About the Book:
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.
Title: Of Dreams and Shadow
Author: D.S. McKnight
Publisher: Stone Bay Press
Genre: Young Adult Paranormal
Purchase Links: Amazon
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 be special.
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 girl stood.
“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 fluttered by.
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 the wagon.
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 gift.
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 dropped it?”
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 to run.
“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.
D.S. McKnight has enjoyed a varied career—from working as a radio DJ on a small AM station to serving as president and co-owner of a marina, until Hurricane Ophelia took aim at the Carolina coast. Currently, she works at an insurance agency as well as hosting her blog - Novel Notions.
It is her love of the North Carolina coast that fueled her desire to write. Of Dreams and Shadow: Forget Me Not (book 1) is her first novel.
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Grab your flashlight, crucifix, and blanket. The beginning is creepy and freaked me out a little. We've already established that I am a chicken. I doubt that I'll be forgetting this book anytime soon.
Of Dreams and Shadow was like the little engine that could. The engine wanted to climb the hill, and the book was trying to be a paranormal but not quite. It just had a sprinkle of the supernatural vibe. Mostly it was your typical YA book but more.
There were teenagers, a spooky shadow, a shiny necklace, mystery and suspense in this book. I seen most of the surprises coming a mile away but I enjoyed this read none the less.
If you like somewhat spooky YA stories, you should give this one a go.
It was different and D.S. Mcknight does slightly creepy really well. ;-) I would read more of her books, creepy or not. As luck would have it, this was only the first book in this series. That means there will be more books to come!
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