RSS

Switching over to my personal website.

Being that I haven’t been able to do justice to this and my other blogs, as well as my contributions to a couple of alternative news / conspiracy sites, I am currently in the process of moving the material found here over to my main website at RaymondTowers.com. By consolidating everything into one place, I’ll be better able to concentrate on a few things, instead of on a whole bunch of them.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on January 28, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Two Bedroom Cottage For Rent

Cov - 2BC E

This novella is available free from Smashwords, in several different digital formats. Here is its extended description, followed by a few of the more shining reviews.

Sitting on the edge of the old recliner, I can feel the strange coldness gnawing at my bones. The shadows creep closer, causing my fear to deepen, my breaths to quicken, yet I dare not move. Let the evil come, I resolve, let it leave its raspy whisper on the nape of my neck, for I will not frighten easily. I shrug off a shudder, awaiting the demon’s next move, anticipating it, and I brace for it.

Have you ever wondered what it might be like to live in a haunted house? A house that doesn’t want you there, and that will do anything it can to force you out? A house that will plague you with bloody and gruesome nightmares, or bite you with a thousand, tiny little mouths, or send all manner of cruel specters to torment and harass you?
I’ve been in one, for a span of nearly two months, and let me tell you, it is not an experience I would want to go through again. This novella may be a fictionalized version, but I want to be clear, these events really happened to me, and exactly as they appear in the story.
Will you take a chance, dear reader, and step through the threshold with me? Will you stand at my side, in the unexpected chill of my cozy living room, and listen as I relive some of the most harrowing events of my life?
Don’t let the silence fool you. The house is watching us, and has been for a few minutes now. Even now, it is devising a plan to terrify us into a panic, to make us question our own reality, and finally, to devour our very souls.

This was one of the most scary books I have read in a long time. (anonymous, Barnes and Noble)

Fun read. Thought I knew where it was going… nope. (anonymous, Barnes and Noble)

A real page turner. I like that fact that part of it really happened. (anonymous, Barnes and Noble)

I am a huge horror fan. I have read quite a lot and nothing made me look over my shoulder like this story did. Very impressed. (anonymous, Barnes and Noble)

Creepy and realistic enough that the situation could have happened to any of us. Good job. (W. Peterson, Smashwords)

Click on this Smashwords link to either read this novella online, or to download a copy for yourself.

Some material may not be suitable for some readers.

 

Fight Night from Variant Worlds

C.E. Space Scene 1 by Gale Titus

The following is a short story from Variant Worlds - A Collection of Fantasy and Science Fiction. Some material may not be suitable for some readers, and you can sample 25% of this ebook at Smashwords.

Fight Night At The Galaxy Games

 by Raymond M. Towers

“Control your breathing.” One of my trainers, Zou-Ax, cautioned me. He’d leaned in close to my ear to speak, a hint of the Buti-Quay he’d had for dinner lingering on his breath. Most people couldn’t stand the smell of the exotic fish, let alone the strange appearance of the purplish and multi-tentacled trainer, but as for me, I’d long ago gotten accustomed to both. “You’ve got to keep your heart rate down.”

Believe me, I was trying. I bounced up and down on my toes for a few seconds, clearing my mind and stretching my neck to either side. Then, I went ahead and did what had gotten me riled up in the first place; I looked out past the boundaries of the ring and tried to take in the immensity of the crowd.

Sure, I’d fought in big matches before, with screaming people jammed up to the rafters, either cheering me on, or jeering me as an amateur or an upstart. But those venues might have held some five to ten thousand people. That was a drop in the ocean compared to the Galaxy Games arena, which held in excess of two hundred thousand beings, most of which weren’t even human, and then there was the intergalactic video feed that might have been broadcasting to a few million planets. This was the Quantum Show, the Mega-Purse for the Universe, and here I was, representing the future of all mankind.

Talk about your high expectations.

