Next Spring, Emmy award-winning TV writer David Quantick returns with his second novel Night Train, a sci-fi/horror that thrusts readers onto a – you guessed it – train full of odd characters and even stranger creatures. A woman, suffering from amnesia, must make her way carriage-by-carriage to try and stop this nightmarish locomotive whose destination is entirely unknown.
“A woman wakes up, frightened and alone. The room shaking and jumping like it’s alive. The noise is terrifying. Where is she? Stumbling through a door, she realizes she is on a train carriage. A carriage full of the dead. A personal hell unfolding in an apocalyptic future.“
This is NIGHT TRAIN. A terrifying ride set on a driverless locomotive, heading for a collision somewhere in the endless night. How did the woman get here? Who is she? And who are the dead?
As our heroine makes her way through the train trying to find out what happened to her, she meets a former strongman, a trained killer, and a collection of strange and terrifying creatures. Each step takes her closer to finding out the secret of the Night Train.“
Below is the exclusive cover reveal as well as an excerpt from the novel, which is set to come out April 21, 2020 in the US and UK via Titan Books.
Night. Blackness, anyway. Darkness. No light. Nothing. Just night.
Then a thundering crash. A deafening noise, too much to bear. A huge, smashing shock to the ears.
Everything shaking. Walls, roof, floor.
Still no light.
She manages to move, somehow. She tries to stand. At once she is slammed back into the ground. She tries again, but it is as if the floor has its own gravity. This time at least she is thrown across the room. She hits the wall, which means she has found the wall. Now she can figure out the borders of her confinement.
Feeling her way along the wall, as she stumbles to her feet and is thrown down again, she marks the perimeter of the room she finds herself in. It is big, at least twice as wide as her length, taller than her – the shaking of the room is so violent that she doesn’t even try to reach for the ceiling, let alone try and touch it – and, as she is beginning to find out – much, much longer.
She makes her way along her wall in pitch blackness. Her eyes have adjusted to the dark, but as there is nothing but dark, she still cannot see anything. For a moment, she touches her eyes to make sure she still has eyes: it is a horrible, lurching moment, but right now anything is possible,
She finds a fingerhold in the wall. The darkness is total, and the noise around her is still a random crunching, roaring thunder, as if an ocean were pouring into every room of a house so she uses her remaining senses instead.
The wall she is touching is not cold. She feels along it with a finger. A snag, like a splinter. It might be wood.
She inhales. The air is metallic, oily, but there are other smells, more animal.
She decides to take stock of her situation. There are too many thoughts to process, so she starts with the basics.
Where is this?
What is it?
How did I get here?
How do I get out?
Another question comes into her mind. Even though it’s her question, it both surprises and frightens her.
Who am I?
Remembering things is easy, she thinks, you either remember them or you don’t. Nevertheless, she tries to remember, strains as though her memory is a physical thing like a muscle that she can make work. Nothing comes. She can only remember the last few minutes. If she tries to rewind her memory back any further than that, she hits a wall.
Nothing doing, she thinks, and decides to concentrate on some other basic questions. Where is this? seems like a good place to start. She begins to concentrate on her surroundings, which is far from easy, as her surroundings do not make it easy to concentrate, might even actually have been designed to make concentration impossible. All this needs is a death metal band playing in the background and it would be perfect, she thinks, and then wonders how it is she knows what a death metal band is yet cannot remember her own name.
Maybe whoever I am I just really like death metal, she thinks and, to her surprise, actually laughs. The laugh is immediately swallowed up in the hammering noise of the pitch-black room, which is now shaking like a skyscraper at the peak of an earthquake. She loses her grip and slides across the floor, slamming into the wall on the other side.
She decides to give up on standing up, and instead begins to crawl across the floor, sticking close to what feel like planks beneath her body. This is a slow but effective means of movement, and she is able to crawl forwards further than she is thrown backwards.
The noise, and the blackness continue. Whatever is causing them does not care, or probably even know, that she is there.
She makes her way towards she doesn’t know what, almost flush with the floor now, using the weight of her limbs and the roughness of her hands to try and grip the floor. Once she is thrown backwards half the length of the room, and once she even slams sideways into the wall again, but she is making some kind of progress.
And then, after what seems like hours, her finger touches the wall at the front of the room. She slips her fingernails in the cracks between the planks, the nearest she has to a handhold, and raises herself onto her knees. She waits for a moment in case the room throws her back across its floor, and then slowly gets to her feet. She begins to move sideways crab-fashion across the width of the wall.
If this is a room, she tells herself, it’s got a door. Every room has a door.
She doesn’t actually know if she believes this, but it is a good premise to act on. After a minute or two, she finds something on the wall. A raised piece of wood. She feels up and down and confirms that the wood is vertical. Hardly daring to hope, she reaches out to grip the almost-flush post. She has just managed to get a weak grip on what she presumes is a door frame when, with a gigantic crashing sound like a truck being dropped from the top of a building, the room shakes and convulses and she is thrown several meters back again.
I’m getting angry now, she thinks, and is pleased to discover that whoever she may be, she clearly isn’t the kind of person who gives up easily. Slowly she creeps her way back to the front of the room. With great care, she gets onto her feet, and once more feels for the doorframe. This time she manages to stand and is even able to reach up on tip toe and find the top of the frame. Her hands move hopefully across the wood in the middle of the frame and then – yes! she thinks – there is, incredibly, what feels like a handle in the middle of the door.
She holds onto the handle for a minute or two, more for reassurance than anything else. And then, when she feels that the room isn’t going to once more throw her back, she closes her eyes (why? I can’t see anything) and turns the handle.
At once she is blinded. A yellow light fills her eyes and renders them useless. When the blindness fades, she can see that she is in a doorway. She steps forward, and her foot meets air, cold air. The room is not connected to anything, but leads out to –
Another door. A door shaking like this one in its frame and suspended over something moving.
She looks down. In the glow of the yellow light, which she now realizes is a lamp suspended from the wall in front of her, all she can see below her are metal rails. The rails seem to be moving at an incredible speed, but of course she knows it’s not the rails that are moving. It’s her.
A train, she thinks. I’m on a train.