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"Everling" Book Sample
This is a sample of part one to my fantasy/afterlife novel "Everling". I'm currently looking for a publisher or agent to have this published, so any thoughts on improvements are welcome.
Door In The Forest
"Everling" Book Sample
Written By Nicole K. Hering
Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep!
Flinching, I reflexively curl my toes and duck my head under the covers. The beeping is like a blow to the face. It’s incessant, a whining annoyance that I wish to smash into a million tiny pieces to silence forever.
Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep!
My attempt to hide under the covers has done nothing to stop the endless sound of the shrieking beeping. I grab my pillow and attempt to block the annoying, wheedling noise with the makeshift barrier of a pillow shield over my head and ears.
Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep!
“Dammit.” I curse under my breath.
I don’t want to move. I’m tired and I just want to sleep forever and never have to get up.
Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep!
My alarm clock seems to increase in velocity and frequency of number of beeps per second. It cranks up in volume too.
Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep!
The beeping isn’t going to let me do what I want however. I’m forced to shove my fist out of the blanket and hit the button on my alarm clock. It wouldn’t normally bother me to do this, but it’s freezing out now that it’s December.
Damn, I should move somewhere else. Somewhere far away from Minnesota, one of the most perplexing of states that was settled by humans. If I had been a Native American or an immigrant there’s no way I would have decided Minnesota was where I wanted to stop the tribe or the covered wagon and say: “This is our new home!” to my family. I'd be much happier living somewhere warmer. I’m only eighteen though and still living with my parents. As of right now I can’t afford to move out of the state to a warmer climate when I graduate. Someday I will, but I honestly haven’t made much of a plan for my future. I have no huge dreams for my life. My only desire is to figure out something to allow me to get by in life. Which might sound depressing but I really have no major life dreams, aside from moving to a warmer place.
I grit my teeth and drag myself out of bed with the blanket still wrapped tightly around my body. Even with the blanket and the thick flannel pajama bottoms and a sweater I’m doning my entire body is shivering as my bare feet touch the hard wood floor. I rush and skid out of my room to the bathroom where there’s at least a rug by the sink that’s warmer to stand on then the freezing wood flooring. I flick on the shower to heat up the bathroom. I dare not undress for a shower until the water heats up the bathroom.
Someone had told me before once that my body type isn’t made for the cold. I am built like my mom and I inherited her face also. Our bodies are both thin and narrow with long arms and legs like a swimmer’s build. Our faces are each boney, angular, with large round brown eyes. My dad is built perfectly for winter though, so it’s a shame I didn’t inherit his build. He’s broad and has thicker limbs even though he’s tall; a little over six feet. I did inherit my dad’s dark hair though. My parents’ differences don’t just end with their outward appearances, but I hate reflecting on those differences. It’s easier to ignore them then to look back on their many issues.
The shower isn’t heating up the bathroom quick enough it seems. Or I’m just horribly impatient and far too cold for even the heat of shower water to make me warm up.
I grit my teeth and shiver. I have to get ready to go to work but there’s no way I’m stripping down until the heat of the water makes the room warmer. I reach a hand out and around the shower curtain to touch the water stream from the showerhead. It’s icy to the touch still. I turn off the stream of water, there’s little use in waiting for it to heat up. The water heater for the house is probably broken. I go back into my room and dress quickly, not allowing my bare skin to be exposed to the cold for too long. I suspect with how cold it is I might be a victim of indoor frostbite if so much as an inch of my skin is free to be bitten by the air.
I struggle as I yank on clothing. Two sweaters, leggings, jeans, two pairs of socks, and a scarf make up my wardrobe. I’m not exactly making a fashion statement today and I can’t help rolling my eyes as I glance at myself in my mirror at how shapeless and androgynous I appear.
After dressing I brush my long midnight hair out until it’s smooth and roll it up into a bun on top of my head, sticking bobby pins haphazardly to keep the bun in place. I apply minimal eyeliner and mascara around my eyes just to look a little “older” instead of like a kid. I avoid foundation as it makes my skin itch too much and I break out if I wear it too long.
Grabbing my keys and green messenger bag from my desk first, I then hurry downstairs to grab a cup of coffee from the pot. I find my dad in the kitchen sitting at the table. He looks a little like he’s coming down with the flu. His face is pale and his eyes have heavy circles around them, as if he hadn’t slept.
“Morning.” I say groggily to him.
