This novel is limited to 100 free copies due to its part in Inkitt’s Novel Contest.
“I choose you.”
As the words whisper over my lips, Kieran looks at me in shock. He murmurs disbelievingly, “Say it again.”
I feel the dark shadows, which always push and prod into me whenever I am with Kieran lean closer, invading my space, as I say it again. “I choose you, Kieran. I love you.”
He smiles. The smile lights up his face even here in the darkness where we are huddled close to each other against the cold November wind.
From somewhere behind me, I hear Jayden grunt unhappily and close by a crow squawks, the sudden sound loud.
I feel Kieran stiffen under the palms of my hands. Quickly he reaches for my hand. Gripping my fingers tightly in his, he insists, “Run. We must run.”
Bewildered, I step back from him. I have just told him that I choose him. For months, I have battled with my indecision. I love both Jayden and Kieran, but I knew I had to make the choice between them and now that I did, this momentous moment in my life is shattered.
A crow swoops down low over my head. I can feel the wind from its wildly flapping wings brush against my cheek. I look up and I see the moon glint off its black feathers in a rainbow of colours.
Jayden yells, “Run!”
I feel Kieran pull me along with him. I stumble over my own two feet and Kieran clutches my arm in a steel grip to pull me up again. We run toward the cliff. If we are supposed to be running away from danger, why are we running directly toward a dead-end, I wonder panicked.
I feel the crow clutch its claws into my hair, and I feel strands of it yanked out of my scalp. I scream in pain, but Kieran pulls me faster toward the cliff.
We reach the cliff and while we are still running, Kieran scoops me into his arms in one smooth action. He urges, “Close your eyes.”
Petrified I close my eyes tightly and then terrified, I am aware of him running over the edge of the cliff. I feel the nothingness beneath us, and for a moment, it feels as if we are just hanging there, suspended in mid-air. Then I feel the up draught of the wind lift my hair up and away from my face. It does not feel like we are falling, it feels more like floating, maybe we already collided with the ground, and I am dead. Probably the only explanation for the feeling of weightlessness I am experiencing.
Scared I open my eyes. A very small part of me is relieved I am not yet dead. The cliff face is passing by me, going upward, as if in slow motion. I can see every protrusion reflected in the sharp glare of the moon and I see Kieran’s black coat tails flap up in the wind in front of my face.
I close my eyes again, waiting with bated breath for the impact.
After moments, which seem like decades, I feel him miraculously land his feet onto the ground softly.
He puts me down and my legs feel weak. I stumble backward and Kieran lunges toward me, wrapping his arm around my waist to steady me.
Looking up at the incredibly high cliff, I turn back to look at Kieran. I feel the disbelief of falling down this incredibly high cliff and standing here unscathed, press down on me. He looks away and avoids looking back at me.
As I open my mouth to ask the question burning on my tongue, Jayden calls from in front of us, somewhere in the darkness of the night. “Come on, Kieran! We must leave.”
I see dark shadows dance across the cliff face menacingly, like the shadow puppets against the walls in our cottage. Shadow puppets Clara and I make when we are snuggled closely together in bed and before we blow out the candle. When we let our fingers stretch out against the knobbly wood and we tell each other scary stories.
Kieran pulls on my hand and shocked I turn away from the shadows moving down the cliff like a slow, pulsating waterfall.
I am running again.
As we get to the horse and cart, Kieran lets my hand drop and he makes a running jump onto the back of the empty farm cart.
Jayden clutches me by my elbow and he hurries me toward the front of the rickety wagon.
The horse, which is still tethered to the front of the cart, eats lazily from the bits of grass on the verge of the muddy road.
Kieran clambers over the wooden backrest of the cart and then sit down hurriedly. He leans forward to undo the reigns twirled around the front guard.
Jayden places his hands on my hips and he looks down into my eyes pensively. He smiles sadly and then as he lifts me and I am face to face with him, he says softly, “I will always love you.”
I frown and immediately I feel remorseful for him. I know he heard me tell Kieran I choose him. Is Jayden still trying to convince me I should have chosen him?
Kieran yells, “Hurry up. They are coming.”
Jayden sets me down on the seat and then he swings himself effortlessly onto the back of the wagon as Kieran lashes the whip onto the horse.
The horse whinnies and then with a jerking motion the cart starts to move. Kieran prompts the horse to go faster by yelling at it and lashing the whip over its back.
Loudly I ask appalled, “Why are you doing this, Kieran?”
