menulis Reaper ~ Book #1 0f the Vessel Trilogy

JosephineSilver posted on Jan 31, 2013 at 04:04AM
Hi. JosephineSilver, here.
I have an original piece posted on an article in this club, and several fanfics typed up on the HoO spot and the Fanfiction spot.
If you want some more of my origianl work, check out HousexofxNight's stuff on Quizilla.

This is a story that came to me when I was listening to 'Hey There Delilah' by The Plain White Tees. I heard the bit that went, 'close your eyes. Listen to my voice it's my disguise, I'm by your side.' And the first thing that popped into my head was ghosts. Thus, Reaper was born.

Rating: T
Genre: Mystery, Romance, Fantasy.
Some mild swearing, and a bit of gore later on, so be warned.

April - short for Aprilynne - Hunter was just your average teenage girl.
At least, she was until she met Chance Morgan.
Chance Morgan - a troubled teen with a bad family life - is pretty much an average guy.
Except for the fact that he was murdered.
Now, bound intrinsically, April must help Chance to discover who killed him - before he can kill again.
But danger lurks around every corner, and it looks like April might just've gotten herself put at the top of a hit list...

Comment, Rate, Message. Thanks!
last edited on Jan 31, 2013 at 04:11AM

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lebih dari setahun yang lalu JosephineSilver said…
Chapter One

‘Sometimes solutions aren’t so simple,
Sometimes goodbye’s the only way.’
– Shadow of the Day,
Linkin Park.

I pressed down harder on the pedal of my car; speeding forward much faster than what was legal.
I flew down the dark road; trees blurred past me as I drove through the night. The street wound its way through town in a zigzagged line; reminding me of a snake.
As I drove around a sharp curve, I felt a shudder, one from beneath my feet. Concerned, I pressed down on the brakes.
They didn’t work.
Another curve. The car sped up.
And spiralled out of control.
Just like my life had done in the past few years.
And then I slammed into a thick oak tree, the sound of breaking glass and the screaming metal echoed into the empty air while my heart pounded erratically.
The last thing I remember was the feeling of being jolted forward before excruciating pain resounded through all of my body as my car finally stopped moving, and the sound of my car’s horn blared loudly in the night.
And then everything went black.
lebih dari setahun yang lalu JosephineSilver said…
Chapter Two

‘The sharp knife of a short life.’
– If I Die Young,
The Band Perry.

