Get Free Copy

100 free copies left

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

Free copy left
You can read our best books
Ben MacGougan would love your feedback! Got a few minutes to write a review?
Write a Review

The Black

By Ben MacGougan All Rights Reserved ©

Mystery / Fantasy

Chapter 1

A furtive black substance flowed through the underbrush. The wind howled, the rain poured and the clouds hid the light of the moon and the stars, but the weather was not unusual. This crawling, serpentine substance was very unusual. It flowed and it crept over leaves and dirt with only the slightest bit of noise, masked entirely by the storm.

The substance came across something else that didn't belong here, something metal and mechanical. The substance halted its approach, recoiled, then pushed on with new, curious purpose. It met with iron and wove its way up interlocking beams and supports.

Used to haul the valuable contents of the mine that lay below, the headframe that the black substance was climbing was 30 feet of purely fuctional steel. If it had been a living creature it would have disagreed with the substance crawling ever higher. It would have shaken the substance away or tossed it aside with one its pulleys but all it did was tremble in the strong wind as the substance defiled its supports and moved upwards.

The substance's caustic residue ate away at the ropes of the headframe and marred the iron with dark stains. Higher it climbed until it reached the summit. Forcefully it clung to the supports while the storm summoned all of its might to throw it off. The substance formed its own supports. It shot out adhesive tendrils from its body that hardened and took on the colour of the iron on which it sat. At the centre of the tendrils the substance waited for a suitable prey to approach.

Atop the now maculated structure stood a bespectacled, pale man in a long brown coat. He inspected the substance. This man had a number of names but in this area he was called Arkin Sload, though, despite his numerous appearances in the area he was not talked about often.

"Why are you here?" asked Arkin with a little bit of frustration, but in such a way that denoted subservience. He was not an impressive specimen of a man-the most remarkable thing about him was that he stood atop a thirty-foot structure and seemed to pay no attention to the howling wind and rain- but he was well dressed and spoke with the grace of an educated man. Yet Arkin gave this substance a great amount of respect. Hand extended as if beseeching an audience, voice lowered as to be just audible over the storm, head almost bowing; he belonged to this creature.

There was a response from the creature that only Arkin could read.

"Of course I am," he implored.


"My loyalty-"


"I'm only try-"


This disjointed conversation continued until Arkin seemed to give up, lowering his head. With a quiet moroseness he deftly stepped off of the headframe and in the time between lightning and thunder he had gone, leaving the substance to wait alone, whispering to thousands of other spawn, hundreds of miles away in every direction.

In his horse-drawn carriage on the ground Arkin lit his pipe and emerged to pick up the reigns, concealing himself from the rain with his coat and hat, while nestling back behind his large, canvas hood. A low groan made the ground tremble and Arkin's two brown mares whinnied in distress. The groan grew into a cacophonous, bellowing noise. Lightning struck and caused a gigantic, humanoid shadow to form over the land for a brief moment.

"These are strange times," said Arkin to his horses and giving them each a reassuring pat. He shook the reigns and the horses took their leave of the area dragging the large carriage behind them. "Strange times indeed."

Continue Reading Next Chapter
1. Chapter 1
Further Recommendations

summerstone: Seriously this is one of the best books I've ever read. The plot is intriguing, I love the narrative style. Its very descriptive and unique, with minimal cliches. It makes for a great read and the sequels are amazing. Totally worth reading. ^^ That's me trying to be professional. But in all hones...

Usagi Kita: This story is emotional from beginning to end. You get to watch the characters struggle and grow, maturing in different ways so that they come to be the people they are meant to be. Inea is insanely adorable, and his antics made me laugh more than once, and Kaedon is perfect for him in so many wa...

RubyScars: I absolutely love your story! It killed me when I finished, I read it all at once and then it stopped at the epic cliffhanger! Uggggggh. But, that said, it just means that you have done such a lovely job. I am so in love with your complicated characters, and even the ones I didn't like you slowl...

Alex Rushmer: This was not what I expected, but I enjoyed it a lot Malfoy was always one of the characters that I liked a lot, so I like that a lot of this happens between him and Colette. I read the first couple chapters, and I enjoyed your writing style and am excited to see where you take this story. My com...

ernbelle: When I first started this story I was a little unsettled by all of the information that appears in the prologue, and wasn't sure if I would continue. However, I am very glad I did. The plot was very well thought out and really interesting. There were not any page breaks or markers to acknowledge ...

Ashley Stryker: So I'm writing this review, keeping in mind that this is a work in progress and it's part of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), so my "deeper" critiques will be saved until it's all finished up.+ Chapter One: A stewardess would not talk to anyone quite like that, particularly a clear minor...

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.

Spring: I normally don't read fiction novels, but I absolutely enjoyed reading Silent Shadows! The style is quite different from the previous fiction novels I've attempted to read. Great job!

mrh: I love this story soooo much! This is such an incredible twist on Harry Potter's story. I have loved every word of it. I hope you will write more soon! I want to know what happens next sooo bad! Please write more!

More Recommendations

Ali Albazaz: I started reading "Caged" few hours ago and I'm on chapter 7 now. Caged is definitely one of the most addictive stories I've ever read. Thank you so much for writing this novel.

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

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!

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."