With the internet still thinking it can barely raise its head from the Monday mire, a further extract from Doomsday: Dark Sage, due for a Hallowe’en release….
She was of the Old People, small and dark, a plump figure hunched singing over the quern. He tended the goats and fowl and life was simple. I learned the ways of hut and hearth, playing in the dirt with the dogs, my feet always stained with the green of the grass.
I do not remember that they ever spoke my name. They called me little one or bright one because of my hair and smiled, and sometimes shared glances I could not read.
Grandmother shared our hut. She never moved from her place by the fire, her hands counting stories as she muttered in the smoke-scented shadows. At night I would sit at her feet and the wizened face would come to life, telling the tales of gods and heroes, her wrinkles drawing the map of her days as they passed through her dreams.
She would sit thus, pulling the rough comb through my hair, holding me between her knees as she worked, bringing the otherworld to life and showing me the pictures in the flames until I slept.
One night she too fell asleep. I felt the life leave her as a sigh and stayed there as her flesh cooled, the spark withdrawn, until he gathered me up, dried my tears and wrapped the furs around me.
I dreamed her that night. That was the beginning.
And then they came.
Acrid smoke fills the small lungs, screams in the night, drowning her whimpering, crushed beneath the silent stillness of her mother. Rigid with fear, she watches the sticky, crimson pool growing around her fingers, staining red the mark on her hand. She watches the earth drink blood.
Another scream, deeper, gurgling and she is looking into her father’s eyes. He looks surprised. His mouth gapes and she sees the light flee. His throat gapes too.
The earth is drinking him also.
Coarse laughter, torchlight and the stench of burnt flesh. No one comes.
That was the second.
The first a memory I was yet to know.
These things come as three.
Threes are important.
I should have known.
The second book in the Doomsday series
Stuart France and Sue Vincent
Due for release 31st October 2014 on Amazon in Paperback and for Kindle.
A further Sneek Peek is available here