So proud and honored to mentor these talented people…. -Racqs
The Secrets That We Keep
Liam Blunt, Amae Dechavez, I.P. Lanz, Buñag Manlapaz, Celestine Trinidad, J. Guibone, Mark Manalang, Irene Recio, Yeyet Soriano
Release date: March 24, 2018
Compiled and edited by Georgette Gonzales & Yeyet Soriano
Cover design and interior layout Porcupine Strongwill
Oh, we weave such a tangled dark web. Is it possible to disentangle oneself without inflicting damage, permanent damage, to one’s person?
When a person goes missing, how do you find her? Where do you find her? Does she even want to be found?
A vigilante targets neighborhood nuisances. But without any evidence, how will he be apprehended?
Don’t do unto others, lest they do to you what you did to them. In a manner more gruesome than you can ever imagine. Can you survive the retribution?
Dead bodies can’t go anywhere on their own, right? Or can they?
Excerpt from Web by Liam Blunt
After a satisfying click, the door opened into a messy dining area with a lone white light bulb flickering on the ceiling. Robert moved to the left, past a small living room where a brown sofa and a television divider stood, and up a short flight of stairs behind the latter.
A creaking sound pierced the silence of the night air as Robert planted his boot on the floorboards. The blood in his veins froze as he stood next to the stairs, not moving even a single inch of his being. He closed his eyes as he recalled the spots on the floor that did not groan. Eventually, he made it to the door at the end of the hallway and picked its lock. He opened it a few inches and peeked through the narrow slit.
An old couple slept on a queen-sized bed, surrounded by pillows and half-covered by a thick white sheet. The ceiling fan revolved furiously above them. A row of waist-high drawers stood on the left, next to an open square window.
Robert sighed. He already met the elderly pair months ago. They were very nice to him, offering him snacks and cold drinks while he repaired their floorboards. Now, his chest ached as he stood by the door, the other half of his body still in the hallway.
Business is business.
In this kind of business, being emotional is a no-no.
Excerpt from Where Is Sandra? by Amae Dechavez
Zanjo observed Sandra’s bedroom again that night. From the lenses of his black binoculars, he saw that she had already closed the curtains and turned off the lights. Sandra…Two years ago, she had broken up with him. She was fourteen, he was sixteen. While all she wanted was fun, he was serious and tried to nudge her to become better. Just like him. It must have suffocated her, leading her to break up with him.
He had always been a good son, at least at home, and a straight-A student. In fact, he was so studious it weirded everyone out. Too clever, most people thought. Many of his acquaintances joked that if he were a criminal, he’d get away with the crime clean. It bugged his classmates, even his teachers, how he was able to solve the School Reading Mystery Game on one Foundation Day with just a few jumbled clues in just a few seconds. Seconds.
Rumor had it that he tried to control Sandra, which was why she had wanted out of their relationship quick. Zanjo often engaged in fistfights in his temper bouts with the bullies at school too, so it didn’t surprise anyone that he’d become single again so soon.
Just before closing his eyes to sleep, he took one last look at Sandra’s window, hoping to catch even a glimpse of her shadow…
Excerpt from Sniper by I.P. Lanz
Nick began feeling dizzy again. The reality of what he just did hit him. It was both scary and liberating.
Relax, Nick told himself. It’s done.
His arms shook from hatred and excitement. Nick wiped the rifle to remove any fingerprints and left it in the kitchen. He would just need to come back for it sometime within the week or the next before Karla returned.
He walked out of Karla’s apartment and slowly went back home. He entered his room, changed back to his house clothes, and went to see his grandmother.
Lola Teresa removed the earplugs as soon as she saw him.
“I’m afraid this won’t do.” She handed them over, showing her appreciation with a smile. “But thank you.”
Nick smiled back. The loud motorcycle won’t be making loud noises anymore. Not tonight at least.
After bidding his grandmother good night, he went to his room and lay on his bed. He looked at his hands and realized they were still shaking. Ending the life of an arrogant useless son of a bitch felt liberating.
