Get Free Copy

100 free copies left

This novel is limited to 100 free copies due to its part in Inkitt’s Novel Contest.

0
Free copy left
You can read our best books
Kathryn_OConnor would love your feedback! Got a few minutes to write a review?
Write a Review

Innocent

By Kathryn_OConnor All Rights Reserved ©

Horror / Thriller

Chapter 1

Wyoming

October 27th

8 a.m.

It's toward the end of October on a day that feels like it could be the definition of the word "autumn."The sun shines glaringly bright, providing almost too much light and not nearly enough warmth as it starkly illuminates the woods through which young cop, Xylia Barry walks with her Italian, late-thirty-something partner, Devon Maverick. It's the sort of day during which – had it not been literally freezing cold – Xylia would enjoy taking a walk, and it's the right setting for it too. But this isn't a leisurely stroll during one of her rare moments of free time; this is her trying to keep up with Mav's long-legged strides, half walking and half jogging to do so.

Leaves crunch underneath hers and Mav's feet as they go, announcing their arrival. The head of their department, Jimmy Harriston, stands off to the side of the crime scene scrawling something in his notepad in handwriting that is so awful that no one but him will ever be able to read it – his own version of encoding his notes. The tall, big-boned African-American that Xylia thinks looks like a gray-haired Chi McBride is too busy to acknowledge them yet, so the lone ME on the scene does it instead. Knowing that he'll go unnoticed by Mav until he can provide information that's pertinent to the case, Ewan Worth halfway smiles at Xylia, nodding his head in a silent "hello." Xylia brings her chin out of where she had been keeping it burrowed in the collar of her navy blue police jacket and returns the gesture.

Even though she's been on the job – been a cop – for just over two years now, Ewan is the one person on the station food chain that Xylia is higher than. He had been hired a whole week after she had, and since then he had become a close friend of hers.

Currently, Ewan is crouching beside an overturned half-rotten log, examining something that Xylia can't see. She wanders casually over, standing over Ewan and the log, looking down on what it is that he's working with. She squints, for a second not recognizing what she's seeing for what it actually is. Even when she does realize what it is, she doesn't quite believe it. Xylia moves around the log and crouches down beside Ewan, getting an even closer look at the nauseating sight.

A severed human arm, pink with blood and dark with dirt, lies on a bed of leaves, no longer even a foot away from her. She would like to say that after two years on the force her stomach has hardened, but this – this is so disgusting that it's almost too much. She is impressed that Ewan can handle this. She feels bile burning painfully in her throat and forces it back down.

"How…?" Xylia whispers in horrified awe, her breath coming out into the air in warm, white puffs. "What the heck happened here?"

Sounding to her as if he was in the background of a TV show, Xylia hears Harriston slap his notebook closed, hears his deep voice rumble, "Good question, girlie, but what I'd rather know is what the heck did this to begin with. I've never once seen anything like it."

This last sentence coming from a man who's been on the force longer than Xylia's been alive should startle her more than it does, but at least Mav has the presence of mind to ask a question, anyway.

"What's so special about this case?" he quizzes. "I mean, besides the dismembered appendage and the ever-present stench of rotting flesh?"

Harriston looks at Mav a little strangely, asking, "You don't notice anything unusual about this one?"

Mav gives the yellow-taped area in which the four are assembled an all-around, cursory glance. "You mean beyond the unusual strength of the aroma of rot? No, nothing much."

Harriston sighs laboriously, the sigh of a man who believes himself to be surrounded by idiots, even though everyone present knows that Mav is usually one of the best minds in the department. Harriston kicks at the leaves at his feet and something rolls from in front of him to in front of Mav.

"Yeah, well, there's a reason for that 'aroma's' 'unusual strength,' as you put it."

Mav and Xylia both look at what's at Mav's feet; both register what it is at the same time. Xylia pales despite herself. Another gruesome arm is now almost touching her partner's shiny, black wingtips.

Harriston gestures with his notepad at the whole crime scene, asking, "Do you see it now, Colombo?"

As Mav looks around, so does Xylia. Seeing it all, somehow for the first time, she is overcome by a bone-searing chill that has nothing to do with the cold temperatures.

Scattered all around them, mostly covered by rotting leaves, are the horrific-looking parts of what would equal three bodies.

Xylia can't find the words to voice the question aloud, or the necessary amount of oxygen, but still she wonders to herself, What would do this to innocent people?


October 21st

Midnight

The air is still here in the woods, silent, tranquil even. It's so far removed from humanity that you can't hear the 12 long bongs of clocks everywhere across the state announcing the official arrival of a new day.

