Authors: Gord Rollo,Gene O'Neill,Everette Bell
TIME & SPACE
They say time can heal all wounds, but we all know that isn’t necessarily true. Throughout history, storytellers have looked to our ancestors tragic past and hypothesized about humanity’s bleak future as ways to try and explain or contemplate the myriad problems we face today.
PAST OR FUTURE, FEAR IS THE TIE THAT BINDS…
Now collected together for the first time ever, acclaimed horror and fantasy author Gord Rollo shares his own dark visions about outer – as well as inner – space and the way the cruel hand of time ravages our youthful looks, not to mention all our hopes and dreams. Within this volume you’ll find stories of past historical horrors and apocalyptic futures, of haunted memories and twisted obsessions, of the beginning of insanity and the inevitable end of everything…
TABLE OF CONTENTS
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is coincidental.
Reproduction in whole or part of this publication without express written consent is strictly prohibited.
Copyright © 2012 by Gord Rollo.
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All rights reserved.
Marcela Transmuting © Gord Rollo and Gene O'Neill.
Memories of a Haunted Man © Gord Rollo and Everette Bell.
Published by EnemyOne
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Cover Design by Adam Geen.
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Call me insane (
and trust me, many have
) but I happen to love fiction that is set in a different time than present day. Especially dark fiction; obviously. The author can set their stories in the far future or way back in the past – there is just something about different time-frames that turn my crank. Being a fan of that sort of thing, it’s natural that I like to dabble in writing futuristic tales and historical horrors too, so for this collection I’ve tried to gather together some of my personal favorites that deal with this topic.
I’ve also included some of my best tales that stray a bit closer to Science Fiction and Fantasy than I’m normally known for. I simply love good stories that blur the lines between genre and nothing pleases me more than writing something that the reader is sure fits into one particular genre and then I pull the rug out from underneath their feet at the last minute. To me, fiction should have meaning and the characters should have something to say about life or love or whatever, but I’ve always subscribed to the notion that fiction should also be fun. Especially short fiction. These shorter length tales are always where I like to let loose and go a little crazy (
) which is why I love writing them so much.
Time & Space
you’re going to find stories that deal with horrors from hundreds of years in the past all the way to my futuristic vision of the end of the world. I’ll give you some thoughts on evolution and perhaps
-evolution as well. We’ll talk about painful memories, stress filled deadlines, and how some people try to fool themselves into thinking time can heal all their pain. Here’s a spoiler – it can’t! We’ll also explore inner space, deadly subterranean caverns, and the dark passageways of the comatose human mind. In short, we’re going to have some fun.
Lots of it, I hope, so grab a chair, sit back, and try and relax.
Let’s spend some quality time together…
Seek ye the Lord, all ye meek of the earth, which have wrought his judgment; seek righteousness, seek meekness: it may be ye shall be hid in the day of the Lord’s anger.
– Zephaniah 2:3 (King James version)
Buffalo, New York, USA
June 14th, 2039
Tim was scared of a lot of things – admittedly, too many damn things – but at the moment his biggest fear was that he’d run out of duct tape before finishing; not that there was much he could do about it. The stores were all closed now, and more than likely sold out or looted long ago anyway. He’d either have enough silver tape to finish sealing the apartment in heavy clear plastic or wouldn’t. Simple as that.
Heaven help me if I run out, though
, Tim thought. He was getting itchy just thinking about it and needed to stop and go wash his hands again.
Tim scrubbed and scrubbed and scrubbed his hands practically raw, but eventually got himself under control and headed back to work, worried he was taking way too long. There was only the big dining room window left to cover but he knew he was running out of time. Back a few hours ago when he’d taken his last break there had still been four hours to prepare, but time was flying and down to a little over two hours until crunch time now. One way or another, the world as he knew it was about to end. The planet wasn’t going anywhere, of course, but human civilization certainly might be. Two hours and change until the scientists and global leaders initiated
and finally found out if they could stop the devastation they’d unleashed.
Tim didn’t have much faith in them.
None, actually, which is why he was taking his own precautions.
His friends and neighbors here in the building thought he was insane but he’d fully expected that much. The President of the Earth Council himself had ordered (not asked, or suggested, or pleaded –
) that every able bodied man, woman, and child be outside at 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time tonight for the scheduled bomb drops in his area.
When the sky turned red tonight Tim planned to be in his apartment, cocooned inside his little fortress of plastic. There’s just no way he could handle being outside tonight. Not with all the bugs. He was starting to sweat just thinking about them crawling all over his skin…in his ears…in his mouth.
They’d be too small to see, but still, he wasn’t doing it. He
do it. Was he making a big mistake, like everyone told him he was? Who knows? They’d all find out soon enough.
