“The Seven Circles” (Chapter Two)

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

This work is still with the editing process, so i apologize for any mistakes you might find.

Click here for Chapter 1 Preview

By J.H.Williams

©Jack H W Williams. All Rights Reserved

Chapter Two

The Descent

On leaving the house, Noah noticed all over the front garden was discarded rubbish, bin bags had been ripped violently everywhere, paper, packets and plastic, had been removed, some animal had gone through his rubbish, he looked upon other houses and drives in the street, not one other had been touched, why his house, was the contents of his bins different to anyone else’s he wondered.  He stood there for a moment, one foot out of the porch, eyes questioning the scraps, left everywhere, he pulled the front door shut, and walked over towards the flower beds, bending down to pick up the rubbish, he examined a piece, rolling it over in his hands, teeth marks laced one side, his mind wondered to the events, hours earlier in which he thought a fox appeared to him, a unpleasant cold rushed over him round down his spine, it started to prickle, anger bubbled away inside, now picking up all he could see as quickly as possible, a tin can lay under his fathers memorial tree, he reached out for it, the jagged metal, slicing his index finger, a warm stream, of blood trickled down his hand, he bought it to his mouth sucking on it, the metallic taste filling his mouth and nose, he threw it towards the road, it bounced dancingly in the street, knocking off the tarmac, he composed himself, eyes closed, “its my imagination, their was no fox” repeating the words over and over in his head chanting it, the bleeding had subsided, now wanting to get away from this place, the wood staring down at him high above the houses, walking towards his car parked in front of the garage, he opened it.  Eyes wondering up towards the dark shadows of the tall trees swaying in the wind, the moon lighting the silhouettes, he pulled open the door, and sat.

Noah placed his keys into the car ignition, the engine roared into life, the clock on the dashboard approaching eight, he was late, with one last look upon his home, he saw his mother and sister sat in the living room, Tv flickering on their faces, placed his hand on the wheel, and reversed on to the road, and pulling away from the safety that resided in those four walls.

The road was unusually clear for a Friday evening, the county lanes he would have suspected it, but not on the main roads, hardly any traffic, most houses dark with no lights on, “is everyone at this party?” he questioned, as he drove down the country roads. The windows fogging slightly, the glass being a vale between the cold outside and the warmth within. He was nearing Sam’s parent’s cottage, it was a quaint slightly tilted, stone cottage the walls a near grey, mossy in patches, after the elements had degraded the white, an old thatched roof glistened under the moonlight, ivy ran up trestle’s that arched over the stable door.  The lights were on, “at least some people are actually alive” he said aloud. He pressed his palm to center of the wheel and honked the horn, a stinging throbbed from the deep cut in his finger, the salt from his hand burning the wound. Curtains twitched from a little window above the front door. Seconds later it opened, Sam hurried out a large case of beer under one arm.

“about time” Sam shouted.

“Just get in “ the passenger door opened, Sam clambered in. The wheel arches creaking and straining under his weight.

In secondary school Sam was the fattest boy Noah had ever seen, his waist must have been shy of fifty inches.  His round face always red and puffy, his golden hair short and greasy.  After being bullied and always repressed, he joined a local rugby club, and in four short years, he had grown two feet, and was never without attention.  He was still large and weight as much as a small bull , but was no longer fat. His arms huge, his jaw angular, muscles in even places Noah couldn’t pronounce.  He was worshiped like a Greek god, when it came to girls, they couldn’t get enough of him.

“got enough beer” Noah said, “I’ve already had three can’s waiting for you” Sam reached for another. “want one”, Noah tapped his hands on the dash board “one wont hurt” said Sam.  After a short pause Sam reached for the dial on the radio pressing every button, “come on lets get this party started”, Music blasted distorted through the speakers, Noah reached for the dial, “NOT THAT LOUD” he said shouting. “god what’s wrong with you” Sam replied his large arms half way over the driver’s side. “nothing, so where is this party” he said pushing the words out of his uneasy smile, its in “Stratton, Burnley farm, Sarah’s parents place, the massive country house”. Sarah had been one of the many girlfriends Sam has had over the past few years, still seeing her now and then, he had been truly irresistible, to even hearts he had broken, from what Noah could remember she had been a beautiful petite brunette, hair always curled, streaks of auburn highlights glinting of gold, and always bouncing to one side, clothes designer everything about her dripped in wealth and that of a lavish life style. “yes the rich, sexy one” Sam replied his white teeth shining through his open smirk, the two laughed for a moment. “thou shall go to the ball” blurted Noah, “indeed one shall, squire ready the horse” said Sam, they both shorted loudly. Noah started the car and they pulled off.