I paced the edge of the ring trying to calm myself, trying to keep things in perspective before they overwhelmed me. If I won, my dying planet, Earth, would be allowed to emigrate and colonize any inhabitable and unpopulated world in the Milky Way Galaxy. If I didn’t, it would be another one thousand years before we’d get another chance to compete in the Quantum Show, and by then, chances were pretty slim that our sun would still be giving off enough heat to insure the survival of humans.

Bromah, my other trainer, was shadowing my steps. “Nevah foh-get! Ju ahr dah besss! Ju are dah nummer won!” As you might have guessed from his horrible accent, he was Freycan. He looked like a giant rooster with sharp teeth, and for the first few weeks after he’d been assigned to train me, I couldn’t help having nightmares about him. “Ju have no feer! Ju feel no payne! Ju will be vic-tohry!”

I was the best, I reminded myself. I’d been genetically enhanced to the point where I could crack six inches of solid oak with my bare fists, stomp through reinforced concrete, and even spit out acid through a specialized gland in my throat. (Anything went in the Galaxy Games, as long as the combatants didn’t alter their outward physical forms.)

I’d taken on the best warriors on Earth, and beaten them all with decisive and rapid victories.

“Much bettah!” Bromah read my body language. “Ju stan’ tall! Ju keep dis stayte far dah battle, yas!”

“Yas.” I nodded, absently mimicking the trainer’s accent.

Feeling more confident, I strode towards my corner and shadow-boxed some of my best combinations.

A concentrated low octave sound wave rolled across the arena, bringing everyone and everything to a dead silence. In expectation, all humans and extra-terrestrials in attendance stood up and turned their heads, or what passed for heads, towards the gates leading to the dressing rooms. There, in the focused glow of the spotlights, was the Galaxy Champion.

Than-Kra-Seyh, the Grinder, they called him, and instantly, the crowd started chanting his name. On Earth, he might have been mistaken for an eight foot tall sequoia, with his bark-like flesh and his trunk-like appendages that ended in blunt wedges. Then there were his hideous and gigantic antlers, where he liked to impale his opponents after he’d crushed the life from them. You heard right. He humiliated the losers even in death.

Yeah, I know. I was fighting him.

Arrogantly, the Grinder lumbered towards the ring with his thorny arms held high, and the crowd ate it up. They started pounding on the arena floor with feet, hooves, tendrils, you name it, and every step the Grinder took forward might have raised the volume by a dozen decibels.

“Remembah, hees farst stryke!” Bromah warned me, carefully eying the approaching menace.

Many of the Grinder’s fights had ended before they’d even begun, as he had the nasty habit of approaching an unwary opponent and pounding him to death before the first bell had even been wrung. At first, the rules commission hadn’t known what to make of the debacle, but due to public demand, they’d decided that the move was legal. A warrior should always be ready for combat, they reasoned, and that was that.

I’d like to go back in time and find the jerk-weed who first introduced mixed martial arts to the Galaxy Consortium, and knock the daylights out of him.

Zou-Ax reached out to massage my shoulders one last time, and my corner kept a close eye on the Grinder as he played up to the crowd. Finally, he turned towards the ring, resulting in a nervous exodus by my trainers, and a feigned disinterest by me.

With one huge step, the Grinder’s leg went over the top rope, and his heavy body swayed into the ring. As soon as he placed his second trunk on the mat, he began grandstanding to the crowd again, and I knew this was where several of his opponents had made their fatal mistake.

I deliberately turned my back to the Grinder, and seizing the opportunity, he pounced. His huge arm swung down towards my head.

What he hadn’t realized, was that my reflexes were lightning fast, measured down to a handful of micro-seconds. I stepped aside just as the blow smashed into the mat, turned and swiveled my hips to achieve maximum momentum, and delivered five thousand pounds of pressure from a knuckle sandwich to the side of the Grinder’s thick head.

It wasn’t enough to knock him over, but it was enough to send him reeling and staggering to one side. Not wanting to give away the extent of my power, I’d wisely held back from using my full force.

The Grinder’s bewildered glare told me I’d achieved my goal. I’d shaken him up. Even the crowd’s voice had faltered, but slowly the chant began to lift itself back up.

I backed up to my corner, shaking out my wrists and watching out for any more surprise attacks, and allowed Zou-Ax to resume the shoulder massage.

“Good, you’ve put the brute in his place.” The trainer acknowledged. “That’ll keep him wondering what else we’ve got in store for him.”

“Mayhaps we shooda hit dah Grindah with evarah-thing we’s gat.” Bromah wondered.

“No, it’s better this way.” Zou-Ax shook a few of his purple tentacles. “The rules commission would have found fault with our fighter, even though the Grinder keeps getting away with it. Better not to risk a disqualification.”

“Yas, yahr ryte.” Bromah conceded, and as the announcer cautiously stepped forward to declare the two contestants, my trainers stepped inside and took their turns menacing my opponent’s trainers. It was all part of the ritual.

I zoned out the announcer and the trainers’ theatrics, using the moment of relative peace to consider my strategies, foremost among which was: Don’t get squashed like a bug.

Zou-Ax’s tap on my shoulder brought me back to the present, and I started jumping up and down again, loosening up my arms, as the trainers left the mat.

Normally, one would want to tap knuckles with their opponent, but in the Galaxy Games, such Earth-born sportsmanlike conduct might have been a costly mistake. Instead, I waited near my corner for the opening bell.

It came a few seconds later, and instead of the quick rush the Grinder had employed against some of his more recent opponents-slash-victims, he guardedly took a step towards the center of the ring.

This one’s for all the marbles, I thought to myself. Curling my hands into fists, I began my own advance towards the battle. I took up a boxer’s crouch, ready to defend myself, ready to strike if the opportunity arose.

We started circling each other, trying to size each other up, and with every step I took, I felt the fate of all of humanity resting heavily on my tense shoulders.

Hoping to set the tempo, I leapt forward and made my first move.

The short-lived online venue, Sci Fi Fiction, posted this piece on January, 2010.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on February 23, 2013 in Science Fiction, Variant Worlds

 

Bastardlope Safari from Variant Worlds

Man On Safari by Anna Langova

The following is a short story from Variant Worlds - A Collection of Fantasy and Science Fiction. Some material may not be suitable for some readers, and you can sample 25% of this ebook at Smashwords.

Bastardlope Safari

by Raymond M. Towers

I was in Nirvana.

My breaths entered and exited in long, controlled intervals, as if I were in a state of deep meditation. My mind was acutely focused, and my body so at peace with itself that not even the brow-beating glare of the sun, or the sting of my own sweat running down my cheeks and back drew me away from my intense concentration.

My finger tensed on the trigger; eagerly anticipating the three pounds of pressure required for the shot. My rifle shifted so slightly it was an almost imperceptible motion, and I awaited my final instructions.

“Almost there…” Calamity Jack’s coarse voice whispered from maybe two feet away to my right. “Let him turn towards you. There, take your shot.”

Ninety meters away, the Bastardlope made the error of exposing its chest to me. I squeezed, hearing and feeling the blast reverberate through my solid frame and bring me to a state of near orgasm. I held my position, trying to extend the feeling of ecstasy for as long as possible.

“I do believe you’ve done it, Pearson.” Calamity Jack resumed his grainy speaking voice, evolving from the prone and up to one knee, his binoculars instantly going to his eyes. “Clean shot, straight to the heart. Let’s go take a look at our kill, shall we?”

I could place five rounds within an inch and a half on a paper target, at a distance of one hundred meters, and I knew I’d nailed the Bastardlope true. Beaming, I took up a matching stride behind Jack.

My wife Kathy had balked when I’d mentioned that I’d signed up for the weeklong Safari in the Keystone Private Preserve for Gentlemen, and to tell you the truth, I myself was a bit squeamish at the price tag for the venture. Eighty-five thousand clams I was out, and after the first two disappointing days, I’d even started to question the validity of my decision to go through with it.

