[A couple of days ago I said that I had hit 10,000 views on my blog and I’m really happy at this so as promised here is the first chapter of the novel I have written. I would love any feedback. if there is a good response I’ll post the next chapter as well. Thanks, Colin]
When I think back to how my life used to be, all the time wasted, all the petty arguments, the rituals that I had with my friends and family, I never thought I would lose all of that. Never thought of how in one unforgettable moment it all could come crashing down around my head.
It was a regular late night as I was driving home from work down an empty road. I was going over the speed limit, desperate to get back to my bed because I was so tired. Also desperate to check on my sister who had been staying with me because of her falling out with our parents. She’s fifteen years old and wanted to stay with her boyfriend for a few nights. My folks were dead against the idea, for which I don’t blame them. He was two years older than her, and I never liked the kid. But then I suppose since I was the big brother, I was never going to like any of the boys that she saw.
So after the fall out she ‘ran away from home’ and went straight to my house. She’s been there ever since. Even though there is a ten-year gap between Karen and I, we always were really close. She told me everything, things that you just can’t talk about with anyone else other than your brother or sister.
I liked having her stay with me. I’d been single for a long time since my last girlfriend left me for her ex. The bitch. It was good to have the company again. Someone to talk to other than the cats.
I checked the time, expecting to be home in twenty minutes so we could have a good chat and then off to bed. It was a Friday night, and whenever Karen stayed with me, we had a movie night. Unfortunately, I got called into work that night, and we had to put the marathon screening of Star Wars on hold until the next day.
Just thinking about that made me happy. The thought of a full day geeking out with my sister, munchies, drinks and the occasional lightsaber battle brought a smile to my face. I might have even let her win that time.
The town that we lived in has practically nothing in the way of entertainment. It’s a small industrial town called Grangemouth, sitting on the River Forth on the east coast of Scotland. It was built up around the oil refinery which is a huge place that employed more than half the town. At night you can see it lit up for miles around.
There really isn’t anything to do in the area, but when you live there your whole life you find ways to entertain yourself. I used to train with my grandfather in swordsmanship and martial arts; he was a great guy teaching me how to defend myself, and it was a fun way to stay fit. That’s why I always beat Karen in our lightsaber battles; I’ve had lots and lots of practice. Well, that and being a foot and a half taller than her helped as well.
When we were younger, we would spend a lot of time with our grandfather. He would take us down to the beach to collect shell-fish so he could use them for fishing. That was also where he would take me to train. It was fun and challenging but always worth it to spend some time with him and hear all the old war stories from when he was in the navy. He’d take us out on a little boat where he taught us both how to sail, spending hours out at sea fishing.
After he had died, I basically brought her up because our parents worked a lot so that we could have what they didn’t. We weren’t rich, but comfortable and happy most of the time. I taught Karen everything I know, and we were closer than you could hope for a brother and sister. That’s why whenever she had a falling out with our mum she would come straight round to my house to hide out until it all blew over.
It was almost eleven thirty as I barrelled down the motorway heading home when my phone rang.
“Hello?” I answered the phone.
“Hey Sam, how much longer do you think you will be? It’s getting kind of eerie here tonight. The TV hasn’t been working most of the night and now the power has gone out.”
“What? When did that happen?” I asked
“About five minutes ago.” She said, and I could hear the concern in her voice “I tried resetting the circuit like you showed me but it didn’t work, I think the power is out in the who…” Suddenly there was a loud screeching noise down the phone, and the line went dead.
“Karen?” I say as I look at the phone, but there was no signal at all. “What the hell is going on?” I ask myself, as I put my foot down increasing my speed.
I rounded the bend in the road just as I saw a flash of light in the distance followed by an immense roaring sound.
I slammed on the brakes and as the car skidded to a halt, I could see the flames rising up from the ruined remains of the refinery. I got out of the car to fully take in the scene unfolding before my unbelieving eyes.
“What the fuck?” I said out loud as panic started to set in.
After a few moments, I got back in the car and sped home as fast as I could possibly go, fearing the worst all the way
As I pull off the motorway, I could see that the remains of the refinery were in flames. Growing up there it was always a concern because the entire town was within the blast zone and it was one of the high priority targets for terrorist action. In the last few years, this had become more and more of a worry. It was common knowledge in the town that if the refinery went up, everything in the surrounding area wouldn’t stand a chance. It’s one of those things that no one ever took seriously because no one thought it would actually happen.
How wrong we all were…
As I drove through the ruined town, I saw some houses had been reduced to rubble and some that were still standing. Cars were blown up, wrecks everywhere, fires were burning throughout and bodies were lying in the street.
I didn’t dare stop to see if I could help anyone, my only thought was getting back home to Karen to make sure she was alright.
There was a pit in the bottom of my stomach as I pulled around the corner and saw my house in flames.
I stopped the car and ran into the house shouting her name, but there was no reply. I started to frantically search, but I couldn’t find anything. I rounded the corner and stood before the door to the bedroom that she had been staying in when I came to a dead stop.
The roof had completely caved in. I stood there as my mind went numb, unable to process the sight before me. There was a large pile of rubble in the middle of the room. At the far side of the room, causing my blood to run cold, was a foot sticking out the edge of the pile of debris.