Saturday 14 July 2018

Slipping Through Release Day!



Today my book Slipping Through is released into the world!
It is available on Kindle through Amazon, and Ebook on Smashwords.

The print version is also available now too.

Here's a snippet from each story:


Elise could have believed they’d arrived back home had it not been for the lilac trees that lined it. The trucks and cars parked along it wouldn’t have been out of place in her hometown. But the silence around them spoke of something different.
Elise’s grip on Logan’s hand tightened as they began walking. Logan pulled her into the middle of the road, his eyes scanning the trees with suspicion.

They were travelling uphill and when they reached the rise of the road they were greeted with a breathtaking sight: a wide expanse of sea lay in front of them, its waters meeting brilliant white sand. They paused.

“Do you think it’s safe?” Elise asked.

Logan shrugged. “There’s only one way to find out.”

They continued to walk until the tarmac petered out and the sand took over. They made their way to the water’s edge and stood looking out over it. Logan’s head was bowed and Elisa wondered what he was doing. He seemed to be studying the water. She lifted her foot to dip the toe of her shoe into it when he shot out a hand to stop her. She turned to him about to speak, but his finger was on his lips, and he whispered, “Look and listen.”

She stared at the water and waited, but she heard nothing. Then she realised what he meant: there was no sound, no whoosh as the water moved back and forth no matter how big the wave. Then she observed the motion of the water. It wasn’t really back and forth – it was rising and falling.
“Is it water? What is it?” she hissed.

“I don’t know, but I wouldn’t touch it if I was you.”

Elise reached down to pick up a small rock next to her right shoe. She glanced at Logan to see if he was watching. She showed him the stone and brought her arm back ready to throw it. He gave a slight nod of approval, so she launched it high into the air.

There was a faint ‘plop’ as it hit the surface, but there was no splash or ripple. They looked at each other wide-eyed.

But then the water did move. It began to retract from the sand, drawing back and gaining height. Logan grabbed Elise’s hand again and stepped back, not daring to take his eyes off the growing mass. Elise moved with him. Her breath caught in her lungs as her mind reeled at what she might have unleashed. But just as they thought they were going to have to run a second time, the water stopped. And then something hit Elise square in the chest.

She let out a startled cry and looked at the ground to see what it was; it was the rock she had thrown. She picked it up and stared at it in amazement, finding the same shock on Logan’s face when she turned to him.

The mass returned to its water-like state and resumed its wave motion as though nothing untoward had taken place.


“Have you any idea how it will show up, Vlad?”

“On the computer it’ll show up in code - you’ll need to run it in DOS - it should be easy to spot. But in the real world? I’ve no idea, Professor. It could be a minor change like a sensation, although if we switch, it should be a lot bigger.”

The professor ran the computer in DOS and the three large screens displayed rows of figures and symbols, some with cursors and question marks at the end. Vladimir joined him and started typing in commands, causing large quantities of data to scroll across the screen. The professor winced at it. “Are you sure it’ll be easy to spot, it looks chaotic to me?”

“You’ll see, I’ll explain it as it runs.”

“And if we switch, what do you think we’ll see?” The professor stepped back from the computer picking up his mug and blowing the mini marshmallows round.

“It could be drastic, like in HG Wells Time Machine; we could end up in a whole new world. Or it could be subtle, like a change of wall colour or something.”

The professor laughed. “I can’t imagine finding ourselves in a jungle. If we’re in a simulation, all the parallels will appear the same, surely? Depending on the cause behind each parallel.”

“Well, we’re assuming the parallels at this point, Professor - more than the sim I think. And that means we could end up anywhere in the world as we know it, without having any relation to a causality difference.”

“What like jumping around the planet or something?”

“Yes, sort of.”

“So we could end up on a beach in Maui, for instance?” The professor took a seat in one of the armchairs scattered around and sat back sipping at his drink.

Vladimir smiled. “We could.”

“Will there be a variant on when?”

“It’s not a time machine Professor, and as far as I’ve been able to tell there is no way of going back to an old sim; they occur in real time. If there is a storage database then I haven’t discovered it yet.” Vladimir continued to type commands into the computer, until eventually the scrolling data became more uniform.

“Is that the mainframe you’ve found there, Vlad?”

“Yes, Professor, I’m in now. When the time comes there’ll be a space between the figures.”

“And what do we need to do?”

“When it scrolls down to here,” Vlad put his finger on one of the screens, “I’ll hit enter.”

The professor waited but Vladimir didn’t continue. “What? That’s all?”

“Yep.” Vladimir picked up his mug of cocoa and started sipping.

“Sounds a bit simple.”
“Trust me Professor, getting to this point was anything BUT simple!”


The Game

The man moves round the shop fondling all the shirts down one side, and studies a few as though searching for one in particular. He eventually works his way round to the rack David and Rob are standing at. The assistant pays him no attention, but Rob is watching him, causing David to do the same.

David can only see the bottom half of the man’s face under his hat. He has a long chin with a few days stubble on it. He appears dishevelled as though he’d been in the same clothes for several days, which isn’t exceptional here, but David is transfixed as though compelled to watch his every move.

The man starts to finger the clothes next to David, touching each item and looking hard at the fabric, the brim of his hat almost touching the rack. Then he speaks: “Enjoying the little lapse, are we?”

David stiffens, his eyes moving from the man’s fingers to his face. He expects to see the Jester but instead finds a rugged, middle-aged man. This is not the man he glimpsed in the Bull’s Tavern or in his dreams. The man smiles.

“Don’t look so surprised, David, you knew I was here. Isabella’s rather beautiful, isn’t she? I did enjoy being in her.”

David opens his mouth to speak but he’s at a loss for words.

“Oh come now, so tense? That won’t benefit you. You have to be loose and flexible if you want to catch me.”
This breaks David’s paralysis; he grabs the man’s forearm, but the man only smiles wider and shakes his head.

“No, no, no. As I am, David, as I am.” His eyes start to change. “The man I am currently occupying isn’t much good to you.”

David loosens his grip and the man steps back, his face beginning to change. David glances at Rob whose shocked expression tells him he’s not the only one witnessing this transformation.

The eyes on the man’s face go dark and the skin starts to break up; clumps of pink flesh roll up and drop to the floor revealing the grey taut skin beneath. He opens his mouth exposing rotting teeth and starts to cackle, the laughter growing louder as he walks backwards out of the shop.

David and Rob remain rooted to the spot throughout, until the Jester passes through the doorway. When their paralysis breaks and David realises what he has to do: now the Jester is himself, he has to catch him.

He drops the clothes he’s holding and runs. The Jester is out of sight by the time he reaches the door, but he catches a flash of his coat-tails as he disappears down an alleyway on the left. David gives chase, hearing Rob behind him as they both skid round the corner, sprinting hard until it dawns on them he’s no longer in sight.

David can hear his cackle rising to its screaming crescendo.

“Can you hear it?” he yells at Rob.

“Hear what?”

“His laughter.” David’s pace slows.

“I can’t hear a thing.” Rob comes to a stop, bending over to catch his breath. “Who is he?”

David stops too. “Just a ghost from the past.” The cackle starts to fade.

“What? That’s a pretty lively ghost if you ask me.”

David turns round and starts walking back up the alley.

Where are you going?” Rob calls after him.

“To buy those clothes.”

Rob pauses for a moment, blinking, and then follows.


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