Tomorrow, When The War Began
Word Count: 3,750
Wirrawee, New South Wales. Harry had spent his whole life imagining himself away from here, going on wild adventures on the high seas, crusades for a noble cause, all the things he’s now forgotten. Wirrawee is exactly where he wishes he could be now; safe with his family and his friends. Safe is one word little Wirrawee and the rest of Australia cannot be associated with. Harry and his four best friends are caught in the middle of something school never prepared them for, their parents never warned them about and their government wasn’t ready for. His country is at war.
A/N: This is a long introduction to my newest major chaptered original, TWTWB based on the book series and movie adaptation of the same name. Some of the characters have been cut out or melded together to suit 1D, but the general idea is the same. Let me know what you think, I’m really excited about this. Chapter 1 will be up in the next day!
“Come on, Zayn! How awesome would it be to zip away before school starts back up?” Harry detested the way Zayn liked to rile him up by playing down the obviously great ideas Harry came up with on, what he would assume, was a daily basis.
“I dunno. We’re supposed to have those English papers done before we go back.” Zayn bemused.
“English papers?!” Harry choked out, laughing immediately, “you caring about school? Now I’ve seen everything.”
Harry rolled quietly off Zayn’s bed which he had previously been jumping on in an effort to convince his best friend that organising a camping trip up Taylor’s Stitch, a ragged mountain path deep into the bush bordering Wirrawee, and into this crater-like rock formation imposingly referred to as ‘Hell’. Neither of them had been into Hell before, because it was an almost impenetrable pit of doom that hid all of it’s secrets with thick overgrowth, steep cliffs and a trip to it that only the brave take.
“Come on, man!” Harry kneeled before Zayn, who was sitting on the edge of his now completely messed bed, attention focused on the girl he was wooing over skype,
“You can’t tell me you don’t want to hit up Hell, find a way in and get smashed for a few days?”
Zayn’s eyebrows pricked at the ideas Harry was planting in his head.
“We could nick my parents’ landrover, save ourselves the trek and give ourselves enough carry ability to fit a dumptruck of grog up there!”
Zayn lowered his eyebrows and lifted his head to look Harry directly in the eye.
“If I say yes… you’re asking my parents too. They like you better and they’ll know I’m just going to get hammered for a whole weekend.”
“Deal.” The two shook on it and ended up being thrown to the floor, a violent wrestling match ensuing.
“And what will you be doing on this trip?” Harry’s father Rob asked, suspicions rife in his eyes.
“Well we’re gonna take up the billy, cook some damper, fish.” Harry joked.
“You don’t know what a billy looks like, what damper is and have never been able or interested in fishing your whole life.” His father retorted.
“Our son the adept liar.” His mother, Anne, chimed in.
“Well, we’re just going to have a couple of drinks up on Taylor’s one night,” Lie number one, “It won’t be anything too crazy,” lie number two, “just me and the boys.” Harry completed his web of lies with a bright smile and an arm thrown around Zayn’s shoulders, who comically joined the smile with his own.
The two parents looked to each other with knowing eyes and maintained their eye contact as Rob held out the keys to the landrover. Harry jumped at them excitedly but couldn’t get them out of his hands,
“Now, Harry Styles. This landrover is to be driven by you and only you.”
“And if you drink the night before you come back, I will run you over with it.”
“How morbid, father.”
“You have no idea.”
Harry’s mother joined in, stepping into Harry’s eyesight.
“And if I hear that there has been a wild sex party on Taylor’s, you won’t see a single ray of sun for the rest of your life.”
“Yes, mother.” Harry groaned.
Harry and Zayn raced off to his bedroom to compile lists of what they’d need to take, how much it was going to cost and most importantly, who was going to join them. Harry’s bedroom soon ended up the control room for Hell’s Breach Command and Control as Harry called it, quite poetically. Both of their laptops and both of their phones were constantly in use. Looking up prices, locations, maps, people’s facebook’s. This was a serious logistical operation and it required great effort. Especially on behalf of both of the boys’ bank accounts. Budgeting to afford this trip so close after christmas meant they were digging into their gift money, not that it really bothered them - but the general consensus was if you’re spending your christmas money on other people it should be a trip to remember - and by God it would be.
By late that afternoon, with the sun dropping on the quiet little town of Wirrawee, the two boys had come up with multiple lists that had been checked more thoroughly than santa’s ‘naughty or nice’ list. The boys had a tight nit, small group they were a part of. Harry and Zayn along with Niall - the infamous threesome at Wirrawee Central High. Niall was a bit of an odd addition to their friend circle, he didn’t seem to fit, but he was often exactly what was needed to make an outing or a day at school bearable and hilarious.
