Extract from Tom O’Kell & The Papanuk

A sly sneer crept across the wicked face of Zinbada. The children were slumped in a heap on the vast prairie, baking in the hot sunshine, with nowhere to run or hide. The chase was over and the children were there for the taking. Zinbada could quite easily have ordered a hunting party forward to gather them up and truss them together like a string of sausages ready for the pot. However, this was Zinbada and compassion was a feeling he knew nothing of. Zinbada held up a stick topped with a wizened shrunken head, cracked skin taut and yellowish, wisps of lank straw-like silver hair waving in the warm breeze. It was obvious the poor wretch had never used conditioner or ex-foliated when its soul inhabited the remainder of the body that walked this Earth. The tribe stopped, silence fell and and its icy fingers grabbed the children’s throats, squeezing any remnants of courage from their trembling bodies.

‘I’m scared, Mick. W-what are th-they w-waiting for?’ the words quivered from Ben’s dry mouth.

Agatha tangled her head deeper into the folds of Mad Mick’s T-shirt, praying for her Saviour to deliver her from Evil. He appeared to be engaged elsewhere. Mick sighed heavily, trying desperately to hide the terrified little boy that dwelt inside his ogre’s body. He had only just fulfilled his dream of finding someone to belong to and now his dream was about to end in the most horrific nightmarish ending imaginable.

“Come here bruv,’ Mick put his huge arm around Ben’s frail shoulders and gently pulled Ben towards him, ‘Hide your face. I’ll scare ‘em away for yer,’ Mick smiled down into the dark rimmed eyes of Ben’s porcelain white face. Ben felt assured by Mad Mick’s scowling smile. A smile that could match the sinister grimace of any of Hell’s demonic fiends. He was sure the Kalamon would melt away from Mad Mick’s pout. He snuggled into Mick’s damp T-shirt, damp with Agatha’s tears and sniffles. Ben put his skinny arm over Agatha, more of a gesture than protection, to comfort the shaking girl before they met their brutal end.

Zinbada turned to his devilish tribe and beat the air with his creepy baton, as though conducting an orchestra of the macabre seated in Hell’s pit. His tribe beat the ground with their spears and staffs, keeping time with their Chief’s metronomic pulse. Saliva drooled down the sides of their hungry mouths as their minds reminded them of the sweet taste of the flesh of terrified children. Zinbada quickened the tempo, thrashing the gruesome stick wildly above his shaking head, whipping his tribe of cannibals up into a bloodthirsty frenzy. The white painted skeletons on the dark bodies of the savages danced faster and faster, spun and writhed in torment to the instructions of the evil manipulator pulling their strings. Zinbada stopped abruptly. The shrunken head beater fell from his grasp and bounced sharply on the dry earth. He pulled hard on the crown of needle sharp bones circling his head and screamed in ecstasy at the agonising pain stinging his skull. Thin fingers of blood caressed his wicked face, soothing his agony and torture. Zinbada sneered in appreciation and held his arms up to the heavens in thanks. He smiled wickedly at the sight of the Two Moons slowly creeping nearer and nearer to each other. Nearer to the night when their dead ancestors would be awakened from their sleep and resurrected back to life to wreak slaughter and death on the Chicuan. Bulging, bloodshot eyes watched excitedly behind painted skulls, eager to harvest the sweet tender flesh of the children sat patiently waiting for them.

 
 

Extract from Tom O’Kell & The Shaman’s Drum

These were the Narcons, dark fairies who inhabited this Land Of Nightmares, and this was a hunting party. They were armed, some with spears others with bows and quivers of arrows slung over their shoulders. They had come to harvest children captured in their traps. More Narcons buzzed over Emily’s head. The drone of their vibrating wings mingled with the screams of terrified children captured in the net traps that groups of Narcons carried between them as they flew above.

