Greg Mitchell's Blog

April 24, 2015

At last the veil of secrecy is lifted.

As a follow-up to last summer's Snakehead Swamp (now available to own and rent on Redbox, I thank you :p), I'm thrilled to announce that my second Syfy Original Movie is headed your way this summer:

ZOMBIE SHARK!

Still not sure how much I can say at this point, except that among its stars are Cassie Steele, Jason London, and Ross Britz (who you'll remember as the mega-jerk Ian in Snakehead Swamp). This is another fine film from the folks at Active Entertainment and is directed by the super-cool Misty Talley.

Zombie Shark comes as part of Syfy's summer lineup to celebrate the release of the latest installment in the blockbuster Sharknado franchise. Not sure yet on the exact date and time that Zombie Shark will be on the prowl, but here's the official press release in regards to Sharknado Week:


SHARKNADO WEEK (PROGRAMMING EVENT)
 

Premieres Saturday, July 18 to Saturday, July 25

The second annual SHARKNADO WEEK will feature seven original movies, including:
 

· Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No!
 

· Sharktopus Vs. Whale Wolf (Roger Corman’s third installment of the ‘Sharktopus’ franchise, starring Casper Van Dien)
 

· 3-Headed Shark Attack (starring Danny Trejo)
 

· Roboshark
 

· Mega Shark Vs. Kolossus (starring Illeana Douglas)
 

· Zombie Shark (starring Jason London)
 

· The world premiere of Lavalantula, starring Steve Guttenberg and fellow Police Academy alums Leslie Easterbrook and Michael Winslow, as they battle lava-breathing tarantulas threatening to destroy Los Angeles.

Be sure to set your DVRs! As always, stay tuned here for updates and the eventual trailer!
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Published on April 24, 2015 16:07 • 10 views

March 16, 2015

Welcome to the final installment of an all-new Rift Jump short story, exclusive to this site. In "Company Man", we explore the origins of the villainous Hooded Man from the original Rift Jump novel--now on sale in the new Revised and Expanded Edition .

Click here to read Part One of our tale.
Click here to read Part Two!
Click here for Part Three.
Click here for Part Four.


PART FIVE


Michael lined up his shot, looking through the rifle scope at the deer that nibbled at grass down range. Keeping perfectly still, hiding in the brush, Michael held in his breath and slowly exhaled, pulling the trigger. A loud clap split the countryside serenity and the deer bolted, only making four or five paces before it collapsed—a fresh hole just behind the shoulder. Michael grinned and stood. The winter cold assaulted his senses and he pulled his dirty and tattered long coat closer, drawing the hood to shadow his eyes from the merciless sun. He slung the rifle over his shoulder by the strap and trudged through the icy river to his felled prey. It was a big one. The biggest one he’d caught all winter. Sara would have her hands full packing the meat, but it was sure to last them for months. He bundled up the deer methodically, preparing to haul it back to his four-wheeler some yards away. Even as he did so, he snickered, remembering those first few months out in the Wilds, learning how to hunt. He’d been so green back then, fearful of his own shadow, only good for scribbling figures for those blasted machines. So long ago… He hadn’t seen a machine since they’d escaped to the Wilds fifteen years ago. His mind drifted back to that old life. Sometimes he felt that another person lived those years. At the time, he’d not been aware how angry he was, but now he saw how easily it had been for Rip to manipulate him—to control him, just as the monitors had done. Michael wondered where Rip was now. What terrible things he was doing across the cosmos. That could have been my life. But it wasn’t. His life was here, in the peace and quiet, with Sara at his side. Without regret, he journeyed over the plains on his old four-wheeler, finally spotting his and Sara’s cottage. He pulled the four-wheeler into the yard with his prize in tow. Blowing hot breath into his hands to warm them, he pushed his way through the front door. He slipped off his hood and called out, “Hey, I’m back.” Sara’s usual reply did not meet him. He stepped into the kitchen, but did not find her. “Sara?” Moved to the next room, their bedroom. Empty, too. He stood still, his heart beginning to pound. “Sara? Where…?” Then he heard whimpering. From above. Jerking his head skyward, he saw Sara pinned to the ceiling by some invisible force. She wept, her long red tresses dangling down past her face. “Sara!” He reached for her, his mind whirring to figure out some way to get her down, when a wave of unseen energy slammed him, shot him across the room, and pinned him in place against the wall. Michael grunted in pain and shock, struggling to move his arms—even his fingers—but he was frozen solid. “Sara!” A voice spoke from somewhere within the shadows of the room, low and calm. “Michael.” He twisted without success, tears building in his eyes. “Who are you? Why are you doing this?” Michael’s panicked eyes darted every which way, trying to find the source of the voice. At last, the shadows parted and a tall, thin man in a black suit with coattails exited. The pale man’s hair was wild and white, as though styled by static electricity. His eyelids were half-closed, his nose upturned in a display of arrogance. He nearly floated along the hard wood floor, coming to a stop before Michael. “Who are you?” Michael demanded. “I believe you once knew an associate of mine. Rip?” Michael swallowed hard. No…please, no. Suddenly, Rip’s words returned to him, after fifteen years: “You can’t run from us! You can’t run from what you are!” “You’re Rip’s Boss,” Michael stuttered. “The one he talked about.” The thin man considered, then shook his head. “I’m more of a…conductor of a symphony. Rip played for me, but we both make music at the behest of a greater muse. Something greater than anything you can imagine. And he is not pleased with you.” The man circled the room, casually eyeing Sara still sobbing on the ceiling. I’ll get you down, Michael thought to her, meeting her terrified eyes. I’ll save you, just like I did before. “You see,” the stranger said, “you’ve stolen from him.” “I didn’t steal anything!” Michael blurted, tears spilling down his weathered face, and he suddenly felt so very old. “Ah, but you have. All that power, churning inside. It doesn’t belong to you, though you’ve certainly profited from it, haven’t you? Leaving your mechanical oppressors, building a life out here for you and your…woman. All made possible by the Rage. And now it’s time to pay up.” Michael gnashed his teeth, trying to will himself to move. “Please, I’ll—I’ll do whatever you want.” “Michael, no,” Sara sobbed. He winced, and continued, “Rip said I was supposed to help make Chaos or something, right? I’ll—I’ll do it. Just, please, don’t hurt Sara.” The thin man faced Michael, tapping his chin. The man’s long face was impassive, devoid of all emotion. Just dead, staring eyes, and a put-upon air about him, as though he had more pressing matters to attend to. “It’s too late for that, Michael,” he stated without mirth. Michael whimpered. “No, please…” “We have a new part for you to play. You see, we have another stray, running rampant across the multiverse, causing us a lot of trouble. Another Michael Morrison, as a matter of fact.” Michael blinked in surprise. The thin man continued, “He, like you, thinks he can escape us, but he’s wrong.” Leveling a disdainful glare on Michael, he finished, “You both are.” He paced again, glancing to Sara on the ceiling. “You will help us find and convince him that to flee from us is futile. We are your fate—the very reason you were created. But to share that truth with him, you must share it from a place of conviction.” The man fixed a cold, unflinching stare on Sara, then lifted a hand and snapped his fingers. Sara screamed, her body making terrible crunching noises. Bones breaking. Michael grunted, trying to pull himself free. “What are you doing? Stop!” The thin man spoke over Sara’s shouts, “You are an instrument, Michael, but one that is out of tune. We have to refine you, to prepare you for my symphony.” Sara continued to scream, her body breaking at the demonic man’s command. Michael wailed and raged against his invisible restraints. “I’ll kill you!” The man only shook his head. “Still out of tune. Come on, Michael. You are a company man. You remember how this game works, or have you forgotten, living out here in the Wilds? You have to be taught your place. You. Will. Heel.” “Sara!” he cried, his heart breaking, a thousand memories of their life together passing before his eyes. But Sara’s screams finally trailed off. Her head hung limp, her body still. The man gave a wave of his hand and Sara collapsed to the bed, lifeless. Dead. Michael wept deep ragged gasps that pained his chest. At last, the man—this sick Maestro of misery—regarded him. “Ah, much better. The song of your pain is beautiful—don’t ever try to hide that. Now you will be able to sing with passion, to spread my music.” Michael bowed his head, weeping, his hood slipping over his features. At once, he was released from his imprisonment and collapsed to all fours. The Maestro moved to him, his polished shoes clicking on the hard wood floor. “Will you submit now?” Michael thought to rebel, to punch and kick and die fighting. He’d been ready to die when he left The Company, to be with Sara. He’d had fire back then, desperate to be away—determined that his life would belong only to him. But, in the end, maybe his father was right. Better to blend in. To obey. If he had, Sara would still be alive. He stood, his hood draping over his eyes, bathing his sight in shadow. “Yes.”
EPILOGUE
The Hooded Man arranged Sara’s body on their bed and softly kissed her forehead. Then he set the house on fire. He stood now, wrapped in his tattered coat and hood, watching the last remnants of his independence burn away. It’d been a good life, the last fifteen years. A good distraction, but a distraction all the same. Rip had tried to tell him that he was meant for more, but he’d refused. Resistance was useless. He understood that now, here at the end, and he would teach it to this other Michael Morrison. You can’t run from who you are. He was a company man, through and through. “Are you ready to leave?” the voice spoke from the shadows behind him. He nodded, not facing the Maestro. “I’m ready.” “Then let us begin the concerto.”
To Be Continued In RIFT JUMP: Revised and Expanded Edition  Now on sale from Genre Experience

