Book Reviews

Your creeping and crumbling old TombKeeper is always on the lookout for fresh and exciting fiction for beady-eyed TombRats to read, and tonight I have a pair of outstanding genre hybrids that will delight practically everyone! Enjoy!


The year is 1895 and the outpost town of Dry Gulch, Arizona has been invaded by demon gunslingers. What to do? Why, you enlist the services of Sheriff Clay Obsidian, a broken-down drunk with a legendary past who just happens to be the owner of a demon revolver. With the help of a lowly newspaper writer who is chronicling the sheriff's life, it's time for a bloody showdown in the dusty streets of Dry Gulch in this white-knuckle tale of horror in the Old West, "Demon Revolver". In "The Woodsman, Part II", Mr. Gehlert follows up his popular Amazon Shorts story, "The Woodsman", with a stark tale of a sheriff and a Vietnam vet who join forces to destroy a child-mauling monster that hails from the 19th century. In "The Ghost Bride", ghastly horror imperils courtly romance when a pair of lovers finds themselves in a fight for their lives against a demon that threatens to destroy them both. Finally, Tammy Gehlert offers a heartfelt ode to her husband's QUIVER werewolf series with her own story titled "Quivering Dreams" featuring characters from Lupine Valley, where anything can happen and does, as Mrs. Gehlert ably demonstrates with surprising twist ending. DEMON REVOLVER AND OTHER TALES OF TERROR is a shuddersome collection of fast paced, innovative and entertaining tales of horror.


I'm a big fan of multi-genre novels, and Mr. Gehlert sweeps the genres I enjoy most with his horror/space opera/disaster thriller/action novel EUROPA: RISE OF THE CARNELIANS. And who wouldn't love a tale that opens with this line: For the past ten years, Nolan Drake was a constant bug in the government's ass. I liked Nolan Drake from the get-go. Drake is a volcano expert whose warnings that the Yellowstone super volcano is preparing to explode prompts the President of the United States to organize a make-or-break mission to the sixth moon of Jupiter, Europa, to shelter the future of humanity. Europa has an iron core, an oxygen-based atmosphere, and colonization is already in progress when Commander Thaddeus Kasper is selected to head the urgent mission to Europa that has been undertaken to save the human race when Yellowstone erupts. But there's something unexpected occurring on Jupiter's sixth moon; a dormant alien race is waking beneath the icy surface of Europa, and Commander Kasper is leading a fleet of ships owned by a shifty billionaire with a secret agenda that might compromise the entire mission. And the aliens beneath the ice--the Carnelians--aren't friendly. Behind Kasper's ship, the Abagail, Earth's days are numbered as Yellowstone's super volcano rumbles and roils. Looming before the Abagail is a last-ditch battle for the survival of mankind on Jupiter's moon, Europa. EUROPA: RISE OF THE CARNELIANS is a rousing kick-off to a trilogy featuring the swashbuckling space adventures of Commander Thaddeus Kasper and his memorable crew. Get in on the action and order the first novel in what promises to be another killer series by Jason Gehlert.


Commander Thaddeus Kaspar

COMMANDER THADDEUS KASPAR - Stubborn, cocky, rugged,
divorced 40ish pilot of the Abagail. Very courageous, a battler, won’t
leave any man behind


“Mr. Blakely?” Thaddeus’s Russian accent was very thick, but
Adrian had no trouble understanding it. .
“Are you sure you and your friend aren’t enjoying fine American
drink and women at the local bar down the street?” Adrian coolly
accessed the weather page that linked him to every possible country
in the world. He needed the highly evolved laptop to prepare his
shipments for delivery across the globe. He scanned the data with
a sharp eye. Russia was underneath the heavy fist of a damaging
snowstorm. Kaspar was indeed telling the truth; a major snowstorm
had crippled Russia’s main airports and roadways. Travel was at a
“How late will you be?” Adrian asked.
“I will be landing at J.F.K. in under an hour.”
“I will send someone to pick you up.”
“I’m brining Dr. Philene Fanchon with me, as well.”
“Dumb luck, as you American’s would say. We ran into each
other and Ulysses starting talking to her.”
“She was at a science convention of some sort here at one of
our highly regarded museums,” Kaspar replied.”I am not really into
that sort of thing, but Ulysses tends to be. He enjoys keeping a pulse
on the science conventions and the like.”
“Enough about your personal life, I need the three of you here
as soon as possible.” Adrian flipped the cell phone closed without
waiting for a reply.

Adrian Blakely

ADRIAN BLAKELY - A shadowy billionaire. Egocentric. Without
his money and technology, Earth would be doomed. Late 40’s, failing
health due to a rare genetic disease. Does not care about crossing the
line between good/evil to gain what he seeks.