Not anymore, though. I’d bagged my first Bastardlope, and I was floating on Cloud Nine. And Calamity Jack, my buddy from the States, was there to witness my glory beside me.

“Whew!” Jack praised my accuracy, halting just before the downed Bastardlope and setting up his digital camera for the traditional ‘Hunter with His Leg on his Kill’ pose. “Mighty fine shooting there, Pearson. Mighty fine!”

With some pride, my polished boots brushed past the Savannah grass and I took in the trophy. It looked only vaguely human, just as the brochure had promised. The thing had stood some ten feet high, with its elongated neck and limbs, looking freaky and almost cartoonish, and its flesh was fuzzy with short hair. The head had a full brown mane, mustached and bearded, as well as defined cheekbones, and that extra length of skin between the nose and upper lip that always irritated me when I saw it on the face of my Supervisor back at Relodyne Aquatics.

Yeah, that’s right. Call me immature, or foolish, or whatever, but I had the Bastardlope engineered to look reasonably similar to my boss. I’d paid eighty-five gees for the privilege of hunting down an acceptable facsimile of the person I loathed the most in my life, or fifteen thousand more than the standard Safari fare for taking down look-alikes of famous movie stars or heads of state. And there it was, deathly still on the grass and with a .375 Magnum lodged in its chest.

So fitting, for my first kill to be the one I’d had created for my personal pleasure. It made me feel all tingly inside, and I took over two dozen digital pictures that I was looking forward to posting on my blog later.

“You know, there’s one out here that I had made to look like my ex-wife.” Calamity Jack said excitedly, glancing in the distance as if he could sense the prey out there. His tongue ran over his bottom lip lustfully. “You see that one, you let me know, man. I’m taking that one out myself.”

That would be the female version of the Bastardlope, also known as the Bitchalope. Trudging after my buddy’s steady strides, I thought to myself, I can’t wait to meet her.

Tree by Anna Langova

 

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on February 23, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

Variant Worlds – A Collection of Fantasy and Science Fiction

Cov - Var DThis collection contains sixteen original works of fantasy and science fiction written by Raymond M. Towers, ranging from short pieces of flash fiction and up to a couple of dramatic novellas. Here’s a quick glimpse at some of the included stories:

Gazing At Stars – A lighthearted and philosophical look comparing amateur astronomy to the rat race, from the viewpoint of the son of a wealthy factory supervisor.

Cooper And The Cats – The dog keeps barking late one evening, but the old man doesn’t want to go and see what’s out there. Hint: There are a lot of cats involved.

The Demise Of The Queen – What is a devoted and caring android butler to do, when its affluent master passes away in her sleep? Why, improvise, of course!

Fight Night At The Galaxy Games – Campy and bizarre, this futuristic piece pits man against alien in the mother of all mixed martial arts events.

To Become A Madman – A bitter love triangle, involving a presumptuous professor, a sleuthing college student, a missing coed, and a lab full of cloning equipment.

Snatched Up – This huge novella takes up over 50% of this collection. Imagine you’re at work on a warm Saturday night, and you’re counting down the last few minutes before your shift is over. Then, the floor starts shaking beneath your feet, and the walls start crumbling and falling down all around you. You duck for cover, and you survive the earthquake, barely, but when the rubble begins to clear, you realize one very important thing; you are no longer in the world you should be in. You’ve got other coworkers and supervisors crawling out of the debris, and it’s so dark in this unexpected place, and worse, you hear strange noises and sharp cries in the darkness above your head. That’s when you realize that whatever is up there, is coming straight for you.

Some material may not be suitable for some readers.

