Read The Forest of Adventures (#1 of The Knight Trilogy) Online

Authors: Katie M John

Tags: #romance, #vampires, #urban fantasy, #adventure, #paranormal romance, #young adult, #college, #mythology, #forbidden love, #fairytale, #knights, #immortals, #mermaids, #arthurian legend

The Forest of Adventures (#1 of The Knight Trilogy) (10 page)

BOOK: The Forest of Adventures (#1 of The Knight Trilogy)
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Blake Beldevier was nothing
more than my seven week chemical reaction. The madness would pass.
Love and sense would win through.

At long last the Easter
holidays arrived, I had no reason to see Blake and he had no reason
to seek me out. By the time the holidays ended we would be well
into week ten and I’d be completely safe. I proposed to structure
my holidays with a strict schedule of study, coffee with Daisy at
the bookshop, long runs in the woods and hospital visits. In this
way I would be safe from thinking of Blake.

My holiday passed according to
plan, except for the not thinking of Blake bit. Sometimes thinking
isn’t voluntary, and at least once an hour either in sleep or
awake, a thought of him would slip in silently and when I was least
suspecting it, jump out and shout in my face. By the end of the
holiday, I got more effective at wrestling this type of thought
back into its box. But now it was the last day of the holiday and
tomorrow I’d have to see him face to face, worse still I’d have to
sit next to him in English; feeling the heat of his body, smelling
his warm spiced scent and catching the slight movement of his hand
out of the corner of my eye –
our naked hands that had held each
other in the darkness of the woods.

I rang Daisy, distraction being
needed and arranged to meet for an afternoon shopping trip in town.
She had a few things she wanted for college and needed to debrief
me on her first official date with Joe. It wasn’t until I hung up
that I realised I’d left a great dangerous space of unplanned time
throughout the morning. The rain put me off a run and ’d noticed
that running was a weak spot in the whole
not thinking about
B
defences. So with no other distractions available, I
reluctantly returned to finishing off my Biology coursework which
I’d been putting to the bottom of the pile. After all there’s a
limited amount of interest attached to woodlice colonies.

Whilst the laptop wound itself
up on its elastic band, I went downstairs to make myself the
zillionth coffee of the fairly new day and to nose through the post
that I’d just heard come through the letterbox. I sifted through
the envelopes of which there were several bills, a letter from
Mum’s publisher and a small violet envelope addressed to me by
hand. The script was beautiful and elegant, written in a dark
purple ink and where the rain had caught it on its short journey
from mailbag to letterbox, small purple blooms hung off the
letters. I knew as soon as I held it in my hand who’d penned it
having watched that same purple ink spread itself across Blake’s
English book for the last couple of months.

I tried to act calm, to dismiss
it but my heart pounded in my chest and I knew that if I opened it
I was another step closer to fulfilling Vivien’s prophecy and
heading back into the chaos I’d made a firm decision to leave
behind. I stuffed the letter into the back pocket of my jeans
determined not to open it even though curiosity clawed at my
temptation like a hungry cat. I’d survived two long weeks without
Blake and I was certain I could survive one day longer.

I stomped up the stairs, angry
that Blake’s world had yet again gate-crashed its way into mine.
Chemicals weren’t meant to write letters! My anger didn’t have
chance to stay around as no sooner had I opened the door to my room
it was replaced by fear.

My window, despite having been
latched was now wide open. The papers from my desk had taken flight
and swirled round my room as if a violent storm had just
spontaneously erupted in the middle of my room and the pile of
books that had been stacked on top of them were now splayed across
the room in various spine breaking positions. My neatly made
bedding was now billowing out of the window in an attempt to
abandon ship.

Instantly my brain tried to
rationalise
. I must have left the latch off, there must have
been a freak gust of wind, there must have been… there must have
been…
I ran out of explanations and even the two I had
evaporated instantly when I saw that carved into the wall above my
bed in gold medieval script was the terrifying rhyme;

My love is dead to me

And now we cannot be.