Adrian Blakely walked around his large office, intermittently
gazing out of the deluxe sized window, and staring down at the
people scattered across the courtyard below.
A sharp dressed man, he had a taste for only the best in life.
Like moths drawn to the proverbial flame. His thoughts randomly
skipped about inside his cramped brain.
He was always a step ahead of the masses. It was through his
complete control of modern technological advances that the general
public survived. Adrian was a very intelligent man, using his wits
and fortune to build and monopolize the corner on manufacturing.
His business was the sole distributor of steel, metal, building
supplies, pharmaceuticals, and anything else one could think of in
the manufacturing industry. His vast fortune led Adrian into a fancy
lifestyle that included fast cars, boats, and luxurious homes spread
throughout North America. Even his diamond cuff links were culled
from the finest stones, and his suits supplied by top-notch tailors.
His unlimited cash flow had helped recharge NASA’s dying space
exploration program. The newest ships, Europa’s colonization, and
the brand new space station all came from Adrian’s deep pockets.
NASA owed their recovery to Adrian Blakely.
A self-made billionaire, at forty-three he had serious health
concerns of late that had sidetracked his latest project. But now, as all
the pieces started to come together, Adrian wanted to make a legacy
for his name, beyond the corporate world. Adrian had decided not
only to finance the president’s Europa colonization campaign, but
also spearhead the construction of a series of mammoth spaceships
that would transport the president’s handpicked men and women to
the planet’s frozen moon.
Adrian had garnered a close relationship with President Forsythe.
Not only on a business spectrum, since Adrian’s companies supplied
the world with 3/8 of their needs, but also as a personal friend.
Adrian heard his telecom jingling, which meant he had an
incoming call. Adrian had canceled all his planned meetings for the
day to work on a personal project. Walking slowly, he finally took
refuge in the leather chair and pressed the button to see who was
calling. President Forsythe’s haggard face stared back at him.
“Adrian? How are you today?” the president asked.
“You’re looking a bit tired,” Forsythe observed.
“It must be the camera,” Adrian snorted.”It’s probably dusty.”
“Yeah, it could be. I thought you had the best of the best over
“You didn’t just call me for chit-chat, did you?” Adrian could
read his old friend like a book.
“How’s our girl Abagail doing?”
“She’s doing well. Almost ready for her big trip.”
“We’re going to have to move the trip up. My contact in
Yellowstone has indicated that the volcano could be ready to erupt
very soon.”
“Not a problem.”
“I have a favor to ask of you, Adrian.” Forsythe lowered those
normally unwavering eyes and looked at his hands. Nolan knew
something was up.
“Name it.”
“I’m emailing over a list to you.”
“What for?” Adrian adjusted his thin wired frames, studying the
man in the screen.
“I want you to personally recruit these people for your trip.”
“I only take my own.” Adrian replied angrily.
“I’m the president, and this is the list I’ve prepared.”
“It’s my ship, Jackie,” Adrian snapped.”This is my dance.”
“I asked you to build a ship for me, not to fly it. That’s what
pilots are for.”
“You’re being a prick, sir.”
“Just do this for me, Adrian. These are hard-working people.
I will need the best on that spaceship if we are to make this trip a
“Yeah, yeah. I understand. I’m ready for the list.”
“Good. I’m sending it now.”
“Thank you for letting me in on this,” Adrian said.
“Ever since your dishonorable discharge from the war, your
dream of serving as an astronaut became a moot point.”
“Do you have to remind me?”
“Every day.”
“That’s what friends are for?” Adrian glanced around the
room.”I’m excited about this trip. I’ve made Abby the best of her
fleet.””According to NASA, it will take eight years to reach Europa.”
Forsythe’s eyes rolled, his face shifting inside the screen.
Adrian’s face twisted with a wily grin.”I’ve added a personal
touch that should cut that time in half.”
“Let’s say I have the best engineers working for me,” Adrian
responded coolly.”I have some parlor tricks up my sleeve.”
“Interesting,” Forsythe acknowledged.”I’m looking at week’s
end for departure.”
“I’m on it. I’ll take my jet.”
“That’s it; woo them with your fame and fortune.”
“Is there any other way?” Adrian knew his ego ruled him, but
considered that to be his greatest asset.”My dashing good looks
should also sway them to join the cause.”
“You’re a character in every sense of the word.” Forsythe’s
picture started to fade to black.”I will contact you after my State of
Union address.”
“I’m sure you will.” Adrian clicked open the attachment Forsythe
sent him and poured over the contents.
Adrian sat back to think through his next plan of action.

Dwight "Bud" Stephens

mid 60’s, silver hair, rugged face, a born leader, leading military
officer of Athena’s crew.


Nolan Drake took the ticket and tapped it against the arm rest
of the wheelchair while he peered down at the video player. His ran
his fingernails across the sleek screen, prompting the video to begin
A man’s grizzled image surfaced with refined clarity. Nolan
immediately recognized the aging hero. Sergeant Stephens walked
across the underground facility somewhere in the southern
hemisphere. Nolan guessed it was the South Pole based on his
previous conversation with Senator Perry. “We are preparing the
Apollo for her maiden voyage,” Stephen’s stern, yet friendly voice
began the introduction. “We are about to embark on a mission to
save civilization on orders from the President himself. I am one
of the commanding officers on the ship, and our ship’s manifest
is swelling with engineers, teachers, doctors, scientists, and their
families, along with several military and NASA personnel.”
Nolan traced his fingernail over the screen fast-forwarding the
speech to the end.
Chatter in the background distracted Stephens for a brief
moment. “For those of you who have perished in Yellowstone’s
wake, we offer a moment of silence,” he paused, “for those of
you lucky enough to have the last ticket to New Earth, I offer you
Godspeed and safe travels.”
Nolan glanced down at the ticket:

The Athena
Departure: January 2, 7 pm
Arturo Pratt Naval Base, Antarctica
Destination: New Earth


Gillian Shea

GILLIAN "JILL” SHEA - Brilliant geologist/scientist, tough and
strict, Irish with red hair, in her early 30’s.

