Authors: April Marcom
Tags: #coming of age, #family, #danger, #sacrifice, #alien, #extraterrestrial, #love at first sight, #soulmates, #pianist, #new adult romance
“Through here,” Enock whispered, putting a
hand on my back and leading me to a door on our right. It led to a
dark, covered strip of grass outside.
At the end, Enock peeked around the corners
as a blue streak of light raced through the trees and disappeared.
“August is hunting. Hold on to me and don’t make a sound.” He
wrapped a dark blanket around me from head to toe and then pulled
me close to him as I draped my arms around his neck.
Then I felt my feet leave the ground as he
leaned over and began running. My brain was in full panic mode as
we sliced through the cold, whistling air. I couldn’t see anything,
but it was an extremely bumpy ride, and I could definitely feel the
high speed at which we were traveling. It felt like I would crash
or fall and be seriously injured any second. But my heart told me
that it would be all right, so I kept taking deep breaths and
reminding myself that Enock knew what he was doing.
In not much time at all, we were slowing
down, and then Enock was setting me against something hard and
helping me pull the blanket off.
We were standing in the dark shadows behind a
tall empty-looking building with dirty windows near its roof, a
useless-seeming place to put a window. The night was so dark and
cloudy, the only light I could see came from the eyes of the
beautifully blue Anvilayan standing in front of me.
“Stay here. I won’t be long,” he said before
he leapt over the building and disappeared, allowing the black
night to swallow me completely.
blanket around me, I looked out over the big blob of trees growing
a stone’s throw away from me and shivered. My imagination ran wild
as I pictured zombies and murderous lunatics running through their
trunks toward me. The dark didn’t scare me, but being in an
unfamiliar place all alone, not even knowing
did. So I kind of crouched down against the building and closed my
Several frightening minutes later, I heard
leaves crunching beside me and saw a soft light through my eyelids.
I looked up to find Enock standing in front of me, a little out of
“Where are we?” I asked him, standing up.
“We’re just uphill from a little village, but
there’s a town east of here.” He held out a flip phone. “You can
use this to call your parents.”
I took it without question and began dialing
my dad’s cell, too afraid to call my mom because she would probably
be screaming and crying the entire time. “Hello,” my dad answered,
sounding more than a little exhausted and upset.
mom screamed in the background. “Give me that! Sarafina Lacy, what
in the world took you so long to call?!”
So much for talking to Dad.
sorry, Mom, but there’s no reception where I’m staying, and it’s
really hard to come into town.”
“That’s no excuse! You know you were supposed
to call us the second you got there. Your father and I have been
searching for a phone number or address anywhere and found nothing.
Everything we read about the Halvandors just vanished. It was like
they never even existed. Do you know what it’s like—”
“Hello, Sara?” my dad’s voice said.
“It’s not my fault. I really did call you as
soon as I could.”
“I know, honey, but is there an Internet
connection or anything out there? We need to know how you’re
I was extremely grateful for my dad being so
cool about everything, because I knew it wasn’t easy for him. I’d
seen him go through it three times before. Every time one of my
sisters turned eighteen and left home, he accepted it and supported
whatever they wanted to do as an adult. I always saw the way he
worried about them, though, so I knew exactly what he was going
through right now.
“No, it’s pretty old-fashioned. There’s no
electricity or anything.”
“Well, it is strange that all records of the
Halvandor family have vanished completely…” Undoubtedly created and
removed by Enock. “Are you sure you’re all right? I could fly you
home right now?”
The offer was tempting. I really wanted to go
home. But when I looked into Enock’s pleading eyes and he took my
hand, lacing his fingers through mine and lifting them so he could
drag his tongue slowly over my knuckles, I knew I could never leave
him. I shivered again, this time having nothing to do with the
cold, and said, “I’m okay, Dad. I really like it here.”
Enock slid his hand over my side and back as
he moved closer to me and leaned over to press his explosive tongue
against my neck. I let out a noisy breath, wanting to tell him to
stop and keep going at the same time.
“Sara, are you all right?”
“Yeah, Dad. Sorry. I’ve gotta go. I just
wanted to let you know I’m okay.”
“When can you call us again? We want to hear
all about your new job.”
“I don’t know. It’ll probably be awhile,
“Harold, don’t you dare let her get off that
phone!” my mother said in the background.
“I love you, Dad,” I said quickly. “Tell Mom
I love her, too.”
“I will. Love you, too.”
“Give me that—” my mom said as I hung up the
phone and let out a sigh of relief.
Enock looked at my hand as he took the phone
and crushed it loudly into several pieces, dropping them all over
the ground. “Thank you for staying,” he said with eyes so full of
adoration, my breath caught in my throat. “I know you’re very
“I would do anything to be with you, Enock,”
I said, resting my hands on his cheeks as fangs crept over his lips
and hair grew over his back.
“So would I.”
He put both arms around me and held me
against him before he leapt onto the roof of the old place and
landed square in the center of it. We were at the top of a steep
slope overlooking a bed of little houses and twinkling windows.
Such a small thing untouched by the rest of the world was something
I’d never seen before. “What a beautiful view,” I said in awe.
“I thought you would like it.”
Enock turned his attention to the sky and
pointed at a very small opening in the clouds. “See the little
speck of a star there, in between the brighter ones?”
“My planet’s up there, a lot farther away
than the stars are.” He rubbed his hands over my arms, up and down.
“I wish I could take you there with me.”
This surprised me a little, because the
thought had never even crossed my mind. “Is that possible?” I
He shook his head. “I don’t see how. We’re
not allowed to bring creatures from other worlds to Cyron. Any
found stowing away or being brought over illegally are executed
immediately. And losing you would destroy me.” He dragged his
tongue over my chin and lips, better than any kiss existing on
earth. “So I will stay here,” he said. “I don’t care where I am, as
long as I’m with you—forever and ever.”
