All Julian wanted was as normal a life as was possible, when Adam and Harry come into the petrol station looking for trouble, though, their actions threaten to expose his secret, a secret that would make him a wanted man – wanted by lots of people for lots of reasons. Now he has to leave behind the life he’s been building and start over again, but before he does that he wants to make Adam and Harry pay.
This is a novella of approx 8,000 words
A hand snaked out from under the covers to turn off the alarm before the first note had finished, leaving the room to return to silence. It remained that way for only a moment though, for with an explosion of energy that was unlike that displayed by the average person upon waking, Julian threw back the sheet that covered him and all but sprang from the bed. The move would have been silent, were it not for the floorboards that creaked under him as he landed.
Once on his feet he looked around. To anyone else the room would have been pitch black, too dark to see anything, but he had no problem making out the interior of his bedroom. Everything was just as it had been when he went to bed, not that he thought anything was likely to have changed since he had incredibly sensitive hearing, and would almost certainly have woken had anything, no matter how minor, happened. It was habit, though, for him to check for changes or danger the moment he got out of bed, as so many of the things he did were habit.
Having satisfied himself that everything was alright, Julian made his way out of the bedroom and along to the bathroom, which was only a few steps away. It wasn’t until he got there that he turned a light on – the sudden glare made him blink his steel grey eyes rapidly for a moment. He ignored the mirror over the sink, looking in it was a human reflex he had trained himself not to respond to, and climbed into the shower, where he gave the tap a quick twist; it spun until it stopped of its own accord and the water lashed his skin with the force of a whip.
The water had barely reached its maximum temperature, hot enough to have most people wincing and reaching for the cold tap, when he finished. Giving the tap another quick twist he shut the flow of water off and ran his hands over his body, stripping off the excess water; invigorated, as he always felt after such a shower, he snagged a towel from the rail next to the cubicle and stepped out so he could rub himself dry vigorously before dropping the wet towel in the laundry basket.
The last thing Julian did prior to leaving the bathroom was clean his teeth, he spent more time doing that than he had showering. Dental hygiene was very important to him and he brushed, flossed and went through every stage of ensuring his teeth were as clean as they could be that he could think of.
Returning to his bedroom once he was done he made his way over to the window, where he pulled back the heavy curtain that prevented even the smallest amount of light from entering the room and looked out. He spared a quick glance for his car, a battered old VW Golf, making sure that it hadn’t been stolen or vandalised, a possibility given the neighbourhood he lived in, which was in a part of town known for trouble, and another for the street. He then turned his gaze to the cloudless night sky. He was always amazed by how peaceful the simple act of gazing at the moon, especially when it was full, could make him feel.
The only thing that made him feel better than a full moon, was the countryside under a moonless sky, where he could feel as if he was the only person in the whole world.
Tearing himself away from his contemplation of the sky, Julian glanced quickly down the street again, wondering if he should go out and have a bite to eat before work. He decided he wasn’t hungry enough and stepped back from the window, pulling the heavy curtain closed once again.
He got dressed after that and made his way out of the small one bedroom flat he occupied when he was finished; as always, he stopped in the doorway where he went through his pre-departure ritual, which involved him patting his pockets, to be sure he wasn’t forgetting his mobile phone, wallet or keys, and then checking the zip on his trousers in case he hadn’t done it up. The last thing he did was run his fingers along his neck to ensure that the silver chain, which had once belonged to his grandfather and was the only piece of jewellery he ever wore, was still there.
When he was satisfied that he had not forgotten anything, Julian closed and locked the door before making his way out of the building. There was no lift, a lack that annoyed a few of the residents, but didn’t bother him, there weren’t all that many stairs and they didn’t trouble him, even when he descended at a jog, as he did then.
He slowed to a walk when he reached his car, though he didn’t stop; the petrol station where he worked the night shift was less than a mile away, and he saw no reason to be lazy and drive when the sky was clear,with no suggestion of bad weather. The only reason for him to drive, other than bad weather, was because he was running late, and as usual he had plenty of time to get to work before his shift start.
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