Gillian Shea
Times Square
New York City
2:45 PM
Thousands of resident New Yorkers stood below the gigantic
screen, watching their president well into his lengthy State of The
Union address. Their eyes were cemented to his presence on the
screen. Watching. Waiting. They hung on to every word, clinging to
each like a newborn to a blanket.
Gillian Shea, a fiery thirty-year-old Irish geologist, stood cramped
inside the gathering crowd. A swift wind blew her short red hair and
danced just below her ears. Her fingers adjusted small wire framed
glasses that rested slightly above an inadequate nose. Her desire to
purchase contacts had become a faded reality once she found out
how irregular her corneas had become. Clutched over her shoulder,
a sturdy black knapsack that harbored her vitals: laptop, journals,
and plenty of vitamin water, along with some health bars for hunger
Gillian unconsciously measured the landscape around her,
mentally contemplating the layers of limestone and shale under her
feet . Even New York had its hidden dangers. Knowing she was the
best geologist in the country, if not the world, didn’t help her shake
this annoying habit. Nor did her frequent visits to the Oval Office
that had her fellow colleagues drooling in envy. She smiled at the
thought and focused on Forsythe’s haggard face. The president had
always welcomed her into his good graces, ever since Yellowstone
had begun her slow ascent to imminent eruption. Annihilation made
strange bedfellows.
The graying clouds hovered over the infamous Times Square,
ready to burst with snowflakes. Gillian adjusted her hat, pulling it
taut over her ears.
"Do you believe this jackoff?” A man coarsely nudged into
Gillian’s personal space.
“Excuse me?” She threw him a dirty look and pounded the cold
out of her shoulders to increase the distance between them.
“This guy blows smoke. Yellowstone’s ready to blow? C’mon.
Blow me, that’s what I say.” The abrasive man extended his middle
finger high above his head and waved in the direction of the television
“This is serious, buddy,” Gillian scrunched her face at the man’s
intense alcoholic laden breath.”When she erupts, there will be
nothing left on this planet.”
“When you erupt,” he snorted back. His pupils widened and he
gave her a perverse grin.”Is that an invitation?”
Gillian cocked a small fist and chucked it directly into the
man’s belly, sending him spiraling towards the hard, cold pavement.
His body lay strewn over the chipped white crosswalk, as several
members of the crowd scrambled over him, not caring one iota if
they stepped on him.
“Now, that’s grit,” said a man on the other side of the sprawled
Gillian sized him up in one glance and squared her shoulders.”You
want some, too?” she snapped. She looked directly into his shifty,
black eyes, waiting for him to be like the other abrasive man. But
his cane deterred her for a moment, as a feeling of empathy swept
over her, reminding her of her college years when a drunk driver had
left her unable to walk for several months. The man closed the gap
between them, and Gillian noticed his aging good looks, black hair,
and definitive limp. It was him, it had to be.
“No.” The man waved his hands in a meager defense.”I come
in peace.”
“Peace? What exactly do you want from me?” Gillian noticed
the crowd expanding around them.
“I am in need of your assistance with a very urgent matter.” His
words were short and efficient.
Gillian and Adrian were caught in between a steady wave of
people, as they pushed and prodded their way through. It started to
make normal conversation quite difficult.
A scattering of snow danced through the cold air, sticking to
Gillian’s glasses. “I didn’t catch your name,” she said.
“My name is Adrian Blakely, and the president sent me.”
“That’s the dumbest come on line ever,” Gillian replied as she
wiped off the snow, and peeked at the president’s address. She
continued to search her mind for information on Adrian.
“Seriously.” Adrian leaned on his brace.”The fate of the world
hangs in the balance.”
“Where do you get these lines? I hope you kept the receipt.”
Gillian began to head north through the suffocating crowd.
She heard Adrian’s muffled voice behind her as several people
filled the void between them..”Gillian Shea!” he hollered above the
noisy crowd.
How did he know her name? She turned her head out of
a curiosity and caught a glimpse of several people brushing past
Adrian, knocking him off balance and sending him to ground. The
crowd trampled over the helpless man, stepping on his metal brace.
Not one stopped with a helpful hand.
Shit, I can’t leave him on the ground. Gillian coached herself to
go back and help Adrian.
“Here,” she said, extending her hand.
“Thank you.” Adrian took hold and pulled himself up, resting
again on the battered brace.
“How did you know my name?”
“President Forsythe sent me to find you.”
Gillian was bewildered at the answer.”Out here in Times
“I was actually headed to your offices, but happened to stumble
on you in the streets instead.” Adrian looked up at the screen.”If he’s
right, we don’t have enough time.”
“I agree.”
“Please take my card.” Adrian handed her a small black and gold
business card.
“Blakely Aeronautics? That name sounds familiar. Have you
ever spoken at Tulane University?
“Yeah, several years ago. Why, where you there?”
“Yes. I was a student at the time and found your talents very
“Be there tonight around 7 PM.” He tapped the card, and Gillian
tightened her grip on it, whistling it out of his fingers aggressively.
She didn’t know why.
“I don’t understand,” she said.
“Your talents are needed for this special mission of the
Gillian didn’t know whether or not believe him. Adrian’s eyes
looked stern and sympathetic at the same time. She scowled at
him.”Talents?” Gillian wasn’t sure where Adrian was going with this.
She started to understand Adrian’s sly nature.
“You are one of the leading world-renowned geologists,
correct?” Adrian asked with a raise of his eyebrow.
“Yes, I am.” Gillian placed the card into her jacket pocket.
“Well then, you are just the person I need. Just the person the
president needs for this important task.”
“I’ll bite,” Gillian replied as she stared Adrian down.”Don’t fuck
with me. I land a nasty uppercut.”
“Oh, I know. I saw you lay that guy out before.” Adrian turned
around and began his slow exit from the crowd.
“Okay then. 7:00.”
Gillian’s lower lip grew into a giddy smile. Her mind got the best
of her. A special mission from the president.
Then it hit her. Of course, Adrian Blakely, billionaire. The
richest man in the world. Gillian remembered full well his standing
in American society. His wealth and crude monopolistic practices
earned Adrian a coveted place inside the president’s close circle,
and one of Adrian’s side projects supported geological science. A
true love of Gillian’s. Was that why the president had tagged her? If
anyone could sponsor such a task, it would be Adrian Blakely.
A gust of wind stirred, twirling the snow around the gigantic
television screen. A collection of snowflakes floated across President
Forsythe’s face as he wrapped up his State of the Union address.

Lt. Matthew Shaw

MATTHEW SHAW - Lieutenant of the Amity, 50’s, rugged, boorish,
expert hunter..

Lieutenant Shaw raced down the corridors of the Abagail,
wondering if he had the Carnelians hot on his trail. He occasionally
looked back and found nothing but darkness staring back at him.
Taking a deep breath, Shaw made it back to the hangar’s large
doors and slipped through them. He backed into the space station’s
Kaspar was waiting for Shaw, greeting him with a hearty shove
to the shoulder. “Is he...?”
“Ulysses saved our lives.” Shaw picked off his gloves using his
teeth. He then took off his goggles, letting them hang loosely around
his neck. “Did you find the other pair of goggles?”
“Yeah,” Kaspar replied. “I have them right here in my pocket.”
“Good. We will need them once the power drains.” Shaw glanced
at the flickering lights. “It’s only a matter of hours at this point.”
“How did Ulysses save our lives?” Kaspar asked, wondering
what sort of heroic deed the wily engineer had performed.
“He was working on the mainframe, when the horde swarmed
over his body.” Shaw recounted. “I was too far back to lend an
immediate hand. Ulysses waved over to me to shoot down the
electrical wires high above his head. After they were severed, he
let the Carnelian’s swarm over his body, before he unleashed the
electrical surge through his entire body, and theirs. Needless to
say, Ulysses has successfully taken out a large number. I personally
believe they were hiding in the engine room because it was dark. The
rest of the ship still has some lighting.”
“Now what?”
“Captain Brody had some C-4 and dynamite left over from our
last mission. We had to blow through some of the moon’s stubborn
rocks during our last surface expedition in order to retrieve some
elements for study.”
“That’s good news. Where are they?”
“If I had to guess, back in his locker. He had mentioned it earlier
this month, before everything went into the shitter.”
“Then what?” Kaspar asked. “You said there was a main
generator room?”
“Yeah, right by the second hangar bay. The main generator runs
vertically down the space station, linking both floors. There are three
emergency gliders in the docking bay on the far end of the space
station on the lower level. Reggie found them one night during his
restless night walks. He was very hyper during his stay. I think he was
starting to go stir crazy inside these walls.”
“I will gather the others. You set the explosives in the generator
room. We will blow this thing from the inside out,” Kaspar
“Your banking on the fact that Ulysses has fixed the Abagail’s
engine problem.” Shaw fidgeted about as if he were searching for
something. “By the way where’s our friend?”
“Adrian? Don’t know. Probably with the others.”
“Listen. If your friend has been compromised in any way, once
the lights go out, he will be in his glory. We will need these goggles
to keep pace with him.”
“Gillian doesn’t have a pair.”
“Then I suggest you keep her close to you,” Shaw
“I know Ulysses fixed the problem. I have faith.”
“Stupid question,” Shaw said.
“If Adrian has the alien’s powers, he will be definitely looking to
get off this station and head out for another place to live.”
“I can bet he used Ulysses to fix the ship for him. You will be
needed to fly the thing and, your lady friend will survive because
Adrian will want to prolong his species.”
“That sounds quite complex. Where does that leave you,
“I’m not leaving you behind.”
“Listen, I’m your only chance here. I’ll lure Adrian away from
you so you can get the crew back to the ship and out of here. I’ll
blow this thing sky high along with Adrian.”
“What if it goes wrong?”
“Then we all die. By the looks of it, we are all headed down that
road anyway.”
“How do we keep in contact?”
“There are some spare radios back in the control room. I’ll take
one and you take one. We will keep in constant communication. Say,
every fifteen minutes?”
“Agreed. Let’s do this,” Kaspar said firmly shaking Shaw’s
“Don’t come back for me, no matter what.” Shaw stared directly
into the commander’s eyes. “No matter what. Repeat it for me.”
“No matter what,” Kaspar said reluctantly.
“We will need to boost our weapons. Let’s go raid the artillery
Shaw and Kaspar headed down the corridor to stock up on
weapons and to grab up the communication devices.



