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Inferno : Elements Series Book One

By Ebony Upshall All Rights Reserved ©

Adventure / Fantasy

Blurb

My life used to be so boring. I wanted action and adventure. I wanted magic and wonder. I wanted to be like the heroines of my favourite novels. I suppose you should be careful about what you wish for. I'm no longer boring. I've found adventure. I found the magic and, yes, plenty of wonder. I'm living the life I coveted. Who knew having people out to kill you could be so stressful?

Chapter One

Gwen

I don’t want to wake up, I never do. The days are just too boring. I may as well just stay asleep and keep dreaming. Three years ago I was graduating high school, all hopes for the future bright and my life was planned out. I’d study Marine Biology, I’d get my degree and maybe even my PhD and I’d spend every day for the rest of my life studying the beauty and mystery that is the big, blue ocean. I guess my life just falls into the cliché story where that just didn’t happen and now I’m working at a convenience store with horrible clientele and an erratic and unreliable roster. I’ve been here since I was 15 though, so at least it feels like home, I guess. I have a minimal social life consisting of two best friends and have nothing but dreams for what I might want the rest of my life to become. I can’t even say that I’m all that attractive, at least compared to societies standard, which is all anyone seems to care about. Who’s going to look at the podgy girl in the corner, who wears glasses and has a brain, when there’s a leggy blonde with a great rack commanding the entire room’s attention? Needless to say, I don’t have a boyfriend and probably have no hope of finding one in the near (or probably distant) future. When I’m not at work I can usually be found in an arm chair with a book or a movie. Comic books and fantasy adventure novels where I can place myself in another world, far from my boring one, are my favourite. Just living the life, I suppose.
No, I don’t want to wake up today. It’s 5:00am, I start work at six and I have no expectations for the day other than to sell rude people their milk, bread and cigarettes and then drive home at 2:30pm. I walk through the front doors and begin opening the store with my boss. Amy is pretty great, one of very few people at work who I’ll put the extra effort in for. I’ve known her for years, so she’s also one of those few people involved in my minimal social life. After we’ve disabled the alarms, turned on the lights, put the morning paper on display and opened the registers, we open the doors and let the crazy people come in. You know; the ones who go to the shop before it’s even light out just to get the paper or milk? I’ve never understood it. As usual I take my break at 12pm, come back at 12:30, finish off my jobs and leave at 2:30. This will be my one shift for the week unless I get called in again. After I get home I have a long, hot shower, put on some loose and comfy clothes and settle down on my bed with a new book and my sketch pad. So now you see my routine? It’s like this every day.
Work. Read. Sleep. Repeat.
Not exactly a joyous existence, but I live alone; I have a roof over my head and many overflowing shelves of books to dull the boredom and quite the imagination to fuel my drawing. So I suppose I’m content?

Amy called after work yesterday and offered me a shift for today too. It’s a task to get the ice off my car and wind down the windows so that my car, lacking a functioning air conditioner, doesn’t fog up. I hit reverse and head out but something about this morning just feels so off. Today isn’t the usual empty street, dim streetlight and silence that I’m used to. There’s a guy on the corner of the street…and he’s looking straight at me. He has dark hair, bright blue eyes, and it looks like his biceps are going to burst right out of his tight t-shirt. I’d find him incredibly attractive if he wasn’t staring at me like he was trying to blow up my car just by giving it the stink eye. I make a point of revving the engine as I drive off. I’m not in the mood for arse holes, its 5:45am. Seriously, isn’t there some sort of rule that before at least 9:00am people need to make an attempt at being human? It’s a break in pattern though, a rare and, not entirely unwelcome, break in pattern. At least it’s the only break in pattern since last month. It’s something for my mind to drift off with while I’m working. I have a fantastic imagination. Throughout the day I think of different reasons the guy was there. Is he a thief scoping out his next target? Is he a fallen angel? A vampire? The Doctor walking back to the TARDIS. A wizard waiting for Harry to arrive via Portkey? Before I even know it my shift has finished and I’m driving back home, immersed in the familiar patterns of my regular routine and no promise of work for a few days at least. Having to fill these empty days is generally pretty simple; catching up on my favourite television shows, making a few trips to the library or book store to fulfil my addiction to reading and buying new art supplies.

I’m half way through Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone again (Jo Rowling is a saint) when my phone rings.
“Hey Carmen,” I answer. I already know who it is, she’s one of two people who call me on a regular basis; my best friends Alice and Carmen. I tried calling her earlier but she didn’t pick up and I can guarantee she was in the shower. It’s a weird little thing with us that at least 95% of the calls we make to one another aren’t picked up because one of us is in the shower. It’s always been that way and honestly there is no explanation at all, just one of those strange things. I could probably be on the other side of the planet and she’d miss my call because she was in the shower.
“Sorry I missed your call, I was in the shower,” she laughs. “What’s up?”
“Do you have to work in the morning? I’m pretty bored and I was thinking dinner and a few drinks?”
“Funny you should be feeling like crawling out of your den,” she laughs. “I’m headed to Alice’s place tonight, remember? You were hoping you’d get out of it by working. Clearly you’re not.”
I groan. Amazingly, Carmen and Alice are my opposites. Where my social life is pretty much limited to them, they have groups of friends that they’re usually planning something or another with and they enjoy a good party.
“How drunk will everyone be?”
I don’t really drink. I don’t like the feeling of being out of control and my one and only hangover, courtesy of Carmen at her 21st, was one hangover too many in my opinion.
“Gwen, you can’t say no to coming out simply because there will be other human beings hanging around there too. Get your head out of your book, put on something that says ‘Hey, I may want to flirt with you!’ and get your arse up. I’ll be there in half an hour.”
With that she hangs up and my fate is sealed. In sticking with the theme of hey-I-may-want-to-flirt-with-you I put on some jeans and a V neck top. I may not be very attractive, but my breasts seem to be an asset. I have DDs and when my personality doesn’t grab attention, they at least seem to make people take a second look. My sister, Emily, would be proud. She’s younger and as bubbly and social as they come and she wouldn’t have let me leave the house without her clothing approval. If memory serves, she already approved this outfit the last time I went out, so at least the clothes will do. Carmen shows up exactly half an hour later and as we drive away from my house I can’t help looking over my shoulder for the weirdo from this morning. I just have this feeling that I’m being watched.

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