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


By bilbous All Rights Reserved ©



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
1. 1
Further Recommendations

Kiz16: After a truly shocking start to the story, I found the style and content slowed down as the author introduced a varied group of characters who I thought were fleshed out very well. After a slow couple of chapters, I found this story difficult to leave with the tension growing within the house. Yo...

Caitlin E. Jones: Such a riveting short story, full to the brim with folklore and horrors! The rich details used to make up Doolin were as well-placed as they were written, right down to the disturbing presence of magical creatures. The lives of the humans are used to great effect, giving us short glimpses of thei...

Kastril Nomenclature: This is an artfully-written horror story which deals with the most frightening monsters in the entire history of the macabre: teenagers. Indeed, the author captures the speech, relationships, and general highly-charged, petty, and competitive atmosphere of high school so well, that you would swea...

duggsy: This kept me intrigued, I only intended on reading 1 chapter but couldn't stop until I'd read the whole thing. The only let-down were a few spelling mistakes hence the 3 stars but otherwise a great read.

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...

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 -

elssxa: I love everything about this story. I want more...more...more. This author is superb. I am fascinated by his amazing work. I give him five stars.

Alex Rushmer: I read the first chapter, and I'm not sure I can handle anymore, but I certainly liked what I read. The idea of the drug, Fortis, was very interesting, and I enjoyed how you conveyed its effects. The beginning is very intriguing. I think I'd like to see you do a little more with the main characte...

Tobi Doyle MacBrayne: I was so impressed with this piece. The slow degradation of the main character into a dark and crazy place is beautifully written. I liked that the characters physical descriptions were not described because it gave me a sense that it could be someone I know or love. The grief that breaks the m...

More Recommendations

Alex Rushmer: I like the intrigue that you introduce from the very beginning of the story. The idea of the girl waking up in the alley with no memory of how she got there and with injuries is very interesting. It was very well done. There were a lot of grammatical errors that need to be fixed though. I think t...

Amy E Moore: If you love horror books, this book will fulfill your needs. It will keep you in suspense and wanting more at the end of every paragraph, page and chapter. It is a must read.

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."