That didn't feel like love. It didn't feel like anything. I was entirely aware of every caress, every touch, every rough bite and everything he did inside me. But I couldn't stop him. I was utterly powerless. It was like a lucid dream; vivid and out of my control. At least the drug he sprayed me with muted the pain. I think it's wearing off now though.
Am I supposed to feel something now? Like I'm finally an adult female? 17 and finally pushed into adulthood by a man who only wished to show me my place. How poetic.
I'm in my bed. I don't know how I got here after what he did to me but I'm here. It's a Monday night, tomorrow is a Tuesday morning and as yet no cold sweat has clasped me in its teeth, no screams hae needed muting in my pillow. And I know why. I won't be at school tomorrow.
I won't be at school ever again.
It's like a secret club. Invaded. The aliens are coming fast, just as advanced as us. They don't come in peace, we know that from the nukes they rained down on our welcoming party. The missiles they keep aiming at our inoffensive little planet for no apparent reason. So Invaded is working to stop them, gathering an elite team to navigate their equally advanced but utterly alien technology and work out how to destroy them. And I am one of the chosen ones, I guess.
Mbali left me a note. Pack your bag. Tell noone. Meet me outside at 8.
It's 7:30 and my bag is empty. What the hell am I supposed to pack? What's necessary in a secret organisation base to understand and destroy oncoming aliens?
I end up with Jeans, shorts, several t shirts, a leather jacket, a few hoodies and jumpers, leggings, tights, my phone, plus toiletries. My clothes are all black. It's something to do with the not-wanting-to-stand-out-at-school thing. I guess now it kind of makes me look badass. Or so I can hope.
7:45 and I'm ready. I sit uncomfortably at the top of the stairs, a pen and pad in hand. I can't tell my parents where I'm going, obviously, but they ought to know I wasn't kidnapped or murdered or something like that. They've never understood me, or talked to me, and they were obviously ashamed of me, but they'd still be worried. Mostly for their repuatation. I decide on 3 simple words.
At least it's true for now.
I leave the sparse letter on the table by the door, and swing my now rediculously heavy backpack over one shoulder. I look at the house that's been my home for 17 years. It's not that much to me anymore. It doesn't feel like much of a goodbye, more like being let out of the waiting room of life. Wow, that sounded even lamer than expected.
It's 8 and I hear Mbali's car drive up. I guess I should be more scared of getting into a car with him given last night, but I really don't care. It's quite unnerving really, how empty I feel.
I go outside and am met with a black audi with tinted black windows. It looks entirely out of place on our overgrown gravel drive, on a backdrop of skeletal trees devoured by moss. I open the back door and get in. Mbali and his driver sit in front, and I sit with one space between me and a suited stranger. She doesn't look at me.
"I trust you didn't give any clues to your parents as to where you are headed?" I somehow knew before she spoke she'd be American. Something to do with the fingernails. She did not have a pleasant accent.
"I don't even know where I'm headed." The american woman pursed her lips.
"You're headed to a secret facility orbiting the earth. Your training will begin and we will issue several tests to guage your ability and find if Doctor Mbali has been glorifying his descriptions of you. Once we've established your affluence, you'll be assigned a position in the fleet or you will be brought back here."
My breath caught in my throat. On no account could I be brought back here, to a life that barely counted as a life. Maybe one day I'll miss the sea and tranquility and peace, but I don't think for many years yet. I could not fail this.
"How long will I be at your... facility?" I asked.
"As long as the war takes. If we can find anyone that can work out their technology, it could take less than a year. If we can, brute force and ignorance may extend the war for many years. Is that aceptable, Kira?"
"Yes." There was only one possible answer, really.
I guess, if this were a film she would eventually turn out to be good and loving and such a wonderful shoulder to cry on and really a big old softie at heart. But this isn't a film so I highly doubt she'll be mollycoddling me.
We turn onto the motorway and I try to soak in as much of the earth as I can before I have to leave. The wild flowers on the verges leaned over sideways from the harsh winds, the occasional raindrops hitting the windshield, the faces of the thousands of people in cars that we drive next to and past and weave in and out of. A bustling throng of thousands, millions, billions of people all over the world. How can I leave them?
After an hour of world-watching I wonder where we have to go to even get to a shuttle-stop. And why were they taking me into space so easily when they barely knew me? Wasn't it expensive? I decided to ask the first question first.
"How long does it take to get to... wherever we're going?"
For the frst time this journey, Mbali speaks.
"It will be 3 hours by car, 10 hours by plane, a further 4 hours by car, and then 2 to 3 days in a shuttle. Plus waiting."
Less than 24 hours before I leave earth, but 4 days until my life really begins.
