Mystery

Please note, you are free to use these story ideas however you so desire. You can take them in their entirety and build on them, use them as sources of inspiration or even cannibalize them for spare story parts.

If you do this, all I ask is that you mention it somewhere on your blog, social media or in your book.

Raven

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Explores the tale of Raven Manor, a mysterious and danger-filled building which moves through space and time. Three children are drawn to the manor, each from a different time and place. The first is a young boy, Charles, from 1850, the second is a girl from 1935, Isabella, and the last, Vincent, is from 1998.

 

The manor was created in 1780, by an English nobleman for his fiancée. However, she was killed in the house by a former suitor, and the nobleman's despair was so great that it infused with the house and cursed it to entrap others. They are all lured into the house for different reasons: Charles was trying to impress a girl he liked; Isabella went in on a dare; and Vincent was trying to retrieve his favourite soccer ball. The kids learn more about each other and themselves while trying to find a way home.

 

They eventually find a diary written by the fiancée, which states that if anything should happen to her, the man should find happiness in another, and not be consumed by guilt. The nobleman, who had been chasing them through the house, believing them to be intruders, finally repents and the manor begins to fall apart. The children are finally sent back to their own times, telling each other that they will never forget the events of the story. In 1780 the nobleman wakes up in his own time and meets a young woman, Bella.

 

He introduces himself as Vincent Von Audelin. In the present, Vincent goes through his family tree and finds that Vincent Von Audelin, Charles and Isabella were all his ancestors, hence why they had been drawn to the manor. He goes to see his grandmother, who is revealed to be Isabella; who winks and tells him that she has been waiting for him to realize the truth, before stating that they have a lot of catching up to do...

The Deep Blue Line

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Follows the story of Erica Little, a young woman who aspires to be the world's first Aquanaut. An Aquanaut is someone who dives past the infamous Deep Blue Line, which separates the Ocean from The Dark Depths, a second ocean beneath the crust, where monsters dwell and unseen wonders abound. 2 years prior, Erica's father, Prof Viktor Little, attempted the dive but never returned, leaving Erica to take care of her heartbroken mother alone.

 

Part of her reason for diving is finding out what happened to Viktor. She is accompanied by Ex-Captain, James Stein, a dishonourably discharged officer who wants another chance at fame; Gareth Bursham, a wealthy and ruthless businessman who is funding the expedition in hopes of finding a large amount of Crystarium (a rare mineral which gives off large amounts of energy and which is only found at very deep depths) which he will use to dominate the energy market; and Kyle Straus, a young marine biologist who greatly respected Prof Little and who wants to document the organisms found below the Deep Blue Line.

 

Their ship is a prototype deep sea submersible named The Triton. Diving from The Little Trench (an extremely deep trench found by Prof Little, which was formed when an underwater volcano imploded), they descend quickly to the Line, passing into the Dark Depths. There, they discover a massive ecosystem populated by strange plants and even stranger creatures that have evolved because of the large deposits of Crystarium. They find that the Crystarium is protected by several massive monsters known as Red-Eyes. They later learn that in actuality the Crystarium is a sentient silicon-based lifeform, and that it forms telepathic links with the creatures, giving them light and warmth in exchange for protection.

 

They then find traces of Prof. Little's submersible, The Intrepid, that lead to a large underwater cave. Inside, they meet Prof. Little, who has been living in the cave for two years, after his submersible was destroyed. In addition, he has been conducting research on the Crystarium, and has found that it supports the entire ecosystem, which would collapse without it. He tells them that the Crystarium is sentient, ancient, and that he has conversed with it.

 

However, Gareth refuses to believe him, thinking that Viktor wants the Crystarium for himself. He takes The Triton, accompanied by James Stein, and starts drilling into the Crystarium Core, awakening the Red-Eyes. Prof Little asks Erica and Kyle to protect the Crystarium by sabotaging the drill using their exo-suits. They reach the Triton just as the Red-Eyes attack, gravely wounding James and killing Gareth. Erica and Kyle are able to enter the sub, and use the engines to scare away the Red-Eyes. However, they are left with no power. Just then, Erica feels the Crystarium's conscience touch hers. It links her mind with Viktor's, who tells her how proud he is, and how he cannot leave the Dark Depths.

 

He apologizes to her, before telling the Crystarium to let them go. Erica tearfully says goodbye, before using the sub's back-up engines to reach The Little Trench. However, the sub fails due to all the damage from the Red-Eye attack. James, knowing that he doesn't have long, volunteers to go outside the sub and detonate the Crystarium that Gareth had mined, giving the sub enough of a boost to reach the surface. The plan works, but the explosion reactivates the volcano, sealing the trench and sending the sub soaring to the surface. In the epilogue, Erica finds a letter addressed to her and her mother in her suit, explaining his actions and telling them how much he loves them. In addition, they tell the scientific community that there is nothing below Deep Blue Line, protecting Viktor and the Crystarium for good.

The Soldier's Story

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Set in Hollywood in 1943, the main character is Lionel McWillis, a former soldier in WWI who returned home and found his life empty. In search of something meaningful, he travelled to Hollywood and became a director/writer, penning the script, "Medal of Valour" a tale about his heroic exploits during the war. The second main character is William Flinn, a young actor from a difficult background in which his father died in the war, while his mother struggled to raise him by herself. Together, they start making the movie, with William playing the part of a young Lionel.

 

As filming continues, interest in the movie ramps up, with many investors. Lionel and William become fast friends, as Lionel becomes a surrogate father for the troubled man. However, as filming progresses, more and more inaccuracies appear, and it becomes apparent that Lionel's depiction of the war is off-centre. Things come to a head when Sgt. Blackburn, Lionel's commanding officer, hears about the movie and exposes the truth: Lionel never fought in the war, he was a coward who always found an excuse not to go to the frontlines, and was dishonourably discharged.

 

He used his squad member’s experiences as a basis for his script. With the movie halted and all funding retracted. William and Lionel have a falling out, with William furious at having been lied to. But Lionel explains that he only wanted to honour his fallen comrades, and that no one would have watched the film if they had known the truth. William, moved by Lionel's dream, secretly enlists in the army. He is shipped out to the frontlines, and sends Lionel weekly letters detailing his experiences, which become the basis of Lionel's new screenplay.

 

However, after three months, the letters stop, and Lionel fears the worst. Another month passes, when suddenly William reappears, having been freed from the POW camp he had been held in and honourably discharged with a medal of valour for sacrificing himself (to be captured) so that his squad could escape. During his stay in the camp, despite being tortured and beaten daily, William never stopped recording his experiences. In the end, the movie becomes a huge success, with all profits being donated to the veteran’s fund, and Lionel visits the graves of his friends, thanking them for having the bravery that he lacked.

