Out Of Zion's Hill

It is the Apocalypse and Earth is a dangerous place. Everyone is united under the Trinity that rules over all: the Emperor, the God and the Prophet, who protect everyone from the many perils that now run riot.

Only a few people refuse to succumb to their rule. These are a murderous gang of terrorists, known as the Apocalypse Apostles. They are convicted of every crime there is, including the worst crime of all: Christianity.

Luke, a fifteen year-old boy, lives in the IROC, a special society centred in Paris. When the entire IROC is brutally destroyed, Luke and a small gang of other teenagers are kidnapped by the Apostles. They think they have been handed a death sentence.

But the Apostles have a secret. In fact, everyone and everything has a secret or two up their sleeves at the End of the World...

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1. Prologue

PROLOGUE

It was a lovely day if you weren’t about to die.

Luke supposed he should take more notice of it. After all, it was going to be the last sight he ever saw, apart from the seven-headed dragon who was about to incinerate him.

A small dust storm was blowing across the barren deserts, whipping the cracked earth into strange patterns, before abandoning them and moving on to fresh patches, which were snatched up, and then dumped by the fickle winds. The black sun was beating down, offering what feeble light and warmth it could. Scudded, filthy clouds danced across the skies, and the smell of blood was on the breeze. A beautiful day: as good as it got.

Next to Luke, Jessye was sobbing, great heaving gasps forcing their way between the kid’s cracked lips. Ruth was murmuring a desperate prayer. Francis rocked back and forth in shock, not quite able to take it all in. The others all sat around in the cramped, boiling metal box, in various stages of shock and desperation. Several were nursing burnt and bruised knuckles, the result of trying to break out of their titanium and glass coffin.

But there was no escape. Not for any of them. Not now. Not ever. They all knew it.

“This is your last chance,” came the smooth, menacing tones, bouncing around the box like the voice of a snake. “Accept us as god, or lose your life.”

Several people fell to their knees, and vanished.

“That’s all you need to do,” continued the sinister voice. It sounded so persuasive, so simple. Luke felt his will bending. He was about to die, and all he had to do to save himself was throw himself on the mercy of the owner of the voice. The others had done it and been saved. They’d been Christians after all, he wasn’t by any means. And he’d live.

“No,” said a stubborn voice. Ruth stood, tears coursing down her face, knees shaking. She was petrified. But she was still in control.

“We’re not going to turn to you. Your promises sound good, but in the end you are like a whirlpool. You pull everything in and you go down with it. We won’t accept you.”

“Oh, Ruth, Ruth, Ruth. Always so brave, insisting on worshipping a corpse. Always so courageous, protecting the keys. But no more. The keys are mine. You all are. And now, you die.”

Luke’s mouth was dry. His heart pounded like an insane troop of elephants. He couldn’t think, couldn’t breathe. Every bodily function seemed to have seized up. He couldn’t even scream. This was pure terror. Just terror. Only terror.

Above them reared the seven heads of a dragon. Whatever you think of when you read that word, it’s not scary enough. Each neck was as thick as a booster rocket, weaving in a malevolent dance of destruction, coated in razored scales of blood red, forming an impenetrable layer over rippling muscle and bulging sinews. Curving horns and wicked, harpoon like spines jutted out of its back and head. Fourteen deep black, evil, serpentine eyes glared down at them in pure hatred. Seven gaping maws, each crammed with teeth sharper than chainsaws and thicker than trees, opened to reveal a malignant glare of a furnace in the back.

This is the end, thought Luke. This is the end of everything.

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