This 112-page long publication is in the standard, life-sized movie script format.
Enjoy, and cross your fingers that one day it sees the light as a science fiction / action movie on the silver screen.
This 112-page long publication is in the standard, life-sized movie script format.
Enjoy, and cross your fingers that one day it sees the light as a science fiction / action movie on the silver screen.
The Forgiveness Machine tells the story of greedy businessman Bill Pearce. Haunted on his deathbed by the thought of the many people he’s ruined in his life, he seeks a late forgiveness. He turns to his inventor son, Mark, who develops and casts an oneiric network all over the country in a collective dream where the most delirious things happen. In this cathartic experience, Bill will have his last chance at redeeming himself.
This novelette is about 16.000 words. Enjoy.
Lester Greene marched down the long periwinkle-blue corridor, occasionally glancing at the abstract sculptures and the stylish pottery sitting on elongated daises as he passed them. He wondered what such an uncouth, rude person as William Pearce could possibly find in them, other than their moneyâs worth. What a waste, he thought, to hide away all these masterpieces; how much better off they would be in an art museum, where everybody could see and truly enjoy them.
Greene stopped at the one door in the corridor and swept in. He found himself in a large, stark room, flooded in a dimmed whiteness, at the center of which a four-poster brass bed rose. In the bed, a large man lay, in a dark silk robe brightened with bird motifs.
Even in his fatal sickness, William Pearce was wary. He stared at the ceiling, his nostrils engulfed in oxygen tubes, his bluish arms injected with dripping IV.
Greene approached the bed, obsequiously standing at its side, without speaking, waiting for his employer to bid his will. Pearce turned his head, acknowledging his faithful lawyer and valued handyman.
âSo?â he barked, looking forward to hearing about the task heâd sent him for.
âNone will come,â Greene sentenced.
Pearce went back to contemplate the ceiling, taking in his doom, exhaling in a long, desperate sigh.
âI expected it,â he croaked, his voice now tainted with doubt and fear.
âWhat about George?â he asked.
âMr. Tidwellâs Rottweiler made sure I didnât get within thirty yards from his houseâs entrance door. He didnât mind neither the ringing nor my shouts.â
ââTell that greedy bastard son of a bitch to go to hell. If he wants to talk to me, heâd better call my lawyer,â thatâs what Mr. Roach told me,â Greene said.
âMiss Lamb would not receive me, despite all my efforts. I sent her a bunch of flowers, but she returned them with their heads cut off.â
âWhat about Rose? Sheâs my wife, after allââin good and bad times.â That should still hold true.â
âMrs. Rosalind hangs up the phone every time I call her and wonât answer her door…â
Greene unclasped his hands, stared at them, then clasped them again, coldly assessing his work. Like his employer, human relations were a field he had little experience in; no wonder he had failed.
Pearce shook his head, then dabbed at a droplet of water which had formed under his right eye, quickly, before Greene could see it and think it was a tear.
âI deserve all of this,â Pearce told the ceiling. âI have been ruthless with each of themâmy friends. I have ruined them, mistreated them, including the countless others I donât remember. But these I once knew. If they donât forgive me, nobody else is going to.â
âGive them time,â Greene daresay. âYou canât expect them to come at the snap of your fingers like theyâve always done.â
âTime? How much time do you think I have?â
Pearce grabbed the medical report from the nightstand and angrily hurled it in Greeneâs face. The lawyer didnât move. He just watched the sheets snow on him, finally settling on the floor.
âAny news from Mark? The last I heard from him, he had a teaching post at the university.â
âNot anymore. The university cut off the funding for his research and kicked him out. Heâs opened a little repair shop now. He fixes computers by day and keeps working at his inventions by night.â
âAlways with his useless inventions. What an idiot. I expected from my only child a splendid career in the financial world. Had he followed in his fatherâs steps, he would be rich now, not toiling away at some stupid, ungrateful job.â
âHe has the right to live his own life…â
âNonsense! He never forgave me for having left his mother, thatâs the truth. He retaliates against me that way.â
Greene stood there, the obedient employee. Then he thought that, soon, he wouldnât be so anymore. Why not to speak level to Pearce, then? Why not put him in front of his responsibilities? How long had he deserved a lesson about the windbag he was?
