What does one say when they realize their child is gone? Better yet, what does one say when that child returns, but is different? This is the question Pryor must ask himself after his daughter, Lily, is dragged into the woods by a wolf and her body is never found. It isn’t until he sees a wolf in the woods with eyes that resemble Lily’s that he feels hope. And then something is whispered from deep within the woods, a promise for him to see Lily again.
But which day and for how long?
And then Pryor meets Ned, a silversmith who brings out desires that Pryor hasn’t felt in years and helps him hatch a plan to keep Lily with him.
Now the question isn’t about how much time Pryor will have with Lily, it’s about how far he’ll go to keep her with him.
I smelled her. I knew that sweet smell, the smell of her hair, wild and white—blonde. I would never see it turn darker, she would always be golden to me. I flung myself from my bed and dressed quickly. “I’m here, I’m coming, baby!”
I remember tripping over my damn sneakers and cursing violently as I stumbled over something else on the stairs. I’ve learned that in instances like these, one remembers horrible little details like the sneakers, like the stairs, and a wild, beautiful smell I knew but couldn’t place.
On instinct, I opened the blinds and threw open the sliding doors, then made my way out into the backyard. Lily wouldn’t be anywhere else.
We have a large weeping cherry tree in the backyard and in June, it is at its most magnificent. The smell coming off the tree was lurid and the flowers rained down in a pink shower when an errant breeze moved through the branches. The moon was stark and white, sending shivering silver light onto everything it touched. The night was alive with so much excitement that it was almost too much to bear. The woods appeared to be moving, a great looming mass of shadow and scent. The insects chorused, calling out in honor of what I hoped was my daughter.
“Lily?” I ran down the deck stairs. She had to be there! My eyes darted from one end of the yard to the other. The silver light of the moon cast everything in a strange glow that begged a ghostly encounter.
“Lily?” I said again, and this time looked to the trees where I thought I had heard ragged breathing; human, and yet not. There was movement, quick and furtive, a padded whisper of something pacing, searching, and then I saw eyes staring up at me from the darkness of the woods. Eyes that burned like a thousand fires, they were as blue as I remember, but now translucent and lit from behind.
It was then that I heard the call, chilling and ancient, that brought clouds to the sky as if they ached to protect the moon from such a hellish shriek.
“Lily,” I whispered, “baby, it’s your daddy, your father.” I held a hand out, wanted to go toward whatever it was that had my daughter’s eyes. Before I could move, I heard a voice, odd and quick; a fast whisper that sounded like the undertone of the trees, as if the forest was speaking to me. But those eyes, I knew those eyes.
“I will return for one day. One day.” The voice stopped. There was the sound of movement nearby. The ragged breathing stopped and the eyes vanished.
“When?! When, Lily? I know it’s you, please tell me when you will come back. Why not now?” I was trying not to yell. I could feel her presence—the smell was still there—she was close. I ran forward, but stopped when I heard her voice again.
“The day that I was taken will be the day I return.”
I was alone. Where there had been eyes, there was darkness; where there had been movement, there was nothing; and where there had been clouds, there was only silver light.
I felt a helpless rage swell within me until it erupted into the still night air in a primal scream that, once expelled, forced me to the ground, muscles shaking as I clawed at the earth.
As I struggled to my feet, I could still hear the voice echoing in my ears, fighting against my furious pulse.
The day I was taken will be the day I return.
About the Author:
Xavier Axelson is a writer living in Los Angeles. Xavier’s work has been featured in various erotic and horror anthologies. Longer written works include “The Incident”, “Velvet,” and “Lily.” www.xavieraxelson.com
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Virtual Book Tour Dates: 7/1/14 – 7/29/14
Genres: Paranormal/Paranormal Romance/Horror
Author Xavier Axelson is giving away five e-book copies of Lily! Open internationally, must be 18 or over to enter. The giveaway will run the length of the tour.
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