Series Review Tour – Gods of Earth Series by Nina R Schluntz #KindleUnlimited #giveaway

SERIES REVIEW TOUR

Gods of Earth Series by Nina R Schluntz

Genre: Contemporary M/M Supernatural Romance

Overall Heat Rating for the series: 4 flames

Publisher:  Independently published

Cover Artist: John Molinero

A single book from the series could be read on its own. There is an ongoing story that spans all the books, but each has a couple who receive their happy ending at the conclusion of the book.

Gods of Earth Series on Amazon

 

BOOK 1

Book Title: Influence of a God

Length: 141 pages

Release Date: January 1, 2019

Trope/s: Casual hookup to serious relationship / getting over an ex

Amazon  | Goodreads 

 

Blurb

Jesse has a type-the heartbroken. He doesn’t hide this fact, he’s even tattooed a damaged heart on his chest. His partners love the people who left them, which means there’s no fear of them getting attached to him. He showers them with the affection they have been deprived of and in return, he gets no string attached hook-ups.

Except for Ben.

No matter what Jesse does, when he gets drunk, its always Ben’s porch he ends up on. Which is fine, because Ben is still deeply in love with his ex-wife, even though she’s already remarried.

It might have all stayed fine, if Ben hadn’t met Cooper, the twelve-year-old stepson of Ben’s ex. He knows things he shouldn’t. He has a weird quirk of disappearing for hours. He even predicts future events with uncanny luck. And Cooper has a plan for Jesse. He wants himself and Ben’s daughter to live with Jesse and Ben. Which is a problem, because Jesse doesn’t do relationships.

To Cooper that just means Jesse needs to learn things the hard way.

 

BOOK 2

Book Title: Prophet of a God

Length: 199 pages

Release Date: September 22, 2019

Trope/s: Fated love / destined love

Amazon  |  Goodreads

Blurb

Isaiah has heard voices in his head his entire life, so it’s ironic when his brother declares that he has been chosen as a prophet for a god. Isaiah assists his brother in his search for the messiah and quickly discovers the god chose his brother in an effort to get closer to Isaiah.

The messiah isn’t shy at all in declaring that Isaiah is fated to be with him. But the voice in Isaiah’s head is skeptical and easily finds errors in the god’s claims.

Cooper is a god, one of many on Earth, but he is approved to pose as a messiah. He warps the path he’s supposed to follow in an effort to get closer to a man that is supposed to be his lover for only one night. Doing so has consequences, because Isaiah is not the man he expected. For one, he cuts himself in an effort to deal with the darkness of his past. And second, there’s the pesky sprite that loiters on Isaiah’s shoulder, whispering advice that Cooper would rather it didn’t.

 

BOOK 3

Title: Muse of a God

Length:  256 pages

Release Date: February 1, 2020

Genre/s: Supernatural M/M romance

Trope/s: Reluctantly falling in love / clinging to an old lover

Amazon  |  Goodreads

 

Blurb

Lawrence, who prefers to go by Laurie, is one of those gifted performers that everyone envies because he always gets the lead role.

Carter is a god with a shaded past. He created a planet… and then helped parasite type symbiotes destroy it. His current time on Earth is to prove he is rehabilitated.

He isn’t.

But he is good at manipulation. He wants to stay close to the two scientists who will discover a means to save Earth once Carter brings the symbiotes to it. One of them is Laurie’s roommate in college. Which means Laurie is Carter’s best means to befriending the scientists.

A not so chance encounter and some mocking, gets Laurie to join the lacrosse team Carter is on. Seducing him is easy enough, but Laurie quickly proves refreshingly unpredictable and his quick tongue makes Carter reconsider his choices to stay loyal to his previous love who controls the symbiotes.

But can Carter’s growing affection toward Laurie be enough to convince him to save Earth rather than destroy it?

 

BOOK 4

Title: Enemy of a God

Length: 151 pages

Release Date: May 17, 2020

Genre/s: Supernatural M/M romance

Trope/s: Falling for a friend’s boyfriend, Forbidden love

Amazon  |  Goodreads 

Blurb

The world is ending and the gods are abandoning Earth. A strange woman arrives at the same time the parasite symbiotes do. She has no memory of who she is and the question remains, is she an ally to save earth or the enemy of the gods here to destroy them? 