Noah found the company southing in the car, he felt safe with his friend, sometimes he may be an idiot, but at least it was some company, all his worry had immediately gone, the streets seemed to be full of life again, people standing outside of country pubs, smoking laughing, clubbers and drunks already lined up ready to go, some coming out of restaurants couples arm in arm as they drove through the town, towards the countryside beyond.  It was going to be a great night he reassured him self, no it will be, he pursed a smile, Sam now singing loudly next to him over the radio. “Can you pull in over their, Sam pointed towards a petrol station along the road ahead, “need to get some fags, no party without any cigs” he said breaking out of song for a moment. Noah pulled onto the petrol station up into the carpark. “want anything” said Sam already half way out of the car door, Noah shook his head.  Sam hurried off into the kiosk, leaving the car door half ajar, the cold night air rushed around the car, the heat now all dispersed.

After a few moments they were back on the road, Sam now ripping open the packet of cigarettes, he pulled one out with his teeth, Noah turned to him, “you could at least open the window” Noah spoke disappointingly. Sam wound down the window, pulling the dashboard lighter from its hold, and puffed heavily, until the end caught amber.

The smoke bellowing out towards the sky “is it a left up here?” Noah asked, “I think so, just follow the signs” Sam replied trying to talk through heavy inhales.

Dead in front were two giant pillars, with a lion perched on each, two large wrought iron gates lay open, upon which lay a long winding driveway seeming to go on as far as their eyes could see.

Astonished Noah opened his mouth “I thought you said it was a farm”, Sam turned to him blowing smoke into his face. “it is, well Burnley Estate and farm, just drive up what are you waiting for”.

Noah edged the car forward slowly past the two lions, and began to creep up the drive way, tiny orbs of light ran the entire length, of the drive, along with spotlights shinning under the tall conifers, casting long distorted shadows.

They must have drove at least half a mile by, now passing fields upon fields, and bushes filled with exotic flowers, until in the distance Noah could finally see what must be the main house a huge, Georgian mansion, made of the most beautiful stone, with more windows than he had ever seen.

“pull into the carport” said Sam pointing.

Noah turned right at the top of the drive, around thirty cars dotted in a line he, pulled past them and found a space, next to a silver Porche, his old car looking tired and meaningless next too the rest. “how much money do these people have” Noah said a little shocked, “Enough, by the look of it, come on lets…” before Sam could finish his sentence, a face appeared at the passenger window.

It was that of a small beautiful woman, with golden hair, she was petit and wore a stunning emerald cocktail dress.

“Sam you made it” a voice said through the fogged glass.  Sarah pulled open the car door and pounced on Sam. “you look” Sarah finished it for him, “radiant, gorgeous, a million dollars, more like three thousand, but yes I feel it, I’m guessing you like the dress”.

Sarah spoke so quickly that Noah hardly saw her mouth move.  Only her perfect straight pearly teeth smiling back at him.

Sarah gave a twirl, the dress sparkled like the stars upon her tiny figure.  Sam’s god like arms wrapped around her tiny waist pulling her in for a kiss. After what seemed to be at least a minute, she glanced over Sam’s shoulder, “Noah where are my manners” she said walking over to him, pecking him on the cheek, a scarlet stain left there from her satin lips.  Noah’s face now turning a shade brighter. Looping both of their arms, Sarah pulled them forward “Come on then boys we have a party to attend” said Sarah flicking her hair.

Sarah escorted them down a short gravel path, towards a large and very excessive marquee in the grounds. Multicolored lights beaming from within the white walls, Noah’s ears started to hear music, and others talking, “it sure is a party” Noah said aloud, “the one advent of the year you wouldn’t want to miss” Sarah replied as they reached the red velvet carpet that protruded form the entrance.

Two very large bouncers guarded the it, Sam in comparison looking like a twig, to these large men.

“they are with me” Sarah nodded towards the two men, they stepped aside. “boys” she looped their arms again. The bouncers pulled open the curtains. And they entered, Sam and Noah’s faces long, in awe. Noah looked around, there must have been over a hundred people here, from the celling dangled down twinkling lights, the whole roof, array of stars, to the left was a stage and a dancefloor, people jumping up and down to a DJ, to the right was a bar, and dotted around were butlers holding trays off bubbling champagne. “it’s a party alright” Noah said the words with an unconfutable tone, he really did feel out of place, “Sam will be alright, hot girls, and free alcohol” Noah thought, but not him, “ill stay for an hour then I will leave” he muttered under his breathe, he looked to his left thinking Sam would be by his side but perusal he had vanished, Sarah along with him.