I was walking through the main street of town when it happened.
My family and I had just moved into Riverdale, and the first thing on my ‘To Do’ list was scope out the bookstores this tiny place had.
So far, I had found two – one was a New Age type bookstore that had been burning incense (I’d ran out of it as fast as humanly possible), and one that seemed to specialize in autobiographies and non-fiction (I’d left that one faster than humanly possible).
I’d been crushingly disappointed so far, but was still holding out hope.
Riverdale seemed to be a nice town. It was picturesque – quaint, even, and something about it resonated with me.
Its main street seemed to be the only place where you could shop – the rest of the town looked as if it was made up mostly of houses, businesses, a school and a hospital.
The school part of town actually excited me. I had been home-schooled for all of my life and the idea of going to real school with real people (not that my mum/dad/grandma/grandpa weren’t real people, but, you know, people my age) made me really happy.
Anyway, I had only one problem with Riverdale, and that was that there was no rivers anywhere near the town.
I made it my mission to find it before school started.
“Hey, are you lost?” The voice was friendly.
“Kinda,” I answered as I turned around to face whoever had spoken. “I’m looking for a bookstore.”
The girl grinned. She had long, dark curls, eyes so deep a blue they were almost purple, and an infectious grin. “I’m Keira,” she introduced herself.
“I’m April,” I said, shortening my mouthful-of-a-name.
“And you’re looking for a bookstore?”
Keira considered. “Well, there’s some New Age bookstore further down –”
“Been there,” I interrupted.
Her brow furrowed as she thought hard. “Um, maybe that place where my dad hangs out? It’s full of –”
“Yeah.” Keira frowned. “Damn, this is hard. Sure you don’t want a candy store?”
“That was number two on my list, but I need a bookstore first.”
“Well, I guess we could try Blue’s – it’s one of the tiniest coffee shops on the face of this earth – and it has a really small but apparently interesting selection of books.”
“That sounds great!” I exclaimed.
“But it’s getting kind of late,” Keira pointed out. “It’s already almost eight p.m. It might be closed.”
“Probably is, but let’s go and see anyway, and while I’m there I can look up the opening hours,” I enthused.
“I have never seen someone so excited about the possibility of a bookstore,” Keira said, mostly to herself, I think.
I shrugged. “I’m cool like that.”
We wandered in amiable silence for a while. As we walked, I kept swivelling my head around, trying to see everything at once.
“You look like a total tourist,” Keira informed me.
“I kind of am a total tourist,” I retorted.
Suddenly, a glossy black car flew past us way faster than what I was guessing was the legal limit.
“Moron!” Keira yelled after its taillights. She turned to me. “Did you see that? If someone had been crossing the road they would’ve been killed!” Her eyes were wide.
“Yeah,” I agreed. An unease had sunk deep into my marrow. Something was wrong.
“Hey, you okay? You look kinda pale.”
I forced a smile. Grin and bear it, I told myself. “I think I’m just suffering from book withdrawal,” I joked. “You’d better get me to this coffee shop, and soon.”
She laughed. “We’re almost there, don’t go crazy on me.” She pointed up the street. “You see those lights up there?”
“That’s Blue’s. Must be still open; good news, huh?”
“Uh-huh,” I said.
A sharp shooting pain flashed through my head, and I brought my hand up to my temple. “Ouch,” I mused.
“What?” Keira asked.
“Nothing,” I answered – the pain had faded as soon as it had appeared. Now all I felt was panic – my heart was racing fast, my breath was coming hard, and adrenalin was pounding throughout my body. I felt scared.
But why? A voice inside of me asked. What is there to be scared about?
Crippling terror flowed into me, and I stumbled.
“Whoa, whoa, whoa,” Keira said. “April, you okay?”
I moaned.
“April?” Keira’s voice was sharp with panic. “You’re not having a seizure, are you? Do I need to call the hospital?”
“I’m fine,” I choked out.
Then I doubled over.
Keira started screaming, but I barely noticed.
Pain was overtaking me, making it hard to think. I could hear my blood pounding in my ears.
Shock paralysed my body; I felt as if some sort of great collision had given my entire body whiplash.
Pain twisted through my abdomen like a snake, and I whimpered.
“Blue!” I could make out Keira screaming. “Call an ambulance!”
“I’m fine,” I said. I don’t think she could hear me.
But I was telling the truth – I was fine. I didn’t feel fine – in fact, I felt like hell. But, however weird it sounds, the pain I was experiencing didn’t feel like my pain.
It felt like...someone else’s.
A warm hand touched my forehead, and I felt like screaming, my head felt so bad.
A whimper broke out of my throat.
The hand quickly retracted. “Okay, I won’t touch you,” the hands – well, the hands body’s – voice soothed. It sounded feminine. “My name’s Blue.”
“April,” I ground out. The agony was lessening, and blackness was beginning to cloud over my vision, but I still felt like absolute crud.
What was wrong with me?
“Okay. April, sweetie, do you think you could open your eyes? Look at me?”
“Why?” I whimpered. I didn’t want to open my eyes.
“I just want to check your pupils, you might have a concussion,” Blue answered.
Even to my screwed up head, that made sense. I mean, people in television shows had their pupils checked when the suffered head injury, so it must have some grain of truth in it.
So, I forced my eyes open.
Grey irises hauntingly similar to mine locked onto my eyes. The gaze was penetrating...and shocked?
Before I lost my tenuous grip on reality, I saw the grey-eyed woman’s lips form a word.
My vision began to swim, and the blackness claimed me.

lebih dari setahun yang lalu JosephineSilver said…
Chapter Three

‘Somehow I’m still alive inside,
Took my breath but I survived.’
– No Air,
Chris Brown & Jordin Sparks