Jayson is the first to find her and he forms an immediate friendship with her. They are both outcasts with a dark past. He makes a deal with a god, Cooper, in an attempt to learn more about his alien friend. He doesn’t expect to fall in love with Cooper and worse, learn that his alien friend must die in order to save Earth. 

 

BOOK 5

Title: Symbiote of a God

Length:  101 pages

Release Date: June 15, 2020

Genre/s: Supernatural M/M romance

Trope/s: Friends to lovers / refusing to come out as gay

Amazon  |  Goodreads

Blurb

Stephen, Nick, and Lawrence have been best friends since college. Stephen and Nick are scientists, tasked with finding a cure to the symbiotes which have invaded Earth and use humans as hosts. Removing the symbiote kills the human, and a human doesn’t live long once infected.

Months after the initial invasion, Lawrence becomes infected and seeks the help of his friends. The rush to find a cure is now paramount, but something is strange about Lawrence’s infection. He is still in control of his body, and he can now understand the symbiotes. Nick and Stephen realize he may hold the cure to finally ridding the world of the symbiotes. 

 

BOOK 6

Title: Resurrection of a God

Release Date: July 6, 2020

Length:  115 pages

Genre/s: Supernatural M/M romance

Trope/s: Reluctant hero / Love triangle

Amazon  |  Goodreads

Blurb

Earth is the second planet Carter has created, and now the same symbiotes that destroyed his first planet, are here, destroying Earth. Afraid he will only aide in Earth’s destruction, since it’s his soulmate and lover behind the invasion, he goes into hiding. 

Jayson knows Carter is the only god who can save Earth and he is done waiting for him to come back. He resurrects the god and saves the planet, but its something not just any human can do. Jayson realizes there’s more to his relationship with Carter than he thought. He’d assumed he was Cooper’s soulmate, he loves Cooper, but when he keeps running into Carter he realizes the truth. A god has a different soulmate on every planet, and on Earth, he is Carter’s soulmate. 

But Carter doesn’t want him. His soulmate from his first planet was destructive and Carter fears what Jayson will become if he bonds with him. Jayson has to convince the god that he is different, and that your past does not determine your future.

 

 Excerpt from INFLUENCE of a GOD (Book 1)

“You shouldn’t want him to love you,” Jesse muttered to himself. He dropped the cigarette that he didn’t remember smoking and smashed the burning embers out with his heel. He went in the back door of the house. He could already hear the woman—the Nicole—speaking to Ben.

“I can’t believe you let some whore into this house with our daughter,” Nicole said. Jesse reached the end of the hall and stood in the doorway to the living room.

Nicole was wearing a large winter coat, so Jesse was unable to properly assess if she was fat. He had really hoped she was a fat, ugly thing. Her hair was cut into a cute bob. Her face was, well plain, but then again, she’d been woken at one in the morning, so who bothered with make-up at that hour?

Ben was standing behind the kitchen island, using it as a shield to protect himself from her. He’d never looked so small before. He was a pathetic puppy who had disappointed, yet again, the woman he loved.

“Who are you?” Nicole asked. She put her hands on her hips and aimed her dagger-filled gaze at him.

“This is Jesse,” Ben said, speaking meekly. “He came over to—”

Jesse didn’t want to listen to whatever lie Ben had in mind. “I’m the whore,” Jesse said. “The whore who scared your little girl.” He turned his head so the head of the snake on his neck was visible to her.

Nicole’s eyes bulged. A look of disgust passed on her face. She looked back at Ben.

“You’re gay.” The words didn’t come from Nicole. They came from another member of the party that Jesse hadn’t even noticed. A boy, early puberty age, maybe twelve, sat on the couch to Jesse’s left. He was a slender thing, a stick of a kid who was swallowed up in his big winter coat. He was pale and so still, Jesse wondered if he had actually been the one to speak. The kid sat there, an amused look on his face. “Ben is gay,” the boy repeated, speaking the words while Jesse looked at him, confirming that he was indeed the speaker.

“And you are?” Jesse asked.

“Cooper,” the kid said. He nodded at Jesse. “And you’re a sinner.”

