In the Realm of Death walks a creature with an unpronounceable name. He severs your mortal cord in his realm and you die in yours. Revelations describes him as the fourth horseman of the apocalypse riding his pale horse. The Grim Reaper. The ferryman, he has many names depending on your religion. The truth of the matter is his name cannot be spoken with a human tongue for he was doing his reaping long before humans inhabited this world.
The reaper system has been working since time began, and working perfectly. Until now, the turn of the twenty first century; and the youngest of the three gods of death has decided to change the system. This change could bring on Armageddon. This change could doom humankind. As I’ve already said his name is unpronounceable; I call him Atkinson and you already have had dealings with this beast. You know that feeling when you are falling in your sleep, and you wake just before you hit the ground. That is Atkinson twanging your mortal cord that one day he will cut in his realm and you will die in yours.
As midnight chimes in the new century an uncontrollable beast waits to take control and to bring darkness upon the land and the only thing in it’s way is a police officer, an accountant, a pathologist, a young reporter and Sarah (Known to her alternative friends as Slab girl). Can humans battle angry gods. We shall see.
Let battle commence .
Targeted Age Group:: 18+
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
The inspiration to write this book stemmed from a recurring nightmare that I have had since childhood. Within this nightmare I am locked in a Realm of Death and I continually cut the life cords of human’s causing their death. It is a very vivid dream and I have been able to describe this most unholy place within the book. My other inspiration stems from leaving school classed as an illiterate because I suffer from what is now known as dyslexia. The drive to prove my teachers wrong never went away and in 2012 I laid that particular ghost to rest some 38 years after leaving school.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
Atkinson and the character that John Smith becomes are taken straight from an apocalyptical nightmare of mine. All the other characters I added from my imagination to give depth and a wider story to the book, all of whom are based upon real people. Apart from the simple scull on the cover of this book which is Book one of my Reaper Series all the images you will see on the following five book covers in the series will have the face of someone I personally know. Adding a personality to a character is important and if you have a first hand knowledge of that person who owns it all the better.
Atkinson looked over the rim of his coffee cup at the headlines in the morning paper. ‘Carnage in the City’ was the lead front-page story. The police seemed to think a wild animal was on the loose; this could not be confirmed until two young people, who were found unconscious at the scene, could be interviewed. After another slurp of coffee, he thought maybe he should not have left witnesses; he must have slept too long and was growing sloppy in his old age. Putting this to the back of his mind, as nobody would believe the story that the two witnesses would tell, he left for the office.
On his arrival, he noticed Mr. Braithwaite was looking older than ever as he bid him good morning. “Sad news about Mr. Dewhirst’s passing last night.”
“Yes, it was all quite sudden,” Atkinson said. “He will be missed.”
It had been a long time since he had seen his clerks; he wished them all good morning. Observing the timid-looking new man sitting at his desk, he asked him his name. “Smith,” he nervous reply.
“Yes, that’s right, John Smith. Work well and you will have a long future at Atkinson and Dewhirst. With this in mind the next three days are going to be hectic and I will need you here with me; so you will sleep upstairs in the flat and do not go home is that understood.” With a smile on Atkinson’s face, he said. “Braithwaite, give him the new account”. The old gentleman nodded. Atkinson then strode confidently into his refurbished office. Although still confused this was the best thing that had happened to John Smith all day, because for the life of him, he couldn’t remember were home actually was.
Sitting at the secretary’s desk was a familiar old friend; Tamara had been with him as far back as he could remember. With her long blonde hair, legs to match and a smile as devilishly naughty as if he was seeing her for the first time, Tamara was the best list-maker he had ever worked with, and she loved her job.
“Good morning, my dear,” he said with a grin. She leapt from her chair, wrapped her arms around him, and planted a loving kiss on his lips. Her perfume was intoxicating as it hung in the air. Their clinch lasted a couple of minutes and he reminded himself of her firm, tight bottom with his eager hands. “I think the day should start with a coffee. Do you remember how I like it?” he asked.
“Strong, milky and sweet,” she replied.
It was definitely good to be back, he thought.