Niall was starch blonde, with piercing blue eyes and surprisingly pale skin for someone who lived in Wirrawee. He wasn’t particularly sporty, but tried his hand at everything offered to him. Zayn described him as a benchwarmer for almost every sport he tried because although he was so excited to play, he just never had the natural skill to be adept at any sport - that never put him off though, and for that, his friends loved him. He lived on the newest suburb of Wirrawee, usually called ‘the Heights’, because of it’s elevation overlooking the rest of the town. If you were lucky enough to get rich in such a small town, that’s where you lived. That’s precisely what Niall’s mother had managed. After divorcing from her entrepreneur husband in Sydney, Niall’s mother was paid out by his lawyers and managed to set up a very successful Rural beauty business that connected isolated and rural community housewives through their nail and hair appointments. She was so popular that she was often away on business in Bathurst, Orange and Dubbo, hours away from Wirrawee. Niall’s house was quite well known for parties when his mother was away, and his neighbours remembered them well - along with his mother’s reactions every time she came home to a new broken window, police report or patch of dried vomit into her white carpet.
“So you’re in?” Harry’s voice crackled through the phone,
“Of course man! Wouldn’t miss it!” Niall spoke excitedly at the dinner table, much to his mothers displeasure and disapproving looks from above the rim of her wine glass.
“Okay, bring your USB WiFi, okay?” Harry continued,
“We want to document our adventures and put them on YouTube man!”
“I can not see that ending well.” Niall hesitated, “but I will.”
“Mum’s making me bring the wireless too.” Harry added, almost groaning.
“Then why do you want mine?” Niall’s voice shouted back through the phone,
“Wireless does not just mean internet, Niall you idiot.” Harry spat, laughing with Zayn in the background as he said, “a wireless radio! There were other meanings for the word before the advent of the internet, Horan.”
“Oh. Well don’t ask me how to use it, I’ll never be able to.”
“Alright well, we’ll see you at my place on Friday afternoon.” Harry ended the call.
Zayn had suggested that three was too small for the trip, saying in order to make it special they’d need to invite some people and make new friends. Well, Harry wasn’t too keen on strangers downing his alcohol and snacks, so they compromised on some casual acquaintances they both knew. Zayn was going to invite Liam, an interesting choice, Harry thought. Liam lived almost in the centre of town where his parents ran the local church and was himself very religious, but Zayn insisted he would be a good addition and ‘fun to corrupt.’ Harry and Zayn were hesitant about convincing Liam’s pastor father and pastor’s-wife mother to let him come on their booze-up.
The next morning, after consultations on facebook, Zayn and Harry met Liam in town where they were going to meet his parents before picking up some supplies for the trip.
Harry sat, legs together, eyes forward and fighting a smile as Liam, in the middle of he and Zayn, who was in a similar position, explained what they would be doing on this trip.
“It’s like a youth leadership trip. Harry and Zayn have been getting into a bit of trouble lately and their parents contacted me on facebook last night to see if I’d take them and show them the ropes of how God wants young men to behave and develop.”
Liam’s father nodded knowingly, his hands together infront of him, almost in a position to pray. His church’s office was adorned with the Holy Cross and saints of all description over the walls, his desk and even his tie.
“Well, of course you can go. Just be safe. Oh, and boys,” Mr. Payne’s eyes crossed from Zayn to Harry, taking in their expressions, “see the light, won’t you?”
“We’ll try.” Harry managed to get out before shutting his mouth quickly, a laugh teasing his throat.
Harry had decided he’d invite Louis, a friend of his from soccer who was a few years older than them. He was at uni a few months of the year now, but was back for the summer holidays and Harry enjoyed his bright, chirpy personality. His parents owned the best fish and chip shop in Wirrawee, right on the main street. He didn’t have Louis’ mobile number and didn’t feel comfortable liaising on facebook like Liam and Zayn had.
Harry and Zayn, having departed from Liam’s company after he insisted he help his father clean the Church for the second time that day, walked casually down the main street of Wirrawee and took in the hustle and bustle, if you could call it that, of this small town.
For a city of only eight thousand people, Wirrawee had a pretty tight-knit community. Although it wasn’t an ‘everybody knows everybody’ situation, word travelled fast and if you were connected to the High School in some way, you were in on all the goss. In the centre of town, running parallel to the main street, Wirrawee Showground was the hub of all exciting activity and was currently being prepared for the Wirrawee Show held on Commemoration Day, which was to be on the Sunday the boys were away in Hell. There was a ferris wheel under construction, dozens of stalls being set up and droves of fairy lights being hung. Harry and Zayn smiled politely at a woman hanging a “THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE TO AUSTRALIA” banner on her shop front window.