“This whole family is full of flattery,” Jesse said. He crossed his arms and looked at Ben. “You have two kids?”

“She’s my stepmom,” Cooper said. His tone was even. There was a hint of amusement, but otherwise it stayed emotionless.

“I can’t believe you let our little girl see you having sex with a man,” Nicole said.

“She didn’t see us doing shit,” Jesse said. He stepped to block the entire hall as she moved to pass him.

“The tattoos,” Ben said. He took a small step forward. “The snake and… she saw the Jungle Book the other night and…”

“Tattoos? Plural? What else is there?” Nicole asked. She looked Jesse over from head to toe.

“There’s a lot more,” Jesse said. “Want me to show you?”

A wave of revulsion crossed her face and she waved him away. “No, I do not. Let me pass. I want to see Maggie.”

He stepped to the side and let her dart down the hall. Ben quickly followed after her. He paused as he reached Jesse. “I told you to leave.”

“I’m not leaving you to deal with this by yourself,” Jesse said.

“You aren’t helping,” Ben said. The door to Maggie’s room opened and Ben slipped past Jesse to assist in calming their daughter. Jesse looked to the other occupant left in the room. The kid—Cooper—was staring at him.

“Are you a God-fearing man?” Cooper asked. He pushed the hood of his coat down and short blond hair jutted out. The hair was so light it almost looked white. The whole white hair/pale skin thing might not have looked bad on him, except for the dark brown eyes. It made him look—odd. As if all the pigment in his body were focused at that one point of his body.

“No,” Jesse said. “Are you?”

“No,” Cooper said. “Why aren’t you?”

“You first,” Jesse said. He walked into the kitchen to look for some aspirin.

“My answer won’t be one you’d like,” Cooper said. “Did you reject God because he doesn’t approve of your way of living?”

Jesse pulled out a bottle of over-the-counter pain relievers and popped the cap. He shook out four pills. “Which way of living is that?”

“All of it,” Cooper said. “The premarital sex, excess use of drugs, alcohol, lying with a man, adultery, marking your body with—”

“Whoa kid, that’s a lot of judgment. You just met me.”

“It’s not judgment if I’m simply listing the facts. You have done and will continue to do those things. I am asking if you have forsaken God to free yourself from those rules so you can live a lifestyle that brings you immediate gratification.”

“You don’t know that those are facts.”

“You deny them?” Cooper’s eyes went to the floor. “You lie. To everyone, even yourself.” His eyes shot back up and looked into Jesse’s. Those dark brown, practically black, eyes seemed to look directly into Jesse’s soul.

“Why are you here, tonight? In this house?” Jesse asked.

“I think I’m here to meet you,” Cooper said. “But to answer it in the way you meant, I’m not allowed to be home alone. Nicole had to bring me.”

“And why’s that? Why can’t you be home alone?”

“I have a tendency to not stay where people leave me,” Cooper said.

Jesse couldn’t help but grin. This kid was amusing. Egotistical and fighting a hell of a god complex, but still amusing.

Nicole came into the room, holding Maggie to her chest. The girl was bundled in a coat, her face buried against her mother. Ben came after, holding a backpack with a Hello Kitty symbol on it. A little blue bunny’s ears were visible under Maggie’s blond locks.

“We’re leaving,” Nicole said. “Cooper, take the bag.”

“The roads have gotten icier,” Cooper said. “It’s not safe. We should wait.”

Nicole aimed her daggers at Cooper. “I’m the adult, Cooper, and I say we are leaving. Take the bag and get in the car.”

Cooper rose and took the bag from Ben. “For the record, Jesse,” Cooper said. “I don’t view the things you do as sins. And you should forgive yourself, for Angie.”

A chill ran up Jesse’s spine. How the hell did the kid know about Angie?

“Sorry. He does that,” Nicole said. She freed an arm and pushed Cooper toward the door.

“He should start a psychic show. He’d be good,” Jesse said.

 

About the Author

Nina Schluntz is a native to rural Nebraska. In her youth, she often wrote short stories to entertain her friends. Those ideas evolved into the novels she creates today.