CARNELIAN’S - A carnivorous, ravenous race found throughout
the galaxy and on Jupiter’s moon Europa.

This piece is shown through Brody's Journal

Sun October 3

Everything has gone horribly wrong. Over the last few months we’ve made
some excellent strides in warming Europa’s icy core. However, in the process
we’ve encountered some sort of vicious alien species.
We’ve found several different forms of this blue organism that we found
During one of her missions, Ellen accidentally brought one back with her,
and it has since escaped into the dark recesses of the station.
Hooper and Shaw have seen many of these things escaping from underneath
the icy crust, literally swarming over the surface.
At first glance, these things seem to thrive in this type of climate and
environment. Shaw told me he has seen these organisms crawl, run, climb and
kill one another in vicious attacks. There are small ones, medium ones, and the
adult sized, which stand at about two feet tall.
Shaw also said they have some sort of antenna on their heads which seems
to be the centerpiece of their existence. He seems to think that these aliens can
communicate using the antenna.
I will maintain a close eye on these creatures.

Sun October 31

Reggie was attacked in the control room today by a swarm of these creatures.
They found their way through the air ducts and a small crack in one of the doors
in the lower level of the station. We are compromised and have started to arm
ourselves from the artillery room as a defensive measure.
Reggie was left for dead, his body a bloody mess from the vicious attack.
Shaw and I couldn’t get to him in time. These creatures had the entire room
flooded and our firepower wasn’t sufficient enough to eliminate the threat.
Shaw and I decided to divide and conquer.
I have been unable to locate Ellen. I fear she might have been attacked
somewhere else inside the station.
We have also lost contact with Earth and our own ship is beyond repair
at this point in time. We simply didn’t have enough time to work on her. Our
engineer was a part of the other team on the Amity. He died on the voyage out
here after his body failed from the frozen stasis.
We are stranded.

Sun November 14

It’s gotten worse here. I haven’t been out of my quarters in over a week. I
don’t even know if the rest of my team is alive. I am a prisoner inside my own
mind, as well as my quarters.
I’ve thought about blowing up the whole damn station, but I don’t have
enough manpower to pull it off. My explosives are in my locker, but I fear it is
too dangerous to attempt. These creatures have swarmed the station.
I have been studying them, trying to find their weakness.
They seem to prefer the dark, as they have chewed through many of the
electrical lines, blanketing most of the station in darkness. Only the main
corridor, and the medical and science labs are still well lit. However, the entire
lower level is blacked out.
The smaller ones seem to prefer to crawl and slink along. The larger ones
cause most of the damage. They are quick, violent, and cunning. They can run,
walk, crawl, even rolling themselves up and tumbling along the floor.
I was attacked in the hall the other day by the smaller worm-like organisms
on one of my few attempts to gain access to the explosives. I fell and hit my head
as I tried to slap them off of my body. I briefly blacked out, and when I awoke,
they were nowhere to be found. I searched my body and found several marks down
my arms and chest.
I don’t know what to do.

Sun November 21

I’m tired and sick.
My stomach churns. My throat’s scratched—I’m coughing up decent
amounts of blood. They haven’t come for me yet, although I feel some sort of
change inside me. I can see the skin on my arms and legs move. I feel I am
going crazy. Small bumps move across my arms and legs, indicating something is
crawling underneath my skin.
I’ve come up with a name for our new guests. The Carnelians. It’s what they
tell me their name is. I can hear them inside my head. They talk to me and urge
me to do these horrible things. I will not break to their will. I must stay strong.
They want me to get them off the moon and take them to this new planet I have
knowledge of.
They tell me that they crashed here on their journey through our solar system
to find new hosts. They have been frozen in stasis here on the moon ever since a
comet interrupted their ship’s course to Earth. They have come from several other
planets and use humans as hosts to do most of their evil bidding. I am starting
to understand why I never watched all those sci-fi movies alone in the dark.
I fear I am the only one left alive.
Ellen and Shaw have not come back.
I sit here alone in my quarters, tired and hungry. My stockade of juices,
teas, and coffee beans are diminishing as well as my putrid packages of freezedried
I was able to raid the kitchen almost without any sign of the aliens before
being attacked.
I am also in need of a shave. My beard is definitely fully grown. I feel dirty
and unclean.

Tue November 23

I can’t take it any longer. Forgive me, I have to end it now. I’ve made a video
journal and have left it by the laptop over on the table for the next team if they
make it here alive.
They are in my body and in my head. Their voices grow louder and louder
with every passing day. I can see their movements underneath my skin, and
there’s nothing I can do. I have tried cutting them out of my arms, but they are
too quick for me.
This is not how I wanted my life to end. But, there is no other choice.
My final words of advice?
Get the hell out. Don’t come here.
Always keep the lights on, and pray to your God.
If there is one.


President Jackson Forsythe

States, son of the late, great Quentin Forsythe who held the key in
wiping out a vicious worldwide disease in Africa back in 2003. Early
40’s, 1st African-American president.

