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Rebecca L. Fearnley

The Nowhere Chronicles Starter Bundle: A Dark Fantasy Adventure Series

The Nowhere Chronicles Starter Bundle: A Dark Fantasy Adventure Series

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The scariest monsters are the ones you create yourself.

Annie faces a choice: stay and die under the hand of her tyrannical father, or take a chance through the gate at the bottom of her garden. The gate her father always keeps locked. The gate that leads to another world.

But what Annie finds on the other side of the gate may be far more dangerous than the home she just left.

Because something stalks Annie through the strange forests. Something that preys on Annie's darkness.

And Annie is full of darkness.

Leap through the portal into the astonishing world of Nowhere with this starter bundle, including the prequel novella, a short story, and the first full-length book in the series! You save 20% when you buy these books as a bundle rather than as individual items.

Get to know Annie, Sheb, and the gang as they explore strange worlds, battle terrifying monsters and solve supernatural mysteries.

* ebooks are delivered by email through BOOKFUNNEL. Please make sure to provide an email address at checkout. If you do not receive an email from bookfunnel 10 minutes after purchase, please check your spam folder before contacting us for support.

NOTE: The ebook version of Doorway to Nowhere is also a free gift for subscribers to my readers' club.

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Read the First Chapter of 'The Shadow and the Scream'!

Trigger Warning

This book contains references to domestic violence from the start. If you find this causes you undue stress, please stop reading and seek help.

You matter, and your recovery matters.

Chapter One

Two Murderers

Of all the ridiculous animals that live in Nowhere, owl-squirrels are the worst. I’ve dealt with giant lightning-snakes, ridden howler horses, even returned a frightened gremlin to its shadow. I escaped a town of vengeful drunks in my home world, and I killed to get away from my old life.

But I ain’t ever dealt with a beastie as painful as this owl-squirrel.

Bartok is eight inches high when he’s really trying, purple and blue with little ear tufts that stand to attention on top of his round head. His cream belly fur quivers with rage and he thumps his rabbit feet, lashing his mottled grey-brown wings. His squirrel tail flicks with agitation, and he turns those tawny eyes on me. Glaring.

Clamped in his sharp beak is a tiny, six-legged lizard. Still alive. It struggles but Bartok won’t let it go. Every time I reach for his beak, he lets out a hellish screech that makes the scarlet-leafed trees above me quiver. Through the multi-colored canopy of the forest, the red-and-indigo sky roils with poisonous green clouds. A storm’s coming. I ain’t having a lizard running around our cavern home while Bartok chases it about. I grit my teeth, reaching for the lizard again. Bartok growls.

“Let. It. Go,” I say. Bartok flicks his tail and does no such thing.

Beside me, Sheb wrings his hands like an anxious old woman. “He’s not going to release it, Annie,” he fusses. “He’ll eat it. Oh, I can’t watch!”

He smacks his hands over his eyes. I sigh.

“Sheb, I kinda need your help, here.”

Gently, I pull his hands down and look into those grey eyes. Eyes that have saved me from my own darkness enough times. We’re a team, Sheb and me. We’d both been through several hells before we even met, and then we went through more hells together. It’s been five years since I left my home world in an explosion of rage and violence, passing through a portal at the end of my dead Daddy’s garden. On the other side was Nowhere, a world between worlds. A place of bleeding mushrooms and thunderous birds and trees that eat you. Here, I found Sheb.

It’s weird to think how we were just kids when we met. I was seventeen, blood-soaked, lonely and furious. Sheb was a year older. Gangly and awkward, grubby as anything. You could barely see his pale skin beneath the grime, and his dark hair hung in tangles. But that was five years ago. He’s become a man, now. Still grubby. Not like there are many places to bathe in Nowhere. But when he smiles, his whole face lights up. His eyes sparkle. And, though he’s got monsters in his past, same as me, he can’t bear to see anything suffer.

