How it Starts: A Novel in Pages

Each day I write a page of a novel and publish it. The whole novel from the start can be found here.


‘I Contain Multitudes’, p.65


“You’re crazy.” John said, as he pulled away from me. The sky was blazing red all around us.
“Me?” I kept my hand on his body, still dizzy from the kiss.
“Yeah, you,” he smiled. “I don’t even know if this whole thing about the deep mining spy is true.”
“Of course, it’s true . . . oh no, the book on microbiology.” I thrust the dogs’ leads into his hand and ran back along the beach. There was someone sat at our table outside the bar.
“Hi Riley.” Fred had his legs crossed in front of him and his hands on his lap.
“That’s my book.” I doubled over gasping for air.
The book lay on the metal table between us. Fred picked it up and started twirling it in his hands.
“‘I Contain Multitudes’. You like Ed Yong? I’m impressed.”
“Yeah of course, I like Ed Yong.” I snatched the book, still gasping for breath.
“So, what was your favourite part?”
“The, the. . . bit about microbiology!”
“Hey, what’s going on?” John was behind me with the dogs.
“Nothing.” I pushed him back down the steps away from Fred. “Wait, actually, this is the guy.”
“This is the guy?” John marched up the steps. “You better stay away from her and her friends.”
“Excuse me. You can’t speak to me this way.”
“I can and I will, just back off ok.”
“Me back off? Look it was just a one-night stand, I’m not interested in anything more.”
John looked at me.
“You slept with this guy?”
“Fuck. John look, I can explain.” I chased him down the stairs. “I forgot that even happened.”
“You won’t sleep with me, but you forgot that you slept with him?”
“I didn’t have any feelings for him.”
“Oh, that makes it so much better Riley.”
“It doesn’t mean anything. That’s why I forgot it even happened.” I stood in front of him. He wouldn’t look at me, he rubbed his jaw. “Don’t be mad, let’s just go to yours. Let’s have sex.”
“I don’t want you to have sex with me to please me, especially if that’s what you’ve been doing with all these other guys. I don’t care what happened in the past. I just don’t want any more surprises.”
“I know I’m sorry.” I put my arms around him.
“I can see why you hate that guy though.” He put his hand on my back. “Come on let’s go and read that book on microbiology.”