A difficult beginning – A WWBH post

This post is part of the Writer Wednesday Blog Hop, a weekly meme designed to inspire creativity and encourage the sharing of stories.

The hop is co-hosted by myself over at Reading, Writing and Everything in Between, Leanne Sype at Writings and Ruminations, Tena Carr at Jottings and Writings and Debb Stanton at Stanton Sunshine.

The challenge this week is to write a piece of flash fiction in up to 500 words, using two pictures as inspiration.

This weeks pictures:

2014-06-08 13.02.24 2014-06-19 18.23.46

 

This weeks story:

A difficult beginning

You look so tiny as you lie there, surrounded by so many tubes and wires. I’m afraid to put my hands on you in case I pull on something by mistake. You were this perfect little thing the day you arrived, and it breaks my heart that everything wasn’t quite right on the inside. The doctor says its no fault of ours, these things just happen sometimes, but still I feel like I’ve let you down already and you’re not even 48hrs old.

        I could sit here all day with you, watching you, hoping that being here will in some way help you get better. But I ache all over. I’ve still recovering too, my little one, from the efforts of bringing you into this world. We should both be at home right now, snuggled together and helping each other adjust and get strong again. But instead here we are, you in there and me as close as I can be. I know I need to be taking care of myself, to get some rest and recuperate, but that also means leaving you here by yourself.

        I know, of course, that you’re in the best place, getting the best care you can, but it’s not always the same as having the people who love you nearby.  And I have your sister to think of too. She needs me as much as you do, and I didn’t think I’d be splitting myself between the two of you so soon. You probably won’t remember any of this, or how much time I spent with you, but she will. She’ll notice if I’m here too much and if I’m not at home spending time with her too. I must get that right, I can’t have her being upset with either of us already. After all, this isn’t her fault. It isn’t anyone’s fault, it’s just something that happens, and this time it’s to us.

        We know you’re on the mend now, my little one, and big sister has been here and had her cuddles. She loves you more than you’ll ever know, and she’s been hurting as much as we have. She comes and holds your hand every day so you don’t forget her. The bunny in your cot was left for us yesterday, a parcel left on the doorstep, flowers too. Had things gone differently it would have been a harsh reminder of a tragedy impossible to bear, but instead now they are a symbol of hope that we’ll have you home soon.

Get well my little one, we have many adventures to all share together, today and forever xxx

Word count: 439

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Unknown Cargo – A WWBH post

This post is part of the Writer Wednesday Blog Hop, a weekly meme designed to inspire creativity and encourage sharing of stories.

The hop is co-hosted by myself over at Reading, Writing and Everything in Between, Leanne Sype at Writings and Ruminations, Tena Carr at Jottings and Writings and Debb Stanton at Stanton Sunshine.

The challenge this week is to write a piece of flash fiction in up to 500 words, using two pictures supplied by Tena as inspiration. Both pictures need to be incorporated into your story somewhere.

My story for this week:

Unknown Cargo

20140409-132433.jpg‘See you later scruff-ball!’ The cat didn’t even stir as I finished packing my lunch into my rucksack. Instead, he just gazed at me with those soppy blue eyes, probably wondering what craziness I was up to now. His eyes closed gently as I gave him one last fuss around the ears, and I could just see him getting comfortable in my spot as I headed out the door.

        The sun warmed my back as I cycled to the depot, a matter of only ten minutes at this time in the morning. Stashing my bag, I headed to the briefing room to see what runs I had, and to get in my early morning coffee at the same time. Not for the first time I wondered if it was the same coffee that me and the guys were trekking all over the country, but somehow I doubted it. The company was too cheap for that kind of blend. And I most certainly wasn’t drinking the stuff that I’d been hauling around for the past few weeks. I had no idea what it really was, they wouldn’t tell me no matter how many times I asked, all they said was that I wouldn’t want to drink it.

        As I headed out to my ride, the other boys passed me on their way in.

        ‘Starting early again, Jim?’ called Sam.

        ‘Have to,’ I said, ‘I’ve got a long way to go.’

        Slinging my gear across the seats I got myself settled in. This was the only truck I took out these days so it was all set up for me already. I plugged the tunes in and was ready to go.

