**Extract may contain sensitive material** (more…)
Love hangs in the balance,
of an everlasting truce.
She heard the screams before she realised: it was her own throat producing them. Instead her mind was firmly fixed on the heat, and the rope, and the searing pain behind her eyeballs as her flesh melted into the hemp. Closing her eyes tightly to block out the acrid smoke, she tried to gather her last bit of energy in a struggle to get free. The flames licking at her heels were no longer the biggest threat, if she couldn’t get her wrists free from the knots, she knew it was game over. She had always been a fighter but failure seemed inevitable.
He knew this as he threw the lighter into the carefully prepared bonfire, she had set his heart aflame and then torn away any hope he had for the future. He said he would return the favour as he said his goodbyes.
Her bare feet slapped against the hard concrete as she ran down the stairs of her building, she hadn’t even bothered to lock the door, but she didn’t really think anyone would want anything from her place anyhow, unless they were collecting empty bottles and self pity.
Reaching the bottom door and swinging it wide open, she was greeted with the early morning chorus from the family of starlings awaiting the first rays of light. She stepped out into the clammy air and ignored the wet gravel beneath her feet.
I watch from my window, as you prepare to leave me. The streetlight
illuminates you in a hazy orange gloom, as you banish frost from your windscreen
My window, smirched from warm breath saves me from seeing that look you wear
Fumbling with your keys whilst you wrestle with your overnight bag
Your Caribbean blue charger snorts impatiently at the charade.
I press my hand against the cold glass; you wave goodbye.
Fifteen minutes, this is the countdown: how are you supposed to say everything you want to say in just fifteen minutes? Unprepared too! Sum it all up they said, you have 15 minutes that’s enough to point out the highlights, throw in some messages to loved ones and let them know you were thinking about them when the moment happened. But it’s not enough I said, fifteen minutes is just not enough time to express everything, I can’t press my life down into a nutshell and hope that people will be OK with the way things have turned out. I mean, what if I forget to mention someone? What if this is the most important fifteen minutes of my life and then I forget someone dear to me because of the pressure? How would you feel knowing that you have devoted yourself to helping someone and then in those last final moments you were not on their most important list? What if you were that person?
Look, you get fifteen minutes, same as everyone else!
No, fifteen minutes! He was adamant. So there I was with my rushed list trying desperately to count people’s names on my fingers and run through words in my head desperate to just say the right thing: it was too important to mess up. This was it. My last chance to show the world, to say what I really wanted to say before everything turned black. Just fifteen minutes to say all those things that had held me back through life, to tell people that I loved them or hated them (no I wouldn’t do this, still), but to just imprint a part of me into the hearts of people that I cared for: before the memory of me was lost in entirety, enveloped in the ether. Yes I had fifteen minutes to make an impact and not give way to fear. I had to hold my nerve and speak out, show true courage and then impress them, maybe I could change their minds. Perhaps I could get them to allow me a longer existence, beg them to keep my name on the list longer, help me stay alive. Yet now the end was nearing I couldn’t help but give way to the frog residing in my throat. I reached out for the mike but I could feel my throat squeezing the life from my words.
It wasn’t the scent of his cologne that had sent her pulse racing, it was him. Pure, unadulterated, essence of him. (more…)