Sample 25% of this collection at Smashwords.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on February 23, 2013 in Science Fiction, Variant Worlds

 

Roaches In The Attic 3 – Non-Retrieval

Cov - Rita Non K copyInspired by the movie version of Starship Troopers, Aliens, and Stephen Crane’s classic civil war drama, The Red Badge of Courage, I present the science fiction novella Non-Retrieval. This is a story about survival on an alien planet, centering on a young shuttle pilot who unexpectedly finds himself surrounded by a small group of battle-hardened Space Marines, and quite possibly, with hostile beings from another world as well. Left completely out of his element, this young man has precious little time in which to make critical life and death decisions, not only for himself, but also for the rest of the soldiers. In order to survive, he will have to adapt to his surroundings faster than he ever has before…

Roaches

Like a plague they descended, dropping into the midst of the unprepared and frightened soldiers as dozens of bouncing, pummeling cannonballs. Plasma fire whines across the battlefield as skittish fingers pump on smoothly gliding triggers, hitting the alien creatures’ hard shells and deflecting the lethal beams in all directions, including back among our own troops. Howls of pain erupt from the mouths of mortally wounded men, only slightly eclipsed by the orders from their commanding officers.

Through it all, the balled-up insects roll toward where the concentration of soldiers is at its thickest. Then, displaying an uncanny and unnerving sense of synchronicity, the tumbling balls halt all at once and begin to unfurl. Their trademark clicking commences, a combination of sharp screeches and disconcerting snaps that causes involuntary winces and fuels an instinct of panic in some of the Marines. This noise, of course, serves to briefly stun the troops, as half a dozen jet-black limbs telescope from the rising monstrous bodies. Their two thick and thorny legs lift them to nearly an equal height as the men, and two pairs of arms simultaneously uncurl and clasp together, as if the creature were uttering some dark prayer. For a brief moment, a split second, it seems as if nothing is happening, until the first shockwaves hit.

Death comes quickly to the innermost circle of gawking and gaping spectators, as invisible beams of intense heat immediately incinerate or explode their bodies. The after-effects of the assaults consume a second row of the tightly grouped soldiers, bursting their hair and clothes into flames, and melting their hard plastic weapons in their grips. A high percentage of the frontline infantry, whether through panic or injury, or even simple confusion, is rendered ineffective.

(Partial notes recovered during the aftermath of the War on Betelren Six, Space Corps Outpost 02-27. The author’s identity is not known, and the date is Tuesday, January 20, 2060. This is the date of first contact.)

Reviews of this ebook:

Aliens and alien planets at their best! I could not put this one down. (C. Blake, Smashwords)

 Great mix of action, hard sci-fi, conflict and characters. (anonymous, Barnes & Noble)

Excellent story, well paced and an interesting read. (J. Spencer, Smashwords)

 You feel like you know the characters by the end. I couldn’t put it down. (anonymous, Barnes & Noble)

Some material may not be suitable for some readers.

This novella is available free at Smashwords. Just click here to get your own copy.

 

My Dark Abode

Lucifer - torturing souls as well as being tor...

Lucifer – torturing souls as well as being tortured himself in hell (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Pierced by screams is my abode, perched high above the mountainside.

With decapitated skulls lining the gates, enough for sane men to think twice.

Insurance salesmen, aren’t they mad? Also, bill collectors go too far.

For other toilers have already learned, how unwise it is to tread my yard.

Utility meters checked from a distance, groceries at the gates left unsigned for,

After losing fellow members of their ilk, the postman doesn’t ring here anymore.

But a few dare venture past the skulls, dismissing them as harmless pranks.

It is these brave souls who are soon lost, including half the staff from the bank.

Knock on my front door, if you dare, for I’m inclined to leave it wide open.

But once it shuts, then be made aware, the knobs and latches are broken.

For a few may enter, but none may leave, this house at the top of the mountain,

And soon my chorus will include your screams, of that I will make certain.

So venture forth, my dearest visitor, past the cobwebs and the books of spells

And welcome to the private confines of my very own personal Hell.

From my horror story collection, Demonic Murmurs. You can read 25% of this full length ebook free at Smashwords.
 
Leave a comment

Posted by on November 28, 2012 in Introductory Poem, Poetry - Dark

 
 
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.