Hell's Hammer: Haunted Village Series Book 2
Hell's Hammer: Haunted Village Series Book 2
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An experiment in terror pushed him to his limits. Now Subject B is fighting back
His name is Marcus Holt. He is a fighter, a survivor, and a decorated combat veteran. But to the sadistic Professor Abel Worthe, Marcus is known merely as Subject B -- a pawn in the scientist’s inhumane experiments. Worthe is an expert in the study of death and fear. And he intends to push Marcus to the limits of human endurance.
Trapped in the shadowy streets of a haunted village, Marcus and his young friend Alex must deal with a new threat: the ghost of a vicious murderer, who kills with a bloody mason’s hammer. Their task is made even harder when two new subjects, a bickering couple, are added to their group, drawing the wrathful spirit right to them.
As Marcus and the others struggle against this supernatural horror, Professor Worthe observes the psychological effects of their extreme terror. But Marcus Holt is a soldier. And he’s not going down without a fight.
Professor Worthe is about to learn that a caged animal is the most dangerous subject of all…
Chapter 1: Confirmation
He faced the house and walked up the broken remnants of the cement walkway, climbed two crumbling brick steps, and entered the house. Instantly, he shivered, his breath curling out of his mouth and nose in slim vapor trails.
How the hell is it so cold in here? he wondered, and then his nose wrinkled. It stank in the house, as if a family of raccoons had crawled into a closet and died.
Damn, he thought, lowering his chin and pulling the neck of his t-shirt up and over his nose. Is this why they wanted me to come in here? Some sort of sick joke?
No, Dominic thought, entering a kitchen area and passing through, his eyes watering from the stench. They’ve got a strange sense of humor, that’s all. One of those stupid bets they do. Yeah, nothing more than that.
His mind drifted back to the way the red-haired woman had looked at him, the way the blonde’s voice had purred, and he straightened a little.
Dominic was halfway through the house. Faint light filtered in through holes in the ceiling, the glow of the streetlights piercing the damaged roof.
He entered a room where the wood on the window had slipped down, and he paused to let his eyes adjust to the sudden brightness. On the gray walls, he saw splashes of dark color. It was splattered from the baseboard to the ceiling, and across that as well. Puddles of the color had dried on the old linoleum floor at one point, and the room stank worse than the others.
Dominic gagged, rounded the last corner, and saw the open doorway to the outside.
Relief flooded through him, and he hurried towards his freedom.Jeannette watched the middle-aged man step into the doorway of the house. He had his shirt over his mouth, and as he straightened up, he let it drop back to his chest. The man smiled and waved, but then screamed. A hand had wrapped around his neck from behind, and a large, mason’s stone-hammer rose up in the shadows and smashed down onto his head. The man’s knees gave out, and he sank down, only to be dragged back in the shadows. Even from the street, she could hear the hammer smash into the man repeatedly.
“We’re good,” Jeannette said.
Mo nodded, took her phone out, made a call and said, “Kill the juice. He’s here.”
The soft hum of a generator, which had been steady in the background, went silent.
“Alright,” Jeannette said, adjusting her red hair beneath the damnable cowboy hat she was wearing, “let’s get this wrapped. I want a clean-up team in here for the body, make sure they’re protected. No accidents. Shoot an email to the buyers, tell them that we have confirmed the status as supernaturally occupied, and have them pick up the property. I want it on a rig out of here by tomorrow afternoon at the latest.”
“You got it, Boss,” Mo said, and she started making calls.
The dead man’s new cowboy boots could be seen in the doorway, and she shook her head.
Chapter 2: Surviving Winter in the Village
“I hate being cold,” Alex said. The fire roared in the hearth, and the two of them sat on the floor in front of it, holding their hands out.
“I am not a huge fan of it myself,” Marcus said, smiling at the boy. “But we have a good supply of wood stocked now, and I think that we will only have to bring in a little each day.”
“Maybe if we get a nice day,” Alex said after a moment, “we could move a whole bunch in by the back door. That way, if we get a bad storm, we won’t have to worry about it too much.”
Marcus chuckled and nodded.
“You are a smart boy, Alex,” he said and ruffled the boy’s hair. Alex smiled at him and Marcus stood up. “Alright. You stay here and continue warming yourself. I’m going to check on the food.”
“Okay,” Alex said.
As he left the room, Marcus checked the runner of salt that stretched from door jamb to door jamb across the threshold, and he did the same from the hallway into the kitchen. In the kitchen, he checked the smaller runners he had fashioned for the windows. The salt served as both a deterrent and as a draft stopper.
Too many of the dead wandering the village, Marcus thought, going to the oven. Heat rolled off the great piece of iron in waves and the room smelled deliciously of baking bread.
Whatever Marcus requested, Abel Worthe provided.
Well, Marcus thought ruefully, almost everything.
Items which would not have been found in a house of the Reverend’s period were not allowed into the building.
And our freedom, Marcus thought, taking a thick towel down from the counter and using it to open the oven door. He peaked in at the bread. It had risen above the pan, and the crust was a delicate brown. In a few minutes, Marcus would fry a few eggs on the stove top, and he and the boy would eat Alex’s favorite meal.
Eggs and fresh bread, and plenty of salt.
Marcus removed the loaf from the oven, slid it onto a cooling rack and set about the process of getting it ready to eat.
Movement outside caught his eye, and he stopped.
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