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I'm Stephen Simpson, author of young adult horror fiction, and I love writing all kinds of scary horror stories.

I am writing book 2 in the Triple Six series and I post a new chapter every Wednesday!


Read as I write 666 Pestilence (Book 2)
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666 Pestilence is an enthralling Christian dystopian horror novel, perfect for readers aged 13 and older, that will take you on a heart-pounding journey through a world plagued by darkness and the relentless pursuit of hope.

In this thrilling sequel, Lydia returns to face new challenges in a world on the brink of collapse. As the last days unfold, difficult times descend upon humanity. Lydia and Liam, seeking refuge and safety, are forced to go into hiding as the government relentlessly hunts them down. With surveillance cameras monitoring every street corner, evading capture becomes a perilous task, made even more challenging by the requirement of the barcode—a symbol of control and submission.

Just when all hope seems lost, Giovanni emerges as a potential saviour. But can Lydia truly trust him?

As the consequences of their explosive actions unfold, a sinister force spreads throughout Colony Delta. The data center's destruction has unleashed a strange sickness upon everyone bearing the barcode, a sickness that threatens their very existence.

A tale of relentless suspense, exploring the depths of human resilience in the face of darkness. 

The night sky was filled with an orange glow from the flames that engulfed the data centre. Bits of ash fluttered down to the ground in slow, lazy twirls and lay on the ground for a little while before being absorbed into the cold wetness of the compact snow beneath her feet.

Lydia remembered Liam.

She was supposed to get help for him, but she was side-tracked by the sight of the burning building.

She could not understand her fascination with the fire. The way the orange and yellow blended together as if in perfect harmony, eating away at the building like little ravenous monsters. She felt happiness when she looked at it because she knew that now everything was going to go back to the way it was before everyone had to get the barcode. Her dad would still be dead, though, but she could go home and be with her mum. At last, they would be able to go to her dad’s graveside and say goodbye properly, something she did not yet realise she needed to do.

She turned to Shaun. “Liam. You must help me get Liam. He’s been shot.”

Shaun gave her a concerned look. “Where is he?”

She looked over her shoulder. “Back there in the field.” She started to limp-run in that direction and Shaun followed her.

At first, she could not remember where she had left him, and she started to feel a pain in her stomach as panic slowly filled her. “Liam! Liam?” she called. Her eyes darting from left to right.

She almost ran straight past him when she heard his moan. It was a soft sound. The crackle of the fire was louder. “Liam?” She fell on her knees beside him, and the wet snow made two grooves under her knees as she slid closer to him. “Are you okay?” It was a silly question, but she had to know. She had left him out here, in the cold, for far too long.

Shaun dropped down onto his knees on the opposite side. “Hey, Liam, where were you shot.”

Liam groaned, “My leg.”

Shaun moved to look at his leg, patting his calves to feel where the wound was because the lighting was dim, and the fire was starting to burn itself out. He looked up at Lydia. “Do you still have a flashlight?”

Lydia shook her head.

“I can’t see a thing. I’m going to have to carry him closer to the building so that we can see what the damage is.”

Liam shook his head. “No. Not the building. It’s too dangerous.”

Lydia agreed, “He’s right. They’re probably looking for us and we are all going to be going to jail if they catch us.”

Shaun sat back and looked around. “Okay. We’ll carry him to that clump of bushes over there.” He pointed with his finger and Lydia looked in that direction.

She nodded. “And then?”

“Then, I’m going to see if we can borrow a car, like Mandy likes to say, while you stay with Liam. We’re going to have to keep him warm, he looks like he’s going into shock. Are his lips going blue?”

Lydia looked closer at Liam, but the light was too faint for her to see the colour of his lips. She shrugged. “I can’t really see anything.”

