Sunday 30 October 2022

Debris by Martyn McCarthy, americano


I fell asleep in a country that has, I learn from the radio in the cold light of morning, changed.

Not by choice for sure, not for the better I am certain.  As I slept the sleep of the innocent, I am coming to appreciate that my life has been altered for ever,

I lived in a peaceful society that was, I understand now with unquestionable clarity, vulnerable to one man’s febrile machinations and a self-serving view of history.

I am standing, peering down cautiously through my bedroom window on to the tree lined road with its houses, flats and shops that I have called home for each of my 70 years.  My breath forms beads of condensation on the chilled glass that shields me from the world on the other side.

Where yesterday there was the whine of a young child who, whilst playing under a blue sky with a yellow sun, had fallen on crisp white snow.  Today I hear the whine of a drab jet fighter stalking for prey across a brooding sky that shrouds the sun.

I find myself distracted, I watch as the condensation of my breath beads, as the beads then coalesce and form into distinct rivulets that streak the glass like tears on a young child’s cheek.

Unbidden my hand reaches out to wipe the condensation from my line of sight, as I do, a sonorific thump pounds my home, it enters my bones and distorts my view of the world beyond the glass.

My involuntary action of wiping the first rivulet of condensation appears to have had an unintended and dire consequence.  The tree lined street of homes has vanished from sight under a pall of deleterious debris.

Instinctively, fearing the carnage my action has wrought, I turn away from the sight assailing my eyes and retreat a step from the window.

Without thought, still in my night clothes, I find myself running from the room, down the stairs and throwing open the front door of my home bringing myself full square with the debris that had been a street of homes, of neighbours, of the bustle of daily life.

As it moves on to stalk more prey, the mechanical whine of a jet fighter abates to be replaced by a feral human whine, of a mother whose child’s body lays directly in my line of sight naked, dismembered and tingeing the debris strewn melting snow red.

Without heed, I step bare foot across the threshold of the door into the carnage that I called home. 

I cover my ears, I scream!

About the author 

 Martyn is a proud exiled Welshman who whiles away his days on a long sandy beach and, when the wind isn't to strong and the water is sufficiently calm, can be found paddling boarding or kayaking. 


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