The Editor

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Tells the tale of William Note, the editor and only staff member of The Black and White, the only newspaper for Lone Rock, a seaside town where supernatural events are common. William's job is to cover up these events using plausible stories and misdirection, a job which has been in his family since the founding of Lone Rock (named for the small, rocky island just off the coast). William's placid life is upturned by the arrival of Veronica Mathews, an eager and clumsy reporter who is known for digging too far. She is sent to the isolated town as punishment for embarrassing her former editor by exposing his affair.

 

William has to now deal with the increasing amounts of supernatural events while hiding their true nature from Veronica, as the town prepares for The Wording: an annual festival in which a resident is selected to travel to the Lone Rock Island and lay a protective charm on the shrine at its peak. William, however, knows the truth: the Wording was originally known as The Wounding, an event in the distant past where an ancient evil was sealed beneath the lone rock by William's ancestors; who had the power to affect the world through their writing, a power which has since faded.

 

It is revealed that the supernatural events are actually a by-product of the creatures imprisonment, as it calls to lesser monsters subconsciously and as it has grown stronger it has been causing bigger and bigger events. Veronica, well-liked by the townspeople, is chosen to take the protective charm to the island. William, realizing that the creature will use Veronica to finally break the seal on its prison, races after her. In the end, whilst trying to save Veronica, William is able to awaken his powers and reseal the creature, however the act of this creates a new island.

 

The townspeople, unaware of the destruction that was only barely avoided, instead start arguing with each other about whether or not they should rename the town “Lone Rocks”. Afterwards, the woman who took over for Veronica's former editor arrives and apologizes for her treatment at his hands, offering her a promotion and a raise so that she can "escape" from the boring town of Lone Rock(s). However, Veronica refuses, saying that the quiet life suites her. She goes on to become the Black & White's co-editor, helping William keep the residents peacefully ignorant…

The Last Goodbye

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Tells the story of Bernard Shaw, an average college student who is struggling to find his direction in life. One day, he receives a phone call from a stranger who promises to help him get to where he’s going. The stranger helps him ace his next quiz, kiss his crush, and become popular with his classmates whilst displaying incredibly accurate knowledge of the future. He also instructs Bernard to perform increasingly strange actions that have unforeseen ramifications, such as removing a warning sign on a busy road, saving a young boy in a park from a gang of bullies, and giving a woman in an alleyway a shot of insulin.

 

Ultimately, he directs Bernard to a field in the middle of nowhere and reveals the truth: he is the future version of Bernard who went on to study particle physics and, several decades later, succeeded in detecting tachyons. However, when he used them to build a tachyonic antitelephone, causality broke and reality started falling apart. Future Bernard is now using his invention as the last vestiges of reality vanish, although he is safe from the destruction due to being in the metaphysical ‘eye of the storm’.

 

He reveals that he helped Bernard in order to gain his confidence so that he could lead him to the field. The strange actions he had Bernard perform all helped humanity in one way or another: the missing warning sign resulted in the death of a man who would go on to kill Bernard’s sister; saving the boy in the park caused the boy to grow up and become the best president the world had ever seen (as opposed to an angry, violent leader); and injecting the woman with insulin saves her from a diabetic coma which would have kept her from completing her research on a cure for leukaemia.

 

Future Bernard then states that the only way to prevent the future collapse is to eliminate the cause: Bernard himself. Finally, he explains that on that day, where Bernard is now standing, there was a gas pipeline explosion that destroyed the area. Future Bernard apologizes and says his last goodbye before hanging up. A moment later, Bernard hears a rumbling from below, signalling that the explosion is imminent...

A Necessary Evil

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Set in the near future, Edward Decker, a professional Thief, has been hired to steal a rock from the collection of the recently deceased Malcolm O’Reigh, an oil tycoon. After successfully breaking into the vault and stealing only the rock (it sits beside a plaque titled “A Necessary Evil”) he returns to his hotel room, only to find it ransacked. Fleeing the hotel, he is pursued by Rea Salvati, a rival thief who has often clashed with Edward. Escaping, he begins researching Malcolm, trying to discover why the rock is so valuable. He learns that the rock was discovered during an illegal oil charting expedition in Antarctica and has spent the past few decades being handed from oil tycoon to oil tycoon.

 

His safe house is exposed, however, by one of his contacts who reveals that Theodore Hurnst, an oil tycoon and Malcolm’s closest friend, has placed a bounty on Edward’s head. Edward is pursued by multiple thieves, assassins and bounty hunters as he tries to make his way to hand over the rock to his mysterious employer. Shortly before meeting him, Edward is captured by Theodore who takes the rock. He explains the truth: the rock is actually the remains of a meteorite from Venus which fell to Earth millions of years ago. The oil expedition which found the meteorite consisted of several men who would go on to become oil tycoons.

 

They agreed to keep the meteorite secret and to pass it between them, taking turns to safeguard it. Theodore was meant to receive it after Malcolm’s death, however Edward stole it first. Theodore reveals that, as the last member of the expedition still alive, he plans to destroy the rock, despite it having a powerful, priceless secret. As he goes to destroy it, he discovers that it is a fake, and that Edward had already given the rock to his employer. During Theodore’s ensuing rage, Edward is able to flee.

 

He goes to meet up with his employer, who is revealed to be Clarence O’Reigh, Malcolm’s son whom he disowned after Clarence left the family to join Greenpeace. Clarence opens the rock, revealing it to be hollow and on a set of hidden hinges. Within the meteorite is a piece of a combustion engine which was made on Venus by a now-extinct civilization before being entombed in rock and ejected from the planet during a meteor impact.

 

Clarence reveals that his father would often show him the meteorite as a child, explaining that if anyone discovered the truth: that Venus had become uninhabitable due to the greenhouse gases emitted by its civilization’s factories, oil prices would plummet and the oil tycoons would lose billions. Clarence explains that he plans to hand the meteorite over to the scientific community, before disappearing into the night. Edward reflects that for the first time in his life, stealing something has brought more good than harm, and resolves to become a better person…

The Hypnotist

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Set on an Earth in which hypnotism became a widespread practice after its discovery. Winston Wallace is a seemingly ordinary man working in a hypnotism insurance office. Winston, who is seemingly too stupid to be hypnotized, lives a happy yet empty life. One day, he receives a complaint from a woman, Dorothy, a news anchor who says that the insurance company will not pay out despite her sister, Maggie, falling into a coma as a result of being hypnotized. Dorothy claims that her Maggie’s ex-lover, Jon, hypnotized her into believing that she was dead.

 

The company claims instead that Maggie tried to commit suicide after the break-up and entered a coma as a result. After learning that if Dorothy does not receive the pay-out, the hospital will terminate Maggie’s life support; Winston accompanies her to her sister’s house in order to re-assess the claim. Along the way he learns about The Mesmer, a Master Hypnotist who supposedly was approaching the limits of hypnosis before he or she suddenly disappeared. Dorothy believes that only The Mesmer has the power to wake her sister and starts tracking him or her down, while several other individuals desiring the Mesmer’s power also become involved.

