Arroba: Centuries of Night. Revised copy of the first 50 pages.

Fantasy written by Kerri-Emmitt on Sunday 8, May 2011

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The largely revised first 50 pages of the first in the Arroba series, as requested.

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Hi guys. As requested by a couple of you, here is the first 50 pages of my first book in the series of 'Arroba'. I originally took it off here to revise most of it, so here's what I have so far. Hope you enjoy and am looking forward to your thoughts and comments. Smile Ps, The page breaks don't seem to be working again. I have tried re-submitting it etc, but no luck. I'm sorry about this!
Atmosphere
Enrapture is a beautiful word, but the connotation of that word is such an intense thing that once you get there, it grips you like nothing imaginable. I have been gripped, almost totally consumed by someone, almost at first sight; a man so enchanting I find it hard to see anything other than his face. I feel his signature wrapped around the best of my memories, like an old lover lingering to forever remind me of what is completely out of my reach - and that's exactly how he feels to me; utterly beyond me. Like a beautiful, awe-inspiring snow-covered mountain looming over everything you can see; there to be seen and admired, but you soon realise the awful truth; that to touch that place, to experience everything it has to offer, you'd have to go through hell first to do so. Terrifyingly tempting, but oh-so-dangerous, that is Alistair. Why the thoughtful mood? Let's just say, I've fallen for one of the deepest men I know. The consequence of such a thing is that it rubs off, in a big way. He digs for profound conversations with me, tries to break through my shields of armour on numerous occasions, and most of all, he leaves little notes for me to discover at the most appropriate, yet strangely, inappropriate times. Like now; I smooth my finger tips over the thick, cream paper and swear I can feel every individual letter scribbled beautifully across the page. There's a long, long trail a-winding into the land of dreams, Where the nightingales are singing and a white moon beams: There's a long, long night of waiting until my dreams all come true; Till the day when I'll be going down, that long, long trail with you. Stoddard King (1889 - 1933) A x Sometimes it feels as if he's trying to educate me, but other nights - like tonight - I think he might just be trying to tell me something, though what - I haven't got the faintest idea. I read over it again for the hundredth time and decide it seems very apt for his life right now, but that last sentence, that is the one that has me sitting on the decking in my garden; head tilted up to the velvet sapphire of the evening sky; a cup of hot coffee gripped in both hands; blanket wrapped tightly around my upper body and fighting to take in large gulps of the fresh air instead of the hyperventilation my body was trying to achieve. I try desperately to still my swaying mind but I never succeed lately, not with Alistair in my life. Just as I think I have myself under control and have squashed his oh-so-reasonable words from my mind as much as possible my phone shrills through the silence. I jump and swear as I glance at the caller ID on my phone. Perhaps I could pretend to be unavailable; after all, he wouldn't know... would he? It's Ali, Alistair J. Cassell, who recently seems to be everything I undeniably want and nothing I need all at the same time. In the same breath, he is the love of my life and the disappointment. And even though I probably won't ever summon enough courage to ever admit it to him, he is the only person that operates at the same wavelength as me, seamlessly We met at a party, which must sound like a cliché, yet I have found that some of the most ordinary things can turn into the most beautiful, as did this. So, even though we walked in very different social circles and parts of life, we still somehow managed to know enough of the same people to meet each other that night, amongst the smoky blue hue of the room, surrounded by warm bodies and the thrumming of heavy music. I remember walking through the front door and feeling my stomach storm with butterflies and my arm springs with goose bumps from shoulder to finger tips, only from the sight of him leant against the door frame on the opposite side of the room. There were crowds of people between him and me, yet the sight of him touched me from metres away, like breathing life back into my soul. But it wasn't that which took my breath away and awakened every nerve ending in my body; it was his eyes, the sheer crystal blue of them, like the icy blue plains of Antarctica; so pure that every time I dare to look within them I feel like I could fall in and bask in the sheer strength captured inside. I haven't ever seen anyone with eyes like his and probably won't again. His dark, almost ebony, perfectly straight hair frames his face and lightly brushes his shoulders; a distinctive contrast to his striking eyes. Even now, five years on, his effect on me hasn't dampened one tiny bit. I still feel like I'm stuck within the eye of a whirlwind without hope of escape, slowly sinking away, being consumed. That night we found ourselves staying behind long after everyone had left; just us, sitting at the kitchen table, sat face-to-face only two feet