A horrific car accident, a Celtic ring and destiny, send a young woman on a journey to the past. In a desperate search for her lost sister, she follows the instructions left her in a bank vault from a hundred years ago.
Little did she know the ring would save her life and change it in ways she could never imagine. Does she have the strength to live through her nightmare and find her destiny?
Can she face her sister now that things have changed so drastically? Only time will tell…
Consciousness returned one blurry image at a time. When she wiped her eyes, she saw blood on her hands. King’s whimpering cry and raspy tongue on her face brought it all back. She tried to focus both her eyes and her brain; then it hit her. The car, an accident, she was alive. She’d seen a strange vision, but…
“Blythe!” she shrieked, her voice hoarse already, the pungent smell of burning wires harsh to her senses. Fire! Acrid smoke rapidly filled the car, choking her as it scorched her throat. Frantic, she waved it away, barely able to see.
In abject panic, Lacy looked toward Blythe and gasped. Raw terror overcame her when she saw the extent of her cousin’s injuries. Blythe had hit the dashboard and windshield with her head so hard she cracked it. Tuffs of her hair embedded in the glass around a deeply impacted area. Unconscious, blood streamed from her nose and ears, while it trickled from the corner of her mouth. The entire front of her shirt bloomed crimson. Blythe lay at an odd angle, her body a bit askew, head tilted at an unnatural angle. A shattered thigh bone protruded through the shredded fabric of what had been her slacks. Blythe’s lower limbs were unrecognizable.
Lacy turned to the back seat. Flames engulfed the rear of the car, rapidly heading forward toward the three of them. In the front seat, King huddled as close to her as possible, howling and barking.
“Quiet, King!” she shouted. His loud barks gave way to pathetic whines. “Blythe, wake up, Blythe! We’ll burn to death.” Blythe didn’t respond. Lacy struggled to open her crumpled door to no avail. “Blythe.” She reached past King and touched her to rouse her. A small shot of relief flew through Lacy as Blythe’s eyes fluttered open.
“Lacy, I can’t move. I’m so tired.” Blythe could barely speak.
“No!” Lacy begged her to listen. “We’ll get out, get help, you’ll be all right.” Frantically she tried to move Blythe, to reach past her to her door—if she could only open her door. Flames reached their seats, and Lacy’s hair began to burn. Hysterical, she smacked at her head to stop it.
“I’m tired,” Blythe rasped, “Wanna sleep, so tired…”
“Nooo!” Lacy struggled for breath. She can’t see, she’s blind.
King tried to get to Blythe, but Lacy held him back. The flames began to burn her, but she didn’t appear to suffer at all. Terrified for Blythe, Lacy had no idea what to do.
“Go, Lacy.” Blythe’s breath rattled.
“I won’t leave you, Blythe. Lord, I can’t get my door opened. It’s jammed!” Frantic, she cried and the tears flowed down Lacy’s face. Again and again, she tried to open the door. She beat at it with her fists in a frenzy. The heat of the flames came closer and closer to Lacy, all around, burning. Noxious fumes and thick smoke surrounded them.
“Blythe, I don’t want to die, and I can’t lose you.” Still she tried to pull on her cousin. King screeched in pain. Fire lapped at her own face.
“Put the ring… Lacy…” Blythe’s voice faded.
“I’m not going to let you die. No!” Lacy begged.
“I see it, it’s beautiful. Mom? Is that you?” Blythe’s last words hung in smoke, her eyes lifeless like a porcelain doll, dull, gone.
Lacy looked at King, and despair overtook her. She watched her own skin bubble on her arm, flames seared into her flesh. Why didn’t she feel the pain? She stared at her cousin, and used the last of her strength to pull the golden chain, scorching hot, from her neck.
She sobbed, “Blythe.” Lacy grabbed the dog around his chest, grasped the backpack at her feet, and hooked her hand through its burning armhole. She slipped the ring onto the ring finger of her left hand. Her eyes rolled to the back of her head. She began to lose consciousness. Stowe was a long way from North Hero where her sister expected her to show up.
Oh God, it hurts so much. The searing pain in her face made her wonder if she had any skin left. She hugged King tightly. Lacy’s body tingled, and blackness overtook her as she descended into oblivion.
With her last conscious breath, she whispered, “Keeley, I’m coming.” Before she succumbed to the darkness, her blood burned through her veins. Bright blinding light surrounded her. She blacked out.
~ * ~
So cold—oh so cold, and pain, horrible pain. Her head and face burned while her feet and hands froze. How odd her body seemed, so tired, so weak. This dream couldn’t be real. A trip, the lodge… the car, she’d been in the car. It really happened!
Opening her eyes became sheer torture. They’d swollen and made it almost impossible to see. After a bit, her vision cleared enough to distinguish things around her. Snow fell gently. It touched her lashes and turned them white and frosty. I can’t feel a thing.
Lying on the ground wasn’t good for a person. What am I doing here?
Then it hit her. Blythe! Her brain screamed what her voice could not. An accident, their car went over a cliff. Blythe had died and there’d be no bringing her back.
Lacy’s slim grasp of reality left her confused. Blythe could not be dead.
Her face, something wasn’t right with her face. Bare hands touched her head, and she screamed. Part of her hair was gone. She looked at her hand and saw blood mixed with long strands of half-burned auburn curls.
King! Her heart pounded as she reached out for him. Her right arm burned painfully; she cringed when she saw it. Lacy used her unburned arm to feel for King.
He kissed her with a wet, warm tongue. She looked at him and recoiled at the singed fur and burns on one side of his once glistening coat. He whimpered, but stood and licked her face.
“Go for help, King. Go get help.”
Her faithful dog pleased with his eyes and whined in anguish as she told him to go.
“Go King, I’ll be okay, go boy. Good dog. Go! Get help…” Her eyes fluttered, and she heard him whimper. She had to be sure he understood before she passed out.
With one last whine and hesitation, King turned to her. With the last of her strength, she waved him to leave and he limped off. She watched him go, looking to save her, looking for help, looking…
Darkness settled upon her pain-laced mind.