The Liar’s Promise is Mark Tilbury’s gripping dark thriller – a story of past lives and future torment. Read the Prologue …
| Introduction |
How does a mother protect her child from the unknown? During a visit to a local theatre, four-year-old Chloe Hollis becomes hysterical. But her mother, Mel, does not realise that this is just the beginning of the nightmare. In the coming weeks, Chloe talks of ‘The Tall Man’ – of death. At her wits’ end, Mel confides in Charles Honeywell, the headmaster at the school whereThe Liar’s Promise is a story of past lives and future torment. she works. But what Mel does not know is that Charles is linked to what is happening to her daughter. Will Mel learn the terrible truth? Can she overcome her own tragic past and save her daughter before it’s too late? Read the Prologue to get a taste of this dark thriller!
| The Liar’s Promise – Mark Tilbury |
Peter King regarded the young woman handcuffed to the brass headboard with a mixture of contempt and anticipation. It was clear she lacked breeding, and her coarse tongue left a lot to be desired, but these matters were of little consequence. This wasn’t a young ladies’ finishing school; not unless you took the finishing part literally. Her name was Tanya, but she would be assigned a colour and a number for the rest of her days: Purple-six. Her predecessor, Purple-five, would be a hard act to follow. Impossible, even, but now was not the time to cry over spilt blood.
Purple-six was now at the mercy of several glasses of Chardonnay and four crushed sleeping tablets. Enough to fell an average horse, let alone a lame foal like Purple-six. It was almost ten hours since she’d fallen asleep at the dining table, head resting on a plate of leftover chicken sandwiches and sweet pickled onions.
King had abducted her from his usual stomping ground at Paddington Station. He’d almost been resigned to giving up after hours of fruitless watching and waiting when she’d stepped off an incoming train from Reading like an answered prayer. The first sign she was the right girl for him had been her obvious lack of direction. After several minutes wandering around in circles, she’d sat on a bench, hunched over, hands fidgeting with just about anything they could, well, get their hands on.
King had waited a while before approaching her. His fake beard was irritating his skin, and the padding around his midriff had slipped, but these minor inconveniences would be soon forgotten once he focussed on the task in hand. He adjusted his dark-grey trilby hat and sat down next to his prey, careful not to engage her in conversation too soon.
Purple-six helped things along by taking a tobacco tin from her blue coat and plugging a thin roll-up between her lips. He offered her a light with Yellow-one’s Zippo lighter. Yellow-one no longer smoked. Or breathed, for that matter.
After introducing himself as Thomas Kowalski, of Polish descent, King had learned that Purple-six had come to London to pursue her dream of becoming a dancer. Raised by a single mother, it was hardly surprising that she courted ambition, but, like so many before her, she would soon learn that dreams could quickly turn into nightmares.
King had invented an elderly sister, Shona, who lived in Oxford. Said he was off to visit her, and that Shona would be delighted to meet such a lovely young woman. After almost an hour’s deliberation, King had finally managed to clinch the deal by telling her that Shona used to be a dancer. That she had friends at the Oxford School of Dance. Purple-six had looked like a stray dog who’d just learned its new master was a butcher.
And so they had caught the train and headed to his house on the outskirts of Oxford. He’d explained Shona’s absence by telling Purple-six that his sister was likely visiting a friend. No matter. He had a key. Shona was happy for him to let himself in.
Three glasses of wine laced with sleeping pills later, Purple-six was having the longest sleep of her short life. If she’d been awake, she might well have registered shock upon learning her hands were handcuffed to a brass headboard. He hadn’t bothered gagging her; the nearest neighbour was over two hundred yards away and rendered deaf by distance.
Purple-six was also unaware that her predecessor’s severed head was sitting on a Queen Anne chair in the corner of the room, death lending her complexion a colour to match her name. Purple-five didn’t look in great condition, which wasn’t surprising considering she’d spent five days in the stocks and two days at the whipping post before death had claimed her for a soulmate. She’d lost an eye courtesy of a stone in the centre of a rotten plum, and three of her front teeth were missing after a rather nasty piece of dental work with a baseball bat.
The head was bound for a freezer in the basement as soon as it had made its acquaintance with Purple-six. The rest of her body had already been cut up in the bath and deposited in bins around Oxford.
Purple-six stirred and moaned. Her breath smelled like a bog. King folded his bony frame into a chair beside the bed, relieved to be free of the restrictions of his padded disguise. He was also now clean shaven, with his thinning grey hair slicked back with Brylcreem. He bore no resemblance to the man who’d enticed her to join him on a visit to the fictional Shona’s house.
‘Sesame Street,’ Purple-six muttered. One of her eyes opened a crack, peered left and right, closed again.
‘Wakey, wakey, sleepyhead.’
She muttered something about a lettuce, and opened her eyes. ‘Where am I?’
‘On the road to salvation.’ He waited as she grew accustomed to her new surroundings.
Suddenly aware of her cuffed hands, she tugged on the restraints and kicked her legs. ‘What the fuck…?’
‘Please don’t swear. It’s both vulgar and unnecessary.’
She tried to sit up. Defeated, she flopped back, head banging against the headboard. ‘Who are you?’
Something dawned in those muddy puddle eyes. ‘Where’s Thomas?’
‘The Polish guy?’
‘He had to go back to his flat in Islington.’
‘I don’t understand.’
‘No; I don’t suppose you do. Let me help your brain to acclimatise. You belong to me now.’
‘What the fuck…?’
‘I have saved you from the wolves and the vultures.’
She rattled her restraints. ‘What the fuck is this?’
King tried not to rise to the bait of profanity. ‘All in good time, dear. All in good time. There’s someone I want you to meet.’
She suddenly caught sight of Purple-five’s head. Opened her mouth as if to scream, but no sound came out. Just frothy rabid dribble.
‘That’s Purple-five. I’m afraid her better days are behind her.’
Purple-six twisted her head to one side as if at the mercy of demonic possession.
‘If you turn out to be half the girl she was, you’ll go a long way.’
Purple-six responded by making a horrible gurgling noise in the back of her throat and belching vomit down her chin. She treated King to a revolting whiff of pickled onion and gut rot. To make matters worse, her bladder abandoned restraint and turned the crotch of her jeans from pale blue to dark blue.
Not a good sign. Unlike Purple-five, the girl lacked backbone.
| About the Author |
Mark Tilbury lives in a small village in the lovely county of Cumbria, although his books are set in Oxfordshire where he was born and raised. After serving in the Royal Navy and raising his two daughters after being widowed, Mark finally took the plunge and self-published two books on Amazon, The Revelation Room and The Eyes of the Accused. He’s always had a keen interest in writing, and is extremely proud to have his fourth novel, The Liar’s Promise, along with The Abattoir of Dreams (my review), published, and The Revelation Room and The Eyes of the Accused re-launched, by Bloodhound Books. When he’s not writing, Mark can be found trying and failing to master blues guitar, and taking walks around the beautiful county of Cumbria.
| Book Info |
|Publisher||Bloodhound Books (28 November 2017)|