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The Queen of the Underworld - Exclusive Excerpts!

Updated: Jan 30

Warning: Beware of spoilers for The Queen of the Underworld.


I'm very excited to announce that I am working on the editing of the second book in The Occult Series, The Queen of Underworld. I am on schedule to complete the first rounds of edits by the end of the month. It is definitely coming together and I can't wait to share with you all...


And so, I thought I might share an exclusive excerpt:


Chapter 1 – Possession


Lily jolted awake in the dead of night – trying to catch her breath.


It was the best she had slept in months and the disturbance unnerved her. She was safe now, she reminded herself. At home with her mother, who had returned to their bungalow with a warm hug and radiant smile. She wasn’t in the Overworld or Underworld anymore. The Occult had been defeated, and the Head was dead. There was nothing to fear.


She could feel the softness of her pillows, the warmth of her blankets. She blinked her eyes open and heard it again.


The noise that had woken her.


It echoed through the hallways. It was not very loud, but the tone was instantly recognisable; it sounded like wailing – a familiar wailing – and Lily leapt from her bed. She knew those wails. It was the gnomes her father had left her. Guardians of the earth. They warned of danger.


She pulled a jacket on over her pyjamas. She didn’t have a weapon. She didn’t have Everett’s fighting ability, or Nate’s strength, or Prue’s visions, or Noah’s power, but she did have experience with Demons. She pulled on a jacket and padded out into the hallway. Her mother’s room was on the other side of the bungalow, but she could see and hear no movement. The bungalow itself was still and quiet.


The noise was coming from outside – the high cries of alarm.


The last time she had heard such a noise from the gnomes was they warned her and the others of a bounty hunter attack – back when they had been on the run from the Occult.


“Mom?” she hissed. “Is that you?”


There was no reply. The gnomes continued to cry, and she knew the sound was coming from the garden.


 She crept through the hallway, hands shaking. She could hear her own ragged breathing and took a moment to try and control her mounting panic.


 She was not afraid of the gnarly gnomes.


 Striding determinedly into the kitchen, she searched quickly and quietly for a weapon. She had learned a lot from Everett. A weapon was a necessity.


She picked her largest cooking knife. She didn’t really know how to wield such weapons, but it hardly mattered. She hoped it would be enough of a warning to make anyone think twice. Unless it wasn’t a person – unless it was a thing.


 She shivered at the thought.

           

“It’s ok,” she told herself, with determination. “Let’s go.”

           

Lily pulled on her boots and creaked open the door. A gust of wind hit her in the face. The days were growing long and the air colder. It was frosty, suddenly – as though all the warmth in the bungalow was being sucked away. She had felt a familiar sensation before when she faced the shadows leading to the Underworld, not far from the bungalow. It made the hair on her neck stand up in warning.


Before, she might have run back to her mother. She might have cried. She might have fled. She was a different person now. Stronger and braver.


 She pressed on instead.


The light in the bungalow stretched out the door and into the garden.


 Despite her attempts to cultivate it, it was still barren. The ground was dry and dusty. She had planted potted plants instead, but she looked closely and realised with a jolt that they had died. They had been alive only a few weeks before and there was no shortage of rain.


Lily could see the gnomes at the far corners of the garden, guarding the fences. Their stone faces were contorting with panic and Lily’s fingers gripped tighter on the knife.

           

“What is it?” she hissed to the gnomes, knowing they could not answer her. “Is something here?”


The only light was from the bungalow, and it suddenly seemed far away. She looked back it at, desperate to be inside its light and warmth, but she could not go back. She could not allow anyone or anything to threaten her mother – not when she had just gotten home safe and sound after so long apart from her.

 

She closed the remaining distance to the gnomes, and they screeched higher. She clutched one hand over her ear, trying to dim the ringing.


Her hands were freezing, and the knife was shaking. Why was it so cold?


Feeling a pool of dread spread up her spine, she struck a boot into the fence and launched herself upwards, trying to see over the wooden beams. It was like smacking her head against a brick wall! She had collided with something invisible. A blackness – a dark spirit. It blinded her, it deafened her, and she tried to scream, but it was robbed from her throat. She stumbled back and dropped the knife.


