This is Chapter One of Flee – the Supernatural Thriller Exclusively on Kindle.

To celebrate Flee reaching top of several search terms on Amazon I have posted the first chapter here for your enjoyment.

Flee awarded Indie Book of the Day 29th May 2013 

Read it if you dare.

Prologue

 

The cold blade caught momentarily as it slid down her cheek. Its icy touch puckered her flesh and dragged it, as the blade travelled lower. She screamed again, a sand-paper rasp of a sound, her throat sore from countless others. Warm, salty tears ran down her face. They slipped over the blade and dropped to the barren floor, soaked up by the cold, dispassionate concrete.

Bitter cold and fear forced another shiver from her naked body. She shook violently, like an addict convulsing. As she did, the ties that held her hands and wrists sliced into damaged skin. She bit down on her bottom lip, trying to hold still, as sobs of desperation escaped her.

He turned the blade, pressing the razor sharp cutting edge against her lips, opening them, like a lover would tease his playmate. For a second she tasted steel as the knife slipped between her lips. She tried harder to control her shaking, but couldn’t. The blade nicked her top lip. The paper thin cut was tiny but painful. Another sob escaped her, like a frightened child jerked out of a nightmare. A driblet of blood mixed with saliva, and ran over her bottom lip to land on a naked breast. He lowered his eyes with a wondrous, childish smile as he watched the blood fall. It laid there, a crimson stain on her ivory skin. This was his favorite part, the sweet smell of terror created a high like no other. He breathed it in savoring the rush, before removing the knife and stepping back. The way she cringed as his eyes roved over her naked body sent shivers down his spine. It was delicious. Shame was no longer a consideration; she knew he would kill her. But she was strong and there was still a glimmer of hope in her dull, almost lifeless eyes as they pleaded for her life. She had been tied to the post, her wrists bound behind her back for only twelve hours. But he knew she would think it days. The ropes had sliced into her skin, and blood seeped from the wounds. He stood still, just watching her, soaking in the pain that seemed to float from her in waves. As he watched her struggles grew weaker, less animated, her hope was fading fast. He could not suppress the chuckle that this knowledge brought.

She watched his lips crease as the chuckle seemed to cease him and she bit down to hide her despair. She knew he loved it when she screamed. In fact he seemed to grow with every pain he caused her. For this reason she had fought hard to keep quiet. Why? To annoy him, to stay alive longer or just because it gave her some power, some peace? She was no longer sure.

Cold and tired, she feared the knife most. This was the third time he had played with her, running the blade over her body as if she were a turkey he was deciding the best way to carve.

“Please, Mister, let me go. I won’t tell no one.” Sobs escaped her, racking her scrawny body as she fought to control them.

His eyes roved casually over her broken form, is contempt was written all over his face. She was a young girl, barely sixteen, her skinny body firm but childlike. Pinprick sores on her arms demonstrated her past mistakes. It was the drugs that had made her an easy target. He knew no one would miss her. No one would even notice she was gone.

He watched her for a second longer, and his right eyebrow rose in question. What was he deciding? Then a smile crossed his handsome face, and he turned away, to leave.

She sighed, the released breath sounded like survival to her ears, even if only for a short time. She closed her eyes, the movement calm and languorous. The wood was solid against her head, almost comforting. Her breathe came easier now as she hoped to gather her strength, ready for the next assault, that deep inside, she feared would be the last.

A movement behind her caused a sharp gasp of shock to be expelled from her exhausted lungs. She could feel the warmth of his slimy, almost reptilian body behind her. His breath was hot on her cheek, his presence close. Her eyes flew open and she gagged at the smell of that breath. It reminded her of something long dead and best left buried, like the stench of an old tire she and her brother had pulled from the canal. They had stunk of rotten vegetation and mud, and had been forced to wash outside, cold and squealing, under the hose.

He stepped in front of her and pulled something from his belt. In the dim light, she could just make out a metal cup or horn. He held it in his left hand, his right holding the wicked curved knife. He flashed the blade before her eyes, showing her the carvings and the sharpness of the cutting edge. It caught what little light there was and glinted madly at her. It seemed to be alive, challenging her with its power. Behind her his face wore that manic grin of wonder and delight that froze her with fear. Her breath caught in her throat as the knife approached. It touched her left nipple. Cold, icy, and smooth, it slid across that frozen bud, already stiff with cold. But the feel of the blade teased it to stand even prouder.  He smiled at his accomplishment and licked his plump, abhorrent lips.

