Pressure

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One of the things common to us all is that at some point in our life we will have been under pressure or stress. Be it a moment that jumped up in front of us, say a bank robbery or seeing someone about to be hit by a car, or whether that it is the slow build up of a situation which requires us to endure some sort of pain to see it through, we have all had experience of these things.

When writing, especially action and adventure, or dark fantasy, there are situations where the characters are in wild moments I have never faced and one wonders how they would react. Personally, I have never looked a demon from the deep in the eye, swung from a hangman’s noose or faced strange creatures intent on taking my head off. And the only way I know to generate these feelings is to drift into the characters shoes, drawing on my own reactions to horrors I have had in my own life. Not that my life has been a rollercoaster of disaster, it’s been bloomin’ good to be honest. But we all have the well of dark moments to draw from.

Sometimes people say my books would look great in a movie, or that they could see it as a TV drama and I think I know why. When I write, I write describing the movie in my head. The creatures move for me, I hear the drop in the noose, I look into those demon eyes. And I then feel what comes. I don’t see words, I see pictures and then the job is to put that picture into words. The further distillation by the reader reversing the process hopefully brings the movie back to life.

It begs the question, are my characters real to me? Only in my head, only in the movie. And that’s a good thing. I wouldn’t want a mad cap professor summoning up who knows what, an emotional father pulled from his family by every woman that walks past, or an ice cold winged femme fatale. Life is weird enough. And by putting these people under pressure the real emotions come out and hopefully the real life heroic decisions we make or fail to make, get brought to the surface.

If you haven’t got it already, you can purchase the first Austerley & Kirkgordon novel “Crescendo!” here. Read it quick as the follow up “The Darkness at Dillingham” is coming very, very soon!

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Sarcastic Innocence – Here’s Nefol!

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One of the joys about writing fantasy, be it dark, urban or whatever, is that you can play around with the “norms” of society in one facet of a person while keeping their everyday traits. In my new novel, “The Darkness at Dillingham”, I introduce a new character Nefol. She’s the daughter of a priest, only twelve, and a sarcastic bane to Kirkgordon. But she’s also a stronger fighter than Kirkgordon and better versed in the weirdness of the A&K world than he’ll ever be.

This allows for the normal dynamic of senior and junior to be challenged and often overturned. And in that I believe lies an important point to the real world. Too often we quieten down those around us with less life experience or who are weaker in body or mind. And yet we get the most honest assessment from these people, too honest for us more often than not.

When taking Kirkgordon and pairing him with Austerley, the insane but highly driven seeker of the weird, Kirkgordon has a perfect forum to unload all he sees as wrong with getting your hands dirty in the occult world. But lest our hero becomes too high and mighty, here comes Nefol to show up his ineptitude and blast his fondness for all the wrong women! Ultimately the book highlights how paths to our redemption become blocked or at least sullied by others and that a little humility can help get us on the real path, the one so rarely seen from the mountian top!

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Coming soon from Carpetless Publishing “The Darkness at Dillingham” the second Austerley & Kirkgordon adventure. Not read the wild ride that is “Crescendo!”, the first A&K adventure then you can pick it up here.

Footsteps – Epilogue

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Next month I will be releasing the first novel in my Austerley and Kirkgordon adventure series about a pair of investigators into the paranormal. In order for readers to get a feel for my characters I will be releasing a short story prelude before launch day and as I am especially good to my blog readers, I am going to serialise it here. So take a trip into the depths of a lost graveyard in search of Eldar things with Messers Austerley & Kirkgordon and find out how this diverse pair became entangled in horrors from the past.

Epilogue

“And that is about that Officer. I went to drive the car but I didn’t have any keys, lost down below I think. Hot wiring it came to mind but to be truthful, it’s not a skill I have in abundance. Austerley was in a bad way, as was I, both losing blood and I could feel my overall capacity reducing, both mentally and physically. Listening intently, I located the nearest road and dragged the lunatic and myself over to it. It was less than a kilometre I reckon as I took the direct route.

By the time we were found, I think I was delirious and Austerley, well he had lost his mind in the depths. Ranting is a speciality of his, especially in other languages. And I do mean other! So that’s it, Officer. And to be honest I no longer care what anyone thinks or what happens because I damn well capped it and it ain’t coming out that hole. So do the decent thing and send me home and that space cadet to the asylum he deserves.”

