I wasn’t sure what had happened in the kitchen of the abandoned house. It was clear someone had emptied all the cupboards and sent everything tumbling to the floor. Broken plates crunched under my boots, it was unavoidable if I wanted to walk across.
Perhaps, someone was looking for treasure they believed had been hidden here? Maybe it was just mindless destruction of youths?
Whatever had happened I hated it with a passion. Why did people have to destroy everything? I liked things left as they had been, it give a much better picture of the last people here.
Everything was too loud and bright; birds singing in the trees, dawn peering around the curtains. A cat meowing to be let in – her cat? Then someone’s whistling and echoing footsteps. A car engine started as she reached over and turned on the lamp which triggered an explosion in her head that sent her back down to the pillow. Groaning, she tried to get up but knew she wasn’t going to make it. She reached for some water and pills, taking them quickly. Then searched for her ear defends and a blind fold.
I thought my mum had thrown all the photos of that day away but I found one in the bottom of a shoe box. Mum had mis-timed taking the photo so instead of our smiling faces were the backs of our heads.
Tears clouded my eyes and I was there once more at the theme park, riding the wooden ‘run away’ roller coaster with my younger sister. Our cries of delight echoed in my ears as we raced around the track and then my sister flew out of the cart as we rushed down the hill. Her fingers briefly touched mine then she was gone.
It was hard to believe that an actual spider had made such a large web over night. That’s why I thought it was a joke at first; my wife hanging the Halloween decorations early. On closer inspection it was real though.
‘Don’t touch it!’ my wife shouted from behind me, making me jump and spin.
‘I wasn’t! I was only looking!’ I countered back.
‘Good, because it’s staying.’
‘Well, I guess there’s lots of other windows to look out of…’ I muttered.
‘I wonder what the spider looks like?’ my wife said.
He had been saying the number repeatedly in German on his death bed but no one knew what it meant. Then it didn’t matter anymore as everyone was too busy mourning. So, it wasn’t until years later that we found out that the number was actually a train that his parents had forced him on to save him from the concentration camp.
Stood in the new playground taking everything in, I began to doubt this ‘futuristic’ design. Stealing glances at the other committee members it was clear they were uncomfortable too. The artist and architects on the other hand were looking totally pleased with themselves.
‘What do you think?’ the artist asked.
There was a slight pause then a feedback of mixed muttered words.
‘I guess the children will decided that,’ I spoke loudly and everyone agreed.
‘Let’s release them!’ someone called.
Hurrying behind the safety glass, we watched the gate rise up and all hell break loose.
Pressing my hands to the lattice window, I imagined I was touching the red roses that were blooming on the other side of the clouded glass. I could feel their soft, velvet petals warmed by the sunlight and breath in deeply their heavy perfume.
Resting my cheek on the cold glass, the realisation that I could no longer recall the smell of flowers disheartened me. Sighing, I turned away and went back to the massive bed which dominated the tower room which was my cell.
The sky changed from light to dark in a minute, banishing the calm evening. Slate grey clouds seemingly weighed down, drifted in and blocked everything. Lights flickered on but they were only dots against the approaching storm. There was a whisper against the windows as the first flakes fell. They melted on warm surfaces but collected on cold metal and ground. The clouds broke open, blinding all with a thick, fast flurry of snow which none could escape from.
The strange contraption, mostly made out of old wheels, had sat on my grandparents’ lawn for as long as I could remember. Every time I had asked them what is was, my gran had rolled her eyes and tutted whilst my granddad had told me some wild story.
‘It’s to re-wind the year,’ granddad told me once, ‘like a time machine but it only goes back twelve months.’
‘What’s the point in that then?’ I had asked.
‘Sometimes only changing the smallest of things can make the biggest difference,’ he had answered.
The hills were cover in snow and it didn’t look as if they were going to thaw anytime soon. The bad winter the weatherman had forewarned had had us all laughing but now he was the one in fits of laughter. We had all just had enough already, England wasn’t made for this kind of thing! Still, it had been the white Christmas written into every song and pleaded for by children. To me though, it just made the coming New Year and January feel even bleaker.