Young Chronicles, Book 1
When your worst nightmare follows you into the day.
A dark shadow had haunted Taya’s dreams over the years.
But her nightmares became all too real when triggered by a family tragedy, and the Darkness pursued her into the day. Only catching glimpses in the corner of her eye, along with a constant pressure behind her skull, and a whisper of someone that wasn’t there.
Taya knew something was terribly wrong. What she didn’t know was the legacy of her bloodline and the life it would thrust her into.
Darkness Looms is a contemporary fantasy and book one in the Young Chronicles Trilogy. What is the shadow that follows Taya? Will she accept her legacy and take her place in this new life? Filled with unexpected turns, emotional turmoil, and tender moments. You will only put the book down to wipe the tears from your eyes.
OTHER BOOKS IN THE YOUNG CHRONICLES TRILOGY
READ AN EXCERPT
The drive to Taya’s parent’s home was like Schrodinger’s Cat: it was both joyous and devastating at the same time, but Taya wouldn’t know which was the truth until they got there. She watched the houses zip past through the passenger window and listened to the radio.
“Now for the number one song of the week,” the radio announcer said, and a second later “Raspberry Beret” started.
Taya and Tory locked eyes for a moment and smiled. When the lyrics kicked in they sang along with Prince with great gusto. The uneasiness of the morning slowly flowed away and the joy she always felt when she was with Tory filled her once again.
They pulled up to her parent’s home twenty minutes later and there were already several cars in the driveway and on the street.
“Your brothers must already be here,” Tory said.
Taya nodded. “Looks like.” With a sigh she opened her door and climbed out. She went to grab the food from the back seat but Tory beat her to it. He cradled the salad bowl like a baby in one arm and put the other around her shoulders. They followed the noise of the people around the back of the house.
“Did you start the party without us?” Taya shouted as her family came into view.
“Of course not, darling.” Her mother hugged her then Tory skilfully relieving him of his load. “Why don’t you help me with the rest of the food inside,” her mother said. “Tim, start the grill,” she called to Taya’s father.
“What, no hug for your old man before going inside?” he called as he struggled to get to his feet.
Taya rushed to him and hugged him so tight she felt him strain for a breath. “Dad why don’t you sit, Billy can handle the grill,” she said as she released him.
“That sounds like a great idea.” He put an unsteady hand on her shoulder, and Taya nodded at her second brother, Jeff, to help him back to his seat. Her dad smiled and coughed several times as Jeff helped him sit. Taya admired the man, he was always so strong and independent, but when the cancer had hit, he wanted to show that his illness wasn’t a weakness and accepting help wasn’t shameful.
Once their dad was settled, Jeff stood, gave her a warm embrace, and whispered in her ear, “Stop looking at him like that. He doesn’t need to see your fear.”
They pulled apart and Taya cleared her throat. “You’re right I’m sorry,” she whispered back.
“What are the two of you going on about?” her father said.
“Nothing, I’m just telling Jeff how stupid his hair looks cut like that.”
“Hey! Johnny Depp wears his hair like this,” he said reaching up and gently patting at it.
“Yeah, but you’re no Johnny Depp,” Trent, the youngest son, shouted from across the lawn.
Taya smiled wide, “No you’re more of a”-she pointed at Trent-“who was that guy from The Breakfast Club?” She snapped her fingers trying to recall the name.
“Judd Nelson?” Jeff said smiling. “You think I look like Judd—”
“Anthony Michael Hall!” The yard erupted in laughter. “You’re definitely an Anthony Michael Hall.”
“Ha-ha, you’re so funny. Don’t you have some vegetables to chop?”
Taya laughed. She was still smiling when she entered the kitchen where her mom and two of her sisters-in-law were prepping food.
“You shouldn’t pick on Jeff like that,” her mother scolded.
“You heard that, did ya?”
Her mother pursed her lips. “You three always pick on Jeffy.”
“Oh, Mom, stop. The man is forty-three years old. If he can’t handle a little ribbing...”
Her mother gave her side eye.
“Fine, I won’t pick on little Jeffy anymore...today.” Taya and her mother shared a laugh and Stephanie and Claire joined in.
The jovial environment continued while the two in-laws regaled them with stories of their children and their escapades. Taya did her best to put on a happy face; she didn’t want to bring the room down with her news of not being able to have children. It was the longest half hour of her life until they finally picked up the food and took it outside.
