DEAD FLESH Preview
We all loved Tim O’Rourke’s Kiera Hudson ‘Vampire” series and now he is back with a new series!
Book one is called Dead Flesh and some of our favorite characters are back including Kiera, Potter, Kayla, and Isador.
We should be able to get our hands on Dead Flesh at the end of this month *fingers crossed* so to keep us wanting more, as is Tim’s way, he has offered to give all his readers a sneak peek!
So sit back and enjoy the first three chapters of Dead Flesh right here on Can’t Put It Down! If you liked what you read, feel free to drop Tim a line on his Facebook page *HERE* or visit his blog *HERE*. Tim loves to hear from his fans so show him some love!
If you would rather have the three chapters to read on your e-reader please send a short email to Kierahudson91@aol.com
Copyright 2012 by Tim O’Rourke
This book is a work of fiction. The names, characters, places, and
incidents are products of the writer’s imagination or have been used
fictitiously and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to
persons, living or dead, actual events, locales or organisations is
All rights are reserved. No part of this book may be used or
reproduced in any manner whatsoever without the written
permission from the author.
Book cover designed by:
Copyright: Carles Barrios 2011
She thought it would hurt, but in fact, dying was agony. It felt as if
her entire being had been stretched, pulled and twisted out of
shape and then sucked in on itself. There was blackness and it
rushed at her like a wall. Solid and unbreakable. She looked into the
darkness and it was as if she were standing at the very edge of the
universe and staring down into nothingness. The silence was
deafening and it made her want to scream.
There was a crashing sound. The noise cut through the
darkness. Her lungs emptied as the air was forced from them like a
balloon being strangled. Branches clawed at her like hands trying to
break her fall as she appeared in the night sky above the trees.
Dropping like a stone, she cut a jagged path through the leaves and
branches as she tumbled to the woodland floor below.
The young girl hit the ground, her head bouncing off the leafcovered
floor with a gut-wrenching thud. She cried out, throwing
her hands to her face and rolling over onto her back. Opening her
eyes, she noticed something had gone wrong. Her hands didn’t feel
right against her face. The young girl counted the fingers on her
right hand. One, two, three….
Turning, she looked at her left hand – it was worse.
Two! What’s happened to my fingers?
She staggered to her knees like a drunk and touched her face
with her three-fingered hand.
“NO!” she screamed, and this time it wasn’t inside her head;
her voice had forced its way out of her throat. Patting her face with
her hands, she knew that she was in trouble. The lower half of her
face had slipped. Her face, once beautiful and perfect was now
grotesque; nose and mouth were now imbedded into her left cheek.
Her face looked distorted, like a child’s painting that had been hung
upside down while wet and the colours and shapes had bled across
Her blond fringe swung in front of her eyes like a curtain and
she knocked it away. Moonlight shone through the canopy of trees
above her head in milky shafts. Then she was startled by the sound
of a dog barking in the distance.
Or was that the sound of a bigger creature? A wolf perhaps?
The noise came again, which was followed by another and
another. Cocking her head to one side, the young girl listened. The
barking came again and it was followed by the sound of snapping
jaws and woofing. She knew there was more than just one of these
creatures, there were several of them, and they were getting closer.
Spinning round, the young girl peered into the darkness. In
the distance and weaving towards her amongst the trees, she could
see torchlight. The beams of light sliced through the night and
splashed against the tree trunks.
“This way!” A voice barked. “This way!”
The barking and howling grew louder and keener as the
creatures raced towards the area of the wood where the girl had
appeared. She looked back one last time, then ran deeper into the
The sound of woofing and snarling came from the throats of
the young girl’s pursuers. They had reached the area where she had
appeared, but she had gone.
“I want this entire area locked down!” one of them ordered.
Then wheeling around, he hissed at the others, “Don’t just stand
there! Get after her!”
Without question, the others in the pack set off after the
young girl, ferocious-looking, whining, and slobbering.
