Happy Halloween! And Chapter 54 of The Voice In The Forest

Happy Halloween

Hi Everybody!

First of all, I love all the responses I get for my little questions here, so thank you!

Second, yes. I even love them when the consensus is literally fifty fifty and I am still just a wild pinball bouncing back and forth.

And third- Have I explained how much I love this holiday?

Well, I love it so much I do ridiculous things for this day.

You know those overly complicated pumpkin carvings people post on Pinterest and everyone wonders how and why the people did them?

Totally me.

Here’s the secret: pokes

First, I sketch out what the design is going to be on a piece of paper and then I put the paper up to the side of the pumpkin and make little pokes through the lines.

Basically, I turn pumpkin carving into a giant connect the dots via stabbing project.

Voila! That’s how I ended up with years worth of the Mockingjay symbols from the Hunger Games books series, Halo, Pokemon, Jack Skellington, and Spiderman pumpkins to name a few.

This year, I’m going with one of the sigils from Cinder’s world… The hard part is fingering out which one and how I’m going to make it so it works on a pumpkin without turning into a big open hole.

Wish me luck!

Hot Mess Express

Before we get to another chapter of our little story we’re writing here, just a quick reminder that this is a hot mess roughest of rough draft that will undergo serious rewrites and editing after we finish it here.

This weekend the updates to blog are going live to get it all caught up with all the previous chapters so you can all get caught up should you choose to.

For now, I have news coming next week so I may or may not have another chapter then so I hope you enjoy this one!

The Voice In The Forest

Chapter 54

I woke to no arms wrapped around me. I woke to and empty bed and an even emptier jar of hope in my mind.

But as my hands shook in denial and my gaze scanned the room, my heart ratcheting up on its own without any true justification for its increased pace, I knew something was wrong and leapt from the bed as fast as I could.

Throwing on a pair of pants and shoes, I flung myself out the door of my room and down the hall.

After everything that had happened lately, he wouldn’t leave me alone.

He couldn’t. I wouldn’t let him.

“Not today,” I muttered as I rushed down to the first story and through the house to the outside door.

For some reason, I wasn’t thinking. I wasn’t allowing myself to. Instead, I was running on some instinct I wasn’t sure I understood and couldn’t have named if someone paid me to.

Running as fast as my body allowed me to push myself across the yard and crashing through the door of the makeshift tent-like structure erected around the coffin they found.

Once I was on the other side, I finally let myself suck down air in full, greedy breaths.

All the desperation of my mad scramble to get here transferred to my need for more air in my lungs.

But I made a noise, something, moved somehow and drew his attention toward me, which finally let me fully allow myself to lose the last vestiges of my panic and turn my legs into a jelly that left me crumpling toward the ground.

Montgomery was beside me, holding me up and clutching me to his chest with hands trembling as hard as I was… or maybe that was just me shaking uncontrollably.

“You were gone,” I said, clinging to him and trying to get my heart rate back under control.

He didn’t answer me, he didn’t even seem to pretend to have anything to say for himself.

And I knew.

With his lips pressing a kiss to my forehead, all my shaking stopped and I pulled back, away from him, I stare at him as I clenched my teeth tight together,

“Tell me,” I said, my voice like a gunshot ringing out swift and deadly between us.

Swallowing, he squeezed his eyes shut and deflated in front of me, seeming to shrunk on himself and hunch into a smaller version of the man I loved as much as I hated in that moment.

But still, while I waited, and my heart broke further along fault lines I didn’t even know it had, he remained silent and refused to look at me.

“Now,” I said, the threat heavy in my voice. “Tell me, now. I know what you’re doing here, what it means. So tell me the truth.”

He tilted his head down and stared at the ground while my focus shifted to the open coffin behind him.

Using both hands, I shoved myself up and away from him.

Without a word, I stepped around him toward the coffin.

“Ara, no,” he yelled, turning, eyes finally opening, and grabbing onto my legs.

“Don’t you dare tell me what to do right now.” The rapid fire deadly sounding release of my words didn’t stop him, but the shaking was back and this time it wasn’t me.

“Only pain can come from you looking in there.”

Maybe his words were a plea, some kind of prayer for leniency. But I wasn’t in the mercy business at the moment.

For myself, or for him.

Shaking him off, I stomped my way to the side of the coffin and took a deep breath.

This was it.

Now that I was here, now that all I had to do was look down and see whatever state his aged remains were in, everything in me froze.

I knew this was coming. I needed to do this. There was no other way.

So why did everything in me scream that Montgomery was right, and nothing good could come of looking at his…bones? Desiccated flesh?

His hands were suddenly on my back, making me jump, but he put his forehead against the back of my neck and the shudder of a sigh that came out of him reminded me that no matter what I saw, he was there to replace the image with something beautiful.

“You looked?” I asked in a whisper, my throat tight.

“Even though I can’t believe it, yes.”

Part of me couldn’t believe it, either.

All of this was more than strange.

Trying to imagine myself in his position, looking upon my own dead body while solid enough to touch it, to feel it, to see and be seen… it was like some kind of strange nightmare or a scene from a horror movie.

Finally, with one hand gripping tight to the dirty edge of the yawning open coffin lid, little rocks and grime rough under my hands, I reached back with my other hand, grasping for Montgomery.

He threaded his fingers in mine, holding on tight, as I squeezed my eyes shut and bent my head down.

One more deep breath was all I allowed myself, marveling at the fact that all I smelled was the vague sense of pond and nothing of decay before I ventured to open my eyes.

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