You look pretty healthy for someone who died

Walking in through the door she encountered the familiar chaos of the department. Waiting patients, harassed staff and the grim hospital décor instantly made her feel at home again and ready to get started. 9780957243293She was missing the work, the dailychallenge of fighting death and pain, but with her new plans to investigate death itself, she couldn’t have felt fuller of energy.

You look pretty healthy for someone who died

“You look pretty healthy for someone who died,” came a harsh, female voice from behind her. Nathalie recognised it instantly and turned to see the source of it. There stood her good friend, the senior nurse and the person she relied on most in the department.
“Michelle Payne, you are a sight for sore eyes,” said Nathalie as she hugged her friend.
“Damn good to see you back,” replied Michelle. “We’ve missed you, without you around Steven seems to be even more of a dick than usual.”
“I thought you all deserved a little break from me,” laughed Nathalie.

An excerpt from Afterlife, part of the Promoted Beyond Glory series

Awareness of her surroundings began…

When Nathalie awoke, it was an awakening like no other that she had known. A warmth seemed to surround her, wrapping her in contentment and bringing her a feeling of utter bliss. Even with her eyes still closed she could see the bright, white light that enveloped her, adding an extra layer of comforting co9780957243293ntrast to the icy darkness she had last known.

Awareness of her surroundings began.

She was lying down, yet she felt nothing underneath her, no force supporting her of any kind. She felt as if she were floating in infinity, wrapped in this calm, soothing and warming light.
Then sounds came to her. They were initially distant, almost like an echo, but slowly they took shape and became recognisable. First it was shouts, the sound of people exclaiming loudly, their fears, their elations. Then came screams, loud and terrible and Nathalie’s eyes snapped open and she sat up.

An excerpt from Afterlife, part of the Promoted Beyond Glory series

The war on [insert favourite topic here]

The very phrase: ‘the war on [insert favourite topic here]’ is almost always about reducing personal freedom and increasing repression and intolerance in one form or another.

std-img_0683-bcIntolerance breeds hostility and leads only to war and terrorism, whether via Prohibition or Al-Qaida or Communism or Witchcraft. This is why true tolerance is so important for modern civilization to learn.

As John Lennon said: “The main hangup in the world today is hypocrisy and insecurity. If people can’t face up to the fact of other people being naked or smoking pot, or whatever they want to do, then we’re never going to get anywhere.” Lennon was speaking in 1969, have we moved on?

 

Extract from the World Naked Bike Ride book.

Can I help you?

Ian looked at the grey building in front of him. Recessed from the rest of the street and just a few minutes walk from some of Edinburgh’s most notorious strip clubs, this didn’t feel to Ian how a Catholic church should look. It seemed almost unassuming, hidden even from the rest of the world.9780957243293A sudden sense of caution came over Ian as he approached the main doors. How would they react when he told them what he had seen? Would they even believe him? He wondered if he should tell them about Nathalie and Angela and about their return trips to the Gates if they didn’t.
As he stepped through the doors, the church seemed to open up and grow, as if he had stepped into a grand cathedral, not just some dull unassuming building on a side street. Wooden pews stretched to the altar at the far end and large murals, taller than a person, ringed the room, depicting the Stations of the Cross. A plaque by the door told the story of their restoration and Ian smiled and thought of Angela when he read that the paintings were originally by a Bavarian artist over a century ago.
He took a seat near the back of the church. The pews were mostly empty, but there was the occasional person sitting by themselves nearer the altar. He looked at the pulpit on the left, which was empty. He felt awkward, even clumsy as he sat there, not sure of what to do now, or where to go.
“Can I help you?” asked a voice from behind him that seemed to hauntingly echo the tone of the angels. Ian turned round and he saw what he assumed was a priest, a man with a strangely friendly face and dressed in clerical clothing. Ian stood up to greet him.

Excerpt from Promoted Beyond Glory: Afterlife by Stuart Pitsligo

Why a war for oil?

