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Friday, 20 November 2015

If you like #scifi #virus-fighting novels, check out this extract from Pale Highway

Excerpt from the book 
Pale Highway
Nicholas Conley

The patient had charcoal-black eyes, hard and cold, as if rounded chunks of volcanic rock had been shoved inside her eye sockets. Her skin possessed a sickly white pallor, as if it had been sucked dry of all its nutrients and hung up on a clothesline. Dark veins crawled over her body like wriggling snakes, pulsing with every unsteady heartbeat. Her mouth hung open, and a pockmarked grey tongue dangled uselessly over her lower lip. Her bedridden form emitted the stench of necrotic flesh. 

Glenda Alvarez was sixty-three years old, young compared to the other residents. Just last week, she’d had her hair permed and her nails manicured. The virus had hit fast.

It wouldn’t be long. She was just another unlucky victim of a plague that took no prisoners. She had all the symptoms of the toxicity passing through humanity, turning live bodies into black-eyed corpses. 

The Black Virus. And somehow… somehow, Gabriel Schist was supposed to stop it. 

The rain had stopped, but the moonlit ground was still covered in a glimmering sheen of moisture. Grimacing, Gabriel turned away from the open bedroom window, which was his lens to Glenda’s decline. He buttoned up his coat, hesitated, halfway unbuttoned it, then buttoned it up again. 

He hobbled over to the smoking gazebo and lowered himself into the seat. His legs were rickety, and a sharp pain shot through his knee. His lower back felt as if the nerves were being pinched by a steel clamp. 

He took out a pack of cigarettes and patted down his jacket for a lighter. It was in his inner pocket. When the flame sparked, he buried the smoke deep inside his chest, baking his lungs. His cigarette twitched unsteadily between two shaking fingers. Already, it was burning down, dissipating into nothing. Its tobacco-filled life was short and empty. It served one purpose, and then it died. 

Gabriel Schist is spending his remaining years at Bright New Day, a nursing home. 
He once won the Nobel Prize for inventing a vaccine for AIDS. But now, he has Alzheimer’s, and his mind is slowly slipping away.

When one of the residents comes down with a horrific virus, Gabriel realizes that he is the only one who can find a cure. 
Encouraged by Victor, an odd stranger, he convinces the administrator to allow him to study the virus. Soon, reality begins to shift, and Gabriel’s hallucinations interfere with his work.
As the death count mounts, Gabriel is in a race against the clock and his own mind. 
Can he find a cure before his brain deteriorates past the point of no return?

Nicholas Conley's passion for storytelling began at an early age, prompted by a love of science fiction novels, comic books and horror movies. His upcoming novel Pale Highway is influenced by his experience working with Alzheimer's patients in a nursing home, a subject that he has also written about for publications such as Vox. When not busy writing, Nicholas spends his time reading, traveling to new places, and indulging in a lifelong coffee habit. 
In order to better establish himself on the planet Earth, Nicholas has currently made his home in New Hampshire. More information on Nicholas can be found on his website, www.NicholasConley.com.

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