I head over to the coffee pot. I pick up my travel coffee mug out of the sink and fill it with delicious black coffee. I sniff the scent deeply in as I pour, savoring the warmth and the aroma of the brewed beans.
My dad is still quiet. He’s nonresponsive to my presence in the room. Typically he’s the one who greets me first in the morning since I’m not much of a morning person and he is always alert immediately once he wakes up. It’s not typical for him to not even say good morning at all. I glance at him as I sip from my mug. Fleetingly I wonder if he not only looks like he’s sick but that he is really coming down with the flu or some sort of bug.
“I think the water heater is down.” I tell him.
He nods. I note that his eyes don’t look at me. His gaze is out of focus aimed at the window. He doesn’t appear to be admiring the snow outside though. He doesn’t appear to be looking at anything outside.
“Yeah. The boiler is off for energy reasons so the water heater is down too.” he tells me, his reply too late and coming off as abrupt and out of place.
“I see.” I say.
A strong desire to ask him what’s wrong creeps into my mind, but no doubt he’ll deny that there’s an issue going on with him. He’s far too much of an ‘I can take care of myself’ kind of guy to be willing to directly admit to something troubling him.
“Are you going to school?” he asks, noticing my messenger bag on the kitchen counter.
“Na, I’m not. Winter break started. I decided to work all break.” I reply.
I take another sip from my mug, letting the coffee work its magic to force my body heat to go up.
“Ok, I might see you later but I might stay longer at work tonight.” Dad glances at his hands in his lap.
Something is definitely wrong. I can’t help noticing that the whole time I’ve been in the kitchen he didn’t look at me once.
“Ok... Well I’m going to head out. Have a great day.” I walk over and give him a sideways one arm hug. It feels awkward since he doesn’t move at my touch or attempt to hug me back, but he really looks like he could use a hug so I don’t mind that it’s an awkward hug.
“You too, Raven.” He says. He lightly squeezes my freezing hand with one of his large hands. Uncharacteristically his skin is surprisingly cold too. Ever since I could remember my dad’s hands were always warm, always radiating heat. His body always persevered through even the coldest of Minnesota winters.
I nod at him and walk out of the kitchen. I open up the hall closet for my jacket and boots. I notice as I take my jacket off the hanger that my mom’s jacket is gone. A pair of her boots is also missing from the closet.
I should have known. Allowing a moment to let myself sigh I pause in the entranceway of the house. My parents must be fighting again and likely my mom left to stay with her sister for a couple days.
I put on my boots and jacket and head out the door into the frigid morning air. Damn this terrible weather. My body screams at me to find warmth immediately. Like a moth seeks a flame, my body seeks out heat. I pull my gloves out of my pocket and shove them onto my hands. I run the rest of the way through the snow to my car.
Slowly I stock cans in the organic beans section. I’ve been at it for a while by choice. I want to keep stocking for most of the day so I don’t have to work the register today. I’m not exactly sure why but I feel strange today. Otherwise I wouldn’t mind working a register. I might be catching the flu I suppose. My stomach is abnormally tight feeling and my chest is aching.
Maybe I forgot to do something for classes before the break started? No… I only have three classes this year since I’m a senior and ahead for my credits and I definitely didn’t forget anything. I barely even did anything else other than work at Green Foods. My hobbies only really consisted of listening to music and photography. I didn’t have friends really. To be honest I only really hung out with some of the people in my photography class during school hours and that was it. I didn’t really feel like high school was a place to make friends. It just seemed like an obstacle to overcome and to get through to achieve the ability to move on with my life to other things.
Continuing to stock organic beans and listen to the holiday music and the few customers shopping in the Green Foods Store speaking to one another was beginning to make my arm tense up from the repeated motion. Green Foods is an organic store solely, so only health nuts really come in to shop.
I hear the bell ring as someone enters the front door. It’s not overly busy today. Which I’m really appreciating since I’m not feeling so well. Maybe I have pneumonia from the freezing weather. At least it’s warm in Green Foods.
I hear the woman working at one of the registers, Beth, talking to the people who must have just entered.
“Of course we sell candles.” Beth says in reply to whatever the customers have asked her.
Beth’s voice is the only one I can hear because she talks very loudly and booming. She’s a small woman, a foot shorter than me, but her voice could out power the noise of a power drill.