All around me was darkness.
Literally. All around me.
There was nothing else. No landmarks, no shadows, no distinguishing shapes or silhouettes. Just darkness. Just black.
What the hell?
I turned around slowly – or at least I think I did, I couldn’t even see my own body, which was very disorienting.
I repeat: What. The. Hell.
Maybe I was dreaming?
I quickly shut that thought down; you don’t think you’re dreaming if you’re actually dreaming.
Parallel universe?
I froze.
I couldn’t actually be dead, could I?
Everything logical in me and every law of everything I’d ever learned screamed no!
But something inside of me, something that definitely wasn’t logic, said yes.
I’m dead,
I thought.
The words resonated with me. Something about them felt true.
I am insane.
No gut feeling answered me on that thought, and I wasn’t sure whether to be scared or relieved.
Time passed. Could’ve been minutes, hours, days, months or years, but time passed.
And the darkness was really starting to get to me.
“Let there be light!” I yelled out, because I was close to breaking point, and I was willing to try anything.
If it had worked, I would’ve been so surprised, but it didn’t work.
“Is anybody there?”
I jumped sky-high. I think. I couldn’t tell because I couldn’t see.
“Yeah,” I called back. “Follow the sound of my voice.”
I didn’t hear footsteps or anything, but suddenly it was like a spot of light appeared in front of me.
I blinked a couple of times, wincing as my eyes adjusted to the sudden brightness after being trapped in the dark for so long.
My mouth fell open as I realised the glow came from the skin of a girl who was standing in front of me.
She had strawberry blonde hair that fell in bedspring curls down her back and was slight and short. Her nose was a small ski-jump in the middle of her face, her lashes were short but full, and her lips had an almost perfect cupid’s bow. Grey eyes shone out of her delicately detailed face like moonbeams.
She was stunning. Ethereal.
“I’m April –” she was cut off.
And she disappeared.
I cussed.
Dammit, I was alone again.
Alone and in the dark.
Oh, and dead.

lebih dari setahun yang lalu JosephineSilver said…
Chapter Four

‘Only you are the life among the dead.’
– Bring Me To Life,

I woke up with a gasp.
I shot straight up, and whacked my head on the bed-head above me.
“Ouch!” I bellowed out, falling backwards.
Footsteps pounded up the stairs, and my door flew open.
“I’m in my bedroom?” I said to my mother, who was the person at the head of the procession entering my room. “How did I get in my bedroom?”
“I drove you here.”
The voice came from behind my mother, and I squinted, trying to see around her.
“Blue?” I hazarded a guess.
“You’ve got it.” She grinned at me from around my maternal parent, and I realised that she couldn’t have been more than twenty-five, and that she also lived up to her name – her shoulder length, layered hair was dyed a vibrant, vivid cornflower blue.
Her grey eyes shone at me, and memory began to kick in.
“What’s a Reaper?” I asked.
The tension in the room kicked up a few notches.
“Mum?” I cast the question out to her, hoping she’d answer me.
No such luck – the features of her face had frozen stiff, and she looked like a wax figure.
Her eyes were identical to mine – something I’d never noticed before.
I glanced around the room, realising with a shock that not only were my parents and Blue there, but my paternal grandparents as well.
Grandma winked at me, and I saw that grey eyes sparkled almost youthfully from her aged and lined face.
In fact, my dad and Grandpa had the same eyes.
I felt a conspiracy coming on.
As the group of adults assembled in my doorway struggled to find words to explain to me what the hell was going on – and I could tell something was going on, blame it on women’s intuition – I struggled to remember something. Something important that I was missing.
All I came up with was darkness. But the idea of darkness felt significant.
I am going insane.
A voice interrupted my musings, and when I looked up my mother shot me a familiar look of affection-slash-exasperation.
“Ask your question again.”
I blanked for a minute, but then it came to me.
“What is a Reaper?”
“Andrew?” my mother addressed my father. “Could you get Rochelle to...explain?
“Rochelle?” I said. That name sounded familiar.
As I spoke, the lights started flickering. On and off, off and on.
I felt as if I was in a horror movie – I was scared.
“Dad?” I said in a small voice. “I’m scared.”
The moment those words left my mouth, the lights petered out.
I let loose a bloodcurdling scream.
I was still screaming when the lights flickered back to life less than a second later, because a woman was sitting at the end of my bed.
A woman I recognised – I now knew why the name Rochelle had sounded familiar.
At the foot of my bed sat Rochelle Amelia Hunter, my dad’s twin sister.
Who had died ten years ago.
She grinned at me. “Hey, squirt,” she greeted me as if she was back from a two week vacation in the Bahamas instead of a ten year stay in the Land of The Dead. “Looks like you’ve got a lot of catching up to do.”