Not like me. I’m more like my father than I care to think about, both inside and out. Scorch-black hair hanging in shoulder length curls around a face I know is always scowling. Skin that stays deathly white even after months in the sun. Eyes the color of ash that carry too many memories.

But when I see myself reflected in Sheb’s eyes, I know he sees me differently. I’m safe with him, safe in Nowhere. Away from people who could hurt me. Away from people I might hurt, if I’m not careful.

Sheb gulps and casts a nervous glance towards the lizard in Bartok’s beak.

“But it’s so small,” he protests. “What if I hurt it?”

I raise an eyebrow at him. “What you reckon’s gonna happen if you don’t get it outta his mouth?” I drawl.

Sheb opens his mouth, closes it again, and nods.

“Fair point.”

He reaches towards the thrashing lizard. Bartok’s eyes narrow. Sheb pulls his hands back, throwing them up in frustration.

“It’s no use!”

Holy Oak, give me strength! I close my eyes for a moment, feel a flare of that familiar anger in my core. Somewhere—I don’t know where—I feel an answering flare. A greedy thrill. It’s me, but not me. A pull from my center to something dark and dangerous, something lurking in the forest. Something just waiting for me to lose control.

Yes, Annie, it says. Anger. Rage. Destroy—

I cut it off, forcing myself to relax. I won’t give in. Won’t submit to the violent thing that feeds off it. Not now. Not ever. I resist the urge to suggest we just let Bartok eat the damn lizard. It’s natural for him to hunt small critters, ain’t it? But I know what Sheb’ll say. How Bartok gets fed enough at home. How he doesn’t need to hurt innocent creatures and oh! How Sheb can’t bear to watch the poor thing suffer. I ain’t having that argument again.

“Ok,” I say, calm as you like. “Here’s what we do. You hold Bartok. He trusts you best. Hold him nice and steady. Try covering his eyes. I’ll get the lizard.”

Sheb blinks, swallows, then nods. “Right,” he says. “Let’s try again.”

Bartok looks from Sheb to me and back again, eyes full of suspicion. He lets out a questioning hoot. Sheb, as always, tries appealing to his better nature.

“Come on, Bartok,” he says. “Let it go. You’ll hurt it.”

But, as I’ve long suspected, Bartok doesn’t have a better nature. He screeches and flares his wings, making a break for the canopy where we can’t reach him. He almost makes it, too, only I’m fast. I grab one of his rabbit feet as he flaps overhead. He shrieks, beak opening wide, and the lizard drops into my lap. I cover it with one hand and let go of Bartok’s leg.

He clicks his beak, yelling at the top of his lungs. He swoops at my head and I duck, huddling over the lizard. Bartok screams as he heads towards the nearest tree branch. He fluffs his fur and fixes me with those big, accusing eyes. I sigh. He’ll be in a sulk with me until the end of next week. By then, I’ll probably have wrestled at least six more lizards from his greedy beak.

I open my hands to look at the lizard I’ve just rescued. It’s sat perfectly still on my palm. Relieved, probably. Amazed it’s still alive. It flicks out a lurid, green tongue then fixes me with strange, orange eyes.

“You’re welcome,” I say.

The lizard streaks off into the leaf litter, disappearing before I can blink. I dust myself off, realizing I’ve got brown and grey feathers stuck in my hair. Sheb helps me untangle them.

“That was marvelous, Annie,” he says. I never did get why Sheb talks so posh. He escaped to Nowhere three years before I arrived and, even after all that time, and though he’s grubby as anything, he could pass for royalty with that accent. Weird.

I shrug. “It’s nothing,” I grumble. “Anyway, Bartok gets fed enough of our leftovers. He don’t need to eat lizards.”

Sheb pulls the last feather from my hair. “That’s what I mean,” he says, beaming. “You’re a natural at this.”

I raise an eyebrow. “At what?”

“Helping people.”

