Get Free Copy

99 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
SaraCSnider would love your feedback! Got a few minutes to write a review?
Write a Review

Greenheart

By SaraCSnider All Rights Reserved ©

Drama / Fantasy

Greenheart

Gwyron moved through the forest on thin, fragile legs. His pace was little more than a crawl, his withered muscles too weak to allow him more. Wearied, he stopped and rested against a barren tree. In the branches above him, dried and wilted leaves rattled in the wind. The sound scraped against his thoughts, chafing his mind and leaving it red and raw. He closed his eyes, imagining the rain, remembering the lush and vibrant greenery that this forest once had.

He opened his eyes, and the rawness in his mind moved down to his throat. The woods before him looked as he felt—withered and worn, desiccated and near decay. Everything looked brown and dreary, as if life had forgotten the world and only dust remained.

Gwyron tried to swallow, but the dryness made his throat constrict and he coughed instead. He pushed himself away from the tree and kept on walking. If nothing else, he needed to keep walking lest the dust consume him, leaving behind nothing but a pale and hollow shell.

The brush cracked and splintered under his steps. It scratched at his legs, snagging his skin and drawing beads of thick, sticky blood. His body ached, but he dared not stop, fearing that if he did, he’d never again find the strength to move.

And then a drop of moisture hung in the air, wicked away by his own parched skin. It was just a taste--a whisper of a rainy day long since passed--but it was enough. Gwyron quickened his step, pushing away dried and drooping branches before coming to a stream.

The waterway was little more than a trail of mud wending its way through the forest. Yet a line of water still trickled and oozed along the damp soil. Gwyron closed his eyes. He could smell the wet earth, the hint of pine that clung to the liquid. He wanted to put his ragged hands in it, bring the cool mud to his hot face and suck the water to soothe his scratchy throat. But he dared not--this water was not for him.

He stepped away and sat down, watching as the water wound through the mud. He waited.

Darkness fell, but the air remained arid and stifling. The trickle of water danced in the moonlight, the only life and vibrancy in the otherwise vacant and vapid woods. Gwyron licked his cracked lips with a dry and swollen tongue, yet still he waited.

And waited.

The wind stirred the trees, sending a cascade of dried leaves to flutter around him. Then movement stole across the corner of his eye. Gwyron held his breath, not daring to move, not daring to blink, willing himself to become invisible and still. He was nothing more than a tree, lifeless and withered, just as all the others.

The movement drew closer, and then a stag came into view. Its fur was a deep brown in the moonlight, as were its antlers, gnarled and curling like branches of a robust oak. Leaves sprouted from the stag’s crown, the only greenery Gwyron had seen for a very long time. He closed his eyes, no longer trusting himself to watch, fearing his own need and fear would sour the air. He couldn’t let the stag sense his desperation—he couldn’t let it sense him.

He waited and listened. The dry brush rustled, quietly and calmly, borne from careful and considered steps. And then a gentle lapping sound as the stag drank what little water remained.

Gwyron opened his eyes and took a breath. He breathed in the night and the scent of the stag, pulling all of what remained of his strength until it wound within him like a tight little ball. He focused his attention and, without a sound, got to his feet. One foot in front of the next, he crept until he reached the stag. Then, just as the stag turned its head and met its gaze with his, Gwyron grabbed it by the antlers. They were rough under his hands, like the bark of a tree. The stag tried to pull away, but Gwyron unwound his strength and held on.

“Sacrifice,” he whispered into the stag’s ear. “I will honor your sacrifice.” And then, just as he had willed himself to be nothing more than wizened tree, Gwyron willed the stag to yield. The animal’s legs buckled and Gwyron kneeled along with it down into the mud.

He spoke a series of words, soothing sounds that were soft on the tongue, and the stag calmed. He stroked its bristly fur, whispering a prayer for forgiveness and for strength, and then he put his hand into the stag’s chest.

Its body was tight and hard, scratching and leaving splinters in Gwyron’s parched skin. He gritted his teeth and sent his fingers in deeper and deeper until he felt the smooth, supple surface of the animal’s heart.

He wrapped his fingers around it and, slowly, pulled it out. The heart shone pale green in the moonlight, round and taut like an apple, and as vibrant as a newly unfurled leaf. The stag lay motionless on the ground, a thin layer of lichen spreading over its darkened body. Gwyron put the heart to his lips and took a bite.

