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Stone Relics: A Scifi Crime Thriller
Cover design by Ronnell D. Porter
Previous Edition published as Phobic Dawn.
Detective Chief Superintendent Ben Tobin Super Cop heads an investigation into the gruesome deaths of young women left with ancient stone relics wedged at their feet.
Shocked, Ben develops a crippling phobia threatening the investigation, and his job. Desperate, he turns to a psychologist Lucy Roberts. She agrees to help him only to be drawn into a love -hate relationship.
She joins him in his search for a sinister cult using ancient rites, worshipping a Prehistoric Goddess. Time is running out - can Ben solve the symbolism of the Stone Relic
Crossing genres, with sci-fi, murder mystery, psychology, it comes with the warning of sexual violence.
Sample of Stone Relics. For Mature Audiences Only.
Only a small sample is given, the actual ebook is spaced and/or indented.
A Scifi Crime Thriller
Liquid, black as death slipped over his tongue. Coffee was a necessity first thing in the morning. Without it, he was a zombie stalking life. He smiled looking through the half-open window at the ocean. The sun knifed the waves, flashing steel. At seven am, the pebbled beach glistened wet and empty. Not a killer in sight. It was Sunday, and he had only one agenda. A map stretched before him, Adrienne waiting, her mini skirt arguing with her crotch as she pouted her way into the car, then a drive, lunch and….
Bell like tones from the computer tolled a death threat to his plans. ‘Ben you have a message from the Station.’
The officer’s face appeared on the stark T.V. wall, her lips a sombre line, replacing the usual toothy grin. ‘Chief, homicide just coming through – West Beach – same M.O –as the other victim – bitten to death – vipers.’
Ben felt tightness in his chest. Shit – bloody snakes. So now the killings had spread to the South. It was too soon – the killer was accelerating.’
‘Call Detective Sergeant Dunwood, tell her I’ll meet her at West Beach. Inform SOCO – no one is allowed near the body until I've seen it. Get hold of D.S. Dunwood, Dr. Morton and Assistant Chief Superintendent Cain. Tell them to go straight to the beach. I’ll be there in ten minutes.’
‘Body already tented Sir, will forward your instructions, over and terminated.’
Detective Chief Superintendent Ben Tobin’s jaw bunched into a white knot; another woman butchered. He shuddered, almost feeling the snakes slither over his skin. There was no way out of this; phobia or not he had to fight it. He was a stranger to fear, so why now? Why the panic over snakes for God’s sake. On first hearing of the vipers used in vicious killings, he’d broken out in an instant sweat followed by a paralyzing panic attack. He’d felt like an imbecilic, knee jerking puppet. Luckily, he had some tranqs’ – for the moment, they’d have to do. But, they messed with his head. He needed to think clearly – fast.
Who could he turn to? MI8 had zero tolerance for any mental or physical disability. His partner lay in the hospital, tubes snaking into every orifice. Pete was the only one he could trust, who protected his identity, knew him for who and what he was.
Ben called out to his personal computer, ‘Clary, search for a list of psychologists for this area.’
Focusing on the list appearing on the screen, a name jumped out. She belonged to The Trans-Life Institute. He knew them to be rebels – pushing the boundaries. Better still she specialized in hypnosis – altered states of consciousness. ‘Clary get me Doctor Lucy Roberts.’
Hope skittered like ants in his diaphragm. Maybe he could be hypnotized, one session, no meds. Ben looked at the thumbnail photograph, amber eyes, hair the colour of old bronze. So she was beautiful and a rebel. Once she found out his true identity would she fight for him? Maybe she’d feel duty bound to report him. It was just a phobia, for God’s sake. Deep down, he knew it was more than that. He could almost hear Death chortling. The snakes had come to town.
Heading for the shower he called out, ‘Clary get Dr. Roberts on the phone, make an appointment for me to see her today – use an untraceable line – false name. Tell her it’s life or death.’ He smiled, that would ensure she saw him.
As steaming water pounded his skin, Clary’s voice came through the ear implant. ‘Ben, she refuses to see you. Says her computer admin security informed her you were using a false identity and untraceable line. I told her that it was of the utmost urgency, but she said to ring the hospital for an appointment.’
‘Ring again, tell her it’s top level – I have to remain anonymous.’
He scrubbed at his skin with a loofah as the water rinsed off spiced foam. She had to see him – he would not take no for an answer.
‘Ben, she said only a lunatic would take on an untraceable caller without referral or references.’
Rage exploded – the bitch, the mean bitch. Where the hell had that come from? He was renowned for his distant cool manner. His whole make up was one of restrained rationality. But, recently he was experiencing episodes of unbridled anger. Maybe he could check that out with her as well. Of one thing he was sure, he would see her, even if he had to chain her down. Death didn’t wait for an appointment.
Within five minutes, Ben was dressed, a black faux leather jacket over designer jeans and tee shirt, a lock of ebony hair escaping to his forehead. Striding across the room he picked up the cup draining the dregs of cold coffee.
A group of detectives huddled by the perimeter of the crime scene, their clothes rumpled eyes bleary, witness to a hard 12-hour shift. The gaunt expressions showed Ben the ferocity of the crime. No one would be going home today. A young woman stepped forward, her black bob, a shock of tangled chopsticks in gusting winds.