He was now fully awake, his senses sharp, and he was ready for work. Out of the Unholy Trinity, he was by far the worst, which meant he was the best. He loved his work with a passion, and did it well. He took great delight in delivering death, whereas his father and his original business partner just did the job, it was time to clock in.
After his coffee, he asked Tamara for his first list. “Here it is, Mr. Atkinson.”
“Thank you, my dear,” he said. He perused his first list.
“It’s dated for three days hence to give you time to adjust,” explained Tamara.
This is how the list works: if a name is on his list that person is destined for his domain, he will pay you a call.
It happens in his eternal night-time, which is the target’s last day on earth. This gives him time to visit everybody, a bit like Father Christmas on Christmas Eve. Of course, the present he delivers isn’t as nice.
The countdown to the end of the 20th century was now into its final stages. Some people were organizing millennium parties; Prince and Robbie Williams were battling for the number one song with ‘1999’ and ‘Millennium’ respectively. A number of people were predicting the world’s computers would crash at midnight and of course to the usual “woe is me” crowd the end was nigh. As for Young John Smith, groundhog twenty-five-year day was starting all over again with his first day at Atkinson and Dewhirst, looking very confused as he was escorted to his desk. Atkinson understood his confusion because in a few days’ time, he would enter Smith’s body and use it on the plane of existence, so Smith would have to get used to that feeling.
During Atkinson’s administration, Smith would be a lot busier than he was during Dewhirst’s. He called Smith into his office and explained his way of doing business; Smith would be in charge of a small account, which only he would work on. This would keep him busy until Dewhirst was ready. Old Dewhirst always took the full twenty-five years back at the main office with his father. They had been together for many millennia, so he milked the time he had off; Atkinson Junior, of course, didn’t mind; he loved his job.
Atkinson’s first list was long; the edges of his mouth turned upward into a small grin as his perusal continued. It was annoying to him that he had to wait so long, but he understood what she meant. “I will enter the domain to acclimatize myself,” he said, slightly dejected. He put the list down on the desk, bid good evening to Tamara, and opened the old door behind his desk; with a familiar creak, it widened slowly into the shrouded, cold arena of death, where he was the only gladiator and victims await their end. That scary night-time between here and there. That dark place at the back of your mind that you hope doesn’t exist. But it does.
Lawyers, priests, judges, doctors, politicians—rich or poor— there is no discrimination; they will be dispatched with callous eagerness. He walks amongst the population and will scratch each name off his list with his long fingernails, then a victim’s journey to the golden staircase or the fiery depths begins, and he will move on to his next victim. One by one, he will scratch names off of his list as he trolls the depths of despair. That gripping feeling as a human clutches his or her chest and falls to his or her knees is Atkinson’s long, skinless fingers squeezing the heart until it bursts. “War, pestilence, and famine- your storybooks describe these as my brothers, but they all reside in me and are at my disposal”. It would be a revelation to call him the grim reaper. Call him what one will, but one will feel his icy cold breath on the back of one’s neck.
Atkinson enjoyed his first night back and was very eager to start work properly. He emerged from the realm of death through the old door behind to his desk and looked at the clock on the wall; it was only ten o’clock. This brought another smile to his contented face.
About the Author:
When I was a small boy I used to make up stories and tell them to my dog, although not a captive audience he would sit and listen to me if I had enough biscuits. But that was at home, my school life was a nightmare. I suffer from what is now known as dyslexia; a term that didn’t exist in my young life. I was regarded as what was then known in a south Leeds as being thick. I couldn’t spell and most of the time my numbers were mixed up or the wrong way round. I had an inability to read properly although I could read the words I could not retain them in thought so when I moved onto the next page I could not remember what I had read the previous page. This continued to be my life through my school years. Being laughed at, having a textbook in English full of red lines going through my spellings and the correct spelling written above it. My Maths book was the same, with x marks at the side of my equations and always ‘see me’ at the bottom of the page. If the teachers had only looked a bit deeper they would have found the answers were right but they were the wrong way round. I had noticed this phenomenon but by the time I noticed the teachers had given up on me; one teacher put on my report card that the pupil was an under achiever and menial tasks would be all he would aspire to. My father disputed this and extracted an apology from him.