lebih dari setahun yang lalu JosephineSilver said…
Chapter Five

‘And every step that I take is more than I can take.’
– Numb,
Linkin Park

Top three ways to lose your mind.
#1: Realise you are dead.
#2: Be stuck in an abyss of pure darkness for an uncountable amount of time.
#3: Have both of these things happen at the same time.
Over the past however long, I have slowly begun to descend into depression.
This perpetual blackness was getting to my head.
Was I in hell? I’d begun wondering.
To me, that didn’t make much sense. In all the stories I’d heard of hell, it was all fire and brimstone and stuff like that. This seemed more like purgatory.
But wasn’t purgatory for people who had committed suicide?
Last time I checked, a car accident – heavy emphasis on the word accident – wasn’t a suicide. I certainly didn’t kill myself.
Unless the fact that I’d been the one driving – therefore the one to crash the car – counted as suicide since I had, in a way, been the cause of my death.
Whatever the reason, something about this was wrong.
When you died, that was supposed to be it.
Game over, no second chances, no other options.
Dead was dead, and death was the end.
How was I still...existing?

lebih dari setahun yang lalu JosephineSilver said…
Chapter Six

‘Don’t let me see mistakes and lies.
Let me keep my faith and innocent eyes.’
– Innocent Eyes,
Delta Goodrem

“You’re dead,” I spluttered out.
Rochelle nodded. “I am.”
“And you’re...okay with that?”
Rochelle shrugged. “Death isn’t bad. Dying sucks, but death isn’t too bad. Kind of...peaceful, actually.” She grinned and started chuckling. “My God, that’s horribly clichéd, isn’t it?” She laughed some more.
“So if you’re dead,” I began slowly, trying to sort out my thoughts, “How are you still here?”
“Your dad,” she said. “He didn’t mean to keep me here, but he did.”
“Like you, your father is a Reaper.”
“And not just like me, right?” I challenged. “Like Blue, like mum, and like my grandparents.”
Rochelle inclined her head in affirmation. “It’s a genetic, hereditary condition, passed down through the generations.”
“Saying it like that makes it seem so scientific,” I complained.
Rochelle blinked at me. “It is scientific,” she told me. “Everything is, in some way, scientific. Including magic – which this isn’t. We aren’t witches, aren’t vampires or werewolves. We are just humans with abnormally heightened perception of things. The only reason we call ourselves ‘Reapers’ is because some guy from back in the forties thought we needed a cool name – or, at least that is what I was always told.”
“But we do see ghosts?”
“We see Shades – and there is a difference. Shades are the spirits of people who died as the result of someone else.”
“Like, murder victims?”
“Precisely. They remain on earth because they have unfinished business.”
“Like what?” I asked curiously.
Rochelle shrugged. “Justice. Vengeance. I’m here because I was killed in a hit and run, and they never found the driver who ran me down.”
“So now you’re just stuck?” I breathed, horrified.
“Until the person who killed me dies, or is brought to justice, yes,” she said.
“You seem remarkably calm about that fact.”
Rochelle shrugged again. “I’m dead – what can I do? That’s why Shades bind themselves to Reapers.”
Rochelle leaned forward and stared me straight in the eyes. I felt a shudder travel up my spine as she leant towards me, close enough that we were almost touching.
It shouldn’t have been surprising, but the fact that I could feel no body heat from her nor see her chest rise and fall as she breathed freaked me the hell out.
“What happened to you tonight Aprilynne?” she asked in a low, serious voice.
“I don’t know!” I exclaimed. “I thought that’s what you were explaining to me!”
Rochelle rolled her eyes. I glared at her.
“What happened to you tonight, Aprilynne?” she repeated.
“I was looking for a bookstore,” I recalled.
Rochelle snorted. “Did you find it?”
“Sort of. We – Keira and I – were heading towards Blue’s when this absolute maniac drove past at the speed of light –”
“Wait,” Rochelle interrupted. “A car?”
“Yeah,” I said, feeling unease skitter down my back. “Why?”
“No reason, carry on.”
After a small hesitation, I continued. “After that, I didn’t feel right. I felt – scared. Panicked. And just a little while after that, I felt like I was dying.” I frowned. “No, wait,” I said, mostly to myself. “It felt more like I was someone else, and they were dying.”
“That’s basically what happened,” Rochelle said, eyes darkening.
“What do you mean?”
“You experienced someone else’s death,” she explained.
My blood ran cold as ice. “What?”
“Put the local news on.”
I threw my legs over the edge of the bed, stumbled as my left foot stayed caught in the duna, finally reached my desk, and flicked the radio on.
“ – Police have identified the body but refuse to release the name of the deceased. All we can say for certain right now is that the victim was of the age range of fifteen to twenty, and male. The car was a black Ford –”
That was when I flicked off the radio.
“Whoever was driving that car?” Rochelle's voice floated to my ears. “It was their death you felt.”
I swallowed. “That’s horrible,” I whispered.
I turned back to her. “Is death horrible?” I asked.
She considered. “Not really. It’s...peaceful, even though that is terribly clichéd. It’s dying that’s the hard and – depending on how, exactly, you died – painful part.”
“So that’s what a car crash feels like?”
“I guess.”
“In that case, I promise to be a responsible driver.”
Rochelle scrutinised me. “You still feel like death, don’t you?” She grimaced. “Sorry – lame pun.”
“Yeah, I still kind of do,” I admitted.
“And you will for a while.”
“How do you know?” I protested.
“Until the body is buried, and the Shade binds itself fully to you, you’ll feel like crap.” She smiled weakly at me. “I feel sorry for you, but that’s just the way the cookie crumbles.”
I moved back to my bed from my desk and flung myself down on the bright green quilt. “How long?” I groaned, throwing an arm across my eyes.
“How. Long. Until the body. Is buried?”
“Depends. Could be three days, could be a week, could be longer. It depends on when the body is released.”
“Released? What do you mean, ‘released’?” I asked.
“The only reason this Shade is bound to you is because it was killed. He or she didn’t die, they were killed. Police have to suspect foul play.”
I groaned again.
“Think you feel bad now?” Rochelle asked me. “Just wait until they embalm the body. Those chemicals will screw you up royally.”
The lights started flickering again. I sat up, alarmed.
Rochelle smiled at me, and my room was plunged into darkness.
When the lights came back on, she was gone.
I placed my hand where she had been sitting.
Not even a spot of warmth remained to prove she had been here.

