8 months ago

THE ETERNAL by Bobby Asghar : Chapter 1

Click cover to read the first chapter of THE ETERNAL - - -


BOBBY ASGHAR romance after-dark to the scene of a slasher flick. Catching her discomfort, he asked her what was the matter. Though touched by his compassion, she didn’t answer, just stared into the darkness ahead. He asked again, then asked if she was scared. She said she wasn’t, but the lie was transparent. He told her not to be, that he was with her and would protect her, that it was only dark. But it wasn’t the dark she was scared of—it was what lay hidden in it. “Trust me”—he pulled closer, gently squeezed her hands—there’s nothing there.” Lisa felt foolish. From as far back as she could remember, her father had always left a night-light on in her bedroom to push back the dark. It was done out of love, and with good reason: children slept more soundly when there wasn’t enough darkness to birth demons. If she was scared, he’d stroke her hair and sing her to sleep. Reminded of how she hid under the bed sheet or protected her neck with it when she wasn’t at her dad’s, she cracked a sheepish smile. Burying one’s head in the sand was such a childish philosophy, and as if a piece of cloth would stop a monster or a vampire anyway. She could hear the music blaring from the pub, just up the bank and across the road, and there had to have been close to forty people outside it. There were more on the bridge ahead. She was in the middle of Manchester, surrounded by pubs, clubs, and masses of people. What could possibly go wrong? Beneath the bridge her eyes adjusted, and she wondered why she’d been so scared. His back to the wall, they held each other so close that she could smell the heat rise off him. When he told her he’d been wanting to get her alone all night, she shivered, and any lingering fears she might have had were instantly 4

THE ETERNAL evanescent. Far removed from the surreptitious feel of an alleyway or the back of the bicycle sheds, the void beneath the bridge was a world hidden in the midst of another. Darker, mustier, more secluded, and with an atmosphere so thick and intense that even the music softened to it. Holding each other in the dark, the rest of the world faded further away, and though the air was bitterly crisp, she was flushed and warm when she kissed him. His hands restricting themselves to her hips and waist was a good thing, but a torturous tease. When they finally did roam free, it felt so right and so wrong at the same time that she was powerless to stop them— but for want of trying. She was lost, enraptured. Then she shivered, but in a shy way: she wasn’t sure she knew what she wanted anymore. She liked him, but she’d only just met him. Her morality already raging in civil conflict, he went a couple of bridges too far, and from the depths of her inebriated mind, her conscience finally broke free of its shackles to breathlessly breach. He asked her what was wrong. That he was bemused and considerate rather than slighted made her feel foolish for a second time. Stammering in simplistic terms, she told him it was more than she’d bargained for. His subsequent, heartfelt apology only fuelled her self-loathing. First, a scared child: now, an old maid; if she wanted him to hate her she was going about it the right way. Taking the blame might have helped more if she hadn’t followed it with Victorian morality: restating her simplistic justification for stopping him only resulted in him asking if she wanted to go back to the pub. No sooner had the words left his lips than she told him she didn’t want to—at least she didn’t think so— “We’ll just take it slow, is all.” 5

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