{{ contest.story_page_sticky_bar_text }} Be the first to recommend this story.
Get Free Copy

100 free copies left

This novel is limited to 100 free copies due to its part in Inkitt’s Novel Contest.

0
Free copies left
You can choose from our best books below
Anthony Chiles would love your feedback! Got a few minutes to write a review?
Write a Review

Ava's Last Run

By Anthony Chiles All Rights Reserved ©

Fantasy / Drama

Chapter 1

Ava navigated through the crowd slowly, often slowing down or stopping altogether, to avoid touching anyone. She was tall and thin. Heavy bags rested under her eyes and she wore no makeup. Lip gloss was all she could muster that night. Her curly black hair was flat and unkempt. Ava wore a form fitting black dress that hugged her body but it made her feel like she was being touched by a stranger. She was much more comfortable in sweatpants and running shoes than a dress and high heels. She was constantly tugging and adjusting as she moved. To avoid eye contact, her gaze was fixated on the red, pink and teal that danced along the carpet in no particular pattern. She imagined how many drinks and bodily fluids had been spilled on this floor over the years and it made her sick to her stomach. But Ava’s discontent wasn’t only with the carpet, it was in the air. The cocktail of cheap perfume, liquor, cigarettes and lingering body odor overwhelmed her nostrils. A stench so invasive she could taste it.

Bright rings of light from above, the flashing of the slot machines and scrolling of the marquee blinded her as she continued to move through the crowd. In a moment of interrupted progress, as she stopped to let an eager gambler pass, she looked up to see a woman with a micro-skirt dancing on a platform. A drunk man was at the base of the platform smacking it with his hand and catcalling. He was swiftly yanked away by security.

“Where is he?” she whispered to herself with frustration. She thought about yelling out to him, but she knew it would be pointless. The music was so loud that she felt the rumbles of the bass vibrate her rib cage. Merged with the music was the collective chatter of hundreds of people. The incoherent noise of dozens of conversations at once reminded her of Tibetan monks at prayer.

But this was no holy place. To Ava, this was hell. She hated everything about it. With each passing second, Ava was getting increasingly ill by the sights and sounds. Thousands of thoughts splashed around in her head like a pool of piranha devouring a fresh kill. The only thought she could hold onto was to find Brad. If she could just find Brad it would be okay. She needed to feel okay, because intertwined with the thoughts were the voices. The bad voices. The voices whispering to go upstairs to her hotel room and down a bottle of sleeping pills. The voices commanding her to grab the gun of one of the security guards, fire it into the air and wait until a barrage of bullets came flying into her chest from the other guard on duty. The voices she could not silence. She had to keep telling herself, “No! Just find Brad, and everything will be okay.”

A hand on her shoulder startled her and she turned to see an overweight man wearing a loose fitting gray suit holding a beer bottle in his hand.

“Are you okay? I noticed you walking around then I saw you stop and stand here for like, five minutes,” he asked with genuine concern. Time would often escape Ava when her thoughts ran wild.

“I’m fine - fine.” she replied looking down at his feet. As she looked down, Ava noticed that her hands were shaking.

“Would you like a drink or some-”

“No, I’m fine!” she snapped at him. The man took a step back and held his hands up, his left palm showing and his right hand gripping his beer bottle with this thumb and index finger.

“My bad.” he replied, “I just know that this place, as full of energy and movement and people as it is, it can leave folks feeling empty. If you don’t mind me saying, you look a bit empty right now.”

“Why would you be here if you know that?” she inquired.

“It’s part of my job. I host parties for organizations and there is a convention this weekend and this was one of the party destinations. That’s why there are so many people on the casino floor.”

“Oh-” she looked around the room for the first time. She was stretching her neck to peer over the swarm of people.

