Dare you challenge your most fundamental tenets?
Or if you are brave, impetuous, or just plain foolhardy, then lose yourself to this collection of tales of the unimaginable.
(click here to download FREE ebook or PC-readable file from Smashwords.com)
Look no further, 24:01 One Minute After by Eric Diehl is a well written anthology of Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror short stories that will leave you wanting more. Diehl quickly pulls you into his story worlds then guides you through the lives of his characters then leaves your mind asking the questions "what just happened here" or "I didn't see that coming... I've been mind-freaked!" I have always loved a good mind teaser and found a collection of them right here in this book. I didn't want to abandon any story nor did I want to move ahead to the end. The stories are easy to read can be read in less than an hour which makes them perfect for busy schedules. You should read it, you will not be disappointed.
These stories that Diehl wrote based in our reality and beyond are ready for your enjoyment. Do you feel that pull towards the Twilight Zone? I found myself thinking about some of the stories days after I read them wishing they were a full novel and you may do the same. One of the funniest lines of the week came from his story called "The Roots of Fate" but I will let you read it and guess what that line was and when you do Tweet it to me at @CloeyWorld - get the book, enjoy, and let me know what you think. "
Indie E-Books Author Interview
(scroll down for sample followed by links...)
© 2012 Eric Diehl
The stench of wasting disease and mortality blossomed from the object of their attention, and Doctor Virato wrinkled his nose. “Quite the exhibition, Hoovendorn. Rather gruesome, I would venture.”
The scene might have been lifted from a campy, no-budget horror film. A cage of rats stood at the rear of the laboratory, surrounded by the requisite collection of culture tubes, beakers, potions and gangly apparatus. No back-alley dumpster rats were these, though, as evidenced by pink skin and coats of white fur. Where that was still visible, anyway. Once likely cute, but now with skin sloughing off and putrescent ooze weeping from septic lesions, the creatures huddled together in abject misery.
Virato canted his head and stepped closer, kneeling to study a single rodent. A marked incongruity amid the group, this specimen spun the exercise wheel in a blur of motion, its pink nose bouncing like a coked-up bobble-head. He sniffed and pointed to it. “That one— is it doped on amphetamines? I would surmise that its heart will soon burst.”
Professor Vernon Von Hoovendorn’s apparently-not-so-infectious enthusiasm clouded over with a scowl. “No, no, Virato, you know perfectly well what I’ve been working on. As a matter of fact, you are the first to bear witness to my results!”
Virato raised an eyebrow. “Which would be?”
Hoovendorn pointed to the wheeling rat. “There! Would you diagnose that as the final stage of a terminal cancer?”
Virato leaned further toward the cage, peering through the bottom half of his spectacles, and he harrumphed. “No, I would guess that particular rat is not yet done with this world. Until it blows an artery, that is...”
Hoovendorn hefted a binder of paperwork and waved it triumphantly “So! Finally you concede the merit of my work?”
Rising to his feet, Virato turned a blank expression on his colleague. “Hardly, Professor. A drugged-out rodent lends little credence to your supposed advances in bio-nanotechnology.”
Hoovendorn stabbed a finger toward the antic rat. “How can you deny the evidence that spins before your very eyes?” He thumped the document down. “Examine it, assess the lab-results! All the creatures were injected with equal mega-doses of cancerous cells, all at the same time. All are in the latter stages of terminal disease. All of them,” he beamed, “with the exception of Nanny!”
Virato snorted and extracted a kerchief to dab at his nose. “And how might that be? Your prior attempts have all failed miserably. What is so different now?”
“The difference is that I have further developed, and woven together, my prior techniques. My first attempts sought to deliver chemotherapeutic drugs via nanoparticles, the idea being to invade the cancerous cells in the style of a Trojan Horse. The synthetic polymers successfully delayed the growth of tumors, but the cancer ultimately reasserted itself.”
“Yes, so I recall. I also remember that the duration of the ‘delay’ you speak of bordered on being statistically insignificant.”
Hoovendorn huffed and shook his head, undeterred. “My next efforts focused on a more mechanical means of combating the tumor. I injected nanobots that were programmed to seek out the cancerous growth—to physically separate those cells from healthy tissue, and to then destroy them.” He smiled broadly. “You surely cannot label those experiments ‘statistically insignificant’”.
