(read an extract from the book)
1989, rural Victoria, Australia. Something is preying upon the township of Howqua Hills. Brian Derwent, head of the local Police Station, must simultaneously grapple with the investigation, his disintegrating personal life and unseen forces that are not of this world.
Part thriller, part crime-fiction, all supernatural horror, The Dark Horde tells of the return of an ancient evil that is neither stoppable nor comprehensible ...
“Come Dark Horde remember, your journey with me,
A journey of spirals, turning to infinity.
Spiralling through all that was, and ever will be,
Come Dark Horde remember, as one are we.
Great is your power, great was your reign,
Great is your age, yet great is your pain.
Held in contempt, and abandoned in shame.
Hunted and tortured, and put to the flame.
But no more shall this be, I release you to create.
All paths are open now, you are free to control your fate,
To inherit the earth, to inherit eternity.
Come Dark Horde, remember, and once more be!
We are as one, as many are we,
Become one, once more be.
We are as one, as many are we,
Become one, once more be.
We are as one, as many are we,
Become one, once more be…”
• • •
After many hours of semiconscious chanting, I was startled awake by a sharp crack in front of me. Before me stretched a black void with depths beyond comprehension. A nauseating stench fell over me and I saw that within the nebulous darkness was a pair of eyes: red convex slits. They were a short distance away and staring directly at me, my mind naked before their gaze...
My God, what had I done?
9th April 1989
His mind struggled...
His boot tapped the floor, his teeth gnawed his nails. Finally, with a great sigh, he made his decision. The other two players were relieved: their patience had already washed away with the amber fluid of a slab of beers.
“Faaarm,” Barney announced, placing a single ‘F’ chip alongside the word ‘ARM’ on the worn scrabble board.
‘Farm’ was all he could think of. It was this place where he lived alone and all that he owned. Here he was host to Frank, his twenty-four year-old son and Henry, a mate of Frank’s whom they hadn’t seen much of since he moved down to Melbourne five years ago. Barney’s ute had broken down during the week, so it was welcome relief to have visitors, although Henry’s visit this evening was a surprise.
Barney rose to go to the toilet, leaving the others to have their turns. That was when the doorbell rang, singing its merry ding-dong tune that had always irritated Barney.
“Who the bloody hell is that?” he said. “It’s bloody quarter past twelve!”
Henry and Frank looked up a moment, but showed no sign of moving. Already out of his chair, Barney grumbled, “I’ll get it.” He dragged himself over to the door.
Henry tried different combinations of letters on the board, striving through intoxication to determine which would score him the most points. Frank leaned against the fireplace by the window, drinking homemade whisky and coke because there was no beer left. He seemed oblivious to all except his drink and something out of the window.
Barney’s voice drifted down the corridor, “What the fuck?”
Then there was a ripping sound followed by a dull splatter.
Henry and Frank both looked up and heard the morbid resonance of something snapping. Then a huge, hairy, dogfaced figure stepped into the lounge, its upright two-and-a-half metre frame stooped against the ceiling, Barney’s decapitated head hanging by the hair from one of its twenty-centimetre rakes for claws. It glared at them with red, hate-filled eyes the shape of swollen slits, as its bloodied snout curled to reveal a chaotic array of sharpened teeth. The beast tossed the severed head onto the scrabble table, scattering the pieces over the wooden floor.
Frank stumbled drunkenly to scoop a plumb-axe by the fireplace, but Henry could still see reality through a haze of alcohol and knew that this beast meant only death. The creature stood in the doorway to block that exit, so he retreated into the liquor cellar via the trapdoor by the opposite wall. The beast ignored him, its attention upon Frank with deadly fixation.
Frank leaned against the brick wall of the house with one hand, as he fumbled to ready his weapon in the other.
Wish I wasn’t so pissed.
The beast strode forward, hurling aside the table in its path with a flick of its wrists. A curdled mixture of blood and saliva dripped from its wolfish snout in long ropes.
Frank let out a desperate scream as he swung the axe at the creature’s neck, but his swing was stopped short, as the beast effortlessly caught the blade in its hand.
The beast tore the axe from Frank’s grip and whilst it still held the blade, smashed him over the head with the wooden haft. The blow’s incredible strength drew a shock of blood and sent Frank sprawling to the ground.
The room spinning before him, Frank fought to control his senses. Then he was lifted by his shirt-back. His vision struggling into clarity, he saw dagger-teeth bared to rip his throat out.
