Font Size:  

“Yes, sir.” It was obvious the man wanted to go help the king, but there wasn’t any extra room. He obeyed Tristan.

They all teetered on the edge. Jennifer’s stomach dropped as she glanced back and glimpsed the darkness, insanity, and rage in William’s gaze.

“Dad,” she cautioned, chills pricking at her skin.

William shoved her dad. Henry clung to the other man’s arm, and they both lost their footing. For a long, drawn-out moment, they both teetered on the brink of losing their balance. But their momentum could not be stopped, and they slid over the cliff’s edge.

Jennifer and Aliya screamed in horror as Curt and Tristan both cried out, “Henry!”

King Nolan grabbed on to her dad’s free hand. William whipped out over the chasm, hanging on to Henry and screaming in high-pitched cries that echoed in the vastness below.

The king clung to a tree root, but he and her dad both slipped closer to the precipice.

Tristan and Curt scrambled back up the incline. The guards edged around Jennifer and Aliya to help. Jennifer was frozen with horror.

“Dad!” She didn’t know what to do to keep all three men from falling.

Tristan reached them first. He grabbed on to a solid tree limb with one hand and grasped her dad’s belt with the other. Her heart raced out of control as she prayed desperately for all of them to survive. Even William.

“Please, good Lord above. Please, please, please,” Aliya murmured next to her.

Curt reached them, lodged one of his hands into a crevice of rock, and lowered himself closer to Henry and William. He was an expert rock climber, but even Curt would be dead if he went over that cliff face.

The guards edged closer, reaching out but unable to get close enough without pushing Curt and Tristan over the edge. One guard was able to hold on to Curt’s arm and hopefully give him some sort of anchor if his hand pulled free of where he’d wedged it.

“William,” Curt said. “Reach out for me as Henry swings you toward me.”

William’s dark gaze that had been so malevolent was now full of terror. That Curt would risk his life to save this man was admirable and horrifying at the same time.

“Please, Lord,” Aliya muttered. “Please.”

Jennifer prayed desperately in her mind.

William nodded. He reached out his free hand as he clung to Henry with the other. Henry tried to swing toward Curt. The king and Tristan attempted to help the swinging motion of her dad’s body.

William’s grasp on her dad’s arm slipped. He screamed. Her dad released his grip on the king and tried to grab William with his other hand. Tristan clung to her dad’s belt as her dad was swung violently upside down, his only anchor Tristan’s grasp on him.

Her dad missed, and William slid out of his grasp. William screamed as he slammed into the cliff wall, then spiraled into the chasm below.

Jennifer and Aliya both cried out in horror. It looked like her dad would follow, and Tristan as well if he didn’t let him go.

Curt grabbed on to her dad and yanked him in. Her dad clung to Curt’s arm with both hands. The guard released his grip on Curt and clamped on to her dad as well.

“We’ve got him, T,” Curt said. “Let him go.”

Jennifer’s heart was in her throat as she clasped her hands together and prayed desperately that Curt really did have her dad.

Tristan slowly released him and lay back against the mountain. Curt and the guard helped her dad onto the trail. Nobody moved or spoke. Except for Aliya. The only sound was their heavy breathing and Aliya’s unsteady whispers, “Thank you, Jesus. Thank you, Father above. Thank you to all the saints and angels and Queen Anne especially. Thank you, thank you, thank you.”

“I tried to hold on,” her dad said, his voice weary and defeated.

“You did all you could to save him,” the king said. “This is not your fault, Henry. This came about from William’s choices. Let him and the pain go.”

Jennifer’s heart lurched again as she studied her dad. A sob wrenched from his throat and tears traced down his face. William was dead and her dad was free. It was over.

Or would be when they somehow rescued her mum. And somehow let go of all this pain. It heaped on her just like her dad’s sob, full of agony, regret, and despair.

Would things ever be set right again? Could Tristan forgive as easily as the king had? They loved each other but her mum and dad being responsible for his mum’s death and then hiding it for so long was horrific. How could she heal this new rift between them?

Articles you may like