As I left school I wanted to go to Art College. As the teachers gave up on me with English and Maths at school I concentrated all my efforts to art; even winning a school competition resulting in a painting by me of Tutankhamen’s death mask hanging in an art gallery for 6 months. Unfortunately my old school problem came back to haunt me as the two elderly gentleman who gave me my interview at Leeds Art College explained to me that although my portfolio was one of the best they had seen in a while, I could not have a place in their College due to my lack of English and Maths qualifications. Returning home on the bus; two students sat in front of me. One of them asked the other if he had worked out what he was going to do, his answer enraged me. ‘I haven’t a clue yet, so Im going to toss around at Art College for a year.’ When I got home I ripped up all 104 paintings, drawings, oils and pastels that were in my folio including Tut’s death mask.
My working life started but I was crushed by my failure to go to College and 10 jobs in my first year did nothing to steady me down. Then came a break, because I had a lot of family working at a factory called Hardin’s pin company on Globe road, I got a job which soon turned into a possible career. After an apprenticeship I became Chief quality control inspector of that famous old company. Unfortunately two years later the company closed down due to a refusal to change from making steal pins to plastic. What followed was the menial work that the teachers promised.
During all this time I was writing stories but once they were finished I would tear them up and throw them away. There was no way I was going to be laughed at as an adult for the same thing as when I was a child.
By now I was 24, I was married with two children when tragedy struck, I was injured playing rugby resulting in me being hospitalised for nearly 4 weeks. This injury was life changing as I could no longer lift heavy objects or do any manual work. For two years while my recovery was taking place, I began Taking photographs using my Pentax S1 camera. This sparked my old creativity so much so that it wasn’t long before I had my own photography business. I ran this business for 10 years. By now digital imagery was upon us also my son’s band was getting so busy that my part time role as band manager turned full time and I wound the photography business down.
The next five years were the best yet I took the band dark Season all over the England, Scotland and two tours of southern Ireland. By the time the five years were through the band had 4 studio albums and a great following but long drives, long hours and the constant rush took its toll. I was clearly tired my 22year marriage was over and a week after my 42 birthday on the 14th of May I suffered a heart attack.
By now personal computers had arrived and my Dad bought me one to give me something to do while I recovered. The word Spell check was an inspiration to me. I could now write and keep my stuff. A dark period of my life began with the loss of the marriage, band and life as I knew it; but it stirred something in me and I started writing dark poetry while I was living on my own and then one day I got an e-mail from a girl in America. A girl who had seen a photo of me on a gothic web site and that photo lead to the E-mail. Soon we were chatting and before long I was in America meeting my soon to be wife. Beverly moved over to England in August 2004 and totally turned me around. She made me believe in myself and gave me the confidence to try and write a book. I launched myself into this book and it’s title was Atkinson’s Administration.
That particular book owes a lot to the gothic circles I keep re-emerging into every now and then, which I have done ever since I first walked down the stairs of the Le Phonographique in Leeds in 1976.
Since ‘Atkinson’s Administration’ was published in 2012 I have added seven more books to my catalogue, ‘Atkinson’s Armageddon, Atkinson’s Adversary’ and ‘Atkinson’s Apprentice’ parts two and three and four of what is now my Reaper series of six books. ‘A Switch in Time’ a time travelling love story and three poetry books called ‘Rhymes, More Rhymes’ and ‘Here We Rhyme Again’. I am working on two books at the moment: ‘Atkinson’s Apocalypse’ (Reaper series part five), and ‘A Woman at the Helm’ a follow up to A Switch in Time. Both set for publication in 2015.
It has been a busy first three years as a full time author but It has been an enjoyable one. This past two years has seen my author page on facebook collected nearly 3,200 likes, and my twitter page over 28K followers and made a once very unhappy young man from South Leeds who couldn’t read or write properly a very happy mature man indeed.
Links to Purchase eBooks
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