Howard Bell thought he hit rock bottom the day he returned to his former employer with a loaded gun. Instead of putting a scare into his ex-boss as he intended, things quickly get out of hand, and he kills five people. Howard is sentenced to life at an experimental prison camp off the coast of Antarctica, and he soon learns the true definition of "rock bottom." Prison life at the remote island involves back-breaking work in the illegal mine run by the corrupt warden and his abusive guards.
It's Hank Reed's birthday. As a citizen of the United Federation of Nations that means a mandatory death sentence simply because he turned sixty years old. Referred to as "retirement," it's one of the desperate steps the government has taken to curb overpopulation. Retirement is a widely accepted fact of life on a dying planet ruled by a tyrannical government. Hank's execution goes ahead as planned but state sponsored euthanasia isn't what it seems. The Reed family learns what really happens to retirees when secrets the UFN keep from the public start to unravel.
Kelly Raney ends her relationship with her abusive boyfriend the day she leaves him bleeding on the bedroom floor after an exceptionally violent fight. She grabs their toddler son, Keegan, and the two flee town with a few dollars and the clothes on their backs. Her car breaks down outside the small village of Black Water Creek. She reluctantly stays with the local auto mechanic, Ed Sheridan, and his wife until she can get back on her feet.
After three years in Mississippi State Penitentiary, Carl O'Donell re-enters society with simple plans: get back to work pushing drugs and keeping an eye on his younger brother, Jimmy. He quickly learns that Jimmy been committed after yet another failed suicide attempt, and his old boss is dead at the hands of Mexican drug lord Armando Vega. Carl's only way to quick cash and a fresh start is through Armando. He hires Carl for a simple assignment of busting up a rival meth lab that turns complicated and deadly.
"a surprise package"
Rich's parents decide to leave him home alone for the weekend. Although Rich intends to keep his promise of no parties, the gang is persistent and finally convinces him to hold a small get together. What's the worst that could happen? In the meantime, Amy Rugg starts showing interest in Rich again after he shows her his dark side, and the mob hasn't given up on finding Joker. Unfortunately for Rich, he is their best lead in trying to track her down.
Spring break of 1990 is over. Richard Bowman has resigned to keep his head down and finish his sophomore year at Grafton High School the way he started it - academically fair to middling, socially mediocre, and romantically very much well below average. When the opportunity to befriend a group of senior guys lands in Rich's lap practically overnight, he steps out of his comfort zone.
Robert Brumm Jr., author of Windigo Soul and the Desolate series, brings you Stage Five - a collection of five short stories. Warning. May contain traces of the following: Talking cats and dogs, a serial killer on dialysis, testicle dissecting robots, prostitutes getting shot in the back, a meth head burned alive, a decapitated head kicked across the room, a puggle tempted to eat fresh vomit, a woman with a hangover wearing a Reggie White t-shirt, a pink litter box, and the extinction of the human race.