'Sylis' Chapter 1A Chapter by MichelleClay
Today’s the day. The letters are all written. Envelopes sealed. It’s amazing what you write when nothing matters, when you have so much to say and yet, nothing at all, but I guess my words will matter to a few people. At least I hope they will. I haven’t set a time yet. Should I set a time? As long as it’s after dark I should be ok, that way no one will suspect anything, no one will catch me.
Losing you has been the final blow. I sometimes wonder if that’s why it happened. That maybe I was trying too hard. I was happy though, for a while, I’m sure I was happy. It seems so long ago now; everything’s so hard to remember. My days and nights all blur into one, I can’t tell the difference any more. What I do remember is that it was a year and three weeks since you left me. Of all the things I can’t remember, it’s the one thing I’m unable to forget. I replay it over and over in my mind, like a CD that has got stuck. I was happy though. We were happy, or at least I think we were.
It was the 18th of May, the weather had been unpredictable through most of it, which is usual for England, but that day the sun was shining and the air was hot like it was summer not spring. Have you ever noticed how much happier everything is when the sun is shining? I say ‘everything’ as opposed to ‘everyone’, as even the birds seemed chirpier, trees somehow more green and vibrant. It was like the air was alive in some way, buzzing almost. I’d finally taken the plunge and agreed to move into your tiny two bed mid terrace right at the other end of town. The house was ridiculously small, but was homely and rugged, it reminded me of you. It had a red door with a wonky number 11 on the front, which you said you would fix, but you never did. All the houses looked the same on your street, but yours was always easy to spot with its bright red door. I wonder if the other houses had a squeaky third step? Did you plan to fix that too? I guess it doesn’t matter. It’s just funny the things you notice, all unimportant, but all now a constant reminder of you.
Of course, leaving Shakira - 'Shakey', as I call her - was the hardest bit, but you knew it would be. Shakey, my beautiful, erratic, borderline insane best friend, who is incapable of making any rational decisions on her own. Shakey, who never kept a job down longer than three months, or a man for that matter. It’s probably why me moving out had come as such a big shock to her. I had been the only consistent thing in her life and in a way; she was the only thing in mine too. After weeks of silent treatment, sulky digs and pleading, she finally gave in and accepted I was moving out.
''That’s that then,'' she said, as she tossed my final bag of clothes into the boot of your car. She had come back in her lunch break to help me, but I remember wishing she hadn’t. I was so full of doubt that day and her questioning eyes weren’t making it any easier for me. She handed me a plastic carrier bag full of CDs.
''Some songs to remember me by,'' she said, voice all dramatic. I rolled my eyes at her.
''It’s the other end of town Shakey, not another country,'' I said as I tied the bag into a knot. ''Besides,'' I glared, ''I will still see you at work, if you actually turn up for this one.'' I gave her a playful nudge and watched her giggle as she slid down the side of the car.
''Err I should have been back fifteen minutes ago!'' she laughed. ''Damn! I thought I was getting better at this!''
I stared at her unimpressed, as she blew me an imaginary kiss and headed quickly towards her car.
''Love you, Gracie,'' she called, but turned towards you before she got in. ''Oh and as for you,'' she jabbed with her finger, ''you best take care of her Benjamin, or else!''
You laughed at me as she slammed the door and drove off. I could hear her cheesy music blaring from up the road. I shook my head and sighed.
''She is going to have to grow up sometime, Grace,'' you said. I shot you a warning look, but you just laughed and raised your hands in defence.
''You all set?'' you said cheerfully. ''It’s not too late to change your mind you know.'' You looked at me and waited for me to respond. You were still smiling, but I could see your face had changed. You looked nervous.
''Anyone would think you are trying to talk me out of it,'' I said, trying to make light of it. You grinned as you opened my door.
''Shall we then?'' you said. I deliberately brushed past you and sat in the passenger side and watched you gently close the door.
''Oh, is it ok if we swing by, Grove End?''
''Sure, how come?'' you said, frowning. I felt my stomach twist into knots. Was I really going to do this?
''I just need to post a few things''
''Like?'' You said intrigued.
''Like, change of address.'' You beamed the biggest smile ever, gave me a nod and turned on the ignition.
Grove End was the name of the country route that backed onto woodland. It had an old and battered post box at the far end of the winding road. Its paint had faded and the writing was unreadable, not like the modern red shiny boxes. We could have gone to any of those. I just always like that one, it was unique. I always liked the drive there too. I would always look out for the same things on the way, the picturesque cottage I swore one day I would buy. The hidden tree house some kids made a few years back and the dead tree that looked like an old man if you caught it at the right angle. All the things you take for granted, always what you expect to see.
