in the series featured the debutante and was published as a contemporary romantic suspense. The month before the second book in the five book series was released, the publishing line folded and I received my rights back for the final four novels. There were very few options for the types of stories I wanted to write—strong female protagonists, sexual tension without sex for the sake of sex, women finding out exactly how powerful they were when things got bad, until Indie publishing arrived. I added in paranormal elements as well as supernatural and preternatural aspects and resurrected the series.

William: Thank goodness indie publishing came along because your story is truly a page turner. I know following Alex’s adventure took me only an overnight read and I was hooked!

In the story you describe many different types of magic and cultures across the world, what type of research went into creating these different types of magic?

Mary: I loved reading myths and fairy tales growing up, especially stories from around the world, so I knew there was a rich heritage of magic to pull from when I first started writing the series with a half-witch, half-shaman protagonist. I made sure she wasn’t well versed in her magical abilities as part of her back story, so as she learns about the magic and her gifts, so does the reader. The important issue to me about using magic as a large story element is to make sure that magic has limits and consequences. Nothing I hate more than when a character has a get-out-of-jail free card, meaning that because she is in a certain situation I as the author suddenly make it easy for her to whip out a new magical spell or a way to use her magic. For Alex Noziak, her gift of magic is her greatest asset and her biggest bane. That keeps things interesting.

William: And that is why I enjoyed your story from front to back. There was too many situations where Alex had to discover herself with her skills. So is there a specific person in your life that inspired the idea for Alex Noziak?

Mary: : I think Alex is the kind of person a lot of women would like to be—willing to lead with her heart, deal with the consequences, and not really worry about keeping everyone happy. I don’t know that she’s an easy person to be around all the time, and often strikes sparks off her equally strong-minded teammates. But she’s a good person and she cares deeply about those who can’t always care for themselves. That keeps her vulnerable and kick-ass at the same time.

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William: Judging by the cover, she definitely looks kick ass in this series! When did you discover your passion for writing?

Mary: I knew I was always a storyteller but it wasn’t until I was an adult, and I lost a two-month old son to SIDS, and I had to find a reason to get up and take care of my three other children, that I had to find the kernel that became turning stories into novels. It was a promise I made to my son. He didn’t live long enough to leave something lasting, so I’ll do it for him.

William: I am so sorry to hear about your son. A very motivational and admiring way to remember him and bring a lasting life for him.

How does it feel to be a USA Today Bestselling author?

Mary: Shiney! Actually it doesn’t change a lot. You still have to face the blank page. Expectations increase because the title is a form of external validation that reassures readers who don’t know me personally that I might be able to write a good story. It doesn’t mean they’ll like my stories, but that I’ve paid enough dues and made enough sales, to warrant giving my work a try.

William: Do you have any upcoming releases for the readers to be excited about?

Mary: In January, 2016 Writer’s Digest is bringing out a print version of my Writing Active Setting book, titled, A Writer’s Guide to Active Setting. This means more writers around the world as well as libraries and bookstores will be able to order it. Plus, it’s chock full of new examples. So I am excited about that. I am currently working on two under wraps fiction projects, which I will be sharing on my Facebook mary.buckham.author and Twitter @MaryBuckham pages. I am in the midst of wrapping up my first set of online workshops to teach hooks to writers (You can find more info here: MaryBuckhamOnWriting) and already looking forward to the next series of classes that I will be creating. 2016 is shaping up to be an exciting year!

William: You are truly a very busy woman and an adventure seeker! Where was your favorite place to travel?

Mary: I don’t think that there is one favorite place, because I like how varied and unique our world is. It’s hard to compare Bangkok with small town Missouri, or Santa Fe with rural England, as each has it’s own magic.

William: Are any of your stories inspired by your travels?

Mary: Absolutely! To me the more you travel the more you find common treads of humanity that link us together and speak to all of us. Some of my stories have locations that I have been to personally and others include places I plan to visit one day.

William: If you could have magical abilities, what would be your strength and why?

Mary: I would like the ability to instantly transport to any location. What a time saver! Except, I haven’t figured out how to carry my luggage.

William: Oh, that would be a time saver! Also, if it was me, it would take away that fear of flying I have.

For people who are searching for that magic touch in their writing, what advice do you have for them to be as successful as you?

Mary: Like many novice writers, when I started out I thought all I had to do was write the story and it’d be a story worth being acquired by a publisher. Wrong. Writing never gets easier. The doubts never go away. But the craft elements can be learned with enough attention and work. You have to do the work. There’s no getting around it. Some people sell their first novel and that’s wonderful. What we don’t hear is how many times that novel was worked and reworked before it went through editorial review boards and the editorial revision process.

