Welcome to the book tour for time-travelling, sci-fi, TimeRipper by D.E. McCluskey! Read on for more details and a chance to win an amazing giveaway– A copy of the book AND a $20 or £20 Amazon gift card!
It is the year 2288, and Earth is reeling from the most horrific terrorist attack it has ever endured. The Quest, a pseudo-religious splinter group, have taken a stance against the Earth Alliance’s authority of the planet. It is down to Youssef Haseem, now the highest-ranking official left in the EA, to build a team to face the threat of total inhalation if he doesn’t stand down and bow to The Quest’s demands. Then the leaders of The Quest disappear, and a legend emerges in the year 1888. But just who is the mysterious stranger stalking and viciously killing women on the streets of Whitechapel, London? A mission is launched! A battle of wits against time itself. A fight to be played out in the present and the past, with the fate of humanity at stake. Legends can happen anytime…
Orbital Platform One
YOUSSEF WAS SAT at his desk in his personal room, surrounded by ten large screens. Each represented an Earth Alliance main region: London, England; Paris, France; New York, USA; Kampala, Uganda; Rio, Brazil; Berlin, Germany; Sydney, Australia; Moscow, Russia; Toronto, Canada; Tehran, Iran.
He was alone, with the doors closed. The anguish within him lay so heavy that he was certain he could feel the physical weight of it crushing him, dragging him down below the surface of reality, of normalcy. He was staring with wide, vacant eyes, shaking his head. Each screen displayed fifty inches of static. His anguish derived from the fact that these were supposed to be ‘never fail’ screens, meaning they should supply, around-the-clock, twenty-four-hour, seven-days-a-week, three-hundred-and-sixty-five-days-a-year, connectivity. They should never display pure static, not with the fail-safes and redundancies in place to keep them live.
Fighting off the cold sweat he could feel creeping over his entire body, he leaned forward and pressed a button on his desk. The image of the woman, the same one who had greeted him on his arrival at the platform, appeared on a small screen. She was smiling. He knew it was a false smile, he could see the same anxiety that he was feeling within her expression. ‘Amanda, I’m going to need someone to find out what is happening at our main offices. I’m getting static on every channel. Surely this can’t be right!’
‘I’m on that right now. We’re not getting anything back from any communication relays so far.’
‘Have we managed to get any channels open between the other Orbital Platforms yet?’ he asked, the waver in his voice giving volume to the levels of despair he was feeling.
‘Only sketchy information is coming through, but we’ve had confirmation that at least seven of them are still functioning, up to now.’ She paused for a few moments, swallowing hard before continuing. ‘Sir, I’m still getting nothing from Earth Alliance headquarters.’
He bowed his head for a moment. He had an inkling about what had happened below but didn’t want to give it a voice, just yet. ‘Have we got any satellite coverage?’
‘Again, sketchy sir,’ Amanda replied. ‘I’ll pass over what we have onto your screen, hang on one moment.’
‘Thank you, Amanda,’ he whispered. Before long, an image winked to life on one of the large screens, thankfully replacing the static of what should have been Berlin with something more pleasant.
The image was of a city. The caption over the top of the picture identified it as Orleans, France. Nothing looked out of place. The populace was moving freely. The Slipstream was fluid, and there were vehicles in the air. Suddenly, the image began to glitch. It became fuzzy, as if the recording equipment was malfunctioning.
It soon became apparent that it wasn’t the equipment that was to blame for the picture quality.
The image began to shake, and Youssef watched, with interest, as the sky began to darken. Dirty, heavy, purple clouds rolled into view, undulating rapidly into the shot. Vicious thunderbolts began to form within the turbulent mass. Within seconds, the thunderbolts escaped the vicinity of the cloud and cascaded downwards, striking the city below. Explosions rocked the picture, and it looked like the power grid of the city had gone offline. The camera compensated for the loss of light by automatically brightening, thus allowing him to see what he needed to see.
He watched as the cloud fell from the sky, enveloping the city below.
It was difficult not to turn away as the cloud continued to roll. If this wasn’t so horrific, it would almost be funny, he thought. The cloud trundled across the city, leaving nothing in its wake. It was the only phrase he could think of to describe what he was witnessing. Nothing in its wake!
Nothing, except dust, sand, and desolation.
Something caught his eye. Quickly he pressed a button on his console and the video stream reversed. He watched again as the thunderbolts struck the ground, causing the explosions. In his head, he relived the moment on the Slipstream track when the explosions hit, the precursor of the purple cloud. He walked over to the screen just as the cloud dropped. He paused the playback. Holding his breath, he raised a hand to touch the image. ‘I know what it is…’ he whispered. His voice wavered as he spoke. He looked at his hand touching the screen and saw that it was shaking, violently. ‘They’re insane,’ he mumbled. ‘I don’t… I can’t believe what they’ve done!’
He turned on his heels and exited the room, disturbing Amanda, who was busy at her desk outside his office. He took a moment to notice her, to notice the level of concentration on her face: it was the same look everyone on the station had. It was the not knowing, the uncertainty for loved ones, and the life that may, or may not, have been taken away. He needed to help these people, but right now, he didn’t know how.
‘I need to brief everyone as soon as possible. Get whoever you can into the main conference room ASAP. This meeting is mandatory. I’m going to need feeds to any Orbital Platforms that we know are functioning, and any locations below we’ve managed to contact.’
‘I’m on it now, sir’ she replied, looking back at her display unit. ‘Sir,’ she continued, a ghost of a smile on her face, Youssef thought it looked proud. ‘I just wanted to inform you that we’ve been in touch with London. It looks like they’ve come through unscathed.’
He raised his head to the ceiling of the room and kissed his hands. ‘Thank Allah for that,’ he whispered before turning back. ‘Now get me that room.’
Giveaway: A copy of the book AND a $20 or £20 Amazon gift card!
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My name id David McCluskey, I am an author from Liverpool in the UK. I have written seven novels so far. TimeRipper is my latest. I started writing about 15 years ago, beginning with short horror stories for children that were written in rhyme. I enlisted the services of an artist and created my very first comic from them. Interesting Tymes is a great seller at comic conventions around the UK, as it offered something that a lot of comics these days don’t, something for the children to get their teeth into (so to speak).
I then began to create more comics, some for children, some for adults, before creating my own graphic novels. Doppelgänger is a dark psychological horror, Olf is a children’s graphic novel about Father Christmas and his reindeer, A Christmas Carol is a rewriting of the original tale, but in rhyme, and DeathDay Presents is an adult comedy based in Hell.
From there I moved on to writing novels. My debut novel The Twelve is still my best seller on Amazon.
I write under the name of D E McCluskey for my adult fiction, and I will be launching a children’s range of novels this year under the name Dave McCluskey (I don’t want children buying some of the other horror based stuff by accident).
I still live in Liverpool with my partner, Lauren, and our children, Grace and Sian. We have a sausage dog called Ted, who likes to leave little sausages around the house, just to remind us why he is a sausage dog.
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