The Onyx InteriorMature

This is my NaNo WriMo piece, draft 1, completely unedited. So it's not great, but uploading it here might make me start editing.
I guess the genre is Fantasy. I'd like to think it's what you'd get if you mixed Being Human and Harry Potter with a bit of Darren Shan. Age group I'd say late teens, but I'm not really sure. There's going to be gore, death and horror (I'd never write a story without it) so it's probably not for under 16s.

 

Part One - The Past

1 - Leander

Complete stillness. It surrounded me, so peaceful, so serene. The leaves crunched under my feet in harmony, composing a piece of music that stalked me through the trees. It was said that loneliness could sometimes be comforting - this was one of those instances. The total absence of all life made me feel... special. That's what every human really wants underneath, isn't it? To be something different to everyone else. No one wants to blend in with the masses, just some person no different to the next. When your head touches the pillow at night, and you close your eyes, you imagine yourself as something great, doing something great. Human life is so short, so fragile. You want to make sure you leave your impression before you go - because in doing so, you can become immortal. History keeps those that have gone with us, in a sense. Wouldn't it be wonderful to be remembered hundreds of years from now? That was my ultimate goal - to be Leander the Great, preserved throughout time by memory, an indestructible legend. Some people are born great, others achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them. Maybe one day I'll be able to say I fit into all of those categories.

            A movement to my right drew me out of my thoughts, back into the forest. It was a wild rabbit. It didn't seem aware of my presence, which was odd. Usually animals fled at the sight of a human (which was understandable). With this one it didn't seem the case.

            I knelt down, my overcoat brushing the floor, trying to stroke the rabbit. Upon contact with me it bolted, true to form. I reasoned that it was probably diseased anyway, so petting it wasn't a good idea.

            I moved on through the thickets of wild branches, thorns and overgrown bushes that sprawled along the loosely defined path, walking deeper into the forest. This place was the best part about where I lived. There are few places in England where you can be close to a city and still next to a cluster of vegetation as large as this one.

            I lived on the outskirts of London. My father worked there, his business was to do with the trains. He was helping to develop electric trains to run under London. It sounded ridiculous, futuristic, almost magical - but it was true, it was happening.

            Britain had had a brilliant century, transforming into a power house. We were leading the world forward into a new age, the 20th Century, and to be part of that was incredible. There was never a better a time to be British. I don't like to say never, but I truly believe I won't ever leave Britain to live somewhere else. Some people are emigrating to Australia. I understand that the climate is considerably warmer, and that there are several other advantages to going there, but my heart lies here, in England. There's something about the smell of the countryside that captivates me in a way I can't explain. The way the rain falls on the hills seems so magical, the way the sun gleams through the clouds every morning, the exciting variations of weather - you never know what's going to happen next in Britain. I won't leave. Ever.

            "I didn't do anything!"

             Someone shouted in the distance, ruining my image of peace, calm and independence. I began to turn away from the noise, opting for a different direction. I wasn't ready to end my rural ramble just yet, certainly not because of an ill placed shout.

            "Leave me alone!"

            I sighed, staring in the aspect of the sound. No matter how much I wanted to get on with my stroll, I couldn't ignore a distressed call. Father said it was my weakness - that I needed to get a stronger will - because sometimes when things were hard, you had to make hard choices. You couldn't be soft.

            "Need any help?" I called out as I approached the figures. There were five of them... no - six. One was on the floor.

            "Why are you-"

            I paused as the five standing members of the group caught sight of me. They were not the sort I liked to spend my time with. These were rough people, lower middle class (if not working class), who weren't afraid to use violence as their method of sending a message to someone. It was clear in this case that someone was the man on the ground. He had his hands over his head and was cowering, adopting the foetus position.

            "Look here," smirked one of the men - the tallest, broadest of them. He was obviously the leader of the group.

            "Sorry, I didn't mean to disturb you men. I was just alarmed by the calls of... discomfort I heard," I said quickly, undecided as to whether I was going to try and help the man on the floor or try and leave.

            "Well you better run along, posh boy," said the same man. He grinned, showing decayed teeth. His skin was unshaven, his hair tousled. His shirt was extremely creased and stained in several places, his tie loose, hanging like a noose.

            My feet itched to turn and escape before I landed myself in the same unfortunate situation as the man on the floor, but I couldn't. I looked the man in the eye and told him what he was doing was wrong.

            I felt some adrenaline, but not the shockwaves I expected. I was hoping for some inspiration to fly at me through the air, but none came. Instead I dropped my gaze, standing awkwardly, my mouth dry. Why would no words come?

            The man didn't wait for my next move. He punched me hard, in the jaw. I was used to pain - beatings were a common occurrence in my father's house, but this was on a different level. Blood gushed down my white shirt from every crevice of my mouth and face. I placed a hand to my mouth, trying to cradle it and smother the agony that flowed from there. The men showed no mercy, and kicked me hard in the shins, causing me to crumple to the ground. They laughed, the sound filled with contempt and condescension. I feared they were going to continue beating us to within inches of our lives, but after throwing a few leaves and piles of mud at us they left.

            "Sorry," the man said beside me, coughing violently, "You shouldn't have-"

            "-It was nothing," I said quickly, "How are you feeling?"

            "It was clearly something," he answered, rolling onto all fours, "And I've... been a lot better, I must admit."

            "Got to agree with you there," I barred my teeth, "Have I lost any?"

            He shook his head, "Nope, but by the look of you a few might be loose in their sockets."

            I shrugged, "Better than I expected. I'm Leander. You are?"

            "James," he paused, "James Forge."

            "Pleased to meet you, James. Shame it had to be in such unpleasant circumstances," I stood up, helping him to his feet, "Was there are reason for their violence?"

            "The tall man accused me of sleeping with his wife," muttered James.

            "And did you?"

            James shook his head quickly in defiance, "No, of course not. The thought had never crossed my mind to do such a thing."

            James looked like a charmer, it was easy to see why the man had suspected him of sleeping with his wife. However he also had honest blue eyes. I couldn't bring myself to speculate whether this man was a liar, so I took his word.

            "I think they may have killed me if you hadn't arrived," said James, as we limped back out of the forest, "I am extremely grateful for your kindness."

            "Don't mention it. I will do anything to save an innocent man from being punished,"

            "So you believe me?" he questioned, looking me in the eye. He had a boyish look about him, but I placed him to be roughly the same age as me - 17. He was of middle height and middle build, but had an air of strength about him. I couldn't be certain as to whether that was physical strength, mental strength, or both.

            "Of course," I answered, "Why wouldn't I?"

            He shrugged, "People don't feel so loyal these days."

            "That may be true,"

            I didn't continue my sentence. I wasn't sure when it had happened, but I suddenly realised I liked James a lot. Our strange crossing of paths may have created a good friendship. My mother always said that sometimes a negative occurrence can have a positive outcome - it looked as though this was one of those times.

The End

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