Coming at you with one point twenty-one jigawatts of power, this is Lisa Burton Radio. I’m your host, Lisa the robot girl, and today we’re having our first ever open-mike show.
I brought some old albums, like The Pretenders, and some Joan Jett if we run into a soft patch. So let’s get those phones ringing.
It looks like we have a caller already. “Hello caller, welcome to the show.”
“Show? What show?”
“This is Lisa Burton Radio. What’s your name, please?”
“I’m Mark, in Maintenance. Listen, I know this sounds crazy, but I’m trapped and need your help.”
“Shouldn’t you be calling emergency services? I’m just a radio host.”
“Don’t you think I tried that. The phones are out in the entire building. Maybe your broadcast will reach someone who can help me.”
“Where are you calling from?”
“I broke into the lab. There’s a box here, labeled Trans-Narrative Broadcast. No idea what it does. There’s only one button on it, I pressed it and somehow got you. Now can you help or not?”
“I’ll try. What seems to be the problem, Mark?”
“Please don’t think I’m crazy, but, but, the whole building is filled with these … Creatures.”
“Creatures. Like Aliens?”
“No, nothing like that. They were humans a moment ago. My colleagues. Then they started changing. They’re… Deformed. Like an amputated mass of flesh and metal.”
“Yeah, like monsters.”
“Cyborgs aren’t monsters.”
“Well these are. They kill everyone they meet. Or change them into one of them. I used a maintenance shaft to flee to the lab. I hoped to meet someone, but the lab is empty.”
“Did the cyborgs kill them?”
“No idea. You know, maybe a virus got into the building. They work on some pretty weird stuff around here. Oh God, what do I do?”
“Okay, keep calm. Where are you?”
“Do you know the new AI-controlled building in the city center? The one that just opened up last month?”
“Sorry, haven’t heard of it.”
“Where the hell have you been living lady? Under a–”
“Hooking up my umbilical cable and tracing your call. Got you, the Internet says your building is entirely run by artificial intelligence. Have you tried talking to the building? Maybe it can show you a way out.”
“All the terminals here are busted. Perhaps there’s one outside. No way I’m heading out there, though.”
“The Internet site says the AI was programmed by someone named Nicholas Rossis, have you tried reaching him?”
“I already told you the phones are out. How about you dial the cops instead of asking all these questions? Or, better yet, the Army. Wait, hang on–”
“What? What’s happening, Mark?”
“It’s a chopper. Forget calling the cops. It looks like the entire Police Department is out there. Oh God, they can’t get in.”
“Stay with me. Craig’s texting me. He says your story sounds familiar, and you have to head out.”
“Are you nuts? I’m not leaving. Those things are everywhere.”
“Mark, listen to me. You have to go, right now. The corridor is empty. Head West. You’ll meet the Head of the medical sector and his secretary. You can all use the elevator to get out.”
“I’m not doing that. You’re supposed to use the stairs in case of an emergency.”
“Yeah, if the emergency is an earthquake or fire. The rules change in the case of a mutant hoard attack.”
“Elevator, then what?”
“It looks like the AI has control after that. Should be simple after you reach the elevator.”
“Fine, but if this thing has batteries, I’m taking you with me. I just have to unplug it, and then–”
“Mark? Are you still with us, Mark?”
“Mark?… Sorry listeners, we seem to have lost the connection. If you want to find out what happened to Mark, you can read the whole story over at Nicholas Rossis’ blog.”
Nicholas is a versatile author, and has written three books of short stories. I’ve read two of them and can vouch for them.
This is Nicholas’ newest book. He has it on sale until the end of the month for 99¢. Take advantage of this offer, and pick up your copy here, Honest Fibs.
This is Nicholas’ second book of short stories, and it’s a good one. Check out Infinite Waters.
The Power of Six is the one that’s on sale for 99¢. Don’t miss out on this promotion. This is where Mark’s story is, and after you read it on Nicholas’ blog, come back and pick up your copy.
Nicholas C. Rossis lives to write and does so from his cottage on the edge of a magical forest in Athens, Greece. When not composing epic fantasies or short sci-fi stories, he chats with fans and colleagues, writes blog posts, walks his dog, and enjoys the antics of his baby daughter and two silly cats, all of whom claim his lap as home. His children’s book, Runaway Smile, has won the Gellett Burgess Children’s Book Award.
What readers are saying about Nick’s fantasies:
“Most avid readers still have books from their childhood which they read over and over again. ‘Runaway Smile’ has joined the list.”
“From the very first sentence I realized I was not reading a book, I was going on an adventure.”
For more on Nick or just to chat, visit him on his blog: www.nicholasrossis.me or on: