Memes & Features, Past Giveaways, The Indie Spotlight

The Indie Spotlight: Short Story and Giveaway with KaSonndra Leigh

[image_border img=”http://empyreanedge.com/wp-content/uploads/character-med.png” /]
 
 
 
 

Welcome back everyone to the final day of The Indie Spotlight. It’s been a wonderful, wonderful week of awesome posts and great interviews, hilarious characters and exclusive first looks. I really hope everyone enjoyed reading the posts as much as we did putting them together. Now it’s time to wrap up KaSonndra’s Indie Spotlight appearance with something extra special. Today it’s my pleasure to share with you guys a fascinating short story written by KaSonndra titled, Nikolai. Nikolai is an eerie story set in the Dark Seraphine universe.
[image_border img=”http://empyreanedge.com/wp-content/uploads/indie-spotlight-586×293-3.png” pos=”right”/]
 
As you might have guessed, we couldn’t end this spectacular week without an EPIC GIVEAWAY. If you have missed any of the clues or don’t remember the prizes, everything is recapped for you below!
 
Thank you everyone for participating…

 

 

 

 

 
[gap /]
[image_border img=”http://empyreanedge.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/black-divider.gif” /]
 

Nikolai

A Story of the Dark Seraphine

By KaSonndra Leigh

 

 

 

Endless trees stretched along the highway: silent, black, and blurring by the minute. On the other side of the trees, swamplands led to Lake Pontchartrain up ahead. The trees resembled brown giants lurking in the shadows of nighttime’s foggy embrace Nikolai thought. Leaf rot and mold odors that were hundreds of years old drifted into his nostrils as he drove onward. He focused on the yellow line in front of his car, his eyelids heavy from all the celebrating earlier in the day. The canary-colored line dividing the road lent the final touch to the lake’s hypnotic spell. Nikolai’s mind reeled from the past thirty-six hour’s events. Deep inside his soul he knew that ignoring his mother’s warning could end with his demise.

But betraying the woman he loved wasn’t an option. She wanted to return to her home in New Orleans.

Nikolai had risked so much over the past seven years for Alese Broussard. He’d given up the daily hunting trips with the mates. The ones he used as an excuse to hide his secret life as an assassin. He’d even turned his womanizing ways around. No longer lost in the grips of the mind’s madness, trying to find his way back onto a path he couldn’t see.

He gave up Sunday nights at Sergey’s house where he drank White Russian’s until nausea jolted him awake the next morning. Alcohol couldn’t remove the images of the faces haunting his mind—his victims. No. Liquid in a bottle couldn’t do that. But the love of the woman sitting beside him: his mate, his soul, his reason for living…well, time would be the telling grace.

They belonged to each other now.

Nikolai glanced over at her face, peaceful like a sleeping child. At his insistence, she still wore the wedding dress, white and pure. Her eyelids fluttered, highlighting her perfect face. She moaned, relaxed, and held her head so still, as if dreaming might create a wrinkle on it somehow. Waves of honey brown hair, dark and highlighted by the silver moonlight, cascaded down her shoulders, framing her face in soft curves. She slept like a baby.

But she’d no idea about the secrets trailing the man she’d just vowed to love until death did its part. Hadn’t seen the flask tucked inside the suitcase sitting in the trunk—the one labeled his and her things. He stared at her a long moment before returning his attention to the empty road ahead. The effects from drinking at the wedding party settled onto his eyelids like weights. Eyelids drooping, he had just enough time to refocus on the green and white guide sign indicating he’d almost reached Highway 10, which was actually a bridge running across the middle of the lake.

And then the air around him changed.

It wasn’t just a deeper chill creeping on to his skin like ice razors. Not just stronger odors: smells of rot, ashes, decay. But the smell of dead things filled the air.

The yellow line blurred.

His eyelids drooped again.

New Orleans felt like a place on the other side of the world at that moment.

He raised his head just before the lady in white appeared inside the misted fog. She strolled across the street about forty feet ahead of the car. Nikolai stretched his eyes, opened them wide enough to focus on her. She had appeared from nowhere. Impossible. Mist surrounded the old woman’s silhouette, a glowing mist.

Nikolai slammed on the brakes, jerking his wheel to the right. It was too late. Upon impact, her body bumped up on the hood and rolled off the left side and down to the ground, making a sound like potatoes dumped from a sack. But that wasn’t his only worry. He saw the tree—an oak wide enough to hide a shed—before the impact. The car skidded, slammed into the brown trunk, and jolted to a stop, slamming Nikolai’s head against the steering wheel so that white lights flashed across his eyes. Pain surged through his forehead and he kept still for the longest time.

For some insane reason, he thought about how much he’d changed over the years. An accident like this during his days in the Special Forces days would’ve been given little thought. He was a hard soldier, emotionless, perfect for the job. But now, he was afraid to breathe while thinking he’d be responsible for yet another death, another soul meeting him with judgmental eyes in the spirit world. This time, it was the woman he loved.

Panic ripped into his chest, his heart racing. Nikolai glanced over at his wife. Chin touching her chest, she seemed to be asleep. He placed two fingers on her neck, checked her pulse. A strong thud met his fingers. She was alive and he had to get her out before the car exploded. Forcing his door open, he slowly stepped out of the car.

