He felt as if the eyes of the entire courtroom were upon him all at once. You could practically feel the judgement burning into your soul. Luke had barely been given enough time to wash the blood of his victim off of his clothes, but that didn’t matter. He was done with it all, done with trying to live life by what the Administration deemed legal.

“Luke Atkins, you have been brought before the court today accused of first degree murder. As you are well aware, the Administration has implemented a universal three strike system. This, if I’m not mistaking, is your second strike. One more crime against the Administration will result in a death sentence.”

The judge lifted a piece of paper off of her desk and quickly read it over. Luke’s face was a mask. He was waiting for the moment that would guarantee him an escape from this terrible place, a permanent holiday away from the absurd rules and oppression the Administration had afflicted this world with.

“According to the first responder,” the judge continued, “You were still attacking your victim as they arrived, an axe if I am not mistaking. You continued to hack at the body long after they were dead. Do you have anything to say in your defence?”

Luke stood up, grinning like an idiot. He knew what would happen after he uttered his next words, and he didn’t care in the slightest.

“It was…it was an axe-ident.”

Almost immediately after his terrible pun echoed throughout the hall, the entire courtroom erupted in angry yelling and general madness. Objects were thrown violently at Luke by the dozen, in the hope that one of them would at least injure the dangerous criminal. With those words now out of Luke’s mouth and out in the open, he was now guilty of a far worse crime than murder.

Being a smartass.




“The vial, please.”

Andrew Blake held the tiny glass ampoule out in his hand for the supervising officer, Tyler Yvonne. She carefully plucked it from his palm, the thick, dark red blood sample contained within sloshing around as she brought it up to her eyes for a closer look.

“This is the one?”

“Yes. He and two others. Johnathon’s getting theirs from the vault now. Should be here soon,” Andrew replied.

“Good. I’d like to get this over with, sooner rather than later.”

Tyler moved over to the machine. It filled the entire wall of the Southwest Police Precinct basement level, looking like a supercomputer with some unusual, outwardly protruding additions. Chutes, tubes, dozens of lights of every colour conceivable, and a screen with a digital replica of the precinct’s badge emblem rotating in the centre.

“How does it work? I’ve never actually seen it in use before.” Andrew moved closer to Tyler, standing beside her before the machine.

“Do I look like I know how the hell this thing works? I just put what the chief tells me to put into it. Don’t ask again, he’s been super touchy about the subject as of late.”

“Alright, if you say so.”

Tyler broke off the blood vial’s seal and, after taking a slow, deep breath, poured its contents into a small compartment underneath the screen.

The on-screen badge disappeared and was replaced almost instantly with a profile picture of a short, angry looking male, alongside a laundry list of information. Given name, age, place of birth, current address, and, most importantly, crimes.

It was one of the longest lists Tyler had seen since they started using this machine to deal with suspects.

And, on the same token, one of the most deserving of what was coming to him.

On the bottom of the screen, several options appeared for the individual named Gus Ramoe.



SHUTDOWN, followed by several sub-options including KIDNEYS, LIVER, BRAIN and HEART.

Last of all, on the far right of the screen, in the smallest possible text: EXECUTE.

“Well, newbie’s choice,” Tyler said as she pulled a small remote control from her uniform pocket. “Whaddya think?”

Andrew closed his eyes. His right hand slowly curled into a ball, shaking in anger. Or was it sorrow? Tyler couldn’t tell.

“You should have seen that house. What those men did to that family. I’ve never seen so much blood.”

After a moment of no response, Tyler shrugged. “Alright, execute it is. Again.”

She pointed her remote at the tiny button on the far right and hit CONFIRM.

Somewhere else in the city, next to the other two suspects in an abandoned home, Gus Ramoe’s entire body froze, and in a single, terrifying instant, he keeled over, sweating blood, not much longer for this world.

His accomplices scattered in a panic, running for their lives. It wouldn’t save them.

