Thursday, March 31, 2005

Something I dug up from the archives

I watch silently as they leave the tent, their hearts pounding like the beat that raved earlier, from dusk 'til dawn. I see the sweat glistening on their skin, clothes damp and dishevelled as they cling to thin bodies, pallid faces and wide eyes. I spot a girl. She looks wild and scared as the dawn rushes towards her from behind the mountains and cloud. I pick her. She is to be the one I choose today. No reason. There never is a reason.

The traffic is backing up the High Street in this suburban town. People have come out of the shops to stare at the old woman lying in the road, half her body obscured by the car she is lying under. A solitary scream can be heard from a girl, several seconds after the incident; a case of delayed shock. Then nothing for what seems like hours. Two shouts from men that someone should call an ambulance, then, we hear the sirens as the vehicles approach at high speed. A woman kneeling beside the old lady's body turns to those crowding round. She's dead is what she says.
Another one bites the dust.

There are giggles from the back of the bus and the waft of cigarette smoke perambulates along the windows to the front. I look to see if the driver will stop today, to tell "those like fuckers to put out those fags, or else". The "or else" means the taking of names and addresses. He doesn’t pass them to the teachers; he uses his time off at weekends to watch them. He prefers the girls, but sometimes a boy will catch his eye. He doesn't yet know that the brakes will fail on this bend, that the coach will go hurtling through the fence and crash through a plot of trees. The driver will not know that the vehicle teeters on the edge of a precipice because a wayward branch smashing its way through the windscreen will have already decapitated him. Sadly, no one will come out alive. Sometimes it is necessary to take casualties.

Onwards and upwards, as you say.

He wakes to the sound of the telephone, its incessant ringing disturbing his slumber, which he has been deprived of recently anyway, what with his brother clinging on to life. He picks up the receiver, already in the back of his mind knowing what the voice will say at the other end. But, he is surprised by the news he is told, for it is not bad, as he had assumed. Recovery is slow, but his sibling is no longer on "the critical list" and "we are positive he will recover fully, given time and medical help". He feels joyous at the news and he sheds tears as the relief sweeps from him in a gushing of emotions. They will discover him three weeks later, the telephone still grasped in his hand. They will have to carry out a post-mortem to discover how he died and the coroner will describe it as "if someone had literally squeeze the life out of his heart". No one will consider if that is so, they will simply accept this and try to move on. The coroner will make no mention that the corpse had been got at by rats, that spiders had begun to nestle in the ears and throat, that maggots has also commenced decomposition and that they'd had to identify him through his postal address and dental records.

The rain is falling as the day begins, but soon the sun will push through and dry the roads, make the children come running from their homes to play in garden and park, their shrieks rankling old men and delighting old ladies. They are safe.
Along the road lies the church, where the pious come to worship a God, the Almighty. It is also the place where life ends and you are returned to the earth from whence you came. Today they will bury many; an old lady, a young woman who has become a celebrated victim of drugs, school children and their paedophile driver.
When the heart attack strikes the pilot, will it be fate that this church is the aircraft's final destination just as the service peaks and the sermon yearns for us all to live as God does, to be pure in our thoughts and to forgive and forget? Or is it His will to take his flock to be at his side in Heaven?

I don't know, I guess it depends how I feel when I get up in the morning.

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