Greetings, readers! I am pleased to play host to the incredibly talented indie author Aoife Marie Sheridan. Enjoy a free sample of her latest novel Hunters.
Hunters – Taken from Chapter Three – The School (Abigail)
I stayed silent in Blake’s car, in no mood to talk to him since he wouldn’t let me drive. We were heading back to the base before we did our neck assignment. Going back made me think of Zee and the one word he had said earlier rang out in my mind. The fact that he said that he had never regretted saving me meant more to me than he would ever know. If I let myself get any closer, he would be the undoing of me and I was already starting to fray around the edges. I didn’t want to feel so happy about the way he looked at me; I could never act upon it or tell him how I felt. My head was getting sore. Why was everything so difficult? But I was doing him a favor and, honestly, myself too. I was saving him the enviable heartache and I was afraid of opening up to him. I didn’t want anything up here to fight for. I didn’t want to lose any more people that I love. I had lost enough.
Blake turned on some music. It was more like background music, just light and easy, so I didn’t complain.
“Are you okay?” Blake’s words pulled me out of my torture. I didn’t turn to him, but continued to stare out the window.
“I know you don’t know me, but you can trust me if you need to talk,” Blake said, almost, sounding sincere.
I snorted. “You’re right. I don’t know you. And I don’t trust people that I don’t know, or people who lie to me, so no, I don’t want to talk.” I hadn’t forgotten his intrusion in my home.
“But I redeemed myself by sticking up for you with Father Peter.”
Now, I looked at Blake, a small smile growing on his face.
“Why were you at my apartment?” I stared at him, hoping he would get flustered.
“Honestly, I had heard a lot about you, so I was curious.” He didn’t even flinch or look away from the road, but I could hear an undertone of resentment. But Why?
“Curious enough to break into someone’s home and stand over them while they slept? Blake, you need to get yourself a hobby!”
He looked at me going red. What was it about this guy? I swear, I knew him from somewhere. It wasn’t his face, but just how I felt around him. The hairs on the back of my neck always felt as if they were rising.
“What part of the world did you come from?” I asked. Considering his olive skin and brown eyes, I assumed somewhere warm.
“Originally, from Spain, but I have been based in America for the last two years.” He didn’t have a Spanish accent.
“Why were you transferred?” I asked, since he wasn’t exactly handing out the information.
“I wanted a change of scenery,” he said and smiled at me.
I turned back in my seat, facing the road just in time to see a small child step out in front of us. I let out a scream for Blake to stop, but he didn’t, he just looked at me puzzled. We were going to hit the child, so I pulled the steering wheel out of Blake’s hands, driving us into a ditch. I braced myself as we hit the ditch at full impact, my body lifted from the seat, only to be slammed back down by the seat belt. My arms and legs were flailing like a rag doll and the impact of the seatbelt on my chest knocked the air right out of my lungs. The car flipped, landing on its roof. Glass shattered on top of us. The engine still roared as metal scratched across the earth. The car shifted for a moment and then stopped.
I could feel warm liquid run down on my face. No air could reach my lungs. I fought, but nothing came. Blackness overtook me.
“Abigail,” a soft voice called my name, pulling me awake. I opened my eyes, getting an eye full of my black hair. From the pressure on my head and what I was seeing, we were hanging upside down.
“Blake, are you alright?” I asked, turning in his direction, a sharp pain bit into my forehead, making me wince.
A loud thud filled the car. “Yes, just hold on,” Blake said, now out of his seat. “On the count of three, I’ll open your seatbelt, okay?”
“Okay.” I swallowed and braced myself for the fall. I fell, letting out a scream as my ribs protested with the impact of hitting the floor. My hands went to my side as I found it hard to breathe. Blake crawled out his window, the glass shattering.
“Wait a second!” he said, but I just wanted to get out. He removed his jacket stiffly, looking like he was in pain and laid it across the ground beside the window, covering as much glass as possible.
“Okay, come on, be careful.” He sat back on his hunkers, looking in at me.
I crawled out, letting go of my side. The pain was almost unbearable, but I needed to get out of the car. I could feel the bite of the glass under the jacket as I made my way out of the window. We both sat there for a moment, stunned. My side ached, but it was a bit easier to breathe and my head pounded. I reached my hand up and it came away slick with blood. The little boy entered my mind. I got up too quickly and stumbled, falling onto the road.
“Abigail, what are you doing?” Blake followed me, moving slowly, his leg seemed to be bothering him. I couldn’t see a cut along his denim jeans, but I didn’t inspect any further, I needed to find the boy.
“The boy … the little boy we hit!” My heart pounded, “Where is he? Oh god, don’t say we killed him.” I stood again in the middle of the road, doing a full three sixty, but no one was in sight.
“Check the ditches, Blake. He might be hurt!”
Blake grabbed my arms and shook me, igniting the pain in my side. I winced, but he continued to speak, “What are you talking about? There was no boy, Abigail. You just pulled the steering wheel right out of my hand!”
My breathing became ragged. “I saw him … the boy and you saw him too. He was on the road. We swerved, but I’m not sure if we hit him.” My words sounded hysterical, even to my own ears, but through my whole speech, Blake just continued to shake his head.
