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 copy left
You can read our best books
Shannon Irene Hicks would love your feedback! Got a few minutes to write a review?
Write a Review

Finite Incantatem

By Shannon Irene Hicks

Romance / Mystery

Prologue

  The sun had hardly decided to arrive when the sound began.  Before, the townhouse sat completely still, the only signs of life coming from the gentle inhales and exhales of its occupants.  It was only  the murmurings of an infant, gradually increasing as its distress grew, that caused its parents to eventually rise into a half form of wakefulness.

  “John?” muttered Mary, her bed-tussled hair becoming even more unruly as she ran a hand raggedly through it.  “Is that – “

  She was interrupted by a whimpering mewl from the baby monitor on her bedside.  Groaning slightly, she made to rise before a hand slowly shot out to stop her.  “No, wait,” John said as he sat up and blinked his eyes in an attempt to rouse his mind.  “You got her three times last night, let me.”

  “If she’s hungry – “

  “Yes, right, I know,” John replied, pushing back the covers and stretching as he stood, a rough hand absentmindedly scrubbing at his shoulder.  His feet led him through the familiar path to the nursery down the hall, his eyes glancing briefly at the purple initials painted across the door.  He quirked a small smile before silently pushing inside, making his way swiftly over to the crib’s edge.  A tiny, round face stared forlornly up at him, bright blue eyes faintly glittering with the beginnings of tears.

  “Ah now, my wee lass, none of that,” John said to her as he reached down to take hold of her.  He lifted her into his snug arms, tucking her head comfortably into the crook of his elbow.  Swaying softly, John made his way over to the window, glancing out at the view.  He leaned in towards her as he began to mumble quietly, gaze drifting between her and the garden outside.

  The garden was small, hardly more than a few flowerbeds and a sprinkling of vegetable plants.  Ever since the baby arrived, neither John nor Mary had had the time to properly care for it, but some of the plants had flourished on their own regardless.  One bush in particular, a rose John had insisted upon adding and caring for himself, sat directly below the window.  It had taken more work than John had originally cared to admit, but it was flourishing now, a few of the flower heads reaching high enough to be seen at the very edge of the windowsill.

  “That, my darling, is an osiria, a crossbreed,” John explained with a tiny grin, rocking her forward slightly so her curious face could take the plants in.  “They’re the only kind of rose to have those two shades, red blending into white.  They were my mum’s favourite, the only kind she’d grow when I was young.”

  The baby cooed and sniffled up at him, tiny hands curling in and out of tight fists.  Her face wrinkled up slowly, expression turning to one of distress.  John clasped her tighter, expertly taking in the signs before reaching out a free hand to snatch up the rocking chair left not far away.  He lowered himself down and set a gentle rhythm, watching as his daughter’s face immediately smoothed out, expression turning inquisitive as she stared up at him expectantly.  Chuckling lightly, John sat back and let out a soft sign as his attention drifted back to the window.

  “I remember finding them when I first went to school.  Last place I expected to see osiria roses, certainly.  Apparently they were one of the few sorts of plants to grow well out there.  They didn’t have much purpose beyond looking well, but I appreciated the reminder of Mum regardless.”

  John’s face crinkled in thought, memories chasing each other through his mind.  The baby watched nearly silently, hands occasionally reaching out in an attempt to touch the wrinkles forming on the scruffy outline of his jaw.  It wasn’t until an inquiring coo drew John’s attention downward that he returned to the present, the creases of his face smoothing out instantly as he smiled down at her.  He brushed a hand gently across the slight dusting of light brown hair coating her head, his smile growing as she let out slight babbles of pleasure.  John wasn’t sure how long he sat and simply watched her as she drifted back to sleep, one foot slowly pushing the rocking chair in a constant steady motion.  The sun was just cresting over the horizon when she finally completely returned to sleep, her mouth left agape to reveal soft, toothless gums.  With as much ease as possible given his stiff limbs, John rose to his feet and set her carefully back into her crib, easing her brief protest in slumber with encouraging noises at the back of his throat and a brush across her brow.  A sudden burst of inspiration had his head shooting up to glance back out of the window.

  With footsteps that purposefully avoided the well known creaks of the floor, John made his way out into the kitchen.  He riffled through various drawers, eventually pulling out a spare pair of gardening scissors before slipping his bare feet into a set of loafers beside the back door.  The day was already warmer than usual at that early hour, a slight haze giving everything a fuzzy glow.  He set off for the osiria rose bush with intention in his stride, his blue gaze darting over the thick vines to find the ideal blooms.  Most of the buds coating the bush had already flowered, but closer to the bottom where the plants had to fight for their share of sunlight were a few unopened blooms.  John’s knees gave out a slight creak of protest as he knelt down, one hand reaching out to caress the outside of a bud on the cusp of opening.  The silky edges of the petals melted gracefully from a silvery grey shade of white into a radiant ruby, the pairing of colors somehow managing to flow with seamless ease from one to the other.  He chose a trio of buds just ready to open as well as a few that had already bloomed, careful to snip away any thorns.  Once satisfied with his collection, he cleared away his trimmings and made his way back indoors.