Her husband continues to ensure her stories maintain a touch of realism as she delves into the science fiction and fantasy realm. And their three cats are always willing to stay up late to provide inspiration. 

You can find Nina on Goodreads, Facebook, and Twitter.

Her blog, mizner13.wordpress.com, has updates on any current or upcoming novels, plus her thoughts on her most recent reads and movie viewings. 

 

Author Links

Blog/Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter: @Mizner13 

 

 

Giveaway

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a $10 Amazon Gift Card.

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New Release – The Beast of Bodmin Moor by Zakarrie C #giveaway #free

RELEASE BLITZ

Book Title:  The Beast of Bodmin Moor

Author: Zakarrie C

Release Date:  April 8, 2020

Genre/s:  Supernatural M/M Romance 

Trope/s: Shapeshifters

Themes: Self-acceptance, unconditional love

Heat Rating:  4 flames      

Length: 110,000 words

It is a standalone story.

Add on Goodreads

 

Buy Links – Available on Kindle Unlimited

FREE FOR FIVE DAYS from April 12 – 16 

Amazon US  |    Amazon UK 

 

 

 

Can one man’s battle to be himself win another’s war with himself?

Blurb

Two years ago Jake McCain encountered a compelling stranger at the Glastonbury festival. Two days later his life, as he knew it, was over. Enter Jack. They have…cohabited ever since. Much to Jack’s despair, Jake has remained dogged in his bid to be the most bloody-minded human a jackal ever had the misfortune to manage.

Phin Finley has embarked on a magical mystery campervan tour of Cornwall. Free to potter about, doing as he pleases for the first time, he wants to prove he can do just fine without having a fatal mishap. Or causing one. Or losing his trusty bicycle clips. Even if he is a tad too…Phinish for most folk’s comfort, his mum’s peace of mind and dad’s constitution.

Theirs is a tale about finding your (happy) place in the world, making (foxy) friends, and the much fabled Beast of Bodmin Moor. 

 

Excerpt

Phin sat atop a craggy crumble of rock, content as can be in his happy place. His very own sliver of heaven. A sacred spot where the twenty-first century had quite forgotten to do charging in like the cavalry, hell-bent on rescuing it from perfection.

Here, Phin could breathe; alone in his tumbledown haven, but never lonely. Loneliness was feeling alone in a room full of people. Phin had never been comfy in company, it was tricky to do concentrating on seeming ‘normal’ to more than one person at a time amidst the siege of too much. Too loud, too bright, too many colours clashing in a cacophony of sound; as if all his senses had been bunged in the washer and switched to spin-cycle. 

All this was so befuddling, Phin found it impossible to do believing big fat fibs on top. They made him too scratchy. He liked facts. Letting his mind waft off to ponder fascinating things stopped Phin from fretting about people. Instead, he was supposed to do paying attention to pretend feelings—to make folk seem kind—when they weren’t. This was not Phin’s best thing. It was an important skill called being sociable

Phin hated feeling like a fraud. Everyone seemed to do concentrating on things he couldn’t care less about; the impression they made on others, how they were ‘seen’. A concern that had nothing to do with donning orange jumpers, which would’ve been an understandable worry. Phin wouldn’t be seen dead in such a detestable colour. That was an idiom, not a fact, as it didn’t make sense in the scheme of things. He would be dead, and ergo, unable to see. Let alone be in any fit state to insist that his corpse wasn’t desecrated by a despicable sweater. 

Nope, Phin was uncomfy in human company, but he did adore animals. He could do trusting them—even predators—they were honest. They never did acting kind before biting your head off. He loved that the animals dotted across the moor were allowed to do roaming fairly free. The cows often pottered across the road and parked up when they fancied a rest or a gaze-about. They didn’t give a stuff, just stood there, staring over their shoulders with mild disinterest if a queue of cars did honking at them. For all the world as if that might persuade them to do shifting their furry butts.

An animal’s love was unconditional. They never, ever, made you feel not good enough. Or aware that you’d let them down when you couldn’t help but be yourself. Phin had known this forever, but the older he got and the more of his dad’s dreams he dashed, the clearer it became. Polarising his family with Phin stuck in the middle like an equatorial embarrassment. His poor mum and elder sister loved him despite himself and defended Phin with lioness finesse. Then did suffering the consequences of dooming his dad to a son who would never do him proud. This while subjecting him to social humiliation horrors that made his younger sister’s hair curl. Her intrepid efforts with an evil contraption that made her smell like a singed cat couldn’t compete with Phin. Apparently.

