The Dangerous Reality

jason ryback bullet point for blog“Take it easy in future,” came Arvalane’s voice from just beyond my right ear. “That thing’s not meant for you.”

I came to, lying on a mattress in the adjoining cave.

“You’ve been asleep a while, but it’s time you got up. You need to see this.” Arvalane helped me to my feet. “Merry Christmas.”

I saw hundreds of happy childern opening their presents. I watched thousands of awestruck elves gazing from their snow-covered city – like in Sarasin’s book.

My attention turned to other familiar characters. I realised I had a choice to make. New Year’s Eve was amazing. Fireworks everywhere. I saw every spectacular show on Earth. And a few from somewhere else altogether – I couldn’t bring myself to ask.

Next thing I knew I’d been there a week, sitting on the floor, staring at the Infinistra, gazing at one unfolding real life story, then quickly scouring the images for a better one. Right then, I knew it. I had to be a writer. I needed the stories. If I backed out now, I would never forgive myself. I was scared of the danger that still lurked around every corner, but I had no choice.

The conflict could make me a better writer – and give me my own story to relate to my readers. Whatever the danger, I had to use Sarasin’s stories. I had to see more. I was finally earning a living as a writer and I couldn’t stop now.

The Infinistra

jason ryback bullet point for blog

I couldn’t take my eyes off the Infinistra. Stories. Stories everywhere. I flitted eagerly from one image to the next. I saw thousands of normal people going about their lives, all making up bigger pictures of war, crimes and deaths taking place as I watched. I could see inside homes, palaces and government buildings. I watched top secret meetings and briefings.

As I edged from right to left across the Infinistra, the lives I was spying on became more strange, more hidden, more secret. People and organisations working away from the public eye. Murders, fraud, spies and undercover cops.

I couldn’t help myself. I was seeing incredible things. The volumes of non-fiction bestsellers I could write just on what I had seen already. But I had to see more. What else was there? At the far end, I caught glimpses of worlds, castles and battles that should have belonged in fantasy novels and comic books. I watched figures in black cloaks preparing for war. They looked like the figure I saw drop past my window.

Then something else caught my eye. I stepped up and explored the smaller images making up the larger one and those clustered around it. I was watching people I recognised. I knew their descriptions from the manuscripts Sarasin had sent me, from books I had written and worked on.

Suddenly it all dawned on me. Why I was in hiding and why I was being followed. The people I was writing about were real. I was publishing fiction about real people who existed in real, dangerous worlds and would stop at nothing to silence me.

Sarasin Shade

jason ryback bullet point for blog

My eyes were drawn to the far end of the cave. At a glance, it looked like someone staring at a giant screen. As I edged nearer, his unblinking eyes remained fixed on the screen. He was huge. He reclined on what looked like a large beanbag propped against a wall, his legs splayed over the floor. His many chins hung over his neck and sagged on his chest. Massive folds of fat from his arms, his stomach, his backside and his thighs spread over the stone. His skin was blotchy and red. The face was expressionless. It almost looked bored. For the first time, I was seeing my employer: Sarasin Shade.

The screen in front of him was about four metres wide and three metres high. It was framed in a bright blue light. From the side it was micro thin, hanging in the air in front of the cave wall. It was intangible – like a hologram – but the pictures were crystal clear. It was filled with different images, some really big, some tiny. The closer I looked, I could see each large picture was made of hundreds of tiny ones and they all moved. Everything I could see was happening right there and then.

“The Infinistra,” the figure reclining on the floor said, eyes still fixed on the screen. “It shows me everything. The bigger the picture, the more important it is.”

Looking closer, I can see even the tiny pictures are made up of even smaller ones.

“How can you see all of this?” I ask.

“My brain is well-equipped for the job. It used to take everything I had. Now I find it easy. And my eyes are far better than any human’s and they have no blind spot, so I never miss a thing.”

Four Men with Guns

jason ryback bullet point for blogI should have ducked for cover. I should have hidden and hoped ShadowAspect would take care of it. Instead some instinct snapped awake inside me, snarling that I was more than a writer now, that I was a part, a protector of something bigger, which had to be kept safe at all costs.

ShadowAspect vanished. I crouched under the table. The first thing I saw was a silencer on a handgun nose through the door. A dark shape crept in. A second followed.

Without even looking, I could feel their gazes sweep the room over my head like prison spotlights. The first crept right past me. The second headed towards the window. A third slipped in, his gaze aimed at my desk.

The adrenaline pumped. My legs pushed me up from the floor and threw me at the door. My shoulder slammed the door into the arm of the fourth. My fingers clamped around the edge of the door. With all the strength in my arms, shoulders and legs, I smashed it into his face. His gun bounced on the carpet. I dived and fumbled for it. Two silenced gunshots slapped into the wall above my head.

