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This Old House (by Joe Coombs)

A Nightmare Railroad for four players and one Game Master, based on ideas taken from the Giallo Trilogy, Welcome to St. Cloud and Postcards from Avalidad by Miguel Ribeiro, published by Postmortem Studios.



This Old House is tribute to the following films: Evil Dead, Gothic, Poltergeist, Dead Alive aka Braindead, The Exorcist, Ghoulies, A Chinese Ghost Story and, of course, The House franchise. Massive thank you to House Of Hell, the Fighting Fantasy game book by Steve Jackson, published by Puffin Books.

Readers beware: the following contains some brutal description, scenes of violence and other horror elements some readers may find disturbing.

To get hold of these books and much more content Look out for “Grim Jim” Desborough in the following places:

Twitter: @mort_post@Grimmasaur

Facebook: PostmortemStudios


Printed books can be found directly on James Desborough’s author’s page at, offering all manner of print options, Or Drivethrurpg if you want pdf. To buy them direct from James:

Don’t worry if you don’t have four players, the game master can play the other characters. The only person who needs to read this text is the person running it. If you’re playing this tale of horror, I beg you: read no more. You will ruin all the fun and excitement!

The only way to escape the house is to cure it of its ills. Not every spirit within these walls wants to be here. They long to be freed from the creatures that inhabit this abode. These being can be anything you wish and they can also conjure up all sorts of events. Some may be real, others pure illusion. As quickly as an event can happen it can end.

The element surprise is your friend:

– There can be houses around, however entering those will only lead you back to the House.

– There are no neighbours.

– There are no telephones.

– Mobiles don’t get reception here.

– Characters are completely cut off.


This house has many secrets, you must discover them. The players can be part of its past, present or future. Perhaps they regress into the house’s past. Are they haunted or perhaps just suffering from déjà vu as soon as they enter the door? You can roll on the random possession table below. You can set the house up in any time period you wish. Upon entering the property the players get a feeling of peace and contentment, which may well soon turn into dread and fear.

In The Beginning

One of the players is particularly sensitive as to what is going on with this house. It could have been part of the reason drawn to it in the first place. Trying to ignore these feelings makes them more intense towards what mysterious are locked inside:

• A little bit of déjà vu.

• Shivers, tingles, gooseflesh.

• Smells.

• A lot of small insects crawling about.

• Taps shooting out gunk, goo, and brown slime.

• Pictures’ eyes moving.

• Creaking, low murmurs, groans.

• Thuds, bumps.

• The insects start to swarm and become more frequent.

More strange occurrences:

• Music playing for no reason.

• Lights turning on / off.

• Feelings of being watched.

• Power cut(s).

• Louder Bangs, Crashes and slams.

• Fissures and cracks in walls.

• Bleeding portraits.

• Stigmata.

Once entering the grounds, their only mission is to escape its prison. Secrets will come to light, the main one being: it’s been the ruin of many. The house exists in its own nexus; in a trans-dimensional state. This is due to incomplete rituals of magic, taken place over the years. Again, evidence for this will become apparent.

Knocking sounds, screams, and sensations of hot and cold, ancient bones and skeletons, symbols hidden within the walls or, perhaps, certain decorations.

Their wards are in certain rooms of the property. These rooms are quiet. A successful Spirit check will pick up on these signs and portents that have been placed.

When it comes to the inhabitants of this property, you have no real idea where are the people. A handwritten note is the only sign that anyone other the characters have been here. Of course there’s food: perhaps all the ingredients for various meals or a well-stocked freezer of delectable cuisine has been provided. So, at least, they won’t starve to death during their visit.

Manifestations Table (roll 1d8):

1. Shadows crawl all over the ceiling; they become a beast with glowing eyes issuing out the following words: “Be gone you are unclean. Are you ready for your cleansing?” Creatures dripping with buckets of blood throw them upon the players.

2. Skeletons with rotting flesh appear dancing and swinging to the melody of Cocoa Cabanas. The vocals and the music are a distorted reminiscent of that of The Misfits. The skeletons seem to multiply.