The sickening reality of the frightening situation dawned on Emily. She was their prey. What kind of nightmare had Emily landed in? Were they cannibals? Did they capture the children to eat them? Emily’s body began to tremble uncontrollably. She clenched her arms together tightly in an attempt to still her shivering goosebumps so that she didn’t rustle the undergrowth around her. A female Narcon glided to the ground. She crawled on all fours sniffing the ground around her like a hound scenting the trail of a fox running for its life. Emily noticed her hands, except that they weren’t hands but long dark pointed claws. The Narcon sniffed at the detritus covering the forest floor and hissed, ‘It’s a girl!’ The Narcon scattered the rotting leaves away with her sharp canines, snuffled the ground beneath them and shot an evil stare in the direction of Emily’s lair. Emily gasped, immediately putting her hands to her mouth to stifle the scream of fear that she wanted to scream so much. The large yellow eyes remained fixed on the undergrowth concealing Emily’s position. The Narcon signaled silently to other Narcons buzzing around her, pointing her clawed finger in the direction of the tangled shrubbery. Emily looked behind her for a way out. Luckily she had delved deep into the back of the foliage and there was an open gap to the back of her. Emily crawled very slowly out of her hiding place ready to make her escape through the dense forest. Very quietly Emily crept away from the undergrowth. She ducked her head from the low hanging twigs and began to creep away from the bushes, away from the Narcons stealthily gliding towards the thick tangle of leaves and twigs AND then it happened. SNAP!! Emily stood on a long dry twig snapping it in half. The loud cracking sound echoing around the silent forest. She may as well have sent up a distress flare to signal her whereabouts and shouted Coooeeee I’m over here!!! The Narcons zoomed after Emily buzzing with the excitement of the chase. Emily shrieked and ran like she’d never run before, dodging through the tightly packed tree trunks and jumping over tumbles of thicket, her lungs bursting and her mind spinning. The hunting party split. Some of the Narcons flew high above the forest, covering both flanks. Others flew through the woodland chasing the frightened girl. Emily continued her escape brushing away thin branches slapping her in the face and across her body. Sweat glistened on her forehead. Red tresses of hair stuck to the sweat running down her neck. Suddenly an arrow whistled past Emily’s ear. Then a spear whizzed over her head, its sharp blade piercing the trunk of a tree directly in front of her. Emily screamed. She turned to see another spear hurtling through the forest towards her head. Emily ducked and the spear landed at the base of a large tree tripping a hidden rope amongst the fallen leaves. A large net whooshed up into the air on the end of a young supple tree. Emily shrieked and sped on, dodging the trees and tumbling bushes in her path. Emily gasped and panted, the pain in her lungs almost unbearable but she continued running helped by the adrenaline pumping through her weary body. Eventually, Emily stopped. She had no choice. She was running on empty. She looked behind her. There was no sign of the Narcons flitting through the trees. No sound from the thrum of their oscillating veined wings. Emily bent over, hands on knees, sucking in as much air as her lungs could hold. Restoring the energy to her body.

‘Phew! That was close,’ she wheezed.

Breathing more easily now, Emily stood, hands on hips, and looked up at the chink of sky through a break in the canopy of branches. Something jogged her memory of Chicken Licken. Something was falling from above, but it wasn’t the sky.

 
 

Extract from Tom O’Kell & The Papanuk

Mad Mick and Anaemic Ben scampered from rock to rock along the edge of the hill side, moving ever closer above the grisly scene below, trying to get nearer to Agatha but having no plan of how to rescue her from the clutches of the crazy Kalamon.

‘What are they going to do to Agatha, Mick?’ Ben whispered nervously.

‘Kill her, I suppose,’ Mick replied coldly, not thinking how his abrupt response would affect Ben.

‘Kill her? Kill her?’ Ben gasped, his teeth chattering, his body trembling.

‘Huh?’ Mick was taken aback. He hadn’t yet become accustomed to the sensitive side of his blood brother. Trying to calm Ben, Mick continued, ‘Well…..only a little bit. I’m sure they’ll try not to hurt her too much before she dies.’ Mick scrunched his face hoping he had offered some reassurance to stop Ben shivering.

‘D-d-dies?’ Ben stammered.

‘Well……..well…….she won’t be dead really, will she?’ Mick stumbled on, digging his hole deeper and deeper.

‘Will she not?’ Ben heaved a sigh of relief.

‘Nah. She’s a Vicar’s daughter,’ Mick grimaced a smile feeling he was digging himself out of the hole now.

‘How does being a Vicar’s daughter stop Agatha being k-killed?’ Ben’s large eyes became wider still, fearful of Mick’s explanation.

‘Well, they have everlasting life, don’t they. Can’t kill ‘em not if you wanted to. A bit like one of those trick birthday candles that you can’t blow out. Know what I mean?’ Mad Mick really had earned his moniker and he pictured himself patting the loose earth flat with his spade, covering the hole completely.