She raced amongst the trees with the agility and speed of a
wild horse. Her long hair billowed out behind her like a mane, and
her brilliant green eyes glinted in the moonlight. In the distance she
could hear the sound of howling as they raced after her. Her legs
propelled her forward as she stumbled and staggered through the
woods. Her arms whispered by her side, working like pistons.
She broke into a clearing, and ahead in the distance she could
see turrets spiralling up towards the moon like giant ogres. The
building sat on a hill and was surrounded by trees and a stone wall.
With sweat streaming into her eyes, the young girl raced
across the field towards it, leaving her would-be captors deep in the
woods. Reaching the wall, she looked up at it towering above her.
The wall was at least twenty foot tall and she wondered if it had
been built to keep something out or to keep something locked in.
With her three-fingered hands, she gripped hold of the wall and
began to climb. And as she went, the young girl stifled the urge to
scream out in agony as her hands bled. Once at the top, she held
on with hands that looked like bloody claws.
What she had believed to be turrets, she could now see were
search towers. There were four, and each was manned by a hooded
figure. Their faces were hidden by the robes draped over their
heads and shoulders. The search towers cast beams of light across
the grounds like giant lighthouses.
The sound of barking and woofing echoed in the distance.
Glancing over her shoulder, she could see her pursuers run free of
the woods and start across the field towards her. Turning her back
on them, the young girl leapt from the wall and into the grounds of
the strange-looking building.
Pressing her back against the wall, she inched her way around
the circumference of the building. She watched the hooded figures
high up in their towers as they covered the grounds with their
searchlights. Small plumes of breath leaked from her cheek and
disappeared into the darkness like small clouds. The building itself
was in total darkness, not one light burnt from inside. Apart from
the odd rustle high in the trees above her, the building and its
grounds were silent.
What could this place be?
She reached a set of black iron gates in the wall, which were
padlocked. They stretched up into the night sky like bony black
fingers. To the right of the gates stood a wooden sign, and
engraved upon it were the words:
Welcome to Ravenwood School
Before she had the chance to even ask herself what sort of school
would be surrounded by twenty foot high walls and searchlights, an
alarm had started to sound. Covering her ears with her deformed
hands, the girl winced at the sound of the alarm that wailed across
the grounds like a World War Two siren. The hooded figures swung
the searchlights, picking out a figure that was running away from
the far side of the school. It headed towards the trees which lent
against the wall like drunks propping up a bar.
Screwing up her eyes to get a better look at the figure, she
could see it was a man. His face was panic-stricken and his eyes
bulged from their sockets in fear. But he looked overweight, and
with several chins wobbling like whale blubber, he was no match for
the four hooded figures that raced across the grounds behind him.
The figures howled, leaping through the air and snatching
hold of the escapee. The noise which came from the figures was
nothing like she had ever heard before. It sounded as if they were
choking on their own tongues.
“Pleeeaaassee,” the male screeched, his voice sounding as if
his throat had been cut. “I just want my son!” Then he fell silent.
The young girl couldn’t see how they had silenced him, but
she watched as they carried him like a stretcher, making their way
back into the school. The searchlights followed them, then swung
away, leaving the building in darkness.
Standing amongst the shadows, with the sounds of those
dogs now yakking and slobbering on the other side of the wall, she
crouched onto all fours and crawled away into the undergrowth,
…I sat up in bed. I rubbed my eyes, covering the backs of my
hands in the blood that dripped from them. The last broken
fragments of my nightmare jabbed into my brain like broken pieces
of glass. I’d dreamt the same dream for over a week now. It always
started and ended in the same place. I didn’t know the girl’s name
or what she had been running from. We were connected, though.
The fingers, the shift of her facial features knocked out of place –
but that wasn’t all that had been knocked off balance. But the more
I thought about her after waking, the foggier the dream became,
and faded away like an early morning mist.