The officer crunched up his plastic cup and picked up his notebook before leaving the room. Outside he took a right into the small viewing room and looked at the smartly dressed man in grey overcoat, polished black shoes and bowler hat.

“Crazy story but he tells it like he believes it,” said the officer.

“Yes, he most certainly does,” agreed the bowler hatted man. “Well, I do thank you for letting me watch. On behalf of Her Majesty’s government, I am glad that we have come to an agreement on how to proceed. Mr Kirkgordon needs some rest and recuperation and letting him seek it at home is a most excellent accommodation. As for Mr Austerley, the asylum at Arkham should suffice. A man like that certainly needs to be observed for all our good.”

“Nice working with you,” complimented the police officer shaking the man’s hand. “Take good care mister ….., mister …..what did you say your name was again?”

“Farthington, Mr Farthington at your service.”

Who is the strange Mr Farthington? Will Austerley recover from this nightmare? Does Kirkgordon return to a happy family and a snaity of mind? Find out in Crescendo!, releasing mid-October.

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G R Jordan author, poet, and top Dad apparently!

Footsteps – chapter 6 Something’s Coming Up the Stairs

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Next month I will be releasing the first novel in my Austerley and Kirkgordon adventure series about a pair of investigators into the paranormal. In order for readers to get a feel for my characters I will be releasing a short story prelude before launch day and as I am especially good to my blog readers, I am going to serialise it here. So take a trip into the depths of a lost graveyard in search of Eldar things with Messers Austerley & Kirkgordon and find out how this diverse pair became entangled in horrors from the past.

Something’s Coming up the Stairs

I think my strength was heightened by the terror. It’s the only way I can imagine that we covered the ground at such pace. As we were heading away from the beacons, the darkness began to engulf again and I was running in total darkness. Behind me I heard the gibbering of Austerley between his deep breaths. But farther back there were other sounds. Unholy voices, shrieks, howls, laughs if I was to guess at them. And a thumping. Like hundreds of feet pelting after us. There was no rhythm to it, nothing to which my imagination could grab and produce a picture in my mind. Maybe I should have been thankful but, in honesty, it chilled me more than anything else I have ever fled from.

Austerley knew what it was because from the moment it started he was easier to pull along, in fact, I was only steering him. He said so many words at the time, many of them in languages I didn’t know but he did say that word again. Said it a lot. Shuggoth. So maybe it was that. It’s easier to put a name to it, as it makes me less fearful but in that dark I knew no names. Just the sense of approaching terror, a devilish chaser, a Satan on our backs. And we ran, beaten bodies, broken ankles and lacerations a-plenty hindering us for sure, but Officer we ran!

I knew it was a risk. Somewhere in the back of my mind, something said, Kirkgordon, my son, don’t forget the stairs. But the terror was such that I was just running and I ran smack into the very stairs that were meant to carry us to safety. It was my shoulder that hit the stonework and I tumbled to the floor. Austerley tripped over my legs and I think he landed on the bottom steps for I heard him trying to climb.

The pounding noise of supposed feet got closer, pumping even more adrenalin into my system. Desperately I fumbled around to locate the stairs, trying to use Austerley’s voice as a guide. My heart almost stopped for it took me a good fifteen seconds to locate them. I eagerly took to my flight and covered some four steps before I tumbled over Austerley who must have fallen trying to negotiate the stairs in the darkness.

And then it hit. I felt the stairs shudder and something wet splatted across my legs. It was then that I was cut across my thigh by something sharp which drove me onward. Calling to Austerley to follow I made a start. But I heard nothing human follow me. I called him by name again. No reply. But I heard something trying to squeeze itself into a narrow space. There was a grating of skin on stone, and a noise that indicated pain in a forced effort. Not that the noise had anything human about it.

Bending back down the steps, my hands found Austerley. He wasn’t moving and I had no idea of he was alive or dead. There was no time to check, with our pursuer so close, so I grabbed him by the collar and prepared to drag him. That was when I felt the breath of whatever had pummelled into the stairs. Like acidic snotty mist, its breath blew across my face and I imagine that was inches from me, squeezing its way up the stairs.

I didn’t think. No yells or cries of terror were uttered. In my core I was numb, frozen in feeling. Thank the Lord that my trained reactions took over and my hands seized Austerley’s collar and I dragged him with all my might. I didn’t stop, just pulling and pulling, energy sapping from me but terror driving me on. Never before have I praised the dawn such as I did then.