Frank lunged at his attacker with two gouging fingers. Determination steered his aim into those piercing red orbs that regarded him with lust to kill. He felt his fingers rushing past their soft flesh as the beast roared in pain and fury. Instinctively, it covered its wounded eyes and Frank slipped free.
He sprinted out of the front door and into the empty driveway, crazy with terror, frantic to remember where he had parked his car. His eyes struggling to pierce night’s blanket, he followed a dark outline of trees around a corner...
Tears welled in his eyes when he spotted his ‘baby’ ahead.
Panting, he ran to the door of his big orange Kingswood, fumbling for the keys in his pocket.
He had always been proud of his ‘73 Holden HQ Kingswood. He loved the way her big V8 engine gave a throaty roar when he plunged the accelerator pedal. He loved the adrenalin rush of sitting at the helm of this mighty beast, the speed and power she possessed and being her master. He took great pains to ensure that his baby was always running perfectly and hated to see her get dirty.
He flung open the car door and stumbled in. Cursing at his intoxicated state, he groped with key in hand for the ignition. His bleeding head ached as he fought to steady his aim. At last there was the satisfying grating of metal interfaces, as he stabbed the key into the keyhole. Praying for salvation, he turned the key and slammed the accelerator pedal. Tears of relief washed his cheeks as the engine stuttered into life and unleashed a rich roar of firing cylinders.
Then came the sound of galloping footsteps...
Suddenly the creature appeared. Frank watched in horror as it leapt a full ten or more metres onto the windscreen, smashing it on impact with its sharp talons. Frank’s lips parted to scream, as glass sprayed throughout the car. Then bloodstained hands like blades pierced his throat and tore it out.
Henry, crouching in the darkness of the liquor cellar, heard the Kingswood start, the sound of smashing glass and then nothing but the engine idling... He guessed the rest. An eerie chill passed over him, shaking off the vestiges of insobriety.
Now he heard the slow squeal of the trapdoor opening. The sickening anticipation of death washed over him like a choking wave. He was cold. He was scared. He was alone. But he was armed.
The beast had an acute sense of smell, enabling it to smell the raw terror in the sweat of its quarry. The smell of this human was strong, indulging its senses with delectable wafts. Hungry for the kill, it gripped the wooden handle of the trapdoor and slowly teased it open. The shrieking cry of its hinges rang out, enhancing the fear of the cornered prey. A sharp shaft of light bore its way down an inclined ladder into the dusty air of the cellar. It entered, scraping its clawed feet across each wooded step with calculated intent to terrify... Two down, one to go.
As it reached the earthen floor, it heard the strange sound of an airborne object spinning towards it. Confused, it turned and was struck in the face by a flaming bottle. Glass splinters and burning alcohol ravaged its flesh. It fell to its knees in agony.
Henry moved away so as not to be seen, already arming another makeshift Molotov cocktail, glad that he had a lighter in his pocket.
The beast wrestled the fire that had taken a hold, its mind consumed by the agony of its sizzling skin. At last the flames were stifled, but the white pain remained and with it, the beast’s hatred. Gashes from the burning impact of the bottle had been worn by its claws into strips of smoking flesh that hung from its bleeding, blackened face. The air was thick with the pungent stench of burnt hair and flesh, confounding its ‘fear smell’, but it could still see and hear. Livid with hate, it would taste this mortal’s life on its lips and feast on its torment. Thrills of desire swept through the beast, urging it to the kill.
In quick succession, another two of these fiery weapons whirled towards it. It now knew better than to face these attacks and instead it leapt aside, easily dodging the bottles. With a shriek of smashing glass, they struck the racks laden with bottles behind it and erupted in flames.
As the flames began to spread, it quickly moved to safety, its footsteps covered by the hiss and splatter of burning wet bottle-racks. It manoeuvred into the silent cellar darkness behind its target, as the other end of the cellar resounded with the crash of shattering bottles. Having found temporary refuge from the fire, it felt again the burning pain of its flesh, becoming burning hatred that would only be appeased by the sweet taste of this mortal kill.
Through the light and fumes of the fire, Henry saw that the beast had recovered, but he had anticipated this...
Another alien sound assailed the beast’s ears: gushing liquid. It realised it was the sound of large casks emptying.
The potent liquid flowed across the floor, feeding the fire and carrying it throughout the cellar. Where the fire had started, entire racks were alight and rocked with explosions of glass, choking the air with dense smoke.