As he leaned forward to kiss me and I reached
around his boulder-like shoulders to press my palms against his
warm, silken skin, the sharpness of his nails pressing lovingly
against me, it was impossible to think about the dangers or
complications surrounding us. All I cared about was that night,
that moment, being with Enock…always.
“Sara…Sara, where were you last night?”
“Hm?” I asked sleepily.
“I waited for hours and couldn’t find you, so
I went to the gathering by myself. You still weren’t in your room
when I went to bed.”
The morning sun splashed my face with warmth
as the same voice that had woken me up the morning before repeated
the offense. “I’m sorry, Helena, I got distracted and forgot all
“Distracted by Enock?”
I stared at her, not sure what to say. I
decided nothing was probably the best solution, and got up to go to
my closet and get dressed. Then I put my tennis shoes on, because
the dress was long enough to cover them.
“There are a lot of chores I have to do
today, so I probably won’t see you until tonight,” Helena said. “Do
you want to meet me in the kitchen when you’re done playing at
dinner? I really think you’d like coming to a gathering.”
I felt bad that I’d stood her up the day
before. “What exactly is a gathering?”
“What it sounds like. Everyone gathers in the
barn and Old Bargus and his boys play their violins. The barn’s
really big, and it’s a lot of fun.”
It sounded a little like a party—loud and
owe her, and I could just go for a
little while. “Okay, I’ll meet you in the kitchen when I’m done, I
“Can I fix your hair again today? We’ve got
“Sure.” We went to the bathroom, where she
wrapped little braids all around my head and pinned them up with
shiny little clips. “I love it,” I said, turning my head. “Do you
think I could eat breakfast with you in the kitchen this
“Yes! I mean, I think it would be all right.
Let’s ask my mom.” We went to the busy kitchen, where Helena shoved
a few croissant-type biscuits into a pocket in her skirt and
started stringing a bowl of cherries into another matching jewelry
“I think it’s fine,” Aria said when we asked
her. “But are you sure you’d rather be here? It’s a bit of a
chaotic place to be enjoying your breakfast.”
Better than the funeral home room.
“All right. Have a seat and I’ll fetch you
some bread and jam.”
“Thank you, Aria.”
I wondered if Enock was thinking of me in the
other room. I’d told him I would probably eat breakfast in the
kitchen and he said that would be safer since he couldn’t seem to
control the emotional projection from his eyes when he was anywhere
near me. It was like floating on a cloud all through breakfast,
because I would be meeting him when I was finished.
My feet had been tenderly cleaned, medicated,
and bandaged by Enock the night before, but they were still sore as
I climbed out of my window after breakfast and began toward the
Again, I was met by the black fox and led
through a tunnel of trees. No elk this time. And when I found him,
Enock and I danced to the rhythm of the hovering leaves, holding
each other as close as we possibly could.
We only stopped when it began to rain. As the
first cold drops of water hit my nose, I sort of cringed against
Enock. He led me under the largest tree at the edge of the clearing
and placed a hand on its trunk. The limbs groaned as they gathered
above us, shielding us completely from the droplets of water. It
was one of the most romantic moments of my life, huddled close to a
gorgeous beast who couldn’t stop staring at me like I was the only
other person in the world. His body was so warm and gentle, but
firm and protecting. We sat there like that long after the rain had
stopped and on until the sun began setting dangerously low, by
which time I was starving and wishing I was wearing something
edible like Helena always did.
I was relieved when I returned to my room to
find a slice of apple pie waiting for me on my bed. It was cold and
the crust was stale, but it tasted incredible.
It was the perfect day, which would end up
leading to the strangest of nights…
* * * *
It was still fairly nerve-racking, but I
played the piano—song after song—until I felt Enock settle on the
bench beside me. “I’ll find you later,” he whispered simply. It
felt like I was falling for the half- minute we just stared at each
other in silence.
Then we both got up and walked away in
different directions, glancing back several times, until we exited
our opposing doors.
I still felt swept away in the secret place
we’d escaped to earlier that day when I entered the kitchen. Only
Helena and Eddy were there, sitting at the little table with an oil
lamp between them.
“You’re here!” Helena said excitedly, coming
to hug me around the neck and squishing the apple her hair was
wrapped around against my cheek.
“Well, I did promise.”
“Shall we go then?” Eddy asked, picking up
the lantern and opening the back door.
“Should I get a coat?” I asked, even though
neither of them was wearing one.
“No, it’s still warm out there.”
We went outside and turned left at the end of
the courtyard, walking toward a downward slope. Eddy kept Helena
busy talking with her about what they’d each done during the day,
making me feel like a third wheel.
The aroma of burning fireplaces filled my
nostrils as I felt the wind carry it away from the manor and
northward in our direction, reminding me of the nights my friends
and I spent roasting marshmallows and eating s’mores last summer. I
really missed those girls.
Twice, I saw a blue streak of light through
the trees in the distance and wondered if that meant an Anvilayan
From the top of the hillside, I saw the giant
barn with two truck-size doors hanging wide open in the front.
There was enough light pouring out that I was sure there must be
electrical lighting inside. The faint sound of laughter carried to
my ears and I saw the colorful maid skirts twirling around as
people danced inside the barn.
Halfway down the hill, I stepped on something
hard and stopped to look at the ground. All I could see was grass,
but it was dark outside. So I knelt to feel around, letting my two
companions go ahead without me. At first, I only felt the earthen
floor. Then I felt something metal that was mostly under dirt and
weeds, and began digging it out. It was flat and not difficult to
uncover, but it was big. I unearthed a few square feet pretty
quickly before I heard someone running toward me.
“What are you doing?” Helena asked.