Pulse by H.J. Daly
She looked into their non-existent faces and felt them smile in anticipation.
The light is fading fast and Esa must find shelter before the deviants come crawling out of the woodwork. From the moment she steps into the darkened room her life takes a terrifying turn and she is pulled away from her post apocalyptic world.
With a horde of goblins close on her heels, she enters a magical realm in search of answers. Why can she sense magic and why is a powerful sorcerer determined to end her life?
Esa tasted the blood in her mouth and the sting across her face. Fog clung to her mind and she tried to concentrate.
“Let’s try again. What does she look like?”
“Me, only not as pretty.” Spitting blood from her mouth Esa managed a smirk.
“Now that’s the girl I remember, pity Thomas isn’t here to see this. Wonder where he’s hiding?”
“I don’t know.” Her tone was full of bitterness as she let numerous images pop into her head. She would die here and he would never know, would never care.
“Oh, this just gets better.” Amy broke into Esa’s thoughts. “He dumped you here with this lot, it’s a shame I don’t have time for some real fun.” The tip of the dagger glowed when she pulled it from the fire and watched the prisoners heave at their bindings. “Tell you what,” she whispered in Esa’s ear, “once I’m through here, I’ll find Thomas tell him how you begged and screamed his name before Urgath had a little fun and then I’ll have great pleasure in watching him die.” She watched the pain fill Esa’s eyes and smiled. “Now where were we … ah yes, tell me where she is.”
Amy grabbed Esa’s bound hand, pulling her fingers forward. She braced herself as the blade touched her skin, the heat searing her knuckles. This time only a moan escaped her lips. She was too exhausted for anything else.
“I said where is she?”
The blade continued down her already bloody arm. Heat rose together with the scream that had been building in her throat. The prisoners moved as one, twisting and turning as they fought with the guards as best they could.
Ignoring her own pain Esa watched the other prisoners as the guards started to push them back. Even bound they gave all they could and in return the guards had drawn weapons and were hacking at those closest to them. She couldn’t let these people die for her, she didn’t deserve it. “Stop!” the shout carried over the clearing. “Enough, I’ll tell you everything just stop this. Please.”
“Esa no, don’t say a word, we’re not worth it,” Flo yelled as the guards continued to slash away.
“Stop!” Amy’s shout resounded around the clearing and the guards backed off. “Is this going to be something special?” Amy’s blade rested playfully on Esa’s throat and she could smell the burning of her own skin. “This will make a nice addition to the others,” Amy continued as she swiped Esa’s hair to the side and indicated to the snaking scar twisting around her neck. “That must have been a mighty beating. You’re always in the wrong place at the wrong time, aren’t you?”
Thomas stopped as he reached the wooden door. It stood slightly ajar and he could see Esa nestled in the corner, her back to him. He stifled a gasp as he caught sight of her skin. At the bottom of her ribs he clearly saw an old knife wound, across her shoulder blades were a number of what looked like cigarette burns, and line upon line of marks like wires. Some old, silvery in the light and others still red and puckered. The skin had attempted to grow over large gashes through the years, but nothing could hide the evidence of a brutal attack. What drew his attention was the huge scar that started at her waist and snaked its way up her spine and eventually wrapped itself around her neck.
About the author (taken from her blog)
Writing was something I always enjoyed but if you ask my high school teachers they may argue that enjoying is not the same as being any good.
Once I became a mum. I made up stories and poems, with my kids. I remember one about a flea in a cup of tea ... We even played them out sometimes, the accents I could never quite manage.
Writing is one of those things that I took a little more seriously, once the kids went to school full time. It kept me sane, those voices in my head actually became useful.
It was never up there as a job but can't say anything ever was. There was a time that I traveled Europe dancing in Latin American competitions but at my age my legs can't take it, though I have been caught doing a foxtrot across the kitchen before now.
I wrote my first book pretty quickly but then it sat in a draw for a long time. I'm glad someone was daft ... , I mean brave enough to take it on.