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       I drove all day but still didn’t make it to my destination. Even with scheduled rest stops I still had to pull over and call it a night. All I could do was get up in good time in the morning and get going again. The bed was comfortable enough, and I managed a few good hours sleep before being woken up. There was no rain or wind to speak of, but still the whole lorry, cabin and all, began shaking loudly back and forth. Rubbing my eyes, I fumbled around for my torch but a bright light shining all around illuminated everything.

        Pulling on a jacket I tried to jump out, but the handle and door wouldn’t budge. Throwing my full weight against it I remained trapped, with only the window to squint out of to see what was happening. Hovering above, a large oval shape sat motionless with its lights shining down. Just as quickly the light went out, and the shape disappeared into the night sky in silence.

        I fell out of through the door which had now been released, sprawling me onto the lay-by. The only evidence that anything had happened was the fill level of the tank, now sitting at empty. More terrifying than what I’d just witnessed, was just how I was going to explain this to anyone.

Word count 502.

Hidden in the storm – A WWBH post

This post is part of the Writer Wednesday Blog Hop, a weekly meme designed to inspire creativity and encourage sharing of stories.

The hop is co-hosted by myself over at Reading, Writing and Everything in Between, Leanne Sype at Writings and Ruminations, Tena Carr at Jottings and Writings and the newest member of our team, Debb Stanton at Stanton Sunshine.

The challenge this week is to write a piece of flash fiction in up to 500 words, using two pictures as inspiration.

This weeks pictures:

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IMG_20140420_162554

This weeks story:

Hidden in the storm

As the storm built overhead my appetite seemed lost, leaving me pushing my food around my bowl. It had been scorchingly hot, the fields dry, with barely enough water for the cattle.

        We hadn’t fared much better, the house  holding the heat and baking us as we slept. Even with windows open and fans on full, I still woke in the night dripping with sweat. Tonight had been forecast for rain though, and we felt it in the air as the rumbling grew in the distance.

        There hadn’t been a good storm for years. We’d spent two days strapping everything down that could be, locking things away, tying them to anything that was likely to hold itself in place. All we could do now was wait for it to arrive and ride it out as best we could.

        I knew it wasn’t just the wind and the rain that had everyone worried though. I’d not seen it myself, but there were stories of other things that came when the wind was high, when the storm distracted one and all. They weren’t to be fussed over in the broad light of the sun, but when the night fell, and the winds blew, they could terrify.

        I knew I’d need my energy if I was going to be up all night with the others, but I couldn’t bring myself to eat a thing. My stomach was churning and I didn’t trust it to keep anything down. I picked up my full bowl and took it to the sink where mother was standing, staring out the window. Following her gaze I could see the trees beginning to sway a little bit more, the leaves rustling loudly. The cattle were becoming restless in the barns, jostling against one another in the uncertainty. They could already sense that something was happening.

        I think mother knew too, her hands gripping the edges of the worktop until her knuckles started turning white. I couldn’t tell if it was through fear or determination, and I was too scared to ask. She lifted one hand at last and pointed out through the window. The storm was becoming more visible, even against the black of the night. The lightning flashes were frequent, lighting its way as it came. For a moment I couldn’t see what she saw, but as my eyes adjusted they became clearer in the black.

        I could only make out a few to begin with, dotted around the sky, flitting in and out of the storm clouds. I thought they must be birds but as the absurdity of this fact struck me I realised I didn’t know what they were, but I knew to be afraid. Their numbers grew as the cloud came closer, and on the wind I could hear their wailing and moaning. They were coming, whatever they were, and as I turned back to mother she was already moving.

        ‘They’re here,’ she said, without emotion. ‘Grab whatever you can and be ready to defend yourself.’

 

Word count: 501

 

Surviving the night – A WWBH post

This post is part of the Writer Wednesday Blog Hop, a weekly meme designed to inspire creativity and encourage sharing of stories.

The hop is co-hosted by myself over at Reading, Writing and Everything in Between, Leanne Sype at Writings and Ruminations, Tena Carr at Jottings and Writings and the newest member of our team, Debb Stanton at Stanton Sunshine. Welcome to the team Debb!!!

The challenge this week is to write a piece of flash fiction in up to 500 words, using one picture and five random words as inspiration. All of these elements need to be incorporated into your story somewhere.

This weeks picture:

 

This weeks words:                            shout, sieve, degree, pile, planning.

 

This weeks story:

Surviving the night

I was alive. I had survived, when everything within me was convinced I wouldn’t be opening my eyes again in this world.