He glances toward me anxiously and whips the horse again. I do not recognize the look on his face.
“Why are you doing this? What is going on?” I ask him, pulling at his forearm to make him stop hitting the horse. The horse gallops faster and faster and the cart jump and skip over the rutted path.
Jayden climbs over the backrest from behind me and I move aside so that I am sitting between Jayden and Kieran. I lift my dress to make space for him and I notice the hem is mud-soaked and heavy.
I ask again, apprehensively, “What is going on here?”
Jayden starts, “There is this, um.”
Kieran interrupts him, “Not now, Jayden. I will explain everything to you as soon as we get you home.” His eyes do not look away from the road.
The moon is shining brightly, illuminating the tall trees and bushes crowding in onto the two ruts in the road. I see the dark gloom, which is recently always with me, filtering through the bushes on either side of us. I have never really been afraid of these shadows because once I got used to them, they seemed harmless and not dangerous at all. The shadows I saw earlier mirrored on the cliff were menacing though. They looked like long claw-like fingers reaching out toward me. Also, I do not know if it is because of Jayden and Kieran’s sudden panic and strange behaviour, but I now feel terrified of these shadows.
I yell involuntarily when I see a figure standing on the grass median between the two muddy grooves that the wheels of many, many wagons have made when they travel this busy road.
I hear Kieran gasp loudly.
Jayden reaches his arms around my shoulders and pulls me into him. He puts his palm over my ear as he pulls my face tightly into his chest. I feel smothered and then when he stiffens against my cheek, I hear a faint, far-away yell of frustration.
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...
maryahbeebe66: OMG I fell in love with the story and how the characters fall into place. I'm really excited to read more into the story and hope there's a sequel to it. My fav characters are Dylan and Laila. Your doing a great job keep it up 👏🏾
Grapes Are Juicy yes!!!: I give this novel FIVE STARS ! This novel is worth reading from the beginning to the end! The plot and conflicts in this story are very smartly integrated. The language facility is a little odd , but i guess this was done on purpose, given the novel's set era. Other than that, this should definit...
263Adder: Okay so I adore this story. I only knocked one star off plot for historical inaccuracies because I'm a bit of a stickler for that. The ending broke my heart though, considering you already changed history couldn't you (SPOILER) change it a bit more and have them together!!!! I want an alternative...
Giuliana Cassetta: My face is full of tears, I never cried like now with a book or even a movie. I loved every single chapter. I truly don't know what to say, I'm out of words and my eyes hurt from crying. Such an bittersweet story, it's so wonderful. One of my favorites for sure. Keep it up!
emmaneal74: I loved this booked. Would definitely buy it when published and read it again. The story flowed in such a way I just couldn't put it down. I was never confused about the characters or their roles in the story which can happen sometimes with so many lead. I'd recommend this to anyone wanting to r...
mullikin902: Do not start reading this book unless you have enough time to finish it in one sitting, because you will not be able to put it down! Superlative! Addictive! Deliciously wicked characters you can't get enough of. Impatiently waiting for the sequel!
rihannabkj2: Great story,I can hardly stop reading this novel. it shows that compassion and love can still exist after so many years between two persons. I most say well done to the Author who wrote this book. Others should read this book inorder to know that there can still be LOVE among two persons no matt...
spec4huff: Thank you for creating this world. I am a 6'3" veteran that thinks himself tough. But the piece of literature you have created made me misty eyed on a number of occasions. I want a love like this. Thank you again, I would totally buy this book and hopefully the sequels to this ever enchanting lov...
annie08c: I really like this story, I can relate to it a lot and with how she feels, the boyfriend and the events that happened but I'm a little bit younger. It was really good plot, really liked how you stuck to the topic and you had a new title for every chapter making me guess what's going to happen. Ma...
Katy Rayne: i really enjoyed this book. i have to say i didn't know what to expect, but with every chapter that came something crucial to keep you reading happened. I was disappointed with the ending if this is for another book i will defiantly carry on reading the next book.
ElusiveBadwolf: I loved this book so much! It's a shame that i already came to the end of this. I really enjoyed the story, and i liked it how everything became in the end. It was a great book and i can say that you are a great writer too. Keep it that way and i think you can make it in the writing business!
Flik: Hi! ^.^ huge fan of yours on ff.net! When I saw the note about this contest on The Way We Smile, I couldn't help but rush over here, create an account, and vote! XD Seriously love this story and would recommend it to anyone! :D best FT fanfiction out there. Amazing story, amazing concept that wa...