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He scans the torch around the wreck. He is about to leave the scene when something catches his attention on the far side of the rocky outcrop into which the vehicle has punched itself. He walks over, bends down to investigate.


He recoils in shock, staggers back, vomits.

Shakily, he returns to the pick-up and spends some moments just leaning against it thinking, thinking, before, suddenly decisive, he takes the pistol from the glove compartment. He goes back behind the rocky outcrop and aims it at whatever has occupied his attention.

The still of the night is broken by a gunshot.

Roadkill is the twentieth of the announced features in The Needle Drops... Volume One, presenting a lavish tale of time within a bleak North American hinterland, where old science comes to light. With Short Fiction, we explore the various subgenres of horror in creative and unexpected ways.

1947. Einstein's time-warping device behind the infamous Philadelphia Experiment is lost in the North American hinterland. A quarter of a century later, Courtauld, Brett and their teenage daughter Billie race into the night across an unending landscape to rescue... even they aren't sure, but it all starts and ends with a garbled answerphone message and ends and starts with a gas station owner who has seen it all before and needs to plug the holes in time by removing the 'Devil's children' with a shotgun. In between, events are triggered by a short story read on the radio, a broken steering mechanism, and a rabbit caught in headlights.

1947. Einstein's time-warping device behind the infamous Philadelphia Experiment is lost in the North American hinterland...

Robert Bagnall was born in Bedford, England, when the Royal Navy still issued a rum ration, and now lives and writes on the English Riviera within sight of Dartmoor. He is the author of the science fiction novel 2084 - The Meschera Bandwidth, and the anthology 24 0s & a 2, which collects two dozen of his thirty-plus speculative stories published in Daily Science Fiction, Terraform, Flash Fiction Online and elsewhere during the 2010s. He has also appeared in ‘Best of British Science Fiction’ three times since 2016 and been a finalist in the L Ron Hubbard Writer of the Future competition.

Away from the keyboard, he has run four and walked one marathon, used to hold a world record for eating cream teas, and has read Proust’s A La Recherche du Temps Perdu in its entirety—but took longer doing so than Proust took to write it.

His books can be found on Amazon, be rated on his Goodreads, and he can be contacted via his blog at


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