It was better than sex.
The whole world had just become his playground.
Excerpt from Among Us by Buñag Manlapaz
My headache has grown worse. I take a pain reliever.
When I switch on the television, every channel is devoted to the (Hercules Trail) crime scene which just makes my head throb even more.
The dead talks and we can only listen.
I put the TV on mute and let the images dance before my eyes. I take out my notes and start writing on my small whiteboard in the living room. The smell of the white board pen’s ink keeps me company.
Method of Death…
Missing on Crime Scene…
Three cases of unconventional murders, each one happening one year after the other, almost to the day.
Who are these people? Why do they seem familiar?
My headache returns in full force. Didn’t I just take a pain reliever?
I close my eyes, breathing deeply. Am I getting sick again? What is wrong with me?
I open my eyes and try to focus.
Why these particular people? What is the common denominator?
What connects them?
I study my notes. They are all male. They are all of the same age range, mid to late twenties.
Same as me.
They went to the same high school.
I stare at the school name.
Something is tickling the base of my skull.
I’ve seen that name before.
A wave of nausea comes over me. With it, something clicks in my head. Suddenly, the pain is gone.
What is their common denominator?
Now, I remember.
Excerpt from Missing Bodies by Celestine Trinidad
The tension in the air was almost palpable, weighing down on her chest, making it hard for her to breathe. It didn’t help that Torres didn’t turn the radio on, and he didn’t say a single word either. He was exactly what the others said he was: taciturn, standoffish, and it was no wonder no one liked being his partner on cases.
But she didn’t really care how friendly he was. What she only cared about was if he could be trusted to work with her on this case.
“Okay.” She rifled through the folders he had given her and began talking as the awkwardness of his silence began to get to her. “Nicolas Santos, 43 year-old male, and Joel de Vera, 27 year-old male. Found dead more than a week apart in June last year, one in an abandoned lot and the other at a construction site near his home. Both known drug users, with de Vera even arrested once for selling them, but was eventually released on bail.” She scanned more papers. “There was something missing in their files and that was how I made the connection between our cases. The autopsy reports were missing.” She frowned. “Or rather, the autopsies were never performed in the first place. The bodies disappeared before anyone could.”
Torres nodded, ever so slightly.
She brought out her own folder. “Henry Banal, 18 year-old male, resident of Poblacion. Is that the only connection between our cases, Sir? Do you have any new leads? Says here you haven’t had any new leads since July of last year.”
He glanced briefly at her. “Your case is my new lead.”
About the Authors
Liam began telling stories in fifth grade by drawing crude stick-figure comics on the back of his school notebooks. Now in his late twenties, he’s still weaving characters and worlds together through writing. Some of his inspirations include Frank Herbert, Michael Crichton, James Rollins, and Steve Berry.
Contact Liam at https://www.facebook.com/lbluntwrites/
Amae Dechavez was born in Quezon City, Philippines to a mother from Baguio and father from Quezon Province. She works as a V.A. and social media marketing associate-slash-SEO content writer by day, and currently resides with her dog within the suburbs of Metro Manila.
Stay updated on the release of the sequel to “All About Sandra” Cozy Crime Mysteries:
Who Can Find Sandra?
For orders: bit.ly/amaebooks
Ivan is an avid reader and a daydreamer. Writing is his way of putting both to good use.
Contact Ivan at https://ivansnotebook.wordpress.com
Buñag Manlapaz spends most of his time trying to attain immortality. And through writing, he found the key. AMONG US is the first of many crime fiction stories he intends to release, where he weaves together the fabric of criminality [villainy] and justice.
a physician by profession, particularly, a pathologist. In her spare time, she writes fiction of several genres, including romance, speculative fiction, crime fiction, and children’s stories. Her stories have been published in other print and online venues, such as Philippines Free Press, Philippines Graphic, The Digest of Philippine Genre Stories, Philippine Speculative Fiction, and Insignia.