Excerpt - Into the Night

Chapter One of Into the Night



Logan woke to the sound of screeching metal and the smell of blood. His heart pounded with fear and he blinked rapidly to clear his vision as the shriek of steel and the scent of copper lingered. His fingers dug into the leather beneath him and as he frantically looked around, he caught the disapproving gaze of a woman with fluffy, bright orange hair who sat across from him.

To his immense surprise he was sitting in his seat on the bus, unharmed and safe.

He breathed deeply to slow his heart and get himself under control, then rested his forehead against the cool glass of the window. The screeching and the blood had just been a remnant of his dream.

He closed his eyes for a moment in attempt to banish the images from his mind. The dream had plagued him for two years, and no matter how many times Logan thought he was free of it, the dream would come back to haunt him. He wondered if he would ever be rid of it. But then again, he also wondered if he deserved the peace its absence would bring.

Straightening his back, Logan looked out the window. After a few seconds he recognized a house with a swing on the porch and an enormous oak tree in the front yard, which was located not far from his grandparents’ house. His heart started to race once again, but for a different reason this time. The bus was nearly at his stop and he had almost slept through it.

“That was a close one,” he muttered, receiving another glare from the woman across from him, whose hair, now that Logan focused, resembled a ginger cat curled up on top of her head. 

With a sense of relief and the hint of a smile on his lips, Logan got off the bus and began the short walk to his grandparents’ house. He was lucky he hadn’t slept through his stop, or he would have been late. His grandmother hated it when he was tardy for Sunday lunch. It was their weekly ritual, and if he were late, it would mean less time to spend with his grandparents, because he would have to leave to go to work.

Not today, though. He was fired last night.

As Logan strode down the sidewalk to the sounds of a lawnmower and a barking dog, he remembered what happened the night before.

Logan was just about to leave work after finishing his shift when Mr. Booth called out to him. “Hey, Logan, can I talk to you for a minute?”

He almost asked if it could wait. He wanted to get home sooner rather than later and with Mr. Booth one minute could easily turn into ten, but Mr. Booth was his manager, so there was only one answer. “Sure.”

With a mournful look at the exit, Logan turned and followed the manger to his office. Once inside the room, Mr. Booth closed over the door, and Logan’s nose scrunched as the smell hit him. The manager’s office was renowned for its aroma of stinky socks mixed with cabbage being cooked. Logan didn’t know how Mr. Booth could stand to be in the room for very long, but when anyone would mention it, the manager would always say ‘what smell?’ As Mr. Booth moved to the other side of his desk to sit, Logan started to breathe through his mouth. This wasn’t much better, though, as he could now taste the cabbage and socks. He really hoped this wouldn’t be one of Mr. Booth’s usual lengthy chats because he wanted to leave the office before the odour seeped into his skin.

When Mr. Booth started to speak, Logan forgot all about the stench.

“As you’re probably aware, Logan, business hasn’t been great lately. I’ve been putting off making changes, but it’s come to the point where I have to. Everyone works really hard here, so this decision has been tough to make. It’s come down to one thing. You’ve been with us the shortest amount of time, so I hope you understand why I have to let you go.”

Logan stared at Mr. Booth as he absorbed the manager’s words. “Are you firing me?”

“I’m afraid so. There just isn’t enough work, Logan. I’m sorry. You’re a good employee, so I hope you don’t see this as a negative reflection on you or your work.”

Logan could feel anger and hurt rising in him because of what was happening and also because of his manager’s kind words. “A little hard not to when I’ve just been fired.”

Mr. Booth leaned forward, his eyebrows narrowed in concern. “I can see you’re upset, but know that I am willing to keep you on for another two weeks to give you time to look for new work.”

“That’s nice of you.” This came out between clenched teeth, and because Logan was too angry, too hurt, he couldn’t stop the next words from spilling out of his mouth. “You can stick your job.”

He then turned and stormed from the room.

Logan regretted the rash decision now. He hated the part of himself that felt the need to rebel in some way whenever he was hurt. It wasn’t him - it wasn’t who he was - yet Logan couldn’t help it happening and now it left him in a bad situation. He could have had income for another two weeks while he looked for work, but now he needed to find a job as soon as possible or he would be out on the street. He was already a month behind in his rent and had used up all his chances with his landlord.

No wonder he fell asleep on the bus. He remained wide awake most of the night worrying about what he was going to do.

As Logan rounded the corner and his grandparents’ house came into view, he firmly shoved the events of last night to the back of his mind. He quickened his steps and within seconds he arrived at his grandparents’ white wooden gate. A squeak met his ears as he pushed the gate open, and as the midday sun peeked out from behind a cloud, he made his way down the rose bush lined path that cut through the yard. Logan stepped up to the mahogany front door and with a deep breath, he rang the doorbell.

© 2012 Jade Fowler

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