Greene took a deep breath and spoke.
âWith all due respect, you know what the problem is with you, Bill? Nobody has ever punched you in the nose hard enough for you to reconsider. You spent your whole life thinking you were the center of the world and that everybody else should conform to your will, or go. How wrong youâve been. Even I always felt threatened by you. I never put you in your place. But now thatââ
Greene stared at Pearce. His flushed, outraged face turned pale at the realization of the bitter truth. He was so weak he wasnât a threat to anybody anymore. His illness had taken that power away from him, confined him in that aseptic bedroom. Soon, he would die and be buried in a damp, cold grave and nobody would ever remember him.
Pearce put his hands on his face, sobbing. When he looked up again, his eyes were flushed with tears and his voice broken.
âWhat should I do, Lester? Please, tell me. Be frank with me. I promise I wonât get angry.â
The girl stopped her bicycle in front of the repair shop. She retrieved a scribbled note from her pocket, making sure it was the right address. She leaped from the bike and removed the computer case precariously strapped to the bikeâs rear rack. She lifted it and held it underarm, stepping toward the shop, where, on its dusty window, a sign read:
COMPUTER AND PRINTER REPAIR
With a smile, the girl lugged the case to the shop door. She pushed it, entering a cramped front office stacked with discarded computer parts taped together, ready for the dumpster.
She put her computer on the counter, waiting for a clerk or someone, but the shop seemed deserted.
âHello! Is somebody in here? Anybody?â
Nobody answered her.
She studied the place, sliding her forefinger on the counter to stare at the neat, white ellipse the gathered dust had formed. She scowledâthe shop needed a cleanup, the walls could use some paint and the floor was in bad need of washing.
She reached out for a nearby notepad and a pen, about to write a note to the shop technician about her malfunctioning computer, when a strange smell came to her noseâthat of burned plastic.
She looked around her, trying to locate the source of the stink. She sniffed at her computer first, shaking her headâit couldnât be that. Then she pointed her nose at the counter, then at the haphazard junk to be found around, until it dawned on her the stink must certainly come out from a door in the back.
âHello!â the girl repeated. âIs anybody in there? I think something is on fire. I donât mean to butt in, butâare you sure youâre all right?â
Worried now, the girl lifted the countertop, moving past the desk and the shelving unit separating the shop from the back room, arriving at a small laboratory. It overflowed with circuit boards of every size and shape, printersâ yellowing bodies, and arrays of screwdrivers, a couple of soldering stations, disparaged odd-looking tools and air-spray cans.
But what left the girl flabbergasted was the vision, in the corner of the room, atop a pile of technological junk, of a cageâinside it, an alarmed squirrel wrung its front paws around the bars shutting him in, staring at the only other person in the laboratory.
The technician, a strapping fellow in his thirties, sat in his chair, presently fast asleep. He wore a weird contraption on his headâa sort of helmet. Above it, a squat cylinder made of small metal plates spun madly. Every time a plate brushed against the electrodes the helmet was surrounded with, a spark lit up. Seemingly, the cylinder axle had overheated, sending in the air a billow of black, acrid smoke…
With a sudden burst, the helmet went up in flames, causing the girl to jump and shout in fear.
âHey you!â she shrieked. âYour head is on fire!â
She shook the man in the attempt of awakening him, but he stubbornly kept to his funny dream world, idiotically smiling to things only he could see. Now really worried, the girl tried to push the helmet off the manâs head, but it was held in place by a leather strap. She fumbled with it, but it was fastened too tight to unhook it. She glanced at the wires linking the helmet to a nearby computerâshe yanked them, dislodging them, cutting off the power supplying the helmet… but the fire kept flaring all the same.
The girl squealed at seeing the helmet was coming apart now, and that blazing pieces of it had started to drop, rolling everywhere in the laboratory. She scoured the premises for anything to douse the flames withâuntil she saw a faucet in the corner opposite to that containing the cage with the squirrel. She darted there and turned it on, but all that trickled out from it was a spit of rust and a gurgle.