 

They eventually find the Mesmer, a young woman, who upon seeing Winston exclaims “Welcome back, Master!” causing Winston to snap out of his own hypnosis. He remembers that he is actually the Mesmer, and the woman is his protégé. He hypnotized himself after he was bothered day and night by people wishing for him to help them with their selfish requests. They return to Maggie’s hospital room, pursued by Jon who is worried that he will go to jail once it is revealed that he hypnotized her into believing that she was dead. He corners Winston and Dorothy as Winston wakes Maggie using his hypnotism. Desperate, Jon hypnotizes Dorothy into grabbing Winston and jumping out of the window.

 

However, while falling, Winston quickly hypnotizes Dorothy and tells her that she can fly, which she does, amazing the onlookers and proving that Winston aka The Mesmer has broken the metaphysical limits of hypnosis. Winston then hypnotizes Jon into confessing his crimes at the nearest police station. In the epilogue, Winston, with Dorothy’s help, sneaks into her news room and uses the television cameras to address the population. He tells the people that they focus on things that they think will make them happy, but actually just attempt to satisfy an insatiable craving for more and more things.

 

Finally, he hypnotizes the global audience, including Dorothy, telling them that when he snaps his fingers, they will forgot that he exists, but in exchange they will be happy, confident and free. When the audience and staff awaken, the show resumes its broadcast and around the world people begin to smile again, not quite knowing why... Dorothy comes to her senses and goes to visit Maggie, who has made a full recovery. Along the way, she bumps into Winston, whom she does not recognize. However, she picks up his card off the ground, strangely compelled to visit his office, whilst feeling her heart begin to race…

The Shepherd with No Sheep

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Set in the present, the main character is a shepherd named Dominique who one day goes to work in his field only to find that his sheep have disappeared. While investigating this he discovers that no one in town even knows what a sheep is. As he travels to the nearest city with his wife, Annabelle, more and more objects begin to disappear, yet no one seems to notice. Dominique also finds mysterious signs and messages hidden in otherwise ordinary events and begins to think that God is speaking to him, telling him to go to a place called Poe (Point of Entry) before the darkness comes.

 

Upon arriving, Annabelle starts to disappear, telling Dominique that their love is stronger than death. He finds a house labelled IO and a single door which he passes through as the world begins to fall apart around him. He wakes up in a tube and frees himself, with his memory slowly returning. He recalls that he was a scientist working on a simulated Earth in a lab deep beneath the Earth’s surface. However, with barely any warning, a cataclysm struck the world above, quickly wiping out all forms of life.

 

His colleagues gradually succumbed to despair and ended their lives but he persisted until he completed the simulation. He attached a powerful battery to the computer before freezing his body and allowing his mind to enter the simulation, programming it so that his avatar, Dominique, would have no memories of the truth.  He added a simulation of his deceased wife, Annabelle, so that they could be together once more, leaving clues built into the program to aid him in case of any problems.

 

He learns that the battery keeping the simulation going is close to failing and that the simulation started deleting objects in order to cope with the power loss, starting with sheep. He recalls that his colleague had been working on a perpetual motion engine before his demise and makes the treacherous journey through the abandoned lab, ultimately recovering and installing it before succumbing to his accumulated wounds as he climbs back into the tube. In the epilogue Dominique and his wife watch over the sheep in peace, noting that if Heaven exists, then it surely cannot be better than what they already have...

The Changing Changeling

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Tells the story of Vinny, a seemingly ordinary man who has the ability to change his appearance to anyone whom he touches for 5 seconds. His power activated when he was 7 and he touched the hand of a stranger, transforming into him. His parents, however, believed that the “man” claiming to be their son had actually kidnapped or murdered him. With the police on their way Vinny was forced to flee, taking various appearances in order to survive.

 

18 years later, he lives in L.A. and works with the underground elements. Using his ability he provides people with alibis for crimes, proof of loyalty for those wishing to cheat and false testimony during court cases. He lives with a shut in roommate, Michael, who suffers from agoraphobia. Vinny uses Michael’s appearance as his main look in exchange for paying for the rent. One day, Vinny is tasked by the local crime boss, Valentine (he was named after the date he was conceived) to create an alibi for him while he has the chief of police, Boxer Munroe, murdered.

 

Vinny takes on Valentine’s appearance and spends the day doing things in public places. While heading back he bumps into Ester, a young woman who calls out to him. While running away from her he accidentally transforms into a passer-by which she witnesses. The following day he learns that Boxer was found murdered in his home and that his daughter is missing. Through his contacts Vinny learns that Valentine needs him for another job. Traveling to his compound he learns that he must take the appearance of a woman and spend the day in the public eye. Going to the woman he discovers that she is Ester.

 

She begs him to help her escape, stating that Valentine murdered her father, Boxer, and kidnapped her when she returned home. They plan to have Vinny walk around town as Ester in order to remove suspicion from Valentine. Vinny, using his powers, helps her to escape. They return to his apartment only to find Michael dead, learning later that the hit men thought that he was Vinny, and flee. Ester explains that Boxer and Valentine were brothers and that Boxer had been covering for Valentine for years due to a promise made to their mother to look out for one another. However, Boxer had grown weary of manipulating evidence and had planned to come clean, endangering Valentine who then had him killed.

 

Ester tells Vinny that Boxer kept evidence to be used against Valentine at their familial home in Colorado. They travel there, pursued by Valentine and his gang. At the house, Ester and Vinny are separated and Ester is captured. Valentine goes to kill Vinny and the two struggle, with Valentine seemingly emerging victorious. He tells the gang that he will deal with Ester personally and orders them to leave before revealing to Ester that he is actually Vinny and that he knocked Valentine out. Vinny uses Valentine’s appearance to tape a confessional of his admitted that he killed Boxer, which they send along with Boxer’s hidden evidence.

 

The following day, Valentine is brought in by an officer who is actually Vinny in disguise, with Valentine protesting that he is being set up, despite the overwhelming evidence against him. In the epilogue, Ester attends the funeral of Boxer and is consoled by an old woman who reveals herself to be Vinny. She asks him to reveal his true form and he does so, placing his hands together (a trick he only learnt a few years ago). They walk off in the rain, brainstorming ways to use Vinny’s powers for good...

The Angels of L.A.

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Tells the story of Luther, a wingless angel living in Lower Heaven. In order to gain his wings, which will allow him to ascend to Upper Heaven where luxury and glory await, he must complete a Holy Task, which is given at random by a winged angel. His Holy Task is to help the L.A. Angels, a basketball team, win the NBA championships, which they have never done. Descending to Earth, he assumes the form of their new coach and helps them win their way to the finals.

 

However, his supervisor, Aldramel, worries that he might become a fallen angel if he invests too much of himself into his Task (angels are supposed to be neutral observers). Luther privately admits that the reason he so desperately wants his wings is so that he can finally be reunited with Galan, his big brother figure who gained his wings and has never returned to Lower Heaven. Before the finals, Luther meets the coach of the opposing team, the Dallas Demons, Alan.