Dropping Austerley beside the entrance to the grave, I limped my way over to the car and popped the boot, sorry trunk, although boot is proper English, you know. Yeah, I popped the boot and grabbed all the weaponry I had left. It wasn’t an enormous amount; a couple of grenades, some magazines, flash-bangs and a few explosives. Carrying them back to the entrance I began tossing them in.

Austerley opened his eyes beside me and he began to get agitated. He asked what the hell I was doing. Ending it, I told him, bloody ending it. Do you know what the stupid arse then says? Just put the lid on. The lid, I says to him, the lid. There’s a thing coming up the stairs that tops the tentacled horrors that nearly sliced us apart and you just want me to put a lid on it. Just why, I asked him, just flipping why? Now wait for this, Officer, he tells me he wants to go back down, another time to study these things. Can you imagine what I was thinking? The man wants locking up. So I said to him, Indiana Jones, that’s what you are, a sick Indy-clone. But it’s not flaming antiques you’re hunting. It’s the damned, the unholy, Satan’s own.

I told him, that as far as I was concerned, stuff like this should not be messed with. It was the stuff the good book told you to steer clear of, the evil you shouldn’t embrace. Any passing acquaintance with a church would have shown him that. And I said to him, Indy, people like you need protecting from yourself before you dump us all in your own filthy nightmares.

A “Churchy” telling me what to do. That’s what his response was and he tried to grab some of the gear and throw it clear. But I’d had enough. Also who knew how long we could have before that thing squeezed up the stairs. So I dropped him with my nerve grip, shut the stupid fool up. I tossed the rest of the weaponry into the hole, leaving myself one explosive to throw in and ignite the inferno. After toying briefly with tossing Austerley in as well, I dragged him clear and blew the explosives. When the dust had settled, the stairs had collapsed and there was no way down anymore. I drew the stone back across. Despite being exhausted and losing blood, I thought the stone important to cover any traces. This stuff doesn’t want looked into, Officer. Promise me that, if nothing else, promise me that.

Can you keep a lid on it until we see the fallout in two days time? If not, read the epilogue on Wattpad now.

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G R Jordan author, poet, and top Dad apparently!

Footsteps – Chapter 5 Battling Blind

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Next month I will be releasing the first novel in my Austerley and Kirkgordon adventure series about a pair of investigators into the paranormal. In order for readers to get a feel for my characters I will be releasing a short story prelude before launch day and as I am especially good to my blog readers, I am going to serialise it here. So take a trip into the depths of a lost graveyard in search of Eldar things with Messers Austerley & Kirkgordon and find out how this diverse pair became entangled in horrors from the past.

Battling Blind

My pack was distributed all over the floor and as I scrabbled in the dark, I managed to pick up various items. Finding a pistol and a spare magazine, I was able to fire off rounds for about fifteen seconds which kept whatever was out there from me. Warren’s face was imprinted on my mind but the infra-red goggles meant I had some idea where the attacks were coming from. At this time they were tentacles that whipped towards me from the dark and I rolled and fired with moderate success.

Then I was struck behind the head which pitched me forward but also knocked my goggles from my face. I heard them hit the floor in a despairing crunch and was completely blind. Fortunately, I was able to find a knife on the floor and began wildly slashing all around me. Austerley’s screams could still be heard, bizarre chants and wails interspersing full-on shrieks.

The next few moments were a mad slash and hack for survival. Several times I was caught on my torso by a whipping action, I assumed a tentacle, and was hurtled across the open space. Thankfully I never collided with the wall. Thoughts of Austerley were gone as I couldn’t locate him and I was wondering how I would get out of this hell-hole. Suffice to say, I was purely on time until I was hit by something massive.

I was tense when it hit me from scouring the dark for the next attack but I wasn’t expecting to be gorged on my back. I don’t know what it was but it felt like an articulated, sorry you’re American, a juggernaut smashed into my back. Sailing through the air I thought I was a goner. My right ankle collided with the wall first and I reckon I pivoted it slightly so that my elbow connected hardest. It was smashed, as you can see here, and my ankle broke too. I had good quality boots on which probably saved my ankle to a degree.

Normally I would react by getting clear in any direction but I now knew the wall was near me and it was my only escape route. With my right hand I searched the floor around me and found a flash-bang. The pin wasn’t easy to pull but a combination of my knees and and right hand extracted it. I quickly tossed the device into the dark, shutting my eyes.