State of the Union
December 24, 2045
Washington D.C.
2 PM
Twelve years later, President Jackson Forsythe shifted nervously
while he stared into the lingering eyes of the large collection of
television cameras. He was following in the footsteps of a powerful
predecessor. President John Faulkner had kick started many programs,
including environmental awareness, space exploration, and widening
the global scope of Yellowstone’s super volcano. Forsythe wasn’t fully
prepared to delve into what was about to happen. After many restless
hours of pouring over countless streams of data, conferring with his
most trusted cabinet members, and world-renown volcanologist, Dr.
Nolan Drake, the president had found it necessary to relinquish the
information he had gathered to the public.
Dressed in a black suit, the president began to sweat under the
hot lamps. His State of the Union would be broadcast across the
world, to millions of homes. He didn’t delude himself; his victory
at the polls was a conglomeration of outstanding heritage, robust
intellect, and marvelous good looks, not to mention his attention to
detail and keen eye for fashion. All of it culminated into the ultimate
GQ president.
Forsythe was a young gentleman. He had become the first
African-American man to be elected president. The 2044 election
was a landslide for Forsythe. He came out of a very productive first
term that catapulted him into securing a second.
The president was now faced with a threat unlike any other. He
would need the smartest scientists, keenest intellects, and strongest
wills to combat this new menace; a menace that had been hiding
for the last six hundred thousand years and quietly building enough
energy to shatter the very world they lived in.
“Are we ready?” he asked the director.
“In exactly thirty seconds, Mr. President,” he answered.
“I have the best speech writers on the planet. Ironically, I have
absolutely no idea what to say to the American public.”
“Just speak from your heart, Dad,” Valerie Forsythe said, trying
to cool down her nervous father.
“Thanks Sweetie.” He gave her a fatherly wink. In some odd
way, a six-year-old child always seemed to bring a pinch of normalcy
back into the fold of any tumultuous agenda.
“Ten seconds.” The director gave him a quick flick of his hand.
“Here we go.” The president jumbled his independence theme
tie at the last moment trying to reconfigure the sharpened entity
back to form.
“Five, four, three…,” The director’s words trailed off as he
brought down his hand in a silent gesture, signaling the president to
begin his address.
“Good evening, Ladies and Gentleman, my beloved citizens,”
Forsythe began.”I have a most pressing issue to talk about tonight.”
The president squinted underneath the increasingly hot lights.
The lamp’s distraction made it a chore for Forsythe to read off the
Teleprompter. His nerves began to get the better of him, forcing
sweat to congeal underneath his arms.


Ulysses Tarrant


ULYSSES TARRANT - Co-pilot/engineer, mid-50’s, very adept at
his work, both mechanical and piloting. Father figure on ship, very
opinionated, hates injustice.

Turning off the microphone, Ulysses turned to Gillian. “Shit,
there has to be hundreds of those things just waiting to attack him,”
he replied. “The kid’s never gonna make it.”
“We are too far away to help him.” Gillian added.
“Does this place have lights on the outside?” Ulysses asked
Gillian. “It has to, right? To illuminate the dark surface at night.”
Ulysses racked his brain for a possible solution for Seth.
“I’ll look for the switch.” Gillian searched the room.
Ulysses flicked the switch to the mike. “Seth, I suggest you move
slowly, I repeat, move slowly back to the station,” Ulysses told the
frightened youth.
“I’m scared.” Seth’s voice was heavy and his breathing deep and
labored. “I’m sweating inside this thing.”
Ulysses caught more of the alien-like species coming through
the holes in the ice behind Seth. “I’m coming for you. Take a breath,
I’ll be right there, son.”
“I don’t see anything for outdoor lights,” Gillian said.
“Here, try to keep him calm,” Ulysses said, running for the
“Where are you going?”
“Target practice. Where’s the artillery room?” Ulysses asked. He
then quickly searched the laminated map on the side of the wall near
the exit door.
“Down the hall,” Gillian responded.
“I’ll be back.” Ulysses ran as fast he could to the artillery room.
The corridor was long and winding, but Ulysses made it to the
artillery room. He punched the red button on the side of the door.
The glass door wouldn’t budge. Again he slammed the button,
but to no avail.
“This is gonna hurt,” Ulysses mumbled, taking several steps
back. The engineer then began a hard run at the glass door.
Ulysses felt incredibly heroic yet monumentally stupid for trying
to launch himself through the glass door. But, he kept thinking
about Bruce Willis and his movies. Shit, if Bruce can do it, he could
do it, too.
Ulysses made contact, lurching through the glass, sending shards
flying everywhere. The scrappy engineer landed awkwardly, but safely
crashed into the gun cabinet, fracturing the wooden case. He rubbed
his bruised ankle, and picked away a few embedded shards of glass
from the side of his face and arms. Otherwise, Ulysses was flying so
high on adrenaline, he really didn’t care about the pain.
The alarm screeched throughout the station.


Dr. Philene Fanchon

Dr. Philene Fanchon-
French archaeologist, early 30’s, black
hair, intelligent, loves all of God’s creations, fascinated by ancient
relics and cultures.


“Find anything yet?” Adrian prompted Philene.
“Not yet. You can’t rush perfection.”
“Yeah, I know that feeling.”
Philene and Adrian approached the outer layer of the Chaos
Region. Several craters were strewn about, making their trek tricky
and aggravating.
Adrian noticed something off in the distance. A large object was
buried in the moon’s surface. “Do you see that?” he asked.
Philene squinted in the direction of Adrian’s request. “That
“Yeah. Doesn’t it look like a ship or something?” Adrian asked
fishing in his suit for a set of binoculars.
Philene dismissed his query with a harsh reaction. “You are
dreaming. Let’s stay focused, okay?”
“It looks like some sort of alien craft. One that I certainly didn’t
design.” Adrian peered through the binoculars. “One side seems to
150 Jason Gehlert
be curved inward, possibly from some sort of impact. I think we
should check it out.”
“Yeah, after we search the caves. I can see a small opening in
the side of that mountain ahead,” Philene said as she tugged Adrian
along. His arm brace was caught inside a crater and bent to the point
where Adrian tumbled head first from the sudden jerk. “Are you
okay?” Philene turned around and helped him up.
“No, not really.” Adrian seethed. “My brace is broken.”
“I’ll help you along.” Philene grabbed his arm. “Trust me. I
won’t let you fall.”
“Better not. I sign your paychecks,” Adrian quipped. “Here.”
He reached into his pocket and pulled out a flashlight. “I came
Philene took the instrument and flicked it on, letting a powerful
beam penetrate into the mouth of the cave. “Looks creepy.”
“It reminds me of a movie I saw when I was a kid, where they
are all stranded on this planet.” Adrian shrugged. “I personally didn’t
like that movie. It had those creatures that survived and hunted
during the night.”
“I liked that movie.” Philene continued with Adrian in tow. “Stay
close and watch your step.”
“You don’t have to worry about that.” Adrian commented and
looked up at the cave’s magnificent ceiling. He turned on the miniflashlights
attached to each side of his helmet and noticed something
scurrying across the rocky surface. “Did you see that?”
“See what?” Philene asked.
“Nothing. It must be medication time. My mind’s going nuts.”
“I can’t wait to find a collection of cultural remains inside this
cave. Or, better yet a specie’s perfectly mummified remains, like the
Iceman.” Philene smiled in eager anticipation.
“Let’s keep pushing forward.” Adrian illuminated the cavern
revealing a twisted path straight ahead.


Seth Padgett


SETH PADGETT – Doctor, top in his field. In his mid-20’s, smart,wise-ass, and very good at his craft. Has spent most of his time atRollins Hospital in Rhode Island.