He turned the knife and held it before her face, teasing her with the razor sharp edge. He slowly lowered it in front of her face then lower, past her neck. He let the tip touch the skin between her breasts. There was pain, as it easily sliced her delicate flesh. He drew a line from between her breasts to her waist. The point barely breaking her skin, yet blood erupted in its path. Time had stopped for her, seconds became hours, yet she was paralyzed and hung limply against the pole. The wound was shallow, irritating more than life threatening. But somehow she knew that now she would die. Her teeth chattered, and her body started to shake in a way reminiscent of her drug induced past.

He reveled in her fear, loved the screams and the minstrel eyes so wide in her blood stained face they looked like they would burst. He sucked in a wonderful lungful of air, drinking her sweet, sweaty odor that was mixed with the coppery scent of her blood. “Any last requests?” He moved around her so she could see his face and gave her his best smile.

“Please… m… m… mister. Don’t” she managed between hysterical sobs.

“Sorry, don’t know that one. How about ‘Living on the Edge,’ or ‘A Good Day to Die’?” He hummed to himself, pleased with his own joke.

He drew back the knife, getting bored with her now, as she simply sobbed and shook against the post. She was not a screamer. He preferred the ones who cried and screamed constantly. They were much more satisfying. He raised the blade to her eyes, watching them open even wider. The whites seemed to fill her face, like dinner plates on a pink cloth. He stepped behind her, but kept the blade where she could see its edge, as it winked in the darkness. She was whimpering. “Please, please, please.” Over and over, the words becoming indecipherable as tears and wails joined her pleas.

With his arms around her, he pushed his face into her dark hair, breathing deeply of her scent. She had used a coconut conditioner some time recently, and the smell was intoxicating, clean and fresh, a contrast to the smells of fear and death that permeated the cellar.

“Bored now,” he said. He had seen this on a TV show and had always wanted to use the phrase. A further chuckle squeezed passed his lips as he enjoyed his own sense of fun. But now for business. He had a lot to prepare. His right hand drew the blade across her throat. The cut was deep and smooth, the blade never hesitated. He effortlessly sliced through skin, sinew and gullet down to bone. Blood gushed instantly from the wound, warm against his skin, followed by a pulsing stream. He caught the liquid in the ornate pewter horn, moved expertly under the flow by his waiting left hand.

The girl’s screams instantly turned to gurgles as her vocal cords were sliced through. Her body arched against the restraints, then convulsed madly. As if it was trying to break-dance against the post, and then she was still, her life gone.

He stepped around to face her. Her head hung lifeless against her scrawny chest. A river of blood worked its way down her breasts, across her flat stomach and then into the curly pubes between her legs. Some of it dripped, slowly, from the dark tangle of hair to drop unseen on the floor. He scooped a little from her left nipple, stopping to squeeze the taut bud, then raised his fingers before him. He studied the blood covered appendage before sliding it into his eager mouth, licking hungrily. “Your life wasn’t a total waste,” he said to the corpse. “This blood will make me strong. Thank you.” He raised the horn in a mock toast. Turning away, he sauntered out of the cellar, taking little sips of the delicious warm blood.

Behind him, a pentagram shaped seal in the cold concrete floor began to pulse, thin slivers of light escaped at its edges.

 

 

 

Chapter One

 

 

A surprise visit had seemed like such a good idea when Jenny left. The drive always took her mind off things and Rosie, her two year old brindle Boxer dog loved to visit her parents’. Of course to Jenny, going home was part hell, part heaven. They were constantly asking about her latest man friend or worse trying to find a suitable mate. She knew they had a big party planned for her thirtieth birthday this Saturday, and she wanted to find out who the latest suitor would be. And let them know I don’t need a match maker. Yeah like I’m getting lots of men on my own.

The last blind date they’d arranged had lasted precisely ten minutes, before she’d wanted to hit him, or in the tradition of her parents, turn him into a frog. He was good looking, rich and met Jenny with the immortal words, “Hello, Blondie Bear.” He had been looking for a wife to meet his needs and a cook come nurse maid to meet the needs of his two children. Not my cup of tea. Jenny shook her head, remembering his arrogance as she piloted the car out of the comforting glow of street lights and into rolling countryside for the last and most remote leg of her journey.