Here’s the link for my Italian readers: La Macchina del Perdono
Oblivion Island is the exclusive dream destination Felix Morrow has chosen for his familyâs memorable summer vacation. But as the days go by and most inopportune setbacks delay his wife and daughterâs arrival, he begins to suspect something is not quite right. The encounter of an unpredictable woman and the mysterious disappearance of an eccentric guest force him to investigate on the terrible truth about the island.
This novelette is about 13,000 words. Enjoy.
Felix Morrow opened his eyes to the darkness.
At once, the realization he wasnât in his bed swept over himâthe mattress was too soft and the sheets were too smooth, too clean, smelling too good. A cold sweat covered his body as panic got him. He couldnât remember that place.
He threw the bedspread and sat up, listening to the silence, trying to understand where he was, but he couldnât. The urge to flee took him. He bolted upright and just ran…
He only made a few steps before he slammed into a wall. He lifted his arms, balling his fists, banging on the metal slab in front of him, seeking a way out. When his fingers met plastic, they fumbled about, following the outline of a door, looking for its handle, not finding itâhe was trapped…
He flailed his arms, desperately craving freedom, sensing a bulge in the wallâwas it a switch? He threw it, waiting for the light to diffuse. He heard a noise instead, a sort of buzz. A section in the wall slid away, blasting the cubicle with a bedazzling whiteness.
Blind and blinking, Morrow put his head out. He couldnât see anything else than blurred shadows in a glare… yet, there was an odd smell in the air, acrid and saltyâthe scent of seawater.
âGood day, Mr. Morrow,â a calm voice said. âDid you sleep well?â
Morrowâs eyes accustomed to the light… he saw a man in a corridor. He wore black shoes and trousers, white shirt and capâhe smiled friendly.
âWeâre scheduled to arrive in less than an hour,â he went on. âBreakfast is served, and if you will be so kind as to pack your things, weâll see to deliver them to your hotel for you.â
Morrow, caught wrong footed by the unexpected kindness of the man, stuttered and felt confused.
As the steward moved to the upper deck, Morrow pulled his head in and shut the door.
He let out a raspy chuckle, wiping his face, feeling the tension abandon him, awakening from the horrible nightmare. How could he be so stupid? How could he forget why he was there? Without even looking at the wall, he confidently threw yet another switch, turning on the light in cabin 538 in the second deck of the Acheron.
Morrow breathed deeply, calming himself, retracing his steps to the bed, sitting on it. He lunged toward the nightstand, picking up the wedding band lying on it, studying it. He wore itâit fit like a glove. Of course it fit, he was a man happily married to a wonderful woman. They had even been blessed with a bright, adorable daughter…
There was a leaflet under the ring. He retrieved it, unfolded and read it. It said:
Welcome to Oblivion Island.
Lose your cares and relax in the best
luxury resorts of the world.
And then he recalled, and wasnât afraid anymore.
He was going to have a vacation with his wife Gloria and his daughter Angela. At the moment, they werenât aboard the ship, they would join him the following day. The girls were coming over from the other side of the globe, while he was back from a long business trip between Japan and China. They would meet on the island, enjoying two weeks of absolute relaxation.
He glanced at the leaflet, at the pictures of fine-sand beaches, princely meal courses, wine bottles sticking out from wicker baskets filled with ice, and avocado slices hanging at the top of long drinks. He sighed. It was high time he had a vacation; work had worn him out to a frazzle. He needed to break off. More, it was three months he hadnât seen his wife and daughter in person. He needed to hold them in his arms, to smell the comfortable, delicate scent of family. Thatâs why he had chosen that place. One of his coworker friends suggested it to him and he liked the ideaâa secluded island where one momentarily forgot all about chores and troubles.
The thought he would soon see the girls put him in an excellent mood. In a momentâs matter, he got rid of his doubts and fears and hummed to himself, feeling wellâfulfilled. Could he possibly even feel happy?
Morrow stood, pulling off his pajamas, looking forward to breakfast, suddenly hungry… when his hand shifted to an itchy spot in the skin, close to his armpit. He peeked at it and glimpsed a tiny, swollen dot, like an insect bite.
Damned mosquitoes, he thought.
