This novel is limited to 100 free copies due to its part in Inkitt’s Novel Contest.
They didn't know it yet, but these were their last good-byes.
It was something that they should have seen coming. The woman was old, she'd had a good, long life, but it was over now. Surely they have to know how frail their hopes were. But it was easy to forget how blind humans could be, how determined they were to believe that they were the ones in control. I knew better.
I hovered just inside the bedroom window, toes barely touching the floor. Completely invisible. There were only two others in the room now, the old woman and her adult daughter, sleeping in a bedside chair with her head resting near her mother's hand. My job was easy: get in, mark them, get out. Still, I lingered, waiting for the daughter to wake up. Not out of compassion—the woman would die whether or not I hung around—but from curiosity. When she woke up, would she be distraught? Would she sense my presence and try to make the most of these last moments? Or did she care? Maybe she'd be one of those just waiting for her mother to die and leave behind a large sum of money. Judging by the run down state of the lamp-lit room, I was betting that this one would be a touching farewell, unmarred by finances.
The old woman sensed me before her daughter did. Her vacant stare suddenly cleared, and acceptance touched her eyes for the briefest second. She knew what was coming. Gently, she rubbed her daughter's hair, bringing her out of unconsciousness.
The daughter blinked and then started upright, searching the room in confusion. Then she remembered where she was and she rubbed wearily at her eyes. "What time is it?" she mumbled.
Her mother shrugged. "I don't know," she said in a deceptively strong voice. "I can't see the numbers."
The reminder caused the daughter's forehead to crumple. She leaned forward and read the bedside clock out loud "Eleven-fifteen," She grasped her mother's frail hand. "It's late. You should go to sleep." It always interested me, the way the roles of children and parents became reversed in the end.
The woman ignored the suggestion and again, I saw it in her eyes. She knew that if she went to sleep, she wasn't waking up. She reached her hand up and brushed her fingers across her daughter's forehead in a way that felt like a long-held tradition. "I'm proud of you," she said.
I knew it. Humans were so predictable.
The finality of the words scared her daughter. Panic flew into her eyes. "That's good to know," she said, attempting a brazen laugh.
"I'm serious," the woman scolded.
"I know," the daughter hung her head, hiding budding tears. "I know you are, you've never made me doubt that you're proud of me."
The woman laid back on her pillows with a satisfied smile. "Good."
The tears were flowing freely now. "You're the best mom, you know."
They both laughed, watery, half-hearted chuckles.
"Just do me a favor."
The daughter nodded emphatically. "Anything."
"Be patient with Tyler. I know you want to kill him sometimes, but he's a teenager, he'll grow out of it."
Her mother pointed a stern finger. "You have to learn to be patient. I did. Why do you think you survived past sixteen?"
More forced laughter.
The mother looked suddenly to the nightstand next to her, where there was a pitcher and an empty cup.
The daughter took the hint. She picked up the pitcher and attempted to pour a glass of water. The pitcher was empty.
With a frown, she stood up. "I'll fill it up." She copied her mother's gesture and ran her fingers across her forehead. "Stay here."
Her mother nodded. All of us knew she wasn't referring to staying in bed.
With the daughter gone, I made my move. I floated toward the bed and reached into the leather pouch strung onto my hip. Inside, the consistency was like very fine sand. I ran it through my fingers experimentally, enjoying the texture. Then I clasped my thumb and forefinger around some of it and withdrew my hand. Very carefully, I sprinkled the Dust over the woman. It landed on her nose and cheekbones, staining them with a glittering blue that was already starting to fade. Through it all, the woman never even flinched.
I spun in mid air and flung myself out of the window on powerful wings. She would be dead by morning, but I didn't need to stick around any longer. It wasn't part of my job description.
themyronus: Vanessa has made 'amazing' the norme. I didn't want to read this as I am waiting for the finished and polished book to come out. But then I decided to read one chapter for kicks...well hours later I finished what was posted. Fortunately, my memory is not to good and I hope I will read the book wi...
Nymeria: Really can't get enough of this story. It flows well, it captivates the reader from page 1, and throws you into such a well-written, well conceptualized world that you'll believe it's real. Everything in the book is meshed together really well. From character backgrounds to plot twists, you can t...
CookieMonster911: The story overall was an adventure that is appealing to any age. The way the characters develop adds a more human characteristic to the novel. The writing style itself is amazing because you can learn every character's thoughts and emotions. The awkward love triangle and jerk moments adds to the ...
ernbelle: When I first started this story I was a little unsettled by all of the information that appears in the prologue, and wasn't sure if I would continue. However, I am very glad I did. The plot was very well thought out and really interesting. There were not any page breaks or markers to acknowledge ...
Bri Hoffer: I couldn't put it down!! The characters are all incredibly likable, and it's so descriptive you can see, smell, and feel thier surroundings. Great story, and very well written. I cannot wait for follow up stories. there were a few grammatical errors, but nothing that I could move right over.
Kasei Bulloch: At the beginning I wasn't very into the story but I kept reading and was more hooked than I was with Battle of the Wills. All of a sudden I had devoured chapter after chapter then the book was over. I am dying for The Compact. Please help a girl out!
BlakDreams: Wait is this over already?? I really love this story but I'm not sure, is this story already over?? Hm... if it's over I'm a kill myself cuz I loved it!! AGGHH!This story has a perfect storyline and everything I love itttt! Oh my god!
Alexis Dredd Zarcal: Overall, it's a rather thrilling piece, merging superstition, psychology, slice of life, and the usual Japanese risque fare. All the elements have rhyme and reason in being placed together.The respective background stories of the characters involved so far also give a sense of flair and thrill.I'...
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!
Hawkebat: Playing both Kotor I & II and Swtor I found the story line interesting and it held me until chapter 35 Very good story and plot flow until then, very few technical errors. I felt that the main character was a bit under and over powered, as it fought for balance. The last few chapters felt too f...