That night I dreamt of a great forest, firs and larches together, under a glistening weight of snow. You couldn’t tell which was which unless the white burden slithered away and a bough sprang up light and free. I was drifting above it. The air was thin with the scent of resin and keen as a weapon. This untrodden wilderness was boundless, pricked with spectral tones. The eye sought in vain for relief. Far off, plumes of smoke issued into the sky, perhaps from a woodsman’s fire. It was pleasant to the senses, smelling of refuge and the revived complicity of the afternoon.
But as I drew closer, its character changed. I became aware of its acrid taint, increasing in volume until the full force of its billowing heat spent itself upon me. I came upon a tortured wreckage of metal, trees felled like blades of grass, limbs, shoes and tomorrow’s newspapers fetched up in branches a mile or more away; numbers prophesied in the gaping mouths of passports. The sight of that dislocated data brought a prickle to my flesh. Long ago I had divined in the sinister shape of aircraft a means of coming to grief. Down it had come, a grotesque silver bird, wings shattered, the warm throb of life severed for good. Since the age of seven, I’d been acquainted with all the hope and joy that preceded calamity. I wanted to turn back, shed my eyes, do anything in expiation of such an offence. Better to drift above an earth hidebound by its snowlit vision than this. But there was no regaining the innocent perception of children secure in a garden as wide as the sky. This was the obscene truth and my entire being recoiled in terror and gathered itself into a scream I could not deliver.
I woke. The room was bathed in light. For a while I lay unconscious of my surroundings while the horror of dreaming prevailed. It was quiet. Offbeam shadows trembled on the ceiling. Something wasn’t right. The door was closed. Last night the door had been open. I peered at my watch. Five minutes to ten! I sprang out of bed, and making a grab for the door, rushed across the landing “Jude!”
There was no answer. Nothing stirred in the room. Panting wildly, I leaned against the wall, its coldness striking through my thin nightwear. The chaos of the unmade bed strewn with discarded items of clothing echoed the dream. The scene of that clearing created by disaster swam up before me and I knew that this was a silence I would never learn to endure, not in this world or the next. It was too late!
Causes Rosy Cole Supports
World Vision, International Prison Outreach, Salvation Army, Emmaus Project, Poor Clares, DogsTrust, BUAV (against animal testing) WWT (Wildfowl &...