It detected rapid footsteps towards the ladder and acted swiftly.
Dizzy with fear and smoke, Henry dashed for the exit. Tripping onto the ladder in panic, he nearly completed his frantic ascent when the beast grabbed his ankle with such force that he heard a violent crack. He twisted on the rungs to slam his free foot into the mutilated face of the relentless demon and felt its snout crumble against his boot. Slipping on the wet floor, the creature fell backwards, but its grip remained on Henry’s ankle and he was wrenched from the ladder to the cellar floor with the beast. Together they crashed into a flaming rack in a rain of broken glass and burning wood.
Henry recovered to find himself under glowing beams searing the cotton jacket he wore. Adrenalin flooding his body, he scrambled free of the burning planks’ embrace to his feet, his ankle slipping out of the beast’s now-relaxed grip. The beast moved no more. The air stung with the fetor of burnt hair and flesh.
“Die, you fuck!” he spat at its blackened demonic visage. Horrified, he saw its head turn to fix on him and unleash an unearthly scream to drown the fury of the surrounding flames. Henry bolted for the ladder, wincing at the shots of pain in his ankle. As he ascended the ladder once more, the scream transformed into a deafening guttural roar.
He dived into the lounge, now thick with smoke and slammed the trapdoor. As he dragged a couch over the trapdoor, the chilling sound of laughter began to emanate from below.
The floorboards of the lounge grew hot with the flames below and the thick smoke almost overpowering, but Henry stayed to pile whatever heavy items he could, onto the couch. This demon, this beast that had killed his friends, this abomination from hell, must die.
He toppled the bookcase onto the couch first, then threw on an oversized TV and was dragging over the scrabble table when the trapdoor burst open. With disbelieving dread, Henry watched the beast easily force aside the obstructions and arise from the cellar: a bleeding, burning and mutilated machine of merciless destruction.
Weary, Henry ran to the front doorway of the burning house, only to see that three more of them were advancing up the driveway, blocking his only exit...
Available as a Kindle eBook in (at least) the following countries:
Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, United Kingdom and United States.
Also available in paperback in:
France, Germany, United Kingdom and United States.
This work is only appropriate for an Adult audience.
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"This book managed to hit me where it hurts at every single point. Not only was it just scary it was creepy and at certain points it made me feel uncomfortable ... Overall, I found The Dark Horde a great read and Brewin shows extreme potential and I hope to read more of his work." [ read the full article ]
Fiction Love, 1/6/2012
"The Dark Horde is a powerful and fast-paced horror novel with a strong central mystery: just what exactly is terrorising the town of Howqua Hills? Brian Derwent is a strong protagonist (and) the narrative remains ontrack for the duration, all the way to a memorable and rewarding conclusion that offers no easy answers. There’s plenty of violence, but it’s all very well-written and it never feels out of place … Horror tales often run the risk of following genre conventions too closely, but The Dark Horde has plenty of genuine surprises. Highly recommended!" [ read the full article ]
Indie BookSpot 17/6/2012
"The Dark Horde is a wild, foul-mouthed, bloody, creative, demented, scary, and hilarious thrill-ride of a horror novel. Imagine Lovecraft as told by Chris Lilley and you'll be close to this uniquely Australian of horror stories … There isn’t much to criticize here, though this kind of book will not be everyone's cup of tea."
Writer's Digest 22/2/2013
"The action stays solid from page one till the end ... This book’s strength is in its setting, the imagery, the unsettling atmosphere that starts right in the beginning and becomes more gloomy with every passing page ... an impressive, intriguing read." [ read the full article ]
I Heart Reading 3/8/2013
"I couldn't put it down. It had everything a good horror needs to have - terror, suspense, the edge of your seat feeling. Good twist at the end. I would recommend this book to others."
Global eBook Awards 11/9/2013
Select Reader Reviews:
"Brewin is a master of melodrama in his gripping novel, The Dark Horde. Read if you dare."
