Don't Struggle (Sequel to Don't Scream)

Don't Struggle (Sequel to Don't Scream)

For Cassidy Hoskins and Eli Bensworth, their ordeal in the auditorium of Cliffton High School was only the beginning. This time, danger waits for them on the other side of the world.

P.S. I’m warning you right here and now. Any of you, anyone at all, dares copy my work as their own…I will personally send Rhonda Willis after you. In other words, DON’T STEAL MY STORY.

Read Book 1 of the series, Don't Scream, here:

Chapter 1


15 years prior to the events at Cliffton High...

New Barberton was both a small and trivial little village situated out on the outskirts of Finland. It could be considered a village, but really it was more like a bunch of small hotels clustered together. The only thing that distinguished it as a village was that it was a community.

Detective Chief Inspector Quintus Roberts was seated behind his desk in his office at the New Barberton police station. In his hands, he held a nice, warm mug of hot chocolate, complete with the addition of two soft, succulent marshmallows. He took a sip and sighed. The liquid warmed his insides delightfully, which was a beloved rarity given the atmospheric conditions of his home.

Someone rapped loudly on the door of his office and he heard Deputy Williams’ voice call out to him.

“Mr. Roberts! Mr. Roberts, great news!”

“Open the door, you nitwit!” Quintus spat.

The door swung open and Deputy Williams stepped over the threshold, his cheeks flushed red from both the extreme cold and the excitement of some revelation.

“What’s gotten you so excited, Deputy?” Quintus asked, thoroughly annoyed by the intrusion.

“It’s the Trialmaster. We’ve apprehended him,” Deputy Williams breathed.

It took a moment for this to sink in and when it did, Quintus sat up in his chair, his game face on, hardly daring to breathe.

“Are you serious?”

“Deadly serious, sir,” Deputy Williams said, grinning. “I made sure you got the honor of unmasking him. The butcher caught him. He was going after Mary Collins.”

“This is great news,” Quintus said, pulling his coat on and stepping out of the office.

In a few quick strides, Quintus was outside the station, Williams at his heels. A whole crowd of people had come from the village and gathered outside the police station to witness this momentous occasion. It was time for the Trialmaster’s unveiling and his punishment.

The butcher, a large heavy-set man who referred to himself only as Miller, was clutching the arm of the Trialmaster. The Trialmaster himself was a sturdily-built man dressed in a black Fedora, hat, trousers and boots, kneeling down in the snow and struggling to break free of the butcher’s vice-like grip. A black fabric mask covered his face, except his eyes, which were shielded behind tinted sunglasses.

“Well, well, well,” Quintus muttered, folding his arms as he regarded the Trialmaster. “You weren’t so invincible after all, were you?”

The Trialmaster tilted his head up to look at Quintus and Williams.

Slowly, not losing eye contact, Quintus walked over so he stood directly in front of the Trialmaster. His gloved hand made his way under the hem of the Trialmaster’s mask.

“It’s time for the village to see your true face,” Quintus breathed.

He tugged the mask off.

The villagers gathered around let out a brief gasp in unison as the first rays of Antarctic sunlight shone upon the Trialmaster’s face.

“Henry Sanchez,” Quintus breathed.

He heard Williams letting out his own gasp behind him. The butcher had released Henry, but the now unmasked Trialmaster made no attempt to run.

“Why did you do it? Why did you kill all those people?” Quintus demanded.

Henry raised his eyes to meet Quintus’.

“Why? Why?! Because they were weaklings! When I was younger, my whole village was overrun by bandits. They killed my family, my friends, everyone I ever knew! All dead! Executed before my very eyes! But I stayed strong. I managed to escape from my captors and I killed every last bandit in that forsaken place. I survived, when everyone else I knew didn’t. It was because I was strong,” Henry spat, clenching his fists. “The people I killed were cowards. They let themselves be manipulated by me. Putting them through my Trials was to make them strong!”

“I don’t care what you excuse is, you’re still a convicted murderer! You’ve torn apart families and turned people against one another! For these crimes, by the power invested in me, I sentence you to death,” Quintus spat.

He drew his .45 caliber gun and aimed it squarely at Henry’s forehead.

Henry smiled. “Go ahead. Shoot me. But mark my words. My legacy will live on.”

“What?” Quintus muttered, suddenly on edge again. “Live on? How will it live on?”

“Kill me and I will come back as a ghost. I will haunt your village again. You haven’t seen the last of me,” Henry muttered. “Your Trials aren’t over. I’ll be back.”

Before Quintus could do anything, Henry lunged over, grabbed Quintus’ arm and pushed Quintus’ finger down on the trigger.

Henry’s head jerked back as the bullet entered his forehead at point blank range. The Trialmaster shuddered violently, then collapsed onto the ground, blood pooling out of the hole in his forehead, tainting the dazzling white snow a dark crimson red.

And from within the crowd of gathered villagers, a small and young pair of eyes watched the whole scene.

“I swear it on your grave, Father. Your legacy will live on,” Jimmy Sanchez, aged 10, swore to himself.

He turned and left the crowd. No one saw him leave. The Sanchez’s house was empty that night.

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