‘Phew,’ Ben exhaled sharply, ‘That’s okay then,’ Ben smiled now, ‘For a minute I thought they were going to kill her but if they can’t, then it’s not as bad as I thought, is it?’ Ben chuckled relieved to know Agatha was going to be fine. Mad Mick looked upwards and pursed his lips in a low whistle, happy that his explanation had had the desired effect upon Ben. Ben grinned towards his blood brother. Mick grinned back, feeling good with himself. He’d looked after his little blood brother. A warm feeling flowed through Mick. He liked feeling he belonged to someone at last.

 
 

Extract TOM O’KELL & THE BROTHERHOOD OF THE JACKAL

‘Hmmm, exquisite bouquet. Smells sweet and fresh, with a hint of fear,’ she snarled wickedly. Ben’s nurse watched on enviously as her colleague sipped at the thick sticky blood. She swilled the blood around her mouth, swallowed it and smacked her lips together.

‘Aaahhh!,’ she exclaimed, contentedly, ‘ A full bodied flavour with a subtle taste of human flesh. Perfect. The Brotherhood will love this one,’ she added, draining the contents of the cup down her craving gullet.

Ben started to cry, causing the blue veins on his forehead and face to stick out even more, causing the sad shadows beneath his despairing eyes to increase in darkness. ‘Please help me. Someone please help me,’ he sobbed.

The nurse put the plastic cup in a metal bin by the side of Ben’s cage and turned to her colleague, ‘Having trouble giving him the medication, are we? Here, let me help.’ She thrust her arm through the wire cage front and grabbed the back of Ben’s scrawny neck, dragging him forwards. She pinched his nose tightly. Ben opened his mouth and screamed. ‘Quick, get the tablet down him,’ the nurse yelled, struggling to keep Ben’s head still. Ben’s nurse popped the large tablet into his open mouth while the second nurse let go of his nose and pressed his jaw upwards, closing Ben’s mouth shut tight. The tablet soon melted and Ben’s feeble resistance weakened further still until he was a compliant heap, asleep in a drugged state on the floor of his cage.

Happy that Ben would now replenish the blood in his body and provide The Brotherhood with more sacrificial fluid for the Jackals to maintain their human form, the two nurses walked arm in arm down the corridors of stacked cages, laughing and giggling at the children’s hopeless plight. Batteries of children, reluctant blood donors, scarlet tubed arms stuck out from meshed cages, hailing imaginary black cabs to take them away from this Satanic nightmare.

Extract from TOM O’KELL & THE PAPANUK

‘Blessings,my Lord,’ Mayakula smiled warmly.

The warmth of the smile was not returned. Concern for the Chicuan Nation lay heavy on the Papanuk’s brow. The Papanuk threw the twigs and sticks onto the fire and blew on the ashes. The embers glowed red hot, flames licked the sticks, orange sparks crackled and disappeared. The fire soon took hold. The Papanuk carefully placed several logs onto the burning kindling. He sat cross-legged by the fire, warming his hands over the flames. He motioned to Mayakula to sit beside him. Mayakula took his place, looking up to the sky, smoke curling an escape path through the vent. Blackbird screamed a whistle of alarm and hurriedly flew away.

‘Thank you for your haste, Mayakula.’

‘It is my honour to serve you, my Lord. What troubles you?’

The Papanuk poked the fire with a large stick, a shower of red sparks flew into the air. He considered his words before replying.

‘A vision of the future. The Kalamon are preparing to raise the dead ancestors of every Kalamon brave killed in battle since the beginning of time. I have seen their evil skeletons in war canoes, striking the water with oars of bone to the beat from the Drums Of Death. I have seen their horrific war parties. Skeleton warriors riding on the back of skeletal horses, stretching across the horizon, from the home of the rising Sun to its resting place . I have seen clouds of flaming arrows blotting out the sunlight, casting dark shadows over our land, raining fire down amongst the Chicuan tribes. I have seen the Chicuan Nation burning in the flames of Hell. Armageddon is coming to the Chicuan.’

Mayakula gasped in horror at the Papanuk’s revelations. His tired old eyes sagged with dread. He knew of the tales that spoke of the end of time, but he never expected to bear witness to the tale. There was a tense silence, whilst Mayakula digested the terrors to come.

‘Can it be stopped, my Lord?’ Mayakula asked, silently praying for some ray of hope.

The Papanuk stared into the flames, not blinking. He turned slowly to face Mayakula.

‘Bring me the white boy.’