Behind the story: The Time Warriors: The Skull

By Owen Quinn author of the Time Warriors and Zombie Blues

Copyright Owen Quinn cover designed by Conaire McMullan

Summoned to 1975, they find Brussels in the grip of a serial killer with a difference. All the bodies have been sucked dry leaving hideous corpses in its wake. As they race to save the latest victim, things go wrong. Jacke disappears while tribal warriors stalk the streets. With no clues, Varran and the others find themselves running out of time. But it may be too late as Jacke comes face to face with the killer. A killer she thought long dead…

The Skull is the second story in the two story book Spooklight & The Skull. I experimented with a two story book that would be easy reading as a choice against a more plot heavy novel or anthology book. They would be two stand alone adventures, one reflecting a new threat while the other would bring back an old enemy.

I love revisiting old monsters and villains and bringing them back for a rematch should never just be for sensationalism’s sake. The story has to warrant it and I try to bring new dimensions to them eg the Collector’s return in Cavalandria and the Mentara in The Belbridge Mystery.

In the Skull we see the return of the Veldrox, the creatures upon which the entire vampire myth is based. I’ve always been fascinated by the story of the crystal skulls and where they came from. Experts for decades have tried to decipher them and a certain Doctor Jones has also experienced their power first hand. So I adapted them into the skeletal remains of the Veldrox. They were somehow programmed to sustain the Veldrox in a deep suspension until they were able to rebuild themselves. They could still influence hapless humans to carry out their will in order to restore themselves. Somehow the crystal lattices are able to project the Veldrox’s mind to whisper in people’s dreams and influence them to carry out their will.

In the Skull the corrupted Belgian Jarvis Cochrane who has murdered his father to attain his fortune is the victim rather like Frank was lured in by the Cenobites in Hellraiser. He barely escapes from Peru pursued by the Tegzaria, a secret society of jungle warriors who in some lost history have been appointed to secure the skulls and ensure the Veldrox never rise again. I added them to give another layer of mystery which also tied into the themes of lost histories references in Return to Eden featuring the Numarans. Who said the history books are right? it’s much more fun to tear them up and rewrite. Who can resist lost civilisations filled with technology or men walking right along beside dinosaurs? It also allows the reader to fill in the blanks and spin yet another universe in their minds which brings them into the story.

To give us an international flavour I set the story in Brussels in 1975 to subvert reader expectations. The Time Warriors have been summoned to help investigate a series of dessicated bodies. There is a serial killer at large but one that is unlike anything the police have ever faced before.

Now diversity among characters is something that should be encouraged and is becoming more widespread. It would be very easy to shoehorn all sorts of nationalities or minorities into a story but it has to be organic. In this case I came up with the character of Catalina, a transgender character formerly called Thomas. Thomas had been married with kids but went through with the transition despite the stigma of the time. I wanted Catalina to not only be a trailblazer but a figure that would pave the way for those today. That was why it was important that she was a police detective whom had gone through all the prejudice and was still fighting the battle every day. Like Jacke, i wanted her to be an example to others and be a figure of hope for anyone in that situation. Indeed she is a beacon for anyone who feels they are different to everyone else and searching for their place in the world. She finds that the battle will be hard but worth it in the end from the Warriors.

Teaming up they track down the killer. Jarvis has been kidnapping women to feed to the Veldrox. Using their flesh it is regenerating its body and is almost complete. Using history they track the original victims but history changes when Jacke replaces the original kidnap victim and is taken by Jarvis instead. The Veldrox has sensed Jacke’s previous encounter in Venom when she became a vampire drone. The race is on to save Jacke and stop an ancient evil from resurrecting consuming the entire world.

For me this story works on the personal level as the character of Catalina learns more about herself in the bizarrest of situations including fighting alongside the Tegzaria. There are nice character moments and mirrors such as Jarvis and Catalina opposite poles in life yet taken down different paths.

Get your copy today by clicking here today https://www.amazon.co.uk/Time-Warriors-Spooklight-Skull-ebook/dp/B07FKSTJ1Y/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=the+time+warriors+spooklight&qid=1609257471&sr=8-1

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