 

Sensing something amiss, he follows Alan and witnesses his true form: a demon from Hell. However, he is spotted and Alan reveals his true name: Galan. He explains that his Holy Task was to ensure that a young woman made it home in time for her father’s last Christmas but the woman died in a car accident, causing Galan to lose his faith and turn into a fallen angel. He now gains power from the suffering of others, particularly the L.A. Angels whom he has been manipulating to lose year after year.

 

This year, he has allowed them to reach the finals in order to give them the most hope, before crushing it forever. After separating, Luther confronts Aldramel about his lie about Galan, causing Aldramel to admit the truth: he and the other supervisors were worried that Luther would follow in Galan’s footsteps and become a fallen angel in order to be reunited with him. Luther rebukes his supervisor, telling him to have more faith. On the night of the final, both teams play spectacularly.

 

Worrying that he might lose, Alan sabotages the Demon’s basketball hoop, preventing it from allowing any balls through and stopping the L.A. Angels from scoring. With the scores tied, the Angels mount a final offensive. At the last moment, Luther throws his halo, a grave sin, which replaces the sabotaged hoop and allows the ball through, winning the Angels the game and granting Luther his wings. In the aftermath, Luther approaches Alan and offers him his hand, telling him that because Galan once looked after him, he wants to repay the favour. In the epilogue, Galan, now returned to being a wingless angel, sets out for his new Holy Task, supervised by Luther...

The Labyrinth of the Lost

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Set in a city, Poguss (based on the Native American belief of Popogusso), which lies at the heart of a massive labyrinth that stretches outwards in every direction. The people have lived in relative peace for centuries (430 years to be exact), never venturing beyond the city limits for fear of becoming lost in the labyrinth. Virgil, a young man, dreams of finding the exit. After a mysterious fire destroys most of the city, the survivors are forced to enter the labyrinth in search of an exit. Stewart, one of the city’s influential leaders, tries to take control of the group several times before being forcefully expelled.

 

The group arrive at a stone gate inscribed with the words: The First Trial. The inscriptions tell the story of a group of outsiders who angered the gods and broke the covenant, leading to them being imprisoned. The first trial is a room filled to the ceiling with food and drink, enough to keep the survivors fed for weeks. However, they are asked to “Take only enough to fill your bellies”. Disregarding this, Stewart takes excessive amounts, leading to a fight between him and Virgil. Virgil wins and returns the excess food, causing the gate to open. The next gate, The Second Trial, asks the survivors to “confess your sins”.

 

The nearby inscription shows that the outsiders stole food from the friendly natives and then lied about doing so when confronted. Every survivor confessed their sins except Stewart, who, when angered, admits that he was the one who started the fire that killed most of the people. He had realized that the city could not maintain the growing population and had sought to kill off those he deemed worthless, including Virgil’s parents. Before he can be punished the gate opens and he runs ahead. The survivors travel to the next gate, tired and hungry, and find the inscription: The Last Trial.

 

Nearby they find an inscription detailing the murder of a native man at the hands of the outsiders after he discovered the stolen food. The outsiders are then imprisoned by the gods of the natives to answer for their crimes. The Trial asks the survivors to “sacrifice one of your number” prompting a fierce debate that is broken when Stewart emerges from the shadows and tries to kill Virgil (he had reached the final gate first and had taken the dagger placed there).

 

Virgil manages to get the upper hand and prepares to kill Stewart, but suddenly realizes the purpose of the trials (to prove that the descendants of the outsiders had learnt their lesson and earn forgiveness: do not take more food than is necessary, be honest and do not kill innocent people) and throws the dagger away. In fear and shame Stewart runs back into the labyrinth while the survivors pass through the final gate. Beyond the gate they see a final mural of a young girl, Virginia Dare, carving the word Croatoan to serve as a grave marker for the unfortunate native.

 

It is revealed to the reader that the survivors of Poguss are the descendants of the lost Roanoke Colony who were trapped in the labyrinth by the native gods of America after committing a series of sins against the natives who had welcomed them. After a long upward climb Virgil and his followers finally emerge into a scene of paradise, having earned the god’s forgiveness for their ancestor’s actions. Nearby, they spot a strange sign with the words... Central Park Conservatory…

Defiance of Destiny

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Set in the lawless city of Garda, where those with the strongest wills rule over all others. 16 years ago men and women who could alter the world around them emerged. Seeking a place where they could enact their wills unchecked, they flocked to the previously unimportant city of Garda and took over. One of these men, Iron William, rose to the highest position of power and declared himself ruler of Garda. In the present, Bendie, an orphan raised in Garda, plans to leave the city.

 

However, all access is strictly controlled by Iron William, necessitating Bendie to plan a daring theft. Bendie has the power to manipulate threads of reality by enforcing his will. Along the way Bendie is continuously attacked by a woman who calls herself the Guardian of Fate who proclaims that she is the physical manifestation of Destiny and that she is attempting to prevent the Collapse. Eventually Bendie reaches the Iron Tower, William’s base, and sneaks into his penthouse office.

 

Inside he is shocked to find a photo of his deceased mother, Anna, who dies in childbirth. Before he is able to steal a pass with which to leave the city he is discovered by William, who engages him in a Battle of Wills. Surprising William, Bendie is able to overpower him and flee, but not before William refers to him as Anna’s Son. Confused, Bendie heads towards the hospital he was born in. Using his power, he is able to gain access to the records room and discover that his mother was admitted with William acting as her partner.

 

He realizes that William is his father and that, if he were to unravel him (using his power), he himself would be unmade, but his mother would not have died in childbirth. The Guardian of Fate attacks him again, claiming that Anna was the first to manifest her Will and control the threads of reality in order to keep Bendie from dying as Destiny had ordained. In doing so she allowed others to manipulate the threads of Destiny using their Wills. If this continues, the world will come apart in a matter of years.

 

Bendie resolves to unravel William in order to undo all that he has done, including himself, which satisfies the Guardian of Fate and convinces her to stop attacking. Bendie returns to the Iron Tower where he meets William, who claims that he has spent the past 16 years searching for Anna’s child without success. He plans to unravel Bendie in order to save Anna. During their fight, Bendie gains the upper hand and unravels William, whose finals words are “I remember the day I met Anna.

 

She was scared, alone and pregnant...” revealing that he is not Bendie’s father. Bendie receives Williams’ memories using his power and learns that William found Anna after her abusive boyfriend had dumped her after she discovered that she was pregnant. They fell in love and lived together until, one night, an argument led to William hurting Anna, causing the early labour that ultimately ended with her death. It was William’s guilt and refusal to let her go that altered Destiny; however he was only able to save her child using the power that manifested within him. Unable to even look at the only reminder he had of Anna, he abandoned the child at the hospital. It was only later that he realized that he could undo these events by unravelling Bendie.