I swung my legs over the side of the bed. The room was in
semi-darkness, the first rays of morning light creeping around the
edges of the heavy curtains. Wrapping my blanket about me like a
shroud, I crossed my room to the adjoining bathroom. After leaving
the mortuary, Potter had raced us through the night. We only had
one place to go, and that was back to Hallowed Manor. The manor
had belonged to Doctor Hunt, it had been where Kayla had grown
up, it was her home and she had wanted to return.
Hallowed Manor was ideal. It was remote, laying miles from
the nearest town on the Welsh Moors. Surrounded by a moat, walls,
and a gate house, it was somewhere we could hide in safety – be
apart from the rest of the world, the rest of the living. At first, being
together had been wonderful. To have my friends back had seemed
like the Elders had blessed me, but now I wasn’t so sure. Now I
wondered if their blessing wasn’t in fact a curse, like they said it
would be. We were all dead. Yes, we still inhabited the Earth, but
not really. Not like the living. We were freaks and not just because
we were dead. The Elders had called Potter, Isidor, and Kayla
angels – but what sort of angels were they? Potter was a chainsmoking
Vampyrus with attitude, and the rest of us were halfbreeds
– half and half’s as the Elders had called us – half Human
and half Vampyrus. Not only didn’t we belong amongst the living,
we were a completely different species. And I was cracking up – not
mentally, although I had questioned my sanity since waking up in
that mortuary six weeks ago. I was physically cracking up.
I turned on the taps and splashed cold water across my
cheeks, washing away the blood-red tears that had dried on them.
Once they had gone, I began to fill the bath with cold water. Not
hot and no bubbles like I’d enjoyed so much before…before
dying…but the colder, the better. I liked the water to be ice cold
now. To feel it lap against my pale skin made it tingle, it made my
flesh feel alive and it numbed my cravings for the red stuff. Death
hadn’t silenced them – it had made them worse – added another
layer to my torment. There were supplies of Lot 13 left behind by
Doctor Ravenwood in the makeshift hospital hidden in the attic. But
there wasn’t much. I knew that Kayla, more than Potter and Isidor,
had been drinking it. I couldn’t stop her and part of me didn’t want
to. She had been through enough – she had been murdered, her life
taken away from her – so at night, as I lay awake and listened to
her sob herself to sleep from down the hall. How could I add to her
With the bathroom in near darkness, I brought my face close
to the mirror fixed to the wall above the sink and stared into it. My
face now looked just as it had before dying, not deformed and
misshapen like it had when waking in the mortuary. To look at me,
I appeared normal, my bright hazel eyes losing none of their
brightness, my skin pale as always, but without blemish. I dropped
the blanket from around my shoulders, letting it flutter to the tiled
floor. I rolled back my shoulders and my wings unfolded from my
back. They were as black as ever, those bony fingers folded into
fists at the tip of each wing. I looked at my fingers and my claws
appeared like a set of knives, and my mouth filled with blood as my
fangs drew down from my gums. I looked at my naked reflection, at
the half-breed staring back at me, and there were cracks. Not on
the surface of the mirror, but on me. I’d first noticed them on the
morning after fleeing the mortuary. All of us had slept in, and I had
woken to find Potter lying next to me, his head resting against my
I had gently eased myself away, not wanting to wake him.
Once in the bathroom, I had looked at myself in the mirror I was
now staring into. I’d wanted to know if being dead had changed me.
Did I still have my wings, my claws, my fangs? And yes I did, but
there was something else. When in my true half-breed form, there
were now cracks. With my fingertips, I touched the skin covering
my left cheekbone. The cracks were very faint, barely visible, but
they were there. Like the tiny cracks you get at the bottom of a
very old China teacup. There were others, too. A network of cracks
like a very faint spider’s web, covered my neck, shoulders, and
down between my breasts, over the flat of my stomach and down
across my thighs. I rubbed at them, then snapped my hand away. I
looked at the dust-like powder that now covered my fingers. I
rubbed my fingertips together in a circular motion and it felt as if
they were covered in ash.
Potter had stirred in the other room, and I swung the
bathroom door closed. I didn’t want him to see me like this. What
was happening to me? Like I said, it was as if I were cracking up.