“We have a ton of organic candles here! Were you two planning some romance for your evening?” I can hear Beth’s slight insinuation and teasing tone even from where I am among the shelves in the middle of the store. I’m positive she’s smirking.
I stifle a laugh and continue to stock organic canned foods. I don’t hear a reply from the people Beth’s been talking to but then I hear Beth talking in a softer tone until she yells my name.
“Raven?! Can you show some people up front where the organic candles are?” she yells out.
“Sure thing!” I call back, heading to the front.
I turn around the corner of the last shelf in the front of the store and freeze. Suddenly I feel really sick. I feel like I may have developed terminal cancer and just was told by my doctor that I have five minutes time to live only he told me it ten minutes ago. My heart may have flat lined. There’s no way anything will resuscitate it if it has flat lined, so I must be dead.
Standing there, in front of me, with her arm twined and snuggled around a complete stranger to me's waist, kissing him lightly on the lips, is someone I know too well. She’s someone who shares my body build and my face. She’s someone who shares my dark hair and my wide brown eyes. This very similar to me woman pulls back from the kiss and finally sees me.
We stare at each other. Her mouth has fallen open in shock and disbelief that’s mirrored
back at her on my own face.
“Mom…” I say flatly and confused.
“Oh my God…” Mom starts wailing.
She puts a hand up to her mouth and steps back in shock. I guess this was proof at how little she paid attention to what I was doing that she didn't know I was on break from school and would be here working. She disentangles her arm from the guy’s arm and runs out of the door. The guy looks at me and then at her retreating back.
Staring at him, I try to understand exactly what I just had witnessed. My mom had been arm and arm with this guy. This much younger than her guy. My mom had kissed this younger guy.
Which meant my mom is cheating on my dad and has a little boy toy.
I find myself analyzing the looks of my mom’s boy toy.
I’m none too kind with my rating of his looks. He has dirty blonde hair that could use a real hair cut in a salon. I can tell he cuts it over his bathroom sink himself. He is weedy and has a hooked nose. He looks like a college kid. A college kid who still has some spots of teenage acne. He probably has back acne too. He also looks like a d-bag, which could be me viewing him too harshly based on him kissing my mom a minute before, but I bet if I asked some random person in the store if they thought he looked like a d-bag they likely would have agreed that he did, even without him having just been making out with their mom.
“Sorry…” the d-bag hesitantly mutters an apology to me.
As the last mumble escapes his thin lips he runs out after my mom. I watch them go to the same beat up nineties decade car and the guy drives them away from Green Foods.
“Holy shit…” Beth says.
She too had been staring in aghast at what had unfolded. It was easy to piece it together. I’m sure Beth knew that weedy college guy was definitely not my dad.
“Are you alright sweetie?” Beth asks me.
I shiver, fighting the urge to vomit.
“I feel a little unwell.” I admit. Unwell or completely sickened, disturbed, and revolted by my mom.
“Maybe you should take off the rest of the day, Raven.” Beth says. “I’m fine here by myself. There isn’t a lot of people coming in today. I can handle all the stocking and the register for the rest of the day.”
I hesitate, not wanting to lose wages I could earn today for such a stupid reason as discovering my mom was cheating on my dad. There was no way I’d be functioning normally though.
“Yeah… I’m… I’m going to go home.” I say softly.
My vision feels disjointed, like the messed up situation I had stumbled upon so unceremoniously had screwed up my eyesight. The store and Beth appear blurry to me. I hope I’m not about to pass out right now, right here in front of Beth and the customers looking at the organic produce in the front of the store.
I take off my Green Foods apron and turn around to go to the back room.
“Raven,” Beth says quickly in a motherly tone before I go, “If you need to talk about anything you can call me… I’m here if you need anyone to talk to.”
“Thank you.” I reply.
Numbly I go to the back room. Beth knows that my parents are still married. I’d mentioned it to her one time when she was reading a celebrity magazine and she started asking why it seemed like all marriages ended in divorce. I’d told her my parents were still married. I left out that they should have gotten a divorce years ago though. It was almost more pathetic that they tried staying together than just admitting their marriage was a load of bullshit.
The first thing I do when I get home is to take a shower. It was lukewarm but better than nothing. I still had an aching feeling in my chest that was refusing to go away. It wasn’t from what my mom had done and what I had discovered though. I didn’t know what it was from. It felt like an empty feeling, like my body was being pulled apart and falling into a void of nothingness. I rubbed my skin over my heart, trying to see if the pain was from a knot in my muscles. It didn’t appear to be. It seemed deeper then muscle. Deeper than bone even.
