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
Jared Southwick would love your feedback! Got a few minutes to write a review?
Write a Review


By Jared Southwick All Rights Reserved ©

Adventure / Fantasy


Great torrents of hot wind roared through the dark woods, whipping up dust and debris. Try as he might, the young boy kept getting dirt in his eyes, while branches ripped at his clothes and scratched at his face. Ten-year-olds don’t get scared—or so he kept telling himself. Tears poured freely down his cheeks, as pangs of fear seized him. The sky swirled and churned with black, ominous clouds. They hung low over the treetops like a heavy blanket, withholding their rain and smothering the forest. Jagged streaks of lightning split the air with deafening cracks and rolling thunder. Everything looked the same. The north looked just as it did to the south, and both equally resembled the east and west. Even though it was noontime, the clouds had grown so thick that it felt well past eventide.

A faint sound touched his ears.

Was that a growl? He worried.

It was hard to tell over the deafening storm. His mind conjured up all kinds of ferocious beasts that surely lurked in the shadows, behind dense foliage and thick tree trunks—monsters he had fought countless times before in the safety of his own home and imagination.

There it is again! His heart stopped and he froze, afraid to move.

What is it? Where is it coming from?

He closed his eyes and strained his ears, listening intently. There, carried faintly on the wind was the sound.

Tepidly, he moved forward and listened again.

That’s no monster.  It sounds like…singing?

Blindly, he fought the wind. With arms up to protect his face from the thrashing branches, he continued to push his way through the woods toward the sound.

It has to be human, he thought. Encouraged, he plowed on.

Finally, the clouds burst. Sheets of rain drenched the ground, making it slippery and treacherous.

The song grew louder.

Almost there.

He wiped the stinging moisture from his face with a sleeve. In doing so, he failed to see the root that snagged his foot. Down he went, falling in the mud with a splat. He half slid, half tumbled down a small hill.

He came to a rest. A lightning bolt split the air overhead. Thunder shook the earth all around. So terrifying was it, he thought that trees would fall to the power of the storm.

It passed and he could tell the song was right there, close by.  

Not a song, he realized. It’s chanting.

He wiped the mud from his face and looked up, finding himself at the edge of a clearing. Before him, black-hooded figures, adorned in robes with silvery runes, swayed in a tight circular pattern as they chanted around a…

He couldn’t believe what he saw. His breath escaped in a small cry, drowned in another boom of thunder.

The figures didn’t hear him; but the monster did.

Its hulking, hairy form towered above the cloaked people; the lower half obscured by the circle of bodies surrounding it.

The boy poised to run; but the monster’s black eyes locked on his, momentarily transfixing him. They were wide, searching eyes—like those of a trapped animal.

Could it be afraid? wondered the boy.

The chanting grew louder, reaching a fevered pitch. The monster’s eyes rolled back in its head, exposing only the whites. The figures stopped their movement. One of them raised a blood-drenched dagger high above his head and shouted something in a strange language.

A dark, unnatural fear gripped the boy—the terror of some unnamed, ancient evil. He scrambled back, flight being his only thought. The monster bellowed a deafening roar, exposing teeth as long as hunting knives.

The boy screamed!

This time, he was heard.

Cloaked heads snapped around, searching for the source of the disturbance. Anger flashed across their faces as the boy stumbled back into the forest, desperate to flee the scene.

The figure holding the dagger pointed it at the retreating child and gave a blood-curdling yell. Instantly, two others gave chase.

Continue Reading Next Chapter
Further Recommendations

MavisMcQueen: "To Live Again" is a well crafted, highly engaging, heart vibrating tale surrounding our favorite Elven King. The author will keep you engrossed until the very end and by that time you will feel so strongly for Clara and the other characters that you will never want it to ever. Thrandu...

Alice Liu: Whoa! I've been wondering how would the Maurauders react to Harry's life and here we go! YOU ARE THE BEST! All the characters are consistent with their personalities shown in the book! I love how you compare Lily with Molly and it's definitely true for her being a mother! I wish Peter comes have ...

skippybash12: This story has engaging characters that you care about and a plot that is unpredictable and exciting. It is well written with a believable voice. Great weekend escape and if there was a sequel available I would buy it today -

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...

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.

Lacey Schmidt: The Trouble with Super is that you can't stop reading it. Mr. Barrett's characters are all to easy to relate to even if you don't have a super quirk of your own, and their plight is both heart-rendingly funny and heart-warmingly sad at the same time. It's a bit like Office Space meets the Matri...

CookieMonster911: The story overall was an adventure that is appealing to any age. The way the characters develop adds a more human characteristic to the novel. The writing style itself is amazing because you can learn every character's thoughts and emotions. The awkward love triangle and jerk moments adds to the ...

John Reed: Seadrias masterfully captures the impressiveness and complex scope that a science fiction novel should provide while carefully crafting an entire universe that will leave a reader in awe from start to finish. The only flaw I could find is that I wish I could have read more. This book is certainly...

More Recommendations

Toria Danielle: I must congratulate Erin Swan on completing such a beautiful work. The Rising Sun is well rounded and leaves nothing to be wanted. ALL of the characters and their development are beautifully written. The plot is extremely well thought out. Creating a whole different type of universe is difficult ...

Hawkebat: Playing both Kotor I & II and Swtor I found the story line interesting and it held me until chapter 35 Very good story and plot flow until then, very few technical errors. I felt that the main character was a bit under and over powered, as it fought for balance. The last few chapters felt too f...

ga1984: I really enjoyed it! Characters were deep and plot was pretty complex. A bit on the violent side but it doesnt detract from the story. Very dark but situations make sense. Ends kinda abruptly and later chapters will need some editing work. I'm assuming there's more in the works?

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."