I guess we're in Inverness, since that's the only airport I can think of 3 hours away from my town. Bye bye, my sweet Scotland. I'll miss your haggis and little else.
I go through security and it takes FOREVER - apparently everyone attending this flight has decided to wear as much metal as possible and they keep forgetting about it all. And who wears heels to the airport? Like, who are you trying to impress? It's a freaking airport in SCOTLAND, for Gods' sake.
I finally get through and I find Mbali sat alone on the other side, waiting for the others to get through the patt-down line. I sit on the cold metal seat next to him. The metal is full of evenly spaced holes that push my bum into awkward positions. It's most uncomfortable. A girl walks past and Mbali winks at her ass. She smiles shyly and blushes, winking back awkwardly. I don't think she'd be so enthusiastic if she was as aware of the size of Mbali manly parts as I now am.
He sits completely relaxed next to me. His bare arms almost touch mine, a closeness that makes me uncomfortable. His arm is dark next to mine, darker than even the suited lady from the car, so dark it's nearly black. It's uncomfortably close to me and my skinny paleness, but of course he doesn't care. I sit and stew in the awkwardness, powering through the uncomfortable emotions our silence is bringing up.
The suited lady walks up to us. I realise that the suited lady is not really the best way to think of her.
"What should I call you?" I ask her.
"Not that I'll be around you long enough for you to need to call me, but Karen. You can call me Karen."
Karen. What an odd name.
Mbali gets up and starts to walk away with Karen. I'm confused; shouldn't there be 4 of us? Then I remember that the driver isn't going to be needed and they probably have a different one in wherever we're going.
So I walk with Karen and Mbali and my probably-too-heavy-rucsack to get on a private jet that considering it's private shouldn't it have taken less time to get on? Maybe they just didn't want me figuring out where I was going. The sign for the flight I'd thought we were getting said it was going to Sarawak, Indonesia and I figured that was an unlikely setting for a shuttle launch. Russia, America or China seemed more likely in my mind, but what did I know?
The jet was little and beige with red details. It was reasonably pretty. We got on and found 10 seats. each had their own table and like, living area. I swear each section had more stuff than some people's houses. I sat in the seat closest to the door. It was probably rude to sit down before Mbali and Karen had chosen their places but I didn't care too much.
After the safety talks and taking off and staring out the window at my beautiful Scotland Kren said "There's a shower in the back if you need one."From her tone I knew she was really saying "Go have a shower you smell awful." Gee, thanks.
So I unbuckled, grabbed my rucky and walked through the door at the back into another little room which had 3 doors. Kind of felt like I was in a video game or something. Anyway, I chose the one with the little showe sign on it and oh my gods. This room was huge and smelt of roses and lavender and had a freaking chair with blankets and silk cushions and it was beautiful. There was a bath, but I figured any turbulance would make that a nightmare, plus there wasn't a light to show that it was safe to use at this stage of the journey. The shower was pretty and there were tons of pretty white towels and dressing gowns littered about on racks. I stripped and stepped onto an oddly warm tiled floor and fiddled about with dials until I experienced something that was entirely but not quite unlike a shower. Except with more scents and bubbles and massaging hands which were... odd. I got my long curly hair suitably straight with the "No frizz guarantee"d shampoo and conditioner, plus 3 other conditioners one of which contained argon oil and smelt amazing.
After I was done I pulled on a dressing gown and attempted to untangle my hair with the help of one of their hairbrushes (which I may steal because I was too stupid to bring my own). I then penciled in my eyebrows which are irritatingly light for my hair and put on some mascara. I don't really know what I was trying to look nice for, but I guess I'd feel guilty if I left this showeroom looking the same as when I went in. I got some new, clean wet-look jean shorts from my bag, plus tights, a long sleeved top and a cardie. My long brown hair reaches down to my waist and my eyes look pretty enough. People say I have pretty unique eyes, but I think everyone's look the same to be honest.
I get out of the shower room, bag over one shoulder, hair still damp. Karen looks up from her newspaper, unimpressed by my hair. Who's going to care, there's only us and the pilots on this plane. Noone cares what my hair looks like.
I twiddle my thumbs a bit wondering what to do in this jet. I pull the thick curtain around my section and the other passengers' breathing can't be heard. That's nice. At least I have the illusion of privacy now.
I explore the drawers in the chest next to the chair that I assume folds out into a bed. I find the usual things; throwaway toothbrush, eyemask, pillow, duvet, sudoku books and crosswords. The other drawers are filled with seemingly random things, toothpicks and perfumes and hairpins and wristbands and anklets and vegan cookbooks. Maybe rich sods just left them here. I find a tv that pulls down from the ceiling. I plug in the expensive looking headphones, which I find are noise-cancelling. I decide to watch some vintage Marsia, since I've nothing better to do. It seems like such a long time since I talked about it with Iqab, though it was only a couple of weeks ago. It seems even longer since "he asked me out" - but that was only yesterday.