 

About the Author

When asked what she’d most like to tell her younger writing self, Zakarrie plumped for two snippets of wisdom:

  1. Those dreams that feel too daft to ever believe into being? Hug them to your heart and keep them safe. Some day, somewhere over the rainbow, you might wake up to one so impossible, you’ll suspect you made it up yourself.
  2. You are never going to be the next Enid Blyton. Oddly ’nuff.

 

Social Media Links

Blog/Website   |   Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Pinterest

 

 

Giveaway 

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Shinigami by Xia Xia Lake

REVIEW TOUR

Book Title: Shinigami

Author: Xia Xia Lake

Publisher: Self Published

Release Date:  October 1, 2019  

Genre/s: LGBTQ fantasy, Gay fiction, Historical fiction (it’s NOT MM romance)

Trope/s:  Friends to Lovers

Themes: Mythology; gods; supernatural

Heat Rating: 3 flames

Length: 71 440 words /220 pages 

Add on Goodreads

 

Nothing is what it seems.

Blurb

A coming of age love story between the heir of the richest family in the Land of Yamato and an orphan. The human world meets the yōkai world in a power struggle for the fate of Fujiwara no Hirotsugu. While he battles to find his own path in life, Hirotsugu finds solace in a boy who will first become his secret friend, then his salvation, then, as they become adults together, the love of his life. 

The story is set during the Nara period of ancient Japan and will expand over a period of 25 years (715-740).  

 

Buy Links

Book 1 – Kogitsune.

It’s a 40-page short story and is FREE on Smashwords.

 

Book 2 – Shinigami 

Amazon US  |  Amazon UK 

 

Excerpt

Chapter 1: Kagerō
Kagerō: The quivering appearance of the mist rising from the hot surface of the ground”

On the day Fujiwara no Hirotsugu was born, Mount Kasuga was covered in golden shimmering kagerō rising from the ground to cloak the mountain in mist. The uguisu sang from dusk until dawn, and a crane appeared in the palace garden and didn’t leave for five days.

It was late May, close to the final days of planting the rice. These were the days when finishing the paddy field work was paramount, lest next year’s crops be affected. Yet in celebration of Hirotsugu’s birth, his father, Umakai, sent an order to his bailiff to decree half a day off for all workers. Servants from the palace went down the mountain to offer rice, fish, and sake to the poor in Heijo-kyo.

Gifts poured through the gates for weeks, coming not only from the greatest families living in the land of Yamato, but also from as far away as Silla and Tang. Even the old Empress Genmei, who had no love for the Fujiwara clan, sent Hirotsugu a gift fit for royalty: a sword replica modeled after Kusanagi the Grass Slasher, the sacred imperial heirloom of the Yamato Emperors. Since it was forbidden for anyone except the reigning monarch and the High Priest of the Ise Grand Shrine to lay eyes on the real Kusanagi, no one could actually tell how good the replica was. But neither could they deny that the sword Hirotsugu received was of exceptional workmanship and extraordinary value.

The greatest gift of all came from Hirotsugu’s grandfather, Fujiwara no Fuhito. The leader of the Fujiwara clan made a secret pact with Crown Prince Obito that on the day Hirotsugu turned twenty, he would marry Princess Abe, Prince Obito’s firstborn child.

Upon Hirotsugu’s birth, the Fujiwara clan made great plans for his future, and I watched from my throne of skulls behind the kagerō veil and laughed and laughed and laughed.

 

SPRING

Chapter 2: Uguisu
Uguisu: The Japanese nightingale

In spring, nature was at its most beautiful at dawn, when Amaterasu’s robe touched the hills and dyed them red, and the blooming cherry trees turned a vibrant pink. Hanging from the eaves of every Fujiwara castle were tendrils of purple wisteria, their blooms awakening to welcome the Sun Goddess. The white clouds above resembled boughs of cherry flowers.