William: And that about wraps it up for this weeks episode of Interview with the Awethors thanks to all the readers and writers joining in on this episode. Please check out Mary Buckham and give her the joy of sharing a piece of her magical world of The Invisible Recruits Series.

 

Also, check out her guides Writing Active Hooks.

If you would like to connect with Mary Buckham and find out more about her upcoming books, or you would like to purchase her books, go to the links below:

Twitter: @MaryBuckham

Facebook: Author Mary Buckham

Hooks Class: MaryBuckhamonWriting

 

If you’re an author looking to be featured on the Interview with the Awethors Seriesplease leave your inquiry at lloyd.jr@aol.com

“To All a Good Night” Holiday Short Story

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THUMP! THUMP! THUMP!

The breeze sneaked through the crack in the window as the noises in the house disturbed Adam Ballinger from his slumber. He rustled under his covers, feeling the cold tickle his feet. This was no ordinary Christmas Eve; there was something whispering in the trees. Lifting himself from the bed, the young boy rubbed the sleep from his eyes. Another thump from downstairs made him thrilled that Santa had finally arrived. He swung his feet from the bed and tiptoed across the oak floor. Not one little peep came from the boy’s mouth.

A jingle and jangle echoed from the tree downstairs just around the corner from the last step of the stairs. He pressed his back to the wall, cautiously creeping to investigate the noises, but there was something sinister in the air. It was not jolly and filled with joy. Tonight the cold air was like a ghost warning him to run back upstairs and hide under his bed.

The wicked giggle broke the silence. An eruption of sparks and whistles cascaded around the corner. Adam continued to the final stair and when he peeked around the corner Santa was not there. It was an estranged elf sitting at the stoop of the fireplace. A cigar balanced between his fiery red lips and his round doll eyes twinkled with a blaze of hate. The boy stepped into the doorway and watched the elf blow a puff of smoke from his mouth. The bell jingled from the end of his hat as he rubbed the stubble across his jaw.

“Where is Santa?” Adam asked with a shiver. “And why are you not in his workshop?”

“Kid, it’s all a lie. There is no Santa Claus that funnels down the chimney or reindeer that fly. Your mother and father lied. It is all a hoax to distract you from reality.” The elf coughed and got to his feet. His green shoes curled back like the ends of candy canes.

“Who are you? Why are you saying those things?” He stepped back to the doorway. His eyes rolled over to the staircase, where the shadows toiled from the tree branches outside.

“I’m the helper that haunts your dreams on Christmas Eve. The Christmas spirit you never hear about in the dark abyss.” The elf walked towards Adam and flicked the cigar into the tree. The embers caught the rug on fire and the branches engulfed in flames instantly.

Adam watched as the joy turned to horror. He tripped on the first step and crawled to the top landing. Glancing over his shoulder, he saw saliva dripping from the elf’s sharp teeth, the elf’s eyes thirsting for Adam’s blood. He ran down the hallway, but the door extended further from him. His tiny little fingers wiggled in the air, but he could not reach the door handle. A tug on his ankle made him roll across the floor. When he flipped over onto his back, he saw the elf overpowering him and glaring down at him like an insane elf from hell. Adam crossed his arms over his eyes.

“Mom, Dad, help me!” His cries rattled the walls of the hall and a light consumed the darkness. “Help!” he screamed as the elf’s sharp nails dug into his neck.

The bitter cold no longer gave him chills. Heat underneath his back and around his face made him cry harder. Flames surrounded him and smoke billowed overhead.

THUMP!

The noise pounded in his head as a hand grabbed him from the hallway. His body was whipped into the air and he was hung over someone’s shoulder like a sack. His eyes burned from the heat and he dared not try to speak. A final jolt through the front door brought the cold Christmas air rippling down his back. He looked up into the sky at the white specks of snow, the moon hanging high, and the trees rustling in the wind. When he saw the fire truck and the police cruisers in the cul-de-sac, he realized the fire had consumed the house.

“You’re going to be okay, kid!” the firefighter yelled, plopping Adam onto the back of an ambulance. The man turned to the police. “I’m going back in to find any other survivors.”

Adam watched the windows explode, shards of glass glistening in the air. Pieces of the curtain fabric blew through the broken windows. It was a ruined Christmas for Adam, but was the elf only a dream? He looked up towards his parents’ bedroom. There was the menace, blood dripping from his lips. The glint from his mother’s wedding ring twinkled from the severed hand. It was not a dream, the fire was a distraction and Christmas was the fuel that awakened the beast.