In the darkness, you couldn't see them either, not even their shapes on the ground, not even if you were close enough to step on one of them – which you really don't want to do. Their invisibility is helped, of course, by the fact that fact that they have all entirely covered themselves with leaves. It's getting cold now, and this is a way that they can keep themselves warmer. In sleep, they seem to be in perfect formation – twelve little piles of leaves in a straight row. All perfectly covered; all perfectly hidden. All but one.

One's arm has drifted out of its cocoon while it was sleeping. An arm as small as a baby's and just as pink, long turned that color from the blood of its past victims.

But the stray arm is of no great importance now, midnight has fallen and it is time to rise, take to the skies. Find tonight's victims. Feed. The exposed arm only serves to wake him first, before his comrades.

One moment he is as still as the air around him, the next moment his fingertips twitch, brushing against the chilliness of the first frost of the season as the hoarfrost settles onto blades of grass. His eyes snap open suddenly, red as the worst case of pinkeye. He flutters the black wings on his back – bat's wings that science would say shouldn't be able to hold him up – and with them he sharply propels himself into the sky. Suddenly they are all in the sky, all eagerly sniffing the air. All hungry.

In their own way, they are innocent. They are neither human nor animal. They all possess the teeth of dogs, the wings of bats, and the bodies of infants – ridiculously strong, unimaginably hideous infants. They are only trying to survive, just like every other creature on the planet. Tonight they are simply hungry. And tonight they smell three hunters not too far away in the woods.

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

noelia herrera: I could not stop reading this book. it was truly great and it caught my attention quick. there was some misspelled words and some misplaced. but overall, IT WAS FANTASTIC! great job. I recommended this book to all my family and friends.

cuzley: I enjoyed this read, the romance and the "who done it" worked well together, I would recommend this story to both romance and mystery readers .

Alex Reltin: This is a great story! I love how well you go into detail and emotions of Capri, and Mel. You have amazing dialogue and overall it's just a thrill to read!The only critique I could find is that some of the paragraphs should be separated. For example:-"If Nia would have just let me take the car an...

Girl on Fire: Great story, line Alex!!!It really has a edge on it. It put me on edge with its thrill. Can't wait to read the rest.!!!

Deleted User: (A review in progress). I like this. It's sparse, gritty and atmospheric - reminiscent of the classic Golden Age of American detective fiction of the Thirties. I've only read the beginning, but I'll definitely be back. This writer knows their stuff and has done their homework on detective work. T...

Shifa Gohar: this book is my first on inkitt and I love it thoroughly...but i guess this is not the end. The characters were amazing the plot too. At times it scared me more than a horror movie would. Love the plot something i had not read in a while.

Jessica_Nguyen: The plot is amazing, I must say. Especially the ending, it wasn't cliche, it sticked to a real consequences of characters' actions, resulting an unexpected ending. Can't put this novel down at all! Very funny too.

taosgw74: If this is the authors first attempt at writing, I'm floored. I was engrossed in the plot from the get go.

C.K. Bachman: Just read the first chapter. Love how the main character thinks and is conflicted over his wife and the trickery he uses on her.

More Recommendations

Deleted User: This is a very clever story in the style of 19th century (and turn of the century) Gothic writing, very reminiscent of Stevenson's The Body Snatchers or even of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (less so of Frankenstein itself, since the author is more minimalist than Shelley's florid, Romantic rhetoric). ...

harry142018: This story was gripping and very professionally written. With lots of twists and slight of hand tricks, the author deceives the reader until finally showing their cards at the end. With several subplots all intertwining to create the main plot, this really is an interesting and engaging read.

Mayank Nrr: well i have enjoyed the bookWhats good is the story its twists its characters and suspense its mix of thriller and horror hoping for a sequel Whats not Is the part where raven to protect cade started to avoid him this is normal in every story heroine trying to save the hero but the track ended so...

briggy1998: I really enjoyed the book, even though I had to skip a few lines, because at times it could get a bit disturbing🙆🏻😅What I would have liked is if you could have given a bit more insight into jack's and fiona's relationship, especially the epilogue was a bit short 😬Other than that an amazing story!

voovoo2003: I love everything about your story is was amazing. The plot and the way everything was put to together is wonderful, PLEASE!! Tell me there's more to the story is can't end the way it did. I was shocked and in need of the rest

nikole carr: After starting and stopping several books tonight, this book caught my attention from the very beginning and i stayed up until 6 a.m. to finish reading. The plot has many twists and the sexual scenes keep it interesting, too. im a florida native so the Caribbean location is fun to read about. th...