by Sarah Kleck
Publication date: November 1st 2015
Genres: Paranormal, Romance, Young Adult
“Can you be happy when what you desire most means your doom?”
Evelyn Lakewood, an orphan, is crushed after the death of her beloved sister Zara. But the nineteen-year old enrolls in Psychology at Oxford in honor of Zara.
There, Evelyn first becomes friends with vivacious Sally and seemingly charming Felix. But the encounter with Jared Calmburry, whose incredibly blue eyes immediately captivate her, fundamentally changes her life. She is instantly drawn to this mysterious stranger around whom unusual things happen and who simply disappears every time Evelyn tries to confront him about his puzzling behavior. After finding a mysterious book with a unique symbol on its leather cover in the university library, her curiosity is perked. She doesn’t know what to make of it but Jared’s best friend Colin Sullivan encourages her with cryptic hints to continue her search for evidence. When she discovers the same medieval symbol is worn by hostile professor Karen Mayflower and engraved on another faculty member’s seal ring, she realizes that an ancient secret surrounds Jared.
An endless stream of mourners followed the brown wooden coffin borne by six men in dark uniforms to the top of the hill. I trudged along through thick fall leaves behind the coffin. It was unseasonably cold for late October, and my frozen hands fiercely clutched the white lilacs she loved so much. It hadn’t been easy to get the lilacs at this time of year, but it was a small comfort for me to be able to offer her favorite flowers to her one last time.
I continued on, despite not feeling my legs beneath me as they carried me forward. When the six men abruptly halted, I stumbled. A deep, black hole gaped at my feet. As I looked down into it, I began to shake, not because of the biting cold but because of the feeling of helplessness that overwhelmed me. I no longer felt my body, and almost had the sensation of floating over myself, watching from above as they lowered the coffin into the black earth. Despair gripped me, took possession of every fiber of my being, and forced me back into my tormented body. A searing pain shot through my chest, making me cough. A bloodcurdling cry rang out in the distance and made every one of my hairs stand on end.
That’s her voice!
Where is she? I must go to her!
Turning, I looked for help but realized from the looks on the pitying faces of those in attendance that I was the one who had screamed.
A terrible, dull emptiness engulfed me and would not release me.
I bowed down with my last ounce of strength and placed the white lilacs on the coffin in which my sister would sleep forever.
Almost three months later. I opened my eyes and read the inscription on the rounded tombstone:
WONDERFUL HUMAN BEING
I wiped the tears and snowflakes from my face and concentrated on why I had returned here. I had not come back since the funeral—I probably wouldn’t have survived if I’d come any sooner. But now the weight in the inside pocket of my black coat reminded me I wanted to tell my sister that something had happened. I pulled the heavy letter out and looked it over. It was addressed to Evelyn Francis Kathrin Lakewood.
Careful not to trample the flowers still decorating the grave under a thin crust of ice, I placed the envelope on the stone and took a step back.
“I was accepted by Oxford—what do you say to that?”
After completing my A levels, we had started searching for a good university for me, and, at Zara’s urging, I had applied for psychology at Christ Church in Oxford—though I did not give myself much of a chance and I had no idea how I’d pay for it. As it happened, I’d just been offered admission to the Hilary term in January because some fool had dropped out after the first trimester, and my name was apparently at the top of the waiting list. I wanted Zara to be proud of me. I owed everything to her . . .
When our parents died in a car accident when I was little, Zara fought like a lioness to gain custody of me—and she won.
She saw to it that we stayed together and I wouldn’t have to go to a foster family. Since our parents left us almost nothing, Zara got a job in addition to her training duties. It was my responsibility to focus on school and do the chores. She usually came home after midnight from her shift at the restaurant, leaving again for her classroom at the police academy a few hours later. Zara had barely turned eighteen, only to be burdened with a household and a seven-year-old schoolgirl. She had looked after me for the past twelve years as if I were her own child, not just her little sister. She had seen to it that the bills were paid, there was food on the table, and I always had clean clothes. She never let it show when we were broke again, and whenever I needed money for a school trip or something she only said, “I’ll figure it out, don’t worry.” Somehow she always found a way.
When I cried at night, she took me in her arms and comforted me until I fell asleep again. She was my mother, father, friend, and sister all in one, depending on what I needed at the time.
She was the best person I’d ever known. I still loved her above all else. I missed her so much it almost killed me.
Sarah Kleck, born in 1984, studied Education, Psychology and Sociology at the University of Augsburg.
Currently, she’s working as a human resources officer and lives with her husband and a newborn in Germany near Lake Constance.
“The Concealed” is her first novel