That had been six weeks ago, and now as I looked in the
mirror, the cracks were still there, more visible, as if deeper
somehow, giving me an ancient-looking appearance. From a
distance they looked like wrinkles, the kind that I shouldn’t be
finding until my late fifties – but I was never going to reach my late
fifties, right? Now that I was dead, was I going to age? Was I going
to stay at the age of twenty for the rest of eternity? Every young
girl’s dream – but not mine. I knew deep inside of me I wouldn’t
last another fifty years alive or dead. Whatever curse or blessing
the Elders had cast upon me wasn’t for eternity – it was for now.
How long was now? Weeks, months, years, before I cracked up
totally and turned into a pile of ash – just like the palace where I
I just had this feeling, like a knot in my stomach, that I was
back from the dead for a limited period of time. But why bring me
back at all? Why bring any of us back? Couldn’t we have been left to
rest in peace? I mean, isn’t that the whole point of dying – that we
finally find peace? Was bringing me back just a punishment for
failing to make my choice? No. I didn’t believe that. Why punish
Potter, Isidor, and Kayla too? I had been brought back for a reason
– we all had.
I turned off the taps and changing back, I took my iPod from
the shelf and slipped into the water. Turning it on, I thumbed
through the tracks, and closing my eyes, I lay back and listened to
Leona Lewis sing Happy.
Lot 13 tasted bitter, as usual, but I screwed up my nose as it slowly
rolled down the back of my throat. It was disgusting and nothing
like real blood. The real stuff – the red stuff – was lovely. Lot 13 was
like Diet Coke – the red stuff was like the full-fat version. There was
no comparison. But it was better than nothing and it dulled that
constant itch that wouldn’t go away. But that itch, the one that
drove me half-crazy at times, seemed like a mild irritation today –
like a wasp hovering around your ice cream, compared to the noise.
I could hear Kiera going to her bathroom, even from my room
all the way down the hall. The sound of the water rushing from the
taps and filling the bath was almost deafening and I wanted to
scream at her to turn them off. But there had been a lot that I had
wanted to scream about lately, so taking one of my pillows, I buried
my head beneath it. With the pillow smothering my face and ears, I
could still hear the sound of Kiera’s blanket flutter to the floor. She
stopped and I knew that she was looking at herself in the mirror
again. Not out of vanity – Kiera wasn’t like that – she was looking at
something else. I didn’t know what, but I knew that she was staring
at herself again. I could see it in her eyes. Kiera hadn’t been the
same since coming back – but then again, I don’t think any of us
had been the same.
I heard Kiera climb into the bath and at last, the sound of
running water stopped. My hearing wasn’t usually this intense – but
whenever I got upset – angry or frightened, the sounds around me
became louder – oh yeah – loud wasn’t the word. Sometimes I felt
like stuffing my fingers into my ears and screaming. There had
always been a soundtrack, as I had called it, since the age of six – a
faint background noise, like someone whispering at me from behind
a wall. But sometimes it intensified and was worse than deafening.
And it was like that today and had been since I’d come back from
The Hollows – the dead.
Listening to music helped and I was forever swiping Kiera’s
iPod – the music helped to drown out the soundtrack. But Kiera had
it now – she was listening to it in the bath. I could hear the music
hissing from beneath my pillow. I had my own but it was busted.
Dropped it throwing a hissy-fit at my mum and cracked the screen –
the thing was screwed after that.
And I knew it was because of my mother, my father and…I
didn’t want to think of the other one’s name, that the soundtrack
had been cranked up to full. Since being back from The Hollows, I’d
had time to think – reflect about everything that had happened
there. I’d wanted to come back here, it had been my idea, it was
my home. But to walk the quiet corridors and passageways, to sit
alone in the vast kitchen, and walk the grounds had made me think
of the ones I had loved and lost…because of him.
I was angry – no – I was fucking raging inside. Even though I
was dead I could still feel things – pain. I still hurt. But even though
he humiliated me, cut my ears off and then murdered me, I knew
that I was angrier at myself than him. How had I been so dumb?