3. The first line of Sound of Silence by Simon and Garfunkel is repeated over and over. The vocal gets faster and slower, doors slam in time. After 30 seconds this fades. The word “Friend” issues a rumbling and you hear booming knocks from the door. The door slams and footsteps rush forward. You hear screaming sounds.

4. Violent apparitions fill the house, shadows from depicting terrible events. You can hear soldiers marching. Nothing visible, but bombs start falling. The house starts burning. This lasts for hardly any time and then falls silent ‘till they hear knocking once more.

5. Strangers call round at inopportune moments. These are incarnations of the spirits.

6. Strange heads float around engulfed in mystical flame speaking in foreign tongues.

7. Strange creatures start to surround the house. They can appear in various forms, sometimes human, sometimes animal.

8. Zombie outbreak. The undead can take control of all objects. Their forms and shapes are grotesque. Flesh hangs off their bones. Even when destroyed these beings’ innards can reach out to consume. They are also capable of intercourse and can give birth.


The phone may ring. When this happens, it triggers one of the following:

1. An attacking spirit.

2. An attacking spirit

3. Manifestation.

4. Ornaments flying about.

5. Creatures run through walls.

6. Insane creatures attack.

7. Innocent spirits scream for the light.

8. Insect infestation.

9. Zombies rise from the garden.

10. Ghostly fires.

Go all out and include undead cultists rising from the depths. Some can be illusion, some can be real. This is a house of horror. Corpses buried in the walls, smoke and stench, even trees outside may be able to drive your players into fits of despair and outrage, or give the impression that’s what is going on. Electrical appliances may have a will of their own here. Kettles whistling, exploding, unexplained fires from electrical sockets seem to start for no good reason. The power is located in the garage, but even without the fuses this place is still very much alive. You must ensure the horror, while the characters fight the enemy and do their best to survive this ghastly place.

They will discover more about the house’s past, present and future and, eventually, may be allowed to leave, or will just become another one of its victims. Utilise these ideas as you see fit.

Perhaps during the day the signs and sensations are not quite as strong. You could have animal bones scattered in certain areas, or let the characters uncover something in the garden, such as human skull with a large hole in it, another turning up later, that’s been smashed in half, perhaps a burial chamber within the walls of one of three buildings.

What is This Place?

The house, as I imagine it, it’s quite average: a few rooms upstairs, front back garden (overgrown). All in all, looks just like a vacant place that is just need of some care and attention. You can make it as large as you wish. Just remember the more rooms it has, the more you have to include. It’s possible that this could be just a one-shot or an on-going saga. For a never-ending story, as one player dies, another comes on to the familiar scene. Backgrounds are important for this reason. A spouse, a relative, perhaps a friend who knows they were going there, and haven’t heard from them, so they come looking.

What will they find?

Just another well stocked house filled with darkness, endlessly existing with its hideous secrets. Note that running away from the house is impossible. Players always find themselves returning to it, until the mysteries have all been solved. This is due to a curse that was placed upon it long ago. Clues to this will become apparent as long as players investigation checks are all good.

The incentive

Why would anyone want to visit an abandoned old house?

1d10 table

1. An inheritance: you have been bequeathed this property by a dead relative; it needs a lot of cleaning up.

2. Tempted by greed: you have heard rumours of treasures buried here.

3. A storm beats down, the bridge is out: This is the nearest place to shelter. Dare you enter?

4. Simply curious: it’s as if you’re compelled by an urge to investigate.

5. Cause for concern: After not hearing from a relative/ friend for some time you are eager to find out what’s wrong. The address you have is for this place.

6. A cry for help: upon gazing at an old picture you hear a voice in your head, crying for salvation. You look to a house across the street and it’s exactly the same as the one in the picture. You hear the voice again, this time coming from the house.

7. Where did everybody go? You have been summoned to an address, unfortunately it looks nobody is there.

8. Meet the neighbours: having just moved into the neighbourhood, an invitation comes to your door; there is to be a party to welcome you. The address for the gathering is here.

9. House sitting: bills have started piling up and earning some extra cash is a priority. A job offer comes up; just stay a week until the owners come back, $150.00 for each of you and all expenses reimbursed. You must keep receipts for anything you purchase. You will need to stock the fridge. The whole house is yours to mind for seven days.