Copyright 2015 Greg Mitchell

Thanks for reading, everyone. Go out and get your copy of Rift Jump: Revised and Expanded Edition, and stay tuned for the release of this summer's stunning sequel--Sara's Song!



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Published on March 16, 2015 05:27 • 4 views

March 12, 2015

Welcome to the fourth installment of an all-new Rift Jump short story, exclusive to this site. In "Company Man", we explore the origins of the villainous Hooded Man from the original Rift Jump novel--now on sale in the new Revised and Expanded Edition .

Click here to read Part One of our tale.
Click here to read Part Two!
Click here for Part Three.



PART FOUR


Michael and Sara raced down the hall, pushing workers out of the way. More robots joined in the pursuit, their metal feet clanking on the floor as they gave chase, all the while shouting their commands to halt. Even some of Michael’s co-workers hollered after him, telling him to give up, to give in, to blend in. One man even reached out, anger marring his features. “What do you think you’re doing?” the man snapped. “Have you lost your mind?” Scowling, he wrapped strong arms around Michael, to pin him in place, but Michael jerked wildly, slipping from the grip. In one fluid move he curled his fingers into a fist and punched. He’d never hit a man before, and was struck by how painful it was. Nevertheless, it did the trick. Surprised, the co-worker sprawled to the ground, his nose busted. Michael stood over him, then regarded his shaking hand, exhilaration pumping through his veins. He laughed, elated, until Sara tugged on his arm, grinning as well. “Hurry!” They did. Michael saw a side door up ahead that would take them down the fire escape to the floors below, but as they were about to reach it, anther monitor emerged. It pointed at Michael, its feminine voice deeper and agitated, “STOP!” Michael and Sara slid to a halt as the robots closed in, blocking off every avenue of escape. Sara clung to him, trembling, and Michael worried what their fate would be. At the very least, they would be forever separated from each other, re-stationed in two cities on opposite ends of the country. But the likeliest outcome was that they both would be liquidated for their rebellion. “I’m sorry, Sara,” he shouted over the increasingly loud commands to get on the ground and submit. “Don’t be,” she said, looking into his eyes. “For a moment, we were free. Truly free.” He smiled and realized that, if these were his last moments on Earth, there was only one thing left to do. He leaned down and kissed her. She cupped the back of his hair, pulling him closer, melting into him. Michael wrapped his arms around her, determined to never let her go. A loud crash shattered their kiss. Michael parted from Sara and turned to the glass wall at the far end of the hallway, looking out over the city. Presently, a hovercar sat parked in the hallway, broken glass littering the carpet, and one robot pinned underneath the heavy vehicle. In the cockpit— “Rip!” Rip undid the hatch on the vehicle and stood, crowing. “C’mon, little brother, get a move on, will ya!” Michael laughed out loud, clutched Sara, and made a run for the hovercar. Monitors reached out for him, their cold metal fingers clamping the air around him, missing him by inches. A phalanx of androids swarmed them, but Michael helped Sara into the cockpit as carefully as he could. One droid secured his arm and Michael kicked at it, roaring in rage and adrenaline. He wouldn’t go back! He would be free! He stamped with his foot until the robot let go, its neck spurting sparks where Michael had broken it. He scrambled into the hovercar as Rip pulled away. One of the droids leapt through the broken window, sailing through the air and landing squarely on the hovercar’s hood. Rip floored the engine—somehow he must have rewired the controls and shut off the automatic pilot—and swerved, trying to dislodge their unwanted occupant. “Thing won’t budge!” Rip grunted, jerking the yoke, but unable to lose the mechanical parasite. “You’re gonna have to go out there, dude!” Michael gulped and looked to Rip. “What?” “Go on! You were born for this!” Rip guffawed, then reached up and jettisoned the canopy lid. Hard winds pummeled them and Sara screamed, strapping herself in, clinging to Rip’s tattooed arm as he drove. His long, braided hair whipped in the gusts, and he just howled in laughter. Michael felt like he would vomit, but steeled himself. Ahead, the robot’s fingers punched holes in the hood as the thing pulled itself up slowly. Straining, the mechanical beast reached out with a clawed hand, relentless in its pursuit. “Scribbler Morrison, Michael A,” the woman’s voice remained calm, even as the robot struggled to hold its grip. “Return to your designated station immediately. Failure to comply will result in your liquidation.” “Michael!” Sara squealed. Michael grit his teeth and wobbled to a stand in the cockpit, slammed by winds. “I’m done taking orders!” he roared, the ferocious gale stealing his words, but not his passion. Letting loose a roar, he dove forward onto the speeding car, grappling with the robot. The monitor used its free hand to swat at Michael, and he took a hard slap to the face, but he would not let go. He rose up on the monster, yanking at it, trying to dislodge it, to save Sara. A wild, uncontrollable rage coiled in his gut, swelling to consume every nerve. It powered his fingers as he tightened his hold on the robot’s neck. Wires popped loose, sparks shot out, and Michael grimaced, snarling now. “Die!” he spat, cold inside. So wonderfully cold and numb to pain and fear and worry and doubt. Rip was right. He was a killer. An animal, caged for far too long. He savagely ripped the monitor’s head off and heaved it over the side of the car. Sparks spurted from the neck stump, and the robot’s body twitched, loosened its fingers, and slid off the hovercar like so much useless junk. Michael held onto the car as it sped on, breathing heavy, but cooling. He faced Rip who offered him a hearty thumbs-up. “Always knew you had it in you, Mike!” Michael sneered, feeling powerful—indomitable. Godlike. Then he saw Sara watching him, apprehensive. His rakish grin softened and faded to a frown.
* * *
