The distinct click of the lock was the very first to disconnect me from normality. Eyes closed, inhaling the sweet spring air, I rose my head to feel the breeze brush my dusted pink cheeks and as my eyes began to open, the amber glow of streetlights could be seen through my eyelashes. Deafening silence filled the air, so silent, you could almost hear a pin drop. However, this tranquillity was broken by the faint mechanical sounds of a train leaving its station and despite how unknowing I felt, I knew that unlike myself, this train would be back home by morning. Taking a deep breath, I stepped out of the driveway, without turning back.
Trees danced in the breeze, leaves rustling, branches swaying. I suddenly came to halt, to see a tipped bucket of red paint splattered across the path from a small driveway. My eyes searched for the door number in the misty haze. 84, Mark’s house. His parents must’ve been repainting the roof after the incident. It was unfortunate that Mark was the first to go but even more so that we all had fallen like dominoes from there. We all felt the same about what had happened, however, some things are better left unsaid. As my mind wandered, I felt a rough coat brush against my leg, breaking my train of thought. I slowly lowered my body and crouched down, stroking the familiar rough grey coat of fur.
As I reached into my pocket, soft purrs left the stray’s mouth and its cobalt blue orbs fixated on my own. Breaking eye contact, I took out the bagel from my pocket, unwrapping the brown paper bag and cautiously feeding the bread to the cat. Lingering for a few moments longer, I began to contemplate whether leaving was a mistake. I suddenly grew stiff, turning to stone as a feeling of anxiousness overwhelmed me, taking over my entire body. However, the consequences were too large, staying was not an option. Taking a deep breath, I stood up and reached for my pocket once more, hands trembling in trepidation. Placing the last piece of chewing gum in my mouth, I closed my eyes and focused on the fresh minty taste. Heart rate beginning to slow down, limbs relaxing, I felt more at ease. Arriving at the main road, everything seemed unfamiliar.
The usual chaos of speeding cars trying to overtake one another and lively children cheering and laughing seemed to have dissolved. It had dissolved into nothing but the fading hum of a single car revving in the distance. As I cut across to the right side of the road, I noticed all the shop fronts were closed.
There was no sign of life, completely deserted. However, walking further down the street, the path began to glow shimmering colours of red, blue and green. Lifting my head, I was met with a restaurant; it’s alternating neon lights illuminating the entire street. As I passed, peering into the exhausted diner, I recognised the owner, who too had grown old, aged by the years of working endlessly. His head lay on the counter as he slept peacefully, radiating a sense of serenity. Just like the rest of them deep in slumber, he was unaware of the fatal threat approaching. Continuing onward, my eyes were focused on the ground and the journey to the docks seemed never-ending. As I approached my destination, the briny scent of the ocean filled my senses and the crisp chilly breeze flew straight through me, sending shivers down my spine. I was drawn closer and closer. Walking down the pier, I spotted an unfamiliar group of large boats. They seemed out of place next to the smaller dinghies beside them.
They were organised in a formation, lined up like soldiers ready to take on the next wave that challenged them. As I slowly tread down from the pier, step by step, a gasp spilled out my mouth in pure shock. In that split second, that moment, it felt as if the whole world turned mute. Reality struck me. Beads of sweat began to drip down my forehead and my limbs trembled in distress. Crystal tears slid down my cheeks and a recollection of memories flooded my brain. My breathing became heavy, weighing me down, as regret pulsed continuously on my mind. I felt selfish leaving them the way I did, ridding myself of anguish and grief. However, the clock was ticking and there wasn’t enough time to return. Wiping off the crystal droplets, I had no choice but to forget my life as it was and stepped onto the boat, disappearing once more.