1st September 1939

by Ciara Thomas
(Perivale, Slough, London)

A solitary pole confined to a paved walkway, slightly taller than the road itself, is all that catches my eye. Its peculiar nature stood motionlessly and centered within the middle of the path. Of course now that all New York’s citizens, bare a few such as me, have gone off to fight for the war, the rest of us have been left in such a barren landscape and forced to fend for ourselves.

No cars pass as I helplessly gaze through the glass panes in search for any form of humanity. I am oblivious to the general hustle and bustle of the pub behind me; only the blackened road ahead is what my eyes are fixed upon, sending me into a transfixed stare. All but a foiled leaf fades through my view – Its autumnal brown markings immediately distinguished the end to a cold winter: a beginning to a long summer. This season even longer than the last, even more agitating and bitter.

Turning around to steady my body towards the mass of people, a man aged around 50 shot up his hand and raised a pint of larger to his mouth. For a few seconds, I remained still, sinking deeper into the atmosphere, anticipating another sight to calm my nerves; but a fraudulent silence endeavored to follow my every move. It was disquieting crunch, could be heard far off into the distance, but everyone’s reaction seemed to be delayed. Even the ‘larger man’ was obliged to the tensing situation - For a second he starred hard into the density of the pub, trying to pierce through it with his eyes. They widened, fear and urgency reassured him to turn and face us. His mouth opened, but all we could hear was a neat and tidy screech, travelling through the sharp furnishings, and then he simply collapsed.

His fall to the ground was slow; it seemed to suck out the emptiness around us. As the body released onto the ground, a monstrous yelling arose into a roar around me. Chests began bursting accompanied by a crackling yelp that spat across the room, descending into a haze that hung above me. A few men, each filled with a sense of unease and terror, were consumed by an echo’s unleashed inferno. Others striving for escapism dependently relied on creeping instructions that often shouted “take cover” or “run”, however the density of the air ensured all noise was slightly muted by its blur.

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