Escape in E Major

For Callie, music is the only getaway from her disturbing lifestyle. Her evenings alone on the rooftops of London aren't only an escape from reality, however.

The wind whistles past my head.. No, wait, it doesn't whistle. It's not cheerfull, this wind seems more mournfull, slow and sincere. It whirls it's way past my huddling form, curled in a small ball beneath the advertising board, where a blonde haired, white teethed couple are beaming over the city, oblivious to the ruin they overlook.

My hands rub together furtivley, desperatley attempting to generate some warmth. Sure, it's warmer down in the streets, full of beggars, tramps and vagrants. They lie below me now, miserable and helpless.

It's even warmer in the public houses, where locals cram together, to socialise and in hope of a generous benefactor who may spare a few pounds to buy a well needed drink.

But it's the warmth of alchohol, drugs and violence. People crammed into a small space, hot and bothered, not a soft, comfortable warmth of a roaring fire and a feathery duvet.

My eyes roll up in my head, and I lie back on the stanied bricks to admire the stars above me. Mama used to tell me stories, stories of a time when money was owned in vast quantities by most people, when London was visited by tourists, not terrorists.

'The happiest times, they were,' she used to reminiss happily to us, crowded round her feet in the dead of winter, hungry for a tale of pleasure. 'I remember only being seven years old, in the year 2009.'

'What was it like, Mama?' we asked, eyes wide with the interest for knowledge that resides in young childrens eyes. 'Tell us, please tell us.'

'I used to watch television every evening, and I'd have a warm meal inside of me so often it would make you littleuns so jealous,' she remembered, chucking Tommy under the chin. 'All us children went to school almost every day, and people were happy, most enough. People who were poor had help, and the rich were generous.'

'What about the magic, mama?' I would ask, every time.

'Not magic, wee one, but science. Oh, the wonderful things we possesed. We became so used to them, that everyone took them for granted. Little machines that played music to you, and televisions in every house.

'And medecine too!' She added, excitedly. 'If you were ill, they would always have tablets and pills and such for you to eat, and they made you feel better. Sometimes you had to go to hospital, and it was free, if you were properly sick!'

'Free?' We said scornfully. Surley our mother must have been joking. Free? In this world? Yeah, right.

'No, no, it's true, dear ones. There was love in this world. Real, proper love. On the television, it wasn't just news and adverts. There was entertainment, and comedy, and nature! The remarkable places that once existed...'

Mama always used to tail off eventually, and tears would spring to her eyes. She would then murmur, 'Whatever happened to us all?', and order us all to bed.

On the roof, I chuckle to myself. The stories were so unbelievable that if I hadn't heard them from my mothers own mouth, I would never have believed them. Food, and love and safety for everyone.

With that final thought, I pulled my battered, treasured guitar from behind me, and began to strum softly to the night, singing of the days that once were.

 

The End

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