10. A simple bet that you lost: one night, that’s all. Just one night? I dare you!


Characters are relatively normal people with the following attributes:

Mind – Knowlege

Body – Physical

Spirit – Inner self

Mask – Profession

You can pick what you like here. The idea is your players are just average folks off the street.


The house is quite large, though dilapidated. A ragged looking driveway with old withered trees on either side leads up to the building. There is a garage attached to the house and two other out buildings. The garage appears empty but there is a hidden library, if investigated properly.

The kitchen is plain ordinary. There is a note welcoming you, and apologies why hosts aren’t there. One of the drawers contains various keys. Nothing indicates what opens what. One is of large size; one is of a small size.

The garage contains various rusted garden tools. A lawn mower, a chain saw and various other implements (e.g. hoe, rake, shears and a hedge trimmer).

One of the out buildings has a strong padlocked gate. Players can attempt to break it. They will find keys if they search the other out building, the largest. In this one, everything is rusted, dusty and stinks of damp. There is, however, a trap door bolted and tough to break. This is located under a heavy filing cabinet. If players don’t investigate thoroughly they may hear a knocking, scraping sound, like nails on a board. This sound increases in its intensity. Characters may well hear voices in the walls, see shadows in the upstairs windows.

What’s in this place?

Use the d100 table. You can flip these around at your leisure. It gives you an idea of what you could include:

1. Ancient photographs.

2. An old book of magical rituals.

3. Animal Bones.

4. Jewels.

5. Cash.

6. Letters of correspondence that include information on the player characters.

7. A locked chest with a symbol upon it. One of the players might recognise it.

8. A map. An X marks a spot in the garden

9-15. A silver skeleton key.

16-21. Apparitions; roll on the d10 Possession table.

22-25. An ancient religious symbol that will stop the effect of possession for 1d4 rounds.

26-32. A cauldron of awful things that look as if they’ve been there for years.

33-44. Various id’s and passports.

45-55. A voodoo doll.

56-65. A book of ancient verses in Aramaic.

66-76. Creatures that move and twist, screaming vengeance.

77-87. Old photographs of Native Americans.

88-90. A set of ancient African swords and blow-guns.

91-95 Petrol for the mower in the out building.

96-99. Shot and shells

00. Pictures of the players and their families, with their faces scrawled out in red and black crosses.

An ancient text is also hidden if the players investigate further, one clearly written in blood. REVENGE!

They may be tempted to destroy the house. Attempts to do this will always end in disaster. It makes spirits possess it stronger. Characters can attempt to resist the entities by passing spirit checks. If those checks fail, they must roll on a d10 table. Possessions last for minimum of d4 rounds and the severity depend on the length of the possession. At the end of each possession the characters will not be aware anything has happened.

Random possession:

1. You start to fly around the room screaming “Get Out”.

2. You vomit flies profusely.

3. Your eyes roll back into their sockets, your face turns into that of a ravenous beast and you laugh manically.

4. You start speaking in an ancient language. Lights flicker, doors crash and bang.

5. Voices fill your mind and you have vivid hallucinations of sacrifice and bloodshed.

6. You resort back to childhood, screaming for your parents.

7. You levitate outside grabbing the key and opening the door.

8. You scream at the top of your lungs: “Mercy don’t lock the children, please, not the children!”

9. Panicky and frightened, you hide and whimper, as blood starts pouring from your nose and mouth.

10. You’re copiously sick, bile seems to just flow out of your mouth, and you start to choke.

Using the old house in the Quintet of Horrors presented by Miguel Ribeiro:

1. Postmortem Giallo: Orpheum Lofts: The Lofts was a magnificently large apartment block, luxurious and expensive owned by the notorious Paul Abramowitz. The Old House has been in the Abramowitz family for generations. It’s been left to go to ruin. Paul initially got hold of the house through his deceased father’s inheritance. It’s located a few miles from Orpheum Lofts and relatively secluded. He has been known to encourage local down-and-outs to stay there, offering carefully chosen homeless folks to stay in the Old House, knowing full well it will take the victims for its own. If you wanted to you could have all intensity locked inside one apartment within the Loft themselves. A doorway could simply appear that seems to be a never-ending corridor with doors on either side, each one unable to open. Then suddenly one door does and you are in what appears to be another apartment. The Sound of Silence by Simon Garfunkel begins to play.

