{{ contest.story_page_sticky_bar_text }} Be the first to recommend this story.
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
bilbous would love your feedback! Got a few minutes to write a review?
Write a Review

Pursuit

By bilbous All Rights Reserved ©

Horror

1

Your breath comes in ragged gasps, your throat stinging with every intake. Sweat beads from your forehead, streaming freely to mingle seamlessly with the hot tears from your tired eyes. You sob and spit ceaselessly, no longer caring about your appearance. You are the most desperate, exhausted and terrified you have ever been in your entire life or ever will.

Every process inside your body has been sublimated to the overweening, urgent need to force oxygen down your throat through your lungs to your screaming muscles. Your pulse knocks at your ears; in between all you can hear is the roar of the ocean in a seashell. Your vision swims drunkenly as you steal a glance behind. Even so, it's unmistakable.

Three at least. Maybe more.

They have been following you for some time now. How long you are not exactly sure. A few days and nights at least. They probably picked up your trail at the river. They probably wait to see what shows up.

Two nights out from the river was when you first heard it. A series of ululating clicks and whistles. They are letting each other know where they are. They are letting you know where they are. That there's no escape. But they don't attack. They wait.

You sit with your back to the fire; bolt awake and alert all night. Even so, the dawn reveals one of them crept in close during the night and left you a present hanging from a tree. There is no sight nor sound of them about.

You know you are in mortal danger, that your only hope lies in escape. You have to try to throw the trail. You know this is probably futile.

Even so, you have to try.

Your course winds haphazardly for many tens of miles.  It leads through dense brush and doubles back along streams. Several times, you bolt suddenly, then silently slip aside and hide yourself. You spend several hours lying down in the undergrowth. Not moving, hardly daring to breathe. Just listening. You cannot hear a thing. 

A bird calls sharply. Was it disturbed? It does not call again.

Night lengthens, and you must seek shelter. You cautiously unfold yourself from your hiding place and make for the base of a cliff you know to be nearby. You know you could be cornered there, but it also offers your best defense against encirclement. While you still have strength to fight, at least.

You prop your back against solid rock and do not risk a fire. The sounds and smells of the night roll over like a wave. It's as deep as the ocean. On the brink of dozing, cold reality returns to snatch away your rest. Click click click. Click click click. An answering whistle. The whole forest is breathing. There must be so many of them.

The calls have a strange melodious quality to them. Individual voices tend to get bound up together and lost to the whole. You force yourself to listen carefully.

How many are there?

It's difficult to penetrate; misleading, perhaps intentionally so. A lot of the calls chase their own tails, or answer themselves. Painstakingly, you separate out individual voices by timbre, tone and range. It only confuses you further. You'll hear a call from one direction, and then another that sounds exactly alike from a completely different direction answering it. Nevertheless, you notice that when the calls rise together in sudden, unpredictable crescendo, there is a binding, constant voice that leads them. You grip your flint so tightly your hand bleeds.

Dawn breaks on your final chance. Forced march and no rest or food have taken a terrible toll on your strength. You will not be able to defend yourself for very much longer. And that's when they'll come. They would probably prefer to continue this tiring game of running and hiding.

The hell with that.

The gradient increases, and your tired legs give silent protest. You grit your teeth and follow the line of the ridge. You have been climbing steadily for an hour now, and the slope here is somewhat sparser. There is no truly open country around here for hundreds of miles. There is also no sign of them, although only a fool would think they weren't nearby. You hurry, worried they will see your mind and move to stop you.

The ridge rises, and tapers to a promontory where it meets the narrow gorge. Sheet white water echoes beneath. You hesitate on the brink. Below seems certain death.

Certain death behind you for sure.

You shut your eyes and plunge down, a needle in the funnel. As you fall, the forest erupts into song.

Continue Reading Next Chapter
Chapters
1. 1
Further Recommendations

Tony Lee: Great ideas. Some mistakes here and there, but not too much to break the immersion :) This was my second book here, and I'm pretty satisfied! Well I can't think of anything else to write so I'm just gonna fill the space up with random words. Magazine holder sidney sheldon first bible shack tom ha...

Emperor2000: I joined Inkitt and downloaded this book following a friend who has been on here sometime recommending it. After they spoke about it a bit, I thought why not give it a go. Initially I only expected to read a few chapters, as I have little time to spend reading (not as much as I like). However I c...

kotabsavage91: This young author really knows her stuff. From the 1st chapter I was sucked in and entertained the book. The characters are rich and well thought out and the plot keeps you guessing all the way through to an imaginatively well exacuted showdown. Keep up the great work, I look forward to more of ...

Andrea Norton: This story was so well put together. It was suspenseful, the storyline flowed perfectly and it was full of interesting twists and turns. I found myself getting very involved in the story and read it in just a few hours. I'd really like to read more of this author's work!

C.K. Bachman: Just read the first chapter. Love how the main character thinks and is conflicted over his wife and the trickery he uses on her.

Pam Lobato Ceja: The plot is interesting although for me the ending feels a bit rushed, since a lot happens in very few pages. I did notice a few grammar mistakes here & there, but nothing too noticeable.Overall, I enjoyed this greatly.

harry142018: This story was gripping and very professionally written. With lots of twists and slight of hand tricks, the author deceives the reader until finally showing their cards at the end. With several subplots all intertwining to create the main plot, this really is an interesting and engaging read.

debmart6901: I could not put this story down. I stayed up reading when I should have been in bed. could not get enough, could not wait to find how it ended. Great story telling. Great detail. Loved it. The characters were very vivid.

BFIrving: A first rate story and well crafted, the blend of horror and action worked very well indeed and had me turning page after page. When not actually reading it, I found myself thinking about it which is always a good sign.There are quite a few grammatical and spell-checker errors but nothing anothe...

More Recommendations

Ayesha Shaikh: I love the twists. 😆I like how the writer describes everyone's point of view and the character development. I'm gonna read all the books by this author (current and upcoming). She's one of my favorites now. The spelling mistakes are normal no big deal, the amazing plot makes up for it. Thank you ...

danijelstoilkovic: I really like this story. The characters, the mysteries, that bonding in the end, but I would really like to see what happened next. Is there a second part? And this would really be one cool horror movie and if I was the director, I wouldn't change a thing.It's awesome!

shotgundriver: As with all horror fiction, the reader must be able to suspend disbelief to digest this story. Fortunately, the first-person style of the story is so casual, and the protagonist, Ashley, so familiar on many levels, that I found myself sacrificing sleep to stay up and read, as if I was anxiousl...

NRF: I love this story, it has a little bit of everything in it, mystery, adventure, murder, innocence, love and a surprise twist that will leave you hungry for more! Great read! NRF

Dina Husseini: What a story. It may be short and small but it is mighty and massive in creativity. However, I did not feel any romance in the story rather than a lot of horror. It was a great read and I cannot wait to see what this author has next on the agenda. Sometimes short stories have the best content and...

About Us:

Inkitt is the world’s first reader-powered book publisher, offering an online community for talented authors and book lovers. Write captivating stories, read enchanting novels, and we’ll publish the books you love the most based on crowd wisdom.