This is the second draft of my novel, Broken Vision. However, there has been major changes regarding plot, character, and POV.
I am only publishing this as motivation for me to continue working on it. Otherwise, it will just sit in my files collecting dust.
If you read the first draft, then this will be a lot different to the original, but hopefully in a good way.
She dreamed of a man.
As consciousness lulled her back to reality, her first thoughts were of the man and who he was. It was strange; she felt like she knew him. She had read somewhere once that dreams were made up of faces she had seen before, of people crossing the street, cashiers in shops, or distant relatives she hadn't met since birth. However, she was sure that the face was much more familiar than a stranger. There was something about those eyes that reminded her of someone, blue like the clearest sky and the deepest ocean, a shade of blue she had no name for.
Mia slipped her feet from the warmth of her covers, her toes curling into the carpet, then rose from the bed. Stranger still, she had no memory of going to bed at all. There was a horrid niggling pain behind her eyes, the kind she usually associated with exhaustion, even though she had been sleeping for... she whirled round to face the clock on her wall. The hands pointed to a little beyond six in the evening. It was much later than she had been expecting.
It was getting dark outside, the rain was lashing down hard against the glass of her window, the heavy kind of rain that seemed to fall in waves. As if the heavens had opened and released an ocean. She took a moment to glance through the window and on to the street below. Mia wasn't sure what she was expecting to see; a mysterious cloaked figure standing beneath the flickering street light, or a storm of bumbling zombies, but there was nothing that stood out to her. The street was quiet, which was common for the suburban estate, there was only a few cars parked along the road and on drives. It was the eeriest feeling; the feeling of being watched.
Turning away from the window, she noticed how her bag had been neatly propped against the foot of her bed and her shoes laid out carefully beside it. She wondered how they had gotten there, surely she would have stored her shoes in the cupboard under the stairs like she always does, and her bag usually resides on the chair at her desk. No matter how hard she concentrated, the memories of arriving home had vanished, she had absolutely no idea what had happened to her. She must have been exhausted to have wanted to crawl into bed in the middle of the afternoon fully clothed.
Her stomach rumbled. Pulling on a thicker jumper and her woolliest pair of socks, she trudged downstairs to the kitchen, switching on every light she came across to scare away the shadows creeping over her house. She'd had just about enough of uncertainties and decided that it was best to stick to what she knew for certain. For instance, she was home, she was dry and out of the wet weather, she was safe, and she was most certainly hungry.
Mia stuck a plate of leftovers in the microwave and settled at the table as it cooked.
Turning over her parents note in her hands, her fingertips traced the carelessly scrawled writing that marked the page, it was so unlike them to be running this late. Her dad was a manager of some chemical company, he was passionate about his job and often worked overtime, but never at such late notice. Her mum had left little explanation of her whereabouts, only reminding her daughter that dinner was in the fridge.
The microwave pinged. Amelia rose from her chair and collected her steaming meal. She set it down at the table and rolled up her sleeves - a habit she maintained from a young age. That was when she noticed it. A red mark surrounding a tiny puncture in her skin.
The rain pounded against the front of his car, the windscreen wipers battling hard against the lashes of water, it was a great war between them and the rain seemed to be winning, the left windscreen wiper wavered and slowed before admitting defeat. The wiper buckled, the blade coming loose and sticking out at an unnatural angle, it scraped across the glass with an uncomfortable screech.
"Damn it!" Jake roared, banging the palm of his hand against the dashboard. He pulled over at the next turn; a novelty American diner with a winking neon sign. It was impossible to see through the windscreen at all, he decided that it would be best to wait for the rain to stop. When he got out of the car, he squinted up into the black abyss above him, and doubted that would ever happen.
The diner itself was like he'd stepped into an old musical his sister had forced him to watch years ago; the name had slipped his mind. Black and white chequered tiles ran through the place, slick with mud and spilt drinks, it looked like it had missed out on a good few years of scrubbing. Worn red booths lined the wall against the window, chrome and leather stools perched at the counter, there was even a dusty jukebox against the far wall.
