Nightmare Resurrection: Nightmare Series Book 4
Nightmare Resurrection: Nightmare Series Book 4
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They thought the nightmare was over. But a new terror has been unleashed…
Reporter Denny Purcell knows the truth. Aliens are real. The Interlopers, sinister invaders from another dimension, live among us. She’s determined to expose these beings and their horrific plans. But to the rest of the world, Denny and her team are just another group of crackpots and raving lunatics.
When reclusive media mogul Sir Charles Lanier offers her a job, Denny and her partner Frankie leap at the chance to prove their theories. But they soon discover they are trapped in a deadly conspiracy, with origins far beyond this world. The interlopers have a new queen, a powerful hybrid named Cassandra. And Cassandra is determined to silence the two reporters once and for all.
On Lanier’s private island off the coast of Wales, Denny and her partner are subjected to a horrifying ordeal. Denny must battle for control over her mind and body after she is infected by an alien symbiont. She and Frankie soon find themselves on the run, hunted across the island by Cassandra’s underlings.
As they struggle to escape the queen and reunite with the rest of their team, Denny begins to fear the worst. Removing the fused symbiont could kill her. But leaving it attached could lead to a fate worse than death. A slow, painful transformation into an alien creature...
When the train pulled into the small station, Cassandra got up and started to take her luggage down from the rack. Katya helped without being asked, easily managing the bulky bags, carrying them down the carriage to the door.
"You're a lot more fit than I am," Cassandra said admiringly as she trotted behind the taller woman. "You must work out."
The taxi ride to the coast took nearly an hour. They talked all the way. Cassandra, who did not make friends easily, felt that she had known Katya all her life. The pale woman always seemed to know exactly what to say, and how to say it. When they arrived, Katya insisted on paying half the fare, although Cassandra pointed out she could claim it all on expenses.
"We are friends now," Katya said, putting her arm through Cassandra's. "My home is a short walk from here. Please, let me carry that heavy case."
The village seemed deserted as they walked through the cobbled streets. Now and again Cassandra caught a glimpse of someone at a window, but whenever she looked directly at them, they darted back out of sight.
"The locals are very shy with strangers," Katya remarked. "But once they got to know me, they took me to their hearts. So generous."
Katya's home was a quaint, white-washed cottage near the small quayside. In the harbor, Cassandra saw a few fishing boats bobbing on the gray, wind-lashed waves. However, there was no sign of the boat from Holyhaven Island she was supposed to meet.
"Come," Katya said, opening the door. "I will make some tea, yes? And then reveal your future."
Inside, the cottage was surprisingly Spartan. Cassandra had had some vague expectation of bead curtains, dreamcatchers, statues, oriental rugs. Instead, she saw a cheap carpet, basic furniture, a television, a few books, some newspapers. There were no ornaments, pictures, or houseplants. The place looked like it had been deserted for months. The only sign of habitation were some clothes drying on a radiator. The clothes were small, certainly not big enough for long-limbed Katya.
"Do you live alone?" Cassandra asked.
The pale woman glanced at the clothes, then shook her head.
"My little niece and nephew, they are staying with me. They are playing in their room, I think. They will not disturb us."
At Katya's invitation, Cassandra sat down at the kitchen table. Soon she was sipping lemon tea from a glass and watching her hostess close the curtains against the weak December light.
"Now," said Katya, sitting opposite her. "Give me your hands, and we will consider your destiny."
Cassandra reached across and felt the woman's strong fingers enclose her smaller hands. As they did so, she heard a slight noise. It sounded like someone opening a door. She wondered if, despite Katya's assurance, the children would come out. It would be natural for them to want to see their auntie, she reasoned.
"Cassandra," Katya said, her voice lighter, softer than before. "I need you to open your mind. Think of happy memories, from your childhood. When you are happy, you are truly yourself. It is that true self I wish to contact."
Cassandra, keen to oblige, duly thought of the enjoyable times she had had with her parents, her little brother, her school friends. She recalled beloved toys, her first crush, a wonderful birthday when the pony she had always yearned for had appeared, complete with a shiny red bow in its mane.
"That is good," breathed Katya. "That is very good."
Again, Cassandra was struck by how high-pitched the psychic's voice had become. Then she was back amid her childhood memories. But this time things were not quite so pleasant. She struggled to recollect incidents, places, even people. Her grandparents, for instance - why could she not recall what they looked like? Two benevolent figures looked down on her, but their faces were blank. She felt other memories start to disintegrate, slipping away from her, melting into a sea of nothingness.
"I can't - I don't - what's happening?" she stammered. "Why can't I remember?"
"That is good," sighed Katya, almost crooning the words. "More, I need more."
The other woman's pleasure only upset Cassandra more. Far from showing her future, Katya seemed to be erasing her past. She tried pulling her hands away, but the larger woman held her in a vice-like grip.
"No!" she yelled, hurling her entire body backwards, tipping over the chair and crashing to the bare boards.
In the gloom she saw Katya stand up and begin to stride around the table. Cassandra scrambled upright and ran into the living room. She was making for the door when two pale, naked figures leapt out from behind the threadbare sofa. Their faces were rudimentary, mask-like, with small dark eyes. Instead of mouths, they had muzzles fringed with razor-like teeth. They were the size of young children, but there was nothing child-like about the way they bounded toward Cassandra.
She screamed, tried to dodge away, but the nearest creature had already fastened thin, wiry arms around her legs. She fell headlong, hit the floor hard and was too badly winded to keep struggling. The other small monster landed on her back, grabbing her by the throat.
She flinched in anticipation of an attack by the inhuman teeth. But instead the creatures simply kept her down until Katya's boots came into view. Then her captors simply stood up and walked away. Cassandra looked up, scared and puzzled. Katya crouched down by her, the tall woman's face in shadow.
"We are nearly finished," she said. "You already know it does not hurt."
"Why are you talking like that?" Cassandra demanded. "Is that your real voice? I don't understand?"
Katya reached down and lifted her easily, then held her upright. With the touch of the woman's hands Cassandra felt her memories start to flow away from her again. She struggled, feebly this time. In response, Katya casually lifted her off her feet and swung her round so that Cassandra's back was to the living room window. Now the tall woman was facing the light.
"Oh my God!"
Cassandra stared at her own face. It was paler, the eyes a little darker, the mouth a little fuller perhaps. But she had seen so many Instagram pictures of herself that there was no doubt Katya had somehow become her near-double. She was looking at a vastly more beautiful, confident version of herself.
"Yes," said Katya, in a voice Cassandra suddenly recognized as her own. "Soon all you have ever known and felt and thought will be mine. Then the young ones will dispose of what is left. Do not worry. You will feel nothing. Your body will be merely an empty shell. Less than an animal."
Cassandra could not even try to struggle, merely moan in despair as the last vestiges of her personality were leached away.
"Don't be sad," said the false Cassandra, letting her victim go to slump onto the cheap, dusty sofa. "I will be far better at being you than you could ever have been."
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