1st Prize:£75 M. Harrison
2nd Prize: £50 Elizabeth Johnstone
Janey ripped the letter to shreds, watching the fragments scatter and dance as the sudden breeze swept them away. The pain persisted though. Lodged in her gut like a blistering hot poker being twisted and turned, waves of nausea swept over her as hot, scalding tears spilled onto her cheeks. Her position, a solitary figure on a park bench, forlorn and staring out across the river, epitomised loneliness and she noticed how those around her, avoided her, averting their eyes as she sat wrapped in the depths of despair.
Even the tranquillity of water lapping at the reed beds in front of her, couldn’t soothe her bitter fury, or the aching emptiness that engulfed her. If it were possible for a heart to break, hers must have surely been ripped apart? Janey closed her eyes, willing the tortured and fractured images to dissipate, violent, volatile images each one ending in a bloody scene, until she felt frozen in time, etched into the devastated landscape an onlooker replaying the scenes of violence forever. She tried to remember the stages of grief, how she had felt when her Grandfather had died. But these feelings of hopelessness, anger and hurt couldn’t compare. But deep down, some sense of logic was surfacing, recognising that somehow her tortured brain needed to look ahead, to a time when pain would lessen and reality became whole again instead of the fragmented, broken shards that currently existed.
It hurt to breathe, it hurt to think and it hurt to feel. Who could have imagined that this would ever have happened? These were things that happened to others, not to her, not to her family. Her sister, only a year apart in age, her beautiful smiling face no more. Janey could almost visualize the light going out of her eyes. The brilliant blue changing to the translucent grey of death. Her sister had been proud to wear that uniform, to represent their country in those war torn areas. She had promised she would be back as a celebrated hero and she was keeping her promise, back with honours, carried in a coffin and Janey didn’t know how she was ever going to cope without seeing her again.