Oh, here we go. We’ve been having this argument for years and Sheb won’t let it go, not since the lightning-struck tree at the top of the bank turned out to be a portal into other worlds. Not since my mother—who I lost, then found—lost herself again by disappearing through the portal without saying goodbye. He forgets why we both ended up here, the terrible things we did to escape our pasts. He forgets that I brought something with me through the portal. A monster that fed off my rage, pulled at my hatred, and almost killed us both. But that’s ages ago now. That’s under control.

Sort of.

I roll my eyes and say nothing, hoping he’ll change the subject. He doesn’t.

“I heard more voices from the other side of the portal, this morning.”

“Hmm,” I grumble, glaring at him. Sheb is undeterred.

“Some of them sounded really frightened, Annie. Really desperate.”

“Good for them.” I brush the last feathers out of my hair. Sheb’s eyes soften.

“You don’t mean that,” he says. “We could help them, Annie. We could go through the portal and—”

“No!”

I ain’t having this. Not again. We have this argument at least once a week and every time, it leaves me shaken and afraid. I don’t know what Sheb reckons we’ll be able to achieve out there, in the worlds beyond Nowhere. The real worlds, where the seasons don’t change in time to our emotions, where the mushrooms don’t weep when I do, when the trees don’t sparkle with laughter when I’m overwhelmed with joy. I’ve long reckoned Nowhere isn’t a complete world. It's an in-between place. A crossroads, where other worlds meet. And it’s the safest place for me and Sheb. Like we’d bring any good to the worlds beyond, anyway.

Like we—a pair of outcast murderers—could make any difference that anyone might like. So, I keep saying no. No, Sheb, we’re safer here. And other people are safer if we’re here, too.

But he keeps asking. It’s like the echo of human pain makes him hurt, too.

I clench my fists, so hard my nails bite into my palms.

I can’t leave Nowhere. Not when the memories of how I fought to get here still haunt me. Like Sheb, I come from a world beyond Nowhere, a world that would have killed me if I’d stayed. I still hear the townsfolk yelling for my blood. The mayor, half-delirious with drink, ordering them to kill me. I smell the burning as they set the house on fire. I see my father’s eyes bulging in their sockets, his blood vessels straining against his temples, the froth at his lips as he realized he was dying. And he looked at me and knew exactly who to blame.

“Annie?”

I snap back to myself, realizing I’ve been muttering under my breath. Sweat prickles on my forehead. I fight to control my breathing. Pain sears across my back, along the mottled scar that stretches from one shoulder all the way down to the opposite hip. A scar I’ve had since I was a kid. Sheb touches my wrist.

“Tell me something you see,” he says gently. It’s a thing we have. A ritual.

I blink, look around. Look up. “Leaves,” I croak. My throat’s dry. “Red leaves on the trees.”

“Something you hear,” Sheb says.

“Water,” I say, calming. “The stream at the bottom of the bank …”

We go through things one by one. What I smell, what I feel. Gradually, the memories of that day fade, and I’m here again. Safe. Home.

Sheb stands and helps me to my feet. He watches me carefully.

“You ok?”

I wrench my hand free of his. I love Sheb dearly but he does ask some stupid questions sometimes. I am obviously not ok.

“’Course,” I growl. “But I know what you’re gonna ask and the answer is no.”

Sheb sighs. “Annie—”

I round on him. I can’t help it. “Back off!” I snarl. I bare my teeth like an animal. My anger flares and I feel the pulse of that dark power. That thing connected to it.

Sheb steps back, but his face remains impassive. Above us, Bartok yells a warning. There’s a flutter of feathers and he’s on Sheb’s shoulder, those tawny eyes fixed on me.

Immediately, the anger is gone and that deep, familiar guilt settles in me. This ain’t Sheb’s fault. He’s my friend. My family. It’s just he’s the only one here and when my anger takes hold like that, he gets the force of it.

“I’m sorry,” I mutter, glaring at my feet. “It’s just I can’t—”

“You can, Annie,” Sheb says gently. “You’re just scared—”

“’Course I’m scared!” I yell. Tears sting my eyes and I feel stupid. Childish. He’s supposed to get it. He’s meant to understand.