  They didn’t have any traditional vases, so John chose a tall, unadorned water glass, filling it half full of water from the tap.  He arranged the flowers as best as he could and carried the ensemble back into his daughter’s bedroom.  For a moment he paused in the doorway, contemplating where was best to leave his decoration.  As he stood considering, the sun finally came across the windowsill’s bottom edge, sending a flashing bolt of summer sunlight across the entirety of the room.  With an almost indiscernible twitch of his lips, John walked past the crib to set the roses on the sill.  The sunlight reflected playfully through the water as it shifted from the motion of being set down, sending rays of sun darting over the ceiling.  John gave a quick nod of approval and returned to the crib, leaning over the edge to check on the baby below.  She continued to sleep soundly, her lips twitching occasionally as she suckled the air.  John rubbed his calloused thumb over her forehead, chuckling softly at her noises of approval.

  “Sleep well, Síleas, my love,” John muttered, a crease of thought crossing his forehead.  His thumb settled between the baby’s brows, causing her forehead to furrow slightly.  “I wonder…” John’s voice trailed off, a huff of irritation coming out as he suddenly straightened.  “No.  It doesn’t matter.  The chance is small.”  He stiffened his spine and gave a sharp nod, closing the door with the smallest of clicks as he pulled it shut behind him.


Continue Reading Next Chapter
Further Recommendations

Diana123: Wow! This story is very emotional to begin with. And then it is also exciting, interesting and amazing. There are so many moment and situations in this story that really moved me and made me want to cry (to begin with – the story about little Norm not knowing what a hug is, then the death of his ...

Marimar Amieva: Although I found the vampire thing a bit too much, I couldn't stop reading it. The story had a bit of everything: mystery, romance, a huge plot twist and relatable characters. I congratulate the author for this story and hope to read more of whatever he writes.

alexawalsh96: Omg I hate reading yet I haven't put the book down yet! I'm on chapter 16 and can't stop my poor eyes are screaming cause I'm not used to reading this much!! I haven't finished reading it and want a hard copy!! Best book ever!

mikaylapetrodos: I really enjoyed the story and I hope you publish the next part of the book soon. the plot line was always easy to follow with plenty of plot twist thrown it. I think it would have been better to explain how some characters got involved in the story more instead of them just showing up.

263Adder: Okay so I adore this story. I only knocked one star off plot for historical inaccuracies because I'm a bit of a stickler for that. The ending broke my heart though, considering you already changed history couldn't you (SPOILER) change it a bit more and have them together!!!! I want an alternative...

Ruby0h: Overall I thought your story was really good! It drew me in right away and kept me interested as the story progressed. I loved the character of Kayla being inserted into this story, and the way she affected and shaped the life of the original story into something totally new and interesting. I lo...

Joseph Adu: I love the story but the spelling and grammar made me give 4 stars. And also it's too short .I didn't get to know what went on with Jack .I think everyone should read it because it is really interesting and a great time keeper.

smile4me: Exciting page turner. I was barely able to put it down to go to bed. I can usually figure out the twists before they are revealed but not this time! Such a thrill to be surprised. I can hardly wait for the follow up!!

Liam Butler: I am Liam Butler, and I wrote this novel. If that sounds like an AA admission, that's because it sure feels like one. It is traditional for a writer to hate his own work, it is almost a rite of passage to destroy one's own work in a drunken rage for the first time. Perhaps it's the public availab...

More Recommendations

HNWickes: I really enjoyed reading this, the plot is really interesting and I love the characters, excellent writing skills.

Alex Rushmer: Chapter One: Not much is happening in this chapter, but I was absolutely fascinated by the depth of your character development. I love how you just sat there with the reader and explored Eddward. Usually, that sort of thing gets boring very fast, but this was actually really cool! He's so unique ...

Atractivo Sumit: The story is an amazing blend of what we call natural, plain romance along with subtle emotions and interesting twists. The plot is so beautifully interwoven.

serginemuzac: This book had me dieing😂😂😂 It was super lit and I was reading it for the whole day. Its really interesting and I couldnt put my phone down until I finished all 22 chapters! Even though the grammer was a bit off (I actually enjoyed it, it made everything funnier) I really liked it.

nikole carr: After starting and stopping several books tonight, this book caught my attention from the very beginning and i stayed up until 6 a.m. to finish reading. The plot has many twists and the sexual scenes keep it interesting, too. im a florida native so the Caribbean location is fun to read about. th...

Karl12: This is a very unusual sci-fi mystery. I enjoyed the suspense which was present throughout the story. I loved how I never knew what to expect from the characters. This made the story thrilling and made me suspicious of everything and everyone. You have a great style of writing – one which captiva...