 

When Bendie comes to, he finds himself in an abandoned building site where the Iron Tower should be. Walking outside he is greeted by the sight of Garda, returned to normal and freed from the actions of the abusers of Destiny. His memories from the old world begin to fade, and he passes by a girl who smiles at him (The Guardian of Fate) before finally returning home to his mother, Anna.

Tower One

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Set in 2041, tells the story of the construction of Tower One, an enormous skyscraper that the Mundis family have been building for almost a century atop Mount Nebo, Jordan. It currently stands at 5975 feet, far outclassing the former tallest building. Edward Mundis, the next head of the family, struggles with the legacy he has been given. Malcolm Mundis, his younger brother, plots to sell the building to a group of investors so that they can lease it out to hotel chains, businesses and restaurants due to the fact that the tower is currently an empty shell. Rigel Mundis, their ailing father, attempts to pass on his mission.

 

It also becomes apparent that the family has been receiving large donations from the Vatican, the state of Israel and the Muslim Caliphate for unknown reasons. During the story Edward tries to discover the purpose of the tower, eventually coming across records from 1941 that detailed the trials of his ancestor, a Jewish man who lived in a German concentration camp where he managed to escape after receiving a vision from God. He travelled to Jordan, to Mount Nebo, and in a cave at its summit discovered the intact Ark of the Covenant. He was instructed to begin construction of the Third Temple atop the Mount, which upon reaching the height of 6000 feet would signal the start of the Messianic Age.

 

Using the Ark as proof, the Mundis family obtained the necessary permits from the Jordanian government and began construction. 100 years later, the Tower Temple is almost finished. However, Malcolm, having followed his brother and uncovered the truth, leaks the story to the world, inciting riots and acts of terrorism. A great host of Christians, Muslims and Jews descend upon the Mount, intent on claiming both Tower One and the Ark for their religions. A suicide bombing destroys part of the tower’s base, necessitating an evacuation of all workers.

 

With only a few feet left to go, Edward ascends the tower, pursued by Malcolm who intends to sell the tower to the highest bidder after taking care of Edward. Atop the tower, the brothers fight, with Edward almost falling off. However he receives a second wind and is able to complete the tower, placing the final block, but is dismayed when Malcolm loses his footing and falls to his death. At that moment, a voice calls out from the sky, quieting the fighting groups and stating that Malcolm’s death is to be the last humanity will ever have to suffer. A figure emerges from the clouds, enveloping the world in peace and light, as the Messianic Age begins…

Cancero: The Search for the Last Cigarette

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Tells the story of Brett, a janitor working at the Museum of Human History in New York in the year 2099. While cleaning out the storage area he comes across a strange white cylinder. Its accompanying exhibit identifies it as a cigarette, a stress relieving tool from the 20th century. Feeling stressed from his job, his soon to be born son and his wasted life choices (he always wanted to be a painter but his parents convinced him to abandon his dream), he lights up the cigarette.

 

Almost instantly he feels his stress vanish, allowing him to finish his work early, for which he receives praise from his boss and his girlfriend. However, after a while, he finds himself becoming more irritable and anxious, causing problems both at work and home. Searching for another cigarette to reclaim the feeling, he discovers the truth: there are no more cigarettes left. After the Opioid Pandemic in 2030 claimed millions of lives, all addictive substances were globally banned.

 

Desperate, he seeks out a black market trader of addictive substances but ends up scammed. However he learns of Cancero Cigarettes, the last company to go out of business in 2041. Along with his girlfriend (he tells her that his boss wants him to pick up a new exhibit for the Museum), he travels to the abandoned factory, located in California. Unfortunately his growing addiction causes him to lash out at her, leading to her leaving him. Now more miserable than ever, he travels to the factory but finds it empty. Before giving up hope, he finds a note written by a man claiming to have what he seeks.

 

He travels to a small house in the middle of nowhere where he finds an old man on the verge of death, surrounded by thousands of cartons of Cancero Cigarettes. The man, now reliant on continuous oxygen infusions, tells him that he also found and smoked a long lost cigarette, driving him to seek out the factory where he found a container full of discarded cigarettes. He has been smoking them continuously for the last 20 years and is now riddled with cancer and near death.

 

He shows Brett the consequences of smoking and asks him if it is worth it for a bit of stress relief. That night he dies and, honouring his last wishes, Brett burns down the house, destroying the last cigarettes. Rushing back to his girlfriend, he apologizes and witnesses the birth of his son. Inspired by his adventure, he takes up painting once more, using his family and hobbies as a replacement for cigarettes...

The Pride of Deneth

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Set in the idyllic small town of Deneth, Colorado which is home to the world famous Deneth Dam, a massive wall of concrete and steel which holds back the frost-melt from the enormous Everice Glacier which sits at the end of the mountainous valley. The story focuses on several of the town’s residents including Mayor Jacob Deneth, descendant of the town’s founder and builder of the dam; his son, Malcolm Deneth, who longs to leave the town for the big city and Abigail Summers, a climatologist who has been tracking the shrinking of Everice Glacier which has remarkably not raised the dam’s water level in twenty years.

 

The story begins when a report is published that the dam is not as structurally sound as once believed, causing many characters to question whether they should evacuate the town which Jacob objects to, citing that the report is wrong and that his dam is unbreakable. Eventually Malcolm and Abigail sneak into the dam’s restricted area and discover the truth: the dam is structurally sound (the report was actually written by Jacob’s rival who lost out on the dam contract) but there is a large cavern system beneath it which has been filling up with the runoff from the glacier.

 

Now close to bursting, if it breaks it will destroy the dam’s foundations. Rushing to the town, Malcolm informs his father of the cavern system who surprises him by revealing that he knew about it all along (he has been paying off the contractor who discovered the tunnels) but expresses doubt that they could cause the dam to fail. Malcolm threatens to tell the police but Jacob reveals that he has most of the town in his pocket. Despondent, Malcolm and Abigail return to the town. However, en route, they learn that a heavy storm will be hitting the town the next day.

 

Knowing that this will most likely cause the dam to rupture, they make a plan to evacuate the town. They light several fires which quickly spread and threaten to engulf the entire valley, prompting the town’s residents to evacuate. Jacob, however, refuses, stating that the storm will douse the flames. After a tense stand-off with Malcom, the latter leaves with those people willing to follow him. As the storm breaks, Jacob goes to the roof of his mansion along with his followers and welcomes the rain.

 

However, moments later, the dam collapses from the increased pressure of the flooded caverns, causing a wall of water to race towards the town. Accepting his failure, Jacob greets the water saying, “What God makes, Man destroys. What Man makes, God destroys. So alike we are to our Father!” In the epilogue, Malcolm, after mourning his father, uses his inherited wealth to help resettle the townspeople before finally saying goodbye to the valley and his father...

The Last Atlantean

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The story is framed as being read by a young boy in a library who accidentally knocks over a shelf and finds a book titled The Last Atlantean. Set in 1940, the story starts with a boy being fished out of the ocean by fishermen. He claims to have come from the sea and desires to return home. The fishermen name him Sam (after flotsam and jetsam) and take him back to port. The captain, August, later adopts him.