I guess they'll all be at school by now. They'll have been there for a while, actually. Have they even noticed I'm gone? Probably not. They'll find other people to ridicule.
Who's covering Mbali's class? I guess he's got it covered. Maybe he just doesn't care; He is working for the government now, after all. And so will I be. Which government am I working for, I wonder? I guess it's probably a mix of a lot of them, all putting forward their best resources and engineers and people to stop the invasion.
I decide to take a nap even though I slept for ages last night. It's something to. 10 hour flight and only 8 1/2 hours left.
* * *
Woken up. 7 1/2 hours left on this freaking plane. God. I am literally so bored. I pull the curtains from around me and stand up to walk about the cabin.
A pretty honey-blond air hostess is sat on a nice upholstered seat at the front of he plane. She looks pretty bored too.
"Hi." I say. All the oher curtains are closed. She glances at me and smiles slightly blankly.
"May I?" I ask, gesturing the chair opposite her by the door to the corridor to the cockpit. She smiled and waved her hand. I sat.
"What's your name?" I asked after some hesitative silence. She didn't seem like much of a talker really.
"Merinia. Yours?" She had a sweet voice. Quite sickly really.
"Kira." I paused a second. "I love your hair, by the way."
She looked shocked but pleased.
"Are you kidding?! Next to your hair mine is... It's nothing!"
"No! Oh Gods no! It's such a beautiful colour, and it's so long!"
"Well thankyou." She smiled a very wide, very pink smile.
"Hard to believe we're flying, isn't it?" She looked at me, a little perturbed.
"I mean, it's not every day you're 10 thousand feet above earth, is it?"
"Isn't it? I mean, you're in a private jet, most people in these go in planes all the time."
"No, it's actually only my second time. I went to Florida once when I was younger."
"Do you want to see the cockpit?"
"Sure, I'd love to." I smiled a probably very scary smile. I was pretty excited. I've never got the chance before.
She led the way through a velvet wallpapered corridor - didn't know that existed - past a pantry and into the cockpit. It was a beautiful day in wherever we were flying over, and the clouds were brimming the bottom of the huge window screen at the front. There were lots of dials and levers and an exremely attractive pilot and 2 extremely unattractive ones.
"Hey, you guys mind if Kira has a look around? She's never seen a cockpit before."
"Sure, that's fine. Fabros, you can keep an eye on her, right?" Attractive pilot nodded and shot me a rediculously attractive grin. He was obviously far outside my league and roughly 7 or more years older than me, but I didn't care much.
"So, Kira, What do you want to see first?" He asked. He had one of those lovely westcountry accents, the kind that isn't too strong but just enough to make every word a little cuter. It went perfectly with his smile.
"Out the window." He led me in front of him with his hand to an area with fewer dials and important looking things. I leaned right out over the dashboard thingy and looked at the amazing sky around me. Fabros steadied me with one hand on my shoulder and the other on my back. They were very light and comfortingly warm. I whistled at the scene. I am not good at whistling and it got a few laughs.
The sky was a proper azure colour, the clouds illuminated perfectly by the bright sun that came from above us. Below was the sea, glinting and perfect greens and blues. It was the most beautiful thing I've ever seen. We were as high as the birds.
"This is incredible." I whispered.
"Yeah, it never gets old." Fabros whispered back. "So you want to hear a bit about my job?"
Fabros yakked for hours about his jobs. What he was saying wasn't so interesting but the way his mouth moved and his perfect hair kept me interested.
Finally, Merinia called me and said it was probably time to get some rest and prepare to land. We were still over the sea and there were 2 hours of the flight left; I guess Fabros is prone to talking too much. I stood and thanked Fabros and the ohers for their hospitality and turned to go.
"Wait! Kira!" Fabros said a little urgently. "You mind if I maybe, er, get your digits?"
Panic rose in my throat. I swallowed it and shook my head to rid myself of it. You're not at school anymore, Kira. This guy just spent 5 hours spouting about nothing to keep you entertained. He's nothing like the twats at school.
"Sure." He held out his phone and typed in the number. I scrolled up a bit and saw that the name he'd saved me under was "Kira - the super cute one from the private plane" Bit of a mouthful of a nickname, but I went with it.
I gave his phone back.
"Thanks, Kira. I'll be sure to text you."
I smiled and left. The first guy to ever really fancy me.