Jake seated himself on one of the less damaged stools and ordered a coffee from a middle-aged woman whose face has been weighed down by too much makeup and years of smoking. She gave him a less than welcoming look before shuffling off to the other end of the counter.
Balanced on a shelf behind the counter, an old television dribbled a constant static hum. There was reporter stood by the side of a road hunched beneath an umbrella, gesturing wildly toward the thick stream of traffic.
Jake watched the flickering pictures with indifference then pulled out his lighter and a half empty packet of cigarettes from his back pocket. He had been suffering with cravings for three hours but had been preoccupied, at least now he could settle down and attempt to enjoy himself. In a strange way he was kind of grateful for the windscreen wiper failing on him; then he figured the addiction was doing odd things with his mind. He pressed the cigarette to his lips and felt himself instantly relax.
"Hey, you can't smoke in here." The waitress snapped as she set his coffee in front of him. "You'll have to go outside."
He looked up at her through wet lashes, noting her stance with her hands on her hips, and smirked. Jake took his time exhaling, the smoke painted the air then splashed against the stained mouth of his server. "Why? You don't."
His eyes pointed to the ashtray half hidden behind the till, there were at least four butts grounded into their final resting place. The distinct scent of freshly smoked tobacco had been one of the first things he noticed about the diner when he first entered. He looked back to the waitress. She squirmed under his steel glare.
"Want one?" He tilted the pack toward her.
She snatched one from the packet faster than a starved dog, her chipped plastic nails scraping against the card of the pack, then pushed the cigarette between her caterpillar lips. She was like an animal ravenous for her next meal; he silently hoped his bad habit wouldn't lead to that behaviour. The waitress shuffled off again after that, probably in search of her lighter, or whatever waitresses do in empty diners. Jake's eyes swept over the floor once more, knowing for certain that she didn't spend her time cleaning.
He smiled to himself as he took a sip from his drink, the taste of tobacco and coffee mixing on his tongue. As he set the cup down, he felt his phone buzz in his pocket. There was no need to glance at the screen; he knew it was his sister. Jake's heart dropped as he realised the time. His fingertip brushed the bar on the screen then held the phone to his ear.
"Lily, damn it, I forgot."
"Yeah, yeah, I'm used to it." She replied with a hint of disappointment tainting her voice.
"No, you shouldn't have to put up with such a lousy brother. I'm
on my way now." Jake rose from the stool, emptying the loose
change from his pocket and on to the counter, despite it being
too little to cover the bill.
"Don't bother. John's just pulled up anyway. Maybe another day, okay?" Lily muttered. He could hear the crash of rain on her end. She must have been stood outside waiting for him for ages. Alone, waiting on the side of the road in the dark, fighting with a broken umbrella to keep herself dry.
He sighed in defeat. "You know that I would have picked you up if I could... it's just that I've been really busy today, it completely slipped my mind..."
"You're always busy Jake." Lily snapped. "Forget it, I won't ask you again." The line went dead. She'd hung up on him. Jake cursed loudly again, shoving the phone back in his pocket. He was angry at himself for slipping up again, he was supposed to be proving to his mum that he was capable of looking after Lily, not screwing up and ruining everything. She was the only member of his family that hadn't given up on him.
He whirled around to find the waitress watching him from the kitchen. She gave him a look that said she'd seen it all before. Not that he cared what she thought, he saw himself as merely one of hundreds of scumbags who had crawled through those doors, the old waitress had probably seen her fair share of people down on their luck.
"You wouldn't happen to have anything stronger back there, would you?"
The old timer laughed, it was a sour and sickly laugh that clung to the air and the walls of her throat, and disappeared behind the doors again. With the gentle chimes of clinking bottles, Jake felt himself relax, his problems were soon washed away with a dark and bitter tide of alcohol.