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.
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!
Alex Rushmer: Chapter One: Not much is happening in this chapter, but I was absolutely fascinated by the depth of your character development. I love how you just sat there with the reader and explored Eddward. Usually, that sort of thing gets boring very fast, but this was actually really cool! He's so unique ...
genlynne2379: I read the other review of this book and I must say that I disagree with it wholeheartedly. I do not believe the author put the apostrophes in the names just to be unique, but because the characters are supposedly of a different race than humans. They are Anmah. They should have different names a...
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...
Ruby0h: Overall I thought your story was really good! It drew me in right away and kept me interested as the story progressed. I loved the character of Kayla being inserted into this story, and the way she affected and shaped the life of the original story into something totally new and interesting. I lo...
kwilliams: I am an avid reader, and I do mean AVID and few indie authors capture my attention the way you have. I absolutely fell in love with these characters and their story. I'm usually not a fan of the cliff hanger endings (be it a series or not), but this one made me download the Kindle app just so I c...
johansp: A compelling story that quickly became a pageturner for me.The reader gets dragged into the horrors of war in a realistic way. The "hero" is also a person I could relate to, as in a human being with all the fears and doubts that arise in a war situation.There is also a good level of technical kno...
SandraHan1: This story is very descriptive, with vivid scenes from the very beginning, which made for a good scene setting. I love the symbolism in names, such as “Naysayers”, “Hadd”, etc . The story itself is revolutionary, intriguing, emotional and exciting. I was very pleased to see that there is a happy ...
Satabda Chatterjee: Each and every charecter develops during the whole course of the journey and keeps secretly love for the princess . However the way that writter expressed each situatuons that the princess faced quite relevant and keeps the suspense always at the end of the chapter. . . .which makes the reader m...
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...