Why had I been so flattered by the words that he had whispered?
And I knew the answer to those questions – I had been desperate. I
had been desperate for the red stuff that he had supplied me. But
even more desperate to be loved. I had lost my mother and father
but I had found a brother – Isidor – my Isidor. Why hadn’t I turned
to him? Even when he tried to warn me, I didn’t listen. For someone
who can sometimes hear too much – I had failed to hear my
brother’s warnings and that’s why I was so freaking angry with
But hey, Kayla, you’re alive, dude – you came back from the
dead – you got another shot. But not really. I’m still dead, right?
The Elders told me I was a Dark Angel – a dead angel more like.
And what exactly was a Dark Angel? What was I brought back for?
To help protect Kiera, they had told me. Protect her from what? I
mean, Kiera didn’t need looking after – I’d seen her kick more
Vampyrus butt than I cared to remember; she looked after Kiera
and I wished that I could be more like her. Kiera was my protector –
she was my friend, my sister.
Maybe Kiera didn’t need that kind of protection – the fangripping
and clawing, tearing kind. Maybe she just needed a friend?
Someone to be there for her – to be there for each other. Like I
said, I knew she was troubled by something – the walls of her room
were covered from floor to ceiling in those newspaper cuttings. It
was like she was looking for something. I knew she didn’t know
what, exactly, but I knew that she would see it eventually.
The soundtrack had started to fade a little, so pulling the
pillow from over my head, I climbed from my bed and padded
across my bedroom to the large bay windows leading to the
balcony. I pulled back the curtains a fraction and peered outside.
The day looked miserable again and I had forgotten how bleak this
place could be in the winter…spring…oh, who was I trying to kid?
The place was freaking bleak all year round.
From my window, I spied Isidor coming back through the
woods carrying an armful of branches. His dark hair was swept off
his brow and his Shaggy-Doo beard jutted from his chin. He hated it
when I called it that. That’s what Potter called it and was always
taking the piss. And that was another thing – being dead hadn’t
stopped those two from bitching at one another. They were
constantly at each other’s throats. But Isidor hit back just as hard
as Potter now, or should I say Gabriel! I couldn’t help but snigger
aloud every time Isidor taunted him. Seeing Potter get wound up
had been my happiest moments since coming back.
I watched Isidor drop the pile of branches onto the drive at
the foot of the steps that led to the front door. He took a flick-knife
from the pocket of his jeans and sat down where he began to
sharpen them. Pulling on a pair of jogging bottoms, trainers, and a
sweatshirt, I left my room to join him.
“What are you doing, Isidor?” I asked, sitting beside him on
“Making stakes,” he said back, as he carved away at the tips
of the branches.
“Why?” I asked.
“Why not?” he smiled at me, then went back to the
sharpening. “What else is there to do around here?”
“Don’t tell me you’re missing The Hollows and what happened
there?” I half-smiled, placing my arm about his shoulder.
“It’s because of what happened there that I’m making these
stakes,” Isidor said, not looking at me.
“I don’t understand?” I said. “That’s all finished with now,
we’re safe here. Besides, we’re dead already – how can we die
Then, stopping what he was doing, Isidor turned to face me.
“You’ve noticed the changes, right?”
“I guess,” I said, looking straight at him.
“Then I don’t think we’re safe – dead or alive,” and he went
back to his cutting.