‘Reporting for duty Chief.’
Ben nodded. This was her first day as his temporary partner. No time to ease her into the job. But, Dunwood was a tough kid. That’s why he’d picked her.
Despite the early hour, people milled around the perimeter of the crime scene. Sensing the macabre some shoved their way forward, craning necks to catch of glimpse of whatever lay in the small tent. At least, the media hadn’t arrived yet.
A young constable fresh out of Police Academy, his cheeks flushing a darker red than his hair, stood ready with the protective nano spray to coat their hands, clothes and boots.
Sergeant David Jacobs standing guard by the tent, turned to him, the grooves deepening in his face. ‘Bastard’s demented Chief – just a bit of a girl you know, just a….’ He shrugged his shoulders, grey eyes hardening to slate as he glanced towards the tent.
Death grinned as Ben opened the tent flap to snakes decaying over the tender young body. An angel, her beauty devoured by evil, but not her essence, a seraphic core that withstood evil even in death. His legs trembled slightly, as he knelt to her, angels do die – angels with violet eyes. He bit down on his lower lip, tasting blood and salt from the sea, his face now only centimetres from the decaying reptiles. Phobic fear pounded his body like an iron fist, punching away his breath. God, the tranx weren’t holding. ‘Get on it with it man’ he muttered, ‘get on with it.’
Wiping perspiration from his forehead, Ben glanced at the closed flap of the tent; at least, no one could see him shaking. His hand hovered over her black curls flowing through the dark green fronds of seaweed, his fingers brushing away the petals of a sea anemone suckling on the pallid skin of her chest. He shivered at her mouth a purple shriek of dried blood, felt his muscles tighten at the puncture-like wounds spread across her exquisite face, naked breasts, belly and legs. Someone had loved this girl – held her in his arms. He focused on the row of neat stitches across her flat stomach.
His breath felt like ice on his tongue, his body paralyzed almost, as he glimpsed a shadow rising from the sand, a darkness hovering. So, this is what evil felt like. He glanced over his shoulder, there was nothing; just the watery light glowing through the tent walls. He smelt the fetid odour of death – nothing – no demons gibbering.
Detective Mistral Dunwood, known by all as Misty, paced outside the tent, eyes squinting in the morning light. As the Scene of Crime Officers trudged towards her, she called out, ‘Chief, SOCO’s here, shall I bring them in?’
Ben felt muscles loosening, his breath easier, and his time with the snakes nearly over. He shouted, ‘No, I need to process the body first, keep everyone away until I call.’
As he placed the magnetic I.D. screen card to the victim’s pale wrist, the details tattooed in her skin appeared.
Secretary to Dr. Naomi Pearson.
Resides with Dr. Naomi Pearson.
Apartment 8, 11 Marine Parade,
Area West Sussex, BSX 890.
Date of birth, 21.10.2040.
He whispered, ‘I’m here for you, angel, we’ll find the bastard, he’ll know your pain.’
A stone relic lay wedged under Melanie's foot: the carved body of a woman, half-human half snake, her vulva, an exaggerated size. He turned the figure over studying the chevrons on the stone wings. He recognized this one as a Snake-Bird Goddess. What was the message? This was prehistoric, the Snakebird from the Middle Paleolithic, which was of special interest to Ben. As a youngster, his ambition was to pursue a career in archaeology, but MI8 had thought otherwise. Something familiar whispered through his brain. He shook his head, dismissing it.
He pressed his right temple activating the photonic camera smaller than a human hair, embedded deep in the hypodermis, relaying Melanie’s details instantly to Clary. He would need to study this in private. He then tapped an implanted nano sized cell phone on his wrist, immediately transferring the information to Central Processing.
Stepping outside the tent, he looked over to Dunwood, ‘Detective, arrange for Detective Heller to inform Melanie Wordsworth’s parents. Have a Family Liaison officer go with her. Then send a couple of uniforms over to me.’
Boots slamming down over the pebbles, Misty strode towards a group of uniforms on the perimeter of the lasered security bands. Her Rubenesque curves attracted quite a few male glances, the full breasts straining the silk khaki top, ample buttocks swaying seductively as she moved.
Within seconds, two female officers arrived, the taller one, came forward, her blond frizzled hair covered with a helmet pulled down almost over her eyes, whilst the other, stood back, her box-shaped body braced, lips crunched into a thin line.
Ben scribbled an address as he said, ‘See if Dr. Naomi Pearson is there. If not, come back to me for further instructions.’ He turned to Misty. ‘Take a look detective, prepare yourself, the body is mutilated, stinks in there, just breathe through your mouth.’
Seconds later he heard her gasp, ‘Fuck….no.’ the words ricocheting off polyester walls. She rushed past him, biting down on white knuckles, her stomach throwing the remains of her breakfast on the sand.
Misty stumbled away, wiping her mouth. Nothing had prepared her for this atrocity. She had seen service in the street riots, the knife fights, seen pretty noses sliced with razors, dealt with the broken limbs of the local gangs, but this was out of her league. Frustrated, she struggled with tears for the victim and herself. This was her first day as his partner, and she’d fucking ruined it, acting like some wimp at the initial sight of putrefying snakes covering a ravaged snake bitten body.
Scrubbing the tears away from her cheeks, she watched the pathologist treading carefully over the stones to the tent.