Why a war for oil? Oil is used to power personal transport in the form of automobiles, it powers agricultural tractors and quarrying machinery, also road-building equipment, electric power generators, chain saws for logging. Oil is used for making hair shampoo, bathing and shower soaps, facial creams and beauty products. Oil is used to make cleaning, scouring, polishing and lubricating fluids for all kinds of purposes for our households and at our places of work in industry and factory settings.

Oil for plastic

Oil is used for producing the plastic materials which surround us in our cars, it’s used to make disposable containers for telephones, computers, pet food, pet toys, children’s toys, kitchen food, and of course plastic shopping bags. std-img_0011-bcWhich is not to say that all oil products are bad per se, just that there is a difference between the ones which can be reused and the ones which are to be discarded after a one time use.

There is a also a major difference between burning petroleum, irretrievably releasing very high levels of stored chemical energy, when compared to making useful and products which can be used repeatedly for a long period of time. Even so, pollution from discarded long-lasting products will always remain a problematic issue. Oil is used in almost every engineering-, military-, chemical-, and industrial- process to produce, as well as to protect, ‘our interests’ at home and abroad. Oil is used to oil the process of empire-building, or protectionism, or even just plain war, at every level, including oiling the barrels of the guns and fueling the Humvees and attack helicopter gunships.

The ‘war for oil’ is a particularly cynical form of circular dependency. In the 1960s, US President Eisenhower warned of the “military-industrial complex” he had come to believe was running his country at that time. And I wonder, if he were around today and thinking of the issues and oil wars in and around Iraq and the middle-east, whether he would feel there had been progress, and if so, in what direction?

Extract from the World Naked Bike Ride book.

"Time for me to die…"

“Time for me to die,” Angela responded with a smile. Nathalie kissed her forehead and placed the mask over her face. Nathalie and Ian both took one of Angela’s hands in theirs as Nathalie began a short countdown.
9780957243293

“I’m dropping you in five…four…three…two…one…” Nathalie hit the button to release the board and as it slid into the vat she felt a sickening twist in her stomach at Angela’s scream of pain as the freezing water consumed her. She looked at Ian who had himself turned pale, shaking and sweating with the same fear as she was. She grabbed his hand and held it tightly, fighting to control her stomach and even her bladder as the screams of pain from Angela slowly began to subside.

Angela’s eyes snapped open the moment she felt awake again. Immediately she felt a sensation resembling bliss, of floating freely in utter peace, but it quickly turned to a pang of elation when she realised she was enshrouded by a familiar haze, and that they had been successful. But the elation quickly gave way to a sense of urgency about her planned experiments and she leapt to her feet and looked around her. It was just like the last time, with people emerging from the haze to be greeted by pairs of angels in white robes. Her two angels approached her, smiling the same bland smile worn by all the angels.

“Hello Angela,” the first one said. Angela ignored him, she was already focusing on the experiments they had discussed. She reached down to her arm to pinch it, but before she could do that she realised something unexpected.
“Oh, I’m naked,” she said. The angels thought she was talking to them.

Excerpt from Promoted Beyond Glory: Afterlife by Stuart Pitsligo

Your turn, an angel said

9780957243293

“Your turn,” an angel said to Paul. Nathalie grasped Paul’s hand and squeezed it for a second, then released it as Paul stepped forward. He instantly felt the gaze of the evaluator on him and he waited, shaking slightly with fear of his judgement. The evaluator held the gaze for a few seconds before shaking his head with a wicked smile.

“Oh dear,” said the evaluator, and Paul was consumed by a tongue of fire that emerged, wreathed in smoke from the mist around them. Nathalie heard Paul scream before it faded to silence and the fire withered to nothingness.

Now it was her turn and she braced herself for her fate.

