UPDATE

I’ve wrapped up both Exsilium, the sequel to Effugium, and a prequel novella called Anshar.

Exsilium is a wild ride, I’ll say that much for it. It’s fast-paced and action-packed, and contains the following things: genocide, primitive humans on reservations hunting cloned dinosaurs with spears, a guy who eats people and adds their bones to his bone necklace, the resurrection of Kryuss by Caldo, who now lives on Galenia, and a giant robot emerging from centuries of inactivity beneath Antarctica stomping its way through Earth’s biggest city, Centralis.

I’ve now broken ground on Exitus, which will follow the same anthological format as the first book in the series. It’ll begin with a story that goes a little something like this:

1994

It was one of those cool, rainy nights I’d always found so perfectly conducive to creativity, and so after bidding an early but very fond farewell to the lovely young actress from Fresno I’d spent the evening with, I slipped into my black ’92 Benz and headed to the lab.

The winding, rainswept roads that led to Orchard B, a secluded facility located deep within the San Gabriel Mountains were treacherous and poorly-maintained, but I knew where all the potholes and dips were and swerved instinctively at the appropriate times.

Now, I’m not much of a writer, but this is a story worth telling–or at least worth writing down for posterity. Maybe someday, someone will get a chance read it, but for now, the shareholders have to be kept in the dark. When TREE is fully operational and commercially viable, they’ll see I was right all along. People won’t want to live in a world without TREE, and those fools will be forced to support it.

At the time of this writing, only a select few know of Orchard B’s existence. Of those few, I am the only one who knows exactly what it is. The others are handsomely paid staff with a history of keeping their mouths shut.

Javier, for example, my security man, he spent twenty years behind bars for his role in a cocaine trafficking operation after refusing to testify against his accomplices in exchange for full immunity. Not once during the entirety of his sentence did he crack, despite relentless DEA harassment. Now that’s the kind of loyalty I look for in an employee. Plus, he knows where to get good coke and pot.

When I pulled up to the gates, he was sitting at full attention in the guard station with both hands on his AK-47, his eyes reflecting my headlights through rain-beaded windows.

He never even brought so much as a book to work for entertainment, as far as I could tell. Didn’t want a TV or a radio. When he was at work, he was working, even if that meant just sitting and staring into the black, rainy night. Guess he’d gotten used to waiting after all those years in the pen.

He stepped out into the downpour and motioned for me to crack my window.

He peered inside, satisfied I was alone in the vehicle and returned to his booth to open the gate.

I pulled in and drove the length of the parking lot to my office complex in back and parked inside of the adjoining garage that I was suddenly very grateful to myself for having built.

I walked down the eerie, dimly lit hallway to my office, dry as a bone even as the rain hammered away at the windows and roof. I was about to place my hand on the panel beside the door to my office when I noticed a faint, flickering light coming from beneath the door, reflecting off the glistening, freshly waxed tile floor.

I knew I hadn’t left my computer on when I’d last left, because I never did, and even if I had, my screensaver was blank.

Someone had either been in my office very recently, or was still in it.

I reached into the holster beneath my jacket and drew the glock I’d taken to carrying with me after being threatened by a former employee years back.

I placed my hand on the door, and it whisked open, revealing a man hunched over my desk, his fingers typing faster than a court reporter’s. He was typing so fast, in fact, that his hands were a blur.

“Put your hands in the air and back away from the computer!”

He turned around, and to my credit, I didn’t drop the gun when I saw his face, even though I’d never been more startled in my life.

It was me.

To be continued in EXITUS…

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