While the world stood still

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Knelt down beside her James held his hand in hers, oblivious to his surroundings he willed her to just take another breath, to open her eyes and say ‘Good Morning’ with the cheeky grin, which she had religiously done for almost three years. Even if she twitched, or turned over and made that satisfied little noise- that was another common trait of hers. James kept his eyes glued to Kate, if his focus could have brought her back he could have saved her. Truth was it was clear even to James, she had gone.

It felt as if a lifetime had passed, yet still no help had arrived. A single tear ran over James' cheek and landed on Kate’s, which was covered in ash and small particles of debris, the tear washed a line down her cheek, revealing her smooth and silky complexion which lay beneath.

James began to wipe away the dust to unveil the face of his fiancé. Nothing could come close to the emptiness he could already feel. He cradled her a little while longer, rocking her gently, inhaling her warmth as it dispersed from her empty shell into the chaos, which surrounded the star-crossed lovers. It was at this point that James looked around open mouthed a siren shrieked in the distance, but the sound didn’t seem to be getting closer, nor was it a sound like any he had ever heard before, eerily shrieking into his ears. As he examined the devastation that lay around him he instinctively kissed Kates forehead one last time, and lay her down softly onto the floor which had a blanket of soft warm ash. He staggered to his feet and ran across to the first body his eyes made contact with, he knelt down and felt for a pulse, ‘nothing’ he whispered and again rose to his feet and over to a child no older than twelve, laying lifeless in a curled up ball…if only he was just asleep.

James stumbled to his feet once again his energy was draining ever so quickly with each movement. His head was a fuzzy cloud, like the ash was settling on his brain. Where was he? What had happened? He challenged himself to pull it all together and understand, locked in a dual with his cloudy memory, he raised his hands to his head. As he lifted his hands away, he felt the warmth of his blood, like a sticky glove mould over his hand. Conscious that still no help had arrived yet, he took his top off tied it round his head, to help control the bleeding. The ash and debris appeared to have won the battle in his head, he staggered back over to Kates body, wrapped his body over hers and closed his eyes.

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