2. Postmortem Giallo: The Memorial: a hospital of mystery intrigue. The house could be located in the grounds, or in a secluded area not to far away. However upon entry to The House the restless spirits dwelling within play havoc on the minds of your players. It’s as if nothing exists apart from the house. Otherwise, when you read the VIP lounge section you can find plenty of people who could have at one point owned/ inherited the House. Perhaps the House could have been used for respite care, a place where they “rehabilitated” patients. Those who have since (according to the records) been relocated, are now living independent lives. The reality is they have not. They have been buried in the murky depths.

3: Postmortem Giallo: The Sisters of the Seven Sins: the House is located near the covenant. There are various rumours that surround who actually own the property. This has caused a bit of feud. In order to quell this feud, Father Cabyde bought the property and uses it for his own amusement.

4. Welcome to St Cloud: the house could be just another cabin in the woods. Also, in St Cloud you will come across inbred with some peculiar appetites. They would make a great addition to The House. There’s plenty of wilderness where the House could be found just waiting to be discovered.

5: Postcards from Avalidad: in Postcards you will meet the Apostles of Pain; these beings (or the followers) would be ideal to include in the house. The house could make an excellent nightclub or if you wanted to include in the suburbs, as an urban legend that needs investigating; that would also work. Perhaps somebody from a corporation is on the hunt for an artefact they believe it’s located somewhere in the House. When using The House in the Postcards from Avalidad just be ware, the tech level can be rather high. In order to keep The House ideas on a low level of tech bring in malfunctions. The supernatural that dwell produce energy that interferes with the technology aspects those players may have. The House and its inhabitants can only be defeated by the player’s wits, intelligence and cunning.


Creatures (roll d8):

1. Zombies

2. Skeletons

3. Wild gang of biker clowns

4. Gremlins

5. Maniacal Cannibals

6. Homicidal Inbred loons (with or without chainsaws)

7. Black Pig-faced bipeds

8. Two-headed obese ogres

[All of these can just be apparitions or physical entities]

Defending yourself (roll d12):

1. Candle sticks d4

2. Heavy book   d4

3. Fire Poker       d4

4. Kitchen knife small d4

5. Large kitchen knife d4+2

6. Garden tools d4-d6

7. Old wood axe d6

8. Revolver d6

9. Crossbow short d6

10. Rifle d8

11. Hedge trimmer d8

12. Chainsaw d12

Supernatural Damage (roll d12)

1. Madness induced, roll d6

2. Dribbling and frothing you can’t act for d4 rounds

3-4. you are in the grip of full blown hysterics D6 rounds

5-6. Everywhere you look you see dead people

7-8 Panic Ensues

9. Begging for mercy

10-12. Induces a possession

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Unscripted & Unchained (Interview)

A few days ago I was interviewed by DM Bluddworth for his YouTube Channel Unscripted & Unchained RPG Review. We talked about my background as a role-playing gamer and my recent experience of publishing my own scenarios through Postmortem Studios. You can check out the interview here:

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Mr. Mean Speaks! (Postmortem Studios scenarios)

John Polack did a video overview of Postmortem Studios Giallo trilogyWelcome to St. Cloud and Postcards from Avalidad for his Youtube channel Mr. Mean Speaks! Check it out!

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As Above, So Below (Coming Soon)

as above, so belowPostcards from Avalidad‘s first scenario is almost ready for release. This time James Grim Desborough is not doing the layout nor cover design, Manuel Sousa is taking care of that. Here’s a sneak peek:


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Hear Heart Was a Locked Room and Nobody Had the Key

This is a short scenario to be combined with Postmortem Giallo: Orpheum Lofts, or even played without it. It’s a clichéd Giallo story, which features several of the tropes associated with the genre and starts with the murder of a Loft’s resident, the jazz singer Stephanie Armitage. The players can choose among a list of pre-generated characters or come up with their own. By default, the scenario uses Actual Fucking Monsters mechanics, but it’s easy to adapt it to any other contemporary horror role-playing game system.

