Serialized Fiction: Our eBook Experiment

Do you like to be left hanging? Ever since I was a child, I’ve loved cliffhangers. My fascination began with a TV show called Cliffhangers, which ran for less than a season in the 70’s. The show featured three stories every week, one about a vampire, a mystery, and an Indiana Jones sorta adventure. Every segment left the hero hanging and questions lingering with a… “to be continued…” I hated having to wait a WHOOOOOOLE week. Yet, as each new episode drew closer, I grew more excited and eager to see what would happen next. And when it comes to serialized stories, it’s always about WHAT HAPPENS NEXT? Years later, I loved and hated other shows in a similar way — LOST, X-Files, Carnivale, The Wire, Deadwood, The Walking Dead, Battlestar Gallactica, Breaking Bad, The Sopranos, and too many more to name without coming off like a guy who never gets off the couch. Though these shows span different genres, they have a few things in common. They all have great stories, they all have storylines which stretch across seasons, and they all have flawed but memorable characters. And, of course, they always leave you wondering what happens next? SERIALIZED BOOKS While serialization has been around for ages, it wasn’t until Stephen King did it with The Green Mile in the 90’s, that I discovered it. King managed to do what the best TV shows did – he kept me hanging from book to book, always wanting more. It was the most awesome reading experience I ever had! While I’d always dreamed of creating a serialized TV show, King...
Available Darkness: Chapter 38

Available Darkness: Chapter 38

(Serial and Milk: Available Darkness is a serialized horror thriller co-written by David Wright and Sean Platt. A new chapter appears here each Friday. If you missed previous chapters, you can read them here.) October 2, 1999 St. Augustine, Florida Hope lay in bed, mentally tracing her fingers over John’s angular jaw, across his chin, and then over his soft lips as his breath rose, fell, and whispered between them. The soft blue light of predawn made her feel ridiculous for her mini-breakdown hours earlier. The painting, which she’d started without any thoughts of what it was or where it would eventually go, had taken a dark turn in recent weeks. It was a non-commissioned piece and not something she planned to show at her friend Sergei’s gallery. She initially thought the new direction was some unrealized artistic desire bubbling up and pushing her to explore her boundaries. However, as the painting progressed, she began to sense another power at work. Night after night, she was continuously pulled from her sleep, unable to rest until she returned to the canvas, adding bits and pieces of images, compelled to lay them across the canvas as though she were obsessively divining the will of the Gods. She’d never felt so out of control and without direction, save for the first painting she’d ever professionally shown, Dusk Wanderlust. The one which drew John into Sergei’s art gallery when it first opened in the historic district of St. Augustine nearly two years ago. Just as that painting seemed to draw her and John together as one, this painting seemed more ominous, though she...
Available Darkness: Chapter 35

Available Darkness: Chapter 35

(Serial and Milk: Available Darkness is a serialized horror thriller co-written by David Wright and Sean Platt. A new chapter appears here each Friday. If you missed previous chapters, you can read them here.) John and Larry both reached out in a blind attempt to stop the slaughter. Abigail’s fingers were ten tiny pythons around Lydia’s paling skin. Both bodies shivered and shook, Lydia tangled in death’s inescapable clutches while Abigail feasted on her fleeting life. John and Larry were dead in their tracks, impotent witnesses to the destruction playing out before them. The child, so sweet just hours before, had been transformed, by them, into a killing machine. John was frozen. His heart shattered as he stood in the shadow of the sentence he had condemned Abigail to endure. Yes, he had saved her life, but at what cost? Larry fell back. He wanted to scream, but his mouth filled with vomit instead, which spewed in a fountain, burning bile through his esophagus and onto the cold cement floor of the warehouse. Suddenly, something in Larry snapped. Rage, anger, hate, he wasn’t sure, but it stormed toward the surface and splashed ice water on his inaction. He raised his pistol, aimed directly at the back of Abigail’s head, and marched forward. John glanced up just in time. He instinctively reached out, and for the second time that night, delivered a blast of energy from his palm, sending Larry to a crumpled heap on the cement. The gun skidded backward across the floor and John descended on Larry in less than a breath. Unlike last time, John wasn’t weakened...
Available Darkness: Chapter 34

Available Darkness: Chapter 34

(Serial and Milk: Available Darkness is a serialized horror thriller co-written by David Wright and Sean Platt. A new chapter appears here each Friday. If you missed previous chapters, you can read them here.) Jack kneaded his temples and stared at the screen. On a safari for clues to his foggy past, he’d accessed a database in the bureau computer, wound his way through a series of gateways, and finally located his full file. While he’d pieced together many puzzles via public and classified records during his years with the agency—lives collected neatly in folders filled with facts, photos and crime scene reports—it was another thing altogether, attempting to quilt the fragments of his own scattered existence. Facts stared back at Baldwin; things remembered and forgotten, both seeming as ancient as he was feeling. He saw nothing which indicated that his parents, William and Elizabeth Winslow, died in a violent crime. Their deaths were listed as a car accident, just as he recalled. Driving home one rainy night, their car lost control on a slick road and wrapped around a light post. Death on impact. Survived by one son, Jack. No mention of another. Shortly following the accident, Jack was adopted by Ed and Myriam Baldwin. Ed was an agent with the FBI, leaving a career’s worth of footsteps for Jack to eventually follow. According to the gospel which Jack had never thought to question, Ed and Myriam were a freshly married couple, unable to conceive. Ed had been on his way home from work when he arrived at the scene of the accident, Jack’s parents hugging the lamppost,...
Available Darkness: Chapter 33

Available Darkness: Chapter 33

(Serial and Milk: Available Darkness is a serialized horror thriller co-written by David Wright and Sean Platt. A new chapter appears here each Friday. If you missed previous chapters, you can read them here.) Larry swung the black van into the chop shop. The unassuming warehouse sat in the middle of a dozen others, nearly invisible, in a broken row in a rundown neighborhood just two miles south of their next port of call. Lydia was waiting outside, alone as he’d requested. Most hours, she’d have a crew of at least six to help ensure her safety, but their amorous past was a solid promise of safety. She raised the bay door and Larry pulled inside, parking beside the white Ford Econoline she’d readied for him. The van was modified inside, with a spacious cargo area sealed off from the front to prevent any light from seeping inside. Larry would transfer John and Abigail, and then be on his way. Lydia would take care of the black van and all its tracking systems. Larry hopped from the van. Lydia pulled the bay door down and turned to him, her infectious smile lighting the room, “Hey, stranger.” He laughed. “Not by choice. You still seeing Tony?” “Hell no, he’s back with his little bitch Jessi.” Lydia sidled towards Larry, then leaned in and gave him a peck on the cheek. “You asking for any particular reason?” Larry grinned. It had been a while since he’d been laid. Even longer since he’d been with a kinky little minx like Lydia. He felt the usual stir, and then ignored the wish that...