Morrow, wearing a white suit, white shoes and a white Panama hat, climbed the last steps to the linerâs main deck. But as soon as he set foot on its wooden surface, a gust of wind flipped his hat from his headâit sent it rolling between the passengersâ legs, the air vents, the metal ladders and the deckchairs, inexorably blowing it toward the bulwarks. Morrow swore at realizing it was soon going to sweep over and forever be lost to the oceanâs depths…
The moment before it did, though, a swift little hand lunged out, snatching the fugitive in a firm hold.
Tapered fingers dusted off the hat, revealing the slender figure of a beautiful woman in an aquamarine sleeveless dress and rope sandals. She offered the hat to Morrow, who had just come over.
âWhy, thank you,â he told her, taking back his hat, keeping it to his chest, not daring to put it on again.
The woman didnât say anything. She curled her lips in a polite yet cold smile and rested her hands on the parapet. She lost herself in the contemplation of the sight… In the sky, lazy seagulls circled. On the horizon, beyond the deep blue sea, a thin, dark line could be glimpsed. Land. Possibly, an island.
âWhat a pity, to forget such a glorious day…â she mumbled to herself, exhaling in a long sigh.
Morrow was jarred by the inconsequentiality of the words of the woman.
âIâm sure you meant to say âwhat a glorious day to remember.ââ
The woman jerked around as if sheâd been slapped, outraged by Morrowâs remark. She eased up at last, forcing herself to the usual non-committal smile.
âI meant exactly what I said,â she retorted. âEven today will be forgotten, this day in our lives, as if it did never exist…â
âI apologize, but I donât understand.â
âYou donât need to,â the woman said, returning her gaze to the horizon. âWhatâs the point of it all, when nobody remembers it? Even these words weâre saying to each other will be lost. The wind will blow them away, as it did with your hat.â
âThe wind didnât blow away my hatâyou caught it.â
The woman blinked, coming to, looking in disbelief at the Panama hat in Morrowâs hands, surprised to find it there. She sneered.
âPractice makes perfect.â
Morrow shook his head, even more confused.
âYou caught it just moments ago, you canât possibly have forgot!â
The woman didnât say anything. She had gone back to being sour.
âIâm Felix Morrow, by the way.â
Morrow reached out, but the woman didnât take his hand, didnât tell her name. She just looked in his eyes, hard and long.
âYouâre in a good mood for talking this morning, Mr. Morrow. Let me ask you a question, then. Do you believe in change, Mr. Morrow?â
The wooden posts of the pier, eaten away by the salt and encrusted with a myriad of algae and mussels, dived in the crystal-clear water of the bay, providing shelter and food to thousands of sand smelt. They shifted and darted with flashes of quicksilver, looking oblivious… but they promptly scattered at a long wave.
The tall iron keel of an approaching vessel plowed through the water, bumping into the pier, scraping along with a screech and a moan, until it stopped.
The passengers of the Acheron climbed down the catwalk, ambling along the pier. They came to a wide plaza, on the side of which a lush ten-storied hotel rose, all white, each room with its own private balcony, topping the arcing palm trees. A light breeze drifted through the curtains of open French doors on the ground floor, revealing a bar, a restaurant, a reception desk and a hall. Deckchairs, wicker armchairs and low tables and beach umbrellas surrounded the plaza in an orderly fashion.
Most of the tourists stopped outside the bar, at a long table decked out with refreshments, plucking on snacks or sipping fancy beverages. Clerks wearing the hotel livery swarmed all about, some of them already busy with bringing in baggage carts from the hold of the liner.
Morrow, eager to see his room, went straight to the reception desk. He presented his reservation receipt to a man in his fifties, looking businesslike and down to earth, who took and perused it.
âWelcome to Oblivion Island, Mr. Morrow. Iâm Eric Price, the hotel manager. Did you have a good trip?â
âEverything was fine, except maybe for the rough awakening. But I suppose I just woke up on the wrong side of the bed.â
âYour reservation is in order. As per your request, we booked for you one of our best rooms. Here. If you would sign this form, Iâll be happy to show you to your suite.â
Morrow signed the form with a flourish, turning it to Price. He filed it, then reached out to the pigeonhole behind him, picking up the room keys. He motioned for his guest to follow him to the elevator.
