DEFIANCE is the 4th book in the epic apocalyptic Hell on Earth saga. Follow characters old and new as the twist-filled story continues, providing new threats, mysteries, and acts of human kindness.
Humanity’s last chance could be a new beginning.
It’s been months since the demons arrived and slaughtered the world. The earth belongs to the damned and barely anything of civilisation remains, but some still fight. Mankind’s last survivors remain defiant.
Nestled deep in the middle of the UK’s largest forest, a small group of adults fight to remain hidden in the apocalypse. In their care are almost fifty children; perhaps the last children left . Their survival is vital to mankind’s survival, but their sanctuary is put in jeopardy when three weary strangers arrive at once. Can the newcomers be trusted? Or do they bring catastrophe?
“Get ready,” said Lucas. “The Red Lord is about to grace us with his presence.” The Infernal Throne hissed and spat.
Heat filled the chamber, and a million screams erupted from the flames. Something massive emerged and started down the steps towards them. Something wicked.
“Holy shit!” said Vamps. “I’m gunna need a bigger sword.”
Daniel and Rick froze in place, staring up at the horror before them. Vamps stood with Damien and Aymun, each of those men also frozen in shock.
Lucas stood alone.
The Red Lord was a giant, not in stature but in presence. Its form seemed to smother existence itself. Lucas recognised the beast immediately, the mystery of his enemy’s identity finally revealed to him.
The Red Lord was kin.
Lucas could barely breathe. “I-It can’t be.”
“What?” asked Rick, daring to glance back for a split-second. “What is it?”
Lucas shook his head. “The end of everything.”
The Red Lord grabbed Daniel while the fallen angel was still stunned. Perhaps he recognised the Red Lord’s true identity as well. The Red Lord broke him in his fist and allowed the angel’s crushed body to fall to the ground.
Lucas tore the air with his screams, inadvertently hurting his companions with the damaging frequency. The Red Lord was unaffected by the sonorous assault and marched towards his next victim—Aymun.
Lucas threw out a hand and sucked Aymun backwards out of danger, the air swirling around him and lifting him away. Once Aymun was beside him, Lucas grabbed the man’s skull and infused him with knowledge. “We can’t win this fight. Not here. I’m getting you all out of here. Find each other back on Earth and stay strong. Fight another day.”
Aymun was confused, but before the man had a chance to question, a gate appeared behind him and yanked him through. He was gone in less than a second. Vamps gawped at Lucas, his gold fangs flashing. “What you doing, man? We came here to gank this bitch.”
“Not here. Just get through the gate and—Damn it!” Lucas leapt aside as the Red Lord tried to crush him with an almighty fist. The monster struck the ground and the whole of Hell trembled.
Damien appeared and gathered Lucas to his feet. “I never seen you scared before, boss.”
“It’s been a while since anything gave me cause.”
“Who is this geezer? Why won’t you fight?”
“Because our enemy can’t be killed. Not here. Maybe not anywhere. We need to leave and regroup. I need time to think.”
The Red Lord cackled, an awful sound, but it was broken by the shrill voice of another. The weaselly politician, Windsor, cowered before the terrifying beast and begged for his life. “I-I-I’m on your side,” he stammered. “I serve your man, Oscar Baruta. Please, I am not… I am not your enemy. Oh god.”
Lucas had to give the fella props for bravery. It took a lot to stand before the universe’s vilest creation and attempt to start a discourse. It was pointless, of course, and Lucas winced as he awaited the inevitable outcome.
The Red Lord studied the tiny man before him, and then blinked its many glistening black eyes.
Windsor’s spine spewed forth from his mouth and clattered on the ground. His formless body crumpled like a bedsheet.
Lucas sighed. “Not the first spineless politician I’ve met. Idiot.”
Vamps swung his flaming sword at the Red Lord, but the instant it struck the leathery flesh of its huge right leg, it exploded into ash. Vamps wheeled backwards, horrified. “She-it!”
“Get away,” said Lucas. “All of you get away. We must leave here.”
Rick stared down at Daniel’s broken body, but then looked up and shook his head. “We leave now and we’re back to square one.”
“We stay and we die. Through the gate. Now!”
Damien was the first to obey. He would never run from a fight, but his obedience outweighed his pugnacity. Good.
Lucas threw out a spark that hit the Red Lord and delayed his approach. It gave him a chance to grab Rick and throw him through the gate.
That left just Lucas and Vamps. Vamps was retreating, no longer brave or courageous, but terrified and defenceless. “Get to me, lad. I’ll get your arse out this fire.”
Vamps leant forwards and then broke into a sprint. The Red Lord stomped after him.
“I am, yo!”
The Red Lord kicked out and caught Vamps in the back, sending him flying.
Lucas threw out both arms and closed the gate he’d just opened, then reopened it ten-feet in the air, to catch Vamps. Before Vamps disappeared through the gate though, the Red Lord reached out and snatched him out of the air. But the massive beast could not stop himself quickly enough to avoid going into the gate itself. Both it and Vamps tumbled through together and disappeared.
Lucas found himself alone, standing there in silence, in the centre of the throne room that had once been his. What had just happened? The Red Lord had passed through a gate. What did that mean?
He walked forwards, heading up the bony steps towards the Infernal Throne. Could he reclaim it and regain dominion over Hell? The notion of being tethered to this vile realm once more drove him to despair, but with the throne came great power. Power to control the damned. If he took the mantle of Infernus once more, he could close the gates and prevent any more evil spreading to the Earth. It would be a mighty blow to the Red Lord’s plans. Now that Lucas knew who his enemy truly was, he could try to find a way to end him. The throne would help him to do that.
There was no choice but to do it. Lucas would have to become Lucifer. He just hoped he could resist the darkness that came along with the name.
Lucas traversed the final steps to his destiny and felt the pull of power. His soul trembled.
His entire being grew hot.
Something was wrong. The throne belonged to him, forged of his own will. Yet what he was experiencing was something hostile and foreboding.
Pain jolted his mind, and he felt himself being pulled apart, his very atoms splitting. What was happening? What had ahold of him?
“No. No!” He reached for the throne, needing to take it and its power. Once sitting in it, nothing would remove him from this place. He would hold dominion over all.
He reached out a hand, but before he could touch the throne, his flesh disintegrated to burnt ash. The more he moved, the more of him that vanished. Agony consumed Lucas, but he couldn’t summon a scream. A searing heat exploded inside him and he ceased to exist.