        I shifted my body weight and the stiffness in my legs protested. It didn’t stop there either, the discomfort traveling up my back to my shoulders in increasing degrees of pain. Sitting up, my skin responded to the coldness, making me shiver up and down. My fingers and toes ached as I tried to encourage some life into them, and I could see my breath surrounding me as I tried to use it to add heat into my hands.

         Some of the ache in my hands was from the cold I knew, but some of it was from gripping the ax handle too tightly as I’d waited for sleep to take me. The locked doors of the car would provide little protection, but grabbing the best weapon I could and getting myself hidden inside something was all the planning I’d had time for. I thanked my lucky stars again and again that I’d parked away from the buildings, hidden from view within the trees. It only went a small way to compensate for the complete failure of the engine to start, but I was glad for it now.

        My sleeve became damp as I wiped the condensation from the back window, and I peered through the morning mist looking for any kind of movement. The choice of location was much more remote than the last party, and I couldn’t help thinking now that the decision had been deliberate. In the middle of these fields, at least three miles from the nearest main road, you could shout your heart out and nobody would hear. And a lot of people had tried. What little I dreamed had all been filled with the shouts and screams of frightened, escaping people. All piled on top of each other trying to flee the barns, and only fueling the thirst of that which sought to devour them.

         All was quiet now though, the mist seeming to sieve out all the usual morning sounds. My stomach grumbled as I looked all around. If I tried the engine again it would draw attention in this silence, but I needed to get away and I wasn’t keen on making a break for it on foot. From what I saw of these things from last night, they certainly didn’t conform to any rules I knew of, which meant I wasn’t taking any chances.

         My heart pounded as one of the barn doors opened gently, the shadows from within coming forward into the light. There was no way to tell how many there could be in there. I was concentrating so much on trying to see them, I had no warning when the one hiding in the trees launched itself at the side of my car.

 
Word count: 477
 
 

Appear/Disappear – A WWBH post

This post is part of the Writer Wednesday Blog Hop, a weekly meme designed to inspire creativity and encourage sharing of stories.

For more information and to see my other stories, check out my Writer Wednesday Blog Hop tab.

The challenge is to write a piece of flash fiction in up to 500 words, using two pictures as inspiration.

This weeks contribution:

Appear/Disappear

Nobody knew where the object had come from or how it had appeared without drawing attention. One night the sun had set on the open space of the promenade, and the next morning the silver, ring shaped spectacle was there.

Big silver bean in Millenium Park.

We didn’t live in a quiet city either, there was plenty going on late into the night and early hours, but still its arrival was a mystery. It had just brought itself into existence without flash or fanfare.
 
        Simon had been mesmerised from the moment he set eyes on it. We went to see it together, and as we got closer it loomed overhead, blocking out the sun. We gazed up at our reflections, our bodies elongating as they curved around it. We dared to walk beneath, right into the centre where the sun shone through once again. As we did I noticed it began to hum gently, responding to something close by. Nobody else seemed to notice, so I kept this observation to myself.
 
        It certainly drew the crowds and Simon took full advantage, moving his busking spot right next it. He set his guitar case on the floor, donned his signature hat and glasses and began playing. Business was slow to begin with, the visitors barely paid him any attention as they wandered around and admired the object.
 
        But as he continued playing, something strange began to happen. It was very subtle to start with, and in the dazzling sunlight was easily missed, but the surface of the object started to change from its silvery, reflective surface, and instead colours danced across its surface.
 
        When he Dad's Guitar 005played a more up-tempo song the colours were bright and radiant, yellows, reds, oranges, all chasing each other quickly around. For slower, more sombre pieces the colours turned to blue and green, seeming to merge into one another gradually without any urgency at all.
 
        It didn’t take long for the crowds to pick up on the connection, and assumed Simon was doing something to it somehow. His case filled rapidly with coins, reflecting the appreciation of the entertainment.
 
        Simon was transfixed and the object seemed just as interested in him. He stayed all day, experimenting with different styles to see what it would do, and insisted on playing long after the sun went down. The colours seemed even more dramatic in the darkness, and it only intensified his efforts. I didn’t have the stamina though, and said my goodbyes before heading home. I’m not sure he even noticed me go.
 