I shut off the shower water once all the soap has washed away from my skin and had disappeared down the drain. I grab a towel from the bar outside the shower curtain. I quickly towel off. Once I’m passingly dry I walk into my bedroom for a change of clothes. As I search for clothes, my eyes fall on my wall calendar.
The date was December seventh.
Inadvertently my hands go over my heart. I clutched at my chest a moment, my thoughts speeding up rapidly to him.
For a second I nearly allowed myself to remember him. Images in my mind momentarily flooded my mind nearly drowning me.
The images of millions of different doors, all in between the trees of a great forest, all hiding something behind each door.
Quickly I offhandedly brushed the thoughts aside. It had been made up. It was nothing. A dream world I had created to escape my parents’ ugly fights and my generally unhappy childhood. He had been imagined; an imagined friend to a girl who had had few real friends and little love from her family. Nothing more.
I glanced at the calendar once more as my chest ached for a long difficult spasm. I rubbed the spot over my heart and focused on finding warm clothes. I grabbed a thick sweater, skinny cut faded blue jeans, cotton underwear and a sports bra from my laundry basket of clean clothes at the foot of my bed that I hadn’t put away yet into my dresser.
Doing this task did little to make me forget what I had witnessed. I should have stayed at work I realized. There was nothing for me to do at home except sit around or call dad to tell him I’d seen mom with another man, buying organic candles and planning a romantic day together. I could call mom and ask what the hell was going on though too. I decided to call her cell phone. It was better to ask before I told dad. I sat on the edge of my bed, fighting to stay calm. The phone rang for about four rings until it clicked.
“I’m sorry the person you are trying to reach is currently unavailable. Please leave a message after the beep.” An automated voice told me.
I hung up before the beep. I didn’t want to leave a voicemail. Was there another way to reach her? I didn’t know where she was. I definitely didn’t have the college guy’s number on speed dial either. My aunt, mom’s sister, was the closest I had to finding out where mom was. I dialed aunt Julia. The phone rang for about three times before my aunt Julia picked up the phone.
“Hello? Raven?” my aunt said on the other end.
“Hi…. Aunt Julia, I was wondering if you knew where my mom is? Or if she’s there right now?” I said flatly.
“Your mom? No…she isn’t here.” Aunt Julia’s tone was nervous.
I sighed loudly, exasperated, because I knew she was lying to me.
“Well she’s not here and I think her and my dad had a fight.” I said calmly.
It was fairly common for me to use this sentence. I was used to saying they were fighting.
“So are you sure you don’t know where she is?” I added.
As I repeated the question of where my mom was I feel a little sickened. Mostly because I did know where she was. She was off somewhere screwing a young guy.
Aunt Julia nervously made a mmmmm noise for a minute.
“I don’t know…” she muttered finally.
“Aunt Julia I saw my mom with some guy buying stuff at Green Foods. I already know that she’s cheating on my dad.” I blurt out, annoyed that she’s choosing to avoid answering me truthfully. Still I’m strangely mellow saying this even if I’m furious at her.
“But I’d like to talk to her before I say anything to my dad to see if she’s going to tell him herself if he doesn’t already know yet. Because frankly I don’t want to be the one to tell him. So where is she? And how can I reach her?” I asked.
Aunt Julia remained quiet for a long time on her end. Unable to take her silence I tap my fingers in frustration on the edge of my phone.
“Aunt Julia? Are you still there?” I ask, impatiently.
“Yes. I’m so sorry Raven.” She pauses and I can tell she’s crying. “I don’t know where she is right now though. I really don’t.”
“Did you know?” I ask her.
“Not exactly. I mean I guessed that she was.” Aunt Julia says softly. “If I’d known for sure I would have told your dad or you Raven. I’ve always believed cheating is wrong. So sister or not I would inform someone of a spouse cheating on them.”
“Ok... I guess I’m going to try her cell again.” I reply, even softer than how aunt Julia sounds. I suddenly feel like a child. “Bye.” I hang up before she can say more, because it might make me cry if she does.
I’m lying to her. I’m not about to call my mom again. I don’t want to hear her voice. I’m not even about to call my dad either. I don’t want to be the one that has to tell him. I wonder if dad already knows though. From the look on his face this morning I’d say he already was well aware of what his wife had done.
