Morning, #bookjunkies! Today is my stop on Mark Tilbury’s The Revelation Room blog tour! Thrilled to be sharing Chapter 1 with you, to really whet your whistles! My thanks to Mr Tilbury, Sarah Hardy and Bloodhound Books!
First a bit about the author and the book……
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mark lives in a small village in the lovely county of Cumbria, although his books are set in Oxfordshire where he was born and raised.
After serving in the Royal Navy and raising his two daughters after being widowed, Mark finally took the plunge and self-published two books on Amazon, The Revelation Room and The Eyes of the Accused.
He’s always had a keen interest in writing, and is extremely proud to have his third novel, The Abattoir of Dreams, published, and The Revelation Room and The Eyes of the Accused re-launched, by Bloodhound Books.
When he’s not writing, Mark can be found trying and failing to master blues guitar,
and taking walks around the beautiful county of Cumbria.
ABOUT THE BOOK
Ben Whittle’s father, a private investigator, has been taken captive by a cult whilst investigating the case of a missing girl. When Ben receives a desperate call from his father asking for help he is drawn into a dark underground world.
As Ben retraces the last known steps of the missing girl he discovers his only option left is to join the cult and rescue his father from the inside.
The leader of the cult, Edward Ebb, is a psychopathic egocentric who uses his position to control his small group of followers in The Sons and Daughters of Salvation. When he initiates Ben into the group it soon becomes apparent how sick and twisted Ebb is.
Ben must find his father and the missing girl, but the odds are stacked against him and time is running out.
Can Ben rescue his father and the girl and escape with his life?
And what is the gruesome secret concealed in the Revelation Room?
The Revelation Room is the first in a new series of psychological mystery thrillers.
CHAPTER ONE: The Revelation Room
Geoff Whittle stood in a tree twenty feet above the ground and stared at death. Death stared back at him in the guise of an automatic rifle with sunlight glinting off the barrel. A man wearing bright yellow overalls levelled the weapon at Geoff’s head. Geoff propped his long-range camera in the fork of two branches, wrapped his arms around the trunk for support, and tried to make contact with God for the first time since his dog had got run over when he was a kid.
A short fat man accompanying the shooter asked, ‘Who are you?’
Geoff searched his mind for lies. Terror shut down his imagination. The man with the rifle had shoulder-length brown hair and a goatee beard. He also had a nasty twitch in one eye.
Fat Man said, ‘Shoot him.’
Geoff’s insides turned to dust. ‘No. Please don’t—’
‘Shoot him, Tweezer.’
‘Is that wise, Father?’
‘What do you mean?’
‘What if he’s a cop?’
Fat Man hesitated for a moment, and then said, ‘He’s an agent of the Devil. Shoot him.’
And so Tweezer did. The bullet ripped through Geoff’s left shoulder. He felt a roar of intense burning pain. His legs buckled. The tree seemed to rock back and forth as if caught in a strong wind.
‘Shoot him again.’
This time the bullet tore a hole in his right knee. He lost his tenuous grip on the tree and tumbled head first to the ground. He instinctively put his hands out to soften the blow. Both wrists snapped on impact. His right shoulder dislocated. He screamed as the pain sent shock waves through his body. Something cracked in his spine. Instant numbness rolled down his legs and into both feet.
‘Is he dead, Father?’
A few moments silence, broken only by a bird singing its song – perhaps of death – high in the tree. Sunlight burned his eyes. Two blurred shapes above him. The rifle pointing at him.
‘He lives,’ Fat Man said. ‘Satan’s own defies mortality.’
‘Shall I finish him?’
‘Not yet. We need to find out who he is. Where he’s from. Fetch Bubba. Get him to take our guest down into the Revelation Room.’
Tweezer was about to head off when Fat Man stopped him. ‘Haven’t you forgotten something?’
‘No, Father. You asked—’
‘You think it wise to leave me unarmed?’
A nervous laugh. Tweezer handed over the gun. ‘Sorry, Father.’
‘And be quick. We don’t know who else might be lurking about. Get word to Marcus on the tower and tell him to be vigilant. Any sign of the police, and we go into lockdown.’
Fat Man nudged Geoff’s side with the end of the rifle. ‘What brings you to Penghilly’s Farm?’
Geoff opened his mouth and issued a gurgle. The sun scorched his face. ‘My… back… is… broken….’
‘How unfortunate. Perhaps it will stop you scaling trees in future and spying on innocent people.’
‘That speaks more of demonic possession than injury. You don’t fool me with your pitying sounds. My eyes see deeper than the colour of cowardice.’
A huge shadow rolled across the ground. It glided over Geoff, and took him away to a beautiful, dark, painless place.
Awake again. Being carried down concrete steps on the shoulders of a tall thin man. Through a room with bright lights, and what looked like hundreds of cannabis plants. Perhaps a hallucination?
Tweezer unlocked a door at the end of the room. ‘Put him on the floor by the wall, Bubba.’
Bubba deposited Geoff on the dusty concrete floor.
‘Sit him up, facing the wall.’