The sun was shining brightly through the windscreen and even with the visors down it was hard to see the road. You didn’t mind though, you knew these roads as well as I did. We bumped along the winding dirt track. I could feel my stomach start to knot up again. I reached for the bag Shakey handed me earlier and picked out the first CD on the pile.
''Now That’s What I Call Music,'' I said, frowning suspiciously at the cover.
''Yeah! Put it in,'' you laughed.
I pushed the CD inside the player and listened as music blared out of the speakers. You cranked up the volume and started to sing along, I couldn’t tell if you were putting it on or if you were genuinely that bad, but as you got louder I had to look away just to control my smirk. You were really getting into it. Your face was so full of concentration and looked so stupid, I had to laugh.
''What?'' You said pretending to be offended.
The muscles in my sides pulled. It felt so strange to laugh, I wasn’t used to it. I turned to look at you again, but this time, your face had changed. You were deadly serious. All the colour drained from your face and little beads of sweat started to run down your forehead. I don’t remember seeing an animal, but it must have been something pretty big to scare you.
You looked over my shoulder, through the window, a longer stare this time, with panic all over your face. I have never seen anybody look so scared, ever! I turned to see what you were looking at, but I couldn’t see anything, just trees, bushes and dirt. I scanned the area again in case I had missed something and quickly turned back to look at you, but before I could ask what you’d seen your eyes widened and your jaw dropped. I turned my head towards the screen, but there wasn’t anything there.
You pulled a hard left on the steering wheel, like you were swerving to avoid something. The car automatically responded. It turned sharply in the shade of the huge trees, kicking up dust as it skidded in the road. I watched your face. You were so frightened; it made me terrified just to look at you.
The back end of the car swung out, we were nearly facing in the opposite direction. The tyres started to screech and judder against the dirt, but your foot never eased off the accelerator. I could feel you, desperate to escape, but the car was going too fast. It was out of control. I looked out of my window at the stone wall that surrounded the woodland and screamed, gripping my seat as the wall got closer and closer to me. You started spinning the steering wheel in the opposite direction, frantically trying to gain control again, but the sudden change only added to the chaos. We hit a large boulder near the wall, which sent the car high in the air.
As if in slow motion I could see the wall, the trees and the road, over and over again. The car was rolling; I clung to my seat, desperately digging my nails into the leather. With each roll I could hear the piercing crash of metal, and feel the force smack hard against my body. I was too dizzy to focus, but I knew this was bad. I knew I wasn’t going to get out of this alive. My stomach lurched and bile rose in my throat as reality sunk in.
The car hit the ground again, my chest was so heavy and tight, I couldn’t breathe. I squeezed my eyes closed, desperate for it to be over, but in the madness, in all the noise, all the spinning, my chest eased and lifted. I opened my eyes quickly and saw the road speed towards my face, growing larger by the millisecond. I put my arms out in defence, but it was too late. I hit the floor and felt my body break. I’m dead! Or at least I wished I was.
When I woke the noise was unbearable, my ears rang so loudly it frightened me. Lights flashed and people where everywhere. I could see a fire engine in the distance, but something was blocking my view, a little light flashing in and out of my eye.
''Can you hear me?'' a voice called. I blinked and stared at the red engine.
''My name is Diane . . . I’m a paramedic. If you can hear me, can you squeeze my hand?''
I tried to lift my head to get a better view of the fire engine and piece together what was happening, but nothing was making sense. I could see you were no longer sitting beside me. Maybe I had been cut from the car? I didn’t hear any saws or drilling though. How long had I been out? I heard Diane’s voice again in the distance.
''She has a concussion and possible fracture to the right radius. I can’t see any lacerations or signs of internal trauma, but won’t know for certain until she's checked at the hospital.''
''Where’s Ben?'' I whispered. My words came out slower than I expected them to, like my body hadn’t quite caught up with my brain.
''Grace, can you tell me what happened?'' a man said. I turned to find him, but the movement made me feel dizzy and once again I saw the light blink in and out of my eye.
''I need to get her to the hospital,'' Diane said.
''Of course,'' said the man, ''I will go and speak to the coroner now, but we will need to know the moment she is conscious and fit to answer some questions.'' But I was conscious, or at least I could hear everything they were saying. And that’s when it hit me. I’m not dead. You are.
© 2013 MichelleClay
Shelved in 1 LibraryAdded on March 10, 2011
Last Updated on April 26, 2013
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