Bloodlust: Mortlake Series Book 3
Bloodlust: Mortlake Series Book 3
Bloodlust: Mortlake Series Book 3

Bloodlust: Mortlake Series Book 3

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Terror lurks beneath the streets of London…

Marcus Mortlake is haunted by the past. No matter how many supernatural menaces he defeats, it is never enough. He is still tortured by nightmares, memories of those he failed to save from a diabolical cult years ago—including Cassandra, the woman he loved…

When Mortlake is linked to a series of grisly murders in fog-shrouded London, he is once again compelled to investigate. And what he discovers is a shocking supernatural mystery beyond imagination. Victims, drained of blood, and a series of kidnappings that fit a very select profile… The targets all possess some degree of psychic power.

After one of Mortlake’s closest friends goes missing, the case becomes even more personal. The trail of clues leads from the city streets to the dank sewers deep below. And Mortlake must come face-to-face with his deadliest adversary… a man he thought had already died.

But this villain is aided by a powerful entity from Mortlake’s past. Something that knows exactly how to hurt him the most…

Will Mortlake survive? Or will his past plague the present?

207 pages

Chapter 3

“Come on! Don’t be a wuss!”

Vicki Jay hesitated, glancing up and down the street. This part of London was grim at night. The area around the old docks seemed deserted except for cops, security patrols, and a few vagrants. She was already regretting her decision to come along with Paul and Clare.

Paul was already impatient with her timidity. Vicki wondered what Clare saw in him. It was Paul who was obsessed with urban exploration. Clare, always adventurous and positive in outlook, had insisted it would be fun. Not for the first time, Vicki felt her best friend’s definition of fun left something to be desired.

“It’s not that bad,” Clare insisted, giving Vicki a pretend punch on the arm. “It’s just having a poke around in some old tunnels. We might even find that secret Tube station they built during the war.”

Paul snorted. Vicki sensed yet another impromptu lecture coming.

“That’s nowhere near here,” he said. “What we’re after are Cold War bunkers, storage sites, places where the government would organize civil defense or resistance to invasion. But we won’t see anything if we stand here yakking.”

Vicki suppressed a desire to tell him to sod off and smiled bravely at Clare.

“Okay, let’s do this,” she said.

In the dim light, she could just make out her friend smiling back. Paul, dismissing Vicki, was already climbing down. He vanished, leaving the girls standing over the black rectangle. The manhole was, apparently, a little-known entrance to the undercity. Paul had made a big fuss about not telling anyone else about it. He’d mentioned the “dark web” at least a dozen times. Clearly, the secret entrance was a big deal among urban explorers.

Vicki didn’t think a way of getting closer to rats and raw sewage was thrilling, but here she was. As Clare followed Paul down into darkness, Vicki made a mental note to avenge this when it really mattered. If Vicki ever married, she would make Clare wear a bridesmaid dress that made her look like a giant meringue.

“Hurry up!” urged Paul as she clambered down. “Pull the cover back into place!”

Vicki struggled with the heavy metal plate but finally managed to seal the entrance with a clang. For a moment, they were in near pitch-darkness. Then Paul flicked on the light strapped to his head. He looked like a prize idiot to Vicki, but she and Clare followed suit.

“Remember the golden rules of urbex, ladies,” Paul repeated. “Leave nothing but footprints, take nothing but pictures.”

Clare was already holding up a GoPro, filming her boyfriend as he lectured them.

“What if we find some fifty-year-old tins of soup?” Vicki asked. “Can’t I take just one as a keepsake?”

Paul made a point of ignoring her and led them along the brick-walled tunnel. It was about six feet high and round, so at least the girls didn’t have to crouch. The walls were clammy, and here and there, Vicki could make out pale blobs of what she assumed was fungus. After about thirty yards, the tunnel opened out into a large drain, which was almost dry.

“If we turn left,” Paul said, consulting a map app on his phone, “then we should find a bunker that’s not been touched for years.”

Vicki wanted to ask why the bunker was pristine if its location had been put online. But she held her tongue. Paul loved showing off his supposedly superior knowledge and would have some bullshit answer. Clare kept filming and asked Vicki how she felt about her first taste of urban exploration.

“Cool!” Vicki replied. “But I expected lots of big spiders.”

Clare, an arachnophobe, gave a slight squeal of alarm. Vicki took a little cruel pleasure in that.

“Nothing for them to eat down here,” Paul said snootily. “Come on.”

Paul kept up a running commentary as they made their way along the tunnel. Vicki thought she heard some other voices, but when she shushed Paul, the sounds died away. Sniffily, he told her she was being spooked by echoes. They continued, with Vicki making rude gestures at Paul’s back while Clare stifled a giggle.

“Hang on,” Paul said, stopping to check his map again. “This isn’t right.”

They gathered ’round to look at the glowing screen. The supposed Cold War bunker was clearly marked, a red rectangle. Paul had downloaded the map from the dark web. But ahead of them, instead of anything that looked like an entrance to a room, was a T-junction.

“Maybe we went the wrong way,” Clare suggested.

“I can tell left from right!” protested Paul. “We’ll go on, it might be around the next bend!”

But he’d hardly begun moving before the laughter began. It was not loud, at first, but it persisted. It was, Vicki thought, a feminine laugh, but rich and resonant. It echoed around them, bouncing off the curved brick lining of the tunnel.

“There’s somebody else down here already!” hissed Clare, eyes huge with alarm.

Not for the first time, Vicki felt that her best friend was not over-endowed with brains.

“Yeah,” she said, “and they sound like they’re having fun. Whereas I’m not, so let’s go.”

Paul looked disconcerted for a moment but then tried to regain control of the situation.

“It’ll just be some kids messing around,” he insisted. “They’ll bugger off if we ignore them. Come on, let’s explore! That’s why we’re here.”

Clare looked uncertain for a moment, but then Vicki could see her deciding to stand by her man.

“I’m going,” Vicki said. “This is creeping me out.”

She turned back and headed for the smaller tunnel. Clare called after her, but Vicki ignored her. She was annoyed now and knew she might say something she would regret if she spoke. She reached the turnoff to the exit and paused, peering back the way she’d come. She saw the flickering of the others’ lights. There were shouts, and one light fell to the floor of the tunnel. Then came a scream, almost painfully loud in the confined space.

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