A blinding light flashed over Adam’s shoulder. He saw his father running towards him with another woman – the neighbor a few houses down. Adam closed his eyes as tears rolled down his cheeks, but all the chaos disappeared in a matter of a blink. A chill brushed his sleeve, and when he opened his eyes, he heard the sound again.

THUMP! THUMP! THUMP!

The room was black and the chill from the open window tickled his feet. He was excited because Santa was finally here. Adam flipped his feet over the side of the bed and ran to the door. He raced down the hall to the stairs where an orange glow lit the foyer below. When he turned the corner, the elf was waiting with a blood-stained grin. The elf dragged his feet towards the boy and flicked the cigar at the tree. Flames engulfed it instantly.

“You thought you could run. How did that work for you? You even hid like a mouse in a hole. You will always remember this night especially because you caused your mother’s death.” The elf gestured its head towards the floor.

Adam looked down and there was the culprit: a pack of matches between his feet. He turned around to discover the fire consumed the walkway behind him. The elf’s lips curled back into his mouth as he reached out to grab Adam.

“They all think they can escape their nightmares, but your fate was already decided when you died with the flames…”

William Lloyd Biography

William Lloyd has a home in Atlanta, Georgia, where he enjoys spending his days playing music and watching football. His specialty genres are horror and suspense as well as science fiction/fantasy. He released his first novel Horizon in May 2014 and is currently working on a new novella called Afterlife: What Happens Next. He loves playing golf, video games on PlayStation 3, and reading horror novels in the evenings. He attended college at the Art Institute of Atlanta, where he studied Audio and Video Production.

Author Page

https://www.facebook.com/willlloyd25

Afterlife: What Happens Next

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Here is the first chapter reveal for my novella. I hope you guys enjoy. This is a second rough draft.

Chapter 1

The bubbles rose from Nigel Dawson’s lips as the ventilator pumped oxygen into his lungs. He opened his left eye feeling the after effects of a possible hangover overbearing the right side of his face. He shielded his eye from the bright haloed auburn and teal lights overhead which waved at him through the surface of the water. Panic washed through his weak heart when he realized he was being contained inside of a pod. The liquid he was resting in was like watered down syrup hindering him from making any sudden strokes with his arms. He pressed his chin against his chest seeing the white tube running into his mouth and deep into his esophagus.

“What happened?” he thought to himself. “Why am I here?”

He sporadically flailed his arms and pulled himself towards the glass as claustrophobia settled into his psyche. The walls were narrowing around him and he struggled to breathe under the water. Thoughts of drowning and suffering echoed in his head, while he tried to find the hidden strength dwindling in his subconscious.

Nigel grasped the slick white tube and wrenched it from his throat. It ripped through his esophagus and throat leaving an aftertaste of built up iron in his mouth. There was a red jelly clouding the end of the tube. He slung it to the side and watched the billowing bubbles of blood rise over his head.

An unsettling moan and croak from the bottom of the pod made him jump. He pressed his back against the wall watching the water lower around him. The air was frigid and a chill ran up his naked body. Every hair stood on end and his muscles tightened against his chattering bones. The right side of his face was burning when he felt the air touch his face. He saw a shadow appear through the transparent glass. Ripples of the liquid rolled down the glass. Nigel leaned forward and pressed his forehead against the cool glass and saw the person toil with the consoles down the hall as multiple lives flickered underneath each stroke of his fingers. He balled his fist and pounded the door with all of his strength hoping the person would hear him.

“H….” He could not speak. His throat was too sore to even say one word. He could feel his numb tongue flop around in his mouth, but he struggled to even flick the tip against his teeth.

The person turned his head slightly from his hunched position as though watching Nigel from afar. Nigel saw the smooth pale white of the person’s head, but the rest of the body was opaque through the murky glass. The man pressed his palms against the table and pushed away walking to Nigel as though annoyed by the interruption. He stared at Nigel through the hazy goo rolling down the inside of the glass. He leaned forward revealing the wicked pearl teeth and gaping eye holes of a skull. The concaved cavity of his nose made Nigel press his pack against the wall in fear. There was no flesh or muscle attached to the bony man. He was a skeleton.

“What’s wrong? Never seen a dead guy before?” the mystery man asked. “Actually, it’s kind of weird that you are conscious… So soon…” his raspy tone slithered into Nigel’s ear.

“Wh…” It felt like sandpaper scrapping the inside of his tonsils as air left his lips. He cringed and looked away.

“Don’t try to speak. There really is no point,” he chuckled. “You still have much to learn about this place, but I wouldn’t worry so much about the obvious struggles you’re experience. You should be more concerned about what’s coming through that door soon.” He nudged his head towards the door at the far end of the hall.