lebih dari setahun yang lalu JosephineSilver said…
Chapter Seven

‘My spirit sleeping somewhere cold.’
– Bring Me To Life,

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this yet, but the darkness of this place is driving me nuts.
Since that girl had appeared however long ago, I’d had no more visitors. Not even visitors made of my own imaginings.
I was singing the alphabet for about the thousandth time and had just reached ‘W’ when I fell silent.
Something had changed.
I tensed. What was happening?
I didn’t know, but something about this felt wrong.
Also cold. The temperature of this impenetrable, inky black hell hole dropped about twenty degrees, freezing my blood at the same time that dread cemented itself in my stomach.
“Obviously, I was a mass murderer in a past life,” I muttered to myself.
The cold gradually grew more and more intense. Painfully so.
I yawned.
I wrapped my arms around myself in an attempt to keep warm.
I yawned again.
The cold was glacial. I had no doubt that I would’ve seen white fog coming out of my nose and mouth as I breathed if I’d been able to see.
I shivered, and yawned.
The temperature dropped further.
And I blacked out.
lebih dari setahun yang lalu JosephineSilver said…
Chapter Eight

‘Your eyes, your eyes,
I can see in your eyes, your eyes.’
– Make Me Wanna Die,
The Pretty Reckless

Five days had passed since my talk with my dead aunt, and they hadn’t buried Chance yet.
That was his name; Chance Morgan. They’d released it three days after his death.
I’d been watching the evening news with my parents when they’d announced it, and something in me felt right after the news anchor had named him as the guy who’d died in the ‘tragic accident that has shaken the small town of Riverdale.’
The words of various news anchors – not mine.
I wandered upstairs to my bedroom from the kitchen. I hadn’t wanted to eat, but my parents had forced me.
I pushed open my bedroom door and surveyed my room.
Same white walls as five days ago, back when I’d still been clueless. Same cheap, wooden furniture. Same green duna and curtains. Same purple pillows and rug. Same chipped mirror.
With everything else in my life that had changed, the fact that my room remained exactly the same shocked me.
I went over to the mirror that was balanced precariously on my desk.
My grey eyes, which I had once thought beautiful and unusual, now crept me the hell out.
Sitting down with a sigh, I picked up my hairbrush and began to run it through my hair, thinking.
The funeral was in three days. Only three more days of feeling like a giant, human bucket-of-crud.
My head would be clear just in time for school – which started in six days.
Which garnered the question: Which was worse? Feeling like my head was about to implode or having a ghost bound to my very soul?
I couldn’t decide.
“April!” My mum called my name impatiently.
“What?” I yelled down.
“Get down here!” She yelled up.
I rolled my eyes. “Coming,” I called.
I placed my brush down gently on my desk and stood up.
My head swam, and I gripped the edge of my desk for support.
Three days. Just three more days, I told myself.
Three more days until I stopped feeling like a truck had run me over, backed up, and run me over again.
Three more days until my life turned upside down more than it already had.
lebih dari setahun yang lalu JosephineSilver said…
Chapter Nine

