For the Darkly fans who have been waiting patiently…

For the Darkly fans who have been waiting patiently…

and so it begins…



 Unencumbered by conscience, fear, or the burden of feeling, something moved in the place that sat upon the hill overlooking the village of Cranby. The light near the edge of the wood felt more enticing of late and while he knew he should stay clear of the fringes, the draw sometimes felt almost impossible to resist.

Some things never change and for this particular creature of the wood, there was no memory of things ever being any different than they were on that particular, fateful day. But things were different and change was coming.  If he could have been able to think back, then it might have seemed more familiar.  He might have recognised the signs but he didn’t remember.  Change like this had come before and the last time it had been devastating.

Cranby was nestled below the wood, separated by the meadow and the small stream that acted as invisible barriers. The reputation of Darkly Wood was as old as the wood itself, but bizarrely that didn’t stop the curious or the ignorant, from tripping along its borders.  It should have stopped its next visitor but it didn’t.

She sat cross-legged on the grass a slip of a girl, dainty and almost elegant, smoking a cigarette with one hand, holding a book in the other.

“We shouldn’t be up here.”

The accusing tone, was as unattractive as most of his other character traits. Charles Colson Callous bore a mouthful of a name, but everyone simply called him Charlie.  He had a whole host of flaws but that was the point as far as Holly was concerned.  Her mother hated Charlie so for now, he was perfect.

“Shut up Charlie you’re such a whinger sometimes.”

Charlie looked down at Holly sitting on the grass. She was the most beautiful thing he had ever seen and she could pretty much get away with saying what she wanted.  Holly flicked her cigarette away and leaned back on her elbows.  She looked up at Charlie.

“Why don’t you go home to your mother Charlie, I’m going on with or without you.” She quite suddenly scrambled to her feet and stood facing the befuddled boy.

“What’s the point of you anyway?” It was an unnecessary unkindness.

She turned and tramped up the soft incline of the meadow toward the edge of Darkly Wood and Charlie watched her go. She was mean, sometimes too mean.

“Wait, I’m coming with you.”

Holly ignored his needy plea and kept up her pace, forcing Charlie to run to catch up. When he did, she didn’t even offer him an acknowledgement that she noticed. He walked, more followed really, about a pace behind.  She finally stopped as they reached the first tree at the edge of the forest and opened her little book.  Charlie knew she was looking for something specific in the book and he stood next to her, as if he was reading over her shoulder.  In truth, he was looking at the profile of her face.  Her hair had loose, mousey curls that no matter how she tried to tie it, always seemed to fall across the side of her face.  She twinkled to Charlie.

“What?” She stared right at him. “Why are you looking at me?”

“You’re…you…” He wanted to tell her that she was pretty but he was afraid. It didn’t matter because Holly had already turned her attention back to the book.

“It’s somewhere up this end of the wood.” She pointed to their left. “Well come on if you’re coming.”

The sun was high in the sky and it was a beautiful July day, but at the edge of the wood the air felt cooler. Something stirred within and while Holly was oblivious, Charlie glanced furtively into the shadows.  He didn’t like this place.  Like everyone in Cranby, he knew the stories and while they always seemed a little far-fetched, Charlie believed there was something not right about Darkly Wood.

The thing that stirred, that almost caught his attention, had indeed been drawn towards the edge of the wood. There was someone out there that called to him.  It had been a long time since he had felt the warmth of companionship and quite suddenly, there was a very strange sense of déjà vu that led him away from the comfort of his lair.

He rubbed his head, sniffed the air and there it was, something familiar, something old. A smile crossed his lips.  It was a broad happy grin but it was more than that.  It was a wicked smile and those that knew the tales of Darkly Wood, those that feared that place for believing them, would never have dared to tempt fate like Holly did on that particular  July morning.

But Holly was not like the others in Cranby. She was far too new and fresh to the village to have been frightened by its folklore.  She was a courageous girl with the soul of an anarchist and the heart of a warrior.  The one thing that she lacked, as her mother constantly reminded her, was respect.   As she led Charlie up along the edge of Darkly Wood in search of the ruins of Darkly Mansion, her lack of respect was about to land Holly Coppertop in a great deal of trouble. …..

… Patience is a virtue… soon the journey continues…

…Why Not read the original while you wait…


Patience is a virtue… soon the journey continues…

Why Not read the original while you wait…


Max Power’s books include, Darkly Wood, Larry Flynn Bad Blood and Little Big Boy

You can find more details about Max Power’s books here : –


twitter @maxpowerbooks1

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Read free previews here;

Little Big Boy

Darkly Wood

Larry Flynn

Bad Blood

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