Isidor had said something bad had happened. I remembered him
saying those words to me as we raced from the mortuary. And
something bad had happened – people had gone missing. Not just
one or two, but thousands. I had come back to find that in an
instant, people had just disappeared. And as I looked at the
hundreds of newspaper cuttings that covered the walls of my room
at Hallowed Manor, I knew that they had been the Vampyrus,
snatched back by the Elders as The Hollows had been sealed. But
the Elders had said that the humans wouldn’t remember and they
didn’t – it was as if the Vampyrus hadn’t ever existed. And that
wasn’t the only bad thing to have happened. It seemed that the
Elders had either failed to understand the consequences of their
actions, or they knew exactly what would happen and this was just
another part of their curse, because the world had changed. Not
drastically. But it was different, as if it had been nudged off-kilter,
shoved to the left a bit. There were subtle changes and as I trawled
through the Internet during the hours that I sat awake unable to
sleep – I noticed these changes. And it was as if by taking the
Vampyrus back, the Elders had erased any subtle influence that the
Vampyrus had had on human civilisation. It was my iPod that first
drew my attention to these differences. Although it was still called
an iPod, the Apple logo had been replaced with the shape of a
crescent moon. And when I thumbed through the tracks, I noticed
that some of the songs had changed slightly – sung by someone
else. For example all of the Rihanna songs had been replaced by a
singer named Robyn, the U2 tracks had been replaced by a group
called Feedback. The band looked vaguely familiar and the songs
similar in tone and music style to U2 – but like I said, just different
– as if knocked off-kilter. When I tried to search for U2 on the
Internet, there was no trace of them on any search engine – not
even the biggest, Toogle, which seemed to have replaced Google.
But other songs had stayed just the same. Bruno Mars, Leona
Lewis, and many others were as they were before. But it wasn’t just
the tracks on my iPod which had altered; the car manufacturer Ford
didn’t exist – but there was Nord. The number one fast-food chain
was McDonnell’s started back in 1940’s by the McDonnell brothers.
As I sat alone in the darkness of my room, the only light
coming from my Moon iPod, the one that had the crescent-shaped
moon logo, I tried to make sense of these little differences to what I
had known before. Where had the company Apple gone? Ford?
McDonalds? The singers and songs that had disappeared from my
And what about the newspaper cuttings that covered my
walls, which told the stories of people waking up six weeks ago to
feel that everything wasn’t quite right? I knew that humans, on a
subconscious level, knew that something was wrong – that
something was missing – something had been knocked slightly off
I read and reread the stories of how men had woken to find
their closets were full of women’s clothes, shoes, and hats. Where
had these things come from? Who did they belong to? After all, they
hadn’t girlfriends or wives, but why had they woken to find silver
and gold coloured bands around their wedding fingers?
What about the passenger trains that had stopped suddenly,
en route to their destinations because the drivers had suddenly
vanished? The co-pilots, who suddenly looked up to find that they
had taken off without a pilot, and were now thirty thousand feet
above ground. And the patients who bled to death on operating
tables, the medical team gone.
My walls were covered in a thousand similar stories, and even
though I knew what had happened to all of those missing people, I
still found it hard to comprehend that so many Vampyrus had
infiltrated human civilisation and made lives for themselves. Those
who had been left behind were now left to stare, dazed and
confused. It must have been similar to being halfway through a
conversation only to suddenly forget what you were talking about.
That awful searching, scrambling of the mind as you tried
desperately to remember but just couldn’t.
Sitting in one of the dusty armchairs that I had taken from
the attic, I looked at the walls, which were a collage of black and
white lines of print and faces. Why had I collected them? I didn’t
really know the answer to that. Potter said that I had lost my
freaking mind. He either failed to see the changes that had taken
place since coming back from The Hollows – coming back from the
dead – or he just refused to notice them. But I think Isidor and
Kayla understood why I had collected all those news cuttings and
trawled for hours on the Internet.
Each day, Kayla and Isidor would make the long drive into the
nearest town and a buy a copy of each available newspaper. They
would bring them to me, and sometimes in silence, but more often
than not while listening to music Kayla selected on my iPod, we
would cut the articles from the newspapers and tack them to my
Glancing at them, I could see that they both looked lost, a
perpetual look of confusion engraved across their faces. Isidor was
eighteen, Kayla sixteen, and neither would grow any older. But like
me, the euphoria of being alive again had worn off and the reality of
being dead but alive weighed heavily upon them. Coming back to
life where things had changed, however slight, had changed them
“What do we do?” Isidor had asked me as the three of us had
sat and cut articles from the newspapers.