Not that she had anything against marriage. She laughed. She’d done it once and maybe she’d even have kids one day. But there was so much she wanted to do. The problem was she hadn’t worked out what it was yet. Thirty, why was it such a big deal anyway? Her parents kept pressing her to join their business before her birthday, telling her how important it was. Telling her she needed to learn some spells, just basic stuff before they told her some big secret. But no matter how much she pushed them, it was always “Believe in Sophana first, and then we will tell you.” They always hinted about money as well, that with their business came money, as if she needed help.

And I don’t, I’m doing ok, she thought and tapped the steering wheel. She loved her Volvo coupe. It wasn’t new, but was paid for and hugged the road like a sports car. She had a good business and a nice house which backed onto open woodland. It was ideal for her morning run with Rosie. But lately she’d been feeling a bit bored, as if something was missing. This journey had been mainly to give her time to think, to decide in her own mind whether or not she would join the family business.

The car banked nicely around a sweeping bend, the headlights creating a tunnel effect between the tall trees that watched the car pass like impassive guards. She drove past a small copse of oaks and horse chestnuts, full of bluebells which filled the air with their heady scent.

A shadow leaped into the road, Jenny hit the brakes and wrestled the wheel to the right. A burst of adrenaline assisted the movement and set her nerves and skin on fire. In her imagination, a demon leapt out to claw at the car making her breath catch in her throat and sending prickles up and down her arms. A laugh escaped her as she recognized the colorful cock pheasant. Head down, tail out, he strutted towards them, not knowing just how closely he flirted with death. The coupe responded instantly, swerving and easily missing the bird, then regained its lane and continued down the road without incident. The pheasant sashayed in the road, resplendent in all his glory as he proudly protected his territory.

Drawing a deep breath, Jenny caught her eyes in the rear view mirror. She looked tired. Shaking her shoulders she forced herself to relax. It had been puzzling that dad wanted her to re-look at their business. He knew she had never been interested. Partly through pig-headedness and partly because she wanted to prove she could do something herself. So why was he now pestering her to look again? She asked the question for the hundredth time. If she was honest, she always thought what they did was a bit weird.

She ran it through her mind as the car whisked her through the night. They dealt in magic. People paid them. In fact, they paid them a lot for spells. Spells for love, riches, protection, you name it. They always told her it was good magic, and they never did anything bad. Deep down she felt uneasy with it, believing they were conning vulnerable people. It left a bad taste in her mouth. The strange thing was, their customer’s kept coming back and many had become good friends, and wealthy good friends at that.

She had to stop thinking about this. She forced her shoulders to relax and leaning back into the leather seat, she relished the smell of the car and let its solid reassuring ambience relax her. She smiled again. Her nerves were just on edge, and the encounter with Mr. Pheasant hadn’t helped. Still, she’d soon be there and Rosie could stretch her legs. As she drove the last few miles, she ran through the possible potential boyfriends she may have to put up with this week end.

There was Simon, of course. They’d always expected she would end up with him. Simon Greaves, same business as her parents and at one time they’d had a lot of fun. He was good looking, tall and athletic with blonde hair cut short and spiked into the latest fashion. But he was a little weird, never around people, often rude and always arrogant. He was her dad’s main competitor, the only one she knew who had ever challenged him. Sometimes she even heard the two of them arguing. Still she knew he would be there.

Then there was some banker who worked with Robert. Robert was one of her parents’ oldest friends and their financial advisor. She thought he also disapproved of her dad’s business. He was awfully posh and tried his hardest to ignore what they did which had amused her for years. He would roll his eyes and avoid looking directly at her father when he disapproved. The banker’s name, George she thought, was good looking, but way too stuffy, and he doesn’t like dogs.  Then there was a guy called Lewis that she’d met a couple of times. He was a local farmer, and seemed interesting enough, but was possibly gay.  Oh, where were all the interesting men? And why did she have such a bad feeling in her stomach? Her parents had just been acting weird, well more weird that usual and their intensity about her joining their business was starting to scare her. With a sigh she pulled her mind back to the twisty roads for the last twenty minutes of the journey.

 

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