        The next morning when I arrived with coffee and bagels, Simon was nowhere to be seen. And neither was the object. It had disappeared as smoothly and covertly as it had arrived, leaving no trace that it had even been there. The only evidence of Simon was his guitar case, overflowing with coins now, his hat and his sunglasses. It was like he’d never been there either. Looking towards the sky, I wondered where they had gone, and if I’d ever see either of them again.
 
Word count: 504

Looking for Home – A WWBH post

This post is part of the Writer Wednesday Blog Hop, a weekly meme designed to inspire creativity and encourage sharing of stories.

For more information and to see my other stories, check out my Writer Wednesday Blog Hop tab.

The challenge is to write a piece of flash fiction in up to 500 words, and this time using one picture and five words.

The picture:

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The words:                            body, person, silky, crack, pleasure

The story:

Looking for Home

Another life, a whole other world. The memories were fresh in my mind, if not in anyone else’s. But then how could they be, I’m the only one who traveled from that place to this. Every other person was already here, this is all they’ve ever known.

It’s not hugely different I suppose. The landscape is the same, all the cities and buildings within them are the same. Yet, everybody‘s strange here. People are so absorbed in their own internal world they hardly notice anyone else around them. On my first day here I had three people try to walk through me as though I didn’t exist.

At first I thought it was just me, maybe I wasn’t there, maybe the journey had done something to me, made me invisible. This theory was dismissed though after other people shouted at me for being in their way. After that I tried to make myself as small as possible, dodging my way through the cracks in the crowd, not drawing attention to myself.

My arrival hadn’t registered with any of these people, which surprised me. There was plenty of noise and a whirlpool large enough for me to fit through. Surely these things weren’t common enough to be ignored, considered insignificant. Perhaps I was wrong. The initial pleasure I’d felt at successfully navigating the time spiral had dispersed quickly once I got a sense of the place.

Everything was so noisy here, I wondered how anyone managed to make any sense of it all. I wandered the streets for as long as I could stand it, gathering data to take home, but it all became too much and I had to seek the solace of the park. It seemed to be on the outskirts of this city, and I managed to find the outer edge, as far from the chaos as I could manage. Amongst the trees I could still hear the noise of their strange vehicles droning in the background, but I could lose myself a little in the silky black of the night sky.

I had to try and find a way to get back home again. This place wasn’t somewhere that our Elders had in mind as a refuge. I’d rather stay in my home when the end came than have to live a whole day here. But I needed a power source.

My thoughts were interrupted by loud noises charging through the trees. Shouts were behind the noise and soon lights appeared to accompany the roar. Three of the natives had appeared on strange two-wheeled vehicles I’d never seen before. They sounded powerful and an idea began to form in my mind. Maybe these strange things would have enough power to create the return whirlpool I needed, maybe I wouldn’t be stuck here until the Elders opened the window for me. I studied the newcomers as they set up some kind of camp, waiting for an opportunity to seize one of their machines.

Word count: 496

A Welcome Revenge – A WWBH post

This post is part of the Writer Wednesday Blog Hop, a weekly meme designed to inspire creativity and encourage sharing of stories.

For more information and to see my other stories, check out my Writer Wednesday Blog Hop tab.

The challenge is to write a piece of flash fiction in up to 500 words, and we’re going back to our WWBH roots with one picture and five words.

The picture:

WineandCheese

 

The words:                    screwdriver, saucepan, barrel, spine, comb

The story:

