Saturday 1 July 2017

BLOG TOUR ~ The Boneyard by Mark Sennen

Hi Everyone,

Today is my stop on the Blog Tour for The Boneyard by Mark Sennen where I welcome Mark to my blog where he's kindly provided an extract from his latest novel. I was thrilled to be asked by Sabah Khan from Avon Books to take part along with some other fab book bloggers. You can find out who else is taking part in this fabulous Blog Tour at the end of the extract so without further ado, here it is:

‘Now, you’re going to run.’ Once again he waved the gun, this time in the direction of the treeline some thirty paces from the track. ‘I’ll give you a hundred seconds head start and then I’m coming to find you. And when I do, you’ll lie still and we’ll have some fun, right?’
‘You don’t have to do this. You don’t—’
‘Oh, but I do.’ The man smiled. ‘And I’m going to start counting now. If I was you, I wouldn’t waste a second. Not. A. Second. Of course, it’s your choice. One, two, three . . .’
Which was when she’d scrambled down the scree at the side of the track, cutting her feet on the sharp stones, before disappearing into the shadows beneath the tall trees. She’d half expected to hear a shot, feel a bullet implant itself between her shoulder blades. But she’d reached the treeline unharmed, stumbling into the quiet of the forest, the only sounds that of her breathing and her feet rustling in the dead wood and leaves as she scampered away from him as fast as she could. 
Now she’s worn out, the huge tree not just something to hide behind, but something to cling to, to slump against as she tries to recover her breath. She doesn’t know how far she’s run, only that it’s all been downhill. Twice she’d fallen and sprawled in the soft loam, tumbling over and over. The hundred seconds are long gone and now he must be coming after her. She wonders about heading off to the right or left and following the contours. Perhaps that might confuse him. At least the change of direction would give her a fifty-fifty chance.
She pushes herself away from the tree and bears off to the right. She trots along a narrow animal trail which weaves among the sequoias. At each trunk she pauses for a moment to listen. There’s nothing. She moves on. She pauses again. Nothing.
Up ahead a gash of grey stone slices through the hillside. She walks forward to where a ravine blocks the trail. The sides are steep and the bare rock sharp. There’s no way across. She has to turn left and forge her way downhill once more.
She catches her foot on a bare root and trips again, rolling in the dirt before pushing herself up and following the edge of the ravine towards the valley bottom. Down, down, down through the lines of trees until all of a sudden the rocks spill out onto a flat plateau. The trees are fewer here, but taller. And they’re still watching. Watching over . . .
She shivers at the sight. Dozens of rusting automobiles lie scattered amongst the trees. Several trucks. A school bus with yellow paint peeling away from decaying panelling. An old sedan has a wide grille and empty holes where the headlamps have fallen out. Like the trees, the car is watching. Next to the sedan, a young sapling sprouts from the bed of a pickup. Where there are no vehicles, scrub creeps across the ground. Snaking through the scrub are pathways where the vegetation has been cut back. Someone comes here. Someone tends this place. 
She steps forward, a glimmer of hope rising within. She reaches for the cross again. Perhaps her prayers have been answered. Perhaps this isn’t the wilderness after all, but a park somewhere on the edge of a town. As if in answer to her thoughts, a figure steps from behind one of the metal husks. In the shade of the trees she can’t make out his features, but he’s not as tall as the man who kidnapped her. He’s older, too. Her heart begins to pound, sensing a relief from her troubles.
‘Help me!’ she shouts out to her saviour. She begins to trot over towards the man, winding her way along one of the paths. The man nods, a smile forming on his lips. She realises she must be quite a sight. Her dress torn up the side and front, her body half smeared with mud and leaves. She crosses her arms, trying to cover herself. ‘I’ve been attacked. Help me!’
‘Sure, lass,’ the man says, his accent strange and unfamiliar. His smile grows and she feels his eyes feasting on her exposed flesh. ‘No problem.’
She slows as she reaches him. Hesitates now she’s just a few steps away. She turns to look over her shoulder, but there’s no sight of her pursuer. And when she turns back, the older man fades from view, stepping deep into the shade of a tree.
‘Hello?’ She slides forward on the grass. ‘Please help me!’
‘Found you!’

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