Nigel’s eye widened and he reached for the edges of the glass hoping to find a latch to open the pod. His nails followed every tiny crevice but there was no possible way of opening it from the inside. He gave up and stared at the man outside while slamming his fist against the surface.

“Do you remember anything, Nigel?” the hiss was sinister with an unpleasant tickle to his ears. Nigel closed his eye as a tear rolled down his cheek. “It has been a while since I’ve seen tears in this place. There is something unique about you that I find intriguing.” He scratched his temple with his slender skeletal index finger. “There may be hope for you yet.”

“Nigel?” he thought to himself.

“Forgot your own name? I’m sure your memory will eventually come to, but first you need to realize what happened yesterday.” The stranger glanced over his shoulder towards the round steel doors. “Focus your thoughts on mine. It’s the only way you’re going to escape from this place.”

Red lights flashed in the corners of the room. Nigel watched the shadowy figure glide to the opposite walls behind the pods across from him. He glanced over to the doors as a blinding white light engulfed the hallway.

“Pretend you are still unconscious. If they see that you are awake, escaping that pod will be the least of your worries,” the stranger’s voice whispered.

His hairs stood on end from the nape of his neck down to the back of his wrists. The fright was tumbling in his gut while his chest tightened against the fear of what was to come through those doors. He saw all the pods lined from the panels at the doors all the way to him and even further passed him into the abyss of darkness. Clicks from high heels echoed around him as two shadows appeared in the light. Their bodies were hauntingly curved in the shape of a woman but when they stood next to Nigel’s pod, he saw the charred patches of skin and ripples of blood in the cracks. Frizzy hairs poked from patches on their bald heads, while their eyes were glazed over by a blue haze.

“We’ve collected more of them this week than we have in the last month, Madison,” one of the women staring at all of the pods. “It seems your plan worked to bring in more souls.”

“It doesn’t work if the lost souls haven’t passed into the next life yet, Andrea. We have to wait for judgement on all of these.” Madison cocked her head back. “It could be eternity before the boss sees any of these in his realm.”

“I thought if they were sent to purgatory they were already judged by….

“Shh… Do you want him to appear? If you say his name, we will surely be obliterated into dust. Now, c’mon, we need to retrieve Abigail, Sarah, and John.”

“What’s wrong with this one?” Andrea asked, pointing at Nigel.

“Andrea, stop getting distracted! It’s probably another defected pod. It’s not like he’ll wake up anytime soon.”

The women walked away and continued down the hall. Nigel released a long sigh and peer through the edge of the glass. He peered across the hall but the stranger was gone. He was alone.

“Where are you?” he asked through his thoughts.

“Did you hear that?” Andrea hissed, lifting her chin over her shoulder.

“You’re probably just hearing a dream. Probably some lost loved one or whatever they care about in the life they left behind.”

“Now that’s silly,” Andrea cackled a wicked laugh.

“Here they are. Go ahead and release these two,” Madison said. “Abigail and Sarah.”

Nigel pressed his forehead against the glass and peered down the hall. He saw the two pods that the women were standing in front of. Andrea knelt down and pulled a lever next to the pod and the floor opened beneath it. A golden orange glow resonated from the floor to the ceiling as both pods dropped into the floor, disappearing to the next realm. He watched as two more pods descended from the ceiling and latched to the floor. Clouds of smoke hissed from the hydraulics as the pods filled with the liquid.

“Alright, Joshua should be a few more pods down.”

Nigel saw the stranger glide through the shadows across from him. His sinister grin curled up inside the black of his hood. He watched him until he was at the control panels again fiddling away with the buttons.  Tiny lights flashed at his fingertips as Nigel felt the pod rattle and quake. His body felt weightless as he shot up into the ceiling. He leaned back against the wall and watched the gray tunnel spiral on the other side of the glass door. He stopped in a different chamber. A dim light hung high above multiple floors of spiraling walls, where pods continuously flipped backwards into different tunnels.

His pod moved to the right as the one before him dropped into the tunnel he just came from. The door opened and he was set free from the prison he was locked inside. He reached for the edges of the door feeling the cool air press against his wet face. The right side of his face burned and stung as he left the vacancy of his pod.

He stepped out to the epicenter of the spinning wheel of pods. Overhead he could see more levels of pods spinning and dropping into the room he was in. He waited for the mechanism to stop before he ventured to any of the pods to see if he could find any familiar faces. He jumped over the gap between the center of the room and the platform the pods rotated on.

He gripped his fingers on one of the pods. When he looked inside, he saw a pale man with blue lips. He had a brown beard that covered most of his chin and chest. His hair was greyed above his ears and the tip of his nose was rounded like the tip of a cigar. The floor rattled beneath his feet as it opened another path to a realm. The pod descended into the tunnel and Nigel pressed his body flat against the surface of the pod holding on to whatever crevices he could find.

