next steps and chapter 20 of the voice in the forest

update

Hi Everybody!Still sick because this bug hates me a lot, and my phone is still broken.
That’s it, that’s the update that makes me want to throw things.
BUT, I am getting better and I will be back on socials soon.

another free story!

Moving past the still down part of the message, I have another free short story for you!Remember, I’m doing a series challenges this summer for short stories, so expect a few more of these. 😉
Here is the link to my story, Duties Of A Daughter, on Vocal. media. Remember, this story is free to read and is just because I got a wild idea. If you don’t like thriller, contemporary, or the odd folk horror, this pen name is probably not for you because those are what I write in this.

Don’t forget about vella

And remember, the first three episodes of my Vella story, Crossroad Inn, are available to read for free.
Yes, I am still working on how to come up with some way for those of you who don’t like, or can’t access Amazon, to be able to read this story.
Hopefully, after I feel better, my brain will be able to function well enough to tackle that.

crossroad inn

Ellie, the bad*ss witch of Crossroad Inn has so many adventures in the world of the Three Realms. Go check it out! 

Next up is another chapter of our rough and bumpy first draft story!


chapter 20 of the voice in the forest

It didn’t seem to matter that I was exhausted, my mind wouldn’t shut up and let me sleep. 

Tossing and turning, I stared at the walls and the ceiling in my room in the dark.

The only light that intruded into my little corner of the great house, was from the moon outside my window.

Finally, I climbed from the bed, throwing off the blankets even though I immediately regretted the decision.

Chilled air, which permeated the old house every night, settled on my skin and sent goosebumps rising all up and down my arms and legs.

I wrapped my arms around myself and looked out at the moon hanging above the tree line.

Every feature of the moon’s face was clear in the bright shine of her facade. More than the sun, I loved to look at the face of the moon. 

The sun was often oppressive and beat down upon the world in a way we couldn’t avoid, but the moon…

She was there as silent sentinel, watching and waiting should we need her to light the way in the darkest part of the night.

But right now, the face of the moon didn’t offer me the usual hope I found there, or the comforting suggestion of protection she normally gave me. 

Instead, looking out at the forest, at the darkness deeper than black among the tree trunks along the forest floor made my goosebumps worse. The moon did that, in her bright shine, the shadows were longer and more ominous.

“Where are you Blackwell?” I asked the empty room, assuming he wouldn’t be anywhere near enough to hear me.

But what did I want from him?

At that moment, it seemed like the only thing that could make me feel better about the dark was him. A ghost. Which didn’t make sense, but it was true nonetheless.

In the yard, the tips of the shadows cast by the trees danced along the lawn.

Part of me knew it was nothing but the wind moving the branches, but part of me watched, waiting for something to reveal itself.

“Arabella,” Blackwell whispered behind me and I jumped, whirling around and stifling a scream with a hand to my mouth.

I fell over, not able to stop my momentum, even as I became aware that the flying rate of my heart had nothing to do with the person in front of me.

Blackwell reached out and grabbed me before I fell all the way over, pivoting to set me down on my bed.

He didn’t let go of me right away, looking me up and down as if he was checking for wounds of any kind.

“Are you all right? I heard you call for me,” he said, his eyes frantic in their search of me and his mouth tight.

“Why do you feel so solid?” I asked, my voice hushed, and he dropped his hands from me, stepping back.

Eyes that didn’t look away from me for a second just before, now looked anywhere but at me. He turned his face into a blank mask and stood rigid and straight in front of me.

“Blackwell?” I stood up, directly in front of him, trying to understand how it was that I knew he could walk through walls. He was a ghost. There was no denying that and I wasn’t going to argue the facts of his existence being the opposite of normal solid humanity. 

And yet… he seemed so real. So human. So alive.

I reached out, my hand steady even as the goosebumps returned worse than before. 

His hands shook and the pattern of his chest rising and falling as if he was breathing grew ragged and uneven.

Before I could reach him, he stepped back from me and finally made eye contact.

“You should get some sleep,” he said, tilting his head toward me.

The door to the room opened behind me, the old hinges creaking in complaint as it did, announcing someone’s arrival.

I looked over my shoulder, wanting to yell at whoever thought it was okay to walk into my room unannounced and knowing that it would be one more mark against me if I did.

Jameson froze, his face peeking around the edge of the doorway.

“Excuse you? Is there a reason you’re in my room in the middle of the night?” I asked, not bothering to hide how not okay his presence was.

“Yeah, I just thought I heard something and wanted to check on you.” He opened the door a little further and stepped into the room, glancing back into the hallway.

“Jameson, go back to bed. I’m sure Petra is waiting for you.” I narrowed my eyes at him and managed to avoid rolling them, but it was close.

“Are you sure? Everything’s okay?” 

I looked back to Blackwell, the look on his face almost making me laugh out loud.

He seemed scandalized by Jameson’s being there, as if he wasn’t also a guy in my room in the middle of the night. 

Although, I had invited him and he wasn’t engaged to a supposed friend of mine.

Turning back to Jameson, this time with my hands on my hips and my back fully to the window.

“Seriously, Jameson, get out of my room. You are not welcome to just come in here whenever you feel like it. You willingly gave up the right to check on me for no reason or be anywhere near my bed in the middle of the night a long time ago.” 

He leaned against the door, resting his head on the side and his face softening. 

“Come on, Ara, why can’t we get past all of that. It doesn’t mean I don’t still love you, and care about you,” he said, every bit of his voice dripping with sincerity and kindness.

But I knew better. 

“Get out, Jameson.” My voice was flat, but I wanted to punch him.

Jameson glanced behind him again and straightened up, nodding at me before he shut the door.

“That man has some kind of angle, some plan I don’t understand and can’t figure out,” Blackwell said.

I turned around to face him, trying to think through what the possibilities were, because he was right.

Before I answered, though, I walked to my door. 

Opening the door, no one was in the hall, Jameson gone to whatever it was he was doing before he supposedly heard something.

I shut it again, making a mental note to request a lock from Henry, and turned back to find that I was alone again.

Jameson was gone, and so was Blackwell, leaving me alone with my sleepless mind and the light of the moon.

Ta da!

Hopefully, I will feel better next week and my phone situation will finally be handled.  

Let me know if you read Crossroad Inn and if you think I should keep on with finding another way to get that story to you.

And I would love to hear what you think of the new short story too. 

Next week I will have another short story for you to read, and another chapter of The Voice In The Forest.

Don’t forget, Cupcake Queens is fast approaching!

As always, happy reading!

— Everly

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