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Today we're featuring Of Dreams and Shadow by D.S. McKnight on Get Hooked at The Literary Nook!
Author: D.S. McKnight
Publisher: Stone Bay Press
Genre: Young Adult Paranormal
Purchase at AMAZON
We live. We die. Is there anything more? Jenna Barton is about to find out. After moving to the coastal North Carolina town of Parson’s Cove, Jenna has unwittingly stepped into the middle of a mystery involving a missing child. Unfortunately, the predator is still on the loose and Jenna has become his new obsession. With a little luck and a bit of paranormal help, Jenna might survive.
June 17, 1997
Details…they were the making or breaking of any plan and he
felt sure that his plan was perfect. He surveyed the yard one last
time, slid back into his hiding place and waited. It wouldn’t be
long now. She would open the door and come out to play as she
did every morning: swinging, pulling her wagon, playing with her
doll. Only this morning would be different, this morning would
Laying in her wagon was his gift, a necklace he had taken from
his mother. He was certain Sarah would love it. A door slammed,
pulling his attention from the wagon to the patio where the little
“Big…black…bug’s blood,” she said slowly. And then, looking
rather pleased with herself, she continued a bit faster, “Big, black
bug’s blood, big black blugs blug, blig black blug’s blug.” Shaking
her head, she stepped off the patio, “I don’t like bugs anyway…well,
maybe ladybugs…and butterflies,” Sarah added as a swallowtail
Sarah found herself following the butterfly’s trail, stopping
when it lit upon a flower and continuing on as it once again took
flight. “Come back butterfly,” she called as the butterfly
flitted from place to place, always just out of her reach. The
tinkling sound of her laughter floated across the yard to his
hiding place. He couldn’t believe his luck. It seemed that fate
was lending him a hand as the butterfly fluttered ever closer to
Just a little further, sweet Sarah.
She stopped, looked up at the butterfly as it changed course,
then set off in the opposite direction. He clinched his fist. Fate,
he thought, is like a fickle strumpet. But patience on the other hand,
was quite the virtuous lady. Damn. He hated virtuous ladies. And
strumpets…they weren’t any better.
The swallowtail, perhaps tired of playing the game, circled
around and carried Sarah back toward the wagon. Its flight was
now one of purpose. It had nectar to collect and flowers to pollinate
and a curious little girl was a hindrance. The butterfly, however,
didn’t need to worry. It had lost Sarah’s attention. She had seen the
Picking up the silver chain, she watched as the blue stones
glistened in the sunlight. It was the most beautiful thing she had
ever seen. Sarah slid the necklace over her head and ran back to the
house calling out for her mother.
Liza Jones opened the door. “Is everything okay, Sweetie?”
Sarah lifted the pendant. “See what I found.” Her voice dropped
to a whisper, as she looked over her shoulder. “Do you think a fairy
Liza shook her head. “I don’t know about a fairy, but someone
certainly did.” She put out her hand. “I think maybe you should
give the necklace to me. We don’t know whose it is.”
Sarah’s lip began to tremble. “But I found it and it’s so pretty.
Can’t I please wear it for a little while? I won’t lose it.”
Liza smiled as she touched her daughter’s cheek. She hated
telling her no. “Okay, as long as you’re careful. But when we find
out who owns it, no tears.”
“No tears, Mommy,” Sarah agreed. “I promise.”
Liza closed the door, her mind already going over the phone
calls she needed to make. She felt certain that one of the neighbor’s
children had been exploring in their mother’s jewelry box.
Smiling, Sarah whirled around and set off for the swings. Her
soft caramel curls, caught in a ponytail, danced about as she skipped
across the backyard. She hoped her mommy couldn’t find the owner
of the necklace.
As she sat in the swing and pushed off with her feet, Sarah
noticed her shadow. It moved along the sand, stretching out just as
she did. Higher and higher she went, her shadow following below.
Taking a flying leap from the swing, Sarah sailed through the air,
landed on the soft grass and toppled over. Giggling, she righted
herself. Her shadow did the same. And so the game of chase began.
Like a small rabbit, Sarah scampered across the lawn, her
little feet swiftly changing course. Sometimes, depending on the
direction she was going, Sarah noticed that she was being chased by
her shadow. Other times, she was doing the chasing.
The slamming of the neighbor’s back door didn’t go unnoticed.
Boys! She thought to herself as she wheeled in the opposite direction,
making sure to avoid the fence. Glancing over her shoulder, she saw
the neighbor boy peeking over the pickets.
As she neared the back of the yard, Sarah slowed to a walk,
sat down, and leaned against a large boulder, her shadow all but
forgotten. She fingered the silver chain before carefully lifting the
pendant. Blue stones surrounded a small crystal, reminding her of
the flowers that grew in her mother’s garden. “Buttercup, Poppy,
Forget-Me-Not,” Sarah recited her favorite nursery rhyme, “These
three bloomed in a garden spot—” her soft voice trailed away to
nothing as the sensation of being watched rolled over her.
Sarah lifted her eyes from the necklace and glanced toward the
wood line, looking for anything that seemed out of place. Seeing
nothing out of the ordinary, she continued to search the yard,
looking for the source of her discomfort. She paused, realizing that
the only place left to look was behind her. The hair on her arms
began to rise as did the instinctual feeling to run to safety. Slowly,
she turned her head to look over her shoulder. Her eyes rested on
the dark figure standing behind her right shoulder.
“Shadow?” she asked in a bewildered voice.
“Who else could it be?” hissed the childlike apparition as it
took position between Sarah and her house. A ragged whimper
wrenched from deep in Sarah’s throat, her eyes darted, looking for
an escape but seeing none. From across the fence, the frightened
eyes of the neighbor boy found hers, his small hand waved for her
“Mommy!” she cried out, her eyes welling with tears.
“Thy mother hearest thou not, sweet Sarah,” the specter hissed
as it took a step closer to the child.
Sarah’s mind told her to flee yet her body refused to move.
Tears streamed down her face. The shadowy figure looked over
its shoulder at the house. Satisfied, it turned its attention back to
Sarah. Cocking its head to the side as though in thought, Sarah’s
silhouette paused for just a moment before lunging and engulfing
the child. Sarah had no time to scream. She was gone, swallowed
by the blackness that was the shadow. The dark figure of the little
girl stretched upward and outward as it shifted into the dark shape
of a man.