Although I have a longer-term project on the go (off and on, as energy permits!) I fancied writing something with “no strings” today. Just sit at the keyboard, open up, start typing, and see what happens. I haven’t really written anything for over a month – and even that was poetry for a short Open University course – so I was interested to explore what emerged (if anything at all!)

This piece is therefore a first draft, with no direction expected; a standalone scene just to remind myself that I am a writer, and can still string a few words together (ones which make a degree of sense!)

We hope you like it, warts and all!

We also hope you are doing ok.

THE LONELY ROAD

With the dust of days dimming the road ahead, it was a grey journey. We were the only car on the road, soundless as a leaf falling from the few trees we saw. Their colours were supposed to be shades of fire, but even they were a drab grey-green, as though autumn had lost its mastery over the life cycle of the leaves.

All was quiet.
Too quiet, really, a sort of waiting silence, a tangible apprehension. As our car skimmed the road beneath us, and we approached Silvan, my nerves grew ever more taut. What would we find there? Could we outlast the enemy that lurked within the town?

I shot a look toward Trey, but his face was implacable. A stern mask, yet I knew him well enough to spot the soft edges, the careworn creases and the compassion he tried to hold in check. He’d always been a decent man, a moral man, but the landscape of our lives had shifted in the last few months, and being kind could see you dead. If the enemy thought you would spare them, then they would use that against you. I fought a surge of rising panic, squashed it down in the dark where it could hide. There was no space for anxiety here. Only courage and determination, unrelenting resilience. I had to believe there was a way out, a way through … that something better was coming. Something to bring hope. A light at the end of the metaphorical tunnel.

Then I spotted a feather falling toward the road ahead, pure and bright in the glaring sun. It wafted past my window, dared a touch against the glass. But instead of falling behind, it somehow kept pace, as though caught in our side-slipstream. I stared at it, wondering. We had not seen a bird for weeks, yet here was evidence that something may have survived. I craned my neck and scanned the sky. Up high, so high, I could see small dots, a V reflecting bright against the blue. They were headed toward Silvan, too, like an arrow pointing the way.

Despite the experiences we’d struggled through over the last weeks, despite the horrors we’d seen and the losses we’d endured, we were not alone. The world was somehow hanging on, waiting for us to do what we had to do and return to it – stronger in mind if not in body. I clasped the feeling of hope to me like a talisman, sure now that we would get through.

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Words copyright Joanna Gawn

Image from Pixabay