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  • Aug 22, 2015Listed
  • Sep 05, 2015Deadline
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Milesetherton's Previously Completed Works

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    About The Codex file - techno-thriller

    Looking for an aspiring voice actor willing to narrate my exciting techno-thriller, The Codex file, an independent novel, which is available in print and ebook formats from Amazon sites and many other retailers. As an independent novelist, and as this is my first novel, I am unfortunately unable to offer a fee. However, The Codex file has received many excellent reviews, and was number 1 in the thrillers list on Amazon when offered in a free promotion. For an aspiring voice actor this is the perfect project to test your skills and add to your CV!

    Reviews from UK and US readers are available from:
    http://www.amazon.co.uk/product-reviews/B0075RYSPY/ref=dp_top_cm_cr_acr_txt?ie=UTF8&showViewpoints=1
    http://www.amazon.com/Codex-file-Miles-Etherton/dp/146995303X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1440163235&sr=8-1&keywords=the+codex+file

    PLEASE NOTE: this novel is rated 18 and contains scenes of violence, so narrators under the age of 18 will not be considered.

    The length of this novel and narration project is approximately 120,000 words. The successful voice actor will receive a complimentary copy of The Codex file in an electronic format to undertake the project.

    The excerpt for the audition is Chapter 1:

    CHAPTER ONE

    The flick-knife snapped open with frightening ease, its serrated edge glinting in the light of a passing street lamp. The weapon was standard issue for CODEX operatives, along with most of the contents of the canvas bag that sat in John Kennedys lap.
    Pulling each item out one by one, he scrutinised his equipment preparation was vital, and nothing could be overlooked. The first object was a transparent bag containing an assortment of plastic ties, designed to restrain his victim and viciously bite into her flesh if she struggled. A length of rubber tubing was next, followed by duct tape, and finally a can of spray paint everything he required for the job.
    Vincent Trevellion sat next to Kennedy in the drivers seat, navigating the blue Mercedes through the dark, quiet streets of Hersham. Turning right into a long tree-lined road that stretched round a gentle corner, the 1930s pebble-dashed house they sought came into view.
    Trevellion pulled the Mercedes up alongside the pavement a few houses down from their destination. Apart from a few parked cars, the street was deserted, intermittent street lamps illuminating the darkness.
    Reaching into his jacket pocket Trevellion pulled out a handheld electronic device. The screen blinked, and a menu of options appeared. Sliding a finger purposefully across the screen an intelligence file on the target' containing a photograph of a woman appeared on screen, smiling, walking hand-in-hand with her husband, their daughter running along behind. The photograph had been taken on a long-lens camera several weeks before. He didn't need to look at it again. He knew what she looked like it was burned into his memory.
    He scrolled down past the photograph to the text below about Colette Robertson, a technical director at a leading web technology company. Past the biography, his eyes scanned the final line of text accompanying the picture: "Objective: Colette Robertson to be eliminated under Phase 1 of CODEX operation OP09/ST".
    Closing the file, Trevellion opened a second intelligence report attached to the data on Colette Robertson. A picture of her eight-year old daughter, Clare Robertson, flashed up on the screen, a pretty girl, with long blonde hair that fell over her shoulders and down her back. Once more he scrolled past the image to the biography and objectives. And again, the same order had been issued: "Objective: Clare Robertson to be eliminated under Phase 1 of CODEX operation OP09/ST".
    Trevellion closed the files and placed the electronic device back in his jacket pocket. The murder of a child might be distasteful, but it would guarantee the necessary nationwide media coverage.
    Even if their car were spotted, the registration plates wouldn't lead an investigation anywhere meaningful. The stolen plates would only lead to a long deserted warehouse in rural Scotland, and whilst the police were chasing their tails, they'd be long gone.
    Trevellion tapped his opposite jacket pocket to confirm the two high capacity flash drives were still there. They were special issue for CODEX operatives, not the standard multi-gigabyte versions you could buy on any high street. These could handle terabytes of data and werent for public consumption.
    Kennedy nodded silently, a slight sneer crossing his face. Replacing his equipment in the bag, he used the vehicles mirrors once more to be sure their entrance wasnt overlooked.
    Satisfied they were alone, the two men exited the Mercedes and began their approach to their victims house.