“No one was on the road.” He looked concerned now.
“I know what I saw!” I pulled my arms free and started to look up one side of the road for anything. He was real. He was a person. He had feet. I paused in my thoughts. Did I see his feet? I wasn’t sure. I wasn’t sure if it was just his body. My body was shaking from shock or fear, I didn’t know, but I kept looking.
“We crashed. No, we’re fine. Honestly, just some minor cuts. She’s in shock. I’m not sure what happened. Can you just send someone down here, now? Maybe Daniel. He can calm her down.”
I didn’t know who Blake was talking to, but I didn’t care, I needed to find the little boy. I searched the other side of the road.
“Abigail, get off the road now. What if a car comes!” Blake said, looking at me as if I was a mad woman.
“No, I need to find him first!”
Blake stormed over, grabbing my arm; and tried to drag me to the other side of the road, causing the pain in my side to burn. This time, I let out a strangled cry, one that he ignored.
“No one is there. It’s all in your head.” He practically roared it.
Tears filled my eyes.
“I know what I saw. Please, let me look for him. He could be dying!”
Blake shook his head in denial. “Fine, I’ll look this side and you take the other, but if we don’t find him, I don’t want to hear you mention this again!” he said.
I nodded my head in agreement, not meaning a word of it.
There was no sign of the little boy or anything that would suggest he ever existed, no shoe, no foot prints, no blood. A car pulled up, Father Peter and Zee moved towards us.
Zee didn’t say anything, but pulled me into his arms. He could feel my distress. Father Peter went to Blake, who had sat down again.
“What happened?” he asked.
“A dog ran out on the road, I tried to avoid it, but I couldn’t.” Blake told the lie so easily… but why?
Zee’s body stiffened before he turned to Blake. Taking huge steps, I raced after him.
“You almost killed her because of a dog?” His anger was so intense, radiating off him.
I could see Blake cringe back.
“Zee, stop!” I said, resting my hand on his arm and then I flinched at the movement. My side was getting worse. He looked down at my hand and then back to my face with worry, concern, and fear. “I’m fine,” I said.
“Let’s get both of you to the hospital for a check-up,” Father Peter said.
“No!” both Blake and I responded in unison. I hated hospitals and Father Peter knew it.
“Yes!” he answered both of us back, while pointing to the car.
Zee helped me into the back seat and slide in beside me. I looked up as Blake got into the front, our eyes meeting briefly. Why did you lie? I thought to myself. It made no sense!
“Your ribs are broken,” Zee whispered to me.
“It’s okay. I’ll get sorted at the hospital,” I said, but Zee was already moving his hands to my side, I looked in the rear view mirror to see if either Father Peter or Blake were watching.
It was too risky and I shook my head at Zee to let him know, but he didn’t seem to care. He closed his eyes, his hands pushing deeper into my ribs. I let off a hiss, biting my lip until the metallic taste of blood filled my mouth and then the pain was gone. My ribs were healed.
“Thank you,” I mouthed to him, but he wasn’t done.
He took off his jacket.
“Should I turn down the heating?” Blake asked with a little too much suspicion in his voice.
“Yeah, that would be great,” Zee said, not fazed at all by Blake.
What was wrong with him? I had never seen him so careless before! Father Peter was focused on the road; his only mission was to get us to the hospital safely. I glanced in the mirror again, but Blake was facing stiffly forward. Zee placed his hand on my forehead and I could feel the cut knitting itself back together. He examined it. Once he was satisfied that the cut was closed, he started cleaning off my blood. I couldn’t understand why he was taking such good care of me and doing it so openly.
I pushed his hands away, feeling claustrophobic and confused by all his fussing. He still hovered over me, searching my face, neck, and hands for any more marks. I grabbed his hand, making him look at me. My stomach fluttered when his intense blue eyes meet mine.
“I’m okay,” I whispered, needing to calm him down, but his eyes searched mine. I held my breath, finding it too much with him this close, so I dropped his hands and looked away.
Aoife Marie Sheridan has loved reading from a very young age, starting off with mills and boon’s books, given to by her grandmother her love for romances grew, by the age of 14 she had read hundreds of them.
Aoife had a passion for writing poetry or in her eyes her journal entries. It was something she did throughout her teens and into her twenties. Aoife won first place for two of her poems and had them published at a young age of just nineteen. Realising she needed to get a real job (What writing isn’t) she studied accountancy and qualified working in that field for many years, until her passion for reading returned and she found Maria V Snyder. Poison study one of her favourite books has been read and re-read countless times.
Aoife’s first book Eden Forest (Part one of the Saskia Trilogy) came to be after a dream of a man and woman on a black horse jumping through a wall of fire and the idea of Saskia was born. Now with her first novel published and taking first place for Eden Forest with Writers Got Talent 2013, Aoife continues to write tales of fantasy and is currently working on her third book for the Saskia Trilogy amongst other new works.
To contact Aoife you can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Google Plus: https://plus.google.com/+AoifeMarieSheridan
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