Howls, wild howls in voices I have never heard before, followed its detonation. I’ve been in many bad situations and seen some horrors but I have never felt like I did then yet it was only an audible terror. Getting to my feet I tested my ankle which screamed at me. Dropping down again, I felt for my laces, pulling them clear down to the ankle before wrapping them tightly around it. Standing again, it was still painful, but usable.

I leant against the wall and began to half-run, half-stagger along it hoping to avoid the creatures, praying they wouldn’t react from the blinding light of the flash-bang before I was able to put some distance between us. But there was something on the floor, I don’t know what, which I tripped over. I was able to break my fall with my right arm and a half-roll. Reaching down with my good hand to stand again, it happened upon a small device. A quick feel alerted me to the fact it was the activation device for the beacons I had dropped.

There were scraping sounds in the dark and howls and grunts but I ignored them and pressed the beacons into life. Surprised to see only some eighty percent of the beacons ahead, I glanced back to find the rest behind me. In their light I could see Austerley being held by a creature. It seemed bulky, even in the poor light and possibly had others congregated around it. Austerley was in pain but was making no sound. His eyes were wide open and showed such a profound horror. There was no need for a cry to express it.

I should have left him. Yes Officer, I repeat that a lot. Trust me, I think it often. They seemed more interested in him anyway. Nothing was chasing me at that point, as far as I could tell. I could have sneaked away, just left the insane fool to a well deserved fate. But like I said before, I’m a professional like yourself Officer. I might not have a badge but there’s an internal code.

Searching the floor, I recognised the shape of my grenades despite the poor light. There was the shape of a gun close by as well, I prayed with a clip that wasn’t empty. I’d say there was a plan forming but really, it was a gung-ho moment. Three grenades. One after another. In a direction that was away from the wall and would cause most damage I hoped to the creatures holding Austerley. I turned my head from each blast, shielding my eyes.

Following the last explosion, I ran towards where Austerley had been and found him lying on his back. His eyes were wide open, the whites reflecting the beacon’s light but there was no motion in them. I slapped him hard and he responded. Grabbing his hair, I pulled him up and told him to run. But he shrieked in one of those languages and so I pointed him and booted him in the arse. What? Yes, ass as you say. It was then I threw up. Man, the stink. I realised I was treading on the insides of creatures and was thankful of the poor light. But we couldn’t wait so I drove myself after Austerley.

A good job that I did for I heard other creatures stirring and coming after us. Whenever I saw shadows behind us I fired into the dark. As we reached the last beacon, I dove to the ground seeking the twine. My fingers found the blessed cord and shouting at Austerley to follow I started along the string’s path. But the stupid fool didn’t follow. He was wild and hysterical. I hadn’t got this far to leave him behind. So, in the little light the beacons gave at this distance, I managed to run around Austerley, catching him in a loop of twine, and began the string’s path again, pulling the crazed professor behind me.

Hanging by a thread! Will our heroes emerge from the depths? Join us in two days time, or if you can’t wait, read it all on Wattpad now.

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G R Jordan author, poet, and top Dad apparently!

Footsteps – Chapter 4 Scrabbling in the Dark

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Next month I will be releasing the first novel in my Austerley and Kirkgordon adventure series about a pair of investigators into the paranormal. In order for readers to get a feel for my characters I will be releasing a short story prelude before launch day and as I am especially good to my blog readers, I am going to serialise it here. So take a trip into the depths of a lost graveyard in search of Eldar things with Messers Austerley & Kirkgordon and find out how this diverse pair became entangled in horrors from the past.

Scrabbling in the Dark

It was a weird hunt beneath the ground for whatever we were looking for. Austerley would point over my shoulder, rarely speaking, almost afraid to make a sound. I could just about make out his arm pointing from behind and the direction seemed fairly random to me. The infra-red goggles were letting me see but without any reference points it was hard to work out where I was going.

Austerley would chant quietly behind me from time to time, words I have never heard. It felt very freaky, like having the devil at your back and I was looking forward to getting out of there, grabbing my money and heading home. I remember thinking to myself that next time I’d sneak off for a week’s golf if I got itchy feet. A large sand bunker holds no fear compared with this sort of moonlight shenanigans.