    Colette sneezed for the umpteenth time that day and reached for yet another tissue. She winced slightly as she dabbed her nose, red and sore from wiping away the non-stop proof of her cold. She really must buy some of those balmed tissues that were always being advertised she thought, gingerly stroking her nostrils.
    She hated being ill and this was the third cold she'd picked up in as many months. She was starting to think that maybe it was the flu since she'd begun feeling progressively worse as the day had gone on. Her muscles ached, the throbbing headache was pounding now more than ever, and her streaming nose showed no sign of stopping. Tossing the damp tissue in the general direction of the bin she watched as it bounced off the side and landed next to her cat. He eyed her suspiciously, awoken by her latest sneeze.
    She hoped shed be well enough to return to work tomorrow. But secretly she doubted it as she felt her head, bunged-up with cold, start to throb again.
    Reaching for the TV remote control, she began channel-hopping, looking in vain for something half-decent to watch.
    Maybe she ought to do some work she wondered. There were always meetings to prepare for, reports to compile and strategic IT problems to solve. Particularly at the moment. Yet the thought of sitting in front of her high-powered tablet device just seemed to make her aching head throb further.
    What she really needed was a bit of TLC. But instead, everything seemed to have gone wrong. On today of all days. It was their wedding anniversary after all. But where were all the people she cared for?
    She began to well up again as the bitter exchanges around breakfast that morning came flooding back. Deep down, she knew it hadn't been Michael's fault that his company's Managing Director had invited him to an important corporate dinner.
    Look, you know what these work functions are like, I really have to go. I cant get out of it. Im really sorry, he said.
    If you were sorry, you would have said no and made some sort of excuse, she yelled angrily back at him. I cant believe you didnt realise what day it was."
    Ill make it up to you, I promise, he replied sheepishly before returning to his toast.
    Attendance hadn't been obligatory. They never were, were they? You only didn't go if you were happy to stay in the same old job for the rest of your career. Michael hadnt mentioned the fact that shed done the same many times in the past on her way up the career ladder at SW Technologies. Shed remembered though, and had kept that fact to herself.
    It hadn't mattered this morning. It was their anniversary, and she'd been pissed off about it. Particularly since she'd gone down with a heavy cold, as well. It seemed like the whole world had been conspiring to ruin their special day.
    She couldn't even seek comfort in their daughter. She was at an important ballet rehearsal. The performance was on Saturday after all. The mother of one of Clares friends would be picking her up after the rehearsal tonight. Normally it wouldve been Michael. But not tonight, all because of that bloody dinner. It just wasn't fair.
    At least she had Harry with her, she thought with a little more comfort when he jumped onto her lap and began purring softly.
    Closing her heavy eyes again, her thoughts drifted slowly away to happier things. Before they reached very far, she became aware of a distant ringing, somewhere in a different consciousness.
    Have I started dreaming? Am I asleep or awake?
    She didn't really care until Harry leapt from her lap, clawing her thigh as he used it as his launch pad.
    The ringing was much louder now, and much nearer. Opening her eyes with a start it took her sleepy mind several moments to realise the doorbell was ringing. Maybe Michael had forgotten his key in the heat of their argument in the morning?
    Casting a quick glance at the antique clock on the mantelpiece she knew it was too early. Unless hed decided to skip the function after all. Had he come home to surprise her on their anniversary?
    In the hallway, she could see two figures through the glass of the front door. One tall, and one shorter and stockier. The shorter man was carrying some sort of case.
    Reaching for the porch light switch, she blinked with surprise as the figures on the doorstep remained in darkness.
    Slowly opening the door, the men who had been looking away, turned to face her. For a long moment, all she could see were their silhouettes and the slight outline of their faces. Just before the taller man spoke she noticed the porch light bulb was missing.
    "Mrs. Roberston? Mrs. Colette Robertson?" the low, unfamiliar voice asked.
    Shed barely confirmed her identity when the stocky mans fist crashed into her mouth and nose. A ring tore into her top lip. She felt herself career backwards and impact heavily on the oak floorboards. Sinking into unconsciousness, she was aware of the tall man closing the front door and bending over her.