A dark shape dropped from the ceiling. ShadowAspect disarmed the first and kicked the gun from the hand of the second. Kicks and punches flew. Bullets zipped through the room and smashed kitchen cupboards, their contents spilling and shattering on the laminate floor.

I gripped the gun in both hands. Gunman number three stood with his back to me, looking for ShadowAspect, who had disappeared. Now was my chance. My work on Atticus Crayle meant I knew how to squeeze the trigger. But I knew I couldn’t do it.

ShadowAspect materialised in the shadows clinging to the wall by the window. He shot forward and flattened the guy.

He hauled me to my feet and shoved my bag in my hands, then pointed to the door. He was moving awkwardly. His left side was stiff, his arm clutched to his chest.

“You’re hurt,” I whispered.

He pushed me out of my flat, hauled gunman number four inside and shut the door on me.

I had no other choice. I had to run, knowing that wherever I was, Sarasin would find me. And for the first time since I had started running from the supernatural being stalking me, that was a good thing.

 

One Guy in a Hood

jason ryback bullet point for blog

When had I last left my flat? I had no idea. It had been so long since I’d spoken to or had any contact with humankind, I was starting to feel like a different species. What if I wandered out and they saw right through me?

With a hat on under my hood, I ventured out under cover of darkness and lingered among the crowd watching the fireworks. I could feel every passing glance, every curious gaze in my direction. But all they saw was one guy in a hood standing alone in the night.

I ran out of food. Now I would have to leave my home during daylight hours. I showered thoroughly and tried to make myself look normal, certain that everyone out there would be able to see me for who I really was.

I took the long way, wandering around some other shops, beginning to believe that I belonged among humankind again. I could feel every time someone noticed me, but no one found me interesting enough to look at me for more than a second or two.

But when I left the supermarket, my eye was drawn to a car on the opposite side of the street. A pair of eyes inside the car lingered on my face like an itch. Shooting the odd glance, I couldn’t see through the tinted windows. I picked up the pace.

I stopped down the road from my flat and pretended to tie my shoe lace. The same car was parked at the top of the street.

I hurried up to my flat and made sure the door was locked and bolted. I peered through the window. The car was gone.

Of course it was gone. No one was following me. It was just my paranoia. Being Watched will do that to you.

But I’ve discovered the identity of the fantasy being stalking me. I’m writing now. I’m working with him. I’m safe, right?

Book Cover

jason ryback bullet point for blogI woke up slumped over my desk, my ribs pressed against the edge, my face on the keyboard of my laptop. I don’t remember falling asleep. I have no idea how long I slept or how long I had worked since I slept last.

Thinking back to what I remembered, I was coming to the conclusion that both books were pretty much ready, when I noticed something on my desk next to my laptop. It was a note.

“Check your computer.”

I found artwork for the front covers of both books – emailed to me from an account I couldn’t identify. All I knew for sure was that Sarasin Shade agreed with me. They’re ready. It’s nearly time to publish.

atticus book cover right dimensions for kindle (2) Final complete

If Something Happens

jason ryback bullet point for blog

I don’t know how he does it but he’s everywhere – at work, in my home and anywhere in-between. What does he want with me? One thing I know for certain is that he isn’t going away anytime soon.

I sat down at my desk and managed a serious writing session without his presence distracting me, but I’ve read it back and I’m still not happy with my work. I wonder what he thinks about what I write. I know he was watching.

This blog was just going to be about my struggle as a writer, but it has become far more important now. I can’t tell anyone what is happening to me because they would never believe me. But I have to get this out there as soon as possible, so if anything does happen to me, someone else will be able to put the pieces together. Whatever he has planned for me, I think it’s going to be any day now.

Zombie

jason ryback bullet point for blogI was a zombie at work. I think people are starting to notice. My days at this place are numbered. Normally I wouldn’t care, but I can’t think clearly or function well enough to get another job after this one.

It’s happening again

jason ryback bullet point for blog

Maybe this wasn’t such a good idea after all. Why did I think another move would make any difference? I haven’t slept in weeks. I can barely think straight. It’s the same as the last place I lived – and the three before that. I just want a good night sleep. I want to write.

a new start

jason ryback bullet point for blog

It’s been a slow few months. The day job’s been busy. I’ve had to move a few times, which is unfortunate. Just unpacking my things in my new flat now. It’s small, but that works for me in more ways than one. This place is comfortable. It will feed my imagination. I can’t wait to start writing again and get my first book out into the world.