From his window, Tim could see people already starting to gather in LaSalle Park beside his apartment building. He was on the fourth floor and his dining room window looked directly out over the kid’s play park and ball diamond beyond it. Downtown was only a few clicks west from here, and Lake Erie directly to the north but distances and directions didn’t really mean much in the grand scheme of things anymore. The coming apocalypse had reduced everything down to the here and now. Even though LaSalle Park was fairly small Tim imagined it would hold several thousand bodies if they packed it to the max, but so far there were only a hundred or so men and women milling around, most huddling together with the people they’d arrived with and keeping a close eye on the sky.
Tim was reaching for his last roll of tape, just about to seal the window up when he spotted a familiar face outside in the park. A woman named Wendy Harding was exiting the building and walking into the growing crowd below. All five-feet-eight, blond-haired, long-legged, perfect-bodied inch of her. Even at a time as dire as this, her beauty stopped Tim cold and he let the heavy plastic wrap drop to his feet, forgotten for a moment. Secretly he’d been in love with Wendy for years, and although Tim had promised himself one day he would walk up and let her know how he felt, he’d never summoned up the courage to actually talk to her. The closest he’d ever come was sneaking one of her real estate business cards off the community cork board down in the lobby and dialing her cell phone number listed at the bottom of it. He’d waited until she’d said hello twice, then hung up before making a fool of himself trying to ask her out on a date. He just always figured someday he’d ask her properly, you know…face to face.
Odds were, now he’d never get the chance.
With a sigh of regret, Tim got back to the business at hand and finished sealing off the dining room window. Just to be sure, he took another twenty minutes rechecking every nook and cranny of the seams for possible leaks where the chemicals or man-made viruses or whatever the fuck else might try getting in, but things were about as good as he was going to get them. For better or worse, he was ready.
He needed to go wash his hands again, though.
And then Tim got out his journal.
Project Red Survival Journal
June 14th, 2039
My name is Timothy Meek. I’m 38 years old and I live in apartment 412 of LaSalle Towers, in Buffalo, New York. I’m not very good at describing myself, but I guess I’m about 5’ 8”tall and weigh 160 pounds. I’m a pretty average white guy – Caucasian I think they call it – with short brown hair and hazel colored eyes. Suppose none of that really matters all that much but it makes me feel better knowing there will be documentation of me if things go to hell in the coming days, which is definitely possible. There may not be anyone around to read this journal either, but as far as I can see it, it can’t hurt.
For the record, I disagree with the Earth Council’s desperate decision to implement Project Red, and have subsequently locked and sealed myself within my apartment and will be disregarding the President’s order to be outside at 8:00 p.m. tonight. I am not in principle a troublemaker or a lawbreaker, but I have made my decision and must stand by it now. If the truth be told, I hope the government scientists are right but I don’t think they will be. If I’m wrong and ever called out to answer for my disobedience, so be it. I’ll deal with it then.
I’ll try to keep this record simple and to the point as much as possible, even though I’m sure I’ll end up rambling. My personal feelings and thoughts aren’t all that important so I’ll try just relating the facts and the play by play as things go down. No promises though. Okay, in case whoever reads this has no idea what happened, let me go back about six months and tell you what started all this madness.
On January 19th of this year, there was a terrible explosion at one of the United States major centers for disease control in Atlanta, Georgia. Deep within the bowels of the CDC, there was a hidden laboratory where top secret research into biological and chemical weapons had been going on for nearly 100 years. Joe Public like me would never know about any of this but the scientists had really fucked up this time and accidentally released a nasty genetically mutated superbug that swept across the planet killing 60 million people in the first 3 weeks alone. The virus, known only as V-2283 initially (before everyone realized we’d been given a one way ticket to Hell and someone clever in the media had dubbed it Dante’s Flu) was an airborne disease that started with flu-like symptoms such as cough and fever but soon escalated to weeping sores, internal hemorrhaging, and liver, kidney, and respiratory failure. Basically, within a week of contact, a person’s body would shut down on them, Dante’s Flu eating them from the inside out.
The viral weapon had been designed to masquerade as a common cold or mild flu so the infected individual would have time to make it back to their troop, army, country, whatever, and then pass it along before the real symptoms hit. By the time their doctors and leaders discovered what was really happening, it would already be way too late.
Somewhat luckily (if 60 million casualties can ever be considered lucky), the bio-weapon didn’t quite work as planned or it might have killed off every man, woman, child, and animal on the planet. When the death rates started to slow down on their own, the Earth Council began to think maybe we’d gotten off as easy as possible under the circumstances, but they were flat out wrong. Those who didn’t catch Dante’s Flu and die quickly weren’t getting away scott free. They weren’t immune to the bug as initially hoped; their bodies just reacted differently to the spreading disease. Long story short; the entire world population is dying of cancer.