Photograph by Lisa Shambrook (Please do not use without permission)
Into the West
Cobwebs undulated in the chilled breeze in the dark corner of the kitchen. She hugged her knees to her chest and squinted at the luminescence from the fridge. The glow disappeared abruptly as he slammed the refrigerator door and opened a can with a malicious hiss. His boots clomped across the linoleum and he callously stepped over her feet. The lounge door clicked shut releasing only a thin strip of yellow light to invade her gloom.
The television blared, her heart pounded and thunder growled throughout her head. Her ears buzzed a high-pitched, tinny sound that threatened to drive her mad. Her body hurt, pain seared through every muscle, every sinew, and her fingers clasped tight around her knees, holding herself together.
She slowly unfurled her fingers, intensely aware of pain. She looked down and bent her index finger, crunching the bones as she righted its angle. Anguish and agony clutched, sinking its ready talons into her fading heart. She stared vacantly at the grease-spattered kitchen tiles, the overflowing crockery in the sink, the broken plate on the floor and her shattered dreams, crushed and ground into the bloody lino at her feet.
A sliver of white light glanced through the grimy window and she cast her gaze towards the beam. She rose, slowly, nervously, and stepped lightly towards the window, her bare feet treading numbly across the splintered china. At the window she pressed her cheek against the cool glass and stared up at the shimmering moon.
Clouds drifted across the night sky and she stared into their depths, imagining mountains and valleys, and sparkling streams. Starlight sprinkled oceans that swam across the sky and she dived into the glittering deep. She swam, embraced in velvety water, warmth seeping into her cold bones, releasing seized muscles and soothing tension. The moon moved west, casting rays of hope across the navy night, and she burst out of the ocean, wandering on soft pillows of cotton-wool. She danced across waves of green, rolling between the clouds, burying her feet in meadows of everlasting flora and rivers of swaying grass.
She gazed across the firmament, dipping into her dreams, renewing hope. Her bower waited, a copse wreathed within mists and emerald green. She stepped lightly across the night, and settled, resting beneath heaven’s verdant canopy and wind’s gentle blanket, her mind at ease and pain long gone.
Cobwebs undulated in the chilled breeze in the dark corner of the kitchen. A draught blew through the grimy window and ruffled the hair of her broken shadow that lay cold and still.