Genre: Paranormal Thriller
Publisher: BadBird Publications
Date of Publication: September 20, 2016
Word Count: 100k
Cover Artist: Pranav Lohani
Photo by Blackbird Photography
On 26 May 1897, Bram Stoker brought us the story of Dracula; an undead creature who terrorised the living by drinking their blood. He based his creature on the legends of Ireland and Eastern Europe, bringing it to life with all the pomp of Victorian literature. What if his concept was correct, but the execution was not? What if there was not one creature, but a band of twenty-four? Crusader knights who committed such a terrible act that the Pope of Rome and the Rabbis of Jerusalem joined together in petitioning God to bring a terrible curse upon them.Sentenced to eternal life as punishment for their crimes, yet hounded by both the clerical and the secular as they struggle to live them. The Jews called them Ga’ashekelah: the Raveners. To the Catholic Church, they are the Accursed Ones. Feasting on the bodies of the living to maintain their power.
What starts as a simple trip on the Eurostar to the buried trenches of World War One in Northern France is going to take Imperial War Museum expert Dr. Alexandra Horne on a journey she could never have conceived. From the bustling streets of Paris to the azure waters of Collioure and the very Vatican itself, Lexa will discover the Raveners and those who have sworn to hunt them down.
Somehow, his head was turned to face her. In fact, where his eyes should have been were what felt like two pinpoints of brilliant light. Two diamonds glittering above the beam of the LED. His face was leather, just like that of Major von Gravenreuth. His lips were pulled back and his face was that horrible rictus of a skull. The cheer of the dead. He seemed to be looking right at her. As if he had lifted his head from the desk and was waiting for her. His dark hair had fallen over his forehead. Always longer than the fashion. More like men’s hair from the twenties.
Lexa found herself sinking down into a kneeling position. Why was the body looking at her? How could he have frozen in such a position? Like he had been writing at his desk, and turned his head to see this little creature crawling on his carpet? What were the odds that he would die staring at carpet and that she would crawl in here on it. But most importantly, what gave his eye sockets that terrible, piercing sparkle?
“Alexandra!” Jubilant. Right in front of her. As if he had moved, but she was sure that the body was exactly as it was. “You found me at last.”
Her heart was pounding in her chest. “I swear to God that you just moved. Jesus! I am losing my mind.”
There was a terrible snapping and popping noise. It couldn’t have been her imagination. “No.” The mouth didn’t move, but the hands certainly did. “I am sorry you must see me this way.” Open and gesturing. Clawed hands in a welcoming position, palms up and the dry leather stretching tightly.
Lexa blinked and started to hyperventilate. “This is a nightmare and I am going to wake up in a moment where I will be in my bed in my tiny little house. It’s a postage stamp and all that I can afford but when I wake up, I will be there and I will be very happy.”
The head shook. It had the temerity to shake at her. “You are very much awake and we are very much together.”
That’s when she realised that he was speaking in German. Wasn’t that just peachy. She was losing her mind, and she was doing it in her second language. The one she didn’t speak very well. “I am going to close my eyes, and when I open them again, I am going to be in my bed. Or a straight jacket.”
Lexa thought it was very brave to actually close her eyes. It gave her a moment to focus on her breathing. But that horrible snapping and popping noise just filled the room. She clenched her eyes tight shut and was ashamed as two tears of pure terror squeezed their way out of her eyes. Oh dear God! Please let her wake up in her own room!
“There is nothing for you to be afraid of.” A whisper on the edge of her mind. Like a soft, gentle prayer. “I would never hurt you.”
“Stop talking,” Lexa whispered with her eyes still tightly shut. And there was silence. A lot of silence. Long moments of silence. In fact, enough time passed that she could feel the phone dim from inactivity against her eyelids. Then it went black. She was in the dark, on the carpet in a room with a corpse. Or, she was going to open her eyes and she would be staring up at the Edwardian light fixture that she bought on Ebay which hung over her bed.
After what felt like forever, after her heart had slowed enough that it no longer felt like it was pounding its way out of her chest, Lexa opened her eyes. Her vision was filled with the glitter of diamonds not centimetres from her own eyes. In fact, what she could see in the gloom was the reflection of those gems and the dead face they were inside. She was nose to nose with a corpse and it was nearly on top of her. She let out a terrified scream and started to shake uncontrollably. She couldn’t breathe. Nothing in her body was working. She was paralysed with fear.
About the Author:
LD Towers travels the world like a rootless vagabond! A military historian, she searches out places of conflict to find a deeper insight to the things she writes about. Presently enjoying the warm weather and azure seas of Central America, she has lived all over Western Europe, including 5.5 years in the incomparable Berlin.
Primarily working in Historical and Military Fiction, LD sometimes sneaks in the odd Dystopian or Modern Thriller piece. In fact, her new book is a complete redo on the vampire concept. Look for The Raveners; coming September 20, 2016.