apart, the house quiet and empty. The fine rain of the early evening had slowly progressed into something heavy and damaging. It patted against the windows, and soaked the whole world outside whilst we sat wrapped in the warmth of the house and the fire of our own conversation. The whole while he seemed brooding and somehow lost, but willingly lost, as if he realises this, but all the same, he had accepted it. I believe that's why, from the very first time we spoke, he fascinated me in a way I have no words for. He spun a coin the whole time we talked; an ancient looking coin, so old it looked as if it should bend or crumple in his hands. He spun it over and over without lapse on the surface of the solid wooden table and through his fingers, rolling it through and over his knuckles. Every so often the coin would flash in the moonlight and from that very moment I knew I wouldn't ever look at my life in the same way again. After that moment I knew I would always be looking for something, someone - perhaps this moment - forever. I can still hear the sound his coin had made as it span in endless circles, as if it had been taped and has been secretly played ever since that night. He avoided my eyes as much as possible and I remember feeling very glad that my face was douched in the shadows of the room and Ali's illuminated by the soft moon shining lazily through the kitchen window, because if the roles had been reversed, he would have seen the shocked by the anticipation and fear on my face. Inevitably he would have then asked the reason for such an intimate look - one which belonged so much further into to the future of our friendship - and I certainly wouldn't have been able to answer him. How do you rationalise love at first sight to the very person that has swept you off your feet? And then explain how utterly scared you are of that very thing? It would be dreadfully embarrassing even to try. And if stealing my heart really wasn't enough, he then goes on to stun me with his profundity, his complete ability to be utterly in touch with the world around him and not be the least bit scared to speak of the more complex, controversial parts of life when most would have lied to their company, and to themselves. His frosty eyes would flash up to mine every couple of minutes, searching the almost solid shadows between us; to gauge my reaction I think, and that's when I first saw the sharp mind hiding behind those unforgiving eyes; I have been hooked ever since. "Hello Alistair. If you've rung to smooth things over, you can forget it! I'm not even nearly ready for that yet." "Such hostility Dione, and after everything I did for you today." His wonderfully deep voice slides down the phone, finishing in a light tutting, which I can't help but smile at, despite myself. "What do you want Ali?" I say, trying to remember to be angry with him and failing miserably. There's silence for a few moments, a heavy quiet, and then he finally says, "I just rang to see if you would like some company?" "Why would I want or need your company tonight?" I try to make it sound as harsh as I can but it falls from my mouth flat and a little watery. "Alright Dione ... I'm sorry I called." My mind races blindly as I try to decide whether to salvage the conversation or just hang up on him. Goddess knows he deserves for me to cut him off, but his voice alone brings that very familiar internal dilemma I have almost all of the time when faced with Ali - to let him in or not? "Okay, alright, come over." I can almost feel his mouth drop at the other end of the phone. "Are you coming then?" I whisper, impatiently. He sucks in his breath and says, "I'll be right over. White or red?" his deep accent is always so much more intense when he's nervous, like now. The sound nearly takes me away on an 'Ali' scented puff of smoke but I fight it with gritted teeth. "Oh, you shouldn't have to ask if you know me as well as you say you do." And with that, I hang up. I knew he'd bring red. Just another reason on a very long list of pros concerning Ali; his attention to detail; always somehow - even when I swear I don't need company - knowing I actually do and so many other things, but you see, he had sold me out today. I needed his help with an investigation assignment I was currently trying to complete with a family in the richest part of Bath. Some of the family's relatives believe they have sold off some very precious and irreplaceable artefact's, and I was hired to find information and evidence to back this idea up, or discount. But Ali being Ali decided - without consulting me whatsoever - the family had connections with people that were too dangerous. So, he sold me out and told the family who and what I was, with the result that I got kicked off their estate today. I lost a lot of money, but more importantly, I lost my client the chance to gain the truth. After all, this is why I became a Private Investigator. Ali had always promised he wouldn't interfere in my work, no matter how dangerous it may seem to be at times. He broke that today. Now I'm caught between loving him, hating him and somehow trying to convince myself to let him go. My life would be so much simpler; I really believe that most of the time, yet, somehow my internal truth radar is always on hand to whisper just how much of a lie that is. I would be miserable. The thought alone makes my stomach clench tight. I remain sitting