 

20 years later, Sam is working as a fisherman on his father’s boat, but still has a lingering desire to return to the sea. After discovering that his father’s company is in debt, he hears of an expedition to the Atlantic Ocean funded by Oliver Dumaine, a wealthy scientist who seeks the lost world of Atlantis. Seeing the expedition as both a way to make money (as a deckhand and experienced sailor) and discover better fishing grounds, he joins up.

 

He becomes friends with Emily Calwain, the captain’s daughter, who has a fear of drowning (and the sea) from a bad childhood experience and wants to use the trip to overcome her fear. During the voyage, Sam starts having flashbacks to his early childhood, the frequency of which increase as they near their destination. Before arriving, their ship is beset by a storm and Emily is knocked overboard. Diving in after her, Sam discovers his ability to breathe underwater.

 

After saving her, he shows her the beauty of the sea, and they fall in love. Upon arriving at their destination, Sam’s memories return. He is from Atlantis, but something caused him to run away and he got lost, before being found by Captain August. He also learns that Oliver is planning on capturing any Atlanteans he finds and putting them in an exhibit. Descending via Bathysphere, Sam and Oliver discover the ruins of Atlantis. Sam recalls that a great underwater earthquake struck the city when he was a child, destroying it and causing him to be separated from his family. Believing that he is the last of his species, he weeps.

 

Oliver, angry at his failure and believing the Atlanteans to be hiding, orders his crew to drop depth charges to flush them out. However, the explosions trigger a second earthquake, swallowing the ruins and killing Oliver after the Bathysphere is ruptured. Sam, able to breathe underwater, gets to safety. While staring at his former home, he sees an arrow made of rocks in the sand, realizing that the survivors left a clue as to their new location. However, knowing that if they were found by humans they would be captured and studied, Sam destroys the evidence.

 

He ascends to the surface, reuniting with Emily and telling them that Oliver died due to his own mad actions. Returning to port, Sam states that his mind will always be in the sea, but his heart belongs on land. In the present, the boy realizes that Sam is his grandfather and the author of the book. Walking outside, he sticks his head into a nearby stream, discovering that he too can breathe underwater. The story ends with him staring out to sea, resolving to find the Atlanteans…

My Hero

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Tells the story of a reporter, Wallace Burkley, who is tasked with interviewing several retired superheroes for an upcoming article titled “My Hero”. However, in truth he is searching for his real father who abandoned his mother when he was a baby. Wallace is also struggling to keep his own erratic powers under control and desires to use them in a meaningful way. He reasons that his father also has super powers (which are genetically inherited), and thus wants his father to teach him how to use his powers.

 

During his interviews with the superheroes he discovers a common thread: the Bizarre Battle. He finds out that 25 years prior the heroes and villains of the world teamed up to fight Superior, a super villain who had discovered how to replicate their powers and planned to destroy all of them, good and bad, leaving only himself to rule the world. After barely defeating Superior, the surviving heroes and villains discovered seven babies in his lair and realized that Superior had cloned himself as part of his schemes.

 

After learning that each of the babies were just as powerful as Superior had been in his prime; the assembled heroes and villains agree to find homes for the children and never speak of what they found, lest the children grow up to be like Superior. Wallace then realizes that he was one of the found infants, explaining his missing father and strange mix of powers. Despite having no father to teach him, he comes to understand that his insecurities were holding him back from mastering his powers.

 

After writing the article, he shocks his co-workers by flying out of an open window. As he flies away, he makes up his mind: he will seek out the other clones and, reasoning that they are probably just as scared and confused as he was, grant them the truth and help them discover who they truly are...

The Unfinished Story

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Story of a young boy, Simon, who spends his free time searching old bookstores for a certain book, “The Starchild”, which his now depressed mother loved as a child. He hopes to read it to her and bring back her smile, which vanished after she miscarried Simon’s sister. During his search he happens to come across another book from the same author, “The Arbequist”, and reads it.

 

However, he discovers that the book was never finished, leading the story without a proper conclusion. Believing that the story will help his mother, he goes in search of the author, Edward Dolkin, who has become a recluse. Simon meets Edward and gradually gets him to open up. Edward explains that he wrote “The Arbequist” with his daughter, Emily, who had cancer.

 

Making the story together helped her forget about her condition and face her fear of death. However, she died just before the story was finished and Edward lost the ability to write. Simon helps Edward regain his imagination and the two work to finish the story.

 

In the end, they are able to complete it, however, Simon refuses to take it, saying that it belongs to Edward and Emily. Inspired by his journey and realizing that the best stories are those that come from the heart; he returns home and starts telling his mother a story he made up, bringing a smile to her face for the first time...

The Young and the (B)old

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Story of a teenage girl, Jo (short for Josephine) who dislikes her boring life and frequently acts out against her parents and classmates. After visiting her mute grandfather, Albert, in his retirement home, Green Pastures, she makes fun of the people living there, saying that they are all simply waiting to die. After having a fight with her parents she decides to sneak back into the retirement home and sleep in an empty room.

 

The next morning she wakes up to discover that she has been transformed into an old lady. Trying to get help, she learns that the staff think that she has dementia and that she often tells everyone that she is actually a teenager (during the story she herself comes to wonder if this is true, having an identity crisis before finding a picture in Albert’s room of her as a child).

 

Soon, Josephine’s (as she is now known) rebellious nature returns and she starts livening up the resident’s sedate lifestyles while also learning to appreciate them and their wisdom. She grows closer to Albert and learns that he has not spoken since his wife, Edith, passed away. She also gets to know Stuart, a student orderly who wants to make the old age home more fun for the residents. Eventually her family comes to visit Albert and she learns how they truly view her, believing that she has simply run away again and that she needs to grow up.

 

In the end, she sits by Albert's side on his deathbed where he speaks for the first time in years, telling her stories about his wife until he quietly slips away. The following morning she awakes and discovers that she has become a teenager again and greets her family who have come after hearing about Albert’s passing. She apologizes for her actions and asks that they call her Josephine from then on, symbolizing her maturity. The book ends with her becoming a student orderly with Stuart, who feels that something is strangely familiar about her, and working hard to make the old age home a fun and joyful place to live in...

Wrath

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Centuries ago, in 1982, an asteroid, 2012 TY-52 (nicknamed Wrath) approached Earth. While not originally on course to impact the planet, due to a computational error the asteroid was designated a 99% chance of Earth impact. In response, the Soviet Union strapped a nuclear warhead onto a lunar rocket and sent it towards Wrath. However, owing to the miscalculation, the impact fragmented the asteroid into two parts (100m and 250m); the smaller of which changed course towards earth while the larger was sent on a centuries-long elliptical orbit that would eventually result in a similar fate.

