Part 3 Revisions are coming along fabulously! Though this might be in part due to the fact we took a break from traveling. There’s just something about writing from your usual nook that inspires creativity. Also I’ve been reading, lots and lots of lovely reading. Looking forward to sharing more New Silver Hollow with you! Also, would love to hear what you think ❤
Amie paused three doors down exactly and found herself at the end of the hall, facing a tall, shadowed tapestry. She turned to find a closed door, almost completely covered in greenery. After reaching through, she managed to find and twist the handle.
Glancing back down the way she came, Amie put more force to the door, even leaned her shoulder to the old wood. It wouldn’t budge.
Pressing her forehead against the door, she groaned, “Come on, open.”
She barely kept back a yelp as the wood instantly gave way, then stumbled into the musty room.
She tripped over something in the middle of the floor and caught her fall on the end of a small girl’s bed. When she removed her hand from the gray wood, the imprint of her fingers gleamed white in moonlight. A thick layer of dust coated everything and unlike the rest of the house, no gaps in the roof let nature past the door. What branches remained lining the walls were blackened and lifeless and the sight of that struck her deepest. A heavy stillness pressed around her, clustered forgotten air unstirred for who knows how long.
All color seemed to have been drained from the curtains and rug, from the tapestries and painted walls behind. Dim medieval scenes of knights and ladies fighting dragons that might have been wondrous only looked sad and lonely now. Wooden toys littered the floor, of the finest make, and a shaft of light from the window cast over the center of the room upon the object Amie had tripped over.
She bent to pick up what she thought to be a wooden sword and yelped as the thin blade bit her palm, dropping it with a faint ting. “What kind of people would give a child a sword?”
Yet she smiled when she wrapped her fingers around the cobalt hilt and gave the blade a swish. A sweet hum broke through the stillness and when she blinked, the room changed.
Dust peeled away with gusts of cool wind and fresh sunlight filled every nook and cranny with life. Colors exploded, deepest blues and hidden yellows amid rich greens on the walls and printed bedding. Gauzy bluebell and goldenrod patterned curtains blew brushed against her outstretched hands and silver flowers blossomed with puffs of sweet honeysuckle in the air. A child’s laughter echoed from the apple orchard below, followed by an older man’s.
Amie blinked again and the magic faded with a wink. All color was leeched from the ghost child’s room, painted in tones of gray. The flowers were dead, the curtains in moth-eaten tatters and the glass window firmly latched. It had been a trick, a glamour.
Amie dropped the sword as though stung a second time. She released a sob and sank onto the bedside as the feeling of loss and loneliness rose like a violent wave. Until now, she followed her gut and Arthur’s instructions to this room, but didn’t think of it belonging to her. Before it had just been a distant dream. But now she knew she wanted the sweet happiness of this room’s past. All she had left was fragments of memory thanks to the spell Father cast.
“You might look to the secret drawer in your old bedroom,” Arthur’s words seemed to whisper to her out of the darkness. Amie looked to the small dresser and wardrobe beside it. As though compelled by some other force, she crossed to the slim gap between furniture. With careful fingers, she felt along the back panel of the wardrobe until she found an uneven edge in the wood. At first the slab refused to budge. Amie pulled with a grunt, startled as it came loose. Papers and dried flowers came tumbling free. She caught two small leather bound books and cursed as the rest of the drawer’s contents spilled onto the floor.
“So much for Seelie reflexes,” she grumbled as she gathered her find and came to sit by the window.
After spreading out the papers, Amie tried to read the girl’s heavy, loopy cursive. It didn’t help the language was the same old script as the books from her bookshelf in Wenderdowne. The more she read, however, the more her eyes became accustomed, like muscle memory.
“I dreamed of the gate again. Mother does not like it when I dream, but Grandpapa says he likes my stories. He likes to tell me stories too…”
Little pencil sketches accompanied much of the entries of what appeared to be a diary. Unlike the silly stories she was expecting, the girl wrote of ancient wars against dragons and kings ensnared by magic. Before long Amie fell into the rhythm
The latter entries of the were penned with a surer hand.
“Many believe the Vale is a land far away, but I know it is closer than they know. There are seven gates. I remember one from within a great castle far away. A castle of beasts and roses. And the gate is like a mirror.”
Amie shivered at the mention of mirrors and beasts. She leaned back against the wall and turned the page.
“The dreams are worse. I keep seeing a lake and something is waiting at the bottom. I know I need to go there, even though I am afraid. I am not afraid of drowning, but I fear this. In my dream I know what waits for me at the bottom, but I always forget when I wake.
The rest of the page was dedicated to a sketch of a lake at the pit of mountains, surrounded by standing stones.
“I keep seeing his eyes before I wake up. At first I feared this man but now I’m not. I don’t think he wants to hurt me. I am afraid to tell Mother. Maybe Father will understand?”
Amie turned the page and saw Emrys’ eyes drawn at the middle with surprising skill. Dabs of colored ink had been added to show varying colors in their depths.
Amie shut the book and threw it down on top of the pile as her skin broke out in a cold sweat. The back of her neck prickled with raw energy and she clenched her fists to keep the force at bay. “It’s just a dream…it’s not real.” She repeated this like a mantra until her blood cooled, curling into a ball and clenching her eyes shut until she saw nothing but darkness.
to be continued…
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Jennifer Silverwood was raised deep in the heart of Texas and has been spinning yarns a mile high since childhood. In her spare time she reads and writes and tries to sustain her wanderlust, whether it’s the Carpathian Mountains in Transylvania, the highlands of Ecuador or a road trip to the next town. Always on the lookout for her next adventure, in print or reality, she dreams of one day proving to the masses that everything really is better in Texas. She is the author of the Heaven’s Edge series, Stay and Silver Hollow.