It was the last thing she remembered.


***


Lily saw darkness.


When she came back to herself, she was sat on the porch of her bungalow garden. Yet, there was no sign of her mother or the snarling gnomes. Bright, glorious sunlight was streaming down on her. Beneath her feet was fresh grass – back when the bungalow could grow vegetation in the garden. Back when the Underworld’s influence was weaker. She was surrounded by flowers and vegetables her mother had planted long ago.


Lily was a girl again, not more than ten-years old, with curly black hair and wearing a white sundress. Prue, her closest friend, a User who possessed visionary powers, was sitting beside her on the steps, with her slick dark hair plaited back. She was wearing a purple shirt and shorts. She leant over the stone steps, with a pencil case full of coloured pens and paintbrushes. She was doodling onto some paper, concentrating hard – a line forming between her little eyebrows.


Lily should have felt alarm at the sight of young Prue, because something was wrong, but she felt relieved. She felt safe. Prue would help her.


“Do you like my new paints?” asked Prue, holding them up for her with small white hands. She looked proud of herself.


“I like the colours,” said Lily, with an enthusiastic smile, the words leaving her lips without thought. “Maybe you can paint me!”


“I’ve drawn Everett, see,” said Prue, waving in the air a piece of paper with Everett, her little brother, scrawled on it. He had bright blue eyes. “And this is his friend.”


“Noah,” said Lily, instinctively.


She might look like a child, but she remembered everything.


She remembered Noah, the User with telekinesis who had betrayed their trust. She remembered Nate, the son of the Vulcan, who had helped them. She remembered the Overworld decimated, and the Occult finished. She remembered her mother coming back to the bungalow. She remembered the feeling of darkness that pulled her into the garden. She remembered touching it – and the sensation of being sucked into a deep, dark hole.

Where was she now?


At least Prue was at her side – the presence warm and welcoming. She was somewhere familiar. Somewhere safe.


“Where am I?” Lily asked, insistently.  


“Inside,” said Prue.


“My mind?” Lily confirmed.


“And your spirit,” said Prue.


“And what are you?” Lily asked. “A ghost?”


“A memory,” replied Prue.


There was a gust of wind and Lily looked up. There were clouds in the distance. They were rolling through the sky, crackling with mounting energy. She could feel it racing up her spine and across her skin. Was this what it felt like to have magic? Was that what it felt like?


“Do you see that?” asked Lily, in awe.


It felt powerful, but also dark. It settled deep in her stomach. It was dread.


“I don’t see anything,” said little Prue, squinting into the sky. She looked back down at her paper then and began to draw. Her hands were moving quickly now, fully absorbed in her art. The drawings were scratchy, the faces contorted. It looked like wings.


“Darkness,” said Lily, her hands shaking. She stumbled back, but she did not run. “It’s coming.”


She felt it. It was turning cold. The darkness was spreading.


“It’s just rainclouds,” said Prue, dismissively.


Lily hesitated, torn between stepping forward, towards the lightning and thunder, and back, into Prue’s side. She watched it rumble, mesmerised – she could feel it pulling her in.


“I’m going to have a look,” she announced.


She couldn’t stop herself. It was drawing her closer. Calling to her on the wind. 


“Don’t go there,” said Prue, and for the first time, she sounded frightened. Her childlike eyes were wide and too knowing. She had known too much, even then. “You’re going to get lost.”


“Don’t worry,” said Lily, edging closer.


The wind was whipping around her – strong now – but Prue seemed unaffected by its claws. Lily, however, was consumed by it. Coldness was seeping into her skin, spreading towards her heart.


“I won’t be able to find you,” called Prue. She lunged for her arm, trying to pull her back, into the bungalow, but she could no longer reach her.


The darkness was sweeping over her, all-consuming.


She was beginning to lose sight of Prue. The bungalow was fading. The grass beneath her feet vanished. She screamed, but the noise was snatched from her throat.

She was crying into a void.


To be continued...


If you enjoyed, then you can pre-order here: The Queen of the Underworld


Lauren Louise Hazel x

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