A tentacle appeared in my two o’clock and I jumped back pistol drawn, before I realised it wasn’t moving. Although the infra red distorts the colour of objects, something told me it was grey. A murmured rebuke from Austerley about “why was I jumping?” led to taking his hand and letting him feel the wall ahead. As I scanned the wall, the image was clearly some sort of octopus with elongated tentacles and a type of moustache effect around its mouth.

The image sent Austerley into a excited frenzy and he mentioned something about some guy named Hu-tu-loo. Meant absolutely nothing to me. Also something about a hydra. Now that I do know. It’s in the Greek legends, I read them when young. Seven headed beast who was struck down by Perseus, or Hercules, or one of the other demi-gods.

Part of me was quite relaxed at this point as I believed the lunatic I was accompanying might be satisfied, shoot a few photos and then we would get ourselves back up to the soon-to-rise sun. But no, onward Austerley insisted. Onward. I explained about the twine in my pocket as a way back and he just tutted. Reaching inside, I realised the twine was becoming a rather thin ball. From my rucksack I took out some automated flares. I would be able to drop these at various points and upon activation from my remote device, they would burn for approximately thirty minutes, marking a route.

Austerley reckoned this was all a waste of time and he hopped from one foot to the other in the dark insisting we follow the wall. We made our way along the wall, stopping occasionally with Austerley making a rubbing of the frieze. Officer, the pictures on the wall got no saner than the creature I saw at the start. One in particular one affected Austerley as he felt the design on the wall. He began to shake a little and his face, from what I could tell of it, took on a worried frown. I asked what the problem was and got told to shush, and then one word. One single word but delivered in a slow and hoarse whisper. Shuggoth. That was all and a hand signal to continue.

About twenty minutes later, I had run through all of my delayed flares and I brought Austerley to a stop. He protested in a hushed voice but I asked him how we were meant to find our way back. The stupid arse then stormed off further into the dark and I was left in a quandary. Should I go and fetch him or do I wait? As it was, my decision was made for me.

There was a tentacle in the dark. At first I thought I might have just seen a relief in the dark but then it hooked Austerley by the foot. The professor fell hard and landed on his shoulder in the process. A number of other tentacles could then been seen grabbing hold of him. I pulled my weapon and discharged it into the darkness. Yes Officer, I know. I had no positive sighting of what was doing it but hey, I was deep under the ground surrounded by pictures of the weirdest of creatures. I think you might have just fired a few shots too.

There was a scream. No wait, that sounds too human. There was a sound, a cross between a fog horn and white noise. Painful, penetrating, and yet having a deep enough resonance to believe there was an intelligence behind it. Then something hit my back. I was wearing the backpack and that probably saved me because the pack was sliced in two dropping my weapons, ammunition and other tools onto the floor. I knew where Austerley was and I fired off a dispersed pattern into the dark seeking out my attacker.

Something grabbed my leg just below the knee and I fell to the floor, scrabbling in the dark. I know Austerley was alive as I could hear his squeals. Desperately fumbling around for a flash-bang, I called out to Austerley encouraging him to try to make towards my voice. He answered in pain and panic but was coherent. So I searched the immediate area and found a flash-bang, closed my eyes and pulled the pin. Before tossing it, I cried out “fire in the hole.”

Austerley, to my knowledge, has never been a military man. Everything about him told me so but I still expected that he would understand my call. But he didn’t. The flash-bang went off and there were shrieks from whatever was out there, and also from Austerley. He became wild, shouting out all sorts of things in languages I don’t understand. I could just about see him at the edge of my goggles’ range. Screaming something about a place called Rayleigh-a, he had his arms thrashing but was entangled by some tentacles.

I could have left him. No, I should have left him and the world would probably be a better and safer place but I’m a professional and he was my client. So I ran forward but slammed into something which then sprayed a liquid over my face. As it bounced back off me, I saw a half digested face and was taken aback, for I knew the face.

When we had been in his office Austerley had talked about the two men whom he was following. One was Carter but the other was Harley Warren, the man who had been the driving force and also the member of the party to not return. He perished down the same hole more than an hundred years before. Yet tell me Officer, how is that I saw half his face, six inches away, down that cursed hole? Yes, I see you think I’m crazy, lost the plot. But I’m a pro, I hold my nerve in these things and I know a face. I don’t know how, and strike me down if I’m wrong, but that was the long deceased Harley Warren.

Will our heroes emerge from these depths? Join Austerley and Kirkgordon in two days time. Or if you can’t wait, read the whole story now on Wattpad

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G R Jordan author, poet, and top Dad apparently!