Seth Padgett
Rollings Hospital, Rhode Island
12:01 PM

Time was a factor. A race against an invisible menace was
robbing Adrian of his life.
Adrian Blakely’s fading health was not what it used to be.
He was a genetic conglomeration of various ailments, several of
which impacted his overall stamina and endurance. Adrian relied
on a medical breakthrough, where a recently developed arm brace
controlled his balance right down to the cubic inch. His body was
slowly being devoured by a rare genetic disorder that robbed Adrian
of precious time and mobility. The Europa Agenda was to be his
lasting legacy.
He was now on a mission from an old friend.
The president personally asked Adrian to bring together a
collection of qualified individuals from their respective fields in
order to spearhead the president’s imminent mission to Europa in
the wake of Yellowstone’s eruption.
Adrian’s slow, deliberate shuffle down the finely waxed corridor
brought back memories of his war days, where a nasty fight with his
superior had landed him a dishonorable discharge and a lengthy stay
inside a mental hospital.
Adrian’s expensive black shoes clacked against the pristine
tiles, as a steady line of doctors and nurses segued their way past
his crumbling appearance. Their eyes told the story. Adrian’s rapid
decline was completely noticeable.
His eyes followed the perfectly laid tiles that had a name
emblazoned into them: Rollins Hospital. It had been at least a
decade since Adrian walked this foyer. Ten years since he personally
laid the first stubborn brick, riveted the first steel beam, and cut the
ceremonial red ribbon with a slick silver pair of scissors.

Using his abundant resources, Adrian Blakely built Rhode Island
a state of the art medical facility, equipped with the best doctors,
nurses, equipment, and tools. That was the primary reason why
Adrian stepped inside these walls once again.
He walked up to the receptionist desk and stared down at the
young woman sitting behind the marbled counter top.
“Can I help you?” Her voice was sweet and friendly.
“Dr. Seth Padgett, please.” Adrian cleared his throat.”I’m here
on business.”
“He’s in surgery right now,” she responded with a saccharine
like sweetness.
“I’m here on the business of the president of The United
States,” Adrian said in a firm tone.”You do know who the president
is?” He tapped his arm brace against the floor irritably, then scanned
over the woman’s name badge.”Got that, Karyn?”
The young woman obviously didn’t like Adrian’s tone and
definitely didn’t know who she was dealing with.”Listen, he’s busy
right now.”
“I don’t have time for this grade school bullshit,” Adrian
grumbled. He forced his free hand over the counter and confiscated
the intercom.
“Excuse me,” Karyn chirped back with a startled glaze in her
eyes.”You can’t do that.”
“Oh, I beg to differ. I can do it. I own this hospital.” Adrian
swiped the intercom and, with a blazing voice, ordered Dr. Seth
Padgett to the lobby area at once.
A few passing patients gapped at Adrian with raised eyebrows.
“What’s everyone leering at?” Adrian barked. The crowd
murmured quietly and gave him a wide berth.
Seth Padgett walked down the slick corridor, sidestepping the
yellow caution floor signs, his white jacket flapping against his lengthy
legs. Reaching the cream colored doors, he shoved them open and
stepped into the main lobby, taking notice the back of a bristling
Adrian Blakely at the receptionist’s desk.
Clearing his throat, Seth closed the distance between the two
men.”Adrian.” Seth wanted to smooth over this situation as quickly
as possible. He had a full schedule of surgeries lined up until the
dinner hour.
“Seth,” he grumbled, turning around to face the medical
Seth leaned in close to his old friend.”Please keep your voice
down,” he said sternly.
“I only raised it to get your attention.” Adrian pivoted on the
arm brace and tugged on Seth’s white jacket .”Come walk with me
outside in the courtyard.”
Seth gave into the billionaire’s request with a shrug.”A quick
jaunt is all I have time for, Adrian.”
“You have unsurpassed intelligence for someone who only
recently passed the age requirement for drinking.” Adrian smirked.
“And you have the charming traits of a rattlesnake, for someone
who has only recently entered the octogenarian period of life,” Seth
Seth Padgett used sarcasm whenever possible. The young doctor
had relied heavily on the tactic while he plowed his way through the
field, earning top honors at every turn. His short blond hair, dense
blue eyes, and athletic build brought the ladies to an immediate
standstill. Seth always felt Adrian was jealous of his overwhelming
Seth cut right to the muscle of the conversation.”So, what’s with
the urgent visit, Adrian? You’ve never set a foot inside this building,
unless it was for your own personal agenda.”
“I’m here on presidential business.” Adrian reached into his vest
and withdrew a fattened Cuban cigar.
“No smoking.” Seth tapped him on the shoulder.”Can’t you read
the signs? Let alone be considerate for the patients and staff?”
“Outdoors? Can we take this conversation outdoors? My lungs
are aching for a crisp smoke.”
“It ruins your health, and inhibits your sex drive.”

“Well, we don’t want that, now do we?” Adrian stuffed the cigar
back into his vest pocket and limped down the cobblestone.
“How’s the leg? It seems to be getting better.”
“Wondrous, ever since your operation.”
“I aim to please.” Seth was becoming one of the rising doctors
in the Northeast. His quiet demeanor and friendly candor had
earned him many friends and loyalists throughout his short career.
He had also kept his finger on the pulse of the country’s politics,
environmental and social issues. He knew Forsythe wasn’t there to
compliment his surgical skills. “So, what’s up?
“As you know, we have a certain situation that’s brewing out
west.” Adrian took notice of the sun-drenched yard.
“That whole Yellowstone mumbo jumbo?
“Yeah, that would be the situation I’m chatting about. You know,
I really like whoever designed this courtyard.”
“You did.” Seth was beginning to dislike Adrian’s flagrant
“Oh yeah.” Adrian cocked his head.”I did a great job.”
“Anyway, how can I help you?” Seth started to become agitated.
Adrian didn’t visit arbitrarily, only when he wanted something. Seth
had a knot in his stomach that was telling him this one was going to
be a hard one to swallow.
“President Forsythe wanted me to personally recruit you for a
unique mission.”
“Did I stutter?”
“Me? The president wants me?” Seth tied his hands together in
an unpleasant pattern.
“I can’t delve into too much detail,” Adrian said.
“You can’t?” Seth looked puzzled.
“Why not?”
“It’s a matter of national security. Are you in or out?”
“What are we picking here? Flag football teams?” Seth shot
back.”Listen, Adrian, I really don’t have time for these games of
yours. Are you taking the proper medication for your leg?”
“I’m fine. But I need an answer, and fast. It’s cause for great
concern if my team isn’t picked by midnight tonight.”
“Picked for what?”
Instead of answering, Adrian pulled in a long breath and scanned
the courtyard, leaving Seth to fold his arms in disgust.
“Fine, don’t tell me.” Seth tried to figure out what was going
on behind those calculating eyes, but was stymied, as always. “Is it
Adrian nodded once. “Would I ask you if it weren’t?”
Even though Seth’s first impulse was to tell him to go to hell,
he knew he wouldn’t. He ran a hand through his unkempt hair and
scowled at him.
The two men reached the end of the cobblestone walkway.
“Let me know Seth,” Adrian said, handing him the small
business card.
Seth flipped over the black card and read the golden letters.
“Blakely Aeronautics?”
“Yes. If interested, be there at 7 P.M tomorrow night.”
Seth watched as Adrian Blakely whirled around and left him to
ponder the curious offer.