 

The US president, Ronald Reagan, who was inspecting the Cheyenne Mountain base in the Rockies, heard that the impact was imminent and believed that it was part of a Soviet scheme to destroy the US. When he tried to use his nuclear briefcase to order a counter attack his aide refused (realizing that they were doomed, he did not want to add a nuclear winter on top of the asteroid strike, in hopes of survivors eventually rebuilding civilization), killing him in the ensuing altercation. Guilty and afraid, the aide ran back to the mountain base after hiding the nuclear briefcase and told them to seal the door as the asteroid impacted just off the eastern coast of North America, causing catastrophic damage and societal collapse.

 

350 years later, the remnants of humanity have begun rebuilding society from a tribal/kingdom stage. Two kingdoms vie for complete domination of the land and are searching for the Trinity which will allow them to destroy the enemy (actually the nuclear briefcase and its attached black book & authorization code, the ownership of which will allow global dominance). At the same time, the Right Hand of Wrath (the larger asteroid piece) is bearing down on earth and will destroy all that remains if not stopped (using the remaining nuclear arsenal).

 

The story follows Jonathan Clark, a descendant of the presidential aide who refused to give President Reagan the nuclear briefcase. He is told to go on a journey and recover the Trinity: the Book, the Biscuit and the Box (the nuclear strike list, the nuclear codes and the nuclear briefcase) by his family, who state that it is time. He is given clues (left by his ancestor) to where he might find the objects which, if used correctly, could save the world.

 

At the same time, he learns that if the Trinity falls into the wrong hands it could be used to take over the remnants of civilization. Following the first clue (“In God We Trust, in Man we Faltered, In Law we are Judged”) he arrives at the Congressional Library and discovers the Book). The next clue (“Entombed in the Minds of Man”) takes him to Mount Rushmore, where he discovers the Biscuit in a secret compartment inside one of the heads. At this time, it becomes apparent that the Right Hand of Wrath is on a collision course with the planet.

 

Jonathan rushes to decipher the final clue (“The Heart of the Mountain where the People lost their Heart”) which leads him to the Cheyenne Mountain base where Jonathan’s ancestor buried the nuclear football (the Box) in shame after killing the President. With the Right Hand of Wrath drawing near and the antagonistic groups coming to claim the Trinity, Jonathan uses it to launch every US nuclear warhead at the asteroid, completely obliterating it and rendering the Trinity useless. Having saved the world, Jonathan returns to his family, telling them that humanity can finally rebuild what was lost without worrying about death from above…

The Earworm

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Tells the story of a musician, Walter Medley, who accidentally created the catchiest song ever, "It's a Sad, Sad Day", which eventually causes madness and death in those who hear it (which is informally deemed “Earworm Disease”). Walter, having a troubled upbringing and unfortunate life choices, poured all of his fear, rage and sadness from his miserable life and career into the song during its conception.

 

When the song is accidentally uploaded to a popular radio station, it quickly spreads throughout the town. As the pandemic escalates, Walter searches for a cure, while a shadowy local group, The Anarchrist (a portmanteau of Anarchy and Antichrist) seeks to spread the song worldwide, seeing it as the perfect way to usher in the end times. While trying to find a way to reverse the song's effects, Walter meets other people and begins to see the joy in life (he had returned to the town 6 months earlier after failing to make it big in the city and finding that his childhood crush had gotten married to his childhood bully).

 

Eventually they learn that The Anarchrist plan to upload the song to the national radio station via an unprotected broadcast relay station. However, Walter and his friends are able to stop the group at the relay station and they are arrested. However, when people around the world start showing Earworm symptoms, he realizes that the group's true purpose had been to draw attention away from their efforts to upload the song globally via embedding it subliminally into every major website and YouTube video.

 

Realizing that they do not have time to come up with a way to reverse the effects, Walter heads back to the relay and with help from his friends, records and uploads a new, even catchier song (which is created from his new happy experiences), "Happy Days". Using the relay as a base to upload the son, it soon infects most of the world, cancelling out his previous song and, along with saving the lives of those infected, causes a global increase in happiness and peace which the world is in no hurry to cure…

He With Many Faces

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The story is set in Hollywood and centres on Nathan Mires, a failed actor who has just celebrated his 100th failed audition. His agent, desperate, sends him to the home of Michael Shakes, a once famous actor who slipped into early onset Alzheimer's and retired from acting. Nathan’s agent hopes that Nathan might be able to improve his acting from observing Michael, even with his condition.

 

Meeting with Michael, Nathan soon realizes that Michael does not have Alzheimer’s, instead, he is trapped in the mind-set of the last role he played: that of a man with early onset Alzheimer’s. Researching Michael, Nathan learns that he was a peerless method actor who was known to completely become the person he was meant to portray. Eager to learn more about acting, Nathan helps Michael restore his original persona by acting out the plots of his movies, shedding each persona with every completed movie.

 

Michael, having recovered his original persona, acts in an arrogant manner and claims that he could have recovered at any time, even without Nathan’s help. However, Nathan realizes that this too is a created persona and convinces Michael to shed it, revealing Michael’s original self, known as Mikey. He is revealed to be a shy and insecure man, who explains that he created “Michael” in order to overcome his crippling stage fright and land an acting gig.

 

However, he became overly dependent on “Michael” which then in turn led to him adopting the personas of his next roles, losing himself in the process. He warns Nathan of the risks associated with method acting, before thanking him and returning to his life. In the epilogue, Nathan auditions for a part under the persona of “Nate” and gets the part, signifying that he intends to walk the same path of Michael, no matter the cost…

The Coffee that Saved the World

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Tells the story about an ex-convict named Hector who was imprisoned after unknowingly smuggling drugs from Ecuador to America and spent 5 years in a US prison as a result. After being released he finds a job at Beanz, an upstart coffee company, as a barista. During his first week of work, a popular online reviewer announces that he will be visiting the store on the following Monday.

 

Wanting to impress the reviewer, Hector’s manager, Paul, asks him to give the reviewer some Ecuadorian Black Gold Coffee, considered to be the best in the world. Hector, not knowing that Paul was referring to retrieving a bag from the stock room, travels to the airport where he enlists the aid of his former cellmate, Ace (he was convicted of stealing planes and reselling them) who is trying to obtain his official pilot's license.

 

Cashing in on an old favour, Hector has Ace fly him to Ecuador where he travels to his home village. However, arriving there he finds that a property developer has set his sights on the village’s coffee fields (their main source of income) and is trying to buy the villagers out (it is later revealed that a large oil deposit lies beneath the fields and the man wants it all to himself).

 

Teaming up with the villagers (who mistakenly believe that Hector has made it big in America) Hector uses his knowledge from prison to defeat the man and save the coffee fields. In gratitude the villagers give him a bag of their finest Black Gold coffee. Returning to Beanz just in time for its opening time on Monday, Hector meets the reviewer and brews him a cup of coffee. The reviewer loves the coffee and gives a glowing review. Paul arrives as he is leaving, asking why Hector never retrieved the Black Gold coffee from the stock room, ending the story with Hector's look of disbelief...

