Happy Publication Day to Rachel Abbott! Her new novel, Kill Me Again is released today. I have a review to follow, but to celebrate, here’s an extract of the new novel, which is available via Amazon on Kindle and in hard copy.
It was raining when they came for me. I was staring out of my window watching fat raindrops flow down the glass, streaking across the reflection of my pale face. I was regretting the impetuous decisions I had made – even though at the time they had seemed right – and wondering what was going to happen next in my life.
When the knock came at the door, I didn’t even check who it was. I thought I knew. I thought I had been forgiven. I hurried to the door, pulling it wide, smiling to show my visitor how pleased I was to see him.
I knew instantly it wasn’t the person I had been expecting. I felt a surge of fear travel through my body as I tried to close the door, but it was too late. A second face appeared around the door – a face that matched the first in every detail. Two sets of identical features, their shiny cheeks almost cherubic as they reflected back the light from my hall.
I looked at the matching Chinese masks, and my legs nearly gave way beneath me. The plastic a smooth yellowish flesh tone, the eye sockets diamond-shaped, empty, revealing the glare of human pupils beneath.
I didn’t have time to scream. A gloved hand shot out and grabbed me around the throat, squeezing tighter and tighter until I was sure I would pass out. Why were they here? What could they want with me?
They spoke quietly, without the rough accent of local thugs that I was expecting. Somehow that made it worse. They were here for a purpose, and I had no idea what that was. They didn’t speak to me; they spoke to each other, as if I wasn’t even there. The urgency in their tone was at odds with the smiling faces of the masks, and every inch of my skin rose in prickles of terror.
I could see the first man’s teeth between the red lips of the mask. They were pressed together, the pale shape of his mouth wide and straight, as if the effort of choking me one-handed was too much for him. The two sets of lips – a human flesh pair within a solid plastic pair – made my blood freeze, but still I couldn’t take my eyes from the mask and the glimpse of the person I could see beneath.
The second man grabbed my arms and fixed them tightly behind me with something hard and cold that bit into my skin. And then came the gag – between my teeth, tearing into the corners of my mouth, the rough material chafing my flesh.
The two men spoke again, but their words blurred in my head and became little more than a buzzing sound.
I watched as the first man went into the hall. He was leaving us, pulling off his mask as he reached the front door. He didn’t know I’d seen him, reflected in the hall mirror. I realised that seeing his face, knowing I would recognise him again anywhere, could be the end for me. I looked down quickly, hoping neither man had caught my eyes, watching, recording the chiselled features and the slightly hooked nose, knowing my fear had imprinted every detail into my memory. It was a face I would never forget.
The second man turned to look at me, his mask firmly in place.
‘And now we wait,’ he said.