Angela Nestor

Communications expert, early 20’s,
knowledgeable in communications. A bit on the shy side. Attends
West Point. Her father is a well-known Senator.

Angela Nestor
West Point, New York
1:15 PM

Working his tired body down the college corridor, Adrian
Blakely placed his hand on the large brown doors and pushed them
open. He scanned the large crowd of students. His orders were
simple: Find Angela Nestor. He walked across the stage and tapped
the talkative professor on the shoulder. Adrian thought he spotted
her, attempting to blend in with the crowd. Angela Nestor shifted
impatiently in her seat apparently trying to listen to the professor’s
lecture. . The professor’s droning voice started to weaken as it carried
across the vast auditorium, gliding over the student’s heads.
“Excuse me.” Adrian’s words rumbled over the stage.
The aged professor turned, startled, and looked at his unknown
“May I help you, sir?” Every word was drawn out with some
sort of angry denotation.
“I’m looking for someone,” Adrian responded. He turned back
and scanned the crowd once more trying to locate Miss Nestor.
“Who?” the professor’s voice was riddled with impatience.”And
who exactly are you, anyway?” His small eyes squinted through his
bi-focal glasses and sized up his gimpy intruder.
“I’m here on official business for the president,” Adrian said.
“Sure you are and I’m the Dalai Lama.”
“That’s funny. You look taller in the pictures.”Adrian’s voice
traveled through the microphone and over the captivated student
body. A muffed laugher spread across the room.
“Do you have proof?” the professor asked.
“Yes I do.” Adrian withdrew his cell phone.
“What are you doing?” The stunned professor watched Adrian
punch in a series of numbers.
Europa: Rise of the Carnelians 39
“When he answers, be short and sweet. Say Adrian Blakely is
here. He will tell you the rest.” Adrian handed over the small silver
Adrian impatiently waited for the professor to introduce him.
Mouth open, the professor took the phone and placed it to his
right ear as if it were covered in lice. Adrian heard the tinny voice of
a man’s voice over the air.
Adrian watched as the professor chatted with the president.
“Adrian Blakely is here.” The professor nodded as the president
chatted on the other end of the phone.
He returned the phone to Adrian and then cleared his throat.
“Will Angela Nestor, Franklin Lume, and Marsha Willows please
come to the podium,” he said to his students.
Adrian rocked back and forth, leaning on his arm brace for
“Excellent.” Adrian watched the students as they swiftly
approached.”The three of you come with me please.” When they
arrived, he shuffled them across the stage and towards the exit
Once Adrian led them out into the hallway, Angela stopped and
folded her arms.”Where are we going?”
Adrian turned his head to scan the beautiful young woman.”I
need to have a talk with you.” Adrian waved his hand at Franklin and
Marsha.”Please wait here while Miss Nestor and I have a chat.”
“Who are you?” Marsha asked without moving. Her bleached
blond hair kept wafting across her eyes. She pushed it aside every
time she moved her head from side to side.
“My name is Adrian Blakely, and I’m the wealthiest man in the
world.” That phrase never did seem to grow old.
“I did a report on your company for my economics class,”
Franklin said, sporting a pleased look.”I look up to you.”
“Nice. Now, please give me a few moments alone with Angela,”
Adrian casually responded, although he really had no plans for the
other two.
40 Jason Gehlert
“Where are we going?” Angela asked as she followed Adrian
across the hallway.
“President Forsythe has asked me personally to come and get
you for a special mission.”
“Yes, really,” Adrian’s snapped rolling his eyes.”He’s very
impressed with your commitment to the United States Armed Forces.
Your keen intelligence in the field of communications has led the
president to handpick you for this extremely important mission. A
mission that could save the Earth.”
“I’m intrigued.” Angela followed Adrian down the hallway.”So,
what’s the deal?”
“The deal is, meet me here tomorrow night at 7 P.M.,” Adrian
said as he handed her his business card. He let it rest between his left
forefinger and middle finger, waiting for Angela to make the move.
He watched her as she snapped up the black card with the gold
lettering. “Blakely Aeronautics?”
“That’s one of my many business fronts,” Adrian said.”Please,
don’t be tardy. I will be starting on time.”
Angela stared down shyly at the card and the color rose in her
cheeks.”I don’t know,” she said, but when she raised her head, all she
could hear was the clicking sound of the doors on the other side of
the hallway. Adrian was gone.


Cast of Characters

The schedule is posted below for each week, and the extracts from Europa can be found right here on my blog site, with facts about each character

Feb 23-Mar 1 Dr. Nolan Drake
Mar 2-8 Angela Nestor
Mar 9-15 Seth Padgett
Mar 16-22 Dr. Philene Fanchon
Mar 23-29 Ulysses Tarrant
Mar 30-Apr 18 [Vacation]
Apr 20-Apr 26 President Jackson Forsythe
Apr 27-May 3 Carnelians
May 4-May 10 Lieutenant Matthew Shaw
May 11-May 17 Gillian Shea
May 18-May 31 [Vacation]
June 1-June 7 Dwight "Bud" Stephens
June 8-June 14 Adrian Blakely
June 15-June 21 Commander Thaddeus Kaspar
June 22-July 7 Europa Contest

Nolan Drake

Here's a sample extracted from my forthcoming sci-fi novel, Europa. Every week I will preview a certain character, this week belongs to scientist and volcano expert, Dr. Nolan Drake


