As a little taster, I wanted to share the first draft of the first chapter for my upcoming book – Tormented!
Any or all of this could be subject to change, of course, but this is what I have so far. Hopefully, it is enough to pique peoples interest:
The man looked down to the familiar form of his loved one below him as it begged for its life to be spared.
‘Please,’ the dying person said, ‘don’t. Not like this.’
But the man wasn’t listening. Nothing was going to stop what was about to happen.
Because it had already happened.
The act of taking the life was every bit as difficult and soul destroying as he remembered it to be; the continued pleading and the weak resistance—which was easily overcome as the last hold of life slipped away from the now still body.
The room, lit only by faint candlelight, fell silent after the death rattle, the last wheezing breath, petered out.
After the deed, the man slumped to the floor feeling incredibly drained. He studied his hands—the same murdering hands that had just snuffed out a life.
Was he a monster?
He felt something squirm inside, a knot in his gut that tightened and tightened. Then he purged, spilling the contents of his stomach across the dirtied carpet.
When his vision finally cleared he looked up at the walls of the room. Once white, they were now dull and yellowed.
And then the paint started to discolour further before his eyes.
Something was wrong here.
This wasn’t right.
This wasn’t how he remembered.
Dark pools of black formed in places along the walls, and from these pulsating pockets sickly yellow tendrils ran free, weaving their way around the remaining space. Spreading, covering the entirety of the walls.
A sickness running wild.
The man was crying now, wailing uncontrollably.
What had he done?
He was a monster. There was no question of that.
He hugged himself and fell to his side, curled up in a foetal position as he continued his sobbing. He felt the sticky, wet patch of his vomit beneath him.
Then he felt a breeze around him and detected a foul smell, worse than the one that already permitted from the carpet.
He looked up just in time to see the room around him completely disintegrate away like it was never there; blown away like a vision of smoke.
And what lay beyond terrified him.
This wasn’t real.
It was madness.
Had to be.
The ground beneath him, hard and black, stretched out—on and on. A smooth, rocklike formation that seemed to secrete a thick red liquid. Enormous, jagged mountains broke through and clawed at the dark sky, and these mountains were themselves dwarfed by terrible, perfectly cylindrical black towers.
This alien landscape, however, was not barren of life.
Beings that defied sanity roamed, feeding off each other. Grotesque titans scooped up smaller, helpless monstrosities and thrust them into what may have been a mouth. One being was so vast it stood level with the mountains, screeching into the star-filled sky.
Other creatures, which were closer to the man, emerged from the ground—large, moaning mouths on long bodies lined with rolling eyes. They also devoured anything that was within reach. One of these snake-like beings was ripped from the floor by a rolling, formless mass. It was mashed and ripped apart inside the gelatinous thing.
A screaming, humanoid figure—my God, it actually was human—was pinned down by a twisted hoard of much larger creatures. Without legs, they pulled themselves along the hard ground, and toyed with the person, a man, tossing him around and dropping him from heights that should have ended his life. But he didn’t die, he simply moaned on and screamed in agony. Then the creatures got to work, not content with just pulling his skin from his body; they thrust engorged stalks into him that protruded from their underbellies.
The man watching all of this horror, who had moments earlier taken a life of his own, continued to scream at the madness that surrounded him. Immense noises echoed, booming in every fibre of the air, completely drowning out his own screams.
Then he heard something else amongst this chaos, something more focused. Something meant just for him.
He heard it and, even more disturbingly, felt it inside his mind.
Something was communicating with him.
It was not via a language he understood, yet he could still detect the intent.
This thing hungered for him. For his fears, for his guilt.
For his madness.
The man turned himself to face the direction he felt the pull coming from. A vast, raging body of thick, viscous liquid—a sea of boiling rage—was spread out before him. Whatever was communicating with him, he knew, was deep within that watery expanse.
It called to him and tore at his mind.
The man rolled to his back and continued his screams. The sky above was a never-ending cosmos. It was not a night sky as he knew it. Even the stars that sat high up behaved differently—pulsing, twisting and moving. They all coiled together at a certain point, swirling and mixing to form something that seemed familiar to him somehow.
The thing inside of his head now seemed fearful, scared of the cluster the man was gazing at.
He then realised what this formation of countless stars reminded him of; the slightly elliptical shape and the faint shape of an iris within.
It was an eye.
A great, cosmic eye.
It moved, and the man knew it was focused directly upon him.
He screamed again, but this time he could hear it—the sound of his own torment. His panicked cries reverberated around him and the other nightmarish sounds were no longer there.
He thrashed and kicked, but his arms and legs would not cooperate.
He opened his eyes, now seeing different surroundings. No longer the cosmic madness, it was now a more typical environment. Maybe even… familiar?
He was in a small, dark room, containing only himself and the bed he lay on. The only window was directly above him, lined with thick iron bars, and it showed only the dark of night beyond. He looked down, breathing rapidly, still fighting and squirming, and saw that he was dressed in ill-fitting, ragged cotton clothes. His arms and legs were restrained with wide straps, and he felt the damp of perspiration all around him.
Waking memories started to flood back, overwhelming the lingering nightmare.
The man then heard a metallic sound from the thick iron door to the room, as if something heavy was sliding along its surface outside.
The door creaked open.
The man no longer screamed, but still, he was confused. Why was he restrained? Did he know this place?
Four men entered.
Three were dressed in simple white uniforms, but the man in the centre in a smart suit. He looked to be in his fifties and he, too, seemed familiar. He smiled, though it wasn’t a warm smile.
‘Now, now,’ the suited man said. ‘All this screaming. What in the world is wrong, Anthony?’
Anthony? A name the restrained man recognised. It was his own name.
His memories then flooded back completely. He knew the fantastical, horrific things he had witnessed only moments before was nothing but a dream.
He knew where he was now.
Anthony was exactly where he was supposed to be.
Hobbes Hall Asylum.
‘Nothing,’ Anthony finally said, through a dry and strained throat. ‘Nothing is wrong, Doctor. I’m fine.’
‘Good,’ the suited man said and stepped forward. He patted Anthony on the shin. ‘I’d hate to think our treatment was causing more harm than good. And I’m quite certain we are on the verge of a breakthrough.’
Anthony heard the screams of the insane rattle around from beyond his room.
The Doctor smiled again.