When night approached, the birdsong gently shifted from cheerful to forlorn. The uguisu went to sleep in its pot-shaped nest, and the brown-feathered night thrush—recently returned from wintering in Tenjiku—took its place and claimed the night. Now and then, a deer would call and a fawn would answer back.

The day Hirotsugu was born, a young god wandered up and down the high-forested slopes of Mount Kasuga, tired from the day he’d spent blessing the fields and the future harvest. He would have gone home to Mount Kurama in Kibune, but something was amiss with the yōkai living on Kasuga and he’d come to investigate.

At twilight, he found a group of kodama and an old kappa gathered underneath the budding leaves of a giant plum tree, transfixed by its beautiful red blossoms. When he entered the clearing, they were trying to touch the blossoms, but as soon as a hand came close, the tree would raise its branches out of reach.

“Don’t touch it,” the god commanded. His voice was calm, but it came like the snap of a whip and took them out of their reverie. “It’s a ghost tree. It’s not really here.”

The kodama stumbled backward, frightened.

“When did it appear?” the young god asked.

“This morning, Inari-sama,” the kappa answered. “When the baby was born.”

“Baby?” Inari frowned. “Come closer, child, don’t be afraid. Which baby do you speak of?”

 

About the Author 

Xia Xia Lake is an Otaku & Slytherin that used to cosplay at every comic con she attended, until a kid asked if he could take a picture with the “old lady.”

She decided a couple of years ago that she wanted to spend her free time writing stories and partying with vampires.

She lives in Transylvania with her fiancé and is a big fan of Romanian cuisine.

 

Author Links

Blog/Website  |  Twitter  |  Instagram

 Pinterest  |  Goodreads

 

 

Follow the tour and check out the other blog posts and reviews here

Book Blast – The Awakening by A. Drew #supernatural #horror #suspense #paranormal #LGBTbooks

BOOK BLAST

Book Title: The Awakening (Dark Terror Series #2)

Author: A. Drew

Publisher: Drew Publications

Genre/s: supernatural horror, LGBT, suspense, paranormal

Heat Rating: 0 flames  

Length: Approx 30 000 words

Add on Goodreads

Blurb

A near-fatal incident stirs an awakening of an adolescent’s ability to connect with entities from the deep and dark hidden world, that which is beyond our natural awareness. A world of lost souls, both good and bad, all trying to reach out to the boy now that they are aware of his surreal capability. 

Coming to terms with his psychic ability that he neither asked for nor knew how to wield it, he is unwittingly drawn into solving a grisly mystery from beyond the grave. This will become the greatest test of his faith in himself.
Will he survive?

Buy Links

Amazon US

Amazon UK 

Excerpt

On Phil’s fourteenth birthday in 1974… Miserable simply did not describe how he felt. He couldn’t wait to be discharged from the mid-century built community hospital. The building was covered in dark gray walls which had seen better days, cloistered by gardens that struggled to survive. Phil reflected on the state of the hospital and pondered upon whether it matched his own mental state because he was convinced something was seriously wrong with his head since the accident.

He desperately tried to keep his eyes firmly shut, doing his best to relax and with a bit of luck, bring his heart rate down to a respectable level. Praying for the morning to arrive, he beseeched, “Dear God. I’ll never try to impress Jason again …or anyone else for that matter. I’m so sorry that I tried to show off by jumping into the river.”

Tragically, it was this birthday, his fourteenth one, when he nearly drowned after he jumped off the tree. That day would be forever etched in his memory. He trailed along with his friends who hung out with the older kids from school as they cooled off in the river.

Jason who was one of the oldest in the group brought out a long rope from his backpack and deftly tied it around a strong looking branch off a tree as it extended over the river. The dare was simple. Each boy had to swing over the river as far as he could in readiness to release their hold of the rope just before it started to return to the shore.

Phil did his best to hide his attraction towards Jason, after all, if anyone found out that he liked boys, he’d be in deep trouble. As he thought of the consequences for his attraction of other of his own sex, he couldn’t help himself as he gave a furtive glance at the object of his desire.

Jason was considerably taller than Phil and had lustrously dark curly hair. His shoulders were so broad, developed over many years of playing rugby, in fact far more than he should have instead of studying, but he certainly didn’t care. The sports star was the coolest and the most successful player on the field. Even the way he smiled was cool, reminding him of an Elvis Presley impersonator.