The heart was dense and fibrous, coating Gwyron’s mouth with sticky sap. It soothed it his parched throat and tongue and Gwyron struggled to control his fervor as he chewed. He forced himself to calm, to breathe as he ate the heart with controlled measure. And, with each careful bite he took, he could feel his strength return. His legs grew stronger, his thoughts clearer. He closed his eyes as he chewed the last mouthful and, when he opened them, he looked at the forest before him with renewed sight.

Gwyron breathed deep, and the hot air cooled as it passed his lips. He exhaled, long and slow, and the leaves in the surrounding trees regained some of their color. He flexed his hands, no longer withered and worn, but strong and lithe. He closed his eyes and spread out his arms, and then Gwyron called the rain.

Write a Review Did you enjoy my story? Please let me know what you think by leaving a review! Thanks, SaraCSnider
Get Free Copy
0
Free copy left
You can read our best books
Further Recommendations

jessiealexandrap: Truly loving the novel, each chapter presents itself greater than the one beforehand. I truly love the novel and give definate question to why it's not published of yet. The novel truly deserves great attention and all should read the beautiful story.

annie08c: I really like this story, I can relate to it a lot and with how she feels, the boyfriend and the events that happened but I'm a little bit younger. It was really good plot, really liked how you stuck to the topic and you had a new title for every chapter making me guess what's going to happen. Ma...

Katharine Southworth: I think this is an important love story. The author tackles the highs and lows of a romantic relationship and I truly empathized with both characters. As one descends into depression the other must find ways to cope with watching their loved one suffer. This is a heartbreaking struggle that I hav...

genlynne2379: I read the other review of this book and I must say that I disagree with it wholeheartedly. I do not believe the author put the apostrophes in the names just to be unique, but because the characters are supposedly of a different race than humans. They are Anmah. They should have different names a...

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.,.,..,.,.,,..,.,.,, , , , ,.,, , , , , , , ,., , ,.,,,,,

Melodie Prins: firstly there better be a second book because I definitely would read that it an instant. This book was amazing and had me hooked by the first chapter I can't wait for a second one (fingers crossed). I feel in love with Scott instantly and found myself wanting to read more of his life and wanting...

JWalker: I loved this story from start to finish! It flows at a really nice pace and the story world feels so real. The fight sequences are a treat especially when Isanfyre is training to become a warrior. I found the names really cool and thankfully easy to pronounce. Personally I have always struggled w...

Kasei Bulloch: At the beginning I wasn't very into the story but I kept reading and was more hooked than I was with Battle of the Wills. All of a sudden I had devoured chapter after chapter then the book was over. I am dying for The Compact. Please help a girl out!

Alexis Dredd Zarcal: Overall, it's a rather thrilling piece, merging superstition, psychology, slice of life, and the usual Japanese risque fare. All the elements have rhyme and reason in being placed together.The respective background stories of the characters involved so far also give a sense of flair and thrill.I'...

More Recommendations

Sandra Estrada: I loved every minute of it and I thank my lucky stars that brought me to the story, it's been a whirlwind of emotions, plot twist after plot twist but I never got tired of them. Abby and Kade's story is a hard one to understand but once you're submerged in their story and love, you can't help but...

romboili000: As I read this book it made me realize the importance of trusting big God. And believing that you can love even when it feels impossible. This story definitely has made me what to become a better person in Christ and just life. So thank you that's all I have to say because you wrote this story so...

Isha Chaudhari: Amazing book ...the most beautiful part is the kind of relationship Carla has with Peter. However, the epilogue was the one that surprised me the Most....Carla getting married to Peter....when in the book her relationship is mostly discussed with Ridian.Was a bit confusing thus.Lovable book that ...

Nymeria: Really can't get enough of this story. It flows well, it captivates the reader from page 1, and throws you into such a well-written, well conceptualized world that you'll believe it's real. Everything in the book is meshed together really well. From character backgrounds to plot twists, you can t...

This story wasn't for you ?
Look at our most viral stories!
King's Lament

FreakyPoet: "you made me laugh, made me cry, both are hard to do. I spent most of the night reading your story, captivated. This is why you get full stars from me. Thanks for the great story!"

The Cyneweard

Sara Joy Bailey: "Full of depth and life. The plot was thrilling. The author's style flows naturally and the reader can easily slip into the pages of the story. Very well done."

This story wasn't for you ?
Look at our most viral story!
Spectra - Preview

Ro-Ange Olson: "Loved it and couldn't put it down. I really hope there is a sequel. Well written and the plot really moves forward."