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Postcards from Avalidad Teaser #5

HOST: So, what you are implying is that Dr Bentley is a dangerous individual?

THADDEUS KILGORE: I’m implying nothing, I am certain that William Bentley is a criminal. He has perfected torture methods while working for Third World dictators. He should be immediately arrested and led to trial…

[At that moment, a panel opens behind the host and the interviewed. A tall, handsome grey-haired man in a classic suit enters, apparently carrying a gun. He points the gun at Thaddeus Kilgore]

MAN: Mr Kilgore, I was backstage listening to all that drivel and decided to make an appearance. You, sir, are a dirty, rotten scoundrel. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour!

The man shoots the gun. Thaddeus Kilgore grabs his chest in pain and falls from his chair. The audience is in absolute silence.

HOST: My God, I think he’s gone, doctor!

DR BENTLEY: Well, it’s all in the day’s work.

[Dr Bentley takes a bow before the bewildered audience and leaves the stage]

Excerpt from a Talk the Talk show, hosted by Raoul Fontana. Later, it was discovered that William Bentley shot Kilgore with a mere toy gun, and the later died from a heart attack.

Thaddeus Kilgore was the founder of the Democracy Now movement, the most important active political movement in the city, which goal is to put an end to the current state of Avalidad, as a corporate owned city.

Thaddeus Kilgore is the founder of the Democracy Now movement
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Postcards from Avalidad Teaser #4

Our destiny is constantly changing, constantly shifting. It is the turns we take at every junction that build that thing we call fate, step by step. In that view, there is no such thing as a future to wait for. The universe itself, by definition, encompasses all that was, all that could have been, all that is, and all that could eventually come to be. Everything at the same time. Can you embrace the concept? I think no one can fully grasp it.

Myself, I try to humbly understand and accept that everything we do plays a role. In the end, we usually simply watch in wonder and amazement, and let the wholeness take us where we should go. Yes, because it truly does! I very rarely act, I usually just watch, advise, and comment. To the point of being annoying, perhaps? Well, my apparent inaction comes from understanding the implications and ramifications of the future are vast, and that it is useless to try and use them to our advantage. Or to anyone’s benefit, by that matter. Personally, I simply try to navigate life as best I can, and help those in need to do so as well.

Nonetheless, there are focal points that draw me to them, as if they were magnets within a vast sea of possibilities. Like a whirlpool, slowly drawing within everything that floats around it. Please, do not try and refrain your smile. I know how I am seen from the outside. A nosy and weird meddler who rants about strangeness. Sometimes, a very irritating and imposing nosy meddler.

But, in the end, we all ride the waves of the entirety together. When you take a turn, or go back to your apartment because you forgot your biocomputer, you open up a sea of possibilities and run away from a sea of would have beens. I am simply more aware, and thus I consider my mission to help and improve your fate and mine, present and future. So, now, tell me, do you really wish you knew?

Well folks, that’s what Mr Aziz Crowe, Ka’athryn’s husband and, as you may know, ZoneSec’s director of operations and a very experienced psionic, told me about fate and his work in Avalidad when I spoke with him at Doc Bentley’s latest party. And all I asked him for was advice on a date!”

Excerpt from Dreamachine, presented by Selene Kelyah, covering a William Bentley party, with Aziz Crowe as a guest


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Postcards from Avalidad Teaser #3

A single drop of blood fell in the exact centre of the lake. It opened a wound in the crystalline waters. The wound rippled outwards in slow undulating cries of silent pain. Silence. The wound bled and the pond was dark red. An unborn child fell into the thick liquid, and drowned. He raised the weapon and shot the Asian man once, twice. He watched the man die at his feet. The dead lover smiled and lulled herself to quiet peace and forgetfulness. The blood was in his hands. A single droplet fell and hit the cold water. A sudden, blinding light filled all space around him. It wasn’t harsh and painful though, it was warm, comforting, loving. His light. He woke up and his conscious self was suddenly aware of all the small noises surrounding him. It took him a few seconds to place himself. He took a deep breath and tried to ignore the throbbing pain that still numbed his senses.

