Sarah V. Hines, Author

Updates and Short Stories

I promise to finish The Darkening Horizon soon. In the meantime, here is a short story I’ve completed.

The child—the young goddess—was sullen, the villager noted. Her dark green eyes were dim as they stared straight ahead, out at the sea. Her auburn hair fell loose around her face in a curtain of curls that added to the shadows contrasting against her solemn countenance. This boded ill to the man who watched her—would the dead season come early this year? She seemed to come into her darkness and with her darkness would come the cold and the barren fields.

He peered around the rocks near the water. He hadn’t meant to disturb the young goddess. He had merely been preparing to take his small boat out to fish when he had happened upon her. She was often in the caves or nowhere to be found, most likely in her kingdom in the Underworld, as the stories went. Yet, here she sat, staring across the gentle lapping waves with her expression darkening further. Her presence filled him with both awe and fear—he had never dreamed he would be near any of the goddesses, much less the most elusive, mysterious of them all.

“Glorious Persephone,” he said, trying to keep his voice steady in the goddess’s presence. “Your holy presence is a blessing. I hate to intrude. I was just coming out to start my morning in the water and—”

“The clouds will come in soon,” she said in a voice as soft as the breeze that tickled the reeds. “The winds will agitate these still waters. A storm is on the horizon. I advise you to keep your boat docked.”


Francine walked down Charlotte Street as the rain fell over her. The day was dismal enough that Cecilia wanted to stay indoors. Still, it was nice to explore for a bit, and the street was practically empty, with visitors preferring to shop along St. George Street. Francine wasn’t interested in crowds at the moment. She couldn’t keep her mind off of her sister’s condition.

Before they had left, she heard her parents’ discussion about where to stay. Her mother had preferred Miami, as it was much warmer and bound to be better for Cecilia. Her father had insisted on St. Augustine, however, stating that no hotel would be as relaxing as the Ponce de Leon. In the end, her father’s word was law as far as any of them were concerned.

Any aside from Francine, that is. She would always find ways to test her father’s good nature, even when she was a child who would insist on staying up late with her sister, reporting on the news going on among their friends. Her father had always tried to warn her from her “information seeking,” telling her that honest gentlemen wanted a lady that did not dabble in idle gossip. But Francine had never been one to dream of honest gentlemen, and so her habits continued.

They served her too well, sometimes, as was the case last night, when she heard her mother lamenting over Cecilia’s condition. Francine grimaced at the mud on her shoe as she kicked the ground, thinking of the conversation.

“I thought she was going to get better here, George, but it’s been raining since we’ve arrived. Can’t we look into some hotels in Miami?”

“Mary, I promise, the city will do Cici some good. It’s not going to rain forever, we have an entire season to relax here. This hotel is the best, and there are saunas across the street from us. I’m telling you, if she’s going to recover, this is the place it will happen.”


St. Augustine, Florida


The Rossi family check in to the Ponce de Leon Hotel in St. Augustine, Florida, with the hopes that their oldest daughter, Cecilia, will benefit from the clean air and luxurious accommodations as she battles an illness. Her younger sister, Francine, is worried that it will take a miracle to save Cecilia. As she explores the city, however, a man by the name of Mortimer happens to be peddling miracles for a price.

Telese, the youngest of her siren sisters, is trying to relax after the long work of the war. Leaving humans be seems to be harder said than done as Telese notices trends of the Dark World’s growth everywhere. Something big is coming, and Telese is adamant to find out what and stop it if she can.

As the darkness on the horizon grows, can both Francine and Telese find the light?

The Rossi family was no stranger to beautiful things; George Rossi was a renowned architect and Mary Angelino-Rossi was the daughter of a successful pharmacy owner. The family had more than a comfortable living back in New Jersey.

When they stepped foot into the Ponce de León Hotel, however, Francine could not recall a time she had been in such opulent extravagance. From the hand-carved mahogany pillars to the sparkling mosaic tiles on the floor to the hand-painted ceilings that made her feel as though the angels in heaven were looking down upon them, it spared no exquisite detail. The hues of gold and cream and deep wood made the whole rotunda seem warm and inviting. Across from her stood a large, marble staircase leading to intricately designed mahogany doors. She wondered if that was the famed dining room with the stained glass windows designed by Louis Comfort Tiffany, himself.

“Look at this, Cici,” Francine said breathlessly as their parents went to check-in. “Have you ever laid your eyes on anything so magnificent?”

Beside her, Cecilia remained quiet, and when Francine looked at her, she noticed her sister was biting her lip.

“Do you feel that?” Cecilia asked.

Francine looked around, as though she could see what Cecilia was speaking about. Nothing seemed amiss.

She turned back to her sister. “I don’t get it. Feel what?”



Dark clouds hid the sun as the train made its way through dense green fauna. As she watched out the window, Francine Rossi sighed, resting her chin on her hand. She watched the landscape rush past her window through wisps of brown curls that escaped her green and purple butterfly comb.

“I thought Florida was supposed to be sunny,” she muttered.

“What was that?” her sister, Cecilia, asked, looking across the small table between them.

She turned her brown eyes to meet her sister’s. The two were remarkably similar, yet remarkably different. At twenty-one years old—only two years older than Francine—Cecilia was already taking on lines around her eyes and lips. Her own brown hair was tied back modestly into a tight bun as she worked on her cross-stitch, just as their mother did at home.

“I said, I thought Florida was supposed to be sunny,” Francine said with a new whine to her voice. “It’s just like New Jersey outside.”

“Oh, come on, Franny,” Cecilia said, “it’s a bit of rain. How d’you think everything stays green here without rain? It’s probably far warmer outside than it is in Jersey right now. You just wait until we reach Saint Augustine and get settling into the hotel and—”

The new round of coughing interrupted Cecilia’s protestations. She dropped her cross-stitch as she raised one hand to her mouth and one hand to her chest. Francine immediately rushed to her sister’s side, rubbing her back in an attempt to ease her breathing.

After a moment, the coughing subsided and Cecilia waved her away. “I’m fine,” she said, in between gasps, “I’m fine.”