A body in a derelict house, experiments in genetics and human cloning, Governmeent cover-ups and blue chip corporate deceit.
Genome is a fast paced, tense scientific thriller that leaves you to wonder which parts are fact and which are fiction. An all too plausible future that may alreay be here.
Morality or money? The choice is not yours to decide.
Full title available from Nospine.com in both download and CD-Rom format
The rain started just as she pulled up outside the house. An icy rain. The low drone of the car engine slowed to nothing, the door opened and she stepped out. One hand on the open door, the other holding an umbrella. She shivered, closed the door, and quickly opened the umbrella above her head. Shoving her free hand firmly into her pocket and pulling her coat tight, to keep out the biting cold, she then readied herself to make a move.
In the darkness the house showed no signs of habitation. The narrow road that shefd just traversed was little more than a mud track and she hastened to guess that its upkeep, or lack of, was due clearly in relation to its use. In fact, as she got closer to the house nothing in its appearance changed that assumption and the very fact that it stood alone without a neighbour for at least a mile gave it a sense of some sort of ominous history in itself. In a word, it was desolate.
The trees that hugged the side of the house were, in contrast, thriving. Not obscuring, but encapsulating the essence of the scene as the untamed branches crept around like a gigantic pair of hands.
She stood for a second in the cold rain and stared up at the house, taking in the view now put before her. Old wooden shutters covered both upstairs and downstairs windows. One of the upstairs shutters hung precariously on a single hinge, waiting to fall. Closer inspection wouldfve shown that the hinges were actually rusted tight together. It was a long time since theyfd been opened to allow entry to the light of day. Tiles were missing from the roof and to add to the feeling that she was lost somewhere in a picture quite unreal, a squeaking pippestrelle flew from behind the house and over her head. It all seemed too cliché to be true.
Shefd left the lights of the car purposely on full beam and the angle that shefd parked meant that the headlamps lit up the pathway that ran from the muddy road to the front of the house. Apart from that the only other light came from the half crescent moon above, which was minimal due to the thick heavy rain clouds that filled the sky.
The stone walkway, which lead to the door, was overgrown with weeds giving the distinct impression that it had seen little or no use for some considerable time. It was greasy from the rain and wet moss grew encroachingly around the edges. She knew that shefd have to be careful with her footing and felt relieved by her choice to wear a pair of flat-soled shoes on this occasion.
Surrounding the grounds was nothing but open fields and sparse woodlands. The long and gangly branches of the trees that were dotted here and there looked painfully twisted to deformity whilst the tall grass of the meadows seemed to be whispering a message as the wind skirted through its long and rough blades. In a strange way the vast openness of the landscape made her feel totally vulnerable and not just to the elements. She had a strong and unsettling feeling that she was being watched, that peering eyes were following her every move.
The rain was now coming down in earnest and the sound of the water lashing down on the top of her umbrella seemed to be amplified a hundredfold. Every movement and step she took along the path seemed to emanate a sound of warning, but she paid no heed to the signs and carried on.
Finally she reached the front door of the house and with slight hesitation and some trepidation she stepped forward and tried the knob. It wobbled like a loose tooth but the door wouldnft budge. The door itself was just as decrepit as the rest of the house and looked like the times that it had seen better days were well and truly in the past. Clearly it would be ready to drop from the softest of kicks, but she didnft want to do that.
She put down the umbrella and leaned it against the wall of the house. Naked now to the conditions, the wind and rain whipped at her face and in a matter of only a few seconds she was wet through, her soaking hair clinging leach-like to her cheeks. Reaching up she felt her way along the top of the doorframe. Just as hefd told her there was a key. She placed it in the hole. It turned with ease. There was a click, audible above the sound of the storm, and the bolt unlocked.
Placing the open palm of her hand on the centre of the door and adding just a little pressure it swung inwards without resistance. She peered inside, her eyes squinting to adjust to the pitch-blackness before her. There was a scuttling noise a few feet away. Probably just rats, she hoped.
No sooner had she put her first nervous step through the rotten and brittle threshold then did she know that shefd made a mistake. There was no solid evidence to explain it, but whatever it was, put it down to sixth sense or womenfs intuition, but she had a very strong feeling that she should not be there. Why she had come in the first place was a question that at this very moment in time she was unable to answer. Shefd believed that this at last was her chance to be free. But now was very well aware that the web of deceit and lies that had preceded would not be coming to an end either now or at any time in the not so far off future.
There was darkness all around. The sun had long since departed and the thick stale black canvass that now stood before her could only be described as unnatural. A strange musty aroma pervaded the atmosphere and the hammering noise of the rain had been replaced by a deathly silence that drowned out any other sound filling her with an almost claustrophobic sense of foreboding. Anyone in his or her right mind would have turned and ran straight out the way theyfd come without a second thought. But it was as if something was holding her, stopping her from escaping from its clutches. She turned to take a look back over her shoulder. A spindly branch from one of the trees was visible at the top of the door. It seemed as if it was following her in, or maybe preventing her escape. There was no going back now; she wasnft given any options.
Tentatively, she carried on putting one foot in front of the other. The feeling that she was being pulled along by some other force than that of her own free will grew stronger, almost enveloping and suffocating her. Each step brought forth a creak from the wooden floor below. Each creak breaking the silence like a sledgehammer through a plate glass window.
In front she could make out shapes that defined the dimensions of her surroundings. She was in a small room, an empty windowless room. It was obvious to her that the room was void of any form of furniture or carpeting due to echoing acoustics that were being flung from wall to wall without obstruction. On the far side she could see a darker rectangle. An open doorway, probably. And thatfs where she seemed to be hypnotically drawn.
Her heart raced with the very thought of her impulsive actions. The adrenalin surging through her body like a steam train out of control. Her hands were clenched but she didnft realise, so overtaken was she with the uncontrollable desire to carry on putting one foot in front of the other. Though to what purpose was she here? She thought shefd known, but the situation had changed now beyond all recognition and she was no longer in control of her own actions.
Her breathing had become sharp as her muscles tightened and she could feel a thin layer of perspiration across her brow. Breathing deeply she tried to calm herself to no avail. Her heart was pounding so loudly she could hear it, deafeningly loud like a pair of enormous old church bells clunking rhythmically in the belfry. The doorway was now within a hands grasp. She reached forward but found herself unable to move. Just a second ago she couldnft stop herself from walking across the room and now her legs were like lead weights stuck firmly to the floor. Her breathing became sharper and she felt like she was physically sweating from every part and pore of her body.
Standing rigid with eyes transfixed on the dark shadows ahead the heartbreaking sound of foot on wood continued behind her.
She was not alone.
This is a great read. It slowly draws you in, making you actually WANT to know what happens next.