Here’s the link for my Italian readers: L’ Isola dell’ Oblio
This collection is about 105,000 words / 348 pages and is only available in PAPERBACK format.
An agoraphobic police lieutenant tasked with thickening security for the Christmas rush on New Paris, a satellite orbiting Earth, investigates on a series of ever more dangerous incidents which threaten to bring it down along with eighty thousand unaware vacationers.
This novelette is about 16,000 words. Have fun!
Like a mouse scampering out from a hole at the bottom of a huge wall, the slate-gray sedan drove out from the vertical boundary of the Conurbationâan endless stretch of skyscrapers rising so close to each other they had swallowed, to the last yard, the ground between them. The vehicle came shortly to a shrunk clearing covered not with grass or blooming flowers, but with an impenetrable maze of concrete roadblocks, steel hedgehogs, land mines and automatic-fire turrets.
It wove through all that in a graceful dance along the invisible but safe path which had been laid out for it, in secrecy and in advance, coming to the checkpoint.
Papers traveled back and forth from the driverâs lowered window to an expressionless security officer, checked and double-checked, until access was granted. The gaping firing-turretsâ muzzles looking down at them finally turned about as the spaceport gate moved back, letting the vehicle pass.
The car covered a few hundred yards more, then stopped at some distance from one of the many service terminals. Its rear door swung open and a man in his thirties, looking handsome and cunning, if a bit wary, climbed down from the car. He straightened the tie of his freshly pressed ordnance suit, then stared for a long moment at the void surrounding him and found it… uneasy to bear.
Fighting the queasy feeling, he turned and offered his hand to someone else who was still in the carâa beautiful woman. She swiveled on her shapely bottom, standing on legs of alabaster and high-heeled shoes. She too glanced around her and gasped.
âAll this emptiness gives me the whirlies,â she said. âIt makes me feel like Iâm always about to fall…â
âIt sure feels odd,â the man agreed.
The car shut its door automatically, then moved on, leaving the two alone. The woman clung to the man for support, and they both glanced up at the laden sky.
âI wonder what it will be like, up there.â
âYeah, me too…â the man said.
He tenderly held her in his arms; for a moment, they looked like Earthâs last survivors.
âLieutenant Crane!â a booming voice called out.
The two turned about to see a man in a designer suit hurry toward them from the terminal gate, waving his hand cheerfully. He finished chewing on one last bit of sandwich, dusted off his hands, then stopped in front of the couple with a large, welcoming smile.
âYour captain speaks very highly of you, Lieutenant. Iâm Philippe Giraud, security responsible for the whole Float City project. Iâm glad to meet you.â
He reached out, shaking hands with Crane, then cleared his throat and gallantly bowed to the woman.
âItâs Val,â she said with a quick, dismissive smile.
âIâm happy youâre coming too, Val. Spending three months in space can be daunting to those who have forgotten all about the smell of pristine grassland, or a scatter of stars. Thatâs why, on the first time, we ask our officers to come over accompanied by a relativeâit makes the transition… less demanding. Thank God, the younger are different, more willing to break the mold and try something new, and our business is booming.â
Giraud glanced at his wristwatch.
âThe shuttle will take off in ten minutes. If you will be so kind as to follow me, Iâll tell you more as we go.â
He motioned them to the terminal entrance, behind which the lathed, metal shell of the shuttle rose.
âThree minutes to go,â Giraud said, looking up from his watch.
He and the Cranes sat on the sofa of what looked like a lush living room. Giraud touched his finger to the low table in front of him, which promptly unfolded, exposing a bottle of champagne. He picked it up and popped it with consummate ease, deftly filling three lidded glasses.
He passed them on, then lifted his.
âHereâs to Float City. To a thriving holiday season.â
They all toasted and awkwardly sucked the wine out of the valve on the lid of the glass… when, at once, a loud vibration shook the room, causing Val to lunge for her husband in apprehension.
âThereâs nothing to be afraid of,â Giraud said. âItâs just a thirty-mile trip.â
He pushed a button, and the sofa sprouted retaining belts which automatically fastened to their waists.