Aziz Crowe, ZoneSec’s Director of Operations

He was in Avalidad. Aziz opened his eyes and surveyed his surroundings. His belongings were stacked away on a small table in the corner. He got up from the bed, his body completely sore, as if he had been severely beaten over and over again, and walked with some difficulty across the small room.

Aziz quickly found what he was looking for. He picked up a small blue object and held it inside his closed hand. After the biocomputer read his vital signs, it turned on and the image of a green-eyed blonde woman appeared next to him.

Hello. Finally. What has been happening since yesterday? I have been able to re-establish my up-link to the communications satellite; I have already received… twelve messages from ‘you-know-who’ asking me what has been going on. It is 12.20 now. Please explain…

He stared at the image of a woman talking in front of him, slightly overwhelmed by the personal assistant’s verbal assault. He blinked, and gestured her to wait.

Please, Nastassja, more slowly, I am still not well.

I understand. Would you like me to open a communications channel now?

No, not now, I’m going home. Inform ZoneSec of my present location and relay my audio and visual memories of what happened this last day. Here is the data.

He inserted the small crystalline object into an opening on his biocomputer’s side.

Relay the data into to my office’s mainframe and to ZoneSec for analysis. Download all the information on the current process. Start a cross-reference of this data with the already gathered information.

Accessing. Starting download. Estimating time for download and cross-reference. Five hours.

He put down the biocomputer, searched his bag for PainAways and took two. Grimacing from the pain he felt from every movement, he changed back into his own clothes, and hoped the painkillers would work fast.

Transmission arrived. Sender: Kuan Peng.

His expression became much more serious, and he almost jumped towards his biocomputer, but was stopped by his sore muscles.

Read it.

Opening transmission. Text message “Ask me.” End of message.

Reply. Text. Begin message. “This is more serious than you had told me?” End message. Send.

He paced around the small room and his expression grew more sombre. He glanced nervously to his Personal Assistant’s augmented reality image, anticipating and interrupting her words.


Read it.

Opening transmission. Text message. “Yes”. End of message.

He nodded, gathered his belongings, and left the room.

Aziz Crowe exited from the transport that had taken him to the City of Glass district. The streets, seething with life and movement deafened him for a moment or two before he managed to balance himself. He slowly walked towards home, closing his thoughts from all the activity that surrounded him.

‘This must be much more serious than I had anticipated. I made a mistake in underestimating its importance. There are several loose strands that I do not know how to weave together. And these others. The interest in this process seems to transcend ZoneSec.’


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Postcards from Avalidad Teaser #2

As I exited the lift, still trying to puzzle out which Gershwin tune was remixed with what Cole Porter song in that Lounge Cut-Up version playing inside, I saw this gorgeous woman extending her hand, with a big smile on her pretty face.

“Mr Reed, Doctor Bentley is expecting you.”

The broad looked like a fashion model dressed up as a 1950s pin-up. Probably she really was a model before Bentley gave her this job as secretary. Doc sure knows how to pick them! Except for Veronica… Veronica is a baboon!

I greeted her and followed her scent through a maze of exquisitely decorated corridors. The money these people waste on frills could feed all those miserable wretches out there in the bidonvilles. Well, fuck those mutants… I don’t really give a rat’s ass about them anyway.

A couple of turns later, the pin-up lady stopped by a huge double door, beyond which Bentley’s office stood. As she motioned to the entrance someone greeted me from inside.

“Clayton Reed, please come in.”

I went ahead. Bentley was staring at the cityscape though the glass wall on the other side of the room. The office so wide it seemed the man was a mile away. My boss – that’s Aziz Crowe – was sitting by a desk, in the middle of the room, lost in thoughts, with that sombre, absorbed look on his face. I couldn’t see that fucking purpled-assed Veronica anywhere, but I was on the lookout for her. Those bloody baboons give me the creeps.

“Come closer, but beware of that thing beside the desk”.

At first I thought he meant Aziz, they don’t quite like each other, but then I saw there was something on the floor, wrapped in black plastic. A body bag in Bentley’s workplace… What the fuck had those jokers been up to?