‘Lights will guide you home.’
– Fix You,

I heard a muffled thump from above me.
I was still in the dark, but this darkness wasn’t endless. Far from it, actually. I felt like I was trapped in a small, claustrophobia-inducing box.
Another thump from above.
More sounds floated down to me – voices. Actual voices.
Mostly it was just indistinct murmurs, but I caught a few snippets.
“ – best friend I ever had – ”
“ – genuine, smart –”

One came out clear.
“Chance was my brother. He was annoying, loud, and at times he was mean, but I loved him. I don’t need to say more than that.”
A few sobs.
Holy...was I eavesdropping on my own funeral?
Jesus that is so messed up; I can’t even begin to explain.
Which meant, I realised, that this tiny, cramped space I was in was a coffin.
My life – death, whatever – is so messed up.
More thumps rained down on the lid of the coffin, faster this time, and I understood it was dirt.
They were burying me.
I tried to move, but I couldn’t. It was like I’d gone from being trapped in a realm of nothingness to being trapped in my own cold, dead body.
The thumps from above eventually stopped coming.
I was officially six feet under.
The sudden silence was oppressing.
Being stuck in a tiny coffin was worse, way worse, than being stuck in an endless expanse of darkness.
Then, without any warning, I was blinded by light.
I raised my hand to my eyes to block the worst of it and squinted.
The light was...the sun.
What. The. Hell.
I rolled over, turning my back to the sunlight, because my eyes, so long accustomed to pitch darkness, were too sensitive to take that light head on.
Turning around, however, produced a different sort of pain.

1998 – 2013

I swallowed and tried hard to keep my eyes dry, which was really hard due to the painful lump that had formed in my throat.
Those words echoed around my head.
Only the good die young.
I wished that were true.