A great wave of nausea moved in
the pit of my stomach. The cup of coffee I was holding fell to the
floor, shattering the cup and spraying scolding hot coffee over the
rest of the mayhem. The room suddenly felt stained with the
presence of Death and I shivered as if He were breathing on the
back of my neck. Instantly, my thoughts turned to Sam. I turned to
look for my mobile but before I had a chance to try and recover it,
I was gripped by the sight of my computer screen. I stumbled into
my chair captivated by the horror that was unfolding in front of
me.

*

At first, the location of the
security camera wasn’t clear as it was all far too dark and
shadowy. The outlines of many objects made it look like the inside
of a giant and much cluttered cupboard, but I couldn’t be sure. My
blink coincided with a door in the far corner being opened and a
blurry figure switched on a bright electric light revealing that
the camera was positioned on the wall of a large warehouse. The
figure that entered was imposing, tall and broad and even without a
clear view of him he leaked menace. When he looked up directly into
the camera, as if somehow knowing I was watching, I physically
shrank into the back of my chair.

The camera panned around the
room on a timer allowing a wide area to be seen but also creating a
dizzying effect like being on a merry-go-round. Although there was
no sound, I could see from the reaction of the figure that there
was an unexpected knock at the door. The camera moved away hiding
the visitor’s identity.

By the time the camera swept
back, the man was sitting at his desk, leaning back in his chair
giving the impression of an alpha-male ape in his own private
jungle. His visitor was a smaller man, but just as tall and
stronger looking. Although it was difficult to see in detail, the
visitor looked younger and ever so slightly intimidated. He seemed
greatly agitated and a nervous excitement made him look like he was
dancing on the spot. There was no mistaking the visitor. This was
Leo, Blake’s brother. Leo didn’t fit his namesake, and was
completely different to the mental image I’d built of him. He
seemed to have a habit of turning from left to right giving the
impression that he was tasting the air and it gave him the
impression of something lizard like; something sly.

Frustratingly, the camera
panned away from the desk and by the time it had panned back
something had happened. Leo had become very animated and Fear, who
was now leaning over his desk aggressively, didn’t look quite so at
ease. Enraged at something Leo must have said a heated dispute had
suddenly erupted. And just as the camera panned away, Fear pulled
out his gun. This time an unnoticed figure lurked amongst the
shelves in the belly of the warehouse. Still as stone, assassin
like, Blake was pulled up tight. A single sliver of metallic light
bounced off of his raised sword.

With one clear resonating
moment of clarity I realised that it wasn’t Sam Death had come to
collect - it was Blake.

I stretched forward in my chair
as if somehow I could reach into the screen and warn Blake about
the gun. I could see now how everything was set, how everything was
coming towards one horrific point of collision. Too quickly, the
camera left Blake in the darkness and panned back to the desk. The
situation between Leo and Fear had accelerated quickly and now guns
were being waved around on both sides of the desk looking like some
crazy cowboy standoff.

This should have had me
transfixed but there was something else in view, something that
slithered in the shadows of the wall, something forming itself into
ears and jaws and for one moment of pure madness, I thought that
somebody must be making a shadow puppet with their hands. The jaws
of the shadow opened and closed, snapping silently at Fear’s back.
Impossibly the beast began to salivate, shadow spit drawling down
the wall.

When the camera returned to the
warehouse Blake was gone. The unstoppable collision of wills and
destinies had been triggered and only Death would now put an end to
it. I knew that with his brother in mortal danger, Blake would stop
at nothing to protect him.

When the camera returned,
everything was still. Leo was alone and two bodies lay slumped
behind the desk. A long minute passed.

I reached out and flicked the
power switch on the computer. I didn’t need to look anymore. When I
turned, the words above my bed had magically dissolved.

With the force of a bullet I
understood that I had loved him and it was too late.

14. SHIFTING LIGHT

 

Even when you think you have an
idea of how you are going to respond to death, you don’t. I thought
it would hurt, a pain like I’d never felt before – that it would
feel like hot blades and hard punches. In a strange way all that
pain would’ve been good because it would at least have shown I was
still alive.

With Blake’s death a switch
just flicked off.