Stephanie handed the plate of meat to her husband Billy standing at the barbecue. He promptly threw everything on the grill. Taya sat next to Tory at the picnic table while the others grabbed lawn and patio chairs dispersed around the patio. A half dozen children were running around the yard screaming and laughing. Two of Taya’s uncles had arrived while she was inside, so she greeted them warmly before taking a seat. Her cousins, all much older with their own families, weren’t coming.
“It’s so strange,” Tory said.
“What is?” Tim asked.
“Out of your three boys, two had children, all boys. There are six boys and no girls. Not one girl.” He took a sip of beer then glanced around at Taya, her two uncles, and her dad. “Come to think of it”—he pointed his bottle at Taya— “you don’t have any girl cousins, either. Huh, you’re the only girl in your entire family going back at least two generations.”
Taya hadn’t thought about it much now that she was older. It would have been nice to have another girl around, but it was just a fact of life that she was always the only girl in the group of cousins when they took vacations together. She looked up at her Uncle James, her father’s youngest brother, the man who was like a second father to her and noticed the two men sharing a look. She was about to say something when a voice boomed from the gate.
“Well, hello, Young family!” A large blond man with muscles practically bursting out of his shirt, stood with his arms in the air, each hand holding a six pack.
“Uncle Liam,” the kids shouted and rushed the mountain of a man.
His smile could not be wider, and he laughed with the joviality of Santa himself.
“Liam,” James said, “we didn’t know you were coming today.”
“What? I wouldn’t miss celebrating the recovery of my best friend.”
There was a short lull of awkward silence from her father that made Taya’s heart sink. Taya’s mother took the six packs from Liam, but not before he snatched one. He slid next to Taya on the picnic table bench and wrapped an arm around her, squeezing her so tight she thought she was going to snap in two.
“How’s my favourite warrior princess?” He beamed at her.
“Can’t breathe,” she said.
“Oh right, sorry. I keep forgetting you aren’t invincible.” He smiled and laughed with a wink at her Uncle James that didn’t go unnoticed.
Taya glanced at him. “What’s funny?”
“Just call her She-Ra!”
Her brothers joined in.
“Okay, pipe down, Mr. Hall.” Taya shook her head and smiled while Jeff’s disappeared as his hand reached for his hair again.
When the laughter died down, Liam asked, “So what were we discussing?”
Tory said, “Well, I was just taking notice that Taya is the only girl in the last two generations.”
“Actually, Taya is the first female in the Young bloodline in the last three generations. Taya had a great-great cousin who was a girl. Before her was, well, only one generation.” Liam took a long swig from his beer.
“Really?” Tory said. “That’s fascinating. You sure know a lot about their family given you’re not actually related.”
Liam suppressed a burp and said, “I’m a bit of a history buff when it comes to the Young family.”
“Really?” Tory leaned past Taya to get a better look at Liam. “Why’s that?”
“Where is that food?” James cut the questions short. “I’m starving!”
The conversation turned to lighter things as they ate. They chatted about sports, movies, and television. Taya couldn’t help notice the glares her father and uncle were directing at Liam. The tension seemed rather high and she didn’t think it was because of the test results.
“Did anyone else notice the Peterson’s house was up for sale?” Jeff asked the crowd.
“Whatever happened to Donnie anyway?” Billy asked. “He used to be so much fun; he’d come over and play soccer with us. Do you remember that, Taya?”
“Yeah, he was a real hoot,” she said her smile slipping.
Liam cleared his throat and Taya shifted uncomfortably in her seat. She glanced at her dad, hoping for some assistance.
He instantly understood her silent plea. “He just up and took off one day. Nobody knows what happened to him.”
“Got what he deser—” Liam started but was cut off by James.
“Does anyone want another beer?”
Taya shifted again in her seat, thankful her father and uncle stepped in. “Liam it’s good to see you again.” She needed to change the topic. “It feels like it’s been ages. I think the last time we really saw each other was at my college graduation. What have you been up to?”
“It’s good to be seen,” he said with a smile, reaching for another hamburger bun.
“Out gallivanting the country no doubt,” Tim said.
Taya noticed a tightness in her father’s smile. It was a little off, but she brushed it away and grabbed a couple beers from the cooler. She sat back down and slid the extra beer across to Liam as he took a large bite from his burger.
