We are sharing entries from our second-annual Literary Lovers Mash-Up Writing Contest — which offered you the chance to combine two romantic heroics from different books. We’ve been featuring all of the qualifying stories over the last few days, but now we’ve come to the last one! Find all of the stories here. Thanks to everyone who sent in stories — check your mail for Novel Novice bookmarks soon!
Our last story comes from Gretchen V. and features Mattie Ross from the novel True Grit and Jasper Whitlock from The Twilight Saga:
The rifle swung from behind my back into my hand within seconds. With the cock of the gun, the grave robber climbed — or rather, jumped — nearly flew, really, out of the hole.
“Who are you that dares to defile the dead?! By the Grace of God, I will dispense justice with my rifle. Tell me why I should not put a bullet through your forehead forth with!”
From underneath the broad-brimmed hat, there was a sigh of, “Because it would not matter, ma’am.”
The man removed his hat and bowed. “My apologies, ma’am. I meant no disrespect to the dead. I was merely in need of a burial for my two — companions.”
I at once understood his regret, even though at what I did not know. The rifle slipped down my open fingers and dropped to the ground.
“I see you grieve for the good Marshall. I was a Major in the C.S.A. myself: Major Jasper Whitlock.”
With that declaration he looked me square in the eyes. I could not draw a breath! His eyes were like deep pools of blood. It was impossible that he could have been a veteran as he did not look a day past 20. My breath came in ragged bursts and my fingers began to tingle. Then I began to calm through some force outside myself and I could not run as I knew I should. My feet were as tree roots seeking water and a thirst that I had never indulged before burned through my veins. Nevertheless, I began to sway but was uprighted within seconds. The angel’s face was inches from mine and the smell of the devil’s breath was like a June meadow.
“I must take my leave but I should like to know your name before I do.”
My instinct was to tell him to go back to the fiery pits he came from but I knew I could not — would not — refuse him anything.
“Mattie Ross,” I whispered.
I yearned for him to touch me — just once — before he departed. The Major raised his hand and lightly stroked along my jawbone. I closed my eyes and leaned into his palm which was as smooth as the marble headstone. His fingers traced down my neck, across my collarbone and lightly down to the stump of my right arm.
As his lips found my neck, I sighed and murmured: “If I be wicked woe unto me. I am full of confusion; therefore see thou mine affliction.”
His mouth moved to my ear and in his honeyed voice whispered: “Goodbye sweet, sad Mattie. ‘I shall not return, even though I go to the land of darkness and the shadow of death.’ ”
Cold lips pressed lightly against mine and then Major Jasper Whitlock was gone, as if a feather carried away by the wind.
“…and where the light is as darkness,” I uttered to the moon.