A/N: A little bit of explanation - for the last two years I have tried to complete 'NaNoWriMo', National Novel Writing Month, in which you write a 50,000 word novel in the month of November. I attempted it in 2007 and 2008, and failed both times. This year, I managed to complete it. So here is the Novel, Into The Night, (a cookie for anyone who knows where that came from) set in the not too distant future, about a world which changes greatly because of...well, I don't want to give too much away. It's unedited, at the moment, and I would love some feedback on it - anything you don't like? Anything you do like? Anything that you think works or doesn't work. Anyway, whatever your view of it, I hope you at least enjoy reading it. I sure as hell had a lot of fun writing it. Into The Night - Chapter One
Into The Night - Chapter One
I could start at the beginning of my life; I could tell you about my birth and the circumstances surrounding it, about my mother and father. But that would be pointless. It would be too much information to take in, so perhaps I should start just before it happened, just before everything kicked off and fucked up.
As far as I was aware, it had just been a normal day. I woke up, had breakfast, and headed off to work. The train rattled, as it always did, along the line connecting my hometown to the city. I was twenty-two at the time, fresh out of University and two months into a job I saw as little more than a stepping-stone, something to tide me over until I could put my degree to good use.
I'd spent three years living away from Cardiff, three years in Manchester, and had decided that for the time being I would live at home, work, save up some money, and then either get a new, better job or go travelling. Either way, I did not want to stay in the Welsh capital for much longer.
But I had a lot to sort out before I did move out; for starters, there was Clara, a girl at work who I'd grown close to, fucked, and in return, fucked up. I had to tread carefully around her, and make sure that when I did move on, she could do the same.
Still, I'd been in worse situations in Manchester, and getting out of this one wouldn't be too hard.
The train came to a stop, and I glanced out of the window to see the home of Cardiff's football team looming up. If I tried hard enough, I would be able to see the Millennium Stadium as well. Running a hand through my hair, I glanced at the others on the train.
All of them looked annoyed at this sudden stop, all of them had places to be, things to do.
I, frankly, did not care. I brought out my music player and flicked through the lists, looking for something different to listen to. The train gave a lurch, and then moved onwards.
I heard grumblings and moans on the train, people complaining about the bloody trains as it pulled into the station. One with the crowd we moved off, navigating out way towards the stairs and down to the main area. My train slipped into the machine, doors opened and then suddenly I was out in the fresh air, feet carrying me on the all too familiar route to work.
As usual, Clara bounds out of the coffee shop, halfway between the station and work, and falls into step beside me.
"Morning baby." She croons, a bright smile lighting up her pretty face. "Good night?"
I shrugged, keeping my hands firmly planted in my pockets, not wanting her to get the wrong idea. Although I knew it had gone too far to remedy that situation. "Same as usual, was alright. You?"
"Yeah, was pretty sweet."
She carried on talking, telling me all about her girls' night in, going into details of the films they had watched and everything that made them great. I tuned out as I lit up a cigarette, studying her out of the corner of my eyes. She was pretty, but she was also naive. The girl had turned eighteen just before starting at work, and was one of the youngest in the office. About a month ago we'd gone for a drink, just the two of us, and ended up having more than just the one. We'd ended up back at mine, and over the next week and a half had repeated this. I'd messed up, big time, and now she'd got it into her head that we were in a relationship.
I needed to cut this out.
"Great." I mumbled, when I thought it was appropriate, and was more than relieved to arrive at work.
Immediately, we made our way to the break room, the place we usually hung out before starting our shift. As we walked through the office space, I was surprised at how quiet it was. There were only a handful of people sitting behind the computers, a couple of people milling around the water container. Some looked close to tears, others beyond shock.
I glanced at Clara.
She didn't seem to register anything, so I ignored the feeling that had now settled into my stomach. We slipped into the room, to see a few people on the same shift as us sitting around, staring at the television.
"Hey Jake." Chuck glanced up at me, raising a hand in greeting. I sat beside him, lifting myself up onto the table.
"Hey, what's going on?" I gestured towards the television, and saw him run a hand through his hair. He frowned.
"Watch the news."
I turned my gaze to the television set, noticing for the first time how quiet everyone was, those who were watching it were glued as the familiar sight of the news reporter flashed up.
"Once more we return to the situation between Russia and America. The U.S President has released a statement claiming he will not bow to the demands of Russia in the release of the prisoners, three men who, it is claimed, are spying on behalf of the Russian government."
It had been over the news for the last couple of weeks, about these two guys who had bragged in a bar about being Russian spies. In their drunken state, they hadn't realised they'd been overheard by a couple of American patriots. Within days they'd been taking into custody.
"This follows the statement release by Russia, containing hints that they will use force for these three men to be released. The fear is that Russia may possess nuclear weapons..."
"Shit." Chuck shook his head, hanging it and staring at the floor. "This is not good."
I glanced at him, and now felt fear in my own stomach. If Chuck was scared....Jesus, that man was the bravest guy I'd ever known. At twenty-six, he stood about a foot taller than myself, a well-built guy who had come out of the Army the year before. He'd told me a few stories about his seven year stint serving the country, but I knew he'd also kept a lot quiet. It wasn't just that he was brave or strong, he was clever too. Really intelligent, more so than myself and I had a bloody degree.