“Doctor why, may I ask, is there a body bag in your office?”

Bentley turned around, a grin on his suntanned, square-jawed face. He was wearing a grey three-piece suit, very fashionable, very retro, most likely by Jean-Pierre GivenXXX. Not that I care about such stuff… But he does, the narcissistic prick! Doc’s probably sixty, but looks younger than me.

“Someone died, obviously.”

I waited for him to expound on that. No point rushing him, Bentley is a weird one. Then Aziz jumped in:

“He was a ZoneSec Officer, Mr Reed. Was patrolling this very street, near the building, last night, when someone – more likely something – attacked him. Another mangled body, just like the other three. Well, not quite the same, this one is in a… slightly worse condition.”

I realized shit had hit the fan. Unsurprising, though, they wouldn’t call a troubleshooter like me to deal with trivialities. Anyway, we’re in Takeda Technologies Headquarters, right in the middle of the City of Glass; people just don’t get butchered in a place like this! And the other mangled bodies… I recalled what he meant. Three ZoneSec employees had been torn apart by some unknown perp sometime last month. Brutal affairs, the killer is likely a mutant, no regular human could possibly do that.

“I know what you’re thinking”, Aziz said.

He probably did, the psionic fricking master.

“Not a mutant. We believe the killer is another kind of… fiend.”“

Fiend, interesting word choice. Kind of what you would expect from someone like ZoneSec’s Chief of Operations. More of a guru than a director, if you ask me… I approached the body bag, knelt and unzipped it. Yup, it was worse than the others, alright! Face mauled beyond recognition, throat and torso torn apart… The chest appeared to have been savagely clawed, but not with those fancy biotech augmentations operatives and bodyguards tend to favour. These were probably nasty looking and organic. But, surely, they knew more than I did already. I looked at Aziz, he was staring back at me with piercing icy-blue eyes.

“So, what do you make of it, Clayton? Those slashes form an uncanny pattern on his chest. Unusual wounds, are they not?”

I nodded in agreement. Meanwhile, Bentley had moved closer.

“There is a war going on, Mr Reed” he said, in his deep baritone voice. “I was expecting a conflict to arise, but not this soon. It is troubling, to say the least!”

The mention of war caught me off guard. I had no idea what he was talking about and I don’t like to be played like a sap. Then a hissing sound behind me got my attention. Veronica had silently approached and was now baring her teeth, menacingly. I hate that baboon, but she despises me even more.

“Be still Veronica, Mr Reed is our associate. Perhaps even a friend. Come here, darling.”

The baboon avoided me and jumped straight into Bentley’s arms.

“War, Dr Bentley? And who is the enemy?”

“The Devil himself, quite likely…”

Well, that was unexpected, even from Dr Bentley. I looked back at Aziz Crowe. This time the bitter rivals seemed to be in total agreement. I think this is going to be a rough month…


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Postcards from Avalidad Teaser #1

What follows is an excerpt from the show BeatFreak Season Awards, presented by Nassima on Holovision Prime, the number one provider of augmented reality contents:

“Get ready, get safe, and sit down tight as your always faithful Nassima walks you down the great hits and sounds for this year. Well, some of our winners were sure things but we’ve got a few novelties coming so there may be some surprises down the line. We’ll start by announcing our top sales for this month, and then announce our BeatFreak’s spring awards for Best Artist, Best Album, Best Alternative Album – for the handful of you who follow the trends –, Best Look, and this season’s Revelation Album and Artist.I have to tell you that some of my favourite singers are here, we have an excellent selection of talent, and I’ll walk you through our top-fourteen and offer you some personal listening tips from your Nassima. So, without further ado, here we are, BeatFreak’s top ten

Number One: Vorace. Last season’s number one is this season’s number one. All of you know this French singer, of course. And I do mean ALL of you, all around the planet. The true Megastar, there are no surprises here. What’s my listening tip for Vorace? Well, just about anything she has published!

