Chapter 1

73.4K 2.2K 140

Chapter 1


* Two years later *

“There you go,” Julia handed the book over with a smile, “Enjoy,” she waved the young lady goodbye before she turned and typed away on the computer, trying to locate numerous books before they were collected that afternoon.

A deep sigh resonated from deep inside as her shoulders slumped and she stared out the window at the world passing by very slowly, feeling as if something wasn’t right.

She’d always felt like that though; as if something was missing but she could never put her finger on what it was.

Julia had been working at the local library in Bishop’s Green for as long as she could remember but that didn’t mean it stopped Batty Beatrice from moving the books about every chance she got just to confuse Julia.

She thought that Beatrice had something personally against her when she first started here but it was quickly explained to her fifteen year old self that Beatrice was in fact “Batty”.

She didn’t know what it meant back then and she still didn’t know what it mean specifically now other than the fact that Beatrice liked putting sugar in the ‘coffee’ bowl and putting out saucers of milk for her cat.

But there was only a slight issue; she didn’t have a cat.

Julia thought she spent most of her time sniffing out curdled milk and picking up saucers from the floor only for them to replaced later that evening when she went home.

Home; Julia thought with a grimace; more like a prison with her mother controlling everybody she spoke to and where she went.

With her twenty-sixth birthday drawing close, Julia would have moved out by now if it hadn’t been for the accident. And the small detail of having no money to her name.

Shaking herself out of whatever daydream she had fallen into, she wrote down the list of books and got back to work before she had to meet her father for the afternoon.

* * *

“What about this one?” Julia picked up a lovely blue dress with ruffles across the stomach and held it in the air for her father to see if from his location across the store.

But once again her hopes were dashed as he shook his head and went back to looking for a ‘nice jumper’.

Julia didn’t think there was a jumper in the world that was ‘nice’ and besides it was the middle of August and three days away from her mother’s birthday.

“When is she ever,” Julia groaned, deeply regretting her choice to take him shopping, “going to wear it!?”

“Winter will be here soon,” Her father defended his choice of present.

“Yeah,” Julia scoffed, “In four months! By which time, mum will either have lost it or have used it for the cat’s bed,”

Her father sent her a scathing look out of the corner of his eye and Julia just stared back with the same blue eyes he had given her.

“You know I’m right,” Julia told him as they had a stare-off; neither of them willing to back down because both were absolutely certain that they were right.

“She needs a jumper for winter,” Was all her father stated again for the tenth time in one hour and Julia threw her hands into the air.

“Enough!” She chuckled, “I’m going to grab a coffee, I can tell this is going to take a while,”

Julia caught the worried expression her father gave her.

“Don’t panic, I know the drill,” Julia held up her hands as she slowly retreated out of the store, “No talking to strange people and no wandering off; Geez, you’d think I was five not twenty five,”

Making her way to the coffee stand, she joined the queue behind two men and waited for her turn to come.

Julia felt her lips pulling back into a soft smile when she saw the two men join hands; nostalgia starting to creep into her heart when she saw the smiles across their faces.

The familiar pang twisting her heart but she didn’t know what it meant.

“Hey! You two!” A man shouted from end of the shopping complex and it was like a firework going off right in front of her as everything turned to mute and her vision blurred.

Snapping her head to the side, trying to find who had shouted out, when she wasn’t looking at the Bishop Green Shopping Centre anymore but she was staring out into a field of camouflage and desert.

It was like the flashes of a camera as she saw a soldier with a bald head and tattoos across his neck storm towards her screaming, “Oi! You two!” He screamed and Julia’s heart was racing as she looked around and found him shouting at two men by her side, also dressed in camouflage.

She could literally feel the shared fear in their eyes as they faced off with the solider.

But just as quickly had it come was it gone again, leaving her stood in the mall sweaty and breathless.

“Are you in the queue? Hello?”

A voice pierced the veil and she turned to see an impatient young woman behind her staring at Julia as if she was crazy.

Jerking her head softly, she stepped backwards and tried to get her breath back.

What the hell had just happened!? 

12 Seconds (#1 in Military series)Where stories live. Discover now