The tantalizing smell of hot chips wafted from in front of them distracting them as they stared toward the West, large hills looming, Harry’s parents’ property just visible in the distance - though it was largely blocked by an outcrop of rock and thick bush. Harry stepped into the busy shop first, dodging dozens of other customers who were hurrying in and out, a chatter of indecipherable words being blended together. A lone voice trilled over the top of all others,
“Number four-two-six!” Louis called from behind the counter.
A woman stepped forward and handed Louis her ticket,
“Thank you very much Mrs. Collows, I’ll see you on Sunday!” Louis chirped, a genuine and lovely smile spreading across his sweaty face. He was donning a white button up shirt, covered by a hip-level apron which was filthy, a stark contrast to the beaming white of the rest of his clothes. His sleeves were rolled up and his hair, though still feathery, stuck to his damp forehead and disobeyed the general flow in a few places, sticking up from his ears.
“Hey Louis!” Harry bellowed over the ruckus.
“Oh, Harry!” Louis quickly flashed him a smile as his arms worked around the cash register at lightning pace, flicking the note-clips up, wretching out a five and throwing the till closed loudly all within a second. Handing a young boy his change, Louis waved for his mother to take over the till and announced he was taking his break.
The three sat out the front of the store in the few tables Louis’ parents had provided for customers to eat on while they were in the store.
“So to what do I owe this great pleasure?” Louis spoke happily as he flicked his apron off and used it to wipe his face clean of sweat and muddled his hair up with his hands. His locks stuck up wildly now, and for some unknown reason, Harry blushed when Louis spotted him giggling. Louis winked and continued,
“There’s got to be something you want from me. Someone over eighteen to buy you grog, that’s it, isn’t it? C’mon, Styles. Spit it out.”
“Um, excuse me, I turn eighteen in two months. So you be quiet.” Harry responded defensively. Louis ruffled his curls and winked again, sending a flutter through Harry’s chest and blood rushing to his face.
“No man, we want you to come away with us this weekend!” Zayn finally spoke, a smile right across his features, his bright brown eyes sparkling.
“A weekend away? I dunno. I would probably run circles around you kids.”
Harry’s expression changed to one of hurt after being referred to as a kid, yet he didn’t quite understand why.
“Oh don’t be upset Haz. I’ll come on this little trip. Where are we going?”
“Taylor’s Stitch and down into Hell.”
“Hell? That rotten crater thing?”
“It’s not rotten! It’s awesome! Imagine if we’re the ones who find out how to get in!”
“I hope you’ve got a parachute, because the only way in is to sky dive through the clearing.”
“Didn’t I tell you I got my pilots license?” Harry flashed a his wallet open, student library card shining proudly.
“Nice mug, Curly.” Louis grabbed the wallet from Harry’s hands and held him at arms length while he examined the embarrassing photo further.
“You’ve definitely matured. Growin’ into your curls, mate.” Louis teased.
“Alright, enough, spare me.” Harry begged, snatching the wallet back from Louis.
After settling back into his seat and fixing his now completely wild hair, Harry turned to Louis once more and flashed a cheeky grin,
“So you’ll come?”
“Sure thing mate, my parents owe me a weekend off anyway.” Louis nodded.
“Awesome! Be at my place at about 4:00 o’clock on Friday.”
The three parted ways as Louis went back into work and Harry lead Zayn back down the street to start the long trek home. Their parents were all busy on their properties that day, so they had to leg it home the old fashioned way… with a never ending flow of grunts and complaints at the steepness of the incline. Harry and Zayn both taking turns cursing the city planners for choosing this Everest to build a city next to. As they walked though, between grunts and huffing, the two reinforced how satisfied they were that they’d managed to con Liam into minding the supplies and bring them to Harry’s on Friday, saving them carting them up the hill like pack donkeys.
“So how many we got coming?” Zayn said between gasps.
“You, me, Louis, Niall, Liam. Five. Should be good.” Harry added, breathing heavily too, cursing himself for not taking soccer last winter just because Louis wasn’t there. Something he hadn’t dwelled on much until now - why did it matter so much if Louis was there? Sure he was entertaining and a great player but the team could perform without him and Harry did have other friends on the time. Right now, all Harry cared about what the burning feeling in his throat, his desperate need to sit down and the light in his living room window that seemed to never get closer.
Zayn joined Harry for dinner that night while his parents grilled the boys on further details for their trips. Harry was almost ready to hand over his receipts from the days purchases just to shut his mother up about the importance ‘getting a good feed when you’re drinking’.
“So who’s going?” His father asked from behind a newspaper as the boys waited for Anne to dish out her famous beef stroganoff, one of Harry’s favourites.
“Me, Zayn, Niall, Liam and Louis.” Harry trailed off, busy scrolling through his Twitter feed.