Excerpt from Promoted Beyond Glory: Afterlife by Stuart Pitsligo

Oh, you haven't kept your underwear on

Two things immediately took Nathalie by surprise. Firstly, that Angela was so muscular. Secondly, she was now completely naked.
“Oh, you haven’t kept your underwear on,” Nathalie said, somewhat taken aback by her openness.
“Why would I?” replied Angela as she sat down on the examination table. “This is a medical examination after all.”
9780957243293“Yes, yes, of course” stuttered Nathalie in response.
“What would you like me to do?” asked Angela, who seemed unaware of Nathalie’s surprise at her nakedness.
“Lie down,” she said, “and we can get started.” As Angela lay down, Nathalie was pretty sure she’d pass any test she gave her. She had a flawless physique, with especially large and well developed abdominal muscles. Her arms were strong, with prominent biceps and her legs were as strong as any woman’s she had ever seen.
Nathalie ran through the basic tests, and Angela passed each one perfectly. Her pulse, blood pressure, breathing and everything else were all those of a very fit and healthy adult. Nathalie could not find a single flaw in her health, even the heart monitor she attached to Angela produced a perfect result.
“Well, your results are perfect so far,” announced Nathalie, “and all we have now is the stress test.” Nathalie gestured at the treadmill in the corner. “Do you need anything?” Nathalie asked, thinking of clothes.
“No, that’s okay, I can do this in my bare feet,” was Angela’s unperturbed reply as she strode naked over to the treadmill and switched it on.
Her energy was boundless. Nathalie kept increasing the speed on the treadmill and Angela kept matching whatever speed she was given. Sweat poured off her, but she didn’t stop, she didn’t even slow down. Her heart coped with it perfectly, never missing a beat and taking all the stress Nathalie threw at it.
After an hour of the punishing regime, Nathalie had seen enough.

Extract from Afterlife, part of the Promoted Beyond Glory series.

Oh, I'm naked…

Angela responded with a smile. Nathalie kissed her forehead and placed the mask over her face. Nathalie and Ian both took one of Angela’s hands in theirs as Nathalie began a short countdown.

“I’m dropping you in five…four…three…two…one…” Nathalie hit the button to release the board and as it slid into the vat 9780957243293she felt a sickening twist in her stomach at Angela’s scream of pain as the freezing water consumed her. She looked at Ian who had himself turned pale, shaking and sweating with the same fear as she was. She grabbed his hand and held it tightly, fighting to control her stomach and even her bladder as the screams of pain from Angela slowly began to subside.

Angela’s eyes snapped open the moment she felt awake again. Immediately she felt a sensation resembling bliss, of floating freely in utter peace, but it quickly turned to a pang of elation when she realised she was enshrouded by a familiar haze, and that they had been successful. But the elation quickly gave way to a sense of urgency about her planned experiments and she leapt to her feet and looked around her. It was just like the last time, with people emerging from the haze to be greeted by pairs of angels in white robes. Her two angels approached her, smiling the same bland smile worn by all the angels.

“Hello Angela,” the first one said. Angela ignored him, she was already focusing on the experiments they had discussed. She reached down to her arm to pinch it, but before she could do that she realised something unexpected.
“Oh, I’m naked,” she said.

Extract from Afterlife available from Amazon and all good book retailers.

The bastard's got away with it!

“What is it you said you do?” Nathalie asked.
“I’m in marketing,” she replied, “I’ve been running my own company for almost ten years now. Another ten years at it and I can probably retire, maybe even before I hit fifty.”

9780957243293As the two of them walked into the house, Angela stopped to pull a newspaper from her mailbox. She glanced at it and continued to read it as she entered her house. Nathalie, following behind her, heard Angela emit what she assumed were some German profanities as she read the newspaper.

The bastard’s got away with it!

“Something wrong?” asked Nathalie.
“The bastard’s killed himself, he’s got away with it.” was the venomous reply.
“Who?”
“This priest,” she replied, pointing at the photo underneath a headline, “he’s thought to be the most prolific child abuser in German history. Looks like he had thousands of victims, and at least a couple of dozen of them killed themselves. He was finally jailed a few months ago, but now he’s dead. And you know what that means don’t you?” Nathalie looked at her with a puzzled expression and shook her head. “He was a priest,” continued Angela, “he’ll get to Heaven. Can we be so sure those kids did?”

An excerpt from Afterlife, part of the Promoted Beyond Glory series