“Okay. Help me lift him,” Shaun said as he started to get up. Lydia stood up and felt the wet material of her pants pull at the skin of her knees. Shaun put one leg on either side of Liam and leaned down to push his forearms in under Liam’s arms. With a grunt he lifted Liam off the ground and shuffled back slowly until he had Liam standing unsteadily on his own two feet but leaning back against Shaun. “Here, let him lean against you, while I lift him.”

Lydia stood in front of Liam, and almost fell over backwards when the full brunt of Liam’s weight suddenly pushed against her. She steadied herself and held him up straight. She whispered softly, close to his ear, “I am so sorry I left you here so long.”

Shaun moved around, and awkwardly he pushed his body in between Lydia and Liam. He bent down a little, until Liam was leaning over his shoulder and then with a groan, he lifted him. He gripped tightly onto Liam’s thighs, when his left hand squished into a cold, sticky substance.

Liam yelled out in pain.

Shaun said, “Found the wound.”

Liam mumbled something unintelligible.

“Walk in front of me, so that I don’t stumble or fall over debris or something that might have fallen from the building. If we fall now, I doubt I’ll have the strength to get us both back up again.”

Lydia walked ahead to show him the way, and he followed in her footsteps. It was easier to keep his head down because Liam’s weight was mostly resting on his upper shoulders and neck.

Just as Shaun thought there was no way he could take one more step, Lydia said, “Okay. I think it’ll be safe to let him down here.”

Shaun started to let Liam down.

“Don’t let him down all the way. The ground is too cold, and I’ll keep him up while you go get us a car.” She pointed to the other side of the large shoulder height bush next to them. “Look. The road is just on the other side of this, so if you stop there, I’ll get him through.”

“Are you sure you can manage. I’m not sure how long it’ll take.”

“I’m sure. Just be quick.”

Lydia steadied herself, as Shaun leaned Liam against her.

“I won’t be long,” he said as he sprinted away.

Lydia wrapped her arms around Liam’s shoulders, trying to keep him warm as best she could. “You’ll be okay. Just hang in there. Don’t you go leaving me now, because you know I’ll be lost without you, especially now in this new crazy world we’ve been forced to live in.”

She looked at the soldiers milling around. They seemed to be moving strangely, as if they were disorientated and drunk. It looked as if they all had come from a big party where they had hopelessly too much alcohol to drink. Some of them were talking and screaming, but the sounds that left their mouths were slurred. Some of them were acting as if they were seeing things that weren’t there, ducking and hiding under their arms as if birds or something only they could see were attacking them from the sky.

She murmured, “You better hang in there because this is getting weirder and weirder by the minute.”

Bright lights illuminated them, and Lydia squinted her eyes against the dazzling glare. She could not crouch down to hide behind the bushes beside her, because it would be too difficult to squat while trying to hold Liam upright. As it was her ankle was aching. If it had a voice, it would be screaming in a high-pitched tone of agony. She had to ignore the pain. It was hard but she just had to. Now was not the time to be thinking about herself. She needed to keep Liam safe, if it was the last thing she did.

Snowflakes were flurrying around them, and Lydia was wondering how long it would take for Shaun to find a car and get back to them. She prayed a quick prayer in case there was someone listening who could help them, “Please don’t let Shaun get caught. Please help us get out of here.”

She jumped in her skin when at that precise moment a figure appeared at the side of the bushes. She could not make out who it was because the vivid lights that were illuminating her and Liam were shining from behind the dark figure. She said, in a voice that sounded braver than she felt, “I have a gun. Don’t you dare come any closer,” she lied.

“It’s me,” Shaun said in a soft voice. “Don’t shoot.”

“You gave me such a fright! You know I don’t even have a gun.”

“I thought you’d come when you saw the headlights.”

“That’s you?”

“Yeah. Come, let’s go.” He stooped down to lift Liam over his shoulders.

“No,” Lydia said. “Let’s carry him between the two of us. It would be quicker that way.”