“Where the hell is Johnathon with those other vials?” Tyler groaned. “We’re going to be late for lunch.”

Safe Room

Liam Terrance was very mature for a boy of six years old, so he had been told. His parents brought him up well, despite their less than usual professions. Clive and Evelyn Terrance were widely known in many circles as some of, if not the best people to talk to when it came to high-tech weapons and security systems. The couple’s ground-breaking work had kept their family in the black for close to twenty years now, as well as providing thousands of jobs around the world and ensuring their employees and their families lived their lives in safety and security.

The Terrance family home was a regal, eye-catching three storey building which rested upon the crest of a large mountainous estate. A twisting brick driveway led up to the property through the rough terrain, where it ended at an undercover parking area where no less than three cars sat parked at any given time. Two for work, one for everyday use. Top of the line was an understatement. You couldn’t just walk into any old dealership and buy these specific cars. They had been specially made to Clive and Evelyn’s stringent specifications, with all three containing dozens of features and mechanisms which wouldn’t make their way to general consumer vehicles for many years.

Despite his parents’ unprecedented fame and success in military and security cliques, young Liam remained more or less oblivious to the exact details of their jobs. All he knew was they had a lot of money and were respected by a lot of people for the work they did. He also knew what they did kept bad people from doing bad things to good people. For that, he loved them unconditionally. He didn’t like bad people very much, or bad things. Neither did Clive or Evelyn.

They had talked with Liam about their work once, and only once. He remembered it well. It would stick with the boy for the rest of his life.

Continue reading “Safe Room”


#9 of ten short stories from my 2015 self-published horror anthology, Random Number Hotline.

His eyes fluttered open as the bright halogen lights flickered and turned on. Their white glow lit the chamber from top to bottom. It took a moment to readapt to the new environment. The grey walls, scratched and marked by hundreds of desperate hands weren’t familiar. Anton Terrey would know if he had been in here before. He wasn’t frightened. This was his routine now.

They were still at it. These people would never give up. Not until he talked. But he would never break. A few more weeks in this place wouldn’t matter anyway. They were going to kill him. Maybe now, maybe later. He didn’t know exactly what these people did to those who refused to cooperate. Judging from what he had seen them do so far though, it would be prolonged and excessive. The past month he had spent here had been an inescapable nightmare. Anton had no doubts in his mind the next month would be just as unbearable. It was only a question of when.

An unseen speaker screeched and crackled to life somewhere above him. The interrogator. His best friend since this whole things started, or so they told him between beatings. The lights continued to sputter to life right up towards the top of Anton’s cell. It stretched up as far as he could see, with no end to it visible from where he sat. His cell was wide enough to hold him as he lay against the rounded wall, and even then it was still a tight fit.

Continue reading “Rehabilitation”

Mind Games

#8 of ten short stories from my 2015 self-published horror anthology, Random Number Hotline.

Vicki Hermanson pushed her trolley across the supermarket floor, weaving around the other shoppers she shared the aisles with. It wasn’t usually this busy here at the Alville Market. It felt far busier than normal to Vicki, with the store packed in comparison to their usual meagre number of customers.

Alville had been Vicki’s home for several months, ever since moving out west after some rather grim events came to light in her old home town. She hoped to put it all behind her, and so far coming to Alville seemed to have worked. Sure, she had left everything and everyone she had known back there, but she needed a new start. And Alville had fit the bill perfectly. New friends had been easy enough to make, after getting involved in the community and various events. And the town itself wasn’t too bad either. Nice and quiet, just what she was looking for

Despite being a bit older than some of her friends, they treated Vicki all the same. She was in her mid-forties, with shoulder-length auburn hair which she kept tied behind her head in a small bun. She could be kind when she wanted to, which was most of the time, but if something irritated her, she wouldn’t let it bottle up. It was one of the qualities her new friends appreciated. She was honest and would stand up for herself and others when necessary.

Continue reading “Mind Games”