This novel is limited to 100 free copies due to its part in Inkitt’s Novel Contest.
Everybody in Bedford County had rushed to hardware and grocery stores to the dismay of the employees. Lines swelled at gas stations and cars honked on the roads as people fought through the crowds to prepare.
“Hurricane Greta, the storm of the century,” Ken Rottman the Channel 6 meteorologist had reported. His ridiculous purple suit and unrealistic pearly whites dancing across the television as he spoke to the camera, “Stock up and remain in doors.”
All but Jessica Flynn heeded this warning. She was standing - failing at it, but standing none the less in the rain. Swaying back and forth, her feet sliding on the slick black road of Church Street as she tried steadying herself against not only the wind but her drunken equilibrium.
Her idea of preparation had been a charged laptop filled with her favorite TV shows ready to be re-watched and recited to the annoyance of her roommate. Right before the rain began she polished off six beers and had two shots because Erin refused any “clear” alcohols. “Waste not, want not,” she had said before throwing her head back and grimacing as they slid down her throat.
After four episodes of a show Erin had picked, she was snoring, mouth open and the beginnings of drool beading on the couch. Jessica rolled her eyes deciding that a walk in the rain would be refreshing.
Drunk Jess always had ideas that Sober Jessica hated her for in the morning. So, here she stood one mile later, thanks to the shortcut through Cheyenne Park that divided the towns of Aurora and Bedford, right in front of Standon Manor.
Its shadow loomed over her, stone siding, rising and ending where floor to ceiling windows began. The massive driveway and front lawn sprawling out before it, adorned with spiral bushes by an over charging lawn service.
She peered at the two story structure through one squinted eye, her chestnut hair that fell in long waves was drenched and pasted to the other eye. She was going to knock on the front door, no one was around to stop it.
James Bannon would learn what a bastard he was.
Jessica stumbled her way up the bricked circular driveway, struggling to avoid bumping into any fancy schmancy cars; two of which she had triumphantly given the middle finger to. She knocked on the massive mahogany door, it was a loud knock that hurt her knuckles - but it was a good strong knock. Smiling at herself, she stared purposefully at the door and waited.
Several minutes later the door remained closed and the wind became stronger, she balled her hand into a fist and made three low thuds. Lightning cracked startling her, and she jolted forward, losing footing on the wet entryway cement. Her shoulder slammed into the door and it gave way swinging open into blackness.
“Hey! Shit head!” she leaned forward into the doorway and then fell through the doorway. “Fuck,” her muffled voice spoke into the floor as her lip trickled blood onto the tiles.
Hobbling to her feet her sneakers squeaked on the foyer tiles as her balance faltered. She reached for the light switch to the left of the door, it flicked up, but she was still standing in darkness.
She focused out of the front door and realized the street was void of light, lightning, of course, there was no power.
Sober Jessica would have informed her that knocking was a disastrous idea, but even worse than that was standing in the silent darkness of this house after two years.
She was squeaking toward the staircase before she had any time to establish how she’d explain her presence. She stretched her arm out for the railing, but instead her foot connected with the bottom landing and sent her tumbling forward smashing a shin into the lip of a step. She cried out in pain but threw a hand to her mouth when she heard what she thought was the shuffling of feet.
After a minute of silence, she ascended the staircase on all fours hoping for no more injuries. At the top she stood and made her way through the sitting room to the bedroom hallway, praising herself for making it unscathed.
Arms outstretched she prodded in the dark looking for the door at the end of the hall, but then realized it was unnecessary. A white light beamed from under the door, her eyes adjusted as she walked toward it.
“James?” No response.
“Mrs.Bannon?” No voices came.
She wiggled the door handle and finding it locked she crouched, leveling her eye with the keyhole. The convenient thing about old homes was their large keyholes making looking into locked rooms easy. Her eye squinted through and she noticed that the room seemed too bare for this house.
Another sound of shuffling feet frightened her and her head jerked back down the hallway, but the shadows blotted out anything or anyone she may have seen. Turning back to the keyhole, a figure moved into focus before her eyes.
Mrs.Bannon was sitting in a wheelchair in the center of the empty room, an oxygen tank at her side and a clear tube draped under her nose. A blonde woman approached the back of her chair, holding up a black leather cord twisted and coiled around the fingers of her left hand. The other end of the cord was in a taught line gripped in her right hand.
Dangling from it was a black skeleton key, a red gem glinting in the top as she lifted her hands over Mrs.Bannon’s head. It snapped backward, gray hair rose into the air and fell obscuring her face. The cord draped across her throat, red lines spidered away from it, the skin wrinkling in constriction.
“No!” Jessica shouted her fists pounding on the door suddenly it flung open knocking her to her back. Something loud clattered next to her as her eyes moved to the woman. Standing above her garbed in a high neck black dress, white lace frilled out under her chin, her violet eyes were like acid on Jessica.
“Charlotte!” The woman’s cry was piercing and Jessica’s elbows slammed into the floorboards as she scrambled backward, away from the hand jutting toward her.
