Richard Harland - Ferren and the White Doctor

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Selected Extracts


Doctor Saniette Marches In


Miriael was now awake. 'What is it, Kiet?'

Kiet turned to appeal to her. 'Something coming! I don't know what! Out there!'

She gestured frantically towards the side of the overbridge. In the next moment, there was a flash of yellow robe as Miriael hurried past. Ferren shook himself and rose on one elbow.

'You too!' yelled Kiet.

She seized him by the hand and dragged him upright. Then propelled him forward from behind.

'Move! Move!'

Ferren was still struggling to understand. 'Did you follow us? Is that what you did?'

Kiet kept driving him forward. She didn't bother to reply. He staggered out beyond the pylons.

'There!' she cried.

Then he saw. It was an ominous cloud of dust in the distance. It was approaching along and beside the overbridge. Huge black shapes of machinery loomed through the cloud.

'Must be the Humen,' muttered Miriael grimly. 'Get back. Out of sight.'

They retreated behind the shelter of the pylons.

'I was sleeping close by,' Kiet explained. 'The vibrations woke me up.'

'It's a Humen army,' said Miriael. 'But not like anything I ever saw before. Some of those machines are gigantic.'

Ferren was finally fully awake. 'What do we do?'

'Run?' suggested Kiet.

But there was no cover on the bare glazed plain. They would be clearly visible as soon as they left the shelter of the overbridge.

'No, we'll stay and hide here,' said Miriael. She raised her eyes to the deck of the overbridge, like a dark roof high overhead. 'Up in the struts and girders.'

Kiet shuddered. 'And let them roll right over us?'

'As long as they don't see us, we'll survive.'

She led the way to the nearest pylon. She leaped up onto the concrete base and began to scale the massive iron pier. Kiet and Ferren followed. It wasn't a difficult climb, thanks to the many projecting bolt-heads.

Twenty metres above the ground, they swung off the pylon and onto the underframe supporting the main deck. It was a strange dim world, a crisscross forest of struts and girders. The slatted plates of the roadway were directly above them. They had to bend and crouch to keep from hitting their heads.

Then Miriael looked down - and gasped.

'Our packs!'

Ferren and Miriael had used their packs as pillows during the night. The packs still lay on the ground between the concrete blocks.

'They'll be seen!' cried Ferren. 'I'll get them!'

In an instant, he was back at the pylon and shinning down as fast as he could go.

The army had advanced with amazing speed. The front row of machines was now only a few hundred metres away. They made a thunderous sound, a rumble of innumerable wheels and engines.

Half-sliding and scraping his chest on the bolts, he dropped to the concrete block. Then turned and jumped down to the ground. The glazed surface thrummed under his feet.

He snatched up the packs and slung the straps round his neck. He had to keep his hands free for climbing. But the packs hung down awkwardly at his sides.

Crack! Crack! Crack!

Sharp sounds rang out like shots. He stared and saw the glazed surface breaking up under the vibrations. Small chips flew high in the air, zinging in all directions.

He clambered back onto the concrete block. The front row of machines seemed to be racing towards him. They rose up from the ground as high as the top of the overbridge.

He began to climb. But the packs hindered his movements and slowed him down. Desperately he fought his way up from bolt-head to bolt-head. Twice he almost lost his grip. He willed himself not to panic.

He reached the underframe just in time. In the next moment, the machines came surging past. They moved in a tidal wave of their own dust. Ferren watched from behind the outer struts and girders.

The machines in the first row were huge cylindrical shapes shrouded in black material. They were mounted on roller-bogies, each pulled by three or four snub-nosed traction engines. The engines gave out terrible screechings and roarings, like animals in pain.

'Ferren! Quickly!'

It was Miriael and Kiet calling. They had started to come across to him, arms reaching to pull him in. He waved them back, turned away from the side of the overbridge. He made his way through the underframe and joined them in the middle.

'Get a safe hold!' shouted Miriael.

The vehicles coming along the roadway were almost on top of them. Loose dirt and flakes rained down from the slatted plates. All around, the stressed metal squealed under the strain.

They took up positions on the widest girders, arms wrapped around the most solid struts. The din was earsplitting. Booming and clanking, grating and grinding . . .

Everything was going blurry around the edges. They looked at one another, faces white and clenched. Even their faces were going blurry around the edges.

Closer and closer and closer. The pounding and battering seemed to beat directly onto their skulls. Their teeth rattled.

And then the slats in the plates went dark. Mighty wheels and caterpillar tracks passed over inches above their heads. They prayed and hung on.


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Ferren and the Angel

Ferren & the Angel


Ferren and the White Doctor

Ferren & the White Doctor


Ferren and the Invasion of Heaven

Ferren & the Invasion of Heaven


Ferren's World

Ferren's World


About Angels

About Angels



Extracts from the Second book in the Heaven & Earth Trilogy...
The City of the Dead ... Asmodai Appears to Miriael ... Kiet Dances with Ferren ...
Doctor Saniette Marches In ... The War against the Seagulls ...


Read extracts from the first novel, Ferren and the Angel
or the third novel, Ferren and the Invasion of Heaven




- Ferren Home - Ferren and the Angel - Ferren and the White Doctor - Ferren and the Invasion of Heaven -

The FERREN series is published by Penguin Books Australia




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1997 - 2015

Richard Harland.