“It is okay to wander, but don’t get lost. One wrong turn… could….” The stranger’s thought became a distant whisper the deeper he dropped.

“What? Say that again,” Nigel said to himself, but the noise was too loud as the wind whistled passed his ears. The mouth of the tunnel opened as a light engulfed everything around him. He was blinded momentarily by a white light, but the fresh smell of trees and grass filled his nostrils.

Nigel rubbed his irritated eye as he saw the outlandish world where pods fell from the sky like massive droplets of rain. He felt his descent accelerate as the wind blew harder against his back. His face pressed against the glass and clenched his fingers tightly against the sides. He finally crashed against the ground as rocks and dirt flew in the air. Nigel was tossed from the pod and rolled across the grassy hill, where a tree stopped him from rolling over the side. A crater formed around the base of the pod as the door slid open and slimy liquid rushed to his knees.

The man inside was wearing a fancy business suit with a black tie that tucked underneath his black jacket. Between the man’s navel and sternum, there was a ten inch gaping hole raining with blood. His pants were drenched in the thick liquid and his intestines were hanging out of his lower back like thin sausage links latched together. He watched the man’s lungs inflate and deflate on each side of the hole. Nausea crossed over Nigel as he turned away from the ghastly sight and stared out into the distance at the many hills, plains, and rivers that winded in and out of each other.

“What is this place?”

He watched more pods crash into the hills surrounding him as the doors slid open and more bodies walked in the same direction. He watched his dead sidekick walk passed him as the hole healed itself in a matter of minutes. The miraculous sight left him speechless and confused.

He saw a woman with thick scars and bruises wrapping around her neck stumble in front of him from another pod. He reached to help her up but when she whipped her head back, one of her eyes bounced from the socket like a ping pong ball swinging from a rubber band.

“This can’t be right. I’m not supposed to be here,” he said, feeling sick and dizzy. “Am I….” He breathed heavier and shook uncontrollably.

He walked with the man across the glistening rapids that flowed in the river. The water was cool against his legs and his emotions were at ease as he remembered the touch of water against his skin. He saw a pod crash at the peak of the hill ahead and climbed to it. He pulled himself up with the help of underlying branches and thinned bushes. When he reached the top of the hill, he stared over his shoulder to see multiple bodies piling up at the lip of the river. The dead were unable to climb over the steep hill side. He turned to see the door to the pod slide open, but no one walked out of it.

When he peeked inside of the pod, there was a woman’s dismembered body piled on the floor. The ground was stained with her blood from the flush of thick liquid spilling out of the pod. Her arms were flattened at the base of the pile, while her torso rested on top of them. The smooth legs were chopped up and torn to bits as though a shark had ripped into her flesh. Her blond hair was stained with bright red blood and her glazed eyes were ghostly white. He watched her lips quiver as she attempted to speak.

“I… I… I,” she was speaking in his thoughts. Her words were repetitive.

He turned his head and walked away from the door, feeling helpless and unable to control whatever hell he was in. An eerie suction of blood and bones popping behind him made him return to the sight of the woman. Her body was piecing itself back together. Each part of her body attached itself back together and she was able to step out of the pod. She walked towards Nigel and halted for a moment to stare him down. The woman looked to be in her twenties and she was naked from head to toe.

“She was not ready to die. It’s a shame that some women fall victim to evil and land themselves in this place,” the stranger’s voice echoed in his head.

Nigel peered over his shoulders searching for the mystery man that had released him from his imprisonment. “Where are you? What are you talking about?”

“Still having trouble with your memory? You don’t recognize this woman at all?” he asked with a chuckle. “Think really hard about what you saw a few days ago. Maybe you’ll remember a little better if you touch her.”

The woman reached out with her hand. He swallowed hard feeling compelled to receive her. His fingers touched hers and his whole body went frozen. The blood clotted in all of his joints and turned to ice in a matter of seconds. A spiral tunnel of stars and galaxies appeared before his eyes as splotched colors surrounded him. He was pulled back into the living world, where a young girl stood at the bus stop in the middle of nowhere. Nigel looked up at the sign overhead that read: Sin City Las Vegas, Nevada Ten Miles.

“Why are we here?” Nigel yelled, but the woman did not notice him call to the black sky. He walked over to her across the street and touched her shoulder, but his hand went through her body. She moved her shoulders as though she felt a chill. “I am… dead?” The question stabbed at his tongue as he plopped backwards onto the bench. He closed his eyes to pray, but his throat ached every time he made the attempt