“If you’re trying to find someone I’d suggest going up the escalator to the mezzanine. It’ll give you a better vantage point.” He pointed just over her left shoulder. She turned to see, turned back to the man and mumbled an incoherent thank you, then headed in that direction. Before she could take her first step toward the escalator the man called out, “You sure you’re ok? I’m not sure who you are looking for but it’s clear to me that they aren’t too concerned if they left you. If you need someone to talk or-”

“I’m fine. Thank you.” she said with obvious pain in her voice. She thought about the offer as she noticed the sincerity in his eyes. Ava hadn’t experienced the kindness of a stranger in quite a long time. But she believed that Brad was all she needed, so she flashed the man a forced smile, and proceeded toward the escalator.

Ava carefully slid through the crowd toward the escalator up to the mezzanine. “I’ll be fine. I just need to find Brad. I just can’t be alone. I can’t be alone. Not right now,” she talked to herself as her breathing became shallow. Once on the second floor, she looked down over the balcony and into the crowd and a gentle, internal voice whispered to her, “If you fall over, head first-” she shook her head and thought, “no, no, I have to find Brad.” She took a step away from the edge and looked out into the crowd hoping to spot him in the chaos. Hoping to find the one person she knew could bring her peace.

Continue Reading Next Chapter
Further Recommendations

Erin Crowley: The concept here is really strong, but the execution is definitely lacking. Tenses, grammar, etc are all off, with at least one or more errors per 'Page' on my phone. The writing style is almost broken- sentences move into each other awkwardly, and are filled with an excess of "filler words", lik...

makaylakay: I love love this story! It's written incredibly and well thought-out plot! I love how it's a different twist in fantasy fiction, other then the usual vampire or werewolves. Love the romantics and drawn to the two characters so much already! This book will draw you in within the first chapter and ...

maewilde25: I am so in love with this story!!! captivated me till the very end, there wasn't a dull moment. Didn't particularly enjoy the lay out and some bits of info was missing along with how a 21 year old man amassed so much wealth that needed to be explained other than that and a few spelling errors, th...

Alkira Joan: Great story, I found it hard to read especially the dialogue. You just need to fix up some spelling errors and the gramma .I enjoyed this book. was a little hard to get though.,.,..,.,.,,..,.,.,, , , , ,.,, , , , , , , ,., ,,.,,,,,

christylynnr5: This was beyond amazing! I loved this book. The characters seemed so real. It was amazing how the author let Zak and Kaylees personalities slowly change. This story was very sad and eye opening. It could teach some people a very worthy lesson. It was a great combination of romance, mystery, and a...

Felisa Yoder Osburn: I really enjoyed the story. Civil War stories are some of my favorites and the intertwining of the past with current times was wonderful. I look forward to reading the next stories.

minallie: One word, brilliant

Shreya Biswas: Finally god...... I was tired of Charissa doubting Frederick's love... yes.. All's well that ends well.... i was getting really downright agitated at the author because the suspense was held really well on how things will work out in the epilogue and i just wanted them to have a happy ending.. An...

Dessie Williams: loved the book. the plot the characters all just great.I think it's a must read. once you start this book it's hard to put down. hope it gets published....I think this book is a must read.great job!!!!

More Recommendations

spooky jedi: Love your story!I really hope more people read this story!Its amazing!! The plot is very unique and different, which is very good to have in a world full of stories. You have very complex and intellectual plot line, with your many loveable character and that hint of 'will they, won't they' is ju...

Lauren Sanby: This is an excellent story. Very gripping and keeps your attention throughout. Hoping the author is writing a sequel because I'd love to read more about Rhi and Andreas and find out what else Rhi is able to do with her powers.

izzymerchant: This book is truly special. The plot, the characters and the way the story flows is so engrossing and magical that I found it virtually impossible to put down. The character relationships were particularly fascinating and Melenthia's character was fascinating. Cannot wait to see what happens next!

brettylee: The narrative is slick yet punchy. Life, Family and Friends I believe is the core message so it’s easy to relate to. It’s surprisingly action packed. The author does a good job at keeping you guessing. Just when you think all is right, whack, the unexpected happens. The dialogue is energetic and ...

About Us:

Inkitt is the world’s first reader-powered book publisher, offering an online community for talented authors and book lovers. Write captivating stories, read enchanting novels, and we’ll publish the books you love the most based on crowd wisdom.