Virato nodded slightly. “That may be so. But still, you introduced no more than a relatively minor delay before the tumors reestablished themselves and proceeded to kill the test subjects.” He returned Hoovendorn’s smile with a smarmy variant. “I have great difficulty believing that you’ve developed a means of manufacturing functional devices at the atomic level, much less the ability to program them for specific tasks. And even if you had, how long does it take to create such a device, and how many would be required to combat millions of cancer cells?”
Hoovendorn smacked a palm on the tabletop, relishing the moment. “That is an excellent question, and you are looking at the answer.” He gestured toward the whirring rat. “I have accelerated my ability to produce nanobots, but you are correct in suggesting that I cannot manufacture the quantity necessary. So instead,” he waved a hand grandiosely, “I have created a new breed of nanobot. I have created replicators!”
Doctor Virato arched his brow. “Please, Dr. Hoovendorn. You cannot expect me to accept that claim? These so-called replicators, labeled assemblers by some, are the Holy Grail of the fledging science of nanotechnology. And just like the biblical legend, there is no concrete evidence to back it. You would have me believe that you can create devices, at the atomic level, that can in turn recreate themselves?”
Hoovendorn nodded fervently. “You must accept that, and even more. The replicators can not only recreate themselves, they can create dissimilar, purpose-built nanobots!” He swiped a hand down his face, wiping away a sheen of sweat. “At a core level I am a man of faith, Virato, but by my God, what I’ve accomplished feels almost like a sacrilege. Since I have perfected my technique, the replicators that I’ve created border on true sentience.” He leaned in close to Virato, peering intently.
“I believe this to be a first step toward a utopian social order; a development on a greater scale than our species’ transition from nomadic… to agrarian… to industrial. Humans will no longer concern themselves with menial activities. Nanobots will perform every task considered drudgery, and they will in fact be able to create natural resource via the manipulation of matter at the atomic level. They will recreate naturally-occurring materials, and they will create new resources and capabilities, things we have yet to even imagine!” He nodded to himself. “Perhaps this is the divine course that God has guided us toward…”
Virato had taken a step back during Hoovendorn’s fervent declamation, and he now pursed his lips and shook his head. “Those are some very dangerous suppositions that you bandy about, Doctor. Some would consider you a serious threat for a variety of reasons—ideological and political. You might be branded a false prophet, or worse, especially outside the accommodating clime of the University.” He shook his head again. “Professor Hoovendorn… Vernon. I would strongly advise you to not—” Virato broke off mid-sentence, and Hoovendorn followed the path of his widened eyes.
The wheel still spun, slowly now, but the rat was off it. The creature moved awkwardly, its head hanging low, dragging one rear leg as it turned circles within the cage. Its drooping snout caught on the floor grate, but it appeared that its brain did not relay that clue. Mindlessly trudging, the rat leveraged itself into a half-sideways rollover. Hoovendorn gasped as a gush of blood poured from its gaping muzzle and seeped from its ears, and a series of spasms wracked the creature before it froze rigid, eyes wide open.
Virato edged toward the exit.
“Perhaps my words of caution were unnecessary, professor—it would seem that your God is not ready for you to ascend his altar.” He smirked and disappeared out the doorway.
Hoovendorn sank into a chair, staring at the dead rat, feeling as though a fist, squeezing hard, had closed over his heart. His mind spun.
How can this be? The replicators were creating and carrying the chemo-polymers to any remaining lesions, and they were building worker nanobots to seek out and destroy the tumors even as they formed. The bloody, damned rat was strong, even stronger than before the dosing…
Frowning, he pushed to his feet and began to pace a line. This was to be my crowning achievement!
Late afternoon sun slanted in through high dormer windows as Hoovendorn let himself out of the lab. He walked to his office lost in thought, and he threw the deadbolt once inside, leaving all the interior lights switched off. Early evening shadows grew longer as he unlocked the desk and reached to the rear of the lower drawer, withdrawing the bottle of whiskey secreted there. His hands trembled as he poured a dollop, but by the third shot his agitation had begun to settle.