    There were times when she would have a particularly bad nightmare and wake in the middle of the night in a cold sweat. Clinging to Michael for security shed soon breathe a huge sigh of relief that shed been dreaming. Colette knew this wasnt one of those times.
    Even through the semi-consciousness of waking she could feel the intense burning of her chest, although she felt slightly cold and restricted in her movement. Before she opened her eyes, she knew shed been bound to something.
    Her eyes shot open as the rasping pain burned into her waking senses again. Through bleary eyes, she could see a figure hovering above her. The flash of metal, the strangely white hands, the pain getting unbearable, as sleep was rapidly replaced with frightening consciousness.
    Her eyes were fully open now and she could see everything. A stocky man in dark blue overalls.
    Blood.
    The blade of the flick-knife snapping shut.
    Its my blood.
    The white surgical gloves were coated with her blood, and it was running everywhere.
    She tried to scream, but her mouth was unable to move.
    Duct tape.
    Her panic threatened to escalate out of control. Lifting her head, she looked at herself. Her feet were taped tightly together around the ankles, and her hands were tied to the bedstead with white plastic restraints.
    It wasnt that which most concerned her. It was the pools of blood running from her chest, staining the white sheets of the bed. Her screams were only heard in her head as through wide, frightened eyes she looked at the bloody mess which had once been her chest. She felt sure she could make out a handful of individual wounds as her eyes rapidly switched between the blood and the man in the dark blue overalls as he circled menacingly above her.

    John Kennedy looked down blankly at Colettes bloody, restrained body as Vincent Trevellion watched impassively from a chair to the right of the bed. Kennedy was quite pleased with his handiwork, although the full effect wouldn't be visible until she was dead and the bleeding had stopped. It was good enough for his purpose. Trevellions suggested mutilations had been inspired and would send out a chilling message.
    He studied the bloody mess and smiled wryly. It wasn't bad at all, considering it was the first time he'd carved a message in human flesh.
    His eyes slowly moved across her exposed, blood-drenched breasts. Above them, he read: Fuck the Net in violently jagged letters. His gaze rose above her stained body to the message hed smeared on the wall. Reclaim the World was daubed in her blood.

    Seeing his colleague had finished his task, Trevellion stood up from his seat and approached the bed, peering at the message carved in flesh, admiring the application of his own macabre suggestion. Their work was nearly done. Whilst his accomplice had been securing Colette Robertson to the bed, he'd copied all of the SW Technologies state network tender project data, and wider semantic web development information from her tablet. The priceless flash drive sat snugly in his inside pocket.
    Ransacking the house had also yielded a few more useful hardcopy files for him to study. The final satisfying act had been to format and infect her tablet device, removing all of the SW Technologies data forever. It was too risky to steal the machine as it would doubtless be fitted with a tracking device given her line of work, and they didn't have the time to locate and remove it. He smiled as he gently tapped a second flash drive in his jacket pocket that contained the virus that had forever wiped her computer clean of all its secrets.
    All that remained was for the others to complete their jobs. Breaking into SW Technologies premises would be a formality. Once the information had been claimed the building would be torched. And the anti-net activists would soon be hunted for her death. After tonights events there would be nowhere for them to hide.
    Trevellion turned to his right, checking the digital video camera erected on its tripod was still recording. He smiled as the red light continued to beam, the intrusive lens capturing the death of Colette Robertson.
    Turning to face his colleague, he nodded slowly before returning to his seat to watch the last rites. As he sat he saw the flash of the flick-knife blade snapping open, blood sticking from its earlier work.

