Grand Masquerade, the latest novel from best-selling author Stephen Perkins is coming soon – to Amazon this February!
Beware the terror lurking beneath a mask of smiles…
On an ancient ley line…Deep within Vermont’s dark and sinister forests…Lives a mysterious and frightening secret…A forbidden door to a world beyond human perception…And three hunters are about to become the hunted!
When a high-tech executive with a fiendish agenda and two other men – his only son and a US senator – travel to the green mountains of rural Rupert, Vermont for a full weekend of recreational hunting, they soon discover memories of their checkered pasts not only coming back to haunt them but coming alive to take revenge!
Grand Masquerade copyright 2020 by Stephen Perkins & Star born Publishing LLC
Dusk crept in over the mist borne wilderness.
The insistent message began humming in his ears; a faint but honeyed melody. Soon, he noticed the soothing tones grow in frequency, coaxing with reassurance that, out there, beyond the tared rows of corn, great adventure and an even greater and wonderous gift awaited him.
With the promise of a new morning’s dawn, after midnight, he set out on his motorcycle, seeking destiny beyond the horizon. Autumn’s wild tangles – skeletal branches of sugar maples and green ash along the winding dirt road – loomed overhead in soaring gray arcs. Cascades of leaves, like silken moth’s wings, fluttered in pools of emerging moonlight. Gears churned, the motor sparked, and the night came alive with comet flashes. A dashing locomotive of euphoria barreled through the tunnels of every limb.
His pounding heart yearned.
He relished sizzling adrenaline’s unbridled surges.
Over and down steep hillcrests, a wild wind’s stiff fingers stirred his hair. With tornado’s force, he swept into the widening mouth of a valley. The world became a blur of waving stalks of golden rod and towering conifers.
Upon the crisp wind’s wild rushes and into his nostrils plumed the bitter tang of scented pines. His clammy fingers throttled the handlebar’s brakes. Spinning rubber squealed in resistance but finally relented, spitting out rooster tales of gravel. He blinked while focusing his eyes through lingering swirls of dust.
As dawn’s first faint traces began to slay the mordant gloom, he heard the unearthly screeching of a trio of crows, alighted in a perfect row onto the archway of tree branches. Distant lights of his father’s dairy barns and corn silos shrank into dim portals.
Again, he heard the eerie message echo, growing from a dulcet whisper into a strident command.
Before him, a light beacon’s rapier slashed at the waning darkness, tearing it asunder like a fine curtain’s soft fabric.
While entranced by strange visions from the other side, the humming tone’s frequency escalated with earsplitting ambience, and he felt mysteriously jettisoned from the motorcycle’s seat by a mystical force.
Before leaving his prized motorbike behind to run towards the beckoning showers of light, he turned, watching the still revolving wheels sealed over into a dusty grave of windblown leaves.
Stepping over the ancient ley line, he saw them.
Completely still, he stood before their half-ringed array.
Though they appeared towering, black and grotesque, insectoid, perhaps, even arachnid – with hideous winged appendages and scaly tales – they emitted an angelic glow, a golden evanesce more splendid than the sun.
He felt their coal black eyes bore into him, and a strange energy drew him out of his body.
As they began to feast upon his flesh and bones, rather than pain, he felt utter peace. An intense anticipation enraptured him while floating toward the golden gates of what appeared to be a shining temple. He felt part of something larger now, this new and wonderous land beyond the sun.
Could this truly be heaven, he wondered?
Was this the ultimate promise of ‘The Revelation’? Was his immortal soul to become one with the resplendent light of the starry orb which turned the seasons, shined upon every rock, tree, granule of sand and clump of damp soil, each blade of grass, and nourished the fish of the lakes, seas, and the fowl of the air?
Yes, it must be, he thought.
The Others – just as his mother, Doctor Phoenix, and Terry McKinnon promised – granted him ‘The Revelation’, in exchange for the sacrifice of his mortal blood and flesh, and he began to rejoice. But then, he felt harassed with shivers of fear, drawn away from entering through the shining portal of the sun, the sacred entranceway to what he was told was heaven. This ‘Revelation’, this ultimate dream with which he was tempted, now seemed transformed into a hellish nightmare.
Though mightily, he struggled against what seemed a strange and fearsome force, he felt plummeted into a swirling and storm riven sea of blackness. A drowning wave silenced his screams and, sinking beneath the roiling surface, he became forever sealed within its dark and watery tomb.