I picked up the papers from the
floor, retrieved my bedding and tidied my desk. Mum knocked on the
door just as I’d finished putting my room back together.

“What time are you going out?”
she asked holding out a hot cup of tea through the gap of the
door.

“I’m going to cancel. I don’t
feel well.”

She scrutinised me. She’d done
this a lot lately as if she were searching for hairline cracks to
show, “Mmm, You don’t look too well. Maybe you should spend the
rest of the day in bed. Do you want me to phone Daisy for you?”

“I’ll do it.”

Mum hovered in the hope that I
might suddenly open up to her. It seemed that I now spent my life
keeping secrets from her. When the silence became too awkward she
closed the door.

I lay on my bed waiting for the
pain to come. Time passed. My eyes stopped looking. My mind shut
down. I was brought back to the real world by the sound of my
mobile ringing and the realisation that I’d forgotten to phone
Daisy to cancel our shopping expedition. I cheated sending her a
text message, hoping that this might make the lie of my invented
throat infection more believable.

It was late afternoon and my
room was filled with the eerie yellow light of a low spring sun.
The house was very quiet; too quiet for Mum to be in and I
remembered that she said she was going to take a trip to the
supermarket.

Rolling over in bed, I felt the
bulk of the letter Blake had written in my back pocket and I
wondered if he’d known what was going to happen. I left my bed and
clambered up onto the window sill, settling into the homemade
cushions Mum had made during another one of her creative impulses.
This was my favourite place in the world, sitting in the window
looking out over the back garden and onto the forest.

I unlatched the window and
threw it wide open, something that always caused a mother-hen panic
in Mum as she imagined me plummeting to my death on the patio
below. The cool spring breeze felt instantly calming. Since
childhood, I’d watched how the forest shifted with the seasons and
each time it did, it brought with it its own set of fantasies. In
the snows of winter it had been my very own Narnia and home to the
cruel but beautiful Snow Queen and in the summer, home to fairies
and princesses that slept for a hundred years in forgotten
castles.

As I became older, the forest
had taken on a new set of fantasies that were wrapped up with
desires that I didn’t yet fully understand. They were the night
fantasies of beautiful dark-eyed men and secret places where
amongst the ruins of fairytale castles they’d hold me in a way that
would make me burn; where the only thing I would be conscious of
was the thunderous beat of my heart and the feelings of warm bliss,
like when the sun soaks into your skin after months of winter.
Everything about the forest made my senses tremble with desire as
if somewhere deep amongst the warm dark earth, somebody had buried
a box with my heart in it and the leaves quivered with its
beat.

Today, the woods held the
promise of the coming sun. In only a few more weeks, the woods
would flood overnight with an ocean of luminescent bluebells. For
now, everything hung with baubles of a bright spring green.
Primroses had burst forth like little clusters of stars and the
bright purple of crocuses were spread like confetti on the grassy
verge. I prised open the seal of the envelope and pulled out the
single folded sheet of paper.

From the very first moment of
time, I loved you.

Bx

I sat and watched the afternoon
slide by eventually stirring myself in order to get ready for the
evening’s hospital visit. It was as I was about to leave my
watchtower, that the movement of a horse in the woods caught my
eye. It wasn’t unusual for the local riding school to use the woods
but there was something different about this horse that made me
stay and watch it longer than I’d normally have done.

Far larger than most of the
horses used by the school, the pure whiteness of its hair seemed to
reflect the beams of sunlight falling through the trees giving the
impossible impression that it was more unicorn than riding-school
horse. The rider was riding one handed and so confidently that it
was difficult to see where the movement of the horse and the
movement of the rider exchanged. Transfixed, I watched as the rider
brought the horse up to the back gate of our garden and loosely
tethered him to the fence post. He jumped down, patted the horse on
the nose before swinging open our back gate.

“Mina!
THAT
boy is here
to see you again!” Mum’s disapproving voice travelled up the
stairs.

Until her voice broke the
spell, I thought I’d been watching a dream. My heart burst into
life. Blake was alive and was here winding Mum up.

BOOK: The Forest of Adventures (#1 of The Knight Trilogy)
12.02Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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