While the boys got ready to impress the girls, Phil secretly hoped to gain Jason’s undivided attention. Whoever jumped the farthest in each round, would be rewarded by a kiss from sweet Emily-Lou. She was one of the hot cheerleaders, and it was generally whispered by the boys that she only rewarded tough boys, usually with a kiss on the school grounds. Phil joined the group with only one goal in mind. To be alongside Jason but he didn’t dare let anyone know about it.

Bolstered more by Jason’s gaze on him as he climbed the tree rather than the girls’ attention, from the safety of a thick branch, he held on to the rope with all his might, but something made him freeze. It was pure and simple unadulterated fear. He was so high up on that sinewy tree, perched precariously on the branch. His only savior was the greasy rope, slippery from the countless instances when other children had gripped it firmly before launching themselves off and into the river.

Right now, getting Jason’s attention was no longer was on his priority list, but hearing the taunts from some of the boys shook him up enough to help him take a deep breath. He quickly looked around and noticed Jason and a few of the kids did not take part in the jeering but watched him with some concern.

He wrapped the rope tightly around his hand before shouting bravely, albeit somewhat awkwardly and not feeling very much like the older boys at that moment. In pure fear and with his eyes firmly shut, he jumped, praying that he had swung high enough to release his grip on the rope, effecting a perfect entry into the slow running river rather than slamming into terra firma.

Despite all hopes of swimming majestically in front of his friends after what he thought was a great swing into the river, Phil, in fact, woke up feeling the hard dirt on his back. He wasn’t sure what happened, but the urge to breathe was strong enough for him to push away the frantic hands that prodded over his chest. He felt confused, reeling in pain and completely out of sorts.

His first impulse was to cough and retch while trying to push away a hand that was trying to turn him onto his side. Phil decided to sit up, but darkness quickly enveloped him again, before eventually waking up in the community hospital.

He wasn’t sure how long he had been in the hospital, but Phil seemed to continually repeat cycles of lucidity before lapsing into unconsciousness for the whole time he was there. He didn’t verbalize it, but he wished that all the whisperings stopped around him so he could get some decent sleep.

He wasn’t sure how long it had been, but sometime later when he was fully awake, his gaze was drawn to the familiar sight of his parents who stood before his bed. Their faces said it all, through their deep frowns and pale complexions. This was a worrisome time for them.

His mother tearfully asked as she rushed to his side, “Phil darling, how are you feeling?”

“I’m okay, I think. Not sure what happened though.” He responded, smacking his lips and trying to lubricate his mouth. He was so thirsty. It felt like it had been days since he had a glass of water.

His mother frowned, looking indignant as she sharply responded to him, “What happened? Young man, you nearly drowned! That’s what happened! We told you so many times not to go near the river to swim. That river has many unexpected currents coursing through it! How many times do we need to remind you that many people have tragically died in that river?”

Some things never change. Phil might have nearly died on that occasion, but that still didn’t stop him receiving a lecture from his mother even though he was laying on his hospital bed. Give me a break Mom. I just wanted to impress the others.

What complicates things more was not the shame of being rescued and puking in front of all the kids, particularly Jason, but it was the fact that from the time when he was able to open his eyes, Phil noticed shadows streaming across the walls of his cold room. These shadows seemed to be urgently whispering incoherent words. He couldn’t understand what they were saying, because they all talked over each other, but nevertheless, it was constant chatter.

It was eerie to see them but even more frightening to witness their urgent whispers. Phil had been embarrassed to mention these things to the treating doctor who came to check on him later that afternoon, in case he might have thought Phil was losing his mind. The man spoke like a pompous old schoolmaster, despite his youthful appearance. Phil tried to explain to him about the shadows and their whispers when the man abruptly interrupted him.

About the Author

Lily Lamb aka A. Drew is a Turkish Australian multi-genre indie author. She works as a nurse by day where she feeds her soul by caring for others. At night she tends to her imaginative alter-ego by writing tales involving love, passion, mystery and LGBT romance.

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Twitter: @1LilyLamb

 

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