    Colette struggled violently as the bloody blade flicked into position. This couldnt be happening. Surely shed wake in a minute and wrap a comforting arm around Michaels sleeping body. But she knew this was it. No waking up in a cold sweat. No relief at the vividness of her dreams. No escape.
    She struggled more violently than ever as the man leant over her, careful to avoid the bloody sheets, the blade moving towards her face.
    The tears streamed down her cheeks as for the first time she looked closely at his face and then to the man sitting nearby. She didnt recognise the man in the overalls, but the other taller man was a different matter. The dark hair, well-defined features and high cheekbones probably made him about 40. It was difficult to be certain, his neatly trimmed black goatee beard made him seem older.
    She couldnt be sure where, but there was something strangely familiar about him. She'd seen him before. As sheer terror overtook her senses, her heart pounding in her ears, she couldnt remember where or when.
    The blade was at her lips.
    She sank back into the mattress as far as humanly possible. It wasnt enough. She closed her eyes and winced as the sharp blade flashed in front of her mouth. She waited for the intense burning pain, but instead, all she felt was a slight trickle of blood seep into her mouth.
    Opening her eyes again, she saw that the stocky man in his overalls had moved away to one corner of the room. Her wide eyes scanned across, stopping in alarm as she saw her digital video camera propped up on its tripod.
    All her muscles tightened involuntarily and she clenched her fists. Her eyes narrowed into tiny windows as her anger rose. As if what had been done to her already wasnt enough. They were going to kill her. She was certain of that. But the sick bastards were filming their work for all time.
    What sort of fucking animals are you? What are you going to do when youve left me butchered on the bed? Go home and get a hard-on watching this?
    Her gaze once more fell on the taller man and her anger quickly faded as tears spilled down her cheeks. She was never going to see Michael or Clare again. That was the most painful thing. Not the wounds on her chest which would have healed in time. She was going to die alone, never having the chance to hold them again.
    Her sorrow evaporated as she looked back to the familiar-looking man, aware of him moving to her right. He was placing something in a leather-bound briefcase, open on the dressing table.
    Is that a flash drive?
    Her confusion at the situation rose even further. She attempted to think rationally as waves of terror and nausea continued to rush over her.
    The bastard must have copied something from my computer. But thats all work-related, how that could possibly be of interest?
    Her thoughts trailed off rapidly. The bell in her head was ringing more loudly. So this is what it was all about.
    This is about my work. And the tender Ive spent so many hours on.
    She knew industrial espionage was a dirty game, but this was beyond anyones worst nightmare.
    And now she realised why the man looked familiar. She had a vague recollection of meeting or seeing him at an industry event the year before. Hed been making a presentation on advancements in
    The answers and images in her mind faded instantly as the stocky man approached the bed again. This time the knife was replaced by a long length of rubber tubing and a large white plastic container. Her eyes flicked rapidly from the man to the plastic container, desperately trying to read the words on the label.
    The rubber tubing was roughly forced through the slit in the tape across her mouth, in between her swollen lips, and she caught sight of the label.
    White Spirit. Hes trying to pour White Spirit down my throat and burn out my fucking insides.
    She clenched her mouth firmly shut, shaking her head from side-to-side. The rest of her body continued its losing battle to break free from its restraints.
    Within seconds, the fist which had first greeted her at the front door had smashed viciously into her face three times. She was barely aware of her nose being smashed, her septum splitting, or the teeth breaking as unconsciousness began to consume her. If she'd been able to think clearly, she would have probably welcomed it rather than face what was coming.
    As she finally succumbed to the black unconscious, she never felt the rubber-tubing slide into her throat.