I lie back on my bed. Curling up my body tightly, I allow myself to notice the dull ache in my chest. I also allow myself to pretend someone who doesn’t exist, who never existed is curled up around me, stroking my hair and telling me everything is going to be ok as he always would have in the past. Well, my imagined past.
Tears sting at my eyes.
Thinking of him I finally feel slightly comforted. Sad though. Painfully sad. I fall asleep quickly imagining his arms around me. The last conscious thing I know is my hand clutching at my heart.
I’m walking outside on a dirt path in the woods.
It looks like the trees are all dead. No leaves hang on the branches. They are barren and the branches are like spidery veins creeping in on one another and reaching toward the sky. The air here is still. There are no birds in the woods. There are no animals or bugs. There are just dead trees and dead leaves on the ground that are halfway rotting and composting in the dirt. There is no smell to the rotting leaves. The air here is merely crisp and sharp like the smell of a cold night.
The trees are thick, uninviting, and almost volatile in how they’ve grown, as if to reach into the path to snatch at anyone who comes along and tear them to bits. The sky is cloudy grey and flat. There is no sunlight so it appears to be almost nightfall. I don’t know the actual time in this place however.
All I know is my feet walking and I really don’t feel like I’m controlling them to do so or willing them to do anything for that matter. I long for something to look at. For something human in these forbidding hostile woods to appear. I long for the safety of the appearance of humanity. I turn my head back and forth every once in a while to look around for something interesting to catch my eye. I’m not certain what it is that I’m seeking.
For a moment I consider if I’m lost. I have no reason to be in this dead and threatening wood. So surely I’m lost. I must have taken a wrong turn, or someone told me wrong directions. That happens all the time to me. And sometimes I get my right and left mixed up. It happens fairly often too that I confuse my directions. The problem is I have no memory of how I got to be on this path. Another problem is I don’t recall anyone giving me directions.
I turn my head looking through the trees and pause.
There’s a door in between some of the trees.
It leads to nowhere. It’s just a plain door propped up at if waiting to be opened to lead to something. I freeze, finally stopping my feet from walking on this path. The ache in my chest begins to grow. I know suddenly exactly where I am. Perhaps I’d known somehow all along. Of course I had suppressed even considering something like this was probable though until I witnessed the proof.
I bolt then and run as fast as I can down the path.
Occasionally I pass by other doors in between trees, doors that have no apparent meaning, doors that all look different. None are the most important door though. None are his door. Which I am aware of because I know where his door is. I know what his door looks like as well as I know his face.
The branches of the dead trees scratch my face as I run by their dagger like tips. Droplets of blood from the scratches drip down my face, yet I do not bother wiping it away.
The trees are different than they were before. They were once very alive and thick with leaves and buds years ago. The forest had been beautiful and inviting. Now the trees seemed like vicious guard dogs prepared to bite and tear apart an intruder if they got too close. I maintained my ignorance of the tree’s bites and stings on my skin as I ran past them. I turned around a thick tree and came to the edge of the lake.
It’s frozen across the top of it. The lake is as dead as the wood. I can remember when it was the most tranquil, lovely blue. I can remember swimming in the water with him and the rest of them. We had laughed, been happy, so free. The only time I really felt those things had been when I was with him.
The lake is surrounded by trees on all sides. Trees that look like they would gladly strangle me if I step too close. I know what lies across the lake though. I run across the ice as fast as I can. The ache in my heart has reached almost unbearable. As I run across I see it. It comes more and more into focus as I reach it.
I feel tears streaming down my face, intermixing with the blood from the scratches on my face and neck from the trees. It’s his door. It’s a large solid dark oak wood door with an old fashioned silver handle and keyhole. This door also leads seemingly to nowhere as is the case with the other doors in the forest. There are elegant swirls and scrolls carved into its wooden frame. I freeze staring at it, partially in disbelief , partially in fear.
What if he turns me away? What if all this time the truth was he never wanted to see me again and he’ll tell me to leave? What if he doesn’t even recall me anymore even? I flinch at that thought. It hurts more than wondering if he’d tell me to leave. My fingers shake as I clasp the large ornate silver knob. There’s spirals and swirls on the knob similar to the ones carved on the door. It’s freezing against the skin of my hand.
