Amanda Turner Crum would love your feedback! Got a few minutes to write a review?
Write a Review

Ashes

By Amanda Turner Crum All Rights Reserved ©

Horror

Ashes

The moon is patient in the sky as they drive across town. The car’s engine purrs in the dark like a living thing being touched.

Something is bothering her, but she can’t quite find it. It’s like fumbling around for clothes on the floor of a sex-drenched bedroom, like a tickle in the chest that won’t burst into a cough. She can feel it but she can’t bring it out.

Jem is as quiet as he’s ever been in the seat beside her, white hands splayed like starfish on his thighs. He’ll want caffeine soon and then she’ll have to deal with his mind on full blast, something she’s not ready for in the confines of the car. It’s been three days since either of them slept and she feels fine, but his nerves are fraying gently. She can almost see them, waving softly red over his skin like a cord that’s been cut.

Jem took his name from the book To Kill A Mockingbird; he thought it sounded small-town and grateful, like a good human should be. She rarely ever gives a name anymore, had tired of playing the game. Jem still calls her Ofelia on occasion, and though it is a bastardization of her given name--Ofa (The Destroyer)--it suits her just fine.

Crows bitch at each other in the forest, an impatient sound that reminds her of a graveyard. She can hear them over the engine sounds and wonders, not for the first time, why their voices are so much louder than the others. Perhaps they share a bond with her, this fellow creature of old who enjoys warm blood.

“I don’t want to stop again,” Jem says. His voice is shivery with secrets, and still she doesn’t catch it. Her mind is on other things: her guitar, the journal she lost in Prague and has been itching to write in, her need to touch herself. It has been weeks and her body fairly vibrates with it; even the rumble of the engine is almost too much to bear.

She can go a long time without sleep, but the price she pays is distraction.

“It was your stop last time,” she says coolly, sliding the window down a bit. Night-air streams in on a pine-scented wave.

“I know that.” His voice is a stretched rubber band. “I’m saying we should drive through the night.”

“Better make those cigarettes last, then,” she says. It is a dig at him and they both know it. The last stop was at a diner in Kentucky with a sleek silver cigarette machine and one too many bearded country boys. She had locked eyes with one and could almost feel the scratch of his whiskers on the insides of her thighs, such was the intensity of her need. Jem had frowned magnificently.

They drive on, towards the peanut butter-machinery smell of the Jif factory on the edge of town, and in the dusky October light they speak of humans and their penchant for petty emotions. The things that form them as toddlers shape them as adults. Jealousy is the worst. Wanting something someone else has just because it isn’t yours. Jem is jealous, too. He’s been living with them too long.

She's doing most of the talking, she realizes, and looks over at Jem, glowing green in the dashboard lights. He keeps his eyes on the road and fingers the crucifix at his neck, his mouth a tightrope she can't walk across.

"Can I have a smoke?" she asks, more to cut through the silence than because she really wants a cigarette. He mumbles something into the window.

"What?"

"I said I'm out," Jem says quietly.

"You can't have smoked the entire pack already, " she says, and then it is upon her.

He didn’t like the look of the human she’d been eyeing in the diner. No matter. Dead in the trunk of the car just for looking at her. Appropriately, his eyes had been scratched out of their sockets and lay on his cheeks like underdone eggs, seeing nothing, seeing the interior of the Cadillac and the death rattle-scratches on the underside of the trunk lid. She’d felt it as an itch in the back of her throat when the ride first began but ignored it, and now she knew: Jem had killed the boy in the diner’s bathroom, perhaps as she was paying for gas. There had been no time for cigarettes. He was quick, but not that quick

She looked at him as the road unwound itself before them like a ribbon from a spool, her mind clamping down on what she knew to be true. Here was the ghost of 5,000 seasons, printed on his face for her to see. Had she not been so distracted, she might have seen.

A crash, a jolt, the sound of shattered glass like a million diamonds scattered on concrete. She opened one green eye and saw red printed there, flashing light illuminating the trees on the side of the road; the turn signal. Beside her, Jem wasn’t there. Instead, he was half in and half out of the windshield, the lower half of his body as sane as it had been ten seconds ago. The top half was nothing but ash and the wind was starting to scatter it already. She sat up and felt ashes on her tongue. Tasted him. It was like tasting a volcano, like tasting Hell, like eating a memory.

I can be petty too, she thought.


Write a Review Did you enjoy my story? Please let me know what you think by leaving a review! Thanks, Amanda Turner Crum
Continue Reading
Further Recommendations

Sabrina Ettey: Well, what can I say this story got a strong grip on me. I finished it at one sitting and I'm still having a hangover of it. It's that much captivating. The story was equally exciting and exquisite. I must say I enjoyed it way more than I expected. The characters are richly developed with each on...

Kimberly Strong: I was hoping this was not the end of the story there is so much yet to happen. Hopefully this book will be written out to the end and mybe a book 2 in the future.

ALISHA8125: I love this story its amazing....I love characters especially Rowan and Massimo, God I'm in love with this story...I laughed a lot whenever Massimo piss off row and it's the best part...Julie is a great women, the characters are very well explained in this story....Plzzz update sooner I can't wai...

Daughters Kings: I love this book

MoonShine: It had a very interesting concept.. It all started very awesomely.. But I thought the ending was very rushed and then there were somethings which should have been cleared... The relationship between the main leads was rushed.. But overall the book was very good... It was very interesting and I lo...

Angela Meacham: Excellent series. Well written from start to finish. There's great potential for side stories, such as grandfather's visit to get reacquainted with the family or Paul finding his place in the changing society or even one of the little brothers being able to live in the lake without blood, as gran...

KK: I love this story so much but then I looked ya the chapters and I notice that there aren’t that many so I’m hoping you will update soon but other than that I loved how innocent the main character was and how badass ryer was I loved him

CK Cbty: It's unique and it makes you read more and more of it. For once, I could say this is the best among the best of the stories I had read. Hoping that the Author will update soon as I would love to know whats the end of this story.

More Recommendations

Lou Staehle: Loved the story, loved the main character Grin. The humor & "blasphemy" was right up my alley...But It left off suddenly, & I'd really love to read the next book, & would happily pay for it...Just please finish the story!

Deleted User: His writing skill was advanced level. Give a big hand to him. His plot is very nice but some words are make me confused. Altough it is nice one.

Kaitilyn Kisamore: I think it's pretty good, though I'm at the beginning of chapter 2, I think it's enjoyable already! It's definitely worth reading.

Abby: I believe this book is good. I thought I would be scared for life, however only 1 part made me scared. I wish you to write something scarier but for now, it is incredible. I hope you write more stories and to never give up. I liked it. 😊

Louis Bacchi: Well written and edited. Each chapter makes you anxious for the next. The characters are real and you have empathy for Trinity and want to be with her every step on her journey. the first book leaves you wanting and knowing there is more to come as EVIL continues to try and keep Trinity from fulf...

{{ contest.story_page_sticky_bar_text }} Be the first to recommend this story.

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.