Bubba did. Geoff flopped forward, head almost resting in his lap.
‘You can go now, Bubba.’
The big man walked from the room without a single word or a backward glance.
Tweezer leaned the rifle up against the wall. ‘If you want my advice, you’ll answer Father Ebb’s questions honestly.’
Or what? You’ll hurt me?
Ebb appeared a few minutes later. ‘All quiet?’
‘Have you taken leave of your senses, Tweezer?’
‘Then please explain why the prisoner is being attended to without a rifle?’
Tweezer scurried to the wall and retrieved the weapon. ‘Sorry, Father.’
‘Slackness costs lives.’
‘I shall pray for you, Tweezer. Pray that you and your senses shall one day be reunited.’
Tweezer shuffled awkwardly. ‘Yes, Father,’
Ebb turned his attention to Geoff. ‘Who are you?’
Geoff didn’t answer. He prayed that death would come quickly.
Ebb walked to one side of him and held a mobile phone in front of his face. ‘This yours?’
Geoff bit down on his lip hard enough to draw blood.
Ebb snatched the phone away. ‘Must be. It was in your pocket. Along with a Ford Fiesta car key and a front door key.’
Then why are you asking?
‘Pay-as-you-go phone. No contacts. No details. No wallet. No ID. What does that tell you Tweezer?’
‘Tells me he’s up to something.’
‘We need to search the tree. See if he’s secreted anything up there.’
‘Shall I go now, Father?’
‘Yes. And tell Sister Alice I require her presence down in the Revelation Room.’
‘As you wish, Father.’
Ebb paced up and down. ‘They say God moves in mysterious ways, but Satan makes the Lord look positively straightforward, doesn’t he?’
‘If… you… say… so….’
‘Do you know who I am?’
‘What is your business here?’
A lengthy silence. And then Ebb said, ‘Pleading ignorance will get you nowhere. I’ve got all the time in the world, Mr Tree Man.’
Geoff begged his mind to help; it was otherwise engaged, dealing with the pain tearing through his upper body.
Footsteps walked across the room. And then a woman’s voice. ‘Who is he, Father?’
‘Satan’s very own, Sister Alice. Satan’s very own.’
‘What does he want?’
‘What Satan always wants. To disrupt God’s plan. To interrupt His work.’
‘What are we going to do with him?’
‘Find out the true nature of his mission, Sister. Find out who sent him.’
‘Maybe we should just kill him.’
‘Not until I know who he is.’
‘Brother Tweezer said he was up a tree overlooking the courtyard.’
‘Indeed. Tweezer’s searching the tree as we speak. The Imposter had a camera. Taking pictures of the farm.’
‘Why would Satan want pictures?’
‘That’s for the Imposter to tell.’
‘What if he won’t talk?’
The confidence of this last statement sent a chill through Geoff’s body.
‘What if he dies before we have the information, Father?’
‘God won’t allow that.’
‘If you’re sure, Father.’
‘Are you questioning my wisdom, Sister Alice?’
‘No, Father. It’s just… well… the unpredictability of the mortal body.’
‘I’m well aware of the fallibility of the human body. But this one has a demon lurking within it.’
‘Is it wise to do battle with a demon, Father?’
‘Is it wise to turn a blind eye?’
‘Anyway, I didn’t summon you here to question the validity of my purpose. I want you to shave the Imposter of all its facial hair.’
‘So as we can search for the mark of the beast.’
‘And see if you can stop the bleeding.’
‘He can have some water. Enough to nourish him. Just in case….’
‘As you wish, Father.’
‘Make sure he remains facing the wall. I don’t want him to be stimulated in any way.’
‘Right. I think we’re finished here for now. When you come back to tend to him, do not engage in conversation with him. Suppress any feelings of pity. This is a wild animal. Remain vigilant at all times.’
‘Don’t worry, Father. I won’t let my guard slip for a second.’
Geoff heard them leave the room. The door close. The key turn in the lock. He wanted to scream. Bang his head against the wall. Die before Ebb had the chance to torture him. He thought about home. His wife, Anne, and his only son, Ben. How they would cope if he died.
Not If. When.
He’d parked Ben’s car about a mile away from the farm on a housing estate. An old yellow Fiesta. Not as noticeable as his own BMW. Far better for trailing cult members.
Fat lot of good that’s done you.
He forced himself to sit up. He looked at his useless legs. His torn trousers. The only blessing was he couldn’t feel a thing below his waist. Not even the piss that stained his crotch. His breath came in ragged gasps. His heart galloped across his chest. One final glimmer of hope. A watch phone. A freebie from the owner of A1 Security. Geoff thought it more of a gimmick than practical, and the battery life was minimal, but it was all he had.
He held his right arm in front of his face. His shoulder shook with the exertion of this simple movement. Tears blurred his vision. Two watch faces. Two straps. He squeezed his eyes shut, wiped them with the back of his hand, looked again. One watch. He pressed a button on the side of the screen and turned it on. Low battery. One bar. He brought up a menu, selected Ben’s number and hit dial.
He didn’t even know if he would stay conscious long enough to make this call.