Only The Dead - Extract

A rustle in the forest, a noise in the shadowed silence.  Something on the pathway ahead made one of the boys stop and listen.  He raised his AK-47 cautiously; the barrel and triangular sight just catching the rich morning light filtered through the leafy canopy.  The other boys listened too, holding their own rifles at the ready.

            There were so many unexpected things hiding among the trees.  All too often they had been ambushed by other bands or government soldiers, which army depending on what border they were ranging beyond.  They had even been attacked occasionally by UN troops.  They had all seen other boys shot dead, falling as the bullets hit them, curling up tight into their pain like infants, the blood pouring out of their ragged T-shirts or filthy, oversized camouflage tunics, the last of their breath croaking in their throats as they died.

House of War - Extract

A sudden, hard click.  The crash of a door being forced open.  A loud bang bursting like a firecracker, then another, and another.  Claire finds herself falling, tumbling onto the floor, each movement she makes punctuated by the gunfire erupting around her.  It is a familiar feeling, this eerie sense of suddenly, violently, being disconnected from the world; and the instincts she has developed over the years come flooding back.  It could be a dream, or, more accurately, a nightmare, happening around her, but she knows it’s not.  She’s been here before – too many times.  Someone is trying to kill someone else and she is caught in the middle of it.