This novel is limited to 100 free copies due to its part in Inkitt’s Novel Contest.
The stillness of the night drags on, broken only by an occasional distant howl. In the middle of the forest, there is a house far away from the rest of the world. Inside, a little girl is sleeping soundly. When she is woken, she has no idea of what woke her: the house is silent. Perhaps the silence itself woke her.
She slips from her bed, throwing her quilt haphazardly to one side, and lightly sneaks out of her bedroom into the open hallway. “Hello?”
She pushes open the door to her father’s room with a creeeak. “Dad? Dad, are you sleeping?” She climbs up onto the bed...and it is empty. Her heart begins to beat rapidly as childhood’s greatest fears are realized; she is alone, and a pesky thing in the back of her small mind called instinct is whispering “Danger, danger!”
“Dad? Where are you?” she calls, walking into the house’s large living room. The curtains are pulled shut, but the door is slightly -- very, very slightly -- ajar. Slivers of silvery-white light snake their way through the crack and illuminate the house just enough for the child to see she is well and truly alone.
What could have happened to him, she thinks, out here in the middle of the forest? Terrifying thoughts come to mind, especially when she hears the cries of wolves...and the sounds of heavy footsteps in the woods. They’re coming closer. She pushes the door shut and opens up one curtain just a bit, peering out with frightened curiosity.
A few of the animals are slinking close to the house. Two, no, three, moving her direction in the way that hunting beasts do. The girl watches in frightened fascination. She’s lived in the wilderness all her life, so predatory animals are familiar to her. This isn’t the first time she’s seen wolves. But something is different about these: the way they move, for one. They move like men, never with all four feet touching the ground.
One of them breaks away from the others, coming still closer to the house. The girl is unable to take her eyes away. The beast walks right up to the window where she crouches, narrowing its eyes and growling. She shrinks back, and it stares intently at her. Studying her. There is a quality about it that seems almost human.
No, no “almost.” There is most definitely something human about it. Its hands are like human hands, and there’s just something about its eyes. Something familiar. The girl looks away, shuts the window, runs back to her room and pulls the blanket over her head, as any shaken child would do. She tries to sleep but can’t -- she’s haunted by the sight of the wolf, anxious over the whereabouts of her father, and scared of what might be out there with him.
When the sun’s come up again, she hears the door open. She runs to the front hallway and sees her father there in the doorway. He’s ragged, flustered, and dirty, half naked, with strands of his curly dark hair matted with sweat and something that looks like dried blood. “Dad!” she cries.
He looks surprised. “Sweetheart? How long have you been up? Is everything okay?”
“I woke up last night, Dad. You weren’t in the house, and I was scared, and....” She trails off, unable to tell him what she witnessed the night before. About the creature -- it was no wolf, of that she is now certain -- and the way it looked at her.
He kneels down to be on eye level with his daughter. “Hailee,” he says seriously, “there are strange things in this world, okay? If you saw something last night, I don’t want you to tell anyone. Someday I’ll explain it, someday when you...when it’s safe for you to know. Someday, this will all make sense. But for now, this is our little secret. Okay, my sweet? Can you do that?”
She nods, though she does not understand his words. “Okay. I can do that.”
He smiles, ruffling her hair. “That’s my girl.” As her dad stands up, she swears she sees his eyes flash, changing color. She swears for a second that his eyes are bright, shining gold.
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?
Lauren Suzmeyan-Raine: I'm so glad you found a place to post your stories. I was horrified when I saw yours had been taken down, they are definitely the best 'reading' stories I've ever read. And I've made it my business to read every one I can. Well done.Lauren
Deleted User: This is a very clever story in the style of 19th century (and turn of the century) Gothic writing, very reminiscent of Stevenson's The Body Snatchers or even of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (less so of Frankenstein itself, since the author is more minimalist than Shelley's florid, Romantic rhetoric). ...
Ben Gauger: Kudos to Bryan Laesch, author of Remnants of Chaos:Chaotic Omens for his use of the Gothic style of writing and in addition the footnotes and endnotes at the end of each chapter, a welcome accompaniment to be sure, though his use of grammar could use a little improving, but his use of punctuation...
Elizabeth Robbins: 4.5 starsAs far as apocalypse stories go, this one took a new direction. I'm glad someone finally addressed the need for a vampire apocalypse! This is sort of a multi-genre festival of delights. With hints of forced societies, vamps, hunters, romance, apocalypse, government conspiracy, and thrill...
FateFellShort: I have read this story and have followed the writers on tumblr from the beginning. Its a wonderful story. Beautifully written with a really nice pace, that makes it enjoyable to read more than once. For me, fairy tail has very good characters but what the writers have done is give them more depth...
Hudson: Your story was fantastic Erin! The Rising Sun was one of the first stories I read on Inkitt, and I have to say I don't regret the three to four days I spent pouring through the story.Probably the biggest strength I see in your writing is your characterisation of Eliana, Oriens, and the rest of th...
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...
Steve Lang: I thought this story was imaginative, and well thought out. I also think it was an original piece, and not a rehash of previous scifi stories I've read in the past.Thank you for the effort put into this tale, and I look forward to reading more of your work!
Nate_L: This story is amazing. The style, the description, it all drags you in. The characters are mostly the well known characters from King Arthur. There's Merlin, the sword: Excalibur. I recommend reading this through, at least a little, as it's a very satisfying read. I added it to my reading list af...
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!"
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."