In a matter of mere days, we’ll be launching an epic, standalone novel set in the Uncanny Kingdom universe.
Apocalypse Hill is one of our Strange Stories, creepy tales that exist within the world you’ve come to love, but featuring protagonists without special powers or supernatural abilities. These are regular folk caught in the middle of extraordinary circumstances, and fighting for their lives.
So, without further ado, here’s the first chapter of our next release, Apocalypse Hill. Enjoy!
by M.V. Stott
The creatures gathered upon the Hill where once fathers had murdered their children in the name of something terrible. The fathers had cut and ripped and gouged until the entire Hill had turned red and glistened like a ruby in the moonlight.
‘This one will.’
‘Can you feel it?’
The Hill has known many names. Of course it has. Nothing so ageless passes through the centuries with only one title. For now, the people that live within sight of it call it and the land that surrounds ‘Apoc Hill’. No one walks up the Hill itself, or spreads a blanket on its slopes to enjoy a picnic on a hazy spring day, instead they try their best to avert their gaze. None of them realise that they try to ignore the Hill, but they do.
‘Who has whispered to her?’
‘Ha! Who else?’
‘As she slept.’
‘As she sang.’
‘As she bathed.’
‘The Yellow Man?’
The Hill hasn’t always been where it now stands. Once it stood in the American south, under hazy, close skies, as witches tried to use its power in their name. Once it rested in view of the great Aztec temples, and watched as hearts were torn and heads were rolled to the crowds below. Once it stood at the centre of the Earth where great forgotten beasts fought and died around it.
But now it stands at this small, overlooked place, in the far north of England.
‘Our world: soon, soon, soon.’
The Hill arrived unnoticed by any of the residents, but the peaks and waters of the Lake District, as the wider area is known, they felt the intrusion. Felt the unnatural growth appear on its unblemished natural beauty. Bristled at the arrival and shrank back from its wrongness. Livestock broke free and kept a safe distance, and tourists no longer felt inclined to hike through Apoc on their way to the more famous lakes and hills, no matter the extra miles added to their journey.
‘At last, at last; we were patient and now here she is.’
‘Here she is—’
In the shade of Apoc Hill stands a farmhouse. It is made mostly of wood and of poor construction. Within the house live what remains of a family. Once the family was much greater in number, all too soon it may disappear altogether.
‘Why must she be warned?’
‘She should be pushed!’
‘No; there are rules and even we must play by them, or this shall all be for naught.’
The house seemed to lean away from the shadow that fell across it from the Hill, as if afraid that one cold touch from its shade could do it ill. The house would not be mistaken in this belief, especially on a night such as this.
‘Since she was born, the Hill has looked over her.’
‘Looked over all of the family.’
‘It has seeped into them and made them its own.’
‘The Knot Man shall come a-calling.’
‘The deed will be done.’
‘The trick will begin.’
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