Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The complete (and unreleased) prologue to The Dark Horde.

One of the comments that readers have made about my horror novel The Dark Horde is that they wished to know more about the back-story. This was a conscious decision I made for a few reasons: the main one being that I am currently involved in the creation of a “musical album” which tells that back-story in detail that I don’t wish to spoil just yet. The other reasons are that I wanted to focus on keeping the novel fast-paced, and that I wanted to maintain an air of mystery about what it is exactly that the Dark Horde are.

Having said that, I now present you the complete prologue to The Dark Horde, which is not present in the released version (for the reasons listed above). It should help to put some of the book’s events into context for those that wanted that, and to invoke the interest of those who have yet to read it. And fear not, whether you read this before or after the book itself, or indeed at all, it will not spoil any of the story for you… That’s to come much later ;)

I was once an avid believer in many things…

I believed in love, in compassion, in hope. I even believed in a God watching lovingly over us, and that somewhere within the mystery of it all, there was a special place for us.

This inclination towards blind faith was strong in me, stamped upon my DNA and cultivated through my upbringing. I was sheltered from the brutal reality of this world, hidden from the horrible truths of our existence.

It is your choice to hear these words, but be warned, once you understand what they mean, you will never be able to hide in the warm comfort of ignorance again.

Unless you're prepared for this, it's best you stop now.

Time is short now, I sense them drawing close. Whilst blood still flows through these shaking hands, I will tell you of them, in the hope that someone hears these words and knows of what is inevitably to come.

I know not how to stop the Dark Horde, or how to stop the events I have set into motion. But I doubt it makes any difference, as mankind is doomed anyway.

It wasn’t always like this. Once, I enjoyed a happy life too. Once, I had a life.

My early childhood to the outsider seemed like any other. A child full of energy and confidence, and the world around me was of wonder. Then, when I was only seven, came the visions.

They were infrequent at first, like intermittent thunder before the storm, but by the time I was eight they were coming to me not only every night, but every hour of every waking day. Every child fears the dark, but who’s to believe that a child’s nightmares could possibly be real?

I was trapped alone in a world of nightmares, under constant assault from a force no one could see or believe. With time, the cancerous visions only grew stronger, and my parents grew evermore frantic in their attempts to find a cure. After numerous doctors and counsellors, my parents finally found a psychiatrist to their liking. I was not yet ten when he gave his damning assessment:

“Your son is suffering from temporary psychosis of a type that is treatable and not uncommon in boys his age. Nightmares and the fear of the dark occur in most children and have been known to be so intense that it results in delusions and even hallucinations. It is merely a product of the hormonal imbalance of puberty, of an over-active imagination… But he will be cured, and in years to come he’ll look back on these days with humour and think how silly he’d been! Fear not. This psychosis will come to pass.”

I was to receive therapy and medication, and for a few, mostly happy years, the treatment seemed successful. But always below the surface, dark forces gathered, revealing themselves in occasional “fits of madness”. My doctor was intrigued by this and sought to uncover what was best left alone. He put me under hypnosis, an event that was to forever alter my life. I was only thirteen.

The hypnosis swept aside the clouds of consciousness, revealing my past in all its horror. I saw my previous life and the terrible deeds I had done. I realised then that the visions keep returning to haunt me because they were my past. In some archaic time I had brought them into this world, though what they were, I did not know. I only knew that they were alien to this world and meant only to destroy it… And I, in some “fit of madness”, had let them in.

I became resigned to the power of the visions, recognising my place in the scheme of things and realising the futility of it all. With time I learnt to hide the visions’ effects and ceased to even tell others of their existence. By the age of sixteen, I was deemed cured and ready to join the “real world”… But I had merely learnt to wear the mask of sanity.

Sometimes however, the mask slipped… And deeds of darkness came to light.

I would awake alone in a dark forest, shivering. Then I’d realise… I dreamt this. Somehow I had sleepwalked into the forest at night. The black shapes of swaying trees crowded around me and the wind taunted in strange voices. Then I’d notice the candle-lit inscriptions in the dirt before me… If what I had just dreamt was real, then I—we—were in great danger. Screaming, I’d run through moonless undergrowth until I found a road I could follow home, or someone found me, bruised and feverish, the next day.

My fate was inevitable. I was doomed to repeat history.

Neither drugs nor therapy would stop my sleepwalking, and before long I was sleeping in restraints. At seventeen I left school and moved with my parents from Howqua Hills to far away Melbourne. With the move, my sleepwalking tendencies ended, and I was able to begin a new life among strangers who did not know my past, nor care. They teased me for my country background, but accepted me as normal, as someone who was dependable. But never did the visions relent on my tortured mind, ever reminding me of who I was and who I was destined to be.

It is now five years later and things are no different. Destiny is cruel when you are its slave. There is no privilege in this, no fortune in being chosen, there is only eternal damnation. But I cannot be held responsible for something that started and was predetermined before I was even born. And if I wasn’t their channel, it inevitably would have been another. If it wasn’t my past life, it inevitably would have been someone else’s.

It is utterly useless to try to stop them. Their age is limitless, as is their knowledge and power. We are to them as ants on the Earth: an organised society that adapts and multiplies, but does not know of the world around it. We are not the most advanced creature in the universe, even on our own planet. Nor are we blessed or special in any way. Just as many other species of life succumbed to our dominance, so we shall succumb to others.

And now as I sit here making this recording of my final words, I know that I can restrain them no longer. Consciousness is fading, the lights grow dim and my voice faint. They are so close now…

Calling… Calling… Calling…

*                              *                              *

“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…”

*                              *                              *

Suddenly I am startled awake by a sharp crack in front of me. Before me spawns a black void with depths beyond comprehension. A nauseating stench falls over me and I see that within the nebulous darkness is a pair of eyes: red convex slits. They are a short distance away and staring directly at me, my mind naked before their gaze…

My God, what have I done?

Get The Dark Horde on Amazon

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...

About the Author
Brewin' (with or without the apostrophe) is the pseudonym of Andrew Drage. He graduated in 1998 with a first-class degree from La Trobe University, majoring in zoology, philosophy and statistics. He has worked as a Senior Research Scientist at the Insectarium of Victoria in his native Australia, publishing on ant behaviour and sampling methodologies.

His debut novel, Evermore: An Introduction, was published to critical acclaim in 2001, and has been republished twice since. The Dark Horde, is his second fiction novel, published for the first time in 2012. Based in Melbourne, he is also a respected IT developer and analyst, and has been editor and designer for the first four books of the highly acclaimed Gamebook Adventures interactive fiction series. This role has culminated in the creation of his own work, Gamebook Adventures: Infinite Universe, released in 2012 on the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. Find him at:

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