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Apr 20, 2013


An old man wanders into the desert, a sack of bulbs and plant cuttings on his back. He is looking for a place to end his days, somewhere away from his fellow man where, in isolation, he can build the most magnificent of gardens.

The desert is a haunting place - windswept and barren, lonely and brutal. Animals come here to die, collapsing on the arid soil to bake beneath the fiery orb of the sun.

When the old man finds a gigantic crater, and divines the presence of underground water nearby, he know that he has found the place to build his Eden.

He fills the crater with water to create a lake and digs irrigation channels deep into the desert. He kills the sickly animals and bleeds them into the ground. Fed and watered, the ground slowly changes, and one day the old man wakes to find a tiny red flower growing in the sand.

It has begun.

But Eden's are always flawed. One day, something terrible falls from the sky and lands in the lake, an abomination of nature that threatens the balance of the new ecosystem.

The old man can learn to live with the Lake Beast, but something far more terrible is coming.... the Ruiner.

The animals will flee before it in terror.
The garden will be awash with blood.

A horror story unlike anything you have read before.

Apr 20, 2013

Informazioni sull'autore

Steve Roach is a UK based author working in the travel writing, fiction and children's book genres. Steve's travel books are light-hearted and fun, covering such diverse journeys as a 3 month road trip around North America, a grand tour of Europe in a VW Campervan, a grand tour of Scotland in a campervan and a month long cycling trip through France from Cherbourg to Perpignan. Steve's fiction is an altogether different prospect, aiming to take the reader to some very dark places. Frequently bordering on horror, these novellas and short stories involve intense research to really bring the subject matter to life. Finally, Steve also writes children's books, in collaboration with artist Simon Schild.

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Ruiner - Steve Roach


Published by Steve Roach at Smashwords

© Steve Roach 2013

The right of Steve Roach to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted in accordance with Section 77 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.

No part of this book may be reproduced or distributed in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, or stored in a database or retrieval system, without prior written consent from the author.

Smashwords Edition, License Notes

This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold. If you would like to share this book, simply tell your friends to download it for free at Smashwords. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.


Part One – The Oasis of Death

Part Two – The Lake Beast

Part Three – The Oasis of Life

Part Four - Opal

Part Five - Ruiner

Part Six - Family

Part Seven – End of Days



There is a place where the animals go to die. It is a desolate, windswept desert, a vast tract of emptiness that stretches out to all horizons. Scale has lost all meaning. A man is but an ant, crawling over immense plateaus, a speck of mortality to be crushed under the weight of the sky.

Here, Gods could walk the Earth in obscurity, never to be found.

The sun beats down without mercy. Liquid has vanished almost completely, remaining underground and deep in the cores of hardy cacti, scattered about at random. Nothing, apart from these barbed and savage looking plants, manages to live here very long.

Every day the animals come, converging on the desert for their final journeys. Paws are burned on the hot, sandy earth. Throats are raked by the arid air. They collapse, and flesh is seared on the shifting sand.

Brains boil in skulls.

Carcasses bake.

Rib cages, bleached by the sun, stab towards the heavens.

The landscape, then, is not quite as empty as first thought. There are cacti, and there are bones, and sometimes a beast caught in the final throes of death.

Deep in the heart of the desert lies a crater. Countless millions of years ago, some nameless chunk of meteoric rock came smashing down onto the Earth before bouncing back out into the void of space. Nothing more than a pock-mark in the greater scheme of things, here it is enormous, the most significant landmark around. From the ground, it cannot be seen. Many times an animal of some sort has wandered over the lip of the crater in a daze, and their last act on Earth is an acrobatic display of tumbling limbs and fur. Once inside, there is no escape.

The sounds of the desert are elemental and haunting. Beasts howl in despair. Bones crack in the heat, and flesh sizzles in the sun. Sometimes, as a macabre percussion, soft explosions can be heard as expanding gases split the skins of the dead. Over this, eerie and mournful, comes the voice of the wind. It blows across the desert, it rides the shifting dunes with a peculiar sigh. It blows about the carcasses, ruffling fur and caressing bone.

There is the sound of the desert itself, the almost imperceptible grinding of billions of grains of sand, perpetually reshaping the lonely view.

Though vast and empty, though bleak and almost lifeless, many things happen in the desert if one looks closely enough, if one tunes into the slow cycles that have built up through the ages. Over thousands of years things do not alter much, but there is change of a kind. The desert moves around, like a beast turning slowly in the depths of slumber. Bones are covered up for centuries and then revealed again; Cacti die and new ones slowly grow.

Inhospitable and barren, nothing ever truly lives here. Humans have never stayed longer than the time it takes to cross, and such visits are rare. No-one can stand the relentless discomfort and isolation, the dreadful emptiness.

Until, that is, the old man arrived.


His sandals made tracks that disappeared almost as quickly as they were set down, as though the old man were nothing more than a ghost. He stopped and turned, and watched as the last few prints were rubbed out. Soon he was standing with no trace as to his arrival.

Jet black eyes glittered in the sunlight, and looked out on the vastness with a certain understanding.

A sack was slung across his back, bulging with the various bits and pieces collected on his travels. At just under a half the size of himself, the sack looked like a dismal burden, yet the old man stood tall, oblivious to its weight. It did not make him stoop, it did not slow him down, yet everything he needed to see him through his final years was wrapped up tightly inside it.

He sniffed the air and moved on, making new tracks. His tongue licked at dry lips. The old man was thirsty. Those eyes searched out a cactus and in minutes he was upon one, lifting aside his brown robe to pull out a dagger. He stabbed at the plant, a foot from the base, and turned the blade in a clockwise motion before withdrawing it. Then, as the seconds passed and nothing happened, he slowly rummaged through the sack for his wooden goblet. Patiently he crouched, and watched as a single droplet of liquid oozed from the hole, watched as the leak became a trickle, and placed the goblet beneath to catch the short and sudden torrent.

Four cupfuls he drank, and the flow stopped on the fifth. He could see there were more of these cacti about, and the sight pleased him.

He walked on through the heat, comfortable with the raging temperatures, at ease with the gusts of wind that threw great curtains of sand in his direction. Nothing interfered with his steady pace for over an hour, until he found the zebra.

Barely conscious, it couldn't even lift its head at the old man's approach, merely rolled an eye in its socket and gave a feeble flick of its tail.

‘Now, now,’ said the old man, taken aback at the depth of his own voice. It had been months since he'd last needed to speak. He moved closer, and placed a gentle hand on the zebra's muzzle. As if understanding, the creature closed its eyes and let the hand stroke. In this way it died.

When he next looked up, the sky was tinged with a darkness, the breeze that slight touch cooler. Evening was coming. The Earth was turning in its orbit, approaching the great divide between day and night. He was thirsty again, and strode to another cactus to drink and contemplate the subject of shelter. He liked this place, and knew that he would sleep well whilst he was here.

The sunset was glorious.

The sun fell behind the horizon, dragging a plethora of colours behind it. The old man stood and watched, hands on hips, the sack by his feet. To one side, an upturned ribcage glowed in the changing light. High above, the sky turned to fire, a molten sheet of yellows, oranges and reds flecked with blue and green. Behind, the other end of the spectrum brought the darkness, dragged it across the heavens in a perpetual bid to snuff out the sun. Red turned to purple and the desert shimmered like a strange and sandy ocean. Things winked and sparkled, reflected and shone. Then the colours were soaked up by the night, like water being sucked into a sponge to leave no trace, and everything went black.

The stars sprang from the darkness.

If a man felt small within the vastness of the desert, here under the burning stars he would feel microscopic. The heavens were

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