There are fates worse than death…
Hello, this is the second chapter in my serialisation of my latest novel, Accidental Immortal, on my blog. While for the first week it will be published every day, after the first seven posts they will be published four times a week so that the serialisation will be completed at the same time as on Wattpad, if not a little sooner! I have gone with British spelling on this one…
If you would like to start from the beginning, please head over to chapter one. There is also a contents list at the bottom of each post.
Chapter 2 – LONDON, ENGLAND | Present day
Lynsey strode as if devils were after her. She held herself tall, her head held high, she was tiring but if she didn’t think about how exhausted she actually was, then she would get home. The hardback in her bag was heavy and she was thankful that she’d almost emptied the large bottle of water that lay beside it. Still her neck ached where the strap pulled on her shoulder. Around her the crowds were growing larger, the farther she walked down the street. She hitched the bag up and twisted it so it fell across her stomach. No pickpockets were going to get into her stuff!
Oxford Street was teeming with shoppers. Five people deep on her side of the road and it was no better on the other. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw some pedestrians stepping on to the road to bypass the crowds as more and more were emptying from the shops or joining the crush from the underground. Horns honked in protest but no one paid any attention. All around men, women and children were weaving in and out, not looking at each other, all desperate to get to the latest bargain or to get home. Why hadn’t she left earlier? Lynsey smiled to herself, as if Mary would have let her. “One for the road?” she’d said as Lynsey had tried to take her leave. Of course to refuse would have been churlish, and then of course they had to have something to eat and then another drink to was it down… Lynsey’s smile broadened, she knew exactly what would happen when she agreed to meet up for the day and she had needed it. A good laugh, great food and some booze to chase away the past twelve months.
At an intersection, the traffic lights turned red and Lynsey stopped at the curb. She stepped from foot to foot, savouring the brief relief from pain for the second her feet were off the pavement. As the light turned green, she moved off, striding purposefully once again in a straight line. People would move if you didn’t, it was all about the posture. Look them straight in the eye and don’t slow down and you can move down the street at twice the speed instead of swerving in and out as the tourists were doing around her. Except the woman who appeared in front wasn’t swerving, in fact she looked like she had no attention of giving way at all. Where had she come from? A brief flicker of annoyance sped across Lynsey’s thoughts but she didn’t have time to get out of the way, even if she wanted to. Their eyes met briefly then the woman let out an abrupt oomph as she walked straight into the corner of the hardback book in Lynsey’s bag. Lynsey let a small smile escape as she watched the woman double over for a moment before righting herself as she carried on behind her. She really should have got out of the way. Lynsey turned back around and did likewise.
Half an hour later she arrived at Enfield Town. The short journey was blessedly uneventful and she spent the time thinking about what to pack to take back to university. There was only one term left so she wouldn’t need much. Maybe Gareth would give her a lift with her stuff. It was worth a try. She’d almost forgotten about her feet as she stepped off the train on to the platform. The step was a little steeper than she was expecting and she landed hard on her ankle. She almost toppled but another passenger grabbed her arm before the fell. He looked closely at her for a moment and then nodded before he moved past her to get on the train. This really wasn’t her day.
Lynsey winced at every step. Every time her feet touched the ground it was like walking on broken glass. They were killing her. There was no way she was going to be able to walk the rest of the way home. Lynsey dug into her pockets and pulled out her phone. She swiped on the screen quickly until she found what she was looking for. There would be a bus in ten minutes if she put a spurt on.
Lynsey gritted her teeth and hurried out of the station. The nearest stop was close and there was still eight minutes to go but she had missed the bus too many times before because the buses were early. She didn’t want to wait another forty-five minutes for another one. They never came every 5-10 minutes as advertised.
Lynsey shivered as she calmed down. She put her bag between her feet and leant against the clear plastic wall, wrapping her arms around herself while rubbing her hands up and down against them. She pulled her jumper from around her waist and shrugged herself into it, letting the baggy folds envelop her. She loved it but the white loose knit was an idiotic choice for this weather. Would it really have taken so long to pick up her coat she berated herself? It was stupid to go out without it. But then the weather forecast had been for a hot day, and why shouldn’t she take a risk now and again? She was fed up of being the sensible one. A fresh gust of wind passed through her jumper like shards of shooting ice. Bloody weathermen, did they ever get it right?
‘Are you alright, love?’ The voice came from her right and Lynsey smiled ruefully as she turned to look at her. The woman was slight and smartly dressed in the standard black skirt and jacket uniform of the city. The reek of cigarette smoke emanated from her making Lynsey’s nose twitch.
‘I’m fine, I just wish the bus would get here already!’ She said, reaching down for a tissue from the front pocket of her pack that lay on the floor.
‘I know, you don’t get any buses for half an hour then …’
‘…three come along at once.” Lynsey finished for her with a tired smile as she came back up. “It is getting a bit nippy at the moment.”
A fresh gust of wind assaulted them from the east. The three walls of the bus shelter rattled in the wind. They were no protection against it.
‘Wow,’ the woman cried as she grabbed a shopping bag, her e-cigarette falling unnoticed to the floor. The plastic ballooned to nearly blow her away. ‘It really is starting to pick up now.’
Lynsey didn’t reply as she eyed up the grey storm clouds blowing towards them. That was unusual. There had been blue skies for as far as she could see a moment ago. This was freaky weather. A clap of thunder made her jump and as she watched, sparks of lightning jumped from one end of the cloud to the other as it drew closer.
‘I think I’ll just pop into the shops until the storm passes.’ Shouted the woman into the wind. She was already half-way down the street before Lynsey could voice her agreement.
Lynsey stood undecided for a moment, there was no way she was going to be hit by lightning. She picked up her bag from between her feet and hitched it over her shoulder. That was a once in a million chance, surely? If she just waited it would pass. Hadn’t she read that lightning went to taller objects first? Wasn’t that why church steeples were made? Maybe it would be better to get out of the firing line until it passed! She craned her neck, there wasn’t any protection in the park behind her. The bus stop wasn’t safe, so the only option was the shops in front where the woman had gone. Through the trees lining the road she spied a café. Perfect! Taking the decision she rushed forward to the pedestrian crossing. She fought the wind which picked up power as she crossed the road, threatening to push her back. Rain gushed down from the clouds, soaking her within seconds. Lynsey looked up to see the clouds were now hovering over her as though someone had turned a celestial tap on. She heard an almighty thunder clap above her and she broke into a run. Bending her head down, she pushed through the rain. She was nearly there. Another two feet until the tree, another two until the shop. She saw a blue flash and a sudden pain shot through her as a thousand bolts of electricity coursed along her body. Today was not a good day to go to town.