To celebrate the release of The Inspection: Part Two, here is a brief sneak peak from the book. It is snippet from a later chapter and tells part of the story of how our antagonist, Amarande, became the monster that we know and love. I hope you enjoy.
The Inspection: Part Two Sneak Peak
A long time ago.
“What is your name?” the beast roared.
Luka didn’t answer.
“What is your name?” the ogre raised his hand, whip ready to strike, but no words left Luka’s mouth. Words meant nothing anymore. The whip came down hard on his shoulder, taking his breath and weakening his knees but he did not fall. Not this time.
It had been months, possibly years since he’d arrived in this god-forsaken place and with each passing day his old life had disappeared, replaced by a foggy mess of images that lurked in the corners of his diseased mind. Old memories were overwritten with painful new ones as every day followed the same grisly routine: a brutal awakening, dragged to this cave and his name demanded. At first, he tried to please by answering. This made them angry. He remained silent as the other boys had. This made them furious. He pleaded, begged, remained stoic and even tried to fight back. The result was always the same. The end of a whip and a bloodied face or body.
One by one the other children disappeared. Dragged away to god knows where. Sometimes he heard their screams at night echoing down the dark passages. Then they would be gone, replaced the following day with a new batch of scared wretches. And the routine continued: the ogre beat them and the dark men watched. Over and over. It was as if they were looking for something they could not find. But they kept Luka. The chosen one. How lucky.
After months of torture something changed within Luka. He forgot his family, forgot his old life and eventually forgot his name. He looked forward to the pain. It excited him and made him feel alive.
He smiled and looked at a new batch of boys cowering in a misshapen row to his left. Shaking. Crying. What for? The pain was glorious.
“What’s your name you snivelling wretch,” The ogre roared again as he brought the whip down onto Luka’s back, breaking the skin and causing blood to trickle in rivulets across his side. His legs buckled but again he did not fall.
At the corner of the cave the dark men stirred seemingly pleased by what they saw.
With muscular arms the ogre snatched Luka up into the air, staring deep into his eyes, the mass of scars on his face mere inches from Luka’s and his rotten breath washing over the boy. “Who are you?” he whispered this time, his teeth in a snarl.
Luka didn’t know where the word came from or why he said it but with a sharp, raspy voice he answered with one word, “Amarande.”
The whip raised one final time and came down hard this time towards Luka’s cheek but it did not hit. Luka shook his head and grinned a strange, almost pleasant smile as he grasped the leather strap in mid-air. For a second the beast smiled back. “Yes, you are,” he growled and turned his huge wobbling frame towards the lurking men. With a yank he pulled the chain connecting the others children and one by one they fell to the dirt, screaming and pleading as they were dragged behind the huge beast like slabs of meat. The dark men moved forward, their leader at the fore, eyes blazing.
“He is the one,” the ogre’s voice echoed around the walls as he waddled towards the exit. “I will dispose of these.” With that he left, never to be seen again, the screams of the children echoing around the cave one last time. The old Luka would have felt pity for their plight. The old Luka would have empathised for their pain. But the child sitting on the floor was not Luka. It was Amarande, and it was no longer a child.
“You are ready little boy.” It was the man who’d taken him from his father so many moons ago. Amarande stood up tall showing he was no longer little or a boy. “I correct myself, young man. We have so many things to show you.” He grinned like a shark, revealing row upon row of sharp teeth.
Amarande held out his long talon like hand and smiled back.
©2017 Ian Ford