Here’s a preview of the first chapter.
He was flying through the air like no other. Eyes closed, hands outstretched, feeling the wind glide over his body, the cool air hitting his face. He wasn’t frightened; why should he be? The wind was his friend, and he was flying with it, forever rising higher and higher, trying to kiss the clouds. He looked down and saw fields of green, the wind making them a rippling green ocean. He dived down, swooping as low as he could, lips just brushing the grass. This was how he was meant to be, free as the wind, soaring without a care, an everlasting smile playing across his lips.
“Can I have those documents by five, please, Perez?”
Perez shook his head from left to right; daydreaming again, and always the same old one. It seemed to creep up on him, waiting to catch him out when he least expected it or when he was merely bored.
Looking up, he saw Ruth’s expression was a mixture of annoyance and self-importance. Still waiting for an answer, his colleague tapped his desk in impatience.
“Yeah, they’ll be ready by then,” Perez muttered, trying to keep the boredom he was feeling from leaking out of his voice.
The sad thing was, Ruth was no higher up or lower down the company ladder than he was, but somewhere down the line he had stopped caring. People who shouldn’t be giving him orders had started to issue more and more demands as the years passed by. Everything was just so tiresome, life in general was blow-your-brains out, hang-yourself dull. So Perez found himself treading through life just remembering to breathe.
Looking up at the clock on the wall he give a shudder; another soul-destroying ten minutes before he made his walk home. Ten minutes felt like forty, but at least it was over; collecting his stuff he rushed towards the door. He looked to his left and could just make out Ruth striding towards him, eyes set on her prey.
He bolted out the door in a half-attempted jog and buried himself inside his coat, wrapping it around his body for warmth. As he looked up at the black December sky, a mixture of rain and snow hit his face, giving him the added benefit of being cold as well as wet. It was as if the weather couldn’t decide on what dress to wear for the evening.
Hurrying down the road, Perez passed the bus stop, where he would normally wait for his ride home. With the wind biting more and more chunks out of his face, he decided it was better to keep moving than to stand still. Home wasn’t that far anyway, and the walk would give him some much-needed warmth.
Tree branches, bare of all life, swayed back and forth, the wind passing through them sounding like they were mourning their lost, their branches flailing like hands trying to grab any passerby who dared to get to close. Walking on, Perez decided on a shortcut through the park; he might get a bit muddy but it would cut his journey by half. Head tucked into his coat, gloved hands in pockets, he marched forward, avoiding the eyes of dog walkers, the only ones who were out on a night like this.
It amazed him how people could bow down to their pets every whim and whimper, treating them with such loyalty and respect, but fail to do the same for their own kind. Still keeping a steady pace, he tried to remember another reason why he disliked dog owners, and all too soon his foot trod on the answer. With a sigh and a look to the skies, he walked over to the nearest park bench to see how bad the damage was. Grabbing his shoe with force he pulled it off, his foot now getting a soaking and slowly starting to go numb. Looking around him he located a patch of grass to his left, and hopped over, wiping his shoe clean as best as he could.
“Great night to be out.”
Trying to put his shoe back on a foot that was now a block of ice, Perez almost had a heart attack. The statement came from right next to him on the bench. He could have sworn that there was no one there a moment ago.
He turned to see who had spoken. Sitting next to him was a man with shockingly sliver hair. As the moon escaped the embrace of the clouds for just a moment, it looked as if it was reflecting it back. His nose appeared too big for his face, and try as he might Perez couldn’t work out his age. At one glance he seemed to be a man of middle age but at another he looked so much older.
But apart from the hair, the most interesting thing about him was his eyes. They were green pools that seemed to shine, knowing your darkest desires without you even speaking a word.
“I guess,” replied Perez, trying to end the conversion before it went any further.
Having successfully cleaned the shoe and wedged it back on the ice block that was his foot, Perez made to leave.
“Not the weather, for flying though.”
“Err…planes normally take off in a lot worse, but anyway I must be off.”
“That’s not what I meant, son. Dreams have a funny way of taking up your whole day, making you yearn for things that you wish to happen. Don’t you agree?” the stranger grumbled.
It felt like an icy hand had just passed through Perez’s stomach. Who was this man?
Just by saying those words the man seemed to know everything about Perez, without actually saying anything at all. Whoever he was, talking to strange men in a middle of a deserted park at night was just something you didn’t do.
He heard stories, and he didn’t want to become part of them. “Sir, you seem a nice enough guy, and I would like to chat, but I must really be going,” Perez said in a rushed voice.
The stranger rubbed his hair irritably. “Hear me out, son. If what I have to say is not to your liking, you may go.”
“Okay.” Perez didn’t know why, but looking into those eyes did something to him, made him want to know more. Plus he was wet now anyway and didn’t have anything to do when he got home, apart from watch television.
“I know three things about you. The first and most obvious is that you are unhappy with your life. I can tell that by the way you walk, shoulders slumped, head down, almost as if you have given up on the world and everything in it. Work drags on, like the slow dipping of a leaky tap that you can’t seem to ever turn off, and the monotony of every day seems to be slowly killing you, piece by piece.
“The second is that you dream about flying almost every day. No…no, don’t ask how I know this, all will be made clear to you pretty soon. But yes, like me and many others, you dream about the wind on your face, embracing you like an old, long-lost friend. But these dreams are as much a curse as they are a blessing. I won’t tell you why; sooner or later you will work that out for yourself.
“Lastly, you’re special. You may not believe it now, but trust me when I say this, you are special. What you are will have a lot of people come looking for you, to do you harm. But I am glad I got to you first.”
Perez stood still, just staring, shaking his head and letting little droplets of rain fly from his face. This man was clearly on some form of medication, he thought, and I just had to stay that bit longer, letting him engross me in a conversation. While all these thoughts flashed across his mind, he didn’t say anything. Catching himself, he wondered how long it had been since either man had said a word.
“Okay. Hmm, does anyone know that you’re out?”
“What?” replied the stranger.
“It’s going to be all right, I will just call the local services and they’ll have someone came and pick you up as soon as possible,” said Perez in a low and steady tone, as if he were speaking to a wounded animal.
“Listen, boy, I haven’t escaped a mental ward, nor am I crazy. But you need to shut up and come with me,” growled the stranger in reply.
With that he stood up. He wore combat trousers, with a long coat; a hood that he pulled up covered nearly all of his face. Both were a dull black mixed with grey, which blended into the night so well it was hard to make him out.
Taking a step back, Perez realised just where he was; this could turn ugly, and if it did, there was no one around to help. He felt like he could trust this guy, but the nonsense he was spouting, and the fact that they were in the middle of a deserted park, made all his senses scream at him to run.
“I need to go, people are expecting me back any minute now. But it was nice talking to you.” With that, Perez turned his back to leave.
“You are in danger, kid.” It was just above a whisper, but the wind carried those words on its back and along Perez’s spine.
“Sure, whatever you say, old man,” Perez replied before hurrying into the night.