“How do you mean?” I asked, cutting carefully around an
article about how no one could understand how a Chief of Police had
never been appointed in London. And if there ever had been one,
what had been their name and where were they now?
“What do we do for the rest of eternity?” Kayla asked,
stopping what she was doing and looking at me. “We didn’t come
back to sit on the floor of your room cutting up newspapers. I mean
I love spending time with you Kiera, but…”
“What did the Elders tell you?” I asked, peering over the
corner of the newspaper at them.
“They said we were angels – dark angels – whatever that’s
s’posed to mean,” Isidor said, scratching the tiny beard that jutted
from his chin. “They told me I was to be called Malachi, Kayla, Uriel
and…” with a smile on his face, he added, “And Potter was to be
I smiled back and said, “I wouldn’t let him hear you call him
“I know – it’s great,” Isidor grinned. “It really pisses him off.”
“Did they say anything else?” I asked them.
“Only that you would need us to help you,” Kayla explained,
going back to her cutting. “But they didn’t say how or with what.”
“They said I’d been ‘cursed to walk in the shadow of death’,
as they described it,” I told them, laying the scissors on the floor
beside me. “They said I was one of the Dead Flesh – cursed.”
“But a curse can be lifted, right?” Isidor said.
“The Elders said that it could be, but they didn’t say how,” I
“So how will you know?” Kayla pushed. “What are you going
“I’m going to wait,” I told her, taking the newspaper article I
had cut out and tacking it onto the wall along with the others. “I’m
just going to sit in my chair over by the window and wait.”
“But what about the changes?” Kayla asked me as she
knocked her auburn fringe from her brow. “Why do you think some
things are different now?”
“I don’t know,” I told her, looking straight into her green
“It’s like kinda freaky,” Isidor said. “I noticed it as we raced to
the mortuary to get you. We passed a motorway sign which gave
directions to London. Except the sign didn’t say London. It said,
Lunden. I had to look twice because at first, I thought I had
misread the sign.”
“How can London be called Lunden?” Kayla asked, sounding
“I don’t know the answer to that either,” I told her, picking up
another newspaper from the pile on the floor. “Like I don’t know
why people are all raving about a book called Harvey Trotter who
happens to be a twelve-year-old dragon slayer.” Then, holding up
the paper, I pointed out an advertisement for the movie of the
book. “It appears that Harvey Trotter & the Dragon’s Throne was
written by someone called K.J. Dowling.”
“K.J. who?” Isidor said, staring at the newspaper advert. “I
mean couldn’t J.K sue this K.J dude? She’s been ripped off.”
“But that’s the thing that scares me the most,” I said, looking
at both Kayla and Isidor. “I don’t think Harry Potter exists here – a
version of those books, yes, but not the ones we know. Wherever
here is, they have their own version of the Harry Potter books, like
they have Moon instead of Apple, McDonnell’s instead of McDonald’s
and a whole other bunch of other stuff.”
“Lunden instead of London?” Isidor said.
“That’s right,” I nodded.
“So where are we then?” Isidor asked.
“Are we like in a different time or something?” Kayla added.
“No – not a different time,” I said looking down at the
newspaper in my hands. “Look at the date – its twenty-twelve all
right – but just a different version of it.”
“But how has that happened?” Kayla pushed, as if I knew all
the answers. “I mean, I know I died and all, but those Elders had
brought me back within hours. How come so much has changed?”
“I wish I knew the answer to that,” I told her softly.
“So what do we do?” Isidor asked me again.
“We wait,” I said looking at him. “We just wait.”
“For what?” Kayla asked, looking at me as if I’d lost my mind.
“And how do you know it will come?” Isidor asked, shooting a
glance at me, then back at his sister, as if he too couldn’t believe
what he was hearing.
“I don’t know where the answer will come from,” I told them,
getting up and crossing my room to the chair I had positioned by
the large window with the balcony. Then, sitting and looking out the
window, I added thoughtfully, “The answers will come – I’ve been
brought back for a reason – we all have.”