“Jessica!” A voice boomed from outside, and she found her footing, jumping to her feet and hurling herself down the hallway. Her heart thundered in her chest as she skidded through the sitting room, she willed herself to look forward, to see through the darkness. There it was, she could see the staircase, freedom. The wood floors of the manor were not on her side and she slipped on the stairs taking them down on her back.
“My hand is forced!” She could hear the woman wailing, the shuffling of her feet getting closer.
A hand closed around the front of her shirt, pulling her to her feet, “What are you doing?” a voice sneered. His voice. It sliced through her like a newly sharpened blade.
She couldn’t even say his name out loud now that he was right here. She knew he was glaring at her through the darkness, his hand still latched on to her shirt.
“Your Mother!” She shouted up at him as another ear-splitting scream came from the staircase. She ripped the cloth of her shirt back breaking into a run and darting around him.
His was not the voice that had screamed her name, she’d know his voice anywhere and that wasn’t it. Her sides ached as she ran through the front door into the full on hurricane.
Through torrents of rain, she saw her father standing at the end of the driveway. Wind knocked her around threatening to send her sailing over the knee high stone wall that separated the driveway and lawn as she made her way toward him.
What was she going to say to him? How was she going to explain… why was he even here? Erin, god dammit! Erin and her big stupid mouth.
“What on earth, Jessica?”
Her Father was soaked and his loose jacket was swirling in the wind. It looked as though he would be carried up and off like a kite to a far off land, she wished he would be and then mentally chastised herself.
Trash cans tumbled down Church Street and a tree branch cracked from a tree missing a nearby power line.
“Is he in there?”
“Dad! Don’t-” the rain was assaulting the side of her face as she hunched over to catch her breath. “There’s, Ther -” She couldn’t get the words out, and she looked up at him shaking her head.
“I can not believe you,” he grumbled walking past her. His shoulder slammed into hers and she wasn’t sure if it was because he meant it or because she couldn’t stand up straight.
Finding her breath she shouted as she ran toward her father’s car, “Dad! Let’s go! You-” The shrill sound of his voice made her words catch in her throat and she spun to look at him.
“Call 911!” He was walking backward, staring up at the window to Mrs.Bannon’s room. Flames had erupted everywhere, smoke was seeping out of the windows and billowing through the rain.
There was no sign of fire inside the house, but she couldn’t be sure. Everything happened too fast, she wasn’t positive what she had seen and what she hadn’t. Jessica shoved her hands in her jeans searching for her phone, It wasn’t there and her hands groped every pocket she had. Instantly, she knew what that clattering noise had been when she fell in the hallway and her eyes darted up to the manor.
Standing in a bedroom window was the young blonde woman illuminated by reds and oranges. The black key pressed against the glass, framed by the pale skin of her palm. She lifted the other hand and wiggled her fingers at Jessica, a smirk reaching her purple eyes.
The wind blew hard and her knees gave out. She was falling sideways away from the stone wall and into the street. Fire rose into the darkness of the sky as her body twisted toward the ground.
For a second, she thought she saw him standing in the doorway, a menacing giant making the door frame look too small for the manor. She reached out to him and then warmth spread across her head.
Dee: It’s been two years since Lilly lost her best friend to a vicious random shooting. Now, after a prestigious university extends her an offer of study, she has the chance to start afresh and leave all her demons behind. But the last thing she expects is to meet Elliot. He's a criminal. She's hasn'...
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...
Stephen Warner: To start off, I am thoroughly impressed. The writing style is somewhat unique, and the plot seemed to move at a nice and steady pace. However, I was not expecting this to be a vampire book! I am usually not one for novels about vampires, but I was pleasantly surprised! You wrote with such grace a...
makaylakay: I love love this story! It's written incredibly and well thought-out plot! I love how it's a different twist in fantasy fiction, other then the usual vampire or werewolves. Love the romantics and drawn to the two characters so much already! This book will draw you in within the first chapter and ...
Kevin Brand: My overall rating: 4.8/5 starsLoved. Every. Second. Everytime I came back to continue reading I got this overwhelming feeling of getting hooked on the first sentence... Over and over and again!The only things that were missing for me include more descriptions on what happens when Reuben touches s...
Hudson: Your story was fantastic Erin! The Rising Sun was one of the first stories I read on Inkitt, and I have to say I don't regret the three to four days I spent pouring through the story.Probably the biggest strength I see in your writing is your characterisation of Eliana, Oriens, and the rest of th...
Shweta Somwanshi: I just chose to read this out of nowhere and now I can't stop. Hats off to the author who made the reader swoon away with words so beautifully! I loved how I was able to imagine everything so explicitly because the writing was simple and easily comprehensive with a touch of complexity somewhere b...
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...
spooky jedi: Love your story!I really hope more people read this story!Its amazing!! The plot is very unique and different, which is very good to have in a world full of stories. You have very complex and intellectual plot line, with your many loveable character and that hint of 'will they, won't they' is ju...
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...