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The Bleed: Book 2: RAPTURE - David Moody

The Bleed: Book 2: RAPTURE
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Название: The Bleed: Book 2: RAPTURE
Автор: David Moody
Добавлено: 05 август 2022
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TABLE OF CONTENTS:

PROLOGUE

— THE MOON —

Chapter 1

— SURFERS PARADISE, AUSTRALIA —

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

— THE MOON —

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

— LONDON —

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

Chapter 27

— EO —

Chapter 28

Chapter 29

Chapter 30

Chapter 31

Chapter 32

Chapter 33

Chapter 34

Chapter 35

Epilogue

— About the Authors —

David Moody

Chris Philbrook

Mark Tufo

The Bleed Trilogy

Copyright page

Prologue

Some battles are lost long before the fighting even begins.

Throughout the ages, thousands of chroniclers have penned thousands of pages about war. Endless volumes detailing tactics and strategy line countless library shelves alongside well worn tomes discussing the philosophies of battle: Knowing so well your enemy that you can decimate morale, break them utterly, and crush them to into the ground.

Thousands of books have been written by thousands of authors through the ages about war. There were endless volumes about tactics and strategy, whole library shelves filled with tomes on the philosophy of battle. Countless treatises had been prepared on how to beat an enemy; how to anticipate their actions, break their morale, then crush them into the ground.

Not one word of the millions written counted for anything against the Bleed.

The Bleed’s insidious attack began on many fronts at once, the demonic entity tightening its bloody grip on worlds separated by vast gulfs in time, space and reality. It was everywhere and nowhere; impossible to track down and hunt, yet equally impossible to avoid.

This was an enemy that fought without emotion or fatigue, or any desire for cessation. A monstrous, unholy force that never showed mercy. The Bleed didn’t care to win, it just wanted everyone else to lose. It existed to annihilate.

Go back to those same war books and read all they have to say about the importance of the strength of an army. Study what they tell you about fighting with clarity and confidence and with well communicated aims and objectives, then be prepared to forget all you’ve just learnt. Not one tenet of that long-held wisdom would make the slightest difference in a fight against the Bleed. Its brutal, bloody, relentless approach drove divisions between friends and turned allies into adversaries. The Bleed separated and suffocated populations. It silenced, terrified destroyed.

Hope lay in the hands of a few individuals, but they were scattered across impossible distances and unaware of each other’s existence. The gods tried to help them unite, while the Bleed did all it could to keep them apart.

1

The Moon

Five minutes ago and two hundred and eighty nine thousand miles away

“We’re dead. We’re absolutely dead,” Maddie, the lead mechanic on the now non-existent moon base, Etna, said as she stepped through the cascading water.

“I don’t feel dead,” Tyler Kincaide, Samantha Morrison’s boyfriend, replied. He’d grown up on the lunar surface and had not taken much in his life seriously, until he’d started dating Sam, and definitely when he’d held his dying friend, Juan, in his arms.

“And you know what feeling dead is like?” Derrick Morrison, Sam’s brother, was up ahead a few steps, touching the smooth walls of the cave.

Sandra Morrison, the mother of the twins, was the last through. She’d been all too willing to let others, even her own kids, do the heavy work when it came to exposing oneself to danger.

“What is this place?” Tyler was moving toward a bend in the corridor.

“Hold on, space boy. You can’t already be forgetting our battle out there, can you?” Derrick asked.

“I’ll never be able to forget,” he replied solemnly.

“Nice one.” Sam smacked her brother on the shoulder.

“What? I was serious. We have no idea what’s in here with us.” He rubbed the sore spot.

“This can’t be here.” Sandra was looking around.

“I’m thinking that creature actually got the best of us. We died, the water was the River Styx, we’ve crossed over into the afterlife, we’re in that proverbial tunnel, and there’s a white light. Not sure we need any more proof.” Maddie didn’t believe her words, yet they kept spilling out. It made sense, in a storybook way.

“The mythology that uses the River Styx makes no mention of a lighted tunnel.” Derrick spoke low as he cautiously followed Tyler.

Sandra hung back as the rest of the group made it to the bend and were peeking their heads around. “Is it safe?” she asked.

Maddie looked back to shake her head. “You’re unbelievable.” And the group continued.

“You guys thinking what I’m thinking?” Tyler asked.

“It’s a good bet no one is thinking what you’re thinking,” Maddie told him.

“That’s funny.” Derrick smiled.

Tyler continued, unfettered. “That bug thing, it couldn’t have fit through this passage.”

Derrick wanted to tell him that he was wrong; exoskeleton creatures could flatten themselves to a fraction of their normal size, so it could have easily made it through. He decided to keep the thought to himself when he saw the relief that flooded his sister’s face. He looked back at his mother, who was doing her best to give enough distance between herself and the group in front, should they encounter trouble while also balancing how far she wanted to be behind, should anything sneak up from the back.

“It’s getting darker,” Sam noted.

They’d been walking so long, expecting danger at every turn. Maddie hadn’t noticed, but when they’d first come in, they’d been able to see clearly for fifty-foot stretches or more, depending on the terrain, but now it was barely ten. “We’re going to have to make a group decision soon. We can’t keep going forward without any light.” She also knew that going back offered its own set of challenges. They would have water, and, if need be, they could start eating the bug that attacked them. She was hungry, but she wasn’t that hungry yet. And could Tyler even conceive of eating the beast that had killed Juan? She didn’t think so.

“I say we keep going, I mean, for as long as we can.”

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