They rode in silence for the rest of the trip once Michael pulled himself back into the cockpit. At last they left behind the city, finally reaching a lush landscape of green, teeming with real, organic life. The Wilds. Michael and Sara held hands as they soared over the mysterious forest, quietly savoring the sight. Michael only spotted a few homes out here, small cabins hewed from stone and straw, with pleasant smelling aromas wafting from their chimneys. At once he was struck with terror. Where would they live? How would they eat? Surely they’d have to eat animals. The monitors forbade meat, keeping their human drones on a strict vegetarian diet. Michael realized he would have to hunt, to kill. Learn to cook, to clean. Everything. But he would, he was sure of it. With Sara at his side, he could face any obstacle. He’d scared her when he lost control against the monitor, but he wouldn’t lose control again. He would protect her, clothe her, feed her. “You’re safe now,” he told her, patting her knuckles. She warmed, snuggling close. Rip announced, “I think this is far enough,” and settled the hovercar in a soft grassy field. Michael and Sara hopped out of the cockpit and knelt down on their hands and knees, feeling the grass. Sara laughed and tore a handful of it out, holding it under her nose. “Smell it!” she said. “It smells wonderful!” Michael did and agreed. Next, he unstrapped his boots and dug his toes in the grass and soft dirt, finding it cool and refreshing. Rip, meanwhile, just leaned on the car, crossing his arms, a bemused smirk on his whiskered face. With his merriment finished, Michael stood, dusting off his pants, sheepishly. “Got that all out of our system, did we?” Rip asked with a mocking smirk. “Sorry.” Rip shrugged, then looked back to the horizon, shielding his eyes against the light as though he were searching for something. “No problem. Don’t worry—there’s plenty more to see.” He sighed. “Yep, there we go.” Sara stood now, moving closer to Michael, interlocking her fingers with his. They held close, joining Rip in watching as the sheet of paper from yesterday came into view, rustling on the light breeze. At length, the paper touched down on the ground and stilled. Rip presented the paper to Michael with an accomplished bow. “Your chariot awaits.” Michael snickered, then looked to Sara. “What?” Rip rolled his eyes. “You think I busted you out of that joint just so you and Red, here, could go live in some cave out here in the boonies? Ha, you got bigger things ahead of you, Mike.” Michael released Sara’s hand, inching closer to the paper, captivated by it; by the colors that danced on its surface: The rainbow from his dreams. In his heart, he heard the whispers, the call, urging him to step into the paper, to join the light and find his destiny. “What is it?” he whispered, tempted to run and dive right into the paper, if such a ridiculous notion were possible. In a suddenly reverent tone, Rip said, “Just the door, Mike. To take you to all the worlds in the multiverse. See, this dimension of yours—as crappy as it is—is only one in a billion. You think the Wilds is impressive? Wait ‘til you visit the underside of the Mountain of Or! You just touch the cave walls, and they sing.” Michael took a step back, holding Sara’s hand again. “B-But, I’m not ready. I can’t.” Rip rubbed his eyes, and groaned. “I was afraid of this. Look, dude, this life ain’t for you. I told you that. My Boss has chosen you. We’ve got things to do, little brother. You think those robots were bad? That’s just the tip of the iceberg! The whole multiverse is nothing but order and rigidity, instituted by a God whose only desire is to bend you to his way of thinkin’.” Rip spread his hands wide, clenching them into fists. “You and me, we were made to rebel, brother. To tear down the rules—the walls keeping the worlds separated. Chaos, little brother! We gotta make some beautiful Chaos! Set the captives free!” Michael frowned. In his soul, Rip’s words made perfect sense, as though he’d always been waiting for this day, secretly desiring someone to say these terrible things to him. But he feared their meaning and the reality of what he was being called to do. He shook his head, feeling dizzy. “No, I can’t. I’m not… It’s too much. I want to stay here.” He held Sara closer. “With her. We’re just getting started. We’ve been dreaming of this our whole lives.” Rip quieted, his eyes narrowing. Darkening. “Don’t do this, Mike,” he said, his voice like gravel. “You’ll regret it. See, my Boss? He don’t take too kindly to rejection. He’s got a lot invested in you. You felt it, dangling on that car up above the city, wrasslin’ with that robot. That’s Rage, little brother. It’s a gift; makes you strong. But it comes with obligations. You take off like a stray, he’s gonna tighten the leash. Make you heel. And it won’t be pretty.” Michael swallowed hard, his throat dry. Shaking, he extended a hand for Rip to shake. “I-I appreciate everything you’ve done, but my answer’s ‘no’.” Rip eyed the offered hand, then snarled, touching the tip of his tongue to a canine in concentration. He grumbled and reached behind his jeans, retrieving a crude, homemade knife with a lion’s head carved in the handle. “I didn’t wanna have to do this, Mike. You Morrisons were always my favorite.” Michael’s eyes widened as Rip lunged with the blade. Cold hate bloomed in his stomach, injecting into every muscle, every nerve. Instantly, Michael danced out of the way of the knife, catching Rip’s blade hand and turning it up. Rip loosed an anguished grunt, and dropped the knife. Michael glanced to Sara. “Get in! Quick!” Sara nodded and scurried to the hovercar, climbing into the cockpit. “We’ll find you!” Rip hollered. “We’ll find her!” Rip twirled with his free hand, slugging Michael hard in the stomach. Michael doubled over in a cough as Rip groped through the tall grass, grabbing his knife. As soon as he retrieved it, Michael hurried and swung a leg, catching Rip in the side. The older man cried out and toppled over onto the soft earth. Michael hurried to the car and got in. He powered the engines to life, the thrust motors pressing down on the grass as the hovercar lifted off the ground. Rip stood, out of breath, holding his side with a pained expression. “You can’t run from us!” he shouted over the roar of the wind, waving the blade at the air. “You can’t run from what you are!” Michael grimaced at the man. “Watch me.” They left Rip behind, ascending into the sky. Sara looked to Michael, small and fearful. “Where will we go now?” He smiled at her. “Wherever we want.”


