This is the story of a young girl called Sarah Murray, someone who holds dark secrets in her past, one’s that are to be revealed in brutal ways. She is an orphaned child who grows up in a world that is slowly been torn apart by war. Eventually Sarah joins the army and is sent in to the very heart of Europe. As the war rages on and becomes ever more destructive important lives are put on the line as the enemy becomes ever more desperate. It is Sarah’s regiment that is sent on a mission to try and stop the enemy before it is too late. But in doing so her own mysterious past will come back to haunt her. It is a story of the struggle against all the odds and a lesson in why you should never give up, however hopeless the situation maybe.
Chapter chapter one
Germany 2039 Chapter 1
There was a chill in the air that day; it seeped through the skin in to your very bones. It wasn’t a bitter chill, but cold enough to raise the hairs on your arms as its icy fingers touched you. The day in question was a typical spring day and there wasn’t the slightest hint in the air that anything strange would happen. But then as things always have a habit of turning out the events that took place were to be very different from what they appeared. No one involved in the incident that would occur on the day in question had the slightest idea of the evils that were already beginning to stir, ready to strike. A very old fear was starting to gain power once again and this time it was more ruthless and determined than ever, this time it would complete what it had begun but was never able to finish. It had learnt from its mistakes and this time nothing could possibly go wrong, it would make sure of that.
Sarah Murray sat quietly fiddling with her seat belt and staring blankly at the relentless tarmac, as her father’s car travelled at a steady speed along the Autobahn. There was a thick blanket of clouds hovering over the landscape. There was a definite threat of rain in the air.
She could sense that her parents weren’t on speaking terms again. Her mother, who was incredibly beautiful, with waving blonde hair and eyes of the darkest chestnut brown, sat in the front passenger seat of the car, quietly gazing out of the cars window. Sarah’s father was about ten years older than Sarah’s mother and someone that Sarah already feared even though she was too young to understand what such emotions were. He wasn’t very tall, only five foot two and at thirty-four he was going almost entirely grey. He had the coldest blue eyes and massive hands that when used to defend himself could do immense damage to anyone on the receiving end.
On this particular day Sarah’s mother had decided that she would take Sarah on an outing to a wooded area called Prince Augustus wood. It was said that in the Eighteenth century a distant relation of the Scottish Royal family went to live for a short while with a relative in Germany. They had lived next to this very wood, which was originally called the Devils cove. The locals said it had the distinct shape of a Devils head and that it was cursed. The story goes that he fell in love with a local peasant girl. But back then members of the Royal family were only allowed to marry people chosen for them. The Prince had no feelings for his chosen suitor, a distant member of the British Royal family. Eventually out of desperation, in the dead of night he was said to have gone into the wood. In the centre of the wood he shot himself in the head with a pistol. After that the locals claimed that anyone who dared to enter that particular part of the wood would die a terrible death. Many people had entered that part of the wood and never come out again. Not even a trace of their existence was ever found.
“So what are you doing at work today, sweetheart?” Sarah’s mother, April asked Sarah’s father, Marques quietly. She was trying desperately to lighten the sombre atmosphere. But Marques just shrugged his wide, powerful shoulders; he didn’t say a single word. He merely continued to look straight ahead at the road.
Marques was an officer in the German army and for some strange and in explainable reason he also played an important role within the German Government. Holding such important positions would have surely made anyone happy, but not Marques. He had never possessed the most easy going nature, but he had become somewhat more mysterious since his promotion, as if he were hiding some terrible secret or something.
Suddenly a Jaguar roared past them, almost scraping the side of their own much older vehicle.
“Fucking bastard!” Marques swore out loudly. Sarah couldn’t help looking at him in shock. The sound of his shouting had alarmed her.
“Marques, please don’t swear in front of Sarah” April said angrily, looking at him furiously.
“I’ll swear in front of whoever I bloody well feel like and no ones going to tell me other wise!” Marques suddenly shouted out angrily at her.
“Don’t shout at me and what makes you think you have the right to swear in front of your own daughter?” April asked in a calm voice that was now shaking with suppressed emotions.
“Because she’s my property and I’ll do what I bloody well like in front of her. Now stop giving me hassle; you bitch. I’ve got enough problems without you fucking nagging me as well” Marques said, looking at April with bitter resentment.
“Is that what you think I’m doing, nagging you?” April asked.
Marques made no response. He just turned right of the Autobahn onto a small dirt track overgrown with weeds. He suddenly slammed on the brakes, causing Sarah to slide of her seat and April grab the front dashboard to stop herself from nearly smashing through the windscreen.
“Right, we’re here now, so you can bloody well get out, get your stuff and go. I’ll pick you up around three at this exact spot. If your not here by then I’m going without you” he said gruffly, staring straight ahead.
He gave them just enough time to get out of the car and get what they needed, and then he put the car in reverse, turned around and sped of up the dirt track, leaving a trail of dust in his wake.
“Yeah, goodbye to you too, Marques” April muttered after the receding car; she sounded like she was on the verge of tears. Then she looked down at Sarah and gave her a feeble smile.
“Come on sweetheart, let’s go and pick some pretty flowers,” she said, trying desperately to steady her quivering voice.
They made their way of the dirt track and entered the welcome smells of the wood. Even though there were no leaves yet on the trees, the pine trees still had a beautiful green sheen to them that seemed to brighten up the whole place. The suns rays seeped through the gaps in the trees and gave the whole place a mysterious affect. There were hundreds of flowers everywhere, because no one picked them; no one ever came here.