The conversational banter returned, with them going back and forth about the latest sports game. Meanwhile, Taya studied the man who had been a part of her life for as long as she could remember.
He must have sensed her staring because he looked up from his burger. “Wha?” he asked through the food.
“I’m just thinking what a lucky man you are.”
The conversation stopped as the others listened in.
“Why’s that?” he said with a slight laugh.
“You never seem to age. What’s your secret?”
He met her eyes and a chill went down her spine, not a bad chill, but one that told her that something was about to change.
“Immortality,” he said after a few seconds.
Tim spit and choked on his drink and James cleared his throat.
Taya looked at her father as his face went red. “You all right, Dad?”
Taya’s mother rushed to his side and rubbed his back.
“I’m fine, just went down the wrong tube, is all.” He cleared his throat, and she spotted that tight smile again.
“Remember, Dad, lungs are for breathing, not drinking.” The group chuckled once they were certain their father was all right. “So”—she turned her attention back to Liam—“this immortality, were you born with it?” She smiled playfully. Liam was always coming up with strange tales.
“Really? How would one know if they were immortal? I think I would enjoy being around for a few centuries.” Taya let out a playful laugh.
“Well...” He swallowed his bite, put his burger down, picked up his beer and took a long pull. “You’re the only current female in the Young blood—”
“Okay,” James’s voice boomed through the backyard, “I think old Liam here was drinking before he got to our little gathering. Weren’t you, old boy?”
There’s that tight smile again but this time on Uncle James, thought Taya.
“Perhaps we should call him a cab and get him home,” James said. “It’s getting a bit late.”
“Uncle, it’s only seven.”
Her father stood and came around the table to stand behind Liam. Liam swallowed the remainder of his food and cleared his throat. “Perhaps you’re right. I am a bit tired.” He smiled at Taya and bid everyone a good night.
“James, why don’t you help me here with ol’ Liam,” her father said.
James jumped to his feet and rushed to help their father escort Liam from the backyard through the house.
“You need some help, Dad?” Billy asked rising from his chair.
“No, we’ve got this, son.”
Billy sat back down next to Stephanie, who was rocking the youngest of their boys, Rowan, to sleep. Taya leaned on the table and sipped her beer.
“That Liam is a strange one, isn’t he?” Tory said.
“Yeah. He used to tell us these wild stories when we were kids. Immortal warriors fighting for mankind. Monsters that hid in the dark.” She and her brothers all shared a knowing laugh. “I should go say goodbye.” She put her beer down and went into the house.
She heard the three men whispering, and there was a great deal of tension.
“You’ve gone too far this time, Liam,” Tim said.
“Look, the Elders sense it, many of the Guardians feel it. She was born two generations early,” Liam said. “Stan has been beside himself of late, insisting he can feel her.”
Taya eased herself closer to the men, making sure to stay hidden behind the wall separating the kitchen from the front foyer.
“He’s always been able to feel her, from the day she was born.”
“Naw, it’s different, Tim. It’s like Destiny has woken him, telling us the Alpha is on her way. He can pinpoint her now, feel her emotions.”
“She’s aged out, you said so yourself,” James said.
“The Darkness doesn’t care that she’s aged out, and Destiny hasn’t chosen another. Taya is the one,” Liam pushed back.
“So, what are we supposed to do? Tell her?”
“We wait. It won’t be much longer. That’s all we can do. It doesn’t matter that she’s forty. It’s coming, and so’s her time.” Liam’s voice was so definite no one else said another word. Taya heard the front door open then close.
“What do we do?” her uncle asked.
She heard her father sigh. “Nothing, just like when she was born and the Elders came. There is nothing we can do but wait.”
Taya heard footsteps coming her way and she scrambled to get out to the backyard before her father and uncle spotted her. What were they talking about? It had to be about me; I’m the only girl. Who are the Elders? What does Liam feel coming? Who or what are the Guardians? And who is Stan?
Taya jumped when her father came up behind her. “You all right?” his laugh was light, but forced.
“I came in to say goodbye. I take it Liam is gone now?”
Her father put an arm around her. “Yup.”
The two stood and looked out at the yard and the family.
Her father sighed again. “Okay, it’s time.”
Taya looked up at the man who had raised her. He was everything to her. He looked into her eyes, and she realized, in that instant, her life as she knew it was over.