Copyright 2015 Greg Mitchell

Tune in on Monday, March 16 for the conclusion to the Hooded Man's tale!
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Published on March 12, 2015 04:00 • 4 views

March 9, 2015

Welcome to the third installment of an all-new Rift Jump short story, exclusive to this site. In "Company Man", we explore the origins of the villainous Hooded Man from the original Rift Jump novel--now on sale in the new Revised and Expanded Edition .

Click here to read Part One of our tale.
Click here to read Part Two!



PART THREE


Michael stepped aside as Rip entered his apartment. Rip whistled, looking around. “This is it?” Michael took a moment to consider his sparse living quarters. Like his cubicle, everything was white or soft grey, with no sharp edges or textured surfaces. The robots didn’t allow for personal effects: pictures, mementos, posters. A drone like Michael had to be ready to leave one apartment for an identical one halfway across the continent without hesitation or time spent gathering unnecessary items. “This is home,” Michael shrugged, not finding the place all that bad. He hurried into the adjoining kitchenette. “Can I get you a drink?” “You got beer?” Michael blinked. “Is that alcohol? Alcohol is—” “Prohibited,” Rip grumbled, waving him off. “Yeah, yeah.” Spotting Michael’s small couch, Rip flopped down on it, dust pluming off his filthy clothes, and propped muddy boots on the nearby coffee table. Michael gasped. Rip saw him. “Let me guess. No feet on the furniture?” “You’re leaving a mess.” Rip chuckled. “That’s me. Leaving a mess wherever I go.” Michael poured himself a drink of purified water, rich in nutrients, and gaped at his strange visitor. He was about to ask something—though he had no clue where to begin—when Rip said, “Let me ask you a question, Mike. You like living here?” Michael shrugged. “Where else would I live?” “Damn, man,” he huffed, and Michael’s heart hitched at the curse word. “This whole planet sucks. And trust me, I’ve been to some crappers before, but this ranks right up there on the scale of dimensions that are better off getting blacked out. I’ve only been here a couple hours, and this place is already about to drive me nuts.” Michael furrowed his brow. “A couple hours?” Rip stood, stretching his arms with a crack. “Looking for you, dude!” He clapped his calloused hands, then stretched his arms over his head. “But now I’ve found ya. So let’s get out of here, huh? This place gives me the creeps.” Michael set his drink down on the counter as Rip gestured for the door. “I’d say pack your stuff,” the old man said with a snort, “But I guess you ain’t got none to pack.” “Wait, what? Where are we going?” Rip narrowed his eyes. “You mean, you don’t know? Not a clue?” Michael balked. “I…” “You been getting the dreams, right? The one with all the colors, man.” Michael stiffened, his mind snapping back to a thousand dreams of rainbow-colored lights, calling to him, urging him to follow. “The dreams… The light!” “Yep. That’s the one. Well, let’s just say I’m here to make your dreams come true. There are more worlds than these, little brother. It’s my job to take you to them.” Michael stepped closer, breathing harder. “Why me?” “Who’s to say? Just the way the Boss wants it.” “Who’s your Boss?” Rip snarled and waved his hand. “Look, we’ll talk more about that later. Right now, all you gotta know is that you ain’t meant for this place, brother.” The shaggy man stood and observed the tidy apartment with obvious disdain, sticking a tongue to a canine. “This place is like a cage. You’re a tiger, Mike. A killer tiger, and it’s high time you got out and stretched your legs.” A mad glint crossed his beady eyes. “It’s time you hunt.” Michael shook his head, shrinking back into his kitchenette. “I don’t know what… That’s not me.” He gestured to the four walls that hemmed him in place. “This is my home. It’s all I’ve got. It’s all…” He slumped. “It’s all I’ve ever known.” Rip took two wide steps forward, invading Michael’s personal space. A rage flashed across the old man’s bearded face, and Michael feared an attack. Instead, the wiry man railed, “Ain’t you sick of this place? Come on, dude, you gotta feel it, all bottled up inside! You got a dark thinginside you, Mike. Those blasted machines—they’ve taken that away from you, but you gotta get it back!” Michael shook his head, more furiously. “No. This is—” Rip sent a backhand whizzing through the air, catching Michael hard on the chin. Dazed, for he’d never been hit before, Michael staggered back, his senses tingling. And something else tingled, too. A fury churned in his gut and his hands trembled. Rip barked, “Did you like that? Lets you know you’re really alive. Felt good, didn’t it?” Michael reached to his lip, touched, and pulled back a spot of red. He looked down to his chest, where another drop dotted his white shirt—the only spot of color on him, in his clothes, his room, his world. Beautiful red, just like Sara’s hair. He grinned. “Yeah. Yeah, it kinda did.” Rip reached out and Michael raised his hands in defense, but the wild man just wrapped tightly coiled arms around him and gave him a squeeze. “Ha, ha! Welcome to the fold, little brother!” Rip parted and gave Michael’s arms a strong pat. Michael beamed with pride.
* * *