on the decking, with my heart violent in my chest, breathing in slowly through my nose and out through my mouth. I'm attempting to clear my head and to slow my pulse, otherwise I'm at risk to panic; bolting my windows and doors and hiding under my duvet until the memory of his face, body and voice finally disappear from my mind. He's just about to walk through my door for the first time in a year! Yes, we've seen each other around, helped each other out, but we haven't been alone like this for so long. The reasons for this are unknown to me; all I know for sure, is that there is an inexplicable vibrant tension between us whenever we are together, which surpasses any normal crush. Inevitably that has become hard to cope with, which I believe has caused us to avoid one another unintentionally. A few minutes later I'm sitting in my small yet fully functional kitchen with the prime suspect standing across from me, looking lovelier than should be imaginable. "Coffee? Or do you want to get straight onto the wine?" I mutter as I scramble for the bottle opener. "Oh. Uh... The wine, perhaps?" His voice wavers a little and this causes me to stop and look at him. He stands leaning against the counter, elbows resting behind him, legs crossed with his head hung and is spinning his ever-present coin through his fingers. His body language confuses me and quietens my jumbled mind instantly. All the same, some deep, complicated part of me already knows this is it - our moment of definition - the moment that I've hoped would and wouldn't come. In this instant I truly believe that if the decision doesn't happen tonight, then this will be it. Things will become so clumsy and complicated between us that it's bound to end with us avoiding one another, completely. My mind starts to race with all the regrets and what if's from all the years we've been pussyfooting around each other. All the near kisses, soft uncomplicated yet so complicated touches, all the conversations, laughter and shared secrets. "What? What is it?" I whisper. "Hmm?" He looks up through a curtain of his thick hair, his eyes flashing as they catch the overhead lights; lazy and absent. I swallow my nerves down and spin around, pretending to look in a different drawer, trying to control my breathing; my body; my mind. I stay like that for a few moments; breathing deeply, my eyes squeezed shut and biting my lip, my body apprehensive and trembling. It's moments like this where I simply cannot ignore the truth of him and our long and very complicated history. He is a very complicated man after all. Now you see, I've always known that a whole different world - a whole different supernatural community exists; Arroba, an entirely diverse world/Realm, accessible through portals on Earth but it's not part of Earth itself; Arroba is its own world, completely. I have been a part of that for many years now, flitting in and out, not truly sure whether I really belong. The place of true faerie tales and myths born into reality, a place so beyond everyone's imagination that even I, born and bred of this place, have a hard time understanding it. This is where Ali lives and he is a Numinous, a breed of supernatural being with unimaginable powers and abilities which are forever growing and changing. His powers resemble that of the sorcerers, but he is so much more powerful and far more dangerous than any sorcerer. Oh, and I forgot the small matter of us belonging to one another: I am his; his in a very serious sense of the word, and right now, in this very room, oh-so-close to him; I couldn't feel more connected to him if I tried. Just as I think I've got myself under control, I feel the air change; it ignites, pulses and becomes saturated with suffocating amounts of electricity, like when the atmosphere will buzz with energy before a storm, but hotter, more tangible. I feel him walk up behind me, very close and something archaic within me bursts to life like a blow to my insides, stealing the air from my lungs and injects fear into every pound of flesh. I grab the counter, but it's not enough, and I fall to my knees. "Can you feel that? Every time I come near you, the very atmosphere around us seems to touch us directly." I cannot speak, my body is so alive - all of my senses have come online all at the same time and I'm suddenly flooded with too much feeling, too much awareness and so much fear. All I can think is, If he touches me now, something bad will happen. I struggle to my feet; falling at first, then I steady myself and run as fast as my legs will allow me. I slip and slide down my hallway until I hit my bedroom door with a thud. I frantically fumble with the door handle, it slipping through my clammy fingers many times before I get a good grasp on it and that's when I feel his hand touch to my back, between my shoulder blades and I can't breathe. He whispers into my ear, leaning into me. I whimper into the smoothness of the door for him. "Let me in..." His breath is sweet smelling and hot on my neck; my body instantly reacts to him, aching deep within me. This intense reaction of my body drives me into the door harder and I can't seem to breathe through a power that should not be present. "Please." I whisper into the door; he steps back, and for the second time that night I fall to my knees. The world fades away into multi-coloured streamers.
   

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