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.
Dru83: This is the second or third time I've read this one and I just love it. It has just about everything you could ever want packed into one scifi story. It still has some parts that are a little rough in terms of grammar, punctuation, and word usage, but it's still an awesome story. I love how detai...
nirrmitshah: A truely touching story where you'd be at the edge of your seat for the most time. even though the starting might seem rushed, the story was extremely interesting and entertaining. I think certain parts could be added detailing the Mynds's culture. As well as more details on the Jhanthru history....
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...
Alani Foreigner: I absolutely loved how you created this story. It isn't like the other cliché stories I've ever read. I had just started reading it yesterday and just had to finish it. The main characters are grotesquely awesome and I fell in love with them. If you're into fantasy and stuff I can guarantee that ...
OpheliaJones: This story took a different kind of spin on the "normal girl lives with definitely not normal guy" plot. The plot points of Frey's father, Liam's family, and Frey's view of Liam's world were good to read. She did not fall in love with him in the first couple weeks. Their lives were not smooth in ...
maewilde25: I liked this, though it dragged on for over 200pages and heaven knows I did not expect the plot twist in the middle. David being Cristiãn. I was wondering when he would show up and didn't know he was there all along. it looks like there should be a sequel, please let there be a sequel. I know the...
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...
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 ...
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...
zoheusher20: What more can I say? The writing style and little details drew me into the book and for the entirety of the story I was Juliet. I felt her turmoil and emotions and every trouble or triumph as they arrived. This story was very different and had quite a few little but unexpected twists that made it...
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...
Marimar Amieva: I just can't believe the story! I absolutely loved it, all of it. The characters and their chemistry between them, and the fact that they are relatable. The story also has some sick plot twists, which I never saw coming. I loved the fact that it is an adorable love story but has its mystery touc...
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...