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Maps of Hell
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Maps of Hell

Extract

Maps of Hell - Matt Wells as you've never seen him…

I woke up in panic and felt pain all over my body - arms, gut, ribs, groin. I took a deep breath and turned onto my back. The searing light made me jam my eyes shut. Holding my hand in front of my face, I sat up slowly, finding it hard to balance, and looked at myself. I was naked and filthy, white skin rubbed raw in places from the rough blanket I'd been lying on. Suddenly I felt dizzy and pitched forward onto the cold floor. A rush of vomit surprised me, jerking from my mouth in successive surges. I felt like shit.

Then I realized something worse. I didn't know who I was. I had no memory. I had no past. I was no one.

I clenched my fists and tried to get a grip. Where was I? I looked around the room. It was only a little longer than the concrete platform I had been lying on, and not much more than twice as wide. One of the narrow ends was taken up by a metal door, and there wasn't a window in any of the other three walls. A long fluorescent light divided the ceiling, while the floor was concrete. I had no recollection of coming to the place. I had no idea, even, of what part of the world I was in.

I blinked and took in the room again. It was making my head swim. The platform was at a weird angle to the floor and it was wider at one end than the other. The walls, ceiling and floor had all been painted the same dull gray color, so it was hard to see where one ended and the next began.

I realized I was sweating heavily. The place was roasting hot, even though there was no sign of a heat source. The stench of my vomit was making me gag. I wiped the floor with my blanket, then threw it into the corner. I searched in vain for a tap or bottle. Apart from me and the stinking blanket, the room was completely empty.

I wondered how long I had been there. I had lost all sense of time and couldn't say whether it had been minutes or hours since I'd woken. I went to the door and out an ear to it. I couldn't hear anything. I seemed to be completely alone. My empty stomach contracted and I clamped my arms around my raised knees. Had I been left to rot in this hole?

At least my mind was working. I was able to think, but that only made me feel more bereft. I yelled and listened for a response. There was none. I felt my eyes dampen. I could think and I could speak, but I knew as little as a tiny child. Someone had stolen my identity, my very soul. I had never wanted to see another human face so much. But no one came.

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