Manhunt

This is a piece I wrote for my controlled assessment in English, based on Manhunt by Simon Armitage.

Slate grey seeped down the windows. Sepia trees in the wind trembling as I did. Blotchy clouds tearing through the sky. Thick raindrops fell, the kind that plasters your clothes to your skin.

I watched it over and over. Billowing clouds that shot into the azure sky, sparks flying through the cloud; scarlet, orange, deep plum black. Choking black. They grew into the cloud above them, swirling to make a grunge-maroon. Rewind and watch again.

The blast that caught Annie.

I was phoned, sweaty hands barely gripping the receiver. They elaborately explained her injuries.

The explosion has most unfortunately taken the most part of her legs, and being as she was so close she was carried back by the heated force of it all, and landed rather badly on her arm. I'm awfully sorry sir, so regrettable it is, this wretched subject of war, and so young...

He drivelled on.

Do you know those days? The kind in which you aren't fully aware of yourself, and all you need is to wallow? And what you really want is for the heavens to open, in a sweet, drenching kiss, and you can wail and wallow all you like. Well, I was having one of those days.

I drove along the M4 in brilliant sunshine. I swear I even saw a bunny hopping along. On the M4.

I miss rain. I like rain. I can reflect in it. I've loved it ever since...

Imagine buttery and lemon roses climbing the tresses of woodland trees. The simple forest floor alive and blossoming with bluebells and sweet primroses, splintered with clear raindrops as spitted rain fell. I remember the minister, my only witness, stood before me. The Annie, my sweet Annie, in a soft white dress, her gorgeous honey hair blossoming with tiny blooms. She took a barefoot step into the clearing, 2 girls just behind her in pink. I didn't notice. Just her, walking towards me, her bright grin... Her bright white smile...

I arrive at the hopital. I see imposing clean walls. The smell of bleach clung to them. A nurse at the desk. She takes me to the room. I walk in. I find her. Her little pale hand. I take it in mine. She squeezes it. A crystal drop of water falls on her mousy brown hair. I kiss it away, salty on my lips. I hadn't notice my own tears.

Her legs were bound up and frayed. One ended at her calf, the other at her thigh. Neither manageable.

Seeing her so hurt, I thought of my own worry scars. The deep grooves I hadn't noticed I was making without her there to stop me. They didn't compare.

I could cover my arms and people wouldn't think me any different. But she could never hide what she'd seen.

Her eyes flickered open and she watched me. She told me later how happy she'd been to see me and my 'big worried eyes'. I never saw her smile.

But she was home. With me. That counted. That counted.

She came home with me. She tried to smile but it couldn't last. Our last day was spent by a lake she couldn't swim in, feilds she couldn't run in, and a sky that showed how limitless her life should be. She left me with a kiss and the scent on her pillow. Again.

They found her body in the woods. Not our woods. But close.

Then she was gone. Poof. I couldn't feel her anymore. I couldn't feel anymore.

Why? Why did... How could she do this? Did she think I didn't notice - Didn't notice her prayers? That my body didn't cry for her- didn't convulse in physical pain - When she winced as she moved her legs? What - Did she think it didn't count that she was home? Did she think that her life was a mistake - A mistake that should've ended on the battlefield? Did her life not count for anything? That I wouldn't notice if she left? I noticed! I noticed!

To me, it counted.

It counted.

The End

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