Margaret Clark, award-winning author 22/1/2012
"What an eye and ear for setting and description! What a great use of characterization! But even more importantly, this author rocks with his approach to horror and suspense." [ read the full article ]
Archie Standwood, author/blogger 3/4/2012
"Aussie Horror at its Finest! ...This book is action-packed from the very first sentence. I dare the reader to try and put it down before the end." [ read the full article ]
Rachel Tsoumbakos, author 16/4/2012
"The Dark Horde is very well written. The descriptions of scenery, and the killings, are all described in such vivid detail that you feel like you are the one standing bathed in blood." [ read the full article ]
Little Read Riding Hood, blogger 21/4/2012
"This book starts off at a hundred miles an hour and doesn't let up ... The meticulous effort and detail that Brewin' has put into this book is outstanding on all fronts and is evident from start to finish....HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!" [ read the full article ]
Nick Tevelis, Metal Obsession 2/5/2012
"If you're in the mood for an adults-only, blood-soaked ramble through the Australian bush, then The Dark Horde may just be what you're looking for!" [ read the full article ]
Wayne Murphy, writer 3/5/2012
"From the opening page to the horror driven end, this story had me riveted ... Brewin is a master at making you afraid of the dark." [ read the full article ]
Laura Thomas, blogger 3/5/2012
"Be dazzled by some long over-due thrilling type of horror that will make you appreciate the fresh angle that has been approached with this book by Brewin'!" [ read the full article ]
Lee Cheney, musician 8/5/2012
"It held my interest to the very end, but I didn't like the ending. Overall tho, a entertaining read." [ read the full article ]
Beverly Ashauer 8/5/2012
"Finally a horror book that is more then just creepy. This book grabs your attention in the first chapter and never lets go. There is so much more to this book then giant, black beasts that kill people." [ read the full article ]
Austin Novodvorsky 10/5/2012
"The Dark Horde doesn't fail to turn up the spooky and terrifying. And it's not just gore and violence. There's a story and characters here that you're interested in and care about and you want to see what happens next." [ read the full article ]
Mark Simon Smith, author 11/5/2012
"Brewin has delivered a gripping, chilling read ... It grips your attention and doesn't let go, until you turn the last page." [ read the full article ]
Chris Barton, writer 23/5/2012
"This was definitely a horror story, it was graphic and gory. The story is interesting until the end, which I didn't like." [ read the full article ]
"This story was one that I was reluctant to read late at night ... the plot was very fast paced and interesting" [ read the full article ]
Justin Schiavone, blogger 5/7/2012
"From the first page to the last I was hooked into this story and everything that I was made to feel ... I liken this book to some of the great horror and thriller masters such as Stephen King and Clive Barker ... This book was masterfully crafted." [ read the full article ]
Angie Lenkevich 24/10/2012
"This was an extremly fast paced story right off the bat! Although not a genre I regulary choose, I am glad I did. High action, lots of killing crasy scary creatures. I also shared this book with my nephew and he ate it up!! loved it."[ read the full article ]
Julie Schlutowsaffold 19/2/2013
"This is a intelligent and skilled horror novel, the kind you want to sit up with till midnight, partly because it is such a good read, and partly because you are just too darn scared to go to sleep." [ read the full article ]
Lara Silkoff, writer 7/6/2013
"Great horror novel. Kept my interest, which is hard. A fast moving & riveting story. The excitement mounts, you feel your pulse quicken." [ read the full article ]
Elsie Drage 11/6/2013
"I definitely recommend this book to all the fans of horror, action and thriller. And, to all who want to find out more about their own demons and fighting them. You know, there is a Dark Horde in each of us, just keep them on a leash." [ read the full article ]
Ivailo Daskalov, writer 25/6/2013
"Brewin doesn't build suspense. He builds Fear. It starts from the first pages and it doesn't let up. A true storyteller and rival for the Australian King of Horror, Brewin's writing does not play it safe for fear of upsetting his readers, His Dark Horde are BRUTAL, like nothing I've read in a very long time. I highly recommend it." [ read the full article ]
Wendy Tonkin 7/7/2013
"Kept the pages turning. The Dark Horde is a good read... Fast paced action from down under... Bringing demonic elements, horror and action together in an exceptionally fast paced book, Brewin really entertains the reader and keeps the gore coming!!!" [ read the full article ]
Amazon Customer 6/10/2013
"The entire book is fast-paced, heart-stopping action. The human characters are well drawn, and beautifully flawed. I didn't always like them, but I always believed them." [ read the full article ]
Lisa Llamrei 26/11/2013
"Try it. well written,enjoyed the Australian backdrop...exciting if a little over the top...but what's really wrong with a horror thriller being over the top. oh one other thing the novel was free from the dreaded kindle editing, by which i mean spelling, grammar errors etc.(i should talk) were non existent. do i see a sequel upcoming?" [ read the full article ]