Chapter 1 Vernon Hasker sat on the porch swing which had hung on the front porch of his old and now decaying farmhouse for many years. He’d spent many an evening looking at the tree that had started as a small volunteer sapling all those years...

Chapter 1: Costly Mistakes Saturday, December 27th – 5:45 a.m. – Rural Arkansas Confusion swirled inside his mind while trying to open his eyes. The lids were stuck. Did he drink too much after work? Take a tumble down the front steps? He didn’t remember having any...

Twenty-five years ago, I became the United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois. Brash, arrogant, cocky and brilliant, I could do no wrong. I prosecuted organized crime figures, brought down corrupt Chicago politicians and started the first anti-terrorist department in the central United...

PART ONE During the second half of the twentieth century, an observation, some called Moore’s Law, spurred the computer industry to double the number of transistors on a computer processing chip every two years. This pace continued unabated during the first third of the twenty-first century....

She woke up again snared in a familiar nightmare.  The horrific content had always been the same, yet different somehow.  Gabby was fastened to this thick leather leash.  The leash was attached to a silvery spiked collar.  She’d been a shadowy tiger, a bear, even...

Part dream, part high, it was 4:30 A.M., again, that meant I’d been away from Jack Daniels and an iffy consciousness for a couple of hours.  R.E.M. sleep and I don’t get along. He’d been standing there, the hare, or rabbit, for some time, I’d been...

The Tawny Finger Trap: The Cat Never run away from an apex predator; running can trigger an animal’s killer instincts. Terrible decisions consumed Akum’s thoughts.  Having a difficult childhood hadn’t made him needy, quite the opposite, in fact.  It had made him too strong. He was hiking off-grid...

There is thunder.  There is lightning.  Trent’s world ignites.  He’s flat on the ship’s deck, surrounded by an ocean of fire.  Rockets snap across the runway and explode–the horror.  He’s in hell.  Everything is burning. Trent gathers his thoughts as he pushes himself up from the...

I know he is there—the man who lives in the forest.  I am yet to see him directly, but I feel his presence nonetheless.  He flows as a shifting shadow between the boughs and branches of the trees — a dancer in the darkness unheard...

“Hey, what’s the difference between a graveyard and a cemetery?” “What?” Togs looks at me, irritated.  “You heard me, pal.  What’s the difference between a graveyard and a cemetery?” I grimace.  “I don’t know, Togs.  What is the difference between a graveyard and a cemetery?”  He grunts with...

The Crocodile House stands alone in the scrubland; old, abandoned and overgrown.  And I use the term ‘stands’ in the loosest possible sense.  It must have been a grand place, once, but the building is now a dilapidated wreck. The council put some fences up around...

I’ve seen a lot of things these last few years working security for the Twin Valley Behavioral Center.  For all its fancy wording, it is a long-term mental-health facility.  It’s not maximum security or anything, but we still get our fair share of crazy moments...

When I was young, I spent a few years volunteering for a local natural science museum.  I worked my way up from general volunteer to reptile handler and eventually to the chemistry department doing all sorts of amazing experiments in live shows geared towards children. ...

When there was a chill in the air and there were more jack-o-lanterns than plain pumpkins on every doorstep, I got called out to investigate a fresh crime scene. Somebody thought that it would be real cute to firebomb a Catholic church. Now this wasn’t one...

Nicholas Grime looked at the window at the neighbor’s house, watching the twitching form dangling from the rope in the tree, the smiling figure holding the axe, and the bloodstained plastic sheet covering the front door. He sighed and looked at his own front yard, where...

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