45-year-old volcano expert, red hair, intelligent
scientist, at times roguish

Yellowstone National Park

Nolan Drake’s chopper was a crumpled heap, bars of steel bent around each other like a pretzel. The helicopter was tilted on her side, with Nolan stranded at the top in his seat, caught within the confines of his seat belt. The fire had started to engulf the entire chopper leaving Nolan Drake with little time for escape. The lava flow started its path towards the downed chopper, crawling along the ground fast.
Nolan’s seat belt gouged itself deep into his hips, slicing away at his skin, leaving a flap . His shirt was stained with blood, not all of it his. Carl had been decapitated, sending his blood across the windshield and Nolan’s body.
Nolan stared down at his lifeless friend with remorse. “Carl,” he whispered to his friend. “Timmy?” he muttered fidgeting with his belt. There was no answer.
Time was a factor, and if Nolan wanted to buy himself a chance at survival, now would be the time to make a break for it.
The remaining rescue vehicle was several yards away and he could make a dash for it. It was his only hope.
“Timmy?” Nolan called again.
When he managed to twist enough to see, Timmy’s body was a gnarled mess of broken bones and torn flesh. His eyes were glazed with fear, but he was alive.
“Nolan...” Timmy’s lips barely moved and blood spilled from the corners of his mouth, dribbling down his chin.
“Timmy, I'll get you out of this.” But he knew he couldn’t save his young apprentice.
“Go save yourself.” Timmy’s last words gave Nolan one last burst of energy.
Nolan freed himself, landing on top of Carl’s headless corpse. He could still feel the warmth of Carl’s skin as he climbed to the top of the helicopter. Fire roared into the cabin immediately engulfing the Carl and Timmy's bodies. There was nothing more he could do for them.
Wincing, Nolan leapt high into the air, just as the helicopter exploded behind him.
Nolan landed with a hard jolt on the hot soil. The sea of lava had reached the helicopter swelling over the metal like a swarm of hungry bees, swallowing the metal structure whole.
Nolan raced for the retreating vehicle, knowing he wouldn’t catch it in time. He looked at the devastation that had swallowed the national park. His only means of escape would take him across the Yellowstone River, which was within walking distance from his current location. Once across, he would enter Fishing Bridge Recreational Vehicle Park, where several camping units were stationed. Nolan's idea of finding an car, truck, or even a motorcycle, was his only chance at gaining an advantage on the lava flow.
Nolan changed direction and headed straight for the river. He stripped out of his protective gear to gain extra speed. He noticed his hands were bloody when he threw his helmet to the ground. His suit followed. Keeping only his boots, he took off, continually looking back to gauge how far the lava was behind him. Nolan stared death squarely in the face and gave it his all, but his injuries were slowing him down.
He could see the blue tint of the river's surface, and prepared to cross over the small bridge that hovered mere feet above the water. The lava flow whirled around, sending fiery embers hurtling through the summer air, igniting several trees over Nolan's head. The bridge's railings were metal, and connected to the wooden floorboards in a chain link pattern. Once on the bridge, Nolan's weight made some of the splitting boards creak. The lengthy bridge failed to deter him, as Nolan continued along, occasionally turning his head to see where the lava flow was.
Large sections of tree began to collapse, ablaze from high above, crashing into the river, spraying Nolan in hot water. Once the magma entered the shallow riverbed, Nolan knew it would swallow up the water evaporating it into steam, and continue on its way towards the eastern end of the park.
The lava entered the river and sent its fiery path to the bridge, igniting the pathway. Nolan kept his hands over his face, trying to shield himself from the scattering debris and hot steam rising from the water. His legs burned from the crash, he had layers of skin scraping against his pants, all the while attempting a run for the other side. Using his last surge of adrenaline, Nolan dove for the end of the bride as tree limbs continued to crack and collapse into the riverbed.
Making it by the skin of his teeth, Nolan turned and saw the magma pouring into the riverbed, indeed swallowing the water in its wake.
He was still several yards away from Fishing Bridge, and thoughts of Maureen kept running through his mind. Her courage proved to be Nolan's outlet for strength. His determination to see her one more time powered his weary legs to reach his planned destination.
A series of stranded cars were packed tightly together in the camping parking lot. Nolan's plan was unfinished; he hoped to find some dangling keys left in the ignition, or he could a take a chance at hot wiring the car.
The magma continued its slow roll through the riverbed, and now headed straight for Nolan.
Nolan looked up at the darkening skies that were filling with ash and uranium deposits. He knew time was extremely short. Peering into the assortment of vehicles, he couldn't find one set of keys. “How ironic,” he grumbled. “A volcanologist dies in magma stream.” He heard a roar from the skies, watching, praying, it was a rescue chopper.
A vintage 1982 Coachmen mobile home was parked quietly off in the corner of the lot. Striped with orange and earth brown, the massive vehicle gave Nolan an idea. The lava churned through the parking lot, eating away the tires and metal frames of the cars, sinking them into its river of death. He stared briefly at the license plate. It read : Rogersville, Tennessee, NYG 128. His fingers grabbed hold of the well maintained ladder on the back of the trailer, and began his ascent to the roof. Slowly, the lava surrounded the trailer, sinking its large tires into its river. Nolan felt a sharp jerk to the left, nearly throwing him off the ladder. The fear of death propelling him up the ladder, Nolan reached the white roof, which was pocked with smashed berries, bird shit, and small broken branches.
Nolan felt another twist of the motor home, and skidded across the roof. His fingers adroitly grabbed the side railings and prevented him from lurching any further.
He was surrounded; there was no escape. Nolan stood up painfully and stared down the oncoming lava stream, watching it continue to splash around the trailer's tires, tilting the entire body of the vehicle closer to the ground.
An orange rescue chopper burst through the smoky cloud and hovered right above Nolan.
He looked up and breathed a sigh of relief. “Now, that’s what I’m talking about.”
He watched the pilot order his crew to lower a hoist with a red harness attached at the end.
“Hurry,” Nolan whispered, praying the rescue mission would be a success.
To Nolan's relief, the hoist spiraled down towards him. The motor spun wildly as the cable fell innocently to the shore below. Nolan, stretched, reaching for the careening harness, clasping it moments before it sailed past the side of the sinking trailer.
His fingers fumbling he finally slid the harness over his dirty, sweaty body, and clicked the golden clip in place securing him to the hoist.
The lava was now crumbling the trailer from underneath him, dragging him down. A series of magma bursts lurched into the air, landing on Nolan.
Screaming, Nolan gave the cable a sharp tug, and watched as the chopper started to bring him up. The harness sizzled underneath the fiery wisps of lava, and began to unravel one strand at a time.
Something wasn’t right. The cable wasn’t moving fast enough; the harness wasn't going to hold him any longer.
Inside the chopper, he could see sparks everywhere. The cable stalled in mid-air.
Nolan’s body dangled inches from the roof's decaying surface. The lava began to bear down on his lower body.“Pull him up! His harness is ripping!” the pilot commanded. “I have orders from the president that this man comes back in one piece!”
“We are trying! The cable’s stuck!”
The men looked down at Nolan as the lava splashed over his lower extremities.
“Hold on! We are not losing this man!” The pilot violently pulled up the helicopter with its lone survivor dangling below.
Nolan Drake closed his eyes and thought of a happy place. Hawaii. Mexico. The South Pole. When that didn’t work, Nolan thought of watching his Denver Broncos winning another Super Bowl with Maureen at his side.


Minnette Meador's Review of Europa

Here you go, Jas...let me know if you need anything else. :)

Europa by Jason Gehlert starts out with a bang and doesn't give up until the very end. When a super volcano blows in Yellowstone Park, the president and his leading scientists come up with a plan to save human kind; a colony on one of the satellites of Jupiter...Europa. Financed by a billionaire, a hand-picked crew embarks on a dangerous journey to save mankind, but are completely unprepared for what is awaiting them on the frozen moon. This story is full of wonderful twists and vivid characters. From the exciting disaster in Yellowstone to the climatic end, this story is a thrilling ride and will not disappoint.