“We ain’t leaving Nowhere, Sheb,” I say. “It’s dangerous.”

Sheb reaches for me. “We’ll protect each other, Annie,” he says. “I’ll have your back and—”

I push him away. “I don’t mean it’s dangerous for us,” I say. “I mean for them. The things we’ve done, Sheb. You and me. We killed people. We’re murderers. What use are two murderers gonna be to anyone needing help?”

Sheb says nothing, but I see pain shining in his eyes. I hate that I’ve hurt him. I clamp my mouth shut and look away.

“We did what we had to, Annie,” Sheb says quietly.

I don’t reply. Not straight away. I can’t. The fury builds in me again. Not rage at Sheb, but at the universe. At what it dealt us. At how my Dad’s rage got beat into me. At how no-one ever helped until it was too late. At how I did what I had to and what I had to do was terrible. It ain’t fair. That darkness tugs at me again.

That’s it, Annie, it says. I feel it grinning. Feel it’s greed. In my mind comes the image of a little black snake, hiding in the grass. A green tongue flickers from its mouth. Vestigial wings—blood red—flex on its back. Scarlet lightning flashes in its eyes.

Let go, it says. Give in.

But I won’t.

“I’m gonna look for Wriggler,” I mutter. Sheb’s face falls.

“Annie—”

“I need to find him,” I insist. “I can’t—I dunno what he’s up to. I’ll see you back at home.”

I march into the forest before Sheb can say another word. Bartok screeches after me but I don’t look back. My vision blurs and I wipe away angry tears. Feeling a coward. A fool.

The trees bend to me as I pass, snaking vines reach for my face. Years ago, I’d have slapped them away. Now, I know they’re not aggressive. They brush my cheeks, my shoulders, my hands. They’re reminding me I belong here. They’re wrong. Truth is, I don’t belong anywhere. Nowhere.

Overhead, there’s a buzz-and-rumble of strange thunder. The red-and-indigo sky thickens with poisonous green clouds. A storm’s coming, probably caused by my stupid outburst. Bizarre creatures skitter through the undergrowth, seeking shelter. Even the mushrooms—oozing viscous red fluid—shuffle tighter into the shadows.

It starts to rain. I wince as scarlet droplets sting my face. Sheb’ll be heading home. Back to the cave beneath the Soother Tree, where we spent five years building a life.

But I can’t go back yet. The anger pulls me. When I close my eyes, in the darkness behind my eyelids, I see a monstrous mouth open, spreading into a white-fanged smile.

Annie …

I thought I had it under control. But I don’t. If I go through the portal, Wriggler will come with me. And I know what that means. I know what he can become. What I can become.

And I don’t want to kill anyone else.

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Customer Reviews

Based on 13 reviews
77%
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23%
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M
Monica
Intriguing story, complex characters and unique world-building

A great starter bundle for an amazing and captivating dark fantasy series!

The story is intriguing and original, and the world-building is truly unique. Imagine Wonderland, but darker and full of perils. In Nowhere, trees grab you, mushrooms bleed poison, and creatures haunt you in the dark. Yet, it’s also a place of wonder and friendship.

A reluctant heroine who fights monsters both in the dark and within herself. Lovely side characters, both human and non-human, along with terrifying and devious villains, make the narrative complex and compelling.

This series addresses important themes such as abuse and loss, and their effects on a child. It depicts a deep, yet challenging journey of acceptance and growth.

I really enjoyed reading these books and I can't wait to read the next one in the series!

This series is suitable for both adult and young readers. However, it may be triggering for some, so don't forget to check content warnings before reading.

Y
Yves
Unique!

The whole thing is great and I think the whole story is unique. I find it very dark though (starting from the novellas) and the storytelling is great.

I like the characters so much specially Wriggler. I think he's a very interesting kind. Overall, this book is amazing!

D
Debbie Eyre
Such an incredible series!