“What will you do now? I’ll make it right, that’s what I’ll do because I am no longer that person. I am not a murderer,” Nikolai said. He walked to the front of the car like a baby exploring his first steps.

The area was silent, empty, and illuminated under a strange, silvery moonlight.

And there was no old woman’s body crumpled and broken like Nikolai thought he’d see.

“But you are a murderer aren’t cha?” a high-pitched, cracking voice said from behind Nikolai’s back. He spun around.

An old woman stood about fifteen feet away from him. Dressed in what looked like peasant clothes from the eighteenth century, she hunched over and clutched a beaded sequin bag as if it might fall apart if she released it. Her hair was tied in a scarf and her clothes were old and mix-matched, red and blue plaids like she’d been transported from another era. Her clothes and appearance reminded him very much of a Creole priestess from a time long gone. But the most unnerving part about her appearance was her body. There were no scars on it. She was no longer glowing so brightly, but the light surrounding her was still there.

“What the hell?” Nikolai inched back toward his open car door, chills creeping down his spine.

“Shhhhh,” the old woman said, placing a wrinkled finger over her lips. “You gon’ end up wakin’ somebody you don’ wanna see yet.”

“Shush your mouth, crazy old woman. Get away from me,” he said. She hobbled closer to Nikolai who took another step backward, reaching for the car door, and feeling only empty air.

Then he glanced behind him.

Trees along the roadside had vanished, the giant oak gone. They’d been replaced by a dark void that was empty, black, and growling. What was that noise? And where did Alese go? He thrashed around in the air, trying to grasp something, anything that could help him get back down to his wife.

Nikolai questioned his sanity, or maybe his insanity. He glanced at his hands. His fingers appeared to be made of smoke. The car was gone. Vanished. His lovely new bride was gone too. And that terrible growling noise echoed all around him.

His body lowered a few feet, but he still floated in the air like he was a phantom of the night. Then he moved forward, drifting just over the old woman’s head. A smile spread across her wrinkled face. A wicked one as though it was carved by a knife.

“The Dark Seraphine watches you, boy. She knows what you did to those people. She knows everythin’. Time for you to pay now,” the old woman said in a stronger voice this time. She closed her eyes, waved a hand over her head in a rhythmic motion, and hummed a tune that sounded very much like Amazing Grace.

Nikolai’s body thudded to the ground. At once the trees and highway reappeared. Only now he stood outside the car back on the driver’s side, his tuxedo tattered. The car’s engine hissed and sizzled and smoke curled into the air. The bumper and hood were crumpled against the oak tree like a jealous lover’s eager lips.

Behind the car, suitcases labeled “his and her” lay wide open, the contents scattered across the area behind the car. The impact had forced the trunk open, leaving a trail of past memories, teasing with glimpses of the future ones he’d planned with his new wife.

And the silver flask lay in the road, glistening in the moonlight, still full of Nikolai’s favorite alcoholic drink.

Then he heard the sobbing.

Was Alese hurt? He’d checked her pulse earlier and she seemed fine. She’d forgiven him the last time for his past life and even the drinking. He hated himself and hoped to find her waiting on the other side of the car. He’d never drink again if she turned out to be all right. He dashed over to the passenger side, afraid to breathe. “Thank the gods, you’re all right.”

But what Nikolai saw brought him to his knees.

His wife was alive; the trails of her white dress flowed over the dirt around her as she sat crouched on the ground.

Alese cradled a body in her arms. A body with his face: bloody, motionless, broken, and staring into the afterlife. Her guttural wails filled the air as though she was growling from her pain.

She held Nikolai’s lifeless body. He died in the accident.

It was too late for apologies now, too late to tell her the secret. He opened his mouth to speak and reached out with his ghostly hand. But his voice was silent as though demons stole his tongue.
 
[image_border img=”http://empyreanedge.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/black-divider.gif” /]
[gap /]
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

~Giveaway Time~

[image_border img=”http://empyreanedge.com/wp-content/uploads/giveaways-300×200.jpg” /]
 

This Week’s Clues to Help You Uncover The Dark Seraphine:

1)      I am not the one who goes by the alias of alpha-omega
2) The letter L
3) Chela read my letter to Faris in chapter 20
4) The letter K
5) You have already been given my full name

 

 

Contest Rules:
  1. Chose your Region and fill out the appropriate Rafflecopter Widget for your Location
  2.  This contest is open INTERNATIONALLY!
  3.    There will be 2 Winners
  4.    You do not have to be a member to participate
  5.     Please do not leave email addresses in the comments
  6.     Winners will have 48 hours to respond to email before another winner is chosen

 

 

Prizes:

A)   US Winner:  Signed Paperback Copy,
Bookmark, $25.00 Gift Card from Amazon or B&N
B)   International Winner: eBook, $25.00 (USD
only) Gift Card from Amazon or B&N

 

 


a Rafflecopter giveaway


a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[gap /]
This Weeks Indie Spotlight Posts:
[list_posts show=”4076,4129,4144,4168″ /]

 

 

 

[gap /]