“Louis? Louis Tomlinson?” his mother turned on her heels from the sink, where she was scrubbing the utensils she’d been using.
“There were some people at the salon today talking about him. Apparently he’s a bit on the… camp side.” she spoke hesitantly.
“Really? He’s a nice guy.” Zayn interjected, “doesn’t bother me. ‘Bout you, Haz?”
Harry’s blushed face snapped to attention at the utterance of Louis’ nickname for him, “Uh, yeah, no I mean, it’s interesting b-, you know. Yeah, I don’t care.” All three of them stared at him awkwardly, his father even bending the top of the newspaper to gawk at his sons blushing face.
“… So what are you guys going to do while we’re away?” Harry desperately diverted the conversation as he avoided Zayn’s confused stares.
“Well, Wirrawee Show’s on, so we’ll be down there with everybody else. Nothing out of the ordinary. If you need us though, you know we’ll come and get you. Don’t worry about disturbing us.” His mother answered lovingly,
“Oh no, the further the better! Can’t have you hearing out pumping music.”
“Don’t tempt me to pay out an ASIO spy to follow you, Harry Edward Styles.” she warned.
“Yes, mother!” He saluted her.
Rob’s attention was obviously on the sound coming from the living room television, a news interview with some fatcat from the Opposition.
“Do you think defence is high on the government’s agenda?”
“High? High? You’re joking right! Look at how much they’ve cut from the defence budget. The safety of Australia is not something you toy with.”
The news report went on to describe how many billions were cut from where, what parts of the airforce didn’t exist anymore, how many ships the Navy had sold and after that, Harry lost interest and began flicking utensils at Zayn, sparking a table war that was quickly interrupted by Anne, a judgmental face staring down at them as she dealt out dinner. Rob placed the paper he was reading on the empty seat beside Harry around the circular table and he caught a glimpse of the article his dad was reading, the partially blocked headline reading “REGIONAL INSTABILITY: DIPLOMATIC ROW LOOMS WITH-”
The cold afternoon breeze was fiestily tugging at Harry’s jacket. It was unusually cold for a summer afternoon, especially the day they were planning to leave for Hell. Zayn was late, as Harry knew he would be. Apparently “get here before everybody else” meant nothing to his best friend. Harry’s head shot up from the ground he was staring at as he saw headlights flicker up his driveway in the dim afternoon light. It was an old, white Toyota Corolla; Louis.
Louis’ beaming smile was evident even in the grey light of the setting sun.
“Hi, Harry!” his voice echoed off the nearby hills as the car pulled to a gravelly stop.
“Hi, Louis.” Harry repeated, scuffing the ground awkwardly and cursing Zayn for not being here. It wasn’t too clear what Harry expected him to be able to do to save him, but he just knew Zayn would’ve helped him somehow prevent making an idiot of himself.
“Ready for this trip of ours?” Louis spoke as he unloaded a big bag from the back of his car and hauled it, face straining, to the open back of the landrover he’d parked next to.
Harry didn’t answer him, instead he was fixated on the prominent veins on Louis’ biceps as he lifted the bag into the rover.
“Haz?” Louis spoke quietly after he turned from the trunk.
“What- sorry. Yeah, I’m pumped!”
“Awesome. I bought us a bit more grog cause I’m sure you guys drink like beasts and didn’t want you covering the cost of it all.”
Louis moved back to his car and revealed an enviro-bag full of clanking glass bottles, some Harry recognised ad vodka, others were brown liquors and some were strange colours he’d never seen in an alcohol before.
“Wow! Louis, you didn’t have-” Harry was interrupted by a hand shooting to his lips, covering his mouth.
“Nonsense. I’m here to have fun. Don’t dampen that by acting like a mother. It’s a terribly unattractive quality.” Louis spoke with his eyes closed, like he was reading from the back of his eyelids. His hand smelled like cologne, some sweet mixture of berries and woodchips. Harry was intoxicated by it and his eyes fluttered closed for a moment.
Zayn’s motorbike grunting angrily against the gravel road interrupted a lazy conversation the two boys were having as they waited. It was half past five already and Zayn was two hours late, while Liam and Niall were themselves an hour and a half late.
It wasn’t until six o’clock that Niall, the last of the group, finally strode up the driveway, waving behind him to his mother who yelled wishes of fun and excitement to the group of boys. Zayn and Harry lead the other boys in waving back to her, wishing her a good trip to Sydney that weekend.
The deal was that they were to leave at seven, after saying goodbye to Harry’s parents, after interrupting Rob who was intently watching another Defence report on television and getting grilled one last time about taking care of the landrover and being careful. The sun was down, but that just made the prospect of driving up Taylor’s Stitch, known for it’s bumpy ride, all the more fun. This was going to be a weekend away the boys would never forget.