Door to Nowhere
This is Annie’s story and it’s a little dark, a little grey and it’s pulls you in hook, line and sinker as we discover how and why Annie made it to Nowhere. With creative and descriptive world building, the author pulls you in as Annie who has been abandoned by one parent and abused and beaten by another finds refuge in a secret place that doesn’t turn out as she remembers it from when she was a child. Nowhere is a place full of monsters, full of danger and full of nightmares but for Annie it’s also got hope and a wonderful friend in Sheb and his owl-squirrel. It’s one hell of a read as we see Annie struggle to overcome the darkness and all that she has suffered and it is gripping and enthralling and I am definitely going to read more!
Darkling thief
This incredible novella bridges between the door to nowhere and the shadow and the scream and OMG it is so good! We find Annie, Sheb and Bartok in Nowhere as their exciting and thrilling journey of self discovery continues. Full of mystery and intrigue as a dark shadow emerges and they must work out how to send it back from where it came from. There are lessons to be learnt in this dark and captivating fantasy read and was a fantastic addition to this series!
The Shadow and the Scream
Book one in the Nowhere chronicles and it is a fantastic introduction to this incredible world. Annie is terrified of her dark magic and so is hidden away in a realm called Nowhere. One day her world comes crashing down around her as a girl falls into Nowhere with stories of a monster that is killing people and asks for help. It’s a fantastic read filled with mystery, suspense, betrayal, friendship and a little romance as we follow Annie through the portal. Amazing world building, an exciting, dark and thrilling supernatural storyline, there’s humour, there’s sass and there’s twists and turns to keep you spinning and I loved it. Can’t wait for book two!

R
Rachel W
Cannot wait to continue!

I cannot thank Rebecca Fearnley enough for sending me these 3 books! The Nowhere Chronicles is a YA Dark Fantasy series where we deep dive into dealing with the aftermath of abuse and how rage can quite literally become a monster of its own, along with the guilt that comes with lashing out at those that care about you.

The world is fascinating, the characters are loveable and complex. I'm so excited to continue the series 🥰

Doorway to Nowhere 4/5 ⭐ (Novella)
The Darkling Thief 3.5/5 ⭐ (Novella)
The Shadow and the Scream 4.5/5 ⭐

M
Mark Woodley
A captivating read.

A Riveting Journey into the Enchanting Realms of "The Nowhere Chronicles" by Rebecca Fearnley
Immerse yourself in the captivating trilogy of "The Nowhere Chronicles" – a spellbinding saga that unfolds through the pages of "Door to Nowhere," "Darkling Thief," and "The Shadow and the Scream." This fantastical series, written with both finesse and depth, offers readers an enthralling escape into a world brimming with adventure, populated by mystical creatures.
At the heart of this extraordinary tale is Annie, a resilient protagonist whose journey is shaped by the haunting echoes of an abusive past. As she grapples with the turbulent emotions forged by her troubled upbringing, Annie finds herself thrust into Nowhere, a realm teeming with perilous creatures and overshadowed by the looming presence of a malevolent monster. It is within the unforgiving landscapes of Nowhere that she encounters Sheb, a valiant ally who becomes her steadfast companion in a relentless pursuit against the ominous adversary.
The narrative skillfully weaves together elements of self-discovery, resilience, and the indomitable human spirit. Annie's struggle to master her inner demons mirrors the external challenges she faces, creating a compelling and multi-layered character that readers can genuinely invest in. The evocative prose brings the fantastical world of Nowhere to life, immersing readers in a realm where danger lurks at every corner, and the line between light and darkness blurs.
In "The Shadow and the Scream," the stakes are heightened as Annie confronts not only her personal demons but also a host of malevolent forces threatening Wilderness. The narrative takes an exhilarating turn, propelling readers into another world rife with multiple monstrous adversaries that demand vanquishing. The intricate plot keeps you on the edge of your seat, eagerly anticipating the resolution of the entwined destinies of the characters. I eagerly await the next thrilling instalment “Flight of the Bone Crow”