Brink - Harry Manners

Earth has been almost silent for forty years. The apocalypse left behind only fragments of civilisation, surrounded by a sea of barbarism.

But now the true End is in sight: the horizon is alight with burning villages, two cities lie in the shadow of an army gathering in the north, intent on ending the old world forever. And somewhere, a supernatural force is on the move, pushing its servants into place: a young girl with special powers, and a man whose destiny might decide the fate of all.

While ominous swarms of pigeons plague the sky, the world grows quieter, and dark forgotten secrets are revealed – secrets of betrayal, love, and obsession – the army in the north prepares to leave.

The epic Ruin Saga continues…

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By Harry Manners


Radley leapt a fallen log, holding in a scream. The way ahead was blurred by a slick of snot and tears, the young black forest swimming in the predawn light. All he recognised was the clearing of rusted metal ahead—the gates of Twingo.

The town was close, but so were his pursuers. In seconds he would be within shouting distance, but until then he had to keep quiet. If he squawked now, they would be on him before he could take another step.

The trees were close all around, winding seamlessly up and around old tarmac roads and suburban terrace rows. A town had been here once, full of people, thousands of people. But that had been long ago, before they had all vanished from the Earth. Though only forty years had passed, the trunks of these trees towered over the ruins of the Old World. They seemed to loom up at his flanks to bite at his ankles.

He knew this path through the forest better than the streets of Twingo itself, but still his mind’s eye filled with terrible images of a wall of foliage having sprung up ahead, barring his path. His back muscles clenched spasmodically, expecting a bullet, spear or arrow to come tearing from behind at any moment. But none came.

He shouldn’t have snuck out. His mother had warned him about it every day since the cradle, wagging her finger and tapping her foot over breakfast in the same faded apron. “World’s a dangerous place, Rad. Don’t you go snooping. It’ll be the end of a little wisp like you.” And he had been a good boy, most days. He scarcely went against her will.

But so much wonder lay beyond Twingo’s walls. So much to touch, see, and smell. The handiwork of countless long-dead men, mysterious and powerful. They had machines that could beam your face clear across the world, his grandma used to say. All those rusted hunks of metal on the road had once been magic carts, ones that went along without the aid of a horse. And there had been food as well. All the food a person could eat, and so much more.

Not like today, where you had to scrounge in the dirt for a morsel. Last year’s famine had levelled what mankind had rebuilt since the End, sucked the land dry of life and hope.

How could he stay cooped up in that godforsaken dump when the secrets of fallen gods lay just beyond the trees? If he could find something worth trading, maybe he could make something of himself and move with his mother to the great trading post at Canary Wharf, maybe even New Canterbury, home of the Alexander Cain. He’d heard things weren’t quite so bad there.

He’d been sneaking out before sunup whenever the guard grew lax for a few months now. It had never hurt anyone; he had always been back before daybreak. But now things had gone very wrong. This morning, things had been different; he’d known that as soon as he’d slipped under the fence. There had been something in the air, a prickle, like somebody had been watching.

And no more than half a mile into the forest, shadows had appeared in the trees, moving slow and steady toward him, converging from all directions. He ran for all his worth, but all the while they had stayed a short distance behind, as though it were nothing, as though they were teasing him.

And now, finally reaching the edge of Twingo and safety, he sensed how close they had gotten. He could almost feel their breath on the back of his neck.

He was young, only a nipper, but he was no fool. They could