Michael’s smile didn’t leave him, but remained fixed to his face the next day. Rip had stayed a while longer, talking at length about cryptic things like far off adventures and worlds to explore. Whenever Michael asked him directly about his origins and purpose, Rip dodged his questions. The best Michael could guess was that Rip was from the Wilds, and had every intention of taking Michael with him when he returned. They talked well into the night—well past curfew—until Michael had finally fallen asleep. He’d dreamt that night of other worlds, other cities, where the robots didn’t rule, where men and women walked freely at all hours of day and night. Where men and women met and fell in love. Everywhere in those dreams, the rainbow trailed like a ribbon, worming its way through every world, whispering promises to him of self-discovery and release. When Michael woke that morning, Rip was long gone. He instantly missed the old man, but didn’t fear. He knew Rip would be back. Michael caught a little more sleep during the ride to the tower, but still felt the effects of his long night. His co-workers remained stiff and attentive, but he slouched through the day, his writing sluggish, his mind distracted. His eye continued to drift toward his window and the city outside—and beyond that, the Wilds. His home, where he belonged. The grin broadened and he felt tears moisten the corners of his eyes. Whirring motors, a clank of mechanized feet stopping. A female voice asked, “Scribbler Morrison, Michael A. Detected increase in heartbeat, rise in adrenaline levels, and slight endorphin boost. Do you require assistance?” He faced the large photoreceptor on the robot, holding its cold gaze. “No, ma’am. I’m doing just fine. How are youtoday?” Every pencil squeaked to a halt. The oxygen left the room and Michael realized that everyone within hearing distance had stopped to stare at him, mouths hanging open in shock and alarm. Michael smirked, looking to the robot monitor again, waiting for an answer. The robot stood frozen, no doubt processing the question. After a moment, the pleasant female voice replied, “Invalid request. Please rephrase.” Michael set down his pencil and stood, straightening. It was then he realized how much taller he was than these androids. A few gasps accompanied his rise to his feet. He felt his co-workers’ eyes on him, sensed their fear. He was breaking the rules, changing the routine. It felt great. Resisting a laugh, he propped his hands on his waist, sucking in a deep breath. “Too tough? Howabout this one, then? Howabout you get off my back?” One woman nearby yelped and clamped a hand over her open mouth. Michael sneered, stepping closer to the robot, towering over it now. “I’m tired of you looking over my shoulder every minute of every day. You regulate what I eat, and when I eat it, when I sleep, when I wake up, who I can and cannot  be friends with—and I’m damn tired of it!” More cries from the crowd of spectators, a crowd that continued to grow as others across the room caught onto the scene. The robot merely leaned back, its single lens expanding and contracting with a comical buzzing noise as its processing unit worked to keep up with the confrontation. “Vulgar vernacular is not tolerated, Scribbler Morrison, Michael A. This is your first warning. After your second warning, you face a reprimand.” Michael laughed in the robot’s lens, exhilarated. Then he glimpsed three more monitors making a beeline his way. He blanched, his throat suddenly parched. Swallowing hard, he felt beads of sweat emerging on his forehead. His co-workers leaned over into other cubicles, whispering about him, murmuring about what had caused him to snap. Fear gripped him, strangling his throat, and Michael thought to apologize. To return to his numbers. To blend in. But he was done with that. Michael let loose a roar and lunged, shoving the robot into the others as they approached. Someone screamed at his outburst, and he raced for the door, yanking papers off desks and hurling them in the air. “Yaaah!” he exclaimed like an idiot, flinging pencils and garbage bins every which way, trashing the place as he made his dramatic exit. Behind him, the four robots worked to untangle their gangly limbs and give pursuit. He exited the room, looking either side in the hallway, trying to plot his next move. A chime sounded overhead and he anticipated a tower-wide announcement that they had a drone on the loose. Much to his amusement, though, he realized it was the lunch chime. Doors opened all along the hall as the conveyors started up. Drones exited in tidy rows, as usual, suddenly gawking at Michael as he stood still, sweating and out of breath. “Cease and desist all efforts to escape,” the monotone female voice commanded. He whipped his head about, spotting the droids shuffling out of the office, trying to navigate through the lunch lines to get to him. He grinned savagely. “Bring it on! Come and get me!” He let loose a throaty laugh, but gulped when he heard his name called. He turned and saw Sara amidst the countless drones, her bright red tresses separating her from the sea of white. “Sara!” She gaped at him, just as stunned as the others, but the hint of a smile upturned the corners of her lips. “What are you doing?” Michael shoved his way toward her and grabbed her hand, pulling her out of line. “Come on! We’re getting out of here!” She caught her breath, looking at him with wide fearful eyes. Fearful, but excited. “But-but where would we go?” “To the Wilds!” He laughed. Sara anxiously looked to either side as her co-workers paused to watch her reaction, frowning in disapproval. From behind, Michael heard the robots gaining ground. He took Sara’s other hand, giving them a gentle squeeze. “Sara,” he spoke softly. “Don’t you want to see what’s out there?” She lowered her head. The robots’ warnings grew louder. Closer. Michael knew he needed to run, but he couldn’t—not without her. At last she held his gaze, a devilish smile coming to life on her porcelain face. “I do,” she said, then giggled. He giggled, too, like a fool, and wrapped his arms around her, leading her away. “Come on!”