As the shuttle rose, the Cranes glanced in dismay out of the full-height porthole opening to their rightâthey couldnât take their eyes off the reassuring tangle of the Conurbation shrinking away rapidly below them. Giraud smiled to himself, and patiently sipped from his sealed glass.
It was only after the shuttle brought them out of Earthâs gravityâs reach, into the infinite blackness of space, that the Cranes turned away, swallowing hard.
âFloat City is a series of themed amusement park satellites orbiting around Earth,â Giraud explained. âFrom Pyramid, to Acropolis, to Glorious Rome, to Minerâs Drill, to Pirate Island, to Snow Mountain; and more are coming. But, quite understandingly, itâs New Paris that gets the rush around Christmasâour rates make it competitive even over the original, plus itâs a whole new experience. Last year, we were flooded with thousands of requests we couldnât honor; luckily, our sales department was able to divert many to our other parksâIâm afraid we canât do that again. In a week, weâll be sold out, and thatâs why we need to improve security as well. We donât expect any threats, but, as the ancient saying goes, âbetter be safe than sorry.â Oh, here they are.â
Giraud waved his thumb past the thick porthole glass, to a series of floating boxlike structures lazily revolving around their axes, glimpsed in the distance. Compared to the small size of the resupplying shuttles constantly traveling back and forth from Earth, they must be hugeâa mile tall, half mile wide, and a quarter mile deep. Now and then, slit windows would open on their lit sides, letting in the exact amount of required sunlight. Each satellite was stamped with a number, its name and its trademark symbol.
Val returned her gaze to her glass, and noticed with amazement it was drifting in midair. The brim of her dress was lifting, too, but she held it down just in time.
The shuttle thrust on, past a satellite painted white, reading 6âSNOW MOUNTAIN, marked with a snowy peak. It made for the next, a sleek satellite stamped with a flourish font reading 7âNEW PARIS, displaying the Eiffel Tower symbol.
The shuttle slowed down as it started the landing maneuvers, finally docking to the bottom of New Paris. As soon as artificial gravity kicked in, Valâs skirt behaved again, and her glass returned docilely to her hand.
Giraud released the safety belts, allowing them to stand again. They approached the one door giving on the room, waiting for the pressure to equalize. When it did, the door opened with a faint hiss.
They all filed out of the lounge, stepping along an aseptic white-plastic corridor, coming in front of two armed guards looking at them sternly.
âTheyâre with me,â Giraud told them, handing over their identifications. The guards double-checked them, then moved aside for the three to pass.
Giraud and the Cranes walked on to one last door. It parted slowly, revealing a baroque terrace complete with marble flagstones and a wide parapet resting on delicate, lean columns.
âWelcome to New Paris…â Giraud said.
The Cranes held their breath at the fantastic sight unwinding before their eyes.
The satellite contained a perfect replica of selected landmarks from the real Parisâfrom the Eiffel tower, to the Notre Dame cathedral, to the OpĂ©ra, to the white dome of SacrĂ© Coeur, to the Montmartre climb, to the Arc de Triomphe, to the glass pyramid of Louvre, to a slice of the Seine, included with a Bateau Mouche.
âOh my God!â Val cried, touching her hand to her face. âItâs… ravishing!â
The most crazy thing of all, half the city perched on the opposite side of the satellite, so that the Cranes could see the second half as if they hung above it in turn, with the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower looming over their heads.
Girard smiled, noticing Valâs worried stare.
âNo. It wonât come down; artificial gravity keeps it up there.â
He pointed in front of him, at the many rues of the city, where Float City personnel was busy decorating them with festoons, Christmas trees, giant candy canes and colored lights.
âThe gendarmerie, our police station, is over there, Lieutenant. Captain Plachard will brief you and assign you to your routine duty. In the meantime, if you donât mind, Iâll show Val to your apartment.â
Giraud waited for Craneâs answer, but he was still too dazed by the new environment to reply.
âHe wonât mind at all,â Val cut it short, eager to see more of the city. âSee you later, hon.â
She reached out for Giraudâs arm and they strolled away, leaving Crane to contemplate the double world of New Paris.
Here’s the link for my Italian readers: Float City