The Land That Never Was – Book 1 Ink – Chapter 1 Charlie

It was always new to him, the smells, the sights, the feel. He never had any trouble getting up in the morning; if nothing else, he woke up with the attitude and happiness of a kid on Christmas morning. Today was no different: Charlie James Hethrow woke up in the same pale beige room at around 4 in the morning. He stood up from his bed and drank the water that was by his bedside. He fetched four buckets of water; two for his parents, one for his breakfast and one for the shower. The water was cold but no colder than usual, as the cool liquid splashed over his slender frame all he could think of was his upcoming day. Today, Ezra was coming to the printing press and he promised that the next time he came, he would bring Charlie something special. He was excited.

After the shower, he went back to his room where his worn out uniform hung on the cabinet door, freshly ironed the night before. He quickly got dressed, went downstairs to make toast and boiled broccoli, no eggs or butter except on Sunday. He drank the toast down with warm milk before saying goodbye to his mom for the day. His dad had already left when he was shower and would be back after he had gone to sleep. Charlie started his 1 and a half hour long walk to the printing press. He walked off the winding roads of Fort Richardson onto the most winding road of Kingston Ville, Kingston Boulevard. The road spread out across the entire state and leads to all the towns in Kingston Ville. However it was also the most feared road; its winding roads lead a traveller on a never ending journey, many tales have been told about men who spend the rest of their lives navigating the road. But the worst thing about the road is Sulphur Forests: forests cursed by the Great Wizards during the New World War. It is claimed that the trees themselves emit acid that causes the throat to burn and the eyes to smolder, hence its name.

On most days Charlie didn’t mind walking on the road, he liked to talk to himself and the lack of another soul never bothered him in the slightest. He would usually take his time walking but today he walked at a brisker pace than usual. He wasn’t scared but be felt uneasy. He felt it in the air, he felt it in the earth, he felt it in the wind; a slight chill. It wasn’t too cold but it was cold enough to make him grab his coat and increase his pace even more. He walked quickly, wanting to get to the warm and safety of the press. He stopped and looked; he had passed the press, he had to turn back. He turned around and began walking, rather quickly, back to the press.

“Turn”, he heard a whisper. Faint, soft, quieter than a mouse. Charlie thought he was dreaming, there wasn’t a single soul out, no person or animal ever ventured farther than the press, it was just too dangerous. “Turn.” He heard it again, but this time he knew he wasn’t dreaming. He pinched himself just to be sure.

Charlie didn’t bother turning around, he sprinted back towards the press. He didn’t think about the fact that the whispers were coming at him from all around, that they felt like a mist that sucked all the air out of his lungs. The whispers felt heavy, which each whispers his foot steps slowed, the weight was crushing him. He was tempted to give up and let the trees take him. He fell to his feet, breath heavy, and turned around to find nothing but empty air. He was at the press. Charlie full of joy and discomfort collapsed on the steps of the press which was where the press manager, a balding Mr.Oriel found him fifteen minutes later.


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