    The light bulb for the porch was missing. It was the first thing Michael Robertson noticed, as he approached his front door. Frowning, he reached into his jacket pocket for his door key, groping about in the darkness, sure in the knowledge the bulb had been there the night before. Perhaps it had broken that evening and Colette just hadnt got round to replacing it yet he wondered.
    Another thought crossed his mind, one he hoped was too petty to be possibly true. Was Colette still sufficiently pissed off with him to have removed the bulb just to annoy him when he arrived home from his works annual dinner?
    Dismissing the idea, Michael exhaled noisily, hoping the bunch of red roses and bottle of Lindemans Bin 65 Chardonnay, one of Colettes favourites, would help smooth over their fight at breakfast. Even now he couldn't help but feel Colette was a little hypocritical in making a fuss about him attending. How many meetings, conferences and overnight stays had she been on in the last few manic months for her job?
    Trips to London for emergency meetings at virtually no notice were almost as commonplace as her going into the office. There were some weeks hed barely see her at all, and not once had he made a fuss, or made her feel guilty about it and the fact that their eight-year-old daughter Clare missed her dreadfully when she was away.
    Although, as Colette had been keen to point out, none of those meetings had taken place on their wedding anniversary. And not only was it their anniversary, but shed got a nasty cold, or maybe even the start of the flu, and needed looking after. If she did have the flu, it wouldn't be entirely surprising given how hard he knew she'd been working. Being a bit run down was all too likely the reason for her picking up something.
    He knew the timing had been dire, but there was nothing he could do about it. The Managing Director had made it clear a dim view would be taken if all the senior insurance brokers didnt attend the annual dinner. And hed duly obliged, incurring Colettes wrath in the process.
    Sliding the key into the lock, the front door opened up into the dark hallway. Glancing at his watch, lit-up by the full moon, the time was a little after eleven. Normally Colette would still have been awake at this time, probably working on her laptop, but instead, all the downstairs lights were off. The only illumination came from the upstairs landing.
    Flicking the hall light on Michaels gaze dropped to the assortment of letters strewn across the carpet, just beyond the doormat. Colette prided herself on her tidiness, and the letters and bills that needed to be responded to were always stacked neatly on the side of the hall table, not lying in a mess on the floor. Maybe Harry, their cat, had taken a walk across the narrow table, he thought, closing the door gently behind him.
    For a brief second he thought about calling out to Colette, but rejected the idea in case shed gone to bed. Despite the recriminations at breakfast, he hoped she was still awake and they could enjoy some of the remaining evening together with a pleasant glass of wine.
    Placing his keys on the hall table, Michael headed in the direction of the kitchen to retrieve two wine glasses. Before he reached there, he stopped, his gaze honing in one of Colette's slippers, discarded on the bottom step of the staircase. Several steps further up, one of her gold encrusted earrings, a present from their last wedding anniversary, lay unattended.
    A quizzical look crossed Michaels face as a slight frown formed before he turned and slowly began to climb the stairs. Even when she was ill, Colette wouldnt just dump things on the stairs, especially not her favourite jewellery.
    With the roses in one hand and the bottle of wine in the other, Michael gently walked up the stairs, careful to avoid the creaky step at the top.
    The upstairs of the house was just as quiet as downstairs. Eerily quiet. There was no sound of life from the bedroom. No quiet mumblings from the television. Not even the quiet whistling of the wind coming in through the bathroom window which was always open, even in winter. And no sign of their cat Harry keeping guard at the top of the stairs which was his nightly ritual.
    Reaching the landing one more thing wasnt as it should have been. Their bedroom door was closed. They never closed it, just in case Clare ever needed something in the night.
    Without further thought, Michael turned the door handle to his bedroom. The room, like the rest of the upstairs of their house, was in darkness. But there was something else he wasn't prepared for. The smell. A metallic chemical cocktail hung in the air, invading his senses as he grappled to decipher what it might be.
    His heart began to pound and he could feel himself starting to perspire. Something was wrong, and as he reached for the light switch his sense of dread was rising by the second.
    He felt the air being sucked from his lungs as artificial light bathed their bedroom. For a few long moments he stood, staring, unable to move, a sea of blood filling his vision as he looked at what had once been their bed.
    Even as he stared at the sight before him, his confused thoughts couldnt process what he was seeing. The duvet was on the floor at the foot of the bed. The sheets were stained crimson, barely a spot of white remaining. Colette was bound to the bed, her wrists fastened to the bedstead, her ankles taped together.
    Michael could feel numbness and nausea creeping through him simultaneously as he took in every detail of the horror before him. Bloodied duct tape was pulled over Colettes mouth, and what looked like a piece of rubber tubing was hanging limply from her swollen lips. On the floor next to the bed was a discarded white plastic canister. The words White Spirit just visible from where the container lay on its side.
    Beginning to shake, the acidic taste of bile burnt the back of his throat as his gaze dropped to Colettes exposed chest, her shirt torn open and crumpled beneath her. Savage markings and lacerations had been cut into her pale flesh, the blood now dried into a gruesome message that made no sense.
    Fuck the net.

    And on the wall above the bed, more blood, smeared in large letters, spelling out another message.

    Reclaim the world.

    Unable to hold back the nausea any longer Michael vomited onto the floor in front of him before beginning to hyperventilate.
    That cant be Colette, his mind was pleading.
    But he knew it was as his eyes traced the lines of blood running from the wounds in her chest, matting portions of her long brown hair together where it had got in the way of the blood flow.
    And as unconsciousness crept up on him, and he slumped heavily to the floor, one more terrible thought filled his head.
    Where was his daughter?



    -----

    I look forward to hearing your work.

    Best wishes,
    Miles

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