Copyright 2015 Greg Mitchell

Tune in Thursday, March 12 for the next installment!
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Published on March 09, 2015 04:00 • 2 views

March 5, 2015

Welcome to the second installment of an all-new Rift Jump short story, exclusive to this site. In "Company Man", we explore the origins of the villainous Hooded Man from the original Rift Jump novel--now on sale in the new Revised and Expanded Edition .

Click here to read Part One of our tale.



PART TWO


A pleasant chime sounded once and the Scribblers vacated their cubicles in an orderly fashion, following the conveyor belt down to the cafeteria. Michael remained in his spot in line, collecting his pressed and recycled paper tray filled with his allotted rations of organic foods and purified water. No one spoke as they awaited their turns, quietly taking their arranged meals and finding their assigned tables. More robot monitors patrolled, doing their best to remain gentle observers and not interfere with the humans’ movement.Lunchtime was the different divisions’ only time to see anyone from another floor. The robots believed that humans were more productive when their brains received the stimuli of seeing a different face for a limited amount of time. Their lunch break was timed so that they had just enough interaction with their co-workers to promote a healthier outlook on their lot in life—but not too much time, lest they grow lax in socializing.Michael navigated through the narrow aisles, moving for his table. Already, he spotted her vibrant red tresses, and his heart quickened.Sara Theresea was already seated, eating her lunch. In a sea of white and light grey, her beautiful hair served as a startling splash of color. The robots discouraged color, perhaps because they were unable to fully appreciate the concept themselves, leaving the world drained of life and light. In Michael’s dreams, he saw brilliant rainbow-colored light, reaching out to him, entreating him to draw near.In the waking world, Sara was his rainbow.“Hi,” he greeted exuberantly, sitting across from her.She brightened, her wide blue eyes coming alive as though an internal switch had been flipped. “Hi. How are you?”“Fine. You?”“Good.”He nodded sheepishly, then began to eat. The two of them exchanged pleasantries, careful not to get too animated in their conversation. The robot monitors didn’t like that and were sure to break up any conversation they deemed too lively and unproductive. Nevertheless, Michael enjoyed his short time with Sara over the years and felt she did, as well. At least, he hoped she did. He and Sara both—everyone in their particular building, in fact—had been designated by The Company at birth to remain celibate. Their genetic structure had even been tampered with en utero, sterilizing them. Breeders were kept far away from drones like him. Children remained with their parents in familial camps until they reached the age of sixteen, then they were shuttled off to whatever branch The Company had selected for them. All parental contact was severed at that time, for fear emotional attachment would be detrimental to production. Michael hadn’t seen or spoken to either his mother or father in two decades. Every once in a while he thought of them, remembered his father’s reprimand to blend in, to not stand out.Not much of a legacy to leave one’s son, but it was the only legacy The Company allowed.“I saw something strange today,” Michael said after finishing a bite.Sara leaned closer, her face glowing with excitement. “Was it that paper outside earlier?”“Yes!”They leaned even closer together over their food, speaking in low conspiratorial tones, attracting the disapproving glares of their co-workers. “What do you think it was?” Sara asked in a whisper.Michael shrugged, still smiling. “I don’t know. Maybe it was like an advertisement for something? I saw moving pictures on it.”A chime indicated lunchtime was over. Immediately, the Scribblers gathered their trays and shuffled off to re-form in their lines. Michael and Sara, though, continued to sit for a moment more, their smiles slowly fading.“Well,” Sara began, a melancholy resignation in her voice, “I guess I’ll see you tomorrow. Same place, same time?”Michael offered a smile, but failed to make it convincing. “Yeah.”They looked to each other, and Michael drank in the sight, knowing it would have to last him a day. At last, Sara waved and stood, joining her co-workers. Michael rose to his feet, watching her leave, those bright red tresses trailing after her.“Move it, Morrison,” one of his fellow Scribblers bellowed behind him. Michael gnashed his teeth in frustration, but quickly submitted, heading back to work.
* * *
Michael reclined in his single-seater car as it hovered on auto-pilot through the transit tubes. He watched the other drones returning home on pre-designated paths programmed into their vehicles. As they often did, his thoughts drifted to Sara, and he wondered where her vehicle was taking her. They’d been seated across from each other for ten years, but never spoke long enough to discuss where they lived. In fact, all he knew about her was that she worked on the thirty-sixth floor.That, and she was very pretty.But beauty didn’t factor into it. They were drones, not meant to be together. Feeling a rush of anger, he formed a fist before the familiar woman’s voice that was programmed into all of the machines soothingly chided him from the console. “Adrenaline levels spiking. Do you require assistance, Scribbler Morrison, Michael A?”He sighed. “No, ma’am.”Michael released his fist and cooled, closing his eyes for the rest of the trip home.
* * *
When he arrived at his apartment, Michael stepped out of his vehicle and watched as the compartment in the street opened, swallowing the car into its parking space until tomorrow morning when he was scheduled to leave for work.The Company had a fixed curfew in place in order to guarantee that their human charges achieved the maximum amount of sleep. Michael still had a couple hours before then that he could call his own, though vehicle travel was strictly prohibited in that time, to lessen the chances of an automobile accident—though that seemed unlikely since the machines operated all vehicles by remote, but Michael had learned to stop asking questions.Seth was likely coming over tonight for dinner. Michael saw his younger brother an average of four nights a week. They had another, elder brother Edward, but he had been reassigned to another city, and, per the robots’ orders, communication was entirely severed. Michael enjoyed spending time with Seth, though recognized that, at a moment’s notice, they could be separated by work—or, worse, liquidated if they proved unproductive. Michael had learned early in his life that everything was transitory, and it was best not to invest himself in anything or anyone.Another lesson from his father.He stepped up to the building door, ready to ascend to his apartment, when he heard someone clearing his throat, off to his side. Mildly curious, he looked up and beheld a most strange sight. He saw a man, but unlike any he’d ever seen before. The older man wore dark clothes, worn and dirtied pants and boots, with a slick black jacket. Under the jacket, the man was shirtless, his tanned skin adorned in mysterious markings—tattoos—that seemed to twist and swirl in the light. The man’s white hair and beard were long and braided and, in his cracked lips, he held a cigarette.The man was the living antithesis of The Company’s parameters for acceptable dress.Michael balked, sweat beading on his brow. “Um…hello.”The man cracked a grin, revealing extended canines. “Hey, there, Mike.”Michael looked behind him, to his side, then faced the strange man again. “Come again? Do I know you?”“Hell, little brother,” the man guffawed, stepping closer. “We’re like family!”“Cursing is prohibited,” Michael stammered, bewildered. Then he rambled, “So is smoking, long hair for males, tattoos, and exposing your skin.”The man stopped cold, clenched the cigarette in his yellow-stained teeth, and held out his hands, as if in surrender. “Ya got me, dude. I’m a regular law breaker.”Michael wasn’t sure what to do, his hand still hovering inches from the pad to unlock his apartment building. The man surprised him by jutting out a gnarled hand for him to shake. “Name’s Rip.”Michael eyed the hand suspiciously, wondering what germs might lurk there. Hesitantly, he reached out and shook the proffered hand. “Michael Morrison.”Rip chuckled. “Don’t you mean Scribbler Morrison, Michael A? Damn, little brother, what’d they do to you? Turned you into a regular pencil neck.”Michael shot worried glances over his shoulder, fearful that a monitor would be along at any moment, and catch him talking to this rugged fellow. Why is here? Why is he talking to me? Where did he come from?Then the realization struck. Michael exclaimed, “A-Are you from the Wilds?”Michael had only heard of the Wilds in his youth—a place far from the cities and the robot overseers, where trees and grass and animals still populated the Earth. According to fables that children tell each other, some humans actually left behind The Company and ventured out to the Wilds, to forge their own paths.It was his most favorite story. Needless to say, his father quashed such tales.Over the years, Michael had all-but forgotten about those bygone fairy tales, but if they were true—if a place like the Wilds really existed—then this smelly, dirty man before him must hail from there.Rip paused for a moment, then shrugged. “You could say that.”Excited now, Michael stepped closer. “Do you want to come in?” Now Rip sneered. “Thought you’d never ask.”
Copyright 2015

