There is no future without the past.
Lola is in limbo, unable to forget the night she lost her daughter. With her cabin left in shambles. She spends the winter with Dr. Graham and his wife, Dona, to find peace in the ordinary things of life.
Everyone in town knows it was Jeremy who found Lola in the forest. But ever since he brought her back to Leavenworth, he can’t help but feel protective. Now his ex-fiancé is back, and she hasn’t called it quits to get him back.
But the fight is not over. Trouble soon returns as Lola’s worst fear comes to light. She must return to the Okanogan-Wenatchee forest or forfeit her soul.
The Black Wings series by order:
Volume 1: The Birth
Volume 2: The Conflict
Black Wings books coming soon.
The Hunted Prince
Volume 3: The Deceit
Lola wanted to scream. She pushed for it, wrapping her trembling fingers around her throat. Only air came out, not a word, not even a vowel came from her lips. She gripped the sanitized bedsheets and glared at the ivory-colored walls. Though she was no longer in the forest, her mind could not leave from it. She was sinking into it like she was inside a jar of molasses. She couldn’t escape the indigo-eyed crow and his flock that left her with gashes that still throbbed. But there was no comparison to what they did to her daughter. Lola rose from her pillow, hearing the wails of her newborn in the room. She felt she had grown insane, but the cries were crystal clear. It came from every angle in the room. She looked under the sheets, her hand tapped and smoothed the mattress, hoping to feel a tiny body. She then abandoned her bed and fell to her knees. Her legs couldn’t carry her weight, exhausted from the miles she waddled through the forest.
Gripping the IV stand, she picked herself up. Her knees trembled, finding she could not straighten her spine. She hunched as if gravity wanted to snap her in half. Each foot wobbled in front of the other. She left her dim room where the lights in the hallway gleamed at her. It taunted her for not being there when the fog covered the dark Okanogan-Wenatchee forest.
The nurses who supervised the recovery floor rolled out of their seats. They reminded Lola she was in no condition to go for a stroll. But she staggered towards the exit, showing the nurses her intention. She flung her arms at the ones that grabbed her. Hoping to reason with them, she gave them soundless phrases in hopes they could read her lips, but not a sound did not come out. The nurses locked their arms with her own, escorting her and the IV stand back. Lola pressed her heels against the floor. She needed to answer her daughter’s call. Her cries still rang in her mind, but the nurses could not hear the crying infant. For her safety, they dragged her the rest of the way. One consoled her, promising everything was all right.
A patient who just left his room pressed his back against the wall, watching his neighbor attempt to wiggle herself out. She struggled until they pinned her to her bed, allowing the head nurse to sink a needle into her forearm.
“This will take away the anxiety,” he promised.
Lola stared at the uneasy ones until the drugs kick in. Her thoughts felt like distorted shapes.
“What’s her story?” The head nurse said to his team. They warned him about the patient’s behavior the moment the ambulance rolled her inside.
“They found her in the forest.” The nurse leaned towards his ear. “Her placenta was out.”
“And her newborn?”
“There was nothing to claim.” Their eyes watched Lola’s strength slowly fade. “Only she knows.”
The doctor gave Lola a few days before she could see a visitor. She sat nicely on her bed when she was told Detective Lydia was coming in. She was a woman in her forties, her black hair was in a ponytail, her dress shirt was a dark grey, her slacks were black.
“I was assigned to your case,” the detective noted down the bandages on Lola’s face. She knew of the stitches but wasn’t expecting to see she had also received a gash above her brow. “Tell me what you remember.”
But Lola stared at her.
“You can start from the beginning.”
Not a year ago, Lola was shy of making eye contact. Now she locked them at Lydia’s brown eyes.
Lydia was asked to be gentle and not trigger any reactions out of their patient, but she needed answers. She took out her notepad and pen and placed it beside Lola’s breakfast tray. She took them and flung them across the room.
“Perhaps it’s too early,” said Lydia, who picked up the items from the floor. “I was told you will be discharged today. Where will you be staying?”
Lola couldn’t hold her stare any longer. She dropped them to the floor, not knowing of the release. How could they let her go when there was no one to contact, and her phone was lost to the forest. A knock robbed Lydia of saying more. A nurse smiled at the detective and told her Lola had another visitor.
“That’s fine,” Lydia placed her notebook and pen back in her satchel. “I was just leaving.” When she walked out, she greeted the voice in the hallway and left it open.
The voice replying to the detective was deep, yet she did not know who it was. Lola threw the blanket over her face. Her heart thumped under the sheets as a pair of feet echoed to the foot of her bed. It was easy for her to believe it was her husband, looming over her, ready to pull his pocketknife.
“I can see you moving,” the voice said.
It wasn’t a slur, and no insults were followed by the observation. Lola moved the sheet away, seeing the plaid shirt fixed her worries. Dr. Graham took his glasses off and rubbed them with a satin cloth he kept in his pocket. The familiarity made her sit up. His damp coat was taken off when he entered, now it hung under his arm. Tell me I was wrong, Lola implored in her mind. She waited for him to say, “I told you so,” but Dr. Graham did not.
The door opened discretely, giving Lola only the backside of the person who closed it. He wore a brown jacket, black jeans, and a grey baseball hat. As he turned around, he smiled at her and joined his father at the foot of Lola’s bed.
“We’re here to pick you up,” Jeremy’s eyes moved to Lola’s bandage, it was the same gash her other visitor stared at. “That detective told us you were not interested in cooperating.” He and his father knew Lola was unable to speak.
“Recovering should be the main focus.” Dr. Graham put his wiped glasses back. “We’re here to take you to my home.”
You don’t have to do this for me, Lola answered in her mind. Just leave me be.
Like Lydia, Dr. Graham asked her to nod to confirm that her ears at least work, but Lola wouldn’t. She feared if she responded, questions would follow. The November wind had been howling at the trees all morning. She gazed at them, realizing she couldn’t measure time in the hospital. How many days has it been since she arrived? Her eyes flinched when a black bird descended from the clouds. Lola couldn’t shriek, but she forced her arms back and pulled away. She fell off her bed, slamming against the ground. The bird was unmistakably a crow. Lola trembled, kicking the bedsheets that tangled over her. Have they come to finish me?
Dr. Graham rushed to the window, looking out to the gloomy buildings dampened by the rainy weather. “There’s nothing out there.”
Jeremy sank to his knees and placed his hand over Lola’s cheek. “They’re dead.” He moved it so she could face him. His hazel gaze observed tear-stained eyes. “They were all dead when I found you.” A tear reached his thumb, so he wiped it and helped her back to her bed.
“She’s afraid of crows?” muddled Dr. Graham.
Jeremy covered the shaken Lola and told his father they could talk about it another time. “Let’s take her home.”