It’s rude to barge in, should I wait and knock first? My heart isn’t letting me wait a moment longer though. I turn the knob and burst in. Despite appearances the door opens into an entirely white colored room. White walls, white furniture, white floors, white ceilings. Even the windows look out onto nothing but white blankness. This room is a solid white living room that I’ve stepped into. A large white couch takes up the corner and faces a massive picture window as large as a cinema movie screen. The floor is made of wood, white wood that I run across. I shout then in this quiet pale place.
“EVER!!” I scream.
I run to the staircase that I know so well and bolt up the pallid stairs up to the first floor then go up two more flights past two more floors. I continue screaming his name as I run.
“EVER!!!” my voice tears at the silence, but seems unable to make an impact in this place.
Once I reach the floor where his room is I run down the hall to his door. The hall is full of doors that lead to random rooms. There are no markings but I know where his room is. It’s at the very end of this hallway.
“Ever!” I cry out and fling open his door.
It’s the same as the rest of this place. All white furniture as if the room had been bleached over. All white walls, white furniture. The futon bed is the same. The dresser is the same. The window is looking out at blank white nothing- which isn’t the same. Ever used to have a scene of an oriental garden with a fountain surrounded by cherry blossom trees that the window looked out onto. It had been of fully intact color, not white nothingness. Another thing besides the window is also not the same about this room. Ever isn’t here.
My heart plummets in despair.
“Ever?” I whisper his name.
I walk around the room hoping he might be hidden in a corner waiting to jump out at me to startle me. He isn’t though. I don’t see him in any of his forms anywhere in his room. I step to the edge of the futon and slowly lower myself to sit on the edge of the mattress. The white blankets rustle softly under me. I crawl up onto the bed and curl up into a tight little ball in the center of the futon. Childlike I must appear. Childlike is definitely how it feels. I let my sorrow for losing him wash over me like an ocean wave swallowing me up and away from the shoreline of safety, serenity and ignorant repression of memories. These memories are all of him.
My dearest friend.
“Ever.” I whisper again, against the white blankets on his bed.
The blanket smells like fresh spring air. It’s the one thing that seems alive and fresh in this place. The sound and feel of his name upon my lips makes my eyes mist and my heart sink further into my sorrow.
I choke out a sob into the blanket. The sob turns into a flood of tears that soak the blankets. I don’t try to stop or calm myself. I weep as I lie there curled up on Ever’s bed. I feel so lost and confused being here again. Finding his room empty has only worsened the condition of the ache in my heart.
Today is the day I lost him, but none of suddenly returning to this place makes sense to me. Why am I here now? How did this happen? Why has it happened?
The tears and light sobs are exhausting my body and my mind at the rate I’m letting them out. My face and hair are each soaked with tears for my dearest friend. I pause trying to relax. I need to think. I need to try figuring out why I’m here and where to go from here.
Breathing deeply, I focus on something to calm myself. I close my eyes picturing it.
I imagine Ever’s arms around me, his being curled around me as I lay here curled up in the center of the futon. His arms in his natural form are long and lean. Easily I can picture these arms. After all the many times he would hold me in his natural form with his arms protectively encircling me it’s so easy I can almost feel them actually touching me just from memory alone. I add to my imagination of him being here to calm me down. I imagine him also being here with his wings on his natural form. Ever liked adding wings to many of his forms. The wings he wore in his natural form were the most beautiful though. They were like angels’ wings in old medieval oil paintings. Feathered and long and large like eagles. Only his wings weren’t white as the angels. They had lovely ebony feathers that shimmered in the light. In my imagination I can see his wings wrapping around us also, putting me into a cocoon of comfort and sanctuary.
“It’s alright, Raven. I’m here with you. Nothing will ever hurt you while I’m here with you.” The imagination I’ve conjured up of Ever whispers in my ear.
“You have hurt me.” I whisper back. “You aren’t really here. You left me.”
“I’m still here with you. I’ll always be here with you. No matter how dark your days become I will protect you.” he insists.
They were words he had actually said to me once when I was a child. He had spoken them after my parents had had an extremely ugly fight and I had been in my room weeping, trying to calm myself from the damages their hateful words to one another was doing to my heart.
“I need you, Ever.” I whisper to the imagined Ever. “Come back to me please… I need you.” I focus on his imagined arms in my mind. I touch his arm with mine in this illusion of him. His skin is full of warmth and feels like tenderness and love.