He just stood there for a moment, taking in his surrounds, it was for sure lavish and beautiful but not what he expected, he thought a house party maybe or even a barn would have been great, but not this, it just wasn’t him.  He could feel people watching, it was quite the opposite to what he had imagined. He walked over to the bar alone, people sat long the top, laughing, joking, doing shots. “What can I get you?” a barman walked up to Noah, “just an orange juice please” said Noah, “it’s a free bar, mate all paid for, Vodka, beer, champagne… so just an orange juice?” Replied the puzzled barman.

Noah looked at him for a moment, after waiting for a response the barman went on anyway pouring his orange juice, he placed it before him. “thanks”.

He pocked around the glass, with a straw bobbing the ice, he looked around to see if there was any sign of Sam or Sarah.

In a room full of people, full of laughter, full of energy why did he feel so alone?

The room seemed to move around him, everyone but him was having fun, out the corner of his eye he noticed a girl with flaming red hair, standing at the far end of the bar, time seemed to stand still.  He looked towards her, everything in the room seemed to freeze in time, she was beyond beautiful, she too wore a leather jacket, her legs long and slender, in her black jeans, her hair curly and wild, all bunched over one shoulder, she turned in his direction, her eyes a striking shade of jade, their eyes met one another, he realized he must have been staring at the girl, his ears now prickling red, with embarrassment, she gave a half smile, Noah turned away quickly hoping she didn’t spot him, he tipped the remainder of his juice so quickly down his throat he gave himself brain freeze.  Drink in hand the girl walked over towards him. “I’m Amber, nice to meet you…?” Amber said softly at the back of Noah, her voice felt like waves of velvet in his ears.  He turned to face her, “Noah” he stuttered, now up-close Noah couldn’t believe how beautiful she looked, his heart thudded in his chest, she wore all black, a green stone hung from a silver chain around her neck, matching the tones of her eyes, her hair so scarlet, he thought it must be hot to the touch. “nice to meet you Noah, enjoying the party” should he lie to her and say its amazing, maybe not he had the most uncontrollable feeling, he couldn’t lie to her, “not really no” he said.

She smiled at him, her mouth close to his ear and whispered softly, “me neither, I’m glad were on the same page”. They both burst into laughter, for the first time today, even this year he though these feelings were genuine, he didn’t have to change his face with her. Her hands touched his face, she studied him for a moment, “you look awfully familiar, are you sure I haven’t met you before,” Amber told him, Noah liked the warmth from her hands, he felt heat encase him, taking away the cold, “I don’t think so, id remember” Noah replied his hazel eyes getting lost within her green, “perhaps its fate, then Noah?”, her hands still caressing his cheek, “come let’s get out of here”, without a second glance to the room around him. Noah transfixed, followed the Red headed beauty, her hand within his own, upon leaving, Noah found himself surrounded with flames, and a wooden array of benches circled around it. A few people sat around them, some playing guitars and others just enjoying the warmth. “all we need now is marshmallows and we are set” Amber said as they sat on the wooden bench, fire glinted in her eyes, she turned and looked at Noah. “Ill go see if I can find those marshmallows, Noah” said Amber in a seductive tone.  She stood up and went over towards a crate that stood at the edge of the marquee.

Noah’s eyes looking upon the dancing flames, in front of him, all day he had a chill within him he couldn’t shake, but now all he felt was the warmth of Amber, the warmth of the fire, how safe he felt.

Why would a girl so beautiful even give him a second glance let alone, talk to him, he thought over and over again.

Amber approached him once again, holding two long sticks, and a bag of marshmallow’s, “here” Amber said placing a stick in his hand along with a marshmallow, Noah placed it on the stick and moved the stick towards the flames, mimicking every movement Amber took.

“So what brings you to such a boring gathering” Amber said beneath her auburn hair, “I’m just a third wheel, a shofar of sorts” Noah replied.

“Designated driver, I see well that’s no fun is it, I guess ill just have to keep this shofar company, until he is whisked away from me” Amber said through a smile. “Careful, don’t over cook it”.

Noah glanced towards the end of his stick, the end was black, dripping and aflame, he had not taken any notice of it only that of the movement of her lips.

Amber took the stick from him and placed the burned char, into her mouth. “looks like you’ll have to have mine now” Amber said pulling off her golden s’more, placing it in Noah’s mouth.

It tasted sweet, and gooey, and warm as it slid down his throat warming, all the ice that he thought must have resided there.

“So you know Sarah then?” Amber asked.