Come back Monday, March 9 for the third installment!
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Published on March 05, 2015 04:00 • 17 views

March 2, 2015

Hey, all. Last week saw the re-release of my multidimensional romance science fiction thriller extravaganza Rift Jump--now in a Revised and Expanded Edition. To help promote the release, I've got an exclusive never-before-seen Rift Jump short story--just for you, for free. For the next couple weeks, I'll post a new installment every Monday and Thursday, and I invite you to read along and gain some insight into the mysterious "Hooded Man" character that is found in the pages of Rift Jump.

As a Historian's Note, this story takes place before the events in Rift Jump, so consider this a nice little sampler of the ride in store for you in the book. And, as always, you can pick up the Revised and Expanded Edition in print and Kindle!

 
 PART ONE 

The Hooded Man stuck his hands in the deep pockets of his torn and dirtied long coat to combat the wintry wind. His hood kept his ears warm while concealing his upper facial features. He felt lost in the hood, cold and alone. Good. It was good to feel that way, isolated with his thoughts, his misery.He watched the log cabin burn out there in the Wilds, breathing in the thick smoke, watching as black swirls billowed high into the gray-cast skies. The flames of the makeshift funeral pyre warmed his face, but only made his heart icier. Meaner. It’s better this way. I can’t run from who I am anymore.All he had now were memories of that old life, and the events that led him here.
* * *
Fifteen Years Ago
Michael Morrison had been with The Company since he turned sixteen, the same as his peers. In the beginning, it had been slightly frightening, trying to please his robotic masters, producing his daily quota efficiently. But as with everyone in the cities, he’d been conditioned since birth to take his place in a white-washed cubicle with every other man and woman. At his father’s request, he’d done his best to not be exceptional at anything. Instinct told him to strive for greatness, but his father—a wise man—told him the machines didn’t like excellence, as it only served to make The Company uneven. No, it was better for all involved to remain as mundane—as average—as possible.Michael had rebuffed his father’s wishes for the longest time—the pride of youth talking—but now, at age thirty-six, he saw the value in blending in. The robots favored monochromatic. Everything, from the buildings, to the furniture, even down to the humans’ trim nylon long sleeve turtleneck suits, was stark white or slightly variant shades of light grey. Glancing across the aisles at all the other quiet and dutifully working Scribblers in the meticulously arranged row of cubicles, it was near impossible to distinguish identity.That day he sat at his own cubicle on the fortieth floor, busily scratching down the afternoon’s numbers. The entire floor was a perfect hush, the same as every other floor in the expanse of glass towers that glimmered along the carefully constructed cityscape. Michael glanced out his window and absently wondered what the other towers were working on. Indeed, he had very little understanding of what even the floors above and below him did all day. But the silent understanding persisted amongst everyone in The Company that they didn’t need to know. One simply had to fulfill his or her part of the operation and turn figures in on time.Only the soft scraping of pencils on paper disturbed the inhuman quiet. That, and the purring of motors as the robot overseers patrolled the aisles, their faces occupied only by a single fish-eye lens that contracted, zoomed, and observed the humans’ work.Michael concentrated on the world beyond, his mind drifting to thoughts of the past, before the machines ruled. By now, that bygone era was relegated to myth, but he wondered what it might be like to own your life—to be whoever you wanted to be.Up ahead, he noticed something fluttering on the breeze, passing by his window. Leaning closer, he squinted against the sunlight reflecting off the glass towers. It looked…well, he didn’t know what it was. A piece of paper? Litter was strictly forbidden and heavily policed. How odd that, perhaps, this one sheet of paper had escaped the notice of all the robots in the city, to soar unhindered on the wind.Free.The paper twirled in his sight, impossibly halting in the breeze, dancing there right before his eyes, as if putting on a private show for him. He marveled as he saw images within the paper, like a holomovie. He strained his sight, trying to decipher the flickering visions, wondering what they showed. What they meant.Then, just as strangely as the paper paused, it took off again, riding another gust of wind, out of his sight. Michael nearly stood to follow it with his eyes, fascinated by the odd thing, but stopped short. He sensed one of the machines approaching his work space and stiffened, turning away from his daydreaming look out the window, resuming his work and trying to maintain his composure.The robot stopped, its servos whirring. From chest speakers, a sickeningly pleasant female voice spoke, “Scribbler Morrison, Michael, A. Sensors indicate an increase in visual stimuli, resulting in decrease of motor functions. Do you require assistance?”“No, ma’am,” he muttered, his heart picking up. He huddled even more over his desk, trying to concentrate on his work.“Detecting agitated heart rate.”“I-I’m fine,” he stammered. “Just…it won’t happen again.”The robot inclined its head, that large bulbous eye regarding him coldly. “Continue function.”“Yes, ma’am.”Internal gears turned and the robot carried on, continuing its patrol of the cubicles. Michael felt a flush of heat warm his cheeks, and saw the Scribbler across the aisle shoot him a scolding look.Michael frowned and continued his function.But his mind remained on that strange sheet of paper…

