This novel is limited to 100 free copies due to its part in Inkitt’s Novel Contest.
There is no instinct like that of the heart. – Lord Byron
Five minutes is all it took to shatter my world. Three hundred seconds to learn my uncle, Hugo Tardif, was lying face down in a pool of his own blood. His tongue carved from his mouth. He was the only family I had, and now, he’s dead.
The pungent smell of blood wafts in the air. Heavy footsteps echo, bouncing off the rock walls of the basement. Glancing up, a man dressed in a dark charcoal suit approaches the step I’m sitting on. Drawing my legs up, I hug them to my chest.
“My name is Detective Chase.” His long manicured fingers brush back the lapel of his jacket, exposing a badge clipped to his waist and a holstered firearm. “Ma’am, I understand you drove in from Boston and found your uncle.”
“I’m Sophia Tardif . . . Sophie.” Looking past the detective, my eyes zoom in on my uncle’s cold, motionless body. Sprigs of his curly brown hair fan out over the blood-stained floor. “He wasn’t expecting me until tomorrow morning.” I pause, my voice hollow. “He didn’t like me driving at night. But when my last exam ended, I came home.”
“Where are you going to school?”
“Harvard. My spring classes just ended. I’m out for the summer.”
My heart aches, it’s breaking in two. They didn’t even cover him with a sheet, like they do in the movies. Instead, they’ve worked around him, taking photographs and combing the area for evidence.
Sucking in a ragged breath, my eyes dart around the room. The walls and floor are covered in strange writing. Actually, the markings look more like symbols than words, which is odd. Did my uncle do it . . . or someone else?
Lifting a leg, the detective places the tip of his brown brogue Oxford dress shoe on top of the step above me and leans on the handrail. “Did your uncle have an affiliation with any gangs . . . or dabble in the occult, Ms. Tardif?”
“No.” The donuts and tea I scarfed down on the road shifts, it’s bubbling and sloshing around in my stomach. “My uncle was a quiet man." My eyes drift back to the wall of writing. "He rarely left the bookstore.”
“Do you know why anyone would want to hurt him?”
I shake my head then swallow hard, forcing the bile touching the back of my throat down. “Why would someone do this to him . . . to anyone?” Tears fill my eyes. “I shouldn’t have stopped for a drink.” My voice cracks. “If I’d come home first, he might still be alive.”
The air between us grows thick and heavy. He’s talking, but I only hear every other word. Ribbons of color swirl around him.
Squeezing my eyes shut, I try to refocus my thoughts. But Detective Chase’s words continue to rattle around in my head. Gangs . . . occult . . . words I’d never associated with my uncle before. He was an honest man—a hard worker. He’d have given the shirt off his back if he thought it would help someone else.
The detective kneels in front of me and places a hand on my shoulder. “Is there someone we can call . . . family?”
I force back the tears threatening to breach my lids. “There’s no one else. Hugo was all I had.” Standing, I take hold of the rail. “May I go upstairs?”
The detective nods. “I’ll be in touch, Ms. Tardif.”
He hands me a card with a case number. His name is flat, unassuming against the white background. But the bold words homicide detective jump out at me.
“If you think of anything—anything at all—no matter how insignificant it may seem—don’t hesitate to call.”
His eyes bore through me, but I hold his gaze. After several seconds, he turns. With long strides, he covers the basement floor. Standing next to a uniformed policeman, he examines the main wall of the basement.
A pentagram, three-feet in diameter, is scribed on the wall in blood.
Gulping a breath, I ascend the stairs. The image keeps flashing through my mind.
“What the hell happened?” I ask the question under my breath. “And what the fuck do the symbols mean?”
deniserudolp: Breath of fresh air.....reading so many story's and wonderful writers. ...A story comes along as this that had me frustrated. ..hurt. ...In love. .and overjoyed all into one book ....wonderful story...that you can read over and over....and nd enjoy every time.
Krupa Kataria: the detailing is really awesome ....the characters, ur plots jst too Awsm ,m waiting for the further chapters please do complete it ...like m really craving for those ones ...great job with words too ..please complete the further parts ...
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...
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...
daneliacapote116: This was one of my favorites! When you start reading you want to continue I can't wait for the rest of the novel!! The characters where awesome! Everything was great. I encourage you to read this novel, your going to love it it and want to read it more and more !!
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...
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...
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...
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...
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 ...