lebih dari setahun yang lalu JosephineSilver said…
Chapter Ten

‘I dream of darkness.’
– Sweet Sacrifice,

“The sun is shining, the birds are singing, the grass is green, there isn’t a cloud in the sky – it’s an all-around beautiful day,” I muttered. “And I’m spending it in a cemetery.”
“Oh, cheer up,” my mother said, as she pushed a stray strand of her blonde hair behind her ears. “It could be worse.”
“How could it possibly be worse?”
“You could be spending an absolutely horrible day in a cemetery,” she told me. “And, as far as cemetery’s go, this one isn’t too bad.”
I raised an eyebrow at her.
“I spent most of my teenage years in a cemetery much worse than this one,” mum informed me.
“Why?” I laughed, baffled.
“Because I could go sit at Lavender’s grave, and no-one would look at me sideways if I started talking to her.”
I started. “Lavender?”
My mother smiled wistfully. “My first Shade,” she reminisced. “We’d been best friends since forever, and when she was killed...” My mother’s eyes darkened. “I felt it. I felt it here.” She gestured towards her throat, chest and stomach.
“I felt it in my abdomen first,” she recalled. “A sharp pain – I felt like I was being torn in two.”
I shuddered in horror.
“Then my chest,” mum said calmly. “Right in the middle. At first, it felt like I’d just been winded – but then it started to burn. I felt like absolute hell when it finally ended.”
It was quite for a minute. “How did it finally end?” I asked in a small voice.
My mother raised her left hand to her neck. “I felt a huge pressure on my throat, and I tried to scream for help, but I couldn’t. The pressure disappeared, only to be replaced by burning hot agony. I collapsed to the floor, gasping. I couldn’t breathe; I thought I was choking to death. That I was dying.”
She sighed.
“Then what happened?” I asked quietly.
“I blacked out,” she answered in a tired voice. “When I woke up, my parents explained what had happened. Why it had happened. Lavender was buried almost two months later – it took them a while to find her body, the killer had hidden it well.”
“What happened to Lavender? Ghost Lavender, I mean.”
“Shade,” mum corrected absentmindedly. “Not ghost. And she passed on about six years ago.”
My mother shrugged. “No murderers were convicted at the time she passed on, so I’m guessing her killer died.”
“Where do people who don’t become...Shades go?”
“That, I don’t know,” my mother said. “But with all the Shades I’ve talked to, and gotten to know...I sincerely hope there is a Hell, because there are so many people who deserve to burn in it.”
She smiled at me, and the mood instantly lightened. She bumped her hip against mine. “Don’t worry, chook, I’m sure you’ll go to Heaven.”
“Sure I will,” I laughed. “So, where is Chance’s grave?”
Mum jerked her head forwards. “Right there.”
I turned, and I saw a relatively new gravestone with a guy sitting in front of it. Nothing too strange there, but something about the guy...just wasn’t right.
Wasn’t normal.
Wasn’t human.
Wasn’t alive.
“Chance,” I breathed.
My mother grabbed my arm and yanked me back.
I blinked. Without even realising it, I’d moved forward a couple of steps – a couple of steps in Chance’s direction.
“April, calm down,” she whisper-hissed.
I stared at her in confusion.
“Stop fighting me,” she snapped out quietly.
I froze as I realised I’d been struggling against her grip like a girl possessed.
I went limp, but her grip on me didn’t relax. “Should’ve known,” she was muttering to herself. “Idiot.”
I wasn’t sure if that last part referred to me or her or both of us.
Placing a hand on either side of my face, my mother eclipsed my vision so she was the only thing I could see.
“April,” she enunciated slowly and clearly. “Are you paying attention?”
“Affirmative,” I said.
“I’m sorry; I should’ve warned you about how strong the compulsion to go to him would be. I was stupid.” She spoke quickly but clearly. “When you first make skin contact with him your connection will be complete. No connection is the same as another, they are all unique.” She paused to take a breath. “It will be incredibly hard to resist establishing the bond straight away, but you must refrain from doing so. Bring him back to the house and finalise your link there, doing it in the middle of a very public cemetery is just asking for trouble. And don’t act like you’re talking to him, either – the grave of a teenage boy whose death has ‘foul play’ written in magic marker all over it will be highly noticeable for a while – especially today, the day of his funeral.”
I nodded.
“April, just promise me you understand what I’m saying,” she said. “And promise me you’ll try to obey what I’ve told you.”
Once again, I nodded.
She released my arm. “Then off you go.”
She walked back the way we had come, weaving in and out of the headstones with the grace and practised ease of someone who had spent a lot of time in graveyards.
I whirled back around the other way. Chance hadn’t moved.
Now that nothing was stopping me from going to him, I was frozen with nerves.
Nausea rose within me, and I tried hard not to flee back the other way.
Coward, I chastised myself.
Steeling my nerves, I began to slowly make my way towards Chance's grave.
I tried to act casual, and I think I succeeded. To any random passer-by, I would’ve looked just like a regular girl perusing through a cemetery, looking for the grave that belonged to her.
When I reached Chance's grave – and Chance, who was still sitting there – I continued to walk past, pausing two graves down from him, making a big deal of acting as if ‘Alberta Rhodes, Loving mother, caring sister, generous friend’ was who I had come here to see.
As I pretended to inspect Alberta’s headstone, I watched Chance from the corner of my eye.
He had dark brown hair, almost black, and vibrant green eyes that were He was pale, and I couldn’t tell if that was how his skin had been when he was alive, or if it was pale because he was a ghost – Shade, whatever. His eyelashes were thicker and longer than what should be legal on a boy, and they enhanced his high cheekbones. I couldn’t tell properly because he was sitting down, but he looked tall. He was lean, and though he wasn’t grossly over muscled, there was definitely some definition from what I could see.
All in all, he was a nice looking guy. If I’d ran into him in the mall, I probably would’ve thought he looked cute, but nothing too above average. He just looked nice...and normal.
Which was ironic, because considering he was dead, he was about as far from normal as you can get.
As if he could feel my scrutinising gaze on him, he looked up.
Green eyes met grey, and I did the absolute most stupidest thing ever, and it definitely went against what my mother had said.
“Hi, Chance,” I whispered. “I’m –”
“April,” he breathed.

JosephineSilver commented…
WTH? It cut off! lebih dari setahun yang lalu
lebih dari setahun yang lalu JosephineSilver said…
Hey, there