The Island is available here.
It's the horror fan's ultimate dream. A tour of an island where legendary monsters are real. Escorted by armed guards, lifelong friends Rick and Nate travel to the island as a birthday surprise for Rick. They soon find out that the island's inhabitants are hungry, and the tour turns into a fight for survival.
A an action-packed horror novella loaded with monsters and gore from the author of The Dead Land Trilogy.
“Wait until you see what I've got planned,” Nate said, standing on the dock in his leather jacket and khakis. He was sporting a goatee, meant to compensate for the thinning hair and double chin that had crept up since he'd hit forty.
“I think I'm a little scared,” Rick Solomon said.
Julie, Rick's wife, said: “So where's the mystery man taking us?”
Eve, smoking a cigarette and watching the sunset, said: “My husband's an enigma wrapped in a riddle. I don't even know what he’s planning.”
“What's the bag for?” Rick said, alluding to the small suitcase Nate had at his side.
“You'll see, my friend.”
Rick supposed there were worse ways to spend your fortieth birthday. Nate had been promising a surprise for weeks, and the day was here. All Nate would tell him was to pack enough clothes for a few days.
It was mid-November, and Rick shivered inside his pea coat. A few more minutes and he was going to head into the shack that served as the dockmaster's office. He didn't have to go inside, because a seaplane buzzed and banked over the lake. Came in for a landing and they all backed up.
It came up parallel to the dock and after a moment its propeller cut out.
Julie came up beside him and took his arm. He smiled at her. They'd spent an amazing weekend up at a spa in the Poconos to celebrate his fortieth, five-star meals and massages included.
Now it was Nate's turn to give his best friend a gift.
A door on the side of the plane opened, some stairs folded onto the dock, and a squat man with a crooked nose stepped off. He was dressed in black and bore the look of someone familiar with the ring. Rick noticed his knuckles were huge and scarred. He eyed up Rick and the others if they were his next opponent.
“Which one of you is Nate?” the man said.
“That'd be me,” Nate said.
“Got the fee?”
“In the suitcase.”
“Hand it over,” the man said.
Nate handed him the suitcase and he placed it on the plane.
“My name is Sutherland. I'm going to frisk each one of you now. No cell phones. No cameras. And no guns.”
Eve tossed her cigarette on the dock and stamped it out. “You're not frisking me.”
“It's policy,” Sutherland said, his gaze flat.
“No frisk,” Eve said.
“Lady, either I frisk you, or you don't get on the fuckin' plane,” Sutherland said.
Nate said, “Eve, just go along. It's Rick's birthday.”
“Fine. But watch your hands.”
Sutherland frisked Nate, Julie, and Eve in short order, taking their cell phones. Rick handed his over before Sutherland frisked him, and the man with the crooked nose put them in his pockets. The frisking wouldn't win him any awards for being gentle.
“You'll get them back after the trip. Anyone have to use the john? No bathroom stops.”
“We're good,” Rick said.
“Get in the plane. We'll be in the air about two hours.”
As they were boarding the plane, Sutherland put a hand on Nate's chest, stopping him.
“It's all there, right? Two hundred thousand.”
“You can count it if you want,” Nate said.
Their wives climbed on board and Rick took Nate aside for a moment.
“What are you fucking nuts? Two hundred thousand dollars?” Rick asked.
“You know I'm good for it.”
“The restaurant business must be good,” Rick said.
“I've sold a lot of ribs and chicken this year,” Nate said, clapping Rick on the shoulder.
“I can’t let you spend that kind of money.”
“It's as good as gone. And trust me, from what I hear, this is going to be worth it,” Nate said.
Sutherland said, “If you two ladies are done discussing beauty tips, I have a fucking plane to fly, okay?”
As they boarded the plane, Rick said: “Wonder what charm school he graduated from?”
The ladies took the two seats in the rear of the plane. Rick and Nate sat in the two behind the pilot.
There were some bottles of a nice Chilean pinot noir and cheese with crackers in a cooler. Rick was presently on his second glass. Feeling nice and warm. Normally he was a beer guy, favoring stouts and IPAs, but the wine was going down good.
“So where are we going?” he asked Nate.
“I haven't had that much to drink,” Nate said. “Not letting the feline out of the proverbial sack.”
“What the hell kind of trip costs two hundred grand?” Rick said.
“If you keep asking me, I'm going to have Sutherland throw you out of the plane. Just relax and enjoy.”
“Can you at least tell me our destination? A town? City?” Rick asked.
“We're headed north of the border. The wild wilderness of Canada.”
“I don't have a passport. Neither does Julie.”
Nate took a sip of wine, waved him off. “The people I'm dealing with don't have those concerns. It's been taken care of.”
That made him a little nervous, as did the amount of money involved in this little outing. He suspected his best friend had some shady dealings from time-to-time. He owned the aptly titled Big Nate's Barbeque, a chain of twenty-three restaurants spread across Western New York and Pennsylvania. Although he was sure his buddy did well, the four houses and six luxury cars were maybe a little too much for the owner of a chain restaurant. Plus, the amount of money he’d just handed over to Sutherland was a little concerning.
After they'd been in the air for about two hours, the plane banked sharply and Rick looked down on a small, densely wooded island. At one end was a large log structure, perhaps a lodge or hotel. It was surrounded by high, concrete walls. Odd.
Maybe this is where they'd be staying.