Shaun took Liam’s weight off her and pulled Liam’s arm across his shoulders. Lydia bend down and manoeuvred herself in between Liam’s other arm and his body until his arm was draped over her shoulders. Together they managed to get Liam to the car.

With his free arm, Shaun pulled open the back of the Military Jeep, and with a grunt lifted Liam up into the backseat. Lydia climbed in and pulled Liam across the seat so that he was lying down as comfortable as she could get him. She pulled her jumper off and tore the arm off at the seam. She bundled the rest of the jersey and placed it on top of his leg where it looked as if his wound was bleeding the most, then she tied the arm around his leg as tightly as she could. She moved past him and sat down on the seat, lifting his head so that it rested on her leg.

Shaun asked, “Is he still alive?”

“Of course, he is. He’s just blacked out. Wouldn’t you?”

A voice yelled, “There they are!”

Shaun slammed the door shut and ran around to the driver side of the car. He had left the engine running, and as soon as he had pulled his door shut, he changed the gears from neutral to first. The gears scraped loudly. “This clutch takes very low. I’m not used to it.”

Lydia was starting to panic. “Just get going!”

The tyres squealed as he pulled away. A loud bang echoed from the back of the Jeep. Lydia turned her head to look and saw Jodie running beside the car.

He was hitting his fist against the side window. He looked her in the eyes and if looks could kill, Lydia would be dead. He looked murderous. Dark red streaks were running down the side of his face. His blonde hair was matted with a dark red substance Lydia did not want to think about.

Shaun sped up, but Lydia could not look away from Jodie. He yelled at her, “I will find you. No matter where you go, I will find you.”

Shaun took a sharp turn and drove through the barrier gate at the gate house. Splitters of wood flew through the air on both sides of the vehicle. A piece of metal must have gotten stuck somewhere underneath the car because a loud scraping noise followed them down the road.

Shaun swerved wildly to miss two bodies lying in the road. It looked as if they were reaching out to each other.

Shaun started saying, “Don’t lo…”

“Is that…”

“Yes. I think it is. And was that the car Giovanni borrowed to get us here?”

Lydia looked at the large pieces of metal and car parts littering the narrow road. “I think it was. What happened here?”

“Whatever it was, it was bad.”

Shaun was swerving from left to right to avoid the clutter, making the vehicle slip and slide on the icy road a few times. They bounced over something, and with a clutter the scraping noise that was following them was gone.

“Thank goodness, that noise would have driven me crazy.”

“The road ahead is clear, so the worst is over now,” Shaun told her. In the distance, the night sky reflected blue and red strobe lights. “The police and fire brigade are on its way, it looks like.”

“I feel bad that we left Giovanni and Mandy behind,” Lydia said. “Do you really think it was Mark and Natasha back there? In the road?”

Shaun looked back at Lydia in the rear-view mirror. Their eyes connected as he gave her a small nod. “It was.”

Liam moaned softly. “What’s going on?”

“We’re leaving the data centre and we are trying to get you to a safe place so that we can have a proper look at your leg. At least you’re not bleeding anymore,” she told him.

Shaun glanced across his shoulder. “Keep your leg elevated, though. It will help to stop the blood flow.”

Lydia felt a pang of guilt in her gut.

Liam murmured, “I’m so thirsty.”

“We don’t have any water with us. Could you hang on for a bit. We can stop at the nearest shop to get you a bottle. It won’t be long.”

Liam started to wiggle about.

“You must stay still, Liam. You don’t want your wound to start bleeding worse.”

“Are his lips still blue,” Shaun asked, glancing back in the rear-view mirror to look at Lydia.

Lydia looked down at Liam’s face where it was resting on her leg. “No. Thank goodness.”

“He’s probably just being restless because of shock.”

“Probably,” Lydia agreed.

“There’s a shop. Should I stop?”

Liam croaked, “Please… So thirsty.”

Shaun pulled into a parking bay, and then turned in his seat to look at Lydia. “Do you want anything? Something to eat?”