April proceeded to walk over to a large bunch of daffodils and beckoned Sarah over. Sarah wondered over to where April stood and watched her as she leant down in the thick vegetation. Sarah heard a rustle coming from a holly bush close by. She turned towards the sound and was positive she saw some one hiding in the bushes. The bush moved ever so slightly, but it couldn’t have been a breeze, there wasn’t a breath of wind that day.
“Darling” April said quietly. Sarah looked down at her. “You see this flower?” Sarah nodded. “This is called a buttercup. Do you know why they call it a buttercup?” she asked. Sarah shook her head. “Because you put it under your chin and your chin turns yellow it means that you like butter” April explained. Then she placed the flower under Sarah’s chin.
There was a faint shade of yellow that showed against Sarah’s skin. “Yay, you like butter!” April said, throwing out her arms for Sarah to give her a hug. When Sarah didn’t respond she grabbed her by the waist and swung her tiny body around in the air.
But Sarah barely reacted at all; she was such a sullen and quiet little thing and hardly responded to any form of affection. Sarah saw more than April would ever know and this was affecting her more than April cared to admit.
April shook her head sadly at such a lack of response. “Come on you” she said sadly.
They walked quietly through the wood for a little while, occasionally stopping to pick a flower. It all seemed so peaceful, too peaceful. Then Sarah heard a bush rustle again. She quickly turned towards the source of the noise.
“Love, what’s the matter?” April asked, placing a concerned hand on Sarah’s shoulder.
“Nothing, mummy” Sarah told her, looking up at her and smiling reassuringly.
They suddenly stumbled upon a part of the wood that appeared utterly dead. The trees had no growing buds, ready for the summer leaves. There were no needles on the pine trees. The areas surrounding the trees were completely clear of vegetation and there was no obvious evidence of any falling needles from the pine trees in the last couple of years. It was as if the vegetation had all died of and never grown back. The whole place gave of this illusion that some evil curse had taken over that part of the wood and killed every living creature in it. There was certainly some sort of evil presence there. It was quite dark and a crisp, chilly wind whistled noisily through the trees and ruffled Sarah’s vivid red hair.
“Come on darling, lets get out of here. I don’t like this place” April said, grabbing Sarah by the hand. She picked her up and carried her along the path that lead them away from that part of the wood. A large stump loomed up from the middle of the path, like some ominous dark mass. April sat Sarah on the stump and dropped the bags beside her. She ruffled Sarah’s hair and smiled at her.
“I’ll be back darling, I won’t be a second,” She said. She turned around and disappeared into the bushes.
Sarah sat there, waiting patiently for April to return again, she was good at being patient as she had been taught to by Marques. April was certainly right in not liking this place; there was something about this woodland that sent a cold shiver running up the spine. But any excuse to get away from Marques was a good excuse; Sarah was terrified of being in his very presence.
The wind shifted direction and grey clouds scattered across the sky, eventually blotted the sun out completely. Dark shadows from the trees appeared more vivid and looked exactly like the forms of human beings. Sarah drew her winter’s coat more tightly around her as the wind chilled her skinny frame.
Something seemed to scurry along the path directly behind her. As she swung around to see what it was, a large quick moving object ran behind the cover of a tree. She knew instantly it wasn’t a bird, because birds weren’t that big. Sarah didn’t like this at all and wished that April would hurry up.
A sudden high-pitched scream rent the air; it came from close by. It sounded like April and Sarah slid of the stump to go and find her. She landed lightly on the ground and dusted herself down. She left the bags unguarded and went in the direction April had gone in.
The vegetation was dense, thick and highly grown in that part of the wood. In some places it was up to a metre high. The vegetation consisted mostly of bramble bushes and stinging nettles. As Sarah walked through the thick bushes the thorns grabbed at her clothes and tore small holes in them.
“Mummy, mummy, where are you, mummy?” Sarah called out desperately, as she stumbled through the thick foliage.
Sarah couldn’t hear the response she was looking for. She was so positive she wasn’t that far away from where her mother was. But she was wrong, she was nowhere near her mother. In fact she couldn’t find her mother anywhere. She ran through the wood and towards the dirt track where Marques was supposed to pick them up at three. When she finally reached the dirt track she saw a trail of chocking dust as a massive green Land Rover sped down the dirt track towards the Autobahn.
Sarah stood there for a little while, watching the receding Land Rover disappear. Then she swivelled on her heels and ran back into the wood again. She ran straight for the eye of the cove. She came to a stop when she reached the eye and stood there on the spot looking slowly around her. Then she started to spin in small circles, continually calling for April, but there was never any reply. In desperation she started to cry, sobbing out for her mother.
She ran back through the wood again. It started to rain heavily, coming down in heavy sheets. Sarah’s hair stuck to the back of her neck and the rain dripped of the end of her nose. As she breathed heavily it came out in a hazy mist. The dusty path she was running along had suddenly turned into sleek, slippery mud. She started to slide uncontrollably on the path as she ran to the stump to get her waterproof jacket. She quickly slipped this over her winter’s jacket and then continued to run down the path in search of her mother.
As Sarah ran past a large bush she upset a flock of wood pigeons that scattered into the air making Sarah scream in terror. She came to a sudden stop, exhausted from her frantic run. She stood there panting heavily as the rain hissed down in long streaks around her.
“Mummy, mummy where are you? Mummy, mummy!”