“I’m always with you.” He insists again.
“No you’ve been gone.” I say softly to him. The imagined Ever’s grip tightens around me. It doesn’t hurt, it just feels like he’s trying to hold onto me longer, to be with me longer, to prove to me he’s really here.
“Raven, don’t forget me again.” Ever says pleadingly, “Please don’t forget me.”
I imagine holding onto his arm tighter with my hands. Feeling the strength of his arm beneath my fingers. I imagine his wings folded around me, how the feathers felt brushing my face so gently like the pleasant kiss of wind on a hot humid day.
“I won’t.” I whisper.
The tears have vanished from my face by this time. I’m calm once more. I let my imagination subside and return to the reality of this situation I’m in.
How am I going to leave this place? I used to go into the parallel bedroom that looked like mine from back home to leave this place and return to my real home. I didn’t know where it was though. It had always switched places in this white colored house of endless floors of white hallways filled with white doors leading onto white rooms. Ever had had to lead me to it every time because only he knew for sure where it would go to.
Leaving might be foolish though. I could continue looking for Ever in the house. He could be elsewhere. I doubted it strongly, yet there was always a slim chance.
I got off the futon; planning on searching for him and to find my parallel room to have a for sure way home. At that moment as sudden as lightning striking I heard the unmistakable sound of a voice.
“Find me and save me, Raven.”
I froze where I stood.
Ever’s voice had spoken aloud in the room. This was not my imagination. His voice had spoken very clearly. I whirled around in a circle, trying to find him.
“Ever?!” I said. “Where are you?”
There came no reply.
“Ever!” I said again, louder and more frightened sounding then the first time.
Behind me on the other side of the door into the room I heard a sharp odd intake of someone breathing deeply. Through the crack of the barely open door I spot a flash of a gray shade against the white walls that hurries past the door. A loud scuffling noise is attached to whatever it is. A rough sound of feet running away down the hallway.
I ran to throw open the door. No one was out in the hall but I could hear the feet running. They were running down the stairs. I rushed out of the room and followed the noise, feeling terrified and exhilarated at once.
“Who’s there?” I yelled down the stairs as I ran. “Stop! Please stop!”
The feet were still scuffling and running, refusing to stop, ignoring my pleas. I realized that the scuffling was from what sounded like claws on the feet.
I came into the living room, still following the noise of the running clawed feet.
“Hello?” I call out.
It was beginning to frighten me, the sound of the claws on the white wood floor. Yet I must know what it is, fear be damned.
The claws have scrambled through the door to the stairs of the lower levels. Quickly they are descending into the basement. Hurrying to keep up I gasp with the effort my body is going through. Whatever it is, it’s fast. The basement levels, unlike the rest of the house, is darker, not nearly as well lit. The furnishings are still white of course, but it’s noticeably dimmer. There’s an echo down here as well. The claw’s sounds are doubled and seem to be coming from all over as they reverberate around the walls. The stair case goes down in a spiral here, so it’s impossible for me to see ahead whatever is making the noise.
The stair opens onto several floors of halls lined with doors the same as upstairs. There aren’t as many floors down as there are going up.
I stumble as I run down the stairs, colliding into a white wall. The world lurches fast forward and my body thumps down the stairs, falling completely and painfully until I crumple at the bottom of the basement stairs.
Disorientated, I fumble around attempting to assess any damage to my body. There isn’t anything broken on me. In fact I’m not bleeding or bruised by any fresh wounds, I only have some scratches from the trees. I’m only moderately dizzy from tumbling. I should be bruised at the very least from the fall yet I’m not.
Strange. I stand up, still carefully taking note of how my body is doing and if I missed any injuries. I look around me at the foot of the lowest level’s staircase.
Realizing the scratching has stopped I cast my gaze curiously about, seeking a glimpse of whatever it was. Whatever was making the noise is here somewhere.
“Hello?” I say, slightly nervously, yet I stop myself from stammering, keeping my voice level and as self-assured as possible.
“Is someone here?” I tack on to the hello.
“Raven.” A voice says. It sounds slightly menacing. “What are you doing here?”
"Everling" Book Trailer
"Everling" Book Trailer From Ever's Perspective
"Everling" Full Part One Sample
- Amazon.com: Everling: Sample eBook: Nicole Hering: Kindle Store
Amazon.com: Everling: Sample eBook: Nicole Hering: Kindle Store