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5: Velvet Morning

Wake up! Come on, wake up!

Eyes open. Slow to wake. Haze of dawn breaking. My old alarm clock; 7:00 AM. Limbs stiff. Mirror check. Still here. The morning is silent. Outside, not a soul. Downstairs for breakfast. Cereal, tea, toast. Feed the beast. Need to shave. Or will I grow it? Birthday cards on the kitchen table. My eyes still weak. Mind asleep. Whose birthday was it again? Leave the bins out. Back garden. Fresh air. Stale bread on the path. Untouched by the birds. Switch on the radio. No music. Have no time. Need to get ready. This is my last day at the company. Back upstairs. No one awake yet. They’re up later. Now, what shoes? No trainers, black with white stripes, the ones I always wanted. Shower quick. I hear the song. I love this one. The Walker Brothers, isn’t it? Get dressed. I feel good.  Water. In the hallway. Keys gone. Do I need them? Pictures on the wall. Me and my family. Old friends. Lovers. Down to the shore. No sun today. Trees bare branched. No birds. A child on its own. Laughing. Pointing at the sea. He tells me to look. Saltwater roil, wind gathers. Sky darkens.  From the water, a hand reaches out. Floating in to the shore. Turn around, the child is gone. Hand of stone beckoning me. Seaweed strewn. Torn from a giant. A Greek God. Once proud now broken. No sounds, no cries, no screams. Need to leave. Late already.  Town hall. Doors flap in the wind. Empty rooms. Tables, chairs, paper, machines; all in a pyre. Shouting, echoes ring. My phone rings. Onto the streets. Sirens wail. Streams of birds up above. People emerging. Faces I knew. Looking up. I look at my phone. The time: 7:00AM. A trembling inside. On the ground. In the air. The sky burns red. But I don’t look away. Skin burns red.

My final day.

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