Book one in an emotional, erotic, dramatic trilogy about a world gone to hell, and the hell we hold inside…
The area was devoid of life as Euan ascended the hill to the dilapidated farmhouse. Its high-pitched tin roof and slatted, rotting wooden exterior, shattered window panes and waterlogged gutters was a stark contrast against the dew-covered pasture that grew long without domesticated animals or machinery to consume it. He took the Glock from the waistband of his pants and palmed the grip as he climbed the sun-bleached steps up to the front door.
All was silent. Not even the faint morning breeze could be heard from the small porch. The quiet was deafening, it screamed a thousand warnings and the stillness spoke its own language, one Euan could understand.
Nobody was here.
They’d all gone. Euan could only hope they’d left Nick’s body behind.
He took a deep breath, maybe the last he’d take with his heart intact, and pushed open the rotting door with his free hand. He inwardly cringed as the loud squeak wrought havoc on his already shot nerves.
Euan stepped straight into a living room. The weak morning light filtered through the gaps in the tin sheeting where the roof panels had fallen to the floor from the weather. Dust moats glinted gold in the sunlight, the stink of decay and fear stung his nose. In the shadows it was cold, but he didn’t think of that, he couldn’t.
Battered furniture had been pushed to the walls to give space for a macabre performance. A play where cruelty was its drawcard and pain was its allure. Boot-prints of black and brown, blood and earth was evidence of an audience. A destroyed dining table, torn carpet and scorched floorboards were proof they stayed for a show.
In the centre of the amateur stage, the star of the entertainment lay motionless.
Nick was as still as death, a lifeless participant surrounded by destruction.
Euan’s nightmares were confirmed.
The bile in his stomach rose up to burn his throat. He scrunched his eyes closed in devastation at what was before him. It took everything he had not to cover his face with his shaking hands and cry into the silence.
The man who had given his life meaning, given him a sense of purpose, of worth. A man who held Euan’s heart in his hands and likely didn’t even know it.
A man who now lay in a lifeless ball on the floor before him.
True Refuge releases 20 September 2017.