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First Page: Envoys from the Stars Fiction

First Page: Envoys from the Stars Fiction

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Chapter One

The lucid deep blue eyes of the child held a constant gleam of anticipation as the train sped on through the English countryside towards London. His bubbling inner excitement was fanned constantly by the magical ebb and flow of this, his first journey into the greater outer world. To his boyish senses, a harmony, virtually lost to adult perception, blended together in sweet symphony the odours of steam, oil and burning coal with the rhythmic rocking of the time-worn wooden railway carriage.

Totally consumed by the sound of the labouring locomotive up ahead, the child’s gaze began to follow the telegraph wires that ran parallel to the track. They suddenly appeared as a living thing, whipping up and down, sometimes fast, sometimes slow. It was as though someone was holding a giant pencil through the window to draw lines on the sky, he thought.

The illusion held his attention for several enchanted minutes before he at last turned his rosy cheeks towards the young woman seated beside him. A tiny lace handkerchief, that she’d been dabbing at her eyes with, was hurriedly returned to her handbag. The little boys gaze regarded her intently.

“Mummy, why are you crying?” he asked softly. Till then, her efforts to remain cheerful for the child’s sake would have been more than obvious to any casual observer. She squared her shapely shoulders and with an effort, glanced down affectionately at her fair-headed son.

“Mummy’s not crying, silly! Just a little soot in my eye from the locomotive!”

She stood up and pulled on the leather strap to lift the window a little and turned unsteadily to seat herself on the opposite side,

“Come, sit over here with me, darling. We should have our backs to the engine!” she said.

The boy slid obediently to the floor and clambered up beside his mother. They shared the compartment with one other passenger, an elderly gentleman who, after a polite nod to the mother and a friendly wink at the child had promptly fallen asleep after a rather hasty glance through the pages of his ‘Daily Express’ and a sorrowful shaking of his head.

The pleasant autumn weather on this Saturday, the 12th of September 1940, did nothing to subtract from the mounting gloom of Julie Ann Wade. Today she was en route to the south-eastern English county of Kent to place her eldest son in the care of an institution, namely, St James, a boarding school for boys.

First Page: One Shade of Black Romantic Suspense

First Page: One Shade of Black Romantic Suspense

Welcome to First Page Saturday. Individual authors anonymously send a first page read and critiqued by the Dear Author community of authors, readers and industry others. Anyone is welcome to comment. You may comment anonymously. You can submit your own First Page using this form.

The whole world changed on a Wednesday. Unfortunately, nobody knew it but me.

You see, that was the day I watched myself die. Then again, that was only the trigger for something larger. Much larger. Something big enough to bankrupt companies hundreds of years old, topple governments, and threaten the very idea of what it meant to be human.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Maybe it’s best if I started at the beginning so you can understand why I did what I did. Why I had no other choice.

That day started out like any other.

I woke up beside my husband to see him watching me in the faint light of the morning.

He smiled as soon as my eyes fluttered open.

“Morning sleepyhead,” he said as he pushed some stray hairs to one side of my face.

I smiled back up at him.

He leaned down and kissed me tenderly.

I welcomed the love and wrapped my arms around his neck, keeping him close. After nearly three years of marriage, there was still that spark that reminded me of why I fell in love with him. It was because he fell in love with me first.

His cell phone buzzed on the nightstand, its vibrating hum echoing in the hollow wood.

“Ugh,” he complained.

“Leave it,” I whispered.

He pulled away grudgingly.

“I can’t.”

“Just this once,” I said as I batted my eyes at him.

He gave me a quick peck on the lips and rolled away to answer his phone.

“This is Robert.”

He glanced at me and winked.

“No, I’m already in the car. The traffic is heavy. Looks like some construction, so I might be a little late. Okay. Hold the plane. Bye.”

He switched off the phone and gave me a pitiful look.

“No,” I whined as my shoulders dropped.

“Somebody’s gotta pay the bills around here.”

“I could get a part time job.”

He knelt next to me on the bed.

“You already have a full time job.”

I sat up and crossed my arms.

“I can do both.”

He rested a hand on my shoulder.

“I want you to get better. I want you to remember us, like I remember us.”

“I’m trying.”

He smiled.

“I know you are.”

He stood up quickly.

“I’ve got to get going. Promise me you will make it to the doctor’s on time this week.”

“I promise.”

He cocked his head to one side and smiled playfully.

“Say that one more time. And mean it.”

I sat up straight and held up three fingers together in the Boy Scout salute.

“I promise.”

He smiled and gave me another kiss before he grabbed the handle of the suitcase at the foot of the bed.

“I’ll call you when I’m settled into the hotel.”

“I’ll miss you,” I said.

His smile returned.

“Not as much as I’ll miss you. Now, don’t be late for your appointment.”

“I won’t,” I said, and meant it.

Well, I meant it when I said it.