A Welcome Revenge

‘You always have to be the odd one out, don’t you?’ I muttered as the others left the room.
‘I’m sure I don’t know what you mean, darling’ he replied, kissing me on the cheek before clearing the plates from the table. ‘Shall I take this through too? May as well finish them off.’
I looked at the platter of cheese he held out, trying to keep my blood on a slow simmer. He was doing it on purpose, of course, trying to get a reaction from me. I was determined not to give him the satisfacion.
As he headed through to our guests I stacked the plates by the sink, running the tap as I gathered the saucepans. I knew what he was doing, making every effort he could to show up my sisters new boyfriend. The last time it’d taken hardly any effort at all; for a so-called handy man he hadn’t known one end of a screwdriver from the other. Even I had to admit she’d been scraping the barrel with that one.
But she seemed really keen this time, and he was a decent guy. I didn’t want anything to put either of them off. It would be just like Ian to say something as part of his fun and send the guy running for the hills.
I sighed as I cleared the wine glasses away, three red and one white. He wasn’t even that keen on white wine, but anything to be different. Combing his hair the other way. Taking his lunch at different times. All just to stand out from the crowd. Sometimes I had to think hard about why I married him in the first place. My friends had tried to steer me away but I was young and in love I suppose.
Pushing unwanted thoughts from my mind, I quickly finished clearing the kitchen so I could go through and try and keep him under control. As I hummed quietly to myself a crash suddenly came from the living room.
Dropping everything I raced through, ready to berate Ian for his behaviour. ‘Ian, what have you … ‘ I stood halfway through the doorway in shock, my spine going cold as I took in the scene.
My sister stood over by the window, shaking as she slowly collapsed to the floor. Her dress was torn and hanging around her. On the floor was Ian, sprawled on his front where he’d landed on the glass coffee table.
And over by the fireplace was Karl, my sister’s new boyfriend, holding my mums cribbage trophy in his hand and staring at me as I burst in on the scene. Looking at them all, one after the other, my mind became clearer than it had done in years.
I smiled up at Karl, who looked at me, puzzled. ‘I’ll get the shovel,’ I said, leaving them both stunned as I left them with a new bounce in my step.

Word count: 497

Unwanted Journey – A WWBH post

This post is part of the Writer Wednesday Blog Hop, a weekly meme designed to inspire creativity and encourage sharing of stories.

For more information and to see my other stories, check out my Writer Wednesday Blog Hop tab.

The challenge is to write a piece of flash fiction in up to 500 words, incorporating two given pictures into the tale. This week I bring you …

Unwanted Journey

Stepping out into the evening air, Henry drew his coat around his chin with one hand, the other grasping his grisly cargo. Glancing along the street, he kept his head down as he walked, barely noticing the lamps beyond the brim of his hat.

He set his pace as quickly as he dared, not wanting to draw attention to his haste but needing to arrive as soon as he could. This was an unenviable task, they all knew it, and tonight he’d been nominated. Nobody ever volunteered for this.

The further he walked, the less he felt the chill, and began to relax as he fell into his rhythm. The buildings were fading away around him, open fields and a few trees replacing them as his only companions. As he traveled, the sun drew closer to the horizon leaving a greyness in the sky that complimented the ground. He could still make out the neatly paved path of his journey as he approached, it had not yet faded into the twilight. It wound back and forth ahead of him, scraggly bushes on one side, and grass slipping down on the other where it descended into the valley. The shadows had already taken over down there, and Henry kept his focus on the path ahead. He’d heard this part of the task could play tricks on the mind, and he was determined to keep his clear.

The paving was even all along the path, no deviation from pattern or mis-shaped segments. He measured his stride to match them evenly, never stepping on cracks, placing his feet firmly in the centre of each one. He wasn’t superstitious by nature but right now every detail counted.

He’d felt relaxed so far, but as he crested the hill the chill returned to his bones. His palms began to sweat and he constantly adjusted his grip on the package, it’s weight seeming to increase as he neared the end of his journey.

Through the darkness now he could see the pedestal in the centre of the path, marking the end of his trip. Made of stone and standing waste high, its centre glowed a deep orange as it awaited its contribution.

Henry pushed his hat back absently as he made his approach, lifting the sack he’d been carrying and lowering it gently into place. As it sat there, the blood that had seeped from within began to drip down the side of the pedestal. At first it seemed random to Henry, until he saw the orange glow travel along the length of the stand ahead of the blood, itself following hidden grooves into the ground.

Although unseen, Henry could feel them watching and it took all his will not to turn and bolt. He knew he had to be patient, to wait and ensure the journey had been a success.

As he saw the spear point shoot through the front of his chest, he guessed in the end it hadn’t.

Word count: 495

Survivor – A WWBH post

This post is part of the Writer Wednesday Blog Hop, a weekly meme designed to inspire creativity and encourage sharing of stories.

For more information and to see my other stories, check out my Writer Wednesday Blog Hop tab.

The challenge is to write a piece of flash fiction in up to 500 words, incorporating two given pictures into the tale. This week I bring you …

Survivor

The air within the house was heavy, clinging to the walls and ceiling. Nobody had been around in the weeks since the devastation, the windows shut tight, keeping in the musty scent of neglect. Through the grimy windows I could see the blue sky, seeming to mock the efforts of the salvage teams as we prodded and poked our way through what remained. Such a picture would have been far from possible when the bombs had been dropped, the flames and smoke spreading through the town.

