So, as many of you know, I’m currently working on the fourth instalment of Inside Evil. With only two books left, there’s a lot to cram into these two last novels! I thought I’d share the unedited opening scene of the latest book so you have a taster of what’s to come. If you haven’t read any of the series, then you can check out the books by reading the first chapters that are all available on this site for FREE. Just click on the series covers below.
Opening Scene – Inside Evil – Title TBC
Another scream rang out in the darkness, and Roberta pushed her hands tighter over her ears. The torturing had been ongoing for hours. The cries had been sharp and prolonged at first, until they gradually quietened to a muffled and dull whimper. Then they’d stopped, and she’d been relieved that the horrendous sounds were no longer eviscerating her ears. But it seemed the victim had only been left to recover, for another painful onslaught was soon brought upon them.
Roberta had quickly realised just where in Gathin she’d been thrust into. Though the opening at the top of the tall cylindrical tomb had shone light down upon her, it was not the blue sky she saw, but a mural painted on a ceiling far above. The drop from that room to where she lay now was vast. As someone had been dragged across the floor and propped into the chair that now covered the small spherical opening above her, Roberta had realised she was in Gathin’s central tower, the windowless pillar that rose out the ground in the heart of the Queen’s domain. Above her was the room where she’d fought off the Queen of the North Realms, where she’d attempted to throw her doppelganger to her death. The small opening was covered with an iron grate and was the only barrier that kept the seat from dropping into the chasm below. Though, it seemed as if things – creatures, people – were dropped from that height, for the mound of corpses in the room in which she was now trapped rose towards the middle like a newly forming mountain.
Looking into the darkness with the vague hope that she might’ve gained the sudden ability of nocturnal vision, Roberta picked out the top of the mound, the place where she’d found herself sprawled only hours ago. Perhaps it was days? She couldn’t be sure. The desiccated and mummified rat corpses that littered the floor of the room in their thousands made Roberta’s skin crawl. She allowed herself, just momentarily, to remember that her sister’s body also lay amidst the mound, Natasha’s sunken face being dry and lifeless. But she shouldn’t jump to conclusions, it might not be Natasha, it must be her sister’s doppelganger. It had to be.
Now, Roberta was huddled against the outer wall of the circular room trying to shut out the sounds that came from above her. A thin layer of dead rats shifted under her slightest movement, and though she’d managed to clear as many of them out of the way using her feet, a few rogue skeletons still creaked beneath her as she sat in resigned devastation. She’d fumbled her way through the dark as her fingers traced the rough stonework of her tomb, but she’d found no way out other than the obvious; a large impenetrable door that was solidly locked. At one point there’d been noise beyond, thick gravelly voices and then a deep snarl that could only have come from one of Gathin’s gigantic wolves. If she stayed in this room, she was dead. But if she alerted anyone that she was here…..it would be worse.
A scream rang out again, causing Roberta to look towards the grate and push her fingers even deeper into her ears.
“What use are you to me if you know nothing?”
The voice wrenched Roberta’s gut as she recognised it as her own. The woman she sought to kill was almost directly above her, but yet so far out of reach.
“Please…..forgive me, my Queen. I will remember, there must be something of use….please.”
The man’s words were cut short and Roberta drew her eyes to the floor as she saw a shadow fall still upon the grate. There was the sound of light rain, as if a sparse cloud was fluttering overhead and giving the land below the slightest of moist dustings. She knew the rain was crimson, that it splashed the mound of carcasses at the base of the tower with scarlet. The trickling ceased to be heard as a deafening roar echoed around her, and for a moment, Roberta twisted her head anxiously towards the small door, expecting it to open with a loud crunch. Movement at the top of the tower momentarily plunged her into full darkness, until the roar was heard again and the grate was pulled back into place. Seconds later there was a sickening crunch as the tortured soul’s lifeless body from above was reunited with its lost blood. It landed on top of the mound with a thud, scattering rat carcasses and drawing the few live rodents on the edge of the room scuttling towards the centre for their newest meal.
Roberta wasn’t sure what drew her towards the body. Perhaps it was the morbid curiosity of seeing just what had been done to the man, or the chance to actually move with purpose from where she’d been stagnating in the darkness. Her fingers touched the revolting rats as she crept on her hands and knees towards the top of the mound, her only relief coming from the fact that the rodents she felt beneath her fingers were dead and not the living carnivores that seemed to have their beady black eyes upon her as an extra meal. She felt something wet on her fingers as she placed her hand down upon the gnarly head of one particularly gigantic rat. In the dark light there seemed little than black goo on her hands, but as her eyes squinted to try and determine just what the viscous liquid smeared across her fingers really was, she saw that the sound of rain had indeed been the splatter of a life force draining away. Despite appearing dark, black, upon her fingers, she knew it was the scarlet ink of life.
After a brief attempt to wipe the blood from her hand, Roberta leant forward and tried to inspect the fallen figure. He’d dropped in such a way that he was sprawled on the top of the heap, his arms laying at angles normally prevented in life. Here, his body was contorted and crushed by the severity of the fall, a limp wrist lying lifelessly before her. Such was the keenness of her eyes and the length of time that she’d been trapped in the dark, that Roberta found the light around her to be enough to perceive a diagram on the man’s wrist. She recognised it instantly, for it was the same symbol that Galdur had etched on his chest; the Ammokra. But Galdur, Roberta’s Icelandic gatekeeper, wore it to symbolise his part in keeping the dark from their door, to stop the curse breaking through to Earth and causing complete and utter devastation. Why should someone in Gathin have the Ammokra so carefully inked upon their skin? The man wore a long robe, the hood of which was covered in silver threading and feathers. A priest, perhaps? A Gathin man who wielded the curse that came to Earth every decade? Roberta couldn’t be sure, but he’d known something. Or, at least her doppelganger had perceived that he’d held information important to her quest.