Copyright 2015 Greg Mitchell

See you on Thursday for Part Two!
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Published on March 02, 2015 04:00 • 4 views

February 26, 2015


Today's the day! Available now in print and ebook is the brand-new Rift Jump: Revised and Expanded Edition !

This new edition has been updated with expanded scenes, some all new scenes, deeper insights, and a richer mythology--all leading up to this summer's big release of Rift Jump, Volume 2: Sara's Song!

As part of our relaunch, starting Monday I'll be posting an all-new Rift Jump serialized story right here on this very blog--for free, yo! Be sure to come back for that.

In the meantime, read more about the Expanded Edition right here, and head out to buy your copy today! Available in printKindle, and Smashwords.

ABOUT THE BOOK: A sinister threat is growing in the void between realities, and Michael Morrison has been recruited to stop it. Ripped from his own violent life, he is sent rift jumping to other worlds, seeking out the agents of the Dark and putting them to an end by any means necessary. After rescuing restless daydreamer Sara Theresea, Michael brings her along as he battles Civil War spaceships, sea serpents, superpowered humans, and even his own duplicate from a parallel timeline. But the darkness Michael fights is growing within him too, calling him to some dark destiny. If he is to change his fate, he must learn to love and let the Man in the Stetson guide him to become the warrior of the Light he was always meant to be.
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Published on February 26, 2015 11:31 • 12 views

February 10, 2015


Writer and pal TW Johnson (check out his weird and creepy new ebook Othveria ) has interviewed me over at his site, Phasmafic about my latest release HITMEN: Four Tales of Magick, Monsters, and Murder . It's a pretty intense interview, delving into my musings on horror, my relationship with self-publishing, but mostly about some of the more "controversial" elements of HITMEN (at least from a Christian perspective). I asked TW not to pull any punches and I think the dialogue that came out of the exchange is an important one to have. Not sure we came up with any answers, but it certainly produced some food for thought.

Head over there to check out the interview and, while you're at it, why don't you order a copy of HITMEN ? It's available in print and on Kindle.
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Published on February 10, 2015 15:56 • 6 views

February 4, 2015

2015 is shaping up to be a big year for me. In case you haven't heard the news, I've got my second Syfy Original Movie set to premiere this summer (more on that as we get closer to the debut). Not only that, this will be the year that I wrap up my sci-fi/action adventure Rift Jump series.

As you may or may not know, Rift Jump began as a series of stories I wrote in high school. Over the years, I added to the mythology, never intending to publish; it was simply something that amused me. But, back in 2012, I began collecting those old stories and giving them a fresh polish and the first volume of Rift Jump was published by Splashdown Darkwater.

Once I made the decision to publish Rift Jump, I knew it was going to be a two-parter. I had a very definite story that I wanted to tell, featuring my star-crossed inter-dimensional lovers, Michael and Sara. Later this year, I'll be releasing Rift Jump, Volume 2: Sara's Song (check out the sweet cover art by Thomas Mason here).

Leading up to that release will be a few surprises: the first being today's big announcement--In a few weeks, I will be re-releasing the first Rift Jump novel under my own banner, Genre Experience, and it will be a Revised and Expanded Edition! Here's your first look at the (slightly altered) cover:


"So why a new edition?" you may ask. I'm generally hesitant to re-visit my work, but in the writing of Sara's Song, I found myself taking some twists and turns I had not anticipated when writing the first book three years ago. Looking back, there were some things I wished I'd built up a little bit more in that original tale in view of what was to come in the concluding installment of Michael and Sara's journey across the multiverse. Grace (at Splashdown Darkwater) and I had been talking about moving Rift Jump over to my own line (that began with last year's release of HITMEN: Four Tales of Magick, Monsters, and Murde r) and I decided that, if I were going to be making the move and creating a new edition anyway, now would be the perfect time to go in and make those subtle--but important--changes to the original book.

So what's in the new edition?  A few brand-new scenes, some expanded scenes, some expanded characters, and a richer mythology that should excite fans of The Coming Evil Trilogy ... Also, the new edition will include a new introduction written by me, and conclude with an excerpt from the upcoming Sara's Song. I'm confident that, together, these two books will make a very complimentary coupling--much like the heroes whose story they tell.

What's NOT in the new edition? Sadly, to make room for the new material--and to streamline the overall product--I'm losing the appendices found in the original edition: namely the completely unmodified original "Rift Jump" short story I wrote way back in high school (it's hysterically awful :)), and bittersweetly, the humorous send-up "Rift Jump: Ninjas" written by my superbly talented wife Meghan. Cutting these was a hard decision and not made lightly, but ultimately, I feel, the right one.

All is not lost: that first edition of Rift Jump, complete with those rare short stories, will be available for just a little while longer. At least a week or so--but likely longer, until the release of the new edition. So consider this your final chance to pick up the soon-to-be-out-of-print first edition of Rift Jump from Splashdown Darkwater. You can get it in paperback or Kindle while the gettin's good.

As for the Revised and Expanded Edition, stay tuned here for the big release as well as a couple of surprises--all leading up to the end of an era (at least for me), Rift Jump, Volume 2: Sara's Song !

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Published on February 04, 2015 04:00 • 5 views

February 3, 2015

Got a big announcement tomorrow--here's a sneak peek:

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Published on February 03, 2015 04:00 • 9 views