“Not really, I’ve met her one or twice before she’s an ex girlfriend, I think of my best mate Sam, although they couldn’t keep their hands off each other when we arrived, so maybe its more?”. Noah replied.

“Ah I see; I don’t know her either then” Amber said while eating another marshmallow. Noah waited a moment for her to finish chewing.

“Then why am I here? I did the sound, for Dixon, he’s providing the music, he pays well.

Tonight alone Sarah’s father has paid him more than a month’s salary, just to DJ.

So its easy money really.

And all I have to do is, plug in some speakers, and make sure the place doesn’t blow up” she replied.

“They must have so much money to even afford a place like this, I’ve never seen a house so big” replied Noah.  He couldn’t help but wonder upon how Sarah’s family could have found such wealth.

Amber shifted her body closer to him, her red hair really did seem to be aflame, the fire licking the back of her head, making her glow.

“Well, I’ve heard that father, is a dodgy man, he’s a member of the county council, very high up.  He’s in charge of waste management” She came even closer her lips, brushing his ear.

“Seems rather odd that he owns the biggest Waste management company, which happens to handle all of the waste for all seven districts, of Norfolk county council. Hospitals, Schools, even the rubbish you chuck away, he just makes it all vanish, this whole place is built on lies. And tons and tons of rubbish.” She said a sense of Mystery echoing in her voice.

Noah’s thoughts wandered to, when left his front door only hours pervious, where the whole contents of his bins and been thrown and scattered all over his front garden.

He was intrigued, Amber’s head was now brushing against his shoulder, against his father’s jacket, he wanted to know more.

“What’s her father’s name?” Noah whispered his head now leaning on hers, both of them staring into the flames.

“Peter. Peter Mcnoly” she said, with a long pause.

Where had he heard that name before.  Noah screwed up his eyes in thought.

And then it hit him, of course he knew that name, Peter had been at every monthly Gala he had worked on, a tall, thin man, his face gaunt and shallow, his hair jet black, going silver around the edges, and he always wore, black.  Noah could remember severing him once or twice, he would never forget his piercing Steel eyes, wandering around the room always watching his every move, most of the staff called him the Spider, because all he would do is let his eyes wonder and follow you, seemingly waiting to pounce and drain the life from you.

“Yes I know the man”. Noah could almost see him in the flames. “We call him the Spider”.

“The Spider how fitting” She turned to faced him, her hands around his face again.  “You really shouldn’t associate yourself with Spiders, or Foxes Noah, both are cunning, and deadly” her hands now running through his hair.

He looked at her for a moment puzzled, what did she know of the Fox, he pulled her hands away from him quickly.  He needed to know more, why would she even mention the Fox, he could feel the cold rushing within him once more, not from her but from within. it rose to his head.

Noah then caught sight of Sam and Sarah over Amber’s shoulder, Sam was waving a bottle of champagne in the air, stumbling each step he took, and Sarah was clutched under one of his giant arms. Amber looked in the same direction, “is that him then?” said Amber, “yep that’s him alright, excuse me just a moment, promise me you will wait here?” Noah replied.

“I promise” Amber said grabbing his hand.

Noah unwillingly let her hand slip from his, he wanted answers.  He gave her one last solemn look, and walked over towards Sam and Sarah.  They were both now rolling around on the floor, the contents of the bottle flowing over them both, laughing and kissing. “Sam can I not leave you alone for five minutes” Noah said in a dark tone. “Noah” Sam replied pulling him down towards the grass, in one powerful swoop, Noah resisted for a moment but Sam’s grip was too strong, until he relaxed and reached for the bottle, Sarah was either unconscious or asleep her head on his chest, her curls now flat, “you’re drunk” Noah said pushing away from his chest.  “and you’re you’re… sober” Sam replied slurring his words, Noah clambered to his feet, trying to pull Sam up with all his might, “you’re so damn heavy” Noah said straining every muscle in his body, Sam just wouldn’t budge, Sarah was still fast asleep on the ground next to him. “Sam come on.  Please” Noah said his head kept turning in the direction of the fire circle, making sure Amber was still there.

“Don’t ruin this for me, Sam come on”.

Sam pulled himself up effortlessly, and he looked down towards Sarah sprawled out on the ground, he reached down and swept her up.

“I think you both need some water. Come on there’s some over near the fire” Noah said pointing in the direction of Amber, but he noticed she had vanished, he ran over towards the circle.