The Last Song

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Tells the story of a grieving widowed violinist, Bertrand Clark, whose wife, Melissa, was a composer (they met when he auditioned for the local orchestra which Melissa composed for). He finds out from a secret will that she had written one last song for him and sent parts of it to different people, asking him to complete it for her. He begins his quest accompanied by his young son, Mark, who is struggling to accept Melissa's death, and Melissa’s estranged sister, Judith, who always felt that Melissa had made a mistake in marrying him.

 

It is revealed that Melissa was talented enough to be scouted by world famous orchestras but she always turned them down, claiming that her place was beside her husband (who was not scouted due to not being as talented). Bertrand, Mark and Judith travel across the Irish countryside in order collect all the pieces of the song and play a farewell overture at Melissa’s favourite location, a small cottage overlooking the sea, near Kilbaha, where they had gone on honeymoon.

 

Along the way, he reminisces about how he met his wife and the early years of their marriage. During the journey he meets a variety of people who have all experienced the loss of a family member. It is revealed that the people that Melissa sent the song parts to belonged to an online group which helped its members cope with death and loss. The people explain that Melissa asked them to help Bertrand, Mark and Judith by sharing their stories and their coping mechanisms, only handing over the song part once Bertrand demonstrates that he has learnt the lesson.

 

He eventually collects all the song pieces and heads to the cottage near Kilbaha. There, he plays the song for the first time at sunset, while his son joins him (Melissa had secretly been teaching him how to compose) and Judith sings the lyrics (the song is revealed to require three people to perform, as Melissa wanted her family to play it together). In the aftermath, Bertrand and Mark share stories of Melissa with Judith, as they properly grieve and celebrate her life. In the epilogue, a woman approaches Bertrand in search of a piece of a poem that her husband left for her, revealing that he has joined the online grief group and is now helping others with his story…

The Children of the Sun

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Children of the Sun tells the story of a group of luminous children (who are all named after stars) who live deep below the surface in an old, abandoned mine shaft. They are looked after by a decrepit old man, Toliman, who has raised them since their infancy. He tells them that they were all born in an illegal experiment that attempted to splice luminous bacterial DNA (Vibrio harveyi) to human DNA. The experiment was a success, and six children were born with various luminous organs and structures (eyes, skin, hands, spine, feet and torso).

 

When the scientist’s work was discovered by the government, they attempted to dispose of the altered infants, however, one of the caretakers, Toliman, stole them away, raising them himself beneath the Earth (he was afraid that the government would take them away and experiment on them). In the present, Toliman collapses and the children decide to head to the surface in search of medical help. They make their way through an old service tunnel and emerge in the ruins of the research facility.

 

There, they learn more about themselves and their burgeoning abilities, including how to control the amount and intensity of light that they emit. Leaving the facility, they soon arrive at a nearby town where they are found by a young doctor, Franklin, whose father worked in the bioluminescence project and told Franklin stories of the experiments he performed. Franklin attempts to help the children, travelling with them back to the mine shaft, however word gets out about the children’s existence.

 

The government sends agents to obtain them whilst members of the original experiments desire to get rid of them (it is revealed that the scientists were tried but, without the children as evidence, received light jail terms) in order to destroy the evidence which would put them away for life. With the two groups hot on their tails, the children reach the entrance to the mine shaft but it is destroyed in an accident as the agents and scientists attempt to capture them. They are forced to use an alternate entrance through an unmapped cave system that is perilous and pitch dark.

 

However, the children are able to master their abilities and make it through unharmed, while the scientists and agents are left wandering in the dark (where they bump into one another and the agents arrest the scientists for attempted murder of the children). The children and Franklin reach Toliman, however Franklin discovers that Toliman is dying. He is asked by Toliman to look after the children, which Franklin accepts. With his dying breath Toliman then apologizes for the actions of his former employers, before telling the children to be free. The children and Franklin bury Toliman on the surface and leave together, intent on leaving the town and finally living beneath the sun…

The Darkhouse

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Details the story of Winter Oaks, a small fishing village in Maine. The main character is Claire Robbins, a strange woman who wakes up in the town morgue with no recollection of how she got there. The only thing she can remember is an image of the town lighthouse giving off a black light. Claire wanders about the town, searching for clues to her identity. She is told that a woman who looked like her was seen in a gas station at the edge of town two days prior.

 

There, she finds a security recording of her entering with a man, who appears to be her husband (she had woken up with a ring on her finger). She begins to have visions of the man, along with the lighthouse. Next, she visits the town market, hoping to find more information about the man. While there, she sees a young boy, Christopher, who is drenched in water and calls her "mommy". She escapes and makes her way to an old hotel, which feels familiar to her.

 

In the parking lot she finds her car, with a photo of the man and another woman in the backseat. Feeling unnaturally angry, she asks the receptionist who the man is, and learns that his name is Jonathan and that she arrived with him. She is told that they were last seen heading towards the lighthouse, before heading there herself. Along the way she receives a vision of Christopher being drowned by his psychotic father, and sees that Christopher’s mother tried to save him before being killed herself.

 

Upon reaching the lighthouse, she ascends it, her memories flooding back with every floor she climbs. She remembers that she came to the village with Jonathan, her boyfriend, who she suspected was cheating on her. Whilst climbing the lighthouse, she had confronted him about his infidelity, and in the ensuing argument he revealed the truth: he was cheating on his rich but frigid wife with Claire. When Claire asked him if he would leave his wife for her, he answered that he could not give up the easy life his wife has given him, before trying to kill Claire by pushing her off the lighthouse (Claire had told him that she was going to tell his wife about the affair, ending his marriage and his life of luxury).

 

In the ensuing altercation they had both lost their footing and had plummeted to their deaths. Claire’s body was discovered on the rocks and was brought to the morgue, whilst Jonathan was washed out to sea. Having regained her memories, Claire opens the door to the lighthouse exterior, finding Jonathan waiting for her. Christopher then appears and explains that the lighthouse’s true nature is that of a Darkhouse, a beacon used for guiding lost souls to where they belong.

 

Having come to terms with her death, Claire hugs Christopher and thanks him. Jonathan, however, becomes enraged and attacks them both, ending with him trying to strangle Christopher. Claire uses the Darkhouse’s beacon to blind Jonathan, causing him to fall backwards and over the railing. His body is incinerated by the Darkhouse’s black light (it is implied that he is sent to Hell for his sins). Christopher thanks Claire for saving him, explaining that he is the Darkhouse’s keeper and that he is also a lost soul who is patiently waiting for his father to one day arrive.

 

He tells Claire that she reminds him of his mother, hence their connection. In the aftermath, Claire walks along the Darkhouse’s beam of black light which shines towards the horizon (implying that she is going to Heaven), having finally accepted her demise and come to terms with Jonathan’s actions. In the village, the villagers stop what they are doing and watch the lighthouse emit a beam of black light, stating that another lost soul has found its way home, implying that they know of the true purpose of the lighthouse or that they are dead themselves…