I could understand his fear.
After all, hadn't we studied the last century's Cold War in History? Hadn't I heard stories from my grandparents about growing up in fear of Russia starting a nuclear war?
"Nothing came of the last Cold War." I informed Chuck, watching as he slowly lifted his head, his gaze landing on Clara, who stared at the screen with a curious expression on her face.
"You didn't hear the statement." Chuck replied, eyes darting to the clock on the wall. I followed his gaze; ten minutes before we had to start. He lit up a cigarette, I imitated him, eyes drifting back to his face, waiting for him to carry on talking. "It's scary man, these three dudes must be important for Russia to want them back so badly."
"Must be pretty stupid too, to brag about it there."
"There's something dodgy about that." He replied, flicking a column of ash into the tray beside him. "You alright Clara?"
She turned to gaze at his, and nodded, very, very slowly. "Yeah."
"You sure?" Chuck pushed off the table, stepping towards her. She gave him a small smile.
"Positive. I'm going to head in now, see you guys at lunch alright?" With that, she raised her hand in a goodbye wave and disappeared out the door. I turned to look at Chuck, who was staring at the door and shaking his head.
"Why?" I asked, swinging my legs so the heel of my foot bounced off the table.
"Jesus man, how much do you not know about that girl?" He stared at me with a raised eyebrow, before rolling his eyes. "Her mum works in Russia, as a translator. If this all kicks off, she could come into some deep shit."
"She's not involved, is she?" I questioned, reaching over to stub the cigarette out. Chuck rolled his eyes, gently nudging my hand out of the way to get rid of his own fag.
"No, but she's British, and if things get out of hand, especially if we get involved, then they'll pick her up on her nationality."
"You think Clara's worried?"
"Maybe. I don't know. Shouldn't you know more than me?"
I shrugged, pushing myself off the table and slipping my jacket off. I hung it up on one of the pegs provided, before following Chuck out the door.
"Alright, well shouldn't you care more?"
I had no reply to that, so silently I followed him into the large room that served as a kind of 'briefing' base. We went here, were given tasks to do and then carried them out. Usually for me this meant little more than filing and sorting out papers, adding the company stamp to orders. Boring, mundane jobs.
This, for a guy with a god damn degree.
The meeting took place, and me and Chuck were sent to do our thing. We sat at our desk, flicking through documents and checking them for spelling mistakes and clerical errors. I let out a yawn, drawing Chuck's eyes to my face.
"You OK mate?"
"Don't know, you just seem tired lately. You getting enough sleep?"
"Sure." I shrugged, eyes falling back down to the papers. Truth was, I wasn't. I'd suffered bouts of insomnia since I was kid, ever since my oldest brother had died. It came and went, and had struck me again a few weeks prior. It had been one of the reasons I was eager to have Clara around mine; because if someone else was there, I didn't have to spend sleepless nights alone.
"Just checking." Chuck continued with his work, sending worried, curious glances towards me every now and then.
We finished, we went for drinks. Clara practically floated over to the bar as Chuck and I found a table. A football match was on the television in one corner, and Chuck's eyes were guided to it like magnets. Clara placed the drinks down and took the seat beside me.
"Whose playing?" I questioned, lighting up and offering a cigarette to Clara. Happily she took one, allowing me to light it for her.
"Liverpool and Man U."
I winced. "Going to be a shit game then."
"Yeah, you got the two worst teams in the league playing against each other. Not very exciting."
I grinned at his remark, before the match was interrupted by a familiar chiming sound. Clara's head snapped to the screen, and I looked over my shoulder and upwards to see the news logo coming up on screen.
"...interrupting the match for an important announcement. Russia have given the U.S twenty-four hours to release the hostages..."
Clara had gone completely pale, her hand, holding her wine glass, was shaking. I reached over and gently rested a hand on her shoulder.
"Clara, baby, you alright?"
She turned and seemed surprised to see us both still sitting there. "I'm fine." She muttered. "Jake, can we go?"
"Sure." I glanced at Chuck, who quickly downed his beer. I did the same, watching as she pushed the wine away. Chuck's eyes locked with mine; he knew it was the right thing to do. We left, Chuck wondered off in the other direction as I took Clara's hand. "You know I'm here, if you want to talk, right?"
"I don't want to talk." She replied, turning to me and pushing her body against mine. "I want to fuck."
It was wrong, so wrong. I'd taken this sweet girl and turned her into this, a girl who was now slipping her hand under my shirt, brushing her cold fingers along my shoulder. She reached up and gently nibbled my ear.
"That's all I want Jake."
How could I deny her this? After what Chuck had told me...
Silently I took her hand and led her to the nearest taxi rank. Fifteen minutes later she was practically pushing me into my own flat, hands pressed against my shoulders as I struggled to fit the key in. We made it inside without incident, and she led me quickly to the bed.
We tumbled onto it, my hands fumbling with her blouse, her fingers deftly and expertly undoing my own shirt.
She'd told me before that the guys previously had been 'crap', she told me they'd been 'inexperienced'. I was guiding this girl into a new world; between us, it was violent and passionate and to her poor, young eyes it was all so new.
I was damaging her more and more, every time I brought her back here. But hey, for all we knew, this could be our last night on earth.
So damage be damned; I was going to take this girl for all she was worth.