Coffee and grinderThis house was the same as all the others, signs of immediate abandonment everywhere. Once the sirens had sounded there wasn’t much time for an orderly exit. This family had just been finishing their evening meal, the dirty plates and glasses still scattered over the kitchen table. Half eaten food now had little resemblance to anything edible, instead adding to the pungency that emanated throughout the place. On the worktop the after-dinner coffee had been dropped, the beans scattered all over and toppling onto the floor.

With nothing worth recovering in here, I made my way gradually through the rest of the house. The lack of noise made it an uncomfortable task. In any house there was often the expected creaks and groans of the structure, the humming of electrics, the clattering of human activity. All of that was absent here though.

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In the main bedroom, empty suitcases lay open on the bed, a pile of clothes left in the middle of the floor where they’d been dropped halfway to being packed. It still baffled me that some people had been so willing to sacrifice their lives for such trivialities. I shuddered as I remembered the elderly couple, caught up in the flames while trying to load their car with family trinkets. Their burned remains still haunted me some nights, clinging to each other as they realised they had no escape.

Leaving the bedroom, my attention was distracted by a small noise from behind one of the other doors. My skin crawled as the realisation sunk in, how out of place it was in the silence of the house. I began to doubt myself, my own senses, when the noise came again, a scraping of nails against ceramics. Something was in the bathroom.

I felt myself become dizzy as I contemplated that thought. Something in the bathroom. Nothing was supposed to have survived, and we’d seen first hand what had happened to the natives who had lingered.

There was a shuffling now, coming closer to the door, coming closer to me. I had to leave, to tell someone that something had remained. It had to be dealt with before it could recover.

But somehow I was rooted to the spot, curiosity and fear battling it out within me. I couldn’t move as the door began to open, and whatever it was on the other side edged its fingers around the gap.

Word count: 486

The Bringers – A WWBH post

This post is part of the Writer Wednesday Blog Hop, a weekly meme designed to inspire creativity and encourage sharing of stories.

For more information and to see my other stories, check out my Writer Wednesday Blog Hop tab.

So, this weeks pictures:

Scary (2752359285)

Scary

And this weeks story:

The Bringers

I didn’t see why I had to come, Hayley was more than capable of holding her own with this Chris guy. She’d hardly acknowledged me since mum had dropped us off anyway. I’m sure she was doing her best to lose me, and I was happy to let her if I was being honest. I liked it even less than she did, this plan that mum was using me for.
‘Make sure you keep an eye on her the whole time,’ she’d said to me, ‘don’t let her wander off alone with that boy.’
Too late, I thought, as I saw her blonde hair disappear behind a large blue and white tent. I could’ve quickened my pace a little, made sure to catch up and play tag-along, but that wasn’t how to get in her good graces and we both knew it.
Instead I wandered around, taking in the sights and sounds. The smell of popcorn and candyfloss wafted on the air from the end of a long queue waiting for the sugary treats, the sound of a generator not quite being drowned out by the music and chatter.
The brightly coloured clowns on one stall drew my attention, their gaping mouths and twisting heads staring out into the night expectantly, waiting for someone to feed their eternal hunger.
As I watched them turning back and forth, a shadow fell in front of me making me turn. Walking past me were five boys from my school, all a few years older.. The crowd parted for them and went silent, watching them go but trying to be subtle about it. Their long leather jackets billowed behind them, their heavy boots leaving prints behind in their wake.
The weather seemed to have turned with their arrival, the clouds overshadowing the bright moon and descending upon us, casting a mist all around. I could barely see the swings of the merry-go-round as it continued to turn in defiance of the arrivals.
I suppressed a shiver as the five carried on past me, most of them not even bothering to look at me. All except the last one, who looked younger than the others and vaguely familiar. As I realised he was actually from my own year at school, he stared deep into my eyes. One side of his mouth lifted slightly, a hint of a grin, and that image stayed with me for a long time.
My attention was caught by a scream then, breaking through the mist from the same direction I’d seen my sister disappear. As this realisation sank in I broke into a run, following the tracks of the heavy boots. I skidded to a halt as I rounded the corner and my eyes took in the scene. All five of them were standing in a circle with Chris, and they were all looking down at one thing. My sister’s body lying in a heap, unmoving.

Word count: 486