Sam dragging Sarah at his heel, “Amber. Amber” he shouted but no one turned around, no one looked back at him, he had lost her, he looked in every direction, but there was no sign of her or her fiery red hair, nothing. Sam and Sarah slumped near his side, sitting where only moments ago Amber had sat. Noah was motionless for a moment reaching, down for bottles of water and he passed them over towards them, not even giving them both a glance, they had ruined this for him, or had they was it all his imagination, was there even a girl called Amber, he kept thinking about what she had said of “Spiders and Foxes” how would she have even known, of that huge Fox, with its large lifeless onyx eyes.

Sam pulled something from under him, a long silver chain that was connected to large a pear drop of jade, he looked over towards it, he snatched it away from Sam, “she was real” Noah thought, caressing the long chain thought his fingers, she wasn’t merely a figment of his imagination, he looked up, trying to find Amber but there was still no sight of her, he placed the necklace in his jacket pocket, and turned to Sam.

“Come on we best get you out of here” Noah urged placing his arm under Sam’s.

“No leave me here. I’m having too much fun” Sam said slurring, draining each bottle of water in one.

Noah stood up for the first time he seemed to tower over his befriend.  “your coming home now, you’re not staying here” Noah replied assertively.

He started to drag the beast of a man will all his might around the marquee.

“See me tomorrow please” Sarah shouted, as she now realized he was no longer cushioning her from the hard wet ground.  Sam raised a giant fist into the air, towards her.

Noah didn’t want to leave not just yet, he wanted to find the mysterious Amber give her back her necklace, ask her on a date, and get answers to his questions she had laced him with, just by saying one word “Fox”, the one thing that filled him with so much fear and and he didn’t even know why, but thanks to his fool of a friend he would properly never see her again.  Sam started to groan as they up the muddy banks, towards the gravel carpark.

“Can we get some food” groaned Sam his head slumping.

Sam was always the same after drinking heavily very quickly, Noah would have to take him home, and get mountains of food from every drive through they drove past, without fail, every time, and then he would call him in the early hours after rugby practice peachy, with no hangover, wanting to go out again.

Noah really didn’t know how he did it, or how he even stayed in such physical physic, Noah would be nursing a hangover for days upon days if he drank the same way Sam did every time they went somewhere.

“Of course. Kebab?” said Noah intuitively.

Sam gave a grunt; he took this as a “yes”.

The journey back up towards the car seemingly took a lot longer than the stroll down the gravel pathway, had taken.  Sam have tripped over a few times, scuffing his overly tight jeans, the knees mudded and stained green, his enormous chest puffing out from beneath his shirt, causing strain on the remaining buttons he had left.

There wasn’t a cloud in the sky, it’s was just pure black, with tiny twinkling stars.  Everything seemed bright under the crescent moon, which shone upon his little red car, the reflection of it getting closer and closer as he struggled to pull Sam towards it.  Finally, they reached it.  Noah stumbled for his keys in his pocket, Sam fell forwards onto his car, the force made the metal in the car shriek in pain. An indent of his arm clearly left in the passenger door. “oops” Sam laughed as he struggled to find the door handle. Noah wrenched open the door and pushed him inside, the suspension in the car giving off a loud bang as Sam’s body touched the seat.  He took Noah’s silence, as a message and pulled the door shut.

Noah stood outside the car for a moment, and looked down upon the marquee in the distance and the glow of a tiny fire, “she’s in there somewhere” he thought.

He just wanted to find her, have her hold his face again, let her velvet tone and her intriguing words whisper into his ears once more. Sam started to thud against the window, “Ok. Ok, I’m coming”, he shouted.  Noah looked around once more, just hoping to glance her in the distance again, but only the stars and darkness glared back at him.

He clutched the necklace through his breast pocket, he wanted to return it, but was thankful he had that little piece of her with him.  The house behind him filled him with so much intrigue, about the Spider, and how Amber had said Peter came by all this wealth by disposing of rubbish and how it was all built “on lies and tons and tons of rubbish” in Ambers words what had she meant?

Sam thudded again, Noah unwillingly dragged himself away from the house, the marquee and Amber if she was still even here, as he ducked to get into the car, Sam was struggling and failing to light a cigarette, he leaned over and snatched it away from him.  “Oi i wanted that” Sam scowled.  “Not in my car you’re not, lets get you some food” Noah rolled down the window and threw out the half alight cigarette and placed his keys into the ignition, the windows were fogged from the cold, he let the heat from the air con, warm the glass for a while, Sam now falling asleep by his side Noah tried to push him over his own side, his arms nearly touching the petals to his right, and placed the belt tightly around him.

Noah gripped the wheel so hard the whites of his knuckles started to show, the car pulled away and they slowly made their descent away from the party down the long winding driveway and past the two lions who guarded the gates.

©Jack H W Williams. All Rights Reserved

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