Number Two: Duke Fray. Everyone’s, and particularly Transzendenz’s – his editors – favourite Neocrooner, and still taking his Straight Talker tour to just about anywhere he can play at. Meanwhile we’ll keep buying his works, waiting for the next title, Space Cowboy, coming out just after the tour’s end. Can he keep the second place until then? Well, you’ll have to ask the two ladies that follow…

Number Three: Ka’athryn. Dub Revival at its best, with Transzendenz’s diva darling. I’ll lift the curtains a bit and tell you the Russian-born singer is the author of this season’s Best Album, climbing from last season’s number four after this New Year’s memorable concert in Paris. My listening tip won’t be the obvious latest release, as I know you’ll all be listening to it by now, but I’ll suggest her previous work, Body and Dreams, as one of my personal favourites.

Number Four: Andalusia. Last season’s number three, and Moondog’s Media counterpart to Ka’athryn, lost her third place mainly because she hasn’t published any new works since last year. But those boys at Moondog will be quickly preparing a response to Ka’athryn’s New Year extravaganza, if I know them at all; and trust your Nassima, I do know them! While Transzendenz capitalized on the New Year, Moondog’s marketing boys are probably waiting for the mid-summer season to bring out their star’s new work. Listening tips for now? Pick up an oldie, Screaming Murmurs. Not quite as charismatic and flamboyant as the extravagant and socially energetic Ka’athryn, Andalusia has enjoyed a longer and very steady career with a solid and mature body of work. My opinion? Andalusia is more visual, less musical, more dreamlike, and less physical. Who’s better? Why choose? Enjoy both!

Number Five: Revolution Starting. Another Transzendenz winner bet, the alternative and always socially pertinent – guess what? The average Joe doesn’t seem to care about politics… – Byelorussians of whom we still remember the major hit of two years ago No Time for Goodbyes. Well, it seems us girls have the top five covered with four out of five places… Let’s see what the rest of the charts bring us.

Number Six: Mute Crew. From the Asian Dub Revival music scene comes Mute Crew with their acid-styled sounds. Check out Electric Orgasm, released early this year, hitting our charts hard.

Number Seven: Malena y el Río de la Plata. The Uruguayan stars and their unique Electronic Candombe style are hitting hard not only in South America, but everywhere else, as their place on our tops indicates.

Number Eight: Dual Beat. The standard-bearers of Marrakesh Dub Revival have enjoyed a long, steady career, spreading the sounds and rhythms of Northern Africa throughout the globe, and are quoted as a source of inspiration by several influential figures in the music scene. Check out their latest album, Afrofuturistic, from last year, still holding on to the top ten.

Number Nine: The Electro-Acoustic London Orchestra. The classically devoted London based orchestra maintains their seventh place on our charts with their long running series of the classics recorded from live performances in selected worldwide concert halls. My listening tip will be their rendition of Mozart’s Requiem played in St Stephen’s Basilica, in Budapest. That is, if you’re into that kind of ancient stuff…

Number Ten: Winston Magnus Seven. The retro-jazz group Winston Magnus Seven, a permanent fixture on our charts, coming down from last season’s number nine. Always faithful to their improvisational and acoustical style, this jazz septet is the style’s current reference. Watch out for their latest album, the smooth and velvety Night Moods.

And to finish off this edition of BeatFreak, the much anticipated Season Awards:
Best Artist: (who else?) Vorace!
Best Album: Follow into Infinity, by Ka’athryn. The follow up to Body and Dreams, it has much less body and much more dreams. It’s a walk into the wholeness, led by the diva’s hand.
Best new revelation: Oazys. This girl is making it big into the media scene this year and to comment our revelation award we got a statement from our number one dub revivalist, Ka’athryn, about the new starlet:“Good choice, very intense dub! With some more hard work she’ll start to bring out some really good stuff. Still needs to go deeper into her soul though, embrace it without fear… I mean, a pretty face is a pretty face, but art is much more than that. She’s had great media coverage, especially because of that movie starring next to Leon MacArthur – who’s a dear by the way, and I hope the two hit it off! But the future is a building we add to day by day, isn’t it? So we’ll wait and see.”
Best Look: Véronique Lune. We, at BeatFreak, came to a tough choice between Vorace, Ka’athryn and Véronique Lune, but the latter had to get the award as her look is really an intricate part of her art and she weaves herself physically as much as musically. That’s it for now, friends!”