Lydia shook her head. “I am starving but until we’ve sorted Liam out, I doubt I’ll be able to eat anything.”

“I’ll get something anyway for later. I’ll see what they have.”

“Okay,” Lydia said as he got out of the vehicle.

Shaun pulled his beanie low over his forehead and pushed his hands deep into his pockets. He huddled forward a little against the cold, frigid wind blowing across the parking lot. When he reached the shop entrance, the doors opened and a hot blast of air blew over him, warming his skin instantly.

He started at the one side of the shop to walk through the aisles to see if he could find anything they could eat that did not have to be reheated. As he turned the corner of an aisle, he glanced over at the checkout area, and saw the cashier lift a scanning wand up to the woman who was standing in front of her. He stopped in his tracks. He forgot all about having a bar code to be able to buy anything.

As the cashier was scanning the woman’s barcode, she shook the wand up and down in her hand making her body jerk from side to side while she slurred to the woman on the other side of the counter, “These things have been giving us problems all night long. You’d think the government will make sure everything works the right way before they make us use it.”

The shopper’s head kept jerking to the side.

In an instant, the lopsided smile on the cashier’s face disappeared and she yelled at the shopper, “Maybe if you stood still. Keep your head still or otherwise you must leave without your stuff.”

From where he stood, Shaun could see her spittle rain over the woman across from her.

Surely, the bar codes were not working anymore now that the data centre was blown up. He wondered if there were back-up data centres. As far as he knew, there was only the one.

He walked back around to the aisle he started in and grabbed a few candy bars, and three packets of crisps. He bent down, pretending to look at something on the lower shelf and pushed it in at the top of his padded jacket. Casually he strolled over to the wall of fridges on the other side of the shop, praying all the while that the two women in the front of the shop would continue to not notice him, and that no one else would come in while he was still in here. At the fridge, he pulled three bottles of water from the shelf, and let the door swing shut slowly. He pretended to look at the biscuits which were out of sight of the cashier, and pushed the bottles up his sleeves, one at a time.

He started walking toward the door and his eyes were focussed on his exit, he could not be distracted.

Suddenly there was a loud cracking sound, and he froze in his footsteps. He looked over at the checkout where he thought the cashier was coming after him but saw her straddling the shopper and hitting her hard on the forehead with the scanner. Blood was spraying in an arc across her head and onto the glass display window behind her and on the roof above her every time she lifted it up high and brought it back down again.

Shaun ran as fast as he could back to the car, and as he ran, he pulled the water bottles from his sleeves. He jerked the door open and threw the bottles across to the passenger seat before he climbed up into the driver seat.

He pulled the door shut and started the engine. Within seconds he was back on the main road. “Everyone has gone crazy,” he muttered.

“Who?” Lydia asked.

He jumped with fright. He had forgotten she was there. “I think when we blew up the data centre, we switched everyone’s brains off.”

“What do you mean?”

“There were two women in the shop, and they were… I don’t know what to call it. They were talking but I don’t think they knew what they were saying. Then the cashier jumped onto the other woman and hit her with the scanner until she had no face.”

Liam asked with a croaky voice, “Did you get water?”

Shaun leaned over and pulled a plastic bottle closer and then held it over his shoulder for Lydia to take.

Lydia gasped as she took the bottle from him. “I forgot that they would have had to scan you so that you can get these.”

Shaun laughed a cynical sound. “Yeah. We thought everything will just go back to normal.”

Lydia helped Liam to sit up a little and held the opened bottle of water in front of his lips. “Little sips only,” she said to Liam, and then to Shaun. “When I was waiting for you at the data centre, I noticed the soldiers looked very disorientated. It’s as if when they lost their connection, they lost their minds.”


